The Inconvenience of Democracy… for the Elites

 

As the primary phase of choosing the next occupant for the White House trundles on, it should be obvious to us all that there is a serious, existential threat that is laying waste to the cherished idea that the United States is a paragon of rules, fair play and democracy. Stories of rampant voter suppression, disenfranchisement, media gaslighting, electoral fraud and a destructive, regressive political discourse has made it very clear that it is impossible for America to be a functioning democracy within a capitalistic economic system. Politicians no longer serve the people they “represent,” and both parties have been corrupted and compromised by the dirty, filthy money that allows them to remain protected, seemingly forever, within their cocoon of legalized graft. It has taken a quixotic Presidential run by Bernie Sanders to drop the scales from our eyes, and at last, people are beginning, at their level of understanding, to realize that it just might not be possible to have both a functioning democracy and a just economic capitalist system at the same time, without serious re-examination and reconsideration of what kind of social contract we as a nation are prepared to accept to live under.

Obviously, this realization can only lead to a single conclusion:  which should prove that capitalism is in essence, anti-democratic.

Team Democrat and Team Republican may have slightly differing ideologies, and really, these are merely comforting, self-serving myths that allow the gaslighting to have legs – until this election season when the bottom of the pail has fallen out of too many people’s lives, but the parties are united under one overarching principle: gathering and extracting more and more money from the taxpayer and giving it to the elites, the banks and stateless corporations who in turn are quietly planning God-knows-what for the hapless dupes who still believe that the problems in their lives stem from undocumented aliens, liberals and conservatives. These elites benefit from the division the media generates while ignoring the shameless corporate welfare which their lobbyists have managed to write into laws, and are ultimately planning to gift the corporations sovereignty over governments themselves with the TPP.

That President Obama is aiding and abetting this “trade deal” as a good thing for America, should be evidence enough on how easily one can be corrupted by power so completely, that all common decency and common sense evaporates, along with any moral barometer that should awaken and alert one’s conscience that something has gone terribly wrong with one’s judgment and ethics. But we’re talking about beings who clearly operate under another criteria of “ethics.” One, apparently, that doesn’t include  a consideration for what is best for everyone, but only considers those who are sitting the the seats of great wealth, power and influence.

Which brings us back to this point: capitalism has proven to be the most anti-democratic force in the world, if not in America, where it seems that every day, new and surprising ways are being invented to make voting as difficult and unpleasant as possible. This is hardly surprising, although I suspect the blatant rigged gaming of the fraudulent electoral process may have come as a dreadful shock to most who believed in the “rule of law,” and that they truly lived in “the land of the free,” but the fact of the matter is that an open, citizen-led democratic process can be very bad for “business.” The movement inspired by Bernie Sanders has awakened to this awful realization, and the anti-democratic forces; the media-industrial complex, the stateless corporations, Wall Street, the billionaire class and the establishment politicians that loyally serve them will be doing everything they can to make sure the movement – and by extension, the expression of democracy – is quashed.

Therefore, be prepared to witness a titanic barrage of forces to be unleashed to nullify, marginalize and stifle this natural, suppressed expression of democratic values where one person – one vote still has meaning and value. It will be a massive effort for the grassroots activists to overcome this inevitable onslaught, but the future is not yet written, although it appears more and more likely that the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this summer is going to make Chicago ’68 seem like a Methodist bakery sale in comparison. The genie has been let out of the bottle, and with it, the elites’ stranglehold on democracy is in peril.

 

 

Fear of Equality, Part 3 03/06/2013

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The Myth of Liberty

Capitalism  is not only an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, and it is not only a system based on private ownership and generating profits for the “free market” and “investors.” It is actually a functioning Religion, as well.

As a Religion, Capitalism provides many of the same features and benefits any metaphysical system could conceive. It deals entirely in matters of Faith, worship and beliefs in a Supreme Being (of sorts). There are Narratives that are passed down from written books written centuries ago by Priests and Prophets, who created expansive systems of economic theologies which believers take as proof of their God’s existence and Truth of the nature of Reality. There are several main beliefs that have been given a metaphysical status within Capitalism, although we’ll only touch upon a few. It is the enduring, totalizing and ubiquitous presence of these beliefs systems that have made Capitalism so entrenched and almost impossible – to – dislodge for what it is; a pious and deadly superstition. If we look at some of the main myths of Capitalism, it will be revealed that what actually is offered as the truth are distorted and destructive definitions that has been surreptitiously uprooted and erased from their original meanings. The amazing thing is that these transformed, innovated and falsified distortions have caused these definitions to drift away and disappear from their supposedly definite significations, and nobody has seemed to notice. It is much like donkey meat being sold as 100% ground beef at the supermarket, and people not knowing or caring about the difference.

1. Liberty

Capitalism claims to promote liberty, voluntary exchange, integrity, political freedom, private property and wealth. Of these, private ownership of property and personal liberty are touted as the main benefits of Capitalism, and with it, a moralistic presumption that these things are what everyone naturally desires and are entitled to by their own self-reliance and the Grace of God. This idea, among others from classical Liberalism from intellectuals like Hobbes,  and slave – traders such as John Locke and proslavery advocate Hugo Grotius [1]. “Sovereignty,” “natural law,” and the “pursuit of happiness,” were all the rage with these philosophers, although the question of slavery was still far from settled for these purveyors of liberty. With the rise of Capitalism, there was a growing realization that realities of slavery and the ideas of liberty were causing friction and discord among the European intelligentsia. Logic, reason and common sense failed to dislodge the institution of slavery from the institution of Christianity (which tacitly supported it) and the newly – formed investor class that was beginning to amass astounding, if risky profits from the slave trade.  It took centuries and the bloody American Civil War to help settle the question for good. The definition of Liberty, always as metaphysical and philosophical term of “freedom” which never existence in palpable  physical terms on Earth, was slowly transformed within the evolution of the Capitalistic system. Although slavery was abolished, with the idea that man could not have his labor sold without his consent or payment, what now “free” to rent his labor to another for a wage, instead. This bastardization of “liberty” is today’s “freedom” to libertarians and neoliberals, who have no problem in checking their avowed respect for “voluntary exchange” and “personal integrity” at the door, or change their meanings into a gross distortion, as long as it boosts profits.

Capitalism does not promote “liberty,” but in reality, produces a crypto-authoritarian state of enslavement, alienation, endless consumption, poverty, waste and war. Why do I say “crypto-authoritarian?” Because there is no “voluntary exchange” within Capitalism. There is only voluntary servitude. If one doesn’t “voluntarily” hand over one’s body, effort, mind and time to another, that person will not have a bed to sleep or food on their table. Yet Liberty is raised to religious heights, like an invisible Supreme Being that lives in the sky that has no shape or form other than that molded by inference, wishful thinking and ignorance born from the narratives of Capitalist propaganda. Nobody wants to live without a bed or food, because there is no life outside this  system, where only the hell and gnashing of teeth of  begging, destitution and death awaits. Quite an inescapable bubble we’ve managed to create for ourselves, and yet, the belief has solidified into a substance far heavier than Mount Everest: that this is the best of all possible worlds and that Capitalism is the best of all possible systems created by Man. Well, with half of the world’s population living on less than $2 a day, you couldn’t prove this to me.

2. The Individual and the Fear of the Group

Also known as God, the Übermensch or the Exceptional Man. Here as well Capitalism elevates the Individual into metaphysical terms as a perfect expression of humanity, the idealized being that conquers and subdues all in his path. Like the petulant, disgruntled John Galt, but this Individual does not exist, much like John Galt, does not exist, but is a story of the frustrated expression of enlightened self-interest. “Men of the mind” [2], as Ayn Rand would put it, whose genius and acumen creates the gifts of the Gods for the swarming masses of humanity.

Within the Capitalist  (and especially the Libertarian and anarcholibertarian) mythos, the Individual is granted an unassailable sovereignty that is unconcerned with anything that might dampen the fires of “enlightened” self – interest. This dimension of the Individual is meant to convey a political reality where the rights of the Individual is claimed to supersede the rights of the Group. When we speak of Fear of Equality we are in essence speaking about fear of the Group.  In Western Civilization, this fear has a deep philosophical undercurrent. The great Holy Trinity of Classical thought, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, were all disdainful and fearful of democracy and majority rule. They thought, and many others as well, thought that the common man was a bit too dense to allow social groups to act as a politically cohesive unit. [3]

The Individual, according the Capitalist religion, is endowed with “rights,” “free choice” and “responsibilities” that must not be thwarted by any outside agency, for the Individual must be given “personal liberty,” free from the restraints of the leeches of society.  Individual must be granted total sovereignty over their body and more importantly, over the ability to form networks, agreements and relationships. This Individual seems to have no real connection or relationships with other Individuals, and seems to exist in and as an island unto themselves, unless one enters into a “voluntary association.”  Yet, even though this Individual must enter systems of social and financial relationships which forms a “Group” that he naturally fears and despises, according to the Capitalist mythos, the Individual must be allowed the liberty to dictate what kind of relationship he wants to enter with another, as long as it does not involve stealing or forcibly harming another’s body or property.

What is interesting here is that the current system steals and harms the largest portion of human beings (Individuals as a Group) on Earth. Of course the Individual lives in fear over that the Group will some day, out of sheer, overwhelming numbers and vengeance, take his property and wealth away. Ayn Rand went so far to even deny that society (as a Group) did not exist, since it is made up by Individuals, and did not enjoy any moral claims to have rights – “rights”  could only be enjoyed by the Individual. The grafting of a moral component to the capitalist concern of self – interest was a cheap trick (who isn’t for morality?), but many have bought it. And few have questioned how is it that Capitalism (composed of one group of Individuals), as a “moral” system, holds no responsibility for the incredibly damaging effects it produces for this planet and the larger group of Individuals living on it.  “Rights,” “liberty” and “morality” are imaginary, metaphysical concepts used to justify the trap that exists as the jaws of a nightmare from which there is no escape.

Only the fear of the Group is real.

NEXT: The Survival of the Fittest

NOTES

[1] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) was immensely influential in developing the “natural law” idea that would be borrowed and expanded upon by such thinkers as Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jaques Rousseau and Locke. Among his ideas was that is permissible for a being to enter into voluntary servitude in exchange for a stable society. Compare this with the modern libertarianism of  Robert Nozick’s notorious statement from his book, “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” (1974):  “The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery.  I believe that it would.” While Libertarians wonder why they aren’t taken more seriously, this is precisely the reality we all find ourselves in.

[2] Ayn Rand’s hero, John Galt, who is meant to be a Capitalist “hero” in Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” is a rather poor example of the flower of Capitalism Rand’s followers make him out to be, because the question must be asked; what self – respecting Capitalist worth his salt goes on strike against… his customers?

In a lengthy speech that drags on for dozens of pages, Galt crows, ““All the men who have vanished, the men you hated, yet dreaded to lose, it is I who have taken them away from you. Do not attempt to find us. We do not choose to be found. Do not cry that it is our duty to serve you. We do not recognize such duty. Do not cry that you need us. We do not consider need a claim. Do not cry that you own us. You don’t. Do not beg us to return. We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.”

[3] Aristotle:  “A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.” and “Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.” Plato was just as scornful: “Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.” According to research by I. F. Stone in his book, The Trial of Socrates, Socrates was put to death because of his teaching of anti-democratic views to his pupils in Athens.

 

2011/01/31 – When Democracy is a Pain in the Ass

Part of the fascination for me about the Middle East situation with Tunisia and Egypt revolves around the political reality of the United States as it plays against the philosophical rhetoric Americans and their government believes they stand for. And what they stand for is Liberty, Freedom, and most of all, Democracy. And yet, here we are; America, the Champion of Democracy caught out backing the Bad Guys who are nothing more than autocratic strongmen, whom out of sheer necessity, have to be supported by the U.S. since these strongmen provide the “stability” in the Middle East that is beneficial to corporate concerns. Thus billions of American dollars have been sent to these countries to keep Muslim political forces at bay in the Arab World. America does not want “democracy” in the repressive societies in the Middle East out of fear that democracy would allow those evil Islamist Mooslims to get elected and fuck things up for everybody.

Be under no illusion that democracy is a much bigger pain in the ass for dishonest, capitalistic countries, who can’t afford to be capitalistic and democratic at the same time – which should prove that capitalism is in essence, anti-democratic. That is why a repressive regime’s military and secret police can be given 3 billion dollars from a democratic nation to be used against people in another nation striving for democracy. And we see, once again, it is all about money.