By Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner
We “Free World” capitalistic Westerners are a loathsome lot–or to put it more crudely, we suck. When one considers how degenerate we are from a collective standpoint, it is difficult to suppress intense feelings of disgust and contempt. There are many layers to our repugnant, depraved, and “beloved” capitalism, a socioeconomic system which ultimately furnishes the members of its upper echelon with de facto licenses to exploit, plunder, and murder with impunity. Problem is that as one peels back each successive layer hoping to find some purity, one finds a more profound rot.
We have fouled our own environment to the point that recovery and renewal may be impossible; we eradicate non-human animals at an estimated rate of 100 species per day; we slaughter millions upon millions of human beings in wars of imperial aggression driven by capitalism’s insatiable demand for resources and market expansion; we torture and slaughter billions of non-human animals to please our palates; and we insist upon imposing a system of infinite demand upon an all too finite planet.
Yet despite our multi-century “bender” and its obvious consequences, and despite the rational, egalitarian, just, and sustainable alternative which sprung from the minds of Marx and Engels (along with countless others who have contributed to the evolution of their brainchild), we cling to an abomination whose chief benefactors (the ruling class and their sycophantic propagandists in the mainstream media) deserve to be publicly flogged and then imprisoned in the gulag they devised to control the lower classes and black population.
Our collective selfishness, self-absorption, narcissism, greed, and mean-spiritedness are psychic malformations wrought by the wretched systemic exploitation we hold so dear to our withered, Grinch-like hearts. Smug and self-satisfied in our deeply rooted belief in the idiocy that despicable character traits like greed and selfishness can be harnessed in such a way that they provide virtuous means to benevolent ends, we revel in the delusion that the tremendous effort necessary to nurture the human spirit is a waste of time. The uglier and coarser we become on the inside, the greater our likelihood of achieving “success” by the standards of our soul-murdering society. Our worship of a man like Donald Trump as a cultural icon demonstrates how spiritually perverse we have become.
Apologists argue that “true capitalism” doesn’t exist because we have a “mixed economy.” It isn’t enough that one of the most affluent societies in history has 3.5 million homeless human beings, 46 million people without a viable means to attain proper healthcare, deteriorating public infrastructures, a wealth gap that would prick the consciences of the Robber Barons, larcenous CEO compensation, economic apartheid, and trillions of dollars of public money devoted to funding a murderous military machine that serves to ensure that our bourgeois parasites have uninterrupted access to the resources and markets they crave. According to wild-eyed libertarians and our blood-sucking plutocracy, we still need to root out the “socialist” elements that are contaminating our “sacred” free market. You know, that “free market” that inflicted abject misery upon the masses in the United States during the Gilded Age, throughout South America under the tutelage of the human pile of feces known as Milton Friedman (may Satan torment his soul), and in present day China. The excesses, irrationalities, and corrupt nature of capitalism are destroying the world. So let’s implement a more extreme form. What a brilliant notion!
As transparently ridiculous as it is, many amongst the poor and working class in the United States (a group which comprises about 80% of the population) continue to pledge their undying allegiance to a system in which they are merely cogs and cannon fodder serving at the pleasure of their opulent masters.
How have the cynical and ruthless ruling elite of the United States and the “Axis of Good” accomplished this seemingly impossible feat?
In breathtakingly simple fashion. Battering their “inferiors” with a dizzying array of cleverly crafted psychological assaults from cradle to grave, the plutocracy maintains the mass delusion that a system that exploits and impoverishes a majority of the population, rapes the Earth, and necessitates endless resource wars represents the pinnacle of our socioeconomic development.
Many of us suffer from such a deeply fractured (or perhaps butchered) consciousness that even when presented with a humane and sane alternative to the malevolent insanity of capitalism, we still rally to the cause of our bourgeois oppressors. What “patriotic American” isn’t on board with vilifying, blockading, crippling, “regime-changing,” and even invading nearly any nation that dares to implement a system that even remotely resembles socialism, Marxism, or worst of all, Communism? Uh-oh! Hugo Chavez’s social uplift programs are threatening the interests of the millionaires and billionaires of Venezuela (wretched people who have been fucking the poor of their nation for many years). Hurry! Everybody in the United States who is poor or working class! Let’s rush to side with the wealthy elite and support US-sponsored efforts to undermine and depose Chavez!
Deftly applying the superb agitprop techniques developed by Bernays, armies of advertisers, public relations “experts,” government-funded researchers, pundits, talk show hosts, “journalists,” and academics whore for the system to ensure that the masses remain in a perpetual state of moral delusion. How else could they hope to sustain a system that contradicts nearly every decent and humane instinct a human being possesses?
Consider that in the upside-down world the “keepers of the capitalist faith” have contrived, many vices and despicable human traits have been elevated to the status of virtue. Selfishness, avarice, ego, self-absorption, narcissism, careerism, winning at all costs, crushing the competition, the ruthless pursuit of profit, and gluttonous consumption are “all in a day’s work” for the good little capitalists of America. Even those who have broken free of their indoctrination and recognize the depravity of enshrining infantile, mean-spirited, and cruel behavior have little choice but to practice it in some instances simply to survive in our reprehensible “dog eat dog” environment.
Given that the Ministry of Truth can convert vice into virtue, it doesn’t take a tremendous mental leap to conclude they can also do the opposite. In adhering to the insidious indoctrination they provide, we are robbed of experiencing the full spectrum of our humanity because we have been trained to trivialize the aspects of ourselves that would pose a significant threat to the filthy status quo. Imagine the problems a large contingent of people of conscience would present to the sociopaths who routinely wield their immense economic power to engage in wholesale terrorism (i.e. the Iraqi genocide that began with the Gulf War, perpetuated with Clinton’s merciless economic sanctions, and continues to this very moment via the Bush Regime’s Nuremberg class war crimes). Thankfully for these soulless shells posing as human beings, most of the us in the United States have been bribed and brain-washed into complacency and complicity to the extent that with respect to the illegal occupation, we are flag wavers, indifferent by-standers, or protesters essentially rendered impotent by the overwhelming resources and might of the ruling class. Tragically, Bush and his ilk will probably never receive the trials and hangings they so richly deserve.
As we busy ourselves compulsively pursuing the acquisition of material possessions, looking out for number one, vying for promotions, building and preserving our egos, and gorging on the latest brain candy the mainstream media is peddling, who wants to “endure the agony” of engaging in introspection, thinking critically, educating oneself, acting on one’s conscience, empathizing, or pursuing a principled existence? Giving a damn isn’t worth the trouble when we can simply swallow the lies, take the bribes, and let the rest of the human and non-human animals of the world pay our outrageous bills (using their pain and blood as currency).
But we do need to realize that our path to hell isn’t paved with good intentions; we are racing along a road to perdition comprised of suffering, subjugation, oppression, theft, destruction, and wholesale murder.
We are riding alongside Angus and Malcolm Young on the “Highway to Hell.”
Jason Miller is a recovering US American middle class suburbanite who strives to remain intellectually free. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com