I’m reading David Stockman’s book The Great Deformation — the Corruption of Capitalism in America. Stockman was Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He criticizes the GOP for its militarism and its whoring for the rich. He says there was no need to bail out Wall Street. The speculators who would have lost out deserved to lose and the contagion wouldn’t have spread beyond the canyons of Wall Street.
Progressives would agree with much of what Stockman has to say.
“[T]he Republican Party was hijacked by modern imperialists during the Reagan era. As a consequence, the conservative party cannot perform its natural function as watchdog of the public purse because it is constantly seeking legislative action to provision a vast war machine of invasion and occupation.” (p 688)
“The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.” “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”. Rolling Stone.
But Stockman is a true conservative. He doesn’t believe the government should be involved in bailing out business or stimulating the economy. He opposes Keynesian macro-economic policies and thinks that government does more harm than good when it meddles. He also opposes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the minimum wage.
“At the heart of the Great Deformation is a rogue central bank that has abandoned every vestige of sound money. In so doing, it has enabled politicians to enjoy ‘deficits without tears’ by monetizing massive amounts of public debt.”
Stockman calls the bailout, the stimulus, and the Fed’s printing of money “a de facto coup d’etat by Wall Street” whose purpose was to re-inflate the financial bubble.
“The Detroit-based auto industry was debt-enfeebled house of cards that had been a Wall Street playpen of deal making and LBOs for years, including my own. ” He thinks the there needs to be a rollback of the “preposterous $100,000 per year cost of UAW jobs.”
Stockman spent twenty years after leaving the White House in the leveraged buyout business. He was indicted for fraud when a business he invested in went bankrupt. After a two year battle, prosecutors decided to drop charges. Stockman says the business failure was due to stupidity (his) and market decline, not fraud.
In the last chapter, Stockman proposes the following radical policy changes which, he admits, have almost no chance of being enacted in the current political climate. Some of the changes (such as overturning Citizens United, the establishment of federally funded elections, and a wealth tax on the rich) would be eagerly welcomed by progressives. Other changes (such as the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes) would be strongly opposed by progressives.
- An end to the Feds expansionist monetary policy and a return to a gold-backed dollar.
- An end to deposit insurance and an end to Fed’s lending federally insured money to speculating banks.
- Adopt “Super Glass-Stegall II”, erecting a wall between investment banking government funds (“insured deposits or access to the Fed discount window”).
- An Omnibus Amendment that limits Congress members to a single term of six years in office and eliminates the Electoral College (“bringing the nation into the modern world of one person, one vote”).
- Require Congress to balance the budget, except in case of a declared war.
- End Keyesian macroeconomic expansionism and allow the free market to set wages and levels of production.
- Abolish social insurance bailouts, and economic subsidies.
- “Eliminate the Departments of Energy, Education, Commerce, Labor, Agriculture, HUD, Homeland Security, the SBA, DOT, and the Ex-Im Bank.” Also eliminate Fannie Mae, Freddie Mae, the FHA, the homeowner’s tax deduction, and subsidies for Amtrak.
- “Erect a study cash-based means-tested safety net and abolish the minimum wage.”
- Abolish all forms of health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, and replace them with “cash-based transfer payments.” Also eliminate tax subsidies for employer-funded health insurance. All these forms of insurance, says Stockman, mostly serve to prop up the corrupt medical-industrial complex. “The cancerous growth of the medical care complex would be halted and reversed.” He believes the free market will devise innovations to provide efficient care. “The one necessary concession to socialism would be a system of federally licensed catastrophic insurance funds would automatically cover the means-tested safety-net population.”
- “Replace the warfare state with genuine national defense.”
- Establish a 30% wealth tax on the rich in order to reclaim the trillions they extorted from the US Treasury and the middle class. “Needless to say, $14 trillion of national debt reduction could never be achieved under any known ordinary fiscal device; it would require a one-time wealth tax, essentially a recapture of part of the windfall wealth gain that has accrued to the top of the economic ladder during the age of bubble finance.”
- Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment (income taxes) and finance “the beast” via consumption taxes.
By the way, Stockman isn’t the only former Reagan economic adviser to argue against GOP tax policy. Former Labor Secretary Barry Bluestone thinks the GOP tickle-down economic policy is a failure. He says “The wealthiest people spend maybe 30% of their income. Poor people spend 100%, working people spend 98%, so as we move money away from working families towards very wealthy families, we take more and more consumption out of the economy, means slower and slower growth, means higher and higher an extended unemployment.”
Robert Poteat spoke at the 2014 VFP NW Regional Conference in Tacoma on War and Debt. The history of ballooning national debt caused by every war since 1812, and needed monetary reform. Says, Eisenhower should have called this the Financial Military Industrial Complex (FMIC) not just the MIC or MICC! Recommends Steven Zarlenga book and the American Monetary Act.
New, alternative lyrics for Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy is coming, to the USA” (see videos below)
Lyrics © Donald A. Smith D G D It's coming from corruption that's profane D A D From Grover Norquist's government-hating brain G It's coming from the spiel G_sus G That makes your head reel D G D when you listen to the right wing refrain. F# From the Tea Party crazies Bm From the Chamber of Commerce hacks F# From neocon imperialists Bm From Karl Rove's Super-PAC A G D Plutocracy is comin, to the USA. --------------------------------- D G D It's coming from tax cuts for the rich, D A D From the Supreme Court, the 1%'s bitch. G It's coming from evil folk G_sus G like David and Charles Koch D G D and from Bill and Barry's traitorous rightward switch. F# From Citizen United Bm From Clarence Thomas's smut F# From John Robert's smirk Bm From Anton Scalia's butt A G D Plutocracy is comin, to the USA. --------------------------------- D G D It's coming from the wars. Open your eyes. D A D Killed millions. Wasted trillions. Hear the cries. G From the disaster in Vietnam G_sus G to the debacle of Afghanistan D G D to the war in Iraq based on lies. F# From the CIA's dirty deeds Bm From collateral clone attacks F# From targeted assassinations Bm From illegal wire taps A G D Plutocracy is comin, to the USA. --------------------------------- A G Bail out, bail out, D G D O sinking Ship of State! A To the Shores of Greed G Past the Reefs of Need D To the Squalls of Hate. A G D Bail out, bail out, bail out. --------------------------------- D G D It's coming from your neighbor's SUV D A D From the toxins that are killing off the bees. G It's coming from Big Oil, G_sus G and the fracking and the spoil D G D and climate change denial fantasies. F# From ugly suburban sprawl Bm From filthy factory smoke, F# From the local big box mall Bm From David and Charles Koch A G D Plutocracy is comin, to the USA. ------------------- D G D It's coming from right-wing media hosts D A D From the wingnuts with their hate-filled posts. G It's coming from Fox News G_sus G and its pro-corporate views D G D that are unfair and unbalanced at most. F# From Limbaugh and Glenn Beck Bm From Bill O'Reilly's rants F# From Hannity and Savage's drek Bm From Dennis Miller's cant A G D Plutocracy is comin, to the USA. --------------------------------- D G D It's coming from income inequality, D A D From tax loopholes for Apple and GE. G It's coming from tax havens G_sus G and accounting tricks so brazen D G D it's a wonder they're not on TV. F# From low capital gain tax rates Bm From Walmart and Goldman Sachs F# From Boeing and Microsoft Bm From tax enforcement cutbacks. A G D Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.
Here are two versions of Leonard Cohen’s original song.
When it comes to hypocrisy, the GOP (Grand Obstruction Party) has set a new gold standard. Rather, a new fool’s gold standard.
The Republican Party, led on a very short leash by well-monied pro-oligarchy business moguls and pro-apocalypse crazies, keeps on churning out pyrite from its thunderous right-wing sound machine, while corporate media reports on their bombast as if it were pure gold.
Passing this fool’s gold off as real media currency, the Republican shutdown of America is reported as though the Democratic Party were somehow at fault, too. When Republicans refuse bring up jobs, education, fair taxation and workers’ rights legislation for a vote in the House of Representatives, what do you hear on the evening news? “Congress” failed to act. As if the Democrats in the House and Senate were somehow co-conspiring to defeat the very job-producing, education-enhancing, revenue-increasing, labor-empowering legislation they themselves proposed!
So the GOP (Garrulous Obsequious Prevaricators) goes unchallenged in the mainstream media. Is it any wonder the voting public feels mislead, angry, confused?
Pro-corporate, anti-government bootlickers like the Tea Party skip along their merry way, spewing lies about the failure of government (which they’re doing their darndest to rid us of) and singing the praises of big-business “job creators” (who, while raking in obscene profits here in America, only appear capable of creating jobs overseas).
God forbid any media pundit on the Sunday talk shows should challenge any of the endless stream of GOP (Gerrymandering Obfuscating Pharisees) blowhards regarding their actual plans for improving the economy, proposing a real foreign policy, and (gasp!) actually governing the country.
No, the fool’s gold fantasy that the Republican Party has the best interests of farmers, workers, women, minorities, and, no doubt, star-spangled unicorns at heart continues unabated. None dare challenge to Holy Trinity of Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and evangelical Christendom.
Meanwhile, Main Street, Middle America, and minorities of all stripes continue to be savagely gored by those cuddly-wuddly Wepublican unicorns.
It’s a media-made fiction that’s murdering America.
Exit Eisenhower and the traditional Republican Party. Enter Mussolini.
Originally published at examiner.com.
Originally Published @ Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/01/1198356/-April-Fool-s-Report-State-of-The-Nation?detail=hide
Now that Republicans have gained complete control of both houses of the US Congress and the White House, our esteemed leader and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney can finally get down to the work of rigging the elections and turning the treasury over to big business interests – the dream of all greedy corporatists. The confident, smiling face of FDR has finally been erased from the public’s memory after almost a century of passionate campaigns launched by conservatives to to discredit The Great Socialist and tarnish his gilded image.
After fighting for so many years against any free hand outs for the poor and middle class, the great news is that we have finally achieved success!
With new conservative GOP appointees, the Supreme Court is now firmly in our corner and Secretary of Defense Newt Gingrinch can finish the job of turning America’s global empire into a feeding ground for the wealthy elite banking class. Hallelujah!
With new foreign wars to prop up the Halliburton class, our military industrial complex has at last reached it’s goal of total economic and political power in the USA. Now that the last vestiges of those inconvenient and outdated constitutional laws and democratic principles have been eliminated, the multinationals and Wall Street bankers are having an absolute field day! Profits are soaring and new expensive defense contracts are being granted every day…
We have no more worries about marriage equality (thank you Surgeon General Dr. Ben Carson), or legalization of pot, universal healthcare or even gun control now that right-wing religious leaders and NRA officials are writing the national legislative program with the help of Monsanto, Exxon/Mobile and the Lehman and Koch Brothers.
Soon all of the public schools will be gone and education will become religious based and/or corporate owned. Our beautiful precious little children will be able to grow up without the distraction of liberal, deconstructionist or unpatriotic propaganda designed to fool them into thinking that Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Jon Stewart actually represent sanity.
With President Romney at the helm, the ship of state is headed for a new American Century full of promise and opportunity (for the upper class, of course). That’s why Congress has been so generous in allocating funds for a another multi-billion dollar national memorial to Ronald Reagan and the re-sculpting of Mount Rushmore to include his glorious image. I know that Tom, Teddy, George and Abe would be very proud to find their icons next to one of the greatest actors and political leaders of our time.
It’s only a matter of time before cabinet members Grover Norquist, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove order the construction of publicly funded monuments to themselves, and then we will surely see the blossoming of a new golden age…
While the police are battling protesters in the streets of Washington DC, we can rest assured that the spirit of Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover are both with us to guide our hand as we make these necessary yet sometimes difficult changes to society.
The watchful eye of Senator Joseph McCarthy is upon us and the stinging voice of
Father Coughlin rings in our ears…
Now that there is no more immigration and the borders are sealed up tight, we can be comforted by the knowledge that all is well with the country and our nation is in good hands. We have Glenn Back and Rush Limbaugh to thank for the new spirit that now pervades the country – they are truly great Americans!
Once the riots and protest marches are over I’m sure that the poor and middle class will eventually see that minimum wage jobs without benefits or pensions is actually good for America.
Let us all stand strong and say with one unified voice that the GOP is in truth
“God’s Own Party” and that the time has finally come for a religious and corporate controlled government. God Bless America!
Do you think George W. Bush’s image should be added to Mount Rushmore?
No, that’s crazy!
Only if they also add Lady Gaga.
For Heaven’s Sakes Stop Asking me Stupid Questions!
Huh? Were you talking to me?
Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention…
Is the author of this article really a Republican?
Why don’t you ask someone who cares?
Why is that relevant to anything important?
Hello? Did I miss something?
No – April Fool’s Day Is Not A Joke!
I have to go to the bathroom, I’ll answer later.
Who is George W. Bush?
No – I liked his daddy better…
Not sure – where is Mount Rushmore?
I’m reading Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State, by Dana Priest and William R. Arkin. The book catalogs the mind-boggling number of secret and semi-secret government agencies and programs that have proliferated since the 9/11 attacks. (“Code names linked companies and agencies and activities, and the number of locations doubled again, quadrupled, and then doubled again.”) By looking through publicly available job postings, budget requests, and other documents, and by interviewing numerous current and former government official who were willing to share information (often anonymously), the authors were able to piece together a partial view of the new security establishment, which operates largely independently and in parallel to the official U.S. government. By cloaking almost everything about the programs in secrecy, and by prosecuting whistle-blowers, the security state immunizes itself from scrutiny and accountability.
Secret Special Access Programs (SAPs) and Controlled Access Programs (CAPS) are so numerous, compartmentalized, and shielded in secrecy from each other, that nobody understands the system in its entirety. Even the few congressional committee members who are supposed to monitor the activities of the security state are largely unaware of its doings. When it comes time for the lawmakers to review documents concerning security programs, the lawmakers are made to sit alone in a room, without aides and without the ability to take notes. They’re handed thick, impenetrable documents and are expected to be able to pass judgement on them. Also,
When the names of the Defense Department’s SAPs are printed out and delivered to the leadership of the congressional defense committees every March 1, the list is three hundred pages long — and those are just the names of the programs. The database doesn’t include two other categories of deep secrets: “waived SAPs” and “unacknowledged SAPs,” neither of which the full committees have to be briefed on. Nor does it contain the many Special Access Programs hosted within the other federal agencies, ….
Since 2001, “the number of newly classified documents has tripled to 23 million.”
“The Washington [D.C.] area had thirty-three large complexes for top-secret intelligence work under construction or already finished since 9/11. Together these buildings occupied the equivalent, in square footage, of nearly three Pentagons.”
The intelligence agencies produce so many intelligence reports that most go unread.
One of the government’s solutions to this indiscriminate over-production has been to create, in 2010, yet another publication, an online newspaper called Intelligence Today. Every day, a staff of twenty-two culled twenty-nine agencies’ reports and sixty-three analytic websites on the classified networks, selected the best information, and packaged it … It was … another new product, just more to read.
The authors write, “This sort of wasteful redundancy is endemic in Top Secret America, not just in analysis but everywhere Born of the blank check that Congress first gave national security agencies in the wake of the 9/11 attack, Top Secret America’s wasteful duplication was cultivated by the bureaucratic instinct that bigger is always better…”
After two years of investigating, Arkin had come up with a jaw-dropping 1,074 federal government organizations and nearly two thousand private companies involved with programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, in at least 17,000 locations across the United States — all of them working at the top secret classification level.
When President Obama first took office in 2008 he made motions to reverse the secrecy but since then things have become even more secretive than during the time of Obama’s predecessor, with Obama prosecuting whistle blowers, not torturers and war criminals. And yet:
Our military and intelligence sources cannot think of a single instance in which security has been seriously damaged by the release of information. On the contrary, much harm has been done to the counter-terrorism effort itself, and to the American economy and U.S. strategic goals, by allowing the government to operate in the dark, by continuing to dole out taxpayer money to programs that have no value and to employees, many of them private contractors, who are making no significant contribution to the country’s safety.
There is a large brain drain from civil servants to higher paying private contractors. “A 2008 study, published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, found that contractors made up 29 percent of the workforce in the intelligence agencies but cost the equivalent of 49 percent of their personnel budgets.” (p 181) So much for private industry being more efficient than government agencies….
Naomi Wolf reports in the Guardian: Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy: New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent.
I generally assiduously avoid content that smacks of 9/11 trutherism, but the following video seems legit: 911 Hijackers Passports were issued by the CIA – US Consulate Whistleblower. See the links on that page to related articles in the mainstream press: New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, ABC, CNN, etc.
I have been engaged in an ongoing edit war concerning the Wikipedia article on Chuck Hagel, whose name is being mentioned as a possible nominee for Secretary of Defense. Hagel is coming under criticism from Republicans and neocons who are unhappy with Hagel’s statements such as “[t]he Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated” and “[t]he Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people [on Capitol Hill].”
Though I applaud Hagel’s apparent wisdom about the Pentagon, the information I’ve read about him calls into question his character and veracity.
On June 28, 2011, after reading Bev Harris’ book Black Box Voting, I edited the Wikipedia article on Chuck Hagel and added a section about the allegations of inadequate disclosure and conflict of interest concerning Hagel’s involvement with the voting machine company AIS. I subsequently added information from several others sources, referenced below, resulting in the following section of the article:
Allegations of inadequate disclosure and conflict of interest
In Bev Harris’ book Black Box Voting,, in an article in The Hill, and in a CommonDreams article by Thom Hartmann,  Hagel is accused of having covered up his involvement with American Information Systems, Inc., the voting machine company. Harris alleges that Hagel omitted mention of AIS from the required US Senate financial disclosure forms.. Harris also says that Hagel hid his continuing investment in the McCarthy Group. Harris writes:
In October 2002, I discovered that he [Hagel] still had undisclosed ownership of ES&E through its parent company, the McCarthy Group. The McCarthy Group is run by Hagel’s campaign finance director, Michael R. McCarthy, who is also a director of ES&S. Hagel hid his ties to ES&S by calling his investment of up to $5 million in the ES&S parent company an “excepted investment fund.” This is important because senators are required to list the underlying assets for companies they invest in, unless the company is “excepted.” To be “excepted,” the McCarthy Group must be publicly traded (it is not) and very widely traded (it is not).”
Harris contacted Victor Baird, counsel for the Senate Ethics Committee, to inquire into Hagel’s disclosure statements. After some investigation, Baird agreed that Hagel apparently mischaracterized the nature of his investment in the McCarthy Group. Soon afterwards, Baird resigned — Harris suggests, without proof, that Baird was forced to resign — and Harris was told that he was unavailable to speak to the press. Harris says that Baird’s replacement supported Hagel’s characterization of the McCarthy Group as an excepted fund.
Harris and Hartmann imply that Hagel’s landslide victories in 1996 and 2002 may have been due to election fraud. Harris writes, “Hagel defeated popular Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson, who had led in the polls since the opening gun… becoming the first Republican to win a Senate seat in Nebraska in 24 years… What the media didn’t report is that Hagel’s job, until two weeks before he announced his run for the Senate, was running the voting machine company whose machines would count his votes.” However, Harris and Hartmann provide no concrete evidence of fraud. All they can point to is circumstantial evidence, such as the unexpected nature of the election upset (Hartmann writes, “Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely Black communities that had never before voted Republican”) and the odd fact that the voting machines used to count votes in Hagel’s Senate bid were built by the very same company that Hagel had recently chaired and that Hagel continued to invest in. Also, Harris reports that Alexander Bolton, author of the Hill article about Hagel, complained that prominent Republican lawyer Jan Baren and Hagel Chief of Staff Lou Ann Linehan visited The Hill office and pressured Bolton, unsuccessfully, to kill or soften the Hagel story.
The story about Hagel’s retaining ownership in the company that counted his own votes and the matter of the surprising election upset (15 points of disparity between election results and polling results) are retold in an Nov, 2012 article in Harper’s Magazine .
On Sept 16, 2011, a wikipedia user named “rjensen” deleted my text, saying “BLP violation — suggestion of criminal behavior is off limits by Wiki rules.” BLP refers to Biography of Living Persons. Here are the rules concerning BLP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:BLP.
On Oct 15, 2011 I restored the section, writing as justification, “Suggestion of criminal activity is allowed if there are multiple sources of documentation and if the person is a public figure.”
The same day, rjensen again deleted my content, saying, “BLP violation based on allegations in a self-published blog, not a RS.”
The next day, I added it back, saying, “The story was told not in a blog, but in a book, an article by Thom Hartmann, an article in The Hill, and in an Oct 2012 article in Harper’s Magazine.”
On Dec 17, 2012 rjensen again deleted the section, saying, “BLP violations–not based on solid RS (these are self-published attacks).”
Since early December there have been numerous edits to the wikipedia article — no doubt reflecting the greater interest in and scrutiny of Hagel due to his possible nomination.
I am, of course, free to restore the deleted section again but would appreciate help from others more familiar with both Hagel’s history and with wikipedia’s policy on dispute resolution:
Wikipedia has many methods of settling disputes. A “BOLD, revert, discuss” cycle sometimes occurs, in which an editor changes something, another editor reverts the change, and then the two editors discuss the issue on a talk page. When editors disregard this process – when a change is repeatedly done by one editor and then undone by another – an ‘edit war‘ may be asserted to have begun. …
In order to gain a broader community consensus, editors can raise issues at the Village Pump, or initiate a Request for Comment. An editor can report impolite, uncivil, or otherwise problematic communications with another editor via the “Wikiquette Assistance” noticeboard.
In this age of citizen journalism, it is everyone’s duty to educate themselves and others about the facts.
The case of Hagel shows that people are complex. They may be wise and compassionate about some things and reprehensible about others.
Originally published by CounterPunch – Editor Jeffery St Clair
by MARK TAYLOR-CANFIELD
A recent article by Chris Hedges is once again causing heated arguments among activists in the Occupy Wall Street movement. “Black Bloc: The Cancer in Occupy,” was published in his syndicated Truthdig.com column back in February, but folks are now talking about it again at political organizing meetings and on social networking websites. After Black Bloc Anarchists broke windows, vandalized cars and assaulted members of the press during May Day protests in Seattle and Oakland, the issue has taken on a new urgency among occupy groups around the country.
Hedge’s scathing critique of these tactics has been challenged by many people who sympathize with Anarchist philosophy. Most occupiers in the major cities have adopted a policy of neither condemning nor endorsing Black Bloc actions because they usually vandalize only corporate banks and businesses. But the truth is, many occupy activists and most of the general public are turned off by acts of property damage committed as a form of protest. Black Bloc tactics have been criticized by some Occupy Seattle activists and Chris Hedges claims it is responsible for chasing the 99% away from the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In my opinion, Hedges’ article was a purely emotional response to the Anarchists. Rather than using good research and obtaining first-hand knowledge, he simply wrote from a gut level reaction. Hedges later admitted during an interview posted at Truthout.org that he hadn’t spoken to any Black Bloc activists before writing the article. He says he listened to about four hours of Anarchist radio out of Eugene, Oregon and read some magazines and websites. Supposedly, the Black Bloc are a direct threat to the power of what he calls the “organized left” – a group in which he seems to claim membership.
Actually, I am getting really tired of ideologues of all persuasions, including Chris Hedges.
I don’t trust any “ism”!
First of all, a true anarchist would never identify themselves with a political or philosophical label because that in itself is highly limiting. Society will immediately identify and categorize you depending upon their view of that political philosophy. I simply refuse to be labeled, folded, spindled or wrapped in anything besides my own skin!
Call me whatever you like, but you’re probably wrong.
I prefer to build bridges and work with as many groups and individuals as possible while never permanently adhering to anyone’s religion, whether it be Christian fundamentalism or Anarchism. Also, I find that most people’s political or non-political affiliations are almost always based on their own psychological profile. People choose politics according to their own personal style. A left-brained materialist might find conservatism appealing while a free thinking artistic adventurer is probably not going to have much fun at a GOP fundraiser. In my view, political and philosophical distinctions are basically natural byproducts of the personality of the individual.
Ideologues refuse to accept this fact. They can’t resist the urge to lead irrational crusades in an attempt to either win everyone over to their way or thinking, or to destroy the opposition. As two prime examples, I cite both the fanatical US corporatist “War on Terror”, and their Islamic extremist enemy Al Qaeda.
Ideologies are simply theories, many of which have never really been put into practice. Theoretically, many of them sound great. But these same ideologies are also responsible for a lot of mass suffering and destruction on this planet. Communism was invoked under Stalin to justify the deaths of millions of people. The Christian dominionist ideology has been responsible for religious wars and widespread ecological disasters. Inevitably, those who claim to have the answer to all of the world’s problems are actually the ones who end up causing a lot more suffering by their proposed solutions.
I say, free your minds! Don’t allow any person, organization, philosophy or authority to determine what you think.
The main problem I have with many of the “isms” being promoted within the social justice movement is that they are based on archaic, antiquated philosophies. Quoting dead writers from decades or centuries past is not an adequate response to the serious environmental and social crises we are facing in the world today. Doesn’t anyone have an original idea?
Anarchism, socialism, communism, capitalism, libertarianism, etc. are all just more “isms” that limit free thought through peer pressure and self-perpetuating propaganda. I know that some will accuse me of being a “deconstructionist”, but I also reject that label as purely fashionable and ultimately irrelevant.
I try to avoid accepted political terms or labels whenever possible when I speak or write. I want to reflect reality, not ideology!
But this doesn’t mean I consider myself a cynic. Actually the opposite is true. I am dedicated to upholding ideals concerning justice, autonomy and personal freedom. It’s just that I don’t expect any particular spiritual, political or economic philosophy to solve all the world’s problems and create Heaven on earth for me overnight. To me, those kinds of false expectations are based on immaturity. It comes from an uninformed but very popular point of view which sees a solution to everything in one powerful man or woman, one political philosophy or one religious doctrine.
And what about the idea that there is going to be some kind of glorious revolution which will solve all of our problems?
Well, if the revolutions in the USA, France, Russia, Tunisia and Egypt are any indication, it looks like multiple uprisings will be necessary in order to maintain any semblance of the original resistance movements. The struggle for justice is an eternal battle that requires constant vigilance and strong dedication. The battle is never completely won but it is certainly worth fighting!
And a life without “isms” is its own reward. Avoid them and live free!
Mark Taylor-Canfield is an independent journalist and a member of the Occupy Seattle Media Working Group.
Originally Published @ Counterpunch.org