Archive for November, 2010

Liberty, The Money System And Reality (in two parts)

November 11, 2010

Liberty, The Money System And Reality  (in two parts)     

      By Wade Wainio

 “Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the earth; take it away from them but leave them with the power to create credit, and, with a flick of the pen, they will create enough money to buy it all back again. Take this power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this world would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.”        -Lord Stamp, a Director of the Bank of England, in a speech in 1940

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: There are various definitions for money, but when I say “money” throughout, I mean the standard definition “liquid currency” of coins, cash and credit.  There will be moments when I will appear to veer away from money, but this is becaus eit is such a vast topic, encapsulating so many other topics.  Also, this text is intended to focus more on recent events, for purposes of contemporary applications of logic.  This is not an in-depth historiography, but a recent-day polemic.)

 
 PART ONE:  An Explanation:  Why Anarchism?  Why Challenge Money?  The Issue of Illusion           

 Anarchism is thoroughly anti-authoritarian; meaning no individual or small group of people should dominate in making decisions affecting many. Precisely because of this, it is a philosophy constantly concerned with actions and process.  It intends to cut out the proverbial middle man, focusing on what is absolutely necessary in order to function.  For example, food growth does not require us to plant coins in the earth, nor do trees require coins to exist.  If we know anything about biology and ecology we don’t bother feeding coins to soil even once, let alone give it another try. This truism reminds us of the basic nature of life.  Like plant life, human actions do not absolutely require coins, dollars or credits to occur. Actions often result from conscious human decision, guided by some need or perception.  In the spirit of critical thinking, this text  is intended to challenge widespread perceptions.  I personally believe attempts to create a dream world where money is an absolute requirement are at our peril, as all illusion-based changes pose dangers to us. Even more radically, I suggest we should consider not using money at all. I intend to explain my views in depth, hoping they will be seriously considered.   I emphasize that in writing this, or any other critique; I do not claim to be perfect.  This  is not intended as an absolute stance against all aspects of materialism, for example, nor do I intend to show how I’m “better” than everyone else. In fact, I could be the worst kind of hypocrite imaginable, as some might allege, but the trends I note could be examined nonetheless.  That aside, I have a certain degree of faith that some will understand what I mean, and why I mean it.   

 Money itself has mostly illusory properties. Credit even comes from the Latin word credere, which means “to believe.” Indeed, money cannot do anything by itself and, as far as practicality is concerned, has no sentience.  Its illusory nature should be considered an instant weakness, as illusions can disturb the normal flow of execution of actions and ideas, distorting our pictures of reality, our experiences and our wills. This point is debatable, but it seems modern people should see illusions as a stone’s throw away from paranoid fantasies, which themselves can lead to absurd personal problems and actions.  Therefore, if we examine a human act and find illusory belief as its foundation, we should ask ourselves what reasons exist for this belief, especially if the act in question is important. This simple idea could be understood by anyone, “anarchist” or otherwise. It is simply to question. We can apply this principle of examination very generally, for any institution will necessarily have an abstract, illusory character. Because of their illusory nature, organizations literally cannot be permanent, for their bonds are based in belief, made real only by perception, temporary rewards and/or imposed punishments. In the pages that follow, I will also argue that the money system is driven heavily by punishment.  As we all know, punishment entails imposing something unpleasant on a subject when unwanted behavior (disobedience) has been displayed. Perceptions and institutions change or die, but punishments make them live longer, due to the lasting sting.  Rewards, or the promise of rewards, also instill obedience, but rewards virtually never stand alone (more on that will come later).          

  Any true skeptic may recognize money dogma, or capitalist dogma.  Like with a holy religion, we are supposed to recognize the money system almost as a reward in itself, even when its agents and ideals appear to punish. For a contemporary and controversial example of this dogma in action, we can look at the recent clashes between police and the Ungdomshuset “Youth House” movement in Copenhagen, Denmark. The media portrayed the basic situation adequately:  “Two courts ordered [Ungdomshuset] squatters to leave the house [they had used for 24 years] and hand it over to a Christian congregation.  The squatters refused to leave, saying the city had no right to sell the four-story building while it was still in use.” In broader terms, the youths refused to follow capitalist dogma and decided to keep a building as a free cultural center without municipal sanction.  In response to their refusal, police engaged them with “non-deadly weapons” to evict them.  

Though the Copenhagen youth movement was initially quite successful in fending off such attacks (they even overran police), they were eventually evicted after a helicopter landed on their roof and riot police accumulated around the building.  However, prior to the eviction and the youth rioting that followed, police had been filmed beating unarmed, mostly peaceful protesters.  At least in one instance caught on film, a police van charged at and hit someone.  So why did rioting occur?  Obviously, when a community of people gets attacked and evicted, it’s predictable some may react violently in response — sometimes even unreasonably violent.  Quite plainly, capitalist and municipal dogma overlooked the risks involved with attacking people and removing them from a place they loved.  In addition to the eviction, the Danish police raided various homes trying to find people suspected of being allied with Ungdomshuset.  Some simply applaud the police, feeling virtually any police action is correct.  Police do, after all, wear uniforms that are supposed to instantly win respect.  However, the municipality in Denmark had a somewhat pyrrhic victory. Its image was smeared for some, and all just to defeat Denmark’s radical youths who were “criminally” hanging around in a building for 24 years (I emphasize it was only recently that the government declared it criminal).   Money simply permeates this issue.  One Youth House spokesman said “We are tired of being seen as a creditcard!”  On the other side, Anders Fredrik Mihle of the governing Liberal Party’s youth wing said, as if in direct reply: “The spoiled kids in the Youth House woke up to reality in Danish society where you have a job and pay rent.”  But the youths were living in reality, only not a permissible one.  To maintain the permissible version, the brutality of the eviction was topped with another inanity:  The Danish municipality destroyed the building anyway.  The municipality could have probably given the Christian congregation some other building, but it wanted to punish the youths for being different and somewhat independent-spirited.  In response to the events, opinion columnist Carla Beckman noted:  “The youth have yet another reason to distrust government and society. Can we really fault them on their views?”  Even the more “mainstream” media couldn’t simply peg the anarchists as people rioting for no reason.

 Most coverage didn’t hide how the rioting occurred because of the eviction, which likely led some to investigate the police brutality involved in the process.  It may have even lead some people to sympathize with basic principles of anarchism, including the drastic possibility of subverting the money system.   In any case, we can predict future clashes between youths who want to engage in free cultural activities and the stodgy adult world wanting to tear their independent creativity and dignity away.

Wherever “mature” adults can do this, they will undoubtedly divvy out any remaining culture as a feeble reward at a market price.  Abbie Hoffman once said “the first duty of the revolutionary is to get away with it,” and for a while the Youth House movement did just that, at least on a micro-scale.  However, the intent of the police to punish them (with clubs, pepper spray, water cannons, police vans, etc) was unmistakably clear, with the reason for their coercion being the abstract social reward of order. Order seems to often mean, “if it doesn’t have a dollar sign on it, it’s not allowed.”  (http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070116120756794)(http://www.ocolly.com/read_story.php?a_id=32205)          

 There are similar struggles worldwide, pitting those who would scrap status quo values against those who feed the illusions, however consciously.  At either extreme of the spectrum and at all points in between, most of the challenges involve the money system, or some aspect of it, for it’s simply entrenched in the current state of affairs.  In order for the money system to be so dominant, it seems the government is required to take significant control of the economy, which it regularly does (honestly, this should be an entry level observation).  I, along with virtually all other anarchists, don’t think a truly free market has ever existed.  Instead, we’ve had state industrial policy.  This unifying policy, enacted by many institutions, determines that money must overwhelmingly guide decisions and actions, and punishments are imposed if our wishes are not their commands.

 If one defies an order given by an economic authority, or especially if one quits from the overall economic framework, he/she will essentially be alienated or even evicted from society.  Especially under such cruel conditions, the framework can function like a radical religious movement, always escalating and expanding, trying to reach a genuine peak, a zenith of influence and control (what could be called Pure Management).  Some anti-religious capitalists may say, “But capitalism is nothing like religion!  People only believe in religion because institutions and parents teach them religious doctrine!  Money is real and absolutely necessary!”  However, religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve faith in a spiritual nature and study of inherited ancestral traditions.  Is the money system completely outside such a definition?  The codified beliefs, faith in “growth” and rituals of capitalism are plain to see, and the “spiritual nature” is ultimately that of elevating capitalist institutions and “the self” to God-like status, ultimately placing profits, selfishness and institutions ahead of bare human needs.  People of faith often go to church, or an association of people who share a particular belief system.  Not all among the capitalist faith attend business congregations, watch stock market reports and buy “get rich quick” books.  However, more importantly, many do not seriously question money, jst as many do not question their God. Money, like God, only becomes absolutely real to true believers, while the rest must deal with the consequences of such beliefs, especially if they hesitate to join the flock.       

Money ideals have dominated for much longer than a few centuries.  In fact, just by their massive, virtually all-encompassing influence, it’s safe to assume they’ve been largely imposed on entire generations before they could disagree.  Certainly, most are pacified toward money at a young, impressionable age.  Furthermore, the money system is artificially created, obviously reduces individuality and, despite claims to the contrary, has never been inherent (a baby grasps for its mother, not a dollar bill, for example).  Unsurprisingly, some eargue that not believing or following the rules of capitalist theory (making profit, requiring funding for activities, etc) is against nature, which essentially means it’s against the wishes of the universe.  But such stark belief is only thinly based on the hypothetical.  It reads more like dogma, and when such logic is put into practice it becomes just that.  I’ve had personal debates over money where its strong adherents didn’t elaborate and defend their positions, instead assuming they must be absolutely correct.  Such people feel that competitive attitudes, profit and private ownership (as opposed to worker and general ownership) of the means of production simply must be the gateways through which things are adequately done.  Some even suggest that without money nobody could get anything meaningful done.  This is as close as one can get to pure dogma, and I’ve honestly seen this view expressed often.  The danger of such belief, aside from its cowardice, is that it is actually intended as a self-fulfilling prophesy (the anti-social results of which must inevitably be covered up or excused).  Such people also suggest that, because capitalist institutions are so common and so powerful (like those of the three big religions), we should not challenge them.  It’s a “waste of time,” they may say.  However, isn’t it practical to go out of our way to question the legitimacy of the more common ideas and actions around us?  After all, what we commonly experience affects more of us more often.  And, indeed, some people actually do this.  Though the capitalist religion flourishes, others suggest the human universe may rearrange itself even in ways beyond the confines of capitalism.  These others (obviously including myself), who come from different backgrounds and who emphasize the physical parameters of our social universe aside from ideology, must be crackpots or worse, right?  Wrong.  In fact, as I hopefully will show, it is the status quo that is crazy.
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Part two
The Britney Spears Philosophy/Propaganda/ Thinking Like Money          
  On September 20, 2003, a singing Disney toy called Britney Spears offered this tidbit of wisdom:  “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that.”  Should we not question the President, simply because his position of authority exists?  Perhaps, if we want to revert to an era of rule by priests and kings.  However, if we’re smart, we’ll realize a leader’s policies are not justified simply because “The people have spoken, end of discussion.”  The discussion needn’t end there, nor should we fail to make parallels between such thinking about the President and that of our politico-economic system as a whole.Theodore Roosevelt himself once said, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”  I’m not patriotic, but the basic argument makes sense, and can still be applied broadly to politics, with economics being quite political in nature.  Unfortunately, the Britney Spears approach to politics is all too common, whether we like it or not.

             Essentially, humans are caught between different realms.  Call these realms what you like:  Public and private, the leaders and followers, the rulers and the dominated, the old and the new, the nakedly real and the imagination-based.  Whatever the name, most can and will assimilate to mainstream currents if it seems expedient to their survival—even if it also seems to violate their subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience and sapience.  Like Britney Spears, many believe they’ll benefit greatly by not voicing strong objections (or even weak ones) to the status quo, and do not seek to channel whatever talents and energies they have in markedly independent ways.  To an embarrassing extent I assimilate, and you likely do as well.  However, even if one may be somewhat of a hypocrite for living under the system he/she criticizes; it needn’t instantly negate one’s speaking out. There is sense even in biting the proverbial hands that appear to feed us.  In fact, the fear of being labeled “hypocritical” seems most useful simply in preventing criticisms of money or any other parts of the system.  Of course, propaganda tools also exist to effectively sway the masses (including me) in one direction or another, making up vast networks of influence.  The tools are the corporate media, educational institutions, “Think Tanks,” PR firms, and individuals within institutions themselves.  Capitalist thinking is exacerbated by some loyalty to specific institutions, often in the form of funding.  For example, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), “A consumer education consortium concerned with issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, the environment and health,” has been funded by:  American Cyanamid, American Meat Institute, Amoco, Anheuser-Busch, Archer Daniels Midland, Ashland Oil Foundation, Boise Cascade, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Burger King, Chevron, Ciba-Geigy, Coca-Cola, Consolidated Edison, Coors, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Exxon, Ford Motor Co., Frito-Lay, General Electric, General Mills, General Motors, Hershey Foods, Johnson & Johnson, Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons, Kraft Foundation, Kraft General Foods, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Mobil, Monsanto, National Agricultural Chemicals Association, National Dairy Council, National Soft Drink Association, National Starch and Chemical Foundation, Nestlé, NutraSweet Co.(owned by Monsanto), Oscar Mayer Foods, Pepsi-Cola, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Shell Oil, Sugar Association, Union Carbide Corp., Uniroyal Chemical Co., USX Corp., and Wine Growers of California.

 There are probably more, but I’m sure you get the idea.  In modern parlance, this council is a “corporate gangbang.”  There is no reason to doubt such an organization will have loyalty to its financiers .   Sure enough, the ACSH mission is to prove that industrial chemicals are safe, particularly industrial chemicals in food.  One can be on a standard junk food diet and still be skeptical of the ACSH, but ABC News’ John Stossel has endorsed ACSH, laughably calling them “anti-junk science”.  Interesting that Stossel, who is professedly against “big government,” would  simply overlook the possibility that these corporations may have links to big state government via subsidies, or that they are themselves essentially big  governments regulating behavior and dominating resources (also interesting,  if you switch around a few letters, the organization would be called “CASH”).  Almost predictably, Stossel also claims human activities do not contribute to climate change.(http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Council_on_Science_and_Health)

            Putting the ACSH and John Stossel aside, most of us are operating—living—under top-down managed settings (even supposedly “representative” ones), which make people vulnerable by design.  Within such an environment, people are generally expected to carry out functions without questioning them much, for doing so may conflict with policy and lead to imposed consequences.  If we openly question a policy, or the decision-making process (which are elementary things to do), we can be “written up” for “insubordination” and punished accordingly (a process many hierarchies do extremely well).   A well known punishment, getting fired, can be carried out in an efficient and timely manner and is very convenient to power.  In addition to making work more difficult and breaking people down psychologically, the threat of being fired works well as a wall between the whims of the employer and the interests of the worker.  For example, according to activist Sharon Black, the Smithfield Packing plant in North Carolina has an atmosphere wherein “Injured workers are frequently threatened with losing their jobs when they report injuries, so many say the injury occurred at home or off the job.”One may even disagree with the existence of OSHA and still recognize the tactic employed here.(http://www.workers.org/2006/us/smithfield-1019/)

           Obviously, I’m not arguing no one should ever be dismissed from an organization (that’s not for me alone to determine, regardless of my views either way), but threats of dismissal function tactically to preserve power in hierarchies around the world.  If we’re constantly under the fear of being fired, to the point where we’re afraid to tell the truth about our workplaces and society (formal or informal gag orders), then we’re never far from being deluded and mired in self-hatred.  In fact, even when we are comfortable enough to think we won’t be fired, it’s a false sense of security, as firings or lay-offs can occur for even the flimsiest, most nonsensical reasons.  In a situation where we either carry out every order–even the stupidest, most degrading ones– or possibly get fired, we may end up feeling like interlopers in our own lives, for our lives are largely run by outside threats, not peacefully by us as individuals.  As a way to ease the pain, some of us corporate drones internalize bureaucratic values, listen to the alien perception nagging in our ears (we’re paid to listen to it, after all).  But our thoughts and actions may no longer seem like our own, as the specter of bureaucracy possesses us.  If we spend enough time in bureaucratic environments, it may seem to make up our existence.  We become like the corporation we represent, stuck in a very limited universe, put in lockstep with the job, with money.  In due time, we may even come to “think” like the institutions, like money.  Where we live, what we eat and who we hang around with are certainly affected by financial considerations, by cash restraints.  So true is this that some people abstain from social relationships simply because they can’t afford them (especially if they’re wary of scam artists).  Many relationships, including families, even function like “financially linked elitist clans,” in the words of author and musician Chris Floyd.  These are arguably lifestyle choices, but are they ever entirely ours?  Are they entirely benign?  These are confusing, uncomfortable questions, and that’s the point.  The mentality of money can be like anti-social schizophrenia.  There are always pressures to ignore such basic questions, inclduing internal pressures.  The masses are caught between the interests they really have on a personal level and the hyped, formal, systematic interests they feel financially compelled to serve and represent.  It seems accurate to say virtually everyone’s familiar with this conflict of interests on some level, some even to the point of deep-rooted resentment.

            We may feel a need to be social chameleons, or we may unconsciously accumulate mannerisms and beliefs we never anticipated having, including the rigid pursuit of money.  The panicking salesperson is hardly a fiction.  Anyone has surely seen salesmanship pushed to the point of sheer desperation.  In fact, the system itself seems to be sold along very rigid ideological lines, almost desperately.  Commercials often are begging and pleading you to give them your money, your trust, your loyalty.  Such desperation is not a stable frame of mind, and certainly not stable for society, or at least for an intelligent society.  So desperate are the economic powers and their ideologies that being unemployed and not making money is portayed as loathesome behaviors.  In many societies, one supposedly needs to “straighten” his/her self out and get some kind of job, lest one becomes a most depraved misfit.  That’s an argument of desperation, of the proverbial cat in a corner.  Accordingly, money and production is often characterized as being inherently virtuous.  My argument here is that a more rational, intelligent system (and there is a difference between rationality/intelligence and rationalizing/intelligence gathering) would recognize that unemployment or not producing things is not a vicious mental disorder, and that, in many ways, work is quite problematic.

 Still, even though plenty consider money somewhat evil, money is just as often seen as representing work, and is therefore assigned a virtuous character, the means of creating a greater world.  it is cast as a “necessary evil.”  On top of this — and because of this complex, contradictory web — social life is easily poisoned by fear of scam artists, or those who take the abstract nature of money beyond its acceptable point of abuse.  Unacceptable scam artists basically define anti-social behavior.  They take belief in the virtue of money and turn it on its traditional head.  Almost paradoxically, these unacceptable scams (especially “identity theft”) are easier to carry out due to increasing use of credit cards and the electronic flow of financial information fostered by the system itself.  Though undesirable they may be, scam artists tell themselves the same thing most of us do: “I have to get mine before you get yours.”  That is why, if making money is the crème de la crème of human society, then its scam artists are truly people to admire.

In a society that’s often dishonest and “dog eat dog” in nature, where working people seemed drilled into lacking solidarity, where greed is actively encouraged and social change of all kinds becomes an abstract process, why not expect an ever-increasing number of scam artists—even charity scams?  After all, is not our society a frustrating, ideological scam?  For example, medical costs are rightly perceived by some as simply being a high-priced scam, epsecially in the American health care system.  Within the broader system, every spoken or written word could be, and arguably should be, suspect, for any speech could be a paid advertisement or used just to advance one’s career.  This is not the argument of sheer paranoia on my part, but of actuality.  Market potential has its saleable tendrils virtually everywhere, and at times it seems to trump noncommercial speech (on a more positive note, it isn’t literally everywhere, but corporations are working at it).

  Privatization, where resources are mostly put under “private,” profit-seeking bureaucratic control, requires rationalization and widespread advertising (which usually means massive advertising revenues) to promote itself.  The mainstream media itself primarily serves its biggest advertisers.  This is obviously not to say there are no truthful news reports, or that everything in every advertisement is a total lie.  However, taken as a whole, the tendency is to simply promote the system, the economy and what would honestly be called various masters, as significantly outside the realm of questioning.  For example, I have never, not even once read a major editorial against landlords, against banks or against the legal electoral system in general.  Quite plainly, an intellectual society would go out of its way to question such things, whatever the answers may be.  “Ours” noticeably does not.            

Given that many authorities exist which are supposedly sacrosanct, it makes sense to generalize the dollar-driven press and other mainstream informational systems as tools of indoctrination (plainly, why else would corporate and certain government advertising be so prominent?).  Taken as a whole, the system indeed serves an elite class.  Rather than conspiracy theory, this is incontrovertible “conspiracy fact,” or business as usual, if you’d like.  Elites exist just as surely as advertisements, and they are tied intimately to the money system and to how much of the world functions.  Carl Teichrib, a Senior Fellow with The August Review, describes the elites as a “different breed” that “stalks today’s North American landscape.”  These “trilateral elites” are “tightly bound to the world of banking and multinational corporations, and by government leaders who typically flirt between a life of public administration and privileged financial and corporate boardrooms.  It’s a landscape of intertwined big power and money interests.”(Conquering Canada: The Elite Re-Configuration of North America by Carl Teichrib:  http://www.augustreview.com/issues/regionalization/conquering_canada:_the_elite_re-configuration_of_north_america_2007071671/Also, if for some some reason you find this implausible, Infoshop.org has provided a decent list of these business elites/corporate masters at their “Matrix” site: http://www.infoshop.org/octo/matrix/index.php/List_of_World%27s_Business_Elite)         

    As hinted at earlier, elite advertisements are often plainly unreliable as sources of truth.  But they have been very successful nonetheless, considering how many people don’t even question privatization (an issue I will return to again).  Ads are overwhelmingly about what wonderful, charming people corporations are (no, that’s not a typo, for corporations are legally recognized as persons, thanks largely to judicial decisions regarding the 14th amendment).  Corporations do not typically advertise “themselves” as crudely selfish, and especially not as only quasi-tangible positions of governing behavior.  Instead, corporations are presented as simply patriotic, even freedom-loving “nongovernmental” entities.  Corporations might be overtly global institutions having sway over entire economies, but American flags or things expressive of “American values” are preferred over hard cold facts.  We see ads with sports heroes, celebrity superstars, sexy, usually white girls and the mythic, “rugged individual” males (also usually white, such as the Marlboro Man).  Like with patriotism, much critical thinking and many elementary truths are essentially beyond this picture.

Advertisements tend to revolve around what punk icon Jello Biafra called “happy people with happy problems,” with the liberating solution of purchasing products.  For example, if you’re a heterosexual guy, how do you get that girl you’ve had your eye on?  Drink this alcoholic beverage (and spend a certain amount of cash, of course)!  Or, how do you “get away from it all”?  You can always go for a real fast ride in this fancy new car (and again, spend a significant amount of cash, only at a clearer expense to our environment)!  The exclamation points are accurate as well, seeing as to how advertisements are most often designed to excite mindless, babbling passions.  By fostering a fantasy-state of one-sided self-gratification, beer and car commercials can easily ignore the realities of hangovers, fights, emotionally scarring one-night stands, drunk driving, traffic jams, traffic tickets, road rage, pollution contributing to ozone holes, noise, car breakdowns and accidents, etc.  Of course, this is not to say people do not enjoy these products.  They are, in a real enough way, the will of the people.  However, a one-sided, basically utopian view of corporations and products is always very deceptive, especially when so much of it is only to maximize profit.  Intelligent consumers should consider cost-benefit analyses and full corporate history, things often lacking in advertising or public relations, for obvious reasons.  Yes, there is a noticeable move in a less Utopian direction among some advertisers.  For example, some alcohol advertisements remind viewers to “Drink responsibly.”  Also, certain car manufacturers suggest they are more environmentally sound (suggesting auto pollution actually exists as a significant problem).  This seems much more sensible than totally ignore consequences, but a comprehensive picture of reality is still generally diverted, and plainly so.

            Accordingly, to make room for McEden, the greater social dynamics of privatization are brushed away from sight.  Florian Opitz, a German filmmaker, recently expressed the elementary danger of privatization (or corporate “globalization,” as it is sometimes called):   “Who will have access to water, energy, public transport and healthcare?  Only those who can afford it.”  Your average 30 second ad snippet does not express such basic concerns for the poor.  Expressing such concerns would almost be tantamount to calling for revolution, as opposed to the usual bashing of poor people, or support for militarism common in political systems.(Opitz interview:  http://www.infoshop.org/inews/trackback.php?id=169)

            It’s important to note another strange ideological standard in American media.  One needn’t be a genius to notice how, quite generally, universal healthcare is often condemned in America as “big government,” yet big government militarism is considered just fine for billions in tax dollars.  Some ridicule the concept of healthcare being a universal right, which is understandable, but why might many Republicans and others define American militarism basically as a “God-given” right?  Here’s my hypothesis:  Corporate capitalism and state militarism are truly in the interests of elites.  On the other hand, universal healthcare, flawed an dobjectionable though it may be, might theoretically help the poor, whom the American system would much rather punish (“why can’t they just help themselves,” we’re supposed to instantly say).  Some might dismiss this hypothesis as an “emotional appeal,” but what other rationale could there be?   We are consistently told how American big government can work in Iraq, but our healthcare system is allegedly damaged beyond all repairs, unless of course it’s converted into larger and larger profits for “private” coprorations.  One can be overwhelmingly against the state and acknowledge that it could still help people out, at least in some marginal way.   Creating deaths abroad with government money seems more highly regarded than directly saving lives in hospitals.  Accordingly, I have seen infinitely more advertisements and editorials from the military perspective (and implicitly for the Iraq war) than from people such as Opitz or Nancy Davies, an activist who has written of the need “to confront the great transnational corporations and the hand-over policies of the Mexican State,” and to “denounce the grave social and environmental damage which they have caused.”  Not only do such people have legitimate alternative views, but their attitudes may be as fierce as that of Bill O’Reilly and other rightwing commentators.  They may even suggest that “privatization” of resources feeds the power of the omnipotent state (and any of its wars), which seems to be an unthinkable thought.  Views on state-corporatism (like Davies’) could be relevant to international political discussion—especially given the wave of hysteria regarding the American-Mexican border as I write this—but alleged cash savings and becoming an “army of one” for the “War on Terrorism” serves the system better.  (http://narconews.com/Issue46/article2768.html)

As a result, few pay attention to the implicit sentiment of Opitz and Davies, that expansionist corporate/state hierarchies, and money, create social divisions which shape lives into harsh and bitter experiences with absurd and abusive priorities.  Indeed, supported by ignorance of the vast spectrum of opinion and strange standards, the general “dog eat dog” philosophy has an elaborate network from which to feed.

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