“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all His laws.” – John Adams
There are three major dynamics that have contributed to the never-ending struggle to maintain democratic ideals in our government and in our economy. They are a government corrupted by money, a for-profit banking system and a for-profit military-industrial complex, in that order of significance. Democracy, a strong economy for all Americans and sustainability will never be permanently achieved until those dynamics are transformed.
(As an aside, for those who believe Ron Paul is their savior just as Barack Obama was many people’s savior back in 2008, Paul only wants to address one of these issues; the military-industrial complex. And, if we are honest, Paul’s isolationist perspective on foreign policies may be so extreme that they might destabilize much of the world and create even more fundamental issues that the United States would eventually have to face at greater cost to our nation. The United States is served well by a formidable military. Just not one corrupted by politics, profit and power. None of the other presidential candidates from either party want to address any of these dynamics because both political parties are in fact registered corporations that are beneficiaries of corporate personhood, fascism and the associated co-mingling of corporate money and power in politics. All of the other presidential candidates from both parties are simply bought and paid for stooges of the corporate state, which is why they marginalize and label as kooks people like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot and others who expose their fraud and corruption. If it’s up to the two corporate political parties, none of these dynamics will ever change. Fortunately, their control, like all manifestations of the ego, is an illusion.)
One of the most ingrained and widespread propagandized belief systems in the United States surrounds that of the military-industrial complex. Its propaganda permeates every aspect of our existence. I think one must consider that every conflict the United States has been in since World War II may have been primarily driven not by the desire to spread democracy or save people from tyranny but instead to perpetuate American corporate hegemony and subservience to the U.S. for-profit war state. That includes the conjured up boogeyman and fear mongering of the Cold War. Just like the boogeyman and fear mongering that terrorists present today. Is there really a difference?
Today the United States is spending trillions of dollars fighting an enemy that may be comprised of a few small groups of hooligans numbering in the hundreds or very low thousands. During the Cold War, the fear mongering was over an equally incompetent Soviet Union. At least then, propaganda could derive a real threat of substantial size. Today, it is essentially small gangs of stateless hooligans that we are destroying our economy and our democracy trying to stop.
Now, was the Soviet Union involved in state-driven terror and attempts at destabilization around the world? Sure they were. So was the United States. As Randolph Bourne so eloquently wrote ages ago, War is the Health of the State. So, yes there was a tit-for-tat going on between the United States and the Soviet Union. A tit-for-tat that was only possible in the United States through the use of crowd or mob creating propaganda created by the military-industrial complex. Was it actually necessary to create a U.S. war machine capable of blowing the world up countless times over? To overproduce weapons systems at a staggering rate that left the U.S. mothballing recently produced military systems in vast graveyards and systems depots simply because they weren’t needed while we continued to overproduce even more and more systems while we were mothballing current military technology? State-directed overproduction that is really no different than state-directed overproduction we saw in the communist Soviet Union or communist China or Nazi Germany. All while that overproduction and overspending has left less and less money for investment in democracy, infrastructure, the non-military economy and our people? And, to continue with this insanity for decade after decade even after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Get real. The propaganda of the war state is all consuming and countless Americans are completely brainwashed as we highlighted in the last post on crowds. The for-profit military-industrial complex creates a crowd mentality by appealing to the most base and unreasoned animal fears and instincts of the human mind. Effectively by using fear and terror as a mob-creating and controlling tool. And, then creating an image of the military-industrial complex as a savior serving democracy and human kind.
But as damning as all of this is, none of it would be possible without the even more destructive effects of a private for-profit banking system controlled by a handful of mobsters. A private for-profit banking system denies countless tens of millions of Americans access to their democratic economic rights and access to society’s capital. This dynamic limits economic opportunity and creates artificial unemployment. And, that is the ability through which the war state is able to find an endless supply of recruits for a volunteer military. Typically the most poverty-stricken Americans have one method of achieving economic opportunity. That is through recruitment into the war state or service in our military. Now, this isn’t any type of conspiracy. It’s simply a matter of how unregulated economic interests of greed, corruption and misplaced power find a way to harmoniously work together for their own personal benefit at the expense of society, our economy, human development and democracy. As Teddy Roosevelt told us one hundred years ago, unregulated capitalism destroys democracy and democratic economics.
A timeless truth is that rich men usually start wars and poor men fight them. That was the only reason why World War I happened and it was a driving factor in the halls of a massively corrupt feudal caste system in Europe that also contributed substantially to World War II. It’s no surprise a similar feudal caste system is now in place within the United States. If we had a public banking system out of reach of politicians that primarily served democracy and human development, economic opportunity would be abundant. The war state could never fill its quotas of a volunteer military. Never. Especially not in times of illegitimate wars that endanger our military service people for often dubious reasons that include profit and power. Let alone find the funding to overproduce weapons systems into the hundreds of billions and even trillions of dollars as they do today.; all while record Americans live in poverty with no meaningful economic opportunity or hope of a better life.
The state of mind of fear mongering and propaganda fuels the profit engine of a for-profit military-industrial complex. Even if it exists through unintended consequences of a for-profit military-industrial complex, the war state, its propaganda and fear mongering are very real. And the paranoid policies of the war state creates enemies where none existed. Its belligerence creates resistance that eventually becomes a reality. In other words, its policies create enemies and a self-fulfilling need for even more wasteful war state expenditures that have destroyed our economy. (While there was most certainly rampant and systemic corruption in the Soviet Union, the largest profit motive for the Cold War arms race most likely lied within the United States.)
One of the links in a December post highlights how for-profit military contractors are lobbying for the passage of congressional bills that would strip American citizens of their constitutional rights and move us one step closer to the end of democracy and a complete fear-based society. We saw the same dynamic in Nazi Germany, the British Empire and other examples of unbridled and unregulated power and corruption. Whether this is intentional or simply the endless stupidity of those who serve the state as machines rather than thinking men as Thoreau told us, it really doesn’t matter. The end result is the same. A loss of democracy, self-rule and economic self-determination.
There isn’t anything really new in the Vanity Fair article in this post except for the interspersed comments of George Kennan; a remorseful architect of America’s fascist state. But, what is profoundly new is that someone in the mainstream media is giving this topic substantial print space. Vanity Fair is a widely-read, highly influential magazine.
One must remember the war machine is simply one facet of the corporate or fascist state. Not only does the corporate state involve the thousands of for-profit security and military contractors but it transcends most every industry of the corporate state. The only way to keep this perverted system of economics and globalization going is through greater and greater control as more and more resist its cruelties and immoralities. For more than half a century we have seen the U.S. corporate state exerting its control over the rest of the world. This is accomplished not only through military hegemony but also through non-military corporations and the endless pillaging we see them involved in throughout the world. Setting up factories in corrupt countries where, with the small pittance of a local bribe or a corrupt state seeking power, legitimacy and permanence, slave wages, unsafe work environments, long work hours and endless pollution are possible. This economic dynamic is based on imperialism and a fraudulent attempt to subvert the rules of law meant to protect societies from unsafe working conditions, slave wages, predatory business practices and environmental safety amongst other democratic rights our society has fought for. Rights that Republicans now argue are choking off the competitiveness of our economy. This dynamic presents massive profit for not only corporations, but also the pigmen who finance it, the investor class (generally elites) who mint massive returns through the cumulative efforts of economic predation and the political whores who squeal all the way to the bank by passing endless red tape and rules that allow it.
As the system starts to unwind, it’s no surprise the status quo is trying to tighten the noose not only on the rest of the world but in more recent times, we see that same type of control exerted on the rest of the world is now exerted on our own citizens. Control that is lobbied for by corporations. Now, citizens in the United States are targets of the same control that the war state imposed on the rest of the world. But, now we see it in the police and security state imposed on American citizens. This isn’t exactly rocket science. We have been writing of this dynamic for years. Illegitimacy can only maintain itself by exerting greater and greater control as reasoned and unreasoned dissent rises against it.
Vanity Fair writes about a culture where the ends justifies the means. A nation of men and not of laws. Two of our long term themes on here. Kennan is quoted by Vanity Fair as stating, “We must have courage and self-confidence to cling to our own methods and conceptions of human society. After all, the greatest danger that can befall us in coping with this problem of Soviet Communism is that we shall allow ourselves to become like those with whom we are coping.” Now in my typical sardonic and often snarky fashion, I often refer to the United States as the Soviet Union on here. Or the Soviet United States or other similar jabs. But in actuality, the United States shares a lot in common with the former Soviet Union; economically, militarily, a centralized state bureaucracy driven by paranoia, subversion of any written law and individual rights, lack of economic determinism as well as a few other dynamics. While statism may be different in each situation, there is a rhyme to it that is similar in every occurrence whether it is the British Empire, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or statism practiced in these here United States. I suspect if I wrote a detailed post on the parallels between the Soviet Union and the United States today, many people would be shocked at the commonalities. Shocked that their belief systems are so deluded by a false reality. Obviously, this is a topic we will continue to talk about in the future.
Don’t believe this economic or military system is cast in stone or throw up your hands that it is too late to save our nation as a remorseful Kennan pens. The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Literally. The collapse was happening for years in advance just as the United State’s war machine is collapsing right before our eyes today yet few fail to see this dynamic because they think with their eyes.
Many in the political class in the United States likes to believe that their hero, Ronald Reagan, outspent the Soviet military into submission and ultimately collapse. We wrote on here many years ago what caused the Soviet collapse. It had nothing to do with Ronald Reagan. The only thing Ronald Reagan did was outspend Barack Obama by 5:1 in increasing the size of our national debt and taking the war state to a new level of authority in our nation by throwing money at any and every project the for-profit military-industrial complex could dream up. Ronald Reagan was a horrible president if one values democracy and the rule of law over the whims of man.
The Soviet Union’s demise was forecast two decades before its collapse by Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik. The Soviet Union’s collapse came within the same decade as his prediction but was off by a handful of years. At the time of his prediction, every major bureaucracy in the west, including the military-industrial complex, think tanks and politician in the United States laughed it off. While Amalrik’s work is hard to find, especially transcribed into English, I have read his work. Amalrik wrote of the real reasons why the Soviet Union would collapse from within. The United States didn’t need to overspend on military and defense to defeat the boogeyman threat of the Soviet Union. It just needed to sit back and wait for its many contradictions to defeat themselves. The Soviet Union collapsed from within not because of Ronald Reagan or the United States war machine’s propaganda in the role it played. Just as the United States is collapsing from within today. But that message didn’t serve the profit motives of the military-industrial complex.
As we wrote back in 2007 as I recall, the real events that led up to the Soviet collapse were far different than the propaganda fed Americans. I am not going to rehash that post but in the relative final period of the Soviet state, what ended up being a final blow was a currency that wasn’t convertible. (Similar to China’s today.) Now, for new readers, we have been writing for just as long of a coming global economic bust and that the form of trade settlement we see today is likely in its final phases along with it. That the current trade settlement system based on floating exchange rates had lasted thirty to forty years and historically this was typical before global currency crises would arise. How accurate that has come to be with currencies around the world on fire? Don’t worry. This dynamic is just starting for many nations. And many more will come. When we wrote that, there was no talk of any currency issues anywhere except the dollar going to zero, usually followed by remarks that China’s currency or Europe’s currency were honest money or safe havens. Hahaha. RRRRRRight.
If you combine these topics into the complexities that arise because of them, you could very well expect every nation will more than likely be faced with a trade-related crisis at some point as the global economic and financial system collapses. We don’t know exactly what that will be. I could speculate but being overly specific at this point is really not possible. There are too many future events and moving parts for anyone to do anything but make some educated guesses. But, my point is if trade-related settlements are likely to be changing, the United State’s ability to fund the war state will collapse under the same dynamics as the Soviet Union’s collapse. That is, through some dynamic as this system unwinds, the dollar will eventually become less “convertible” per se. That could be from a lack of demand for dollars as the world economy collapses and cannot afford dollars to fund U.S. hegemony. That could be point to point trade settlement we speculated as a replacement for this system. (And by the way, is now being rolled out by a few nations. Another outcome we nailed in advance.) Or it could be any other of many credible dynamics. And, if this happens, the collapse of the U.S.’s military-industrial complex global hegemony will literally be an event rather than a process. It will happen “over night”. Not necessarily in a day but in a very short period of time.
Kennan’s frustrations and fears that we are too far gone to save our country were written during the exact cycle that our country could very well be saved and our democracy restored through events that are uncontrollable by the status quo. Just as happened in the Soviet Union. It’s not atypical that often trends change just as people throw up their hands and give in to the status quo. The contradictions that exist within the United States today are clearly unsustainable.
(By the way, Marc Faber appears to finally understand what we have written about since starting this blog and he is calling for a global economic bust, a global financial bust, a collapse in the investor class and a collapse in the derivatives markets. Thank you very much. We have been writing this since before anyone I am aware of in the financial industry. The more one understands about the nuances of a complex system, the less one needs to think with their eyes and can instead rely on mathematical analysis to determine the real state of that system.)
Actually, this long blathering post was going to be my first in 2012. But, as I thought about it, I wanted to lay some of the context of this post with the post on crowd or mob behavior. Because the war state is clearly driven by fear mongering and an enormous propaganda machine that encourages the most base of humanity’s instinctive responses in the crowd that believes in it. Between military spending, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which overseas our military nuclear arsenal and the associated costs of hegemony that are hidden in places like the State Department, the National Security Agency, the CIA and other hidden costs, the United States spends more than twice the rest of the world on its military. That dynamic has contributed massively to the destruction of our economy. Any time anyone talks about real defense cuts, the war state’s chief toadies, the bought and paid for politicians, start banging the marginalization drum of fear and terror that such talk is un-American, communist, jeopardizes our security and other equally ridiculous forms of control. This drum beat clearly is meant to apply to the base human instinct of fear and terror that so many manipulators use to control the crowd and all of its irrationality. Clearly, a reasoned, intelligent, fact-based discussion about this topic would yield a very different perspective. A first among that perspective is that there is only so much money that can be in our economy at any given time without some type of catastrophic consequences. The more that is spent on guns means less that is available for butter. The United States is crumbling under massive poverty while we continue to brandish the largest and most fearsome military the world has ever seen. Why does a peace-loving nation comprised of 4% of the world’s population need a military that spends twice as much as the rest of the world combined while our citizens cannot feed their children or afford basic medical care?
That country high on a hill that Ronald Reagan propagandized about doesn’t exist. It could. It exists in the mind of many Americans including myself who strive for higher ideals as a society. But within Washington politics what exists is a reality much more somber. A national security state driven by fascism and corruption. A reality created by people like Ronald Reagan and other politicians in a government that serves the state, power and monied special interests rather than democracy, economic determinism and the rule of law. Since when did we as a nation outsource our freedoms to servant politicians in lieu of the rule of law and reason? Unless we see some type of miracle awakening by politicians and an associated transformational change before the system uncontrollably heads towards reset mode, those who think with their eyes and have faith in the whims of man over the rule of law, will learn what that faith hath created. A new world will eventually reveal itself right before their eyes. A world that started to reveal itself starting in the economic catastrophe of the late 1980s, the mid 1990s bond crisis, the 2000 collapse and the 2008 melt down of the entire global economic system. A world many never dreamed existed but their belief in endless propaganda by self-interested power and greed helped create.
Corporate personhood must be repealed with a constitutional amendment. The co-mingling of corporate power and endless distortions of private for-profit money must be removed from politics and all government. Democracy, economic liberty, working markets, the rule of law and self-rule must be restored. Reason and its rule of law must be restored as the foundational primacy in our society rather than the corporate profits and political bribery that instead creates a government ruled by the whims of man. Unstable men deluded by power, at that. We can either do that proactively or we can do it after the impact is potentially so devastating that it will be forced upon us with no other option.
It’s coming. It’s coming for the same internal contradictions that accurately allowed Andrei Amalrik to predict the demise of the Soviet Union while the most “qualified” experts of the status quo throughout the United States laughed at such an event.
The human mind has only two intents in everything it does. The intent to control and the search for truth. That the United States national security state, an institution of the human ego, exerts greater and greater control both within and outside of its borders is the best leading indicator of its ultimate demise. Ultimately, dissent, both reasoned and unreasoned, against the illusory belief in its ability to control requires it to exert greater and greater authority (control) to keep the illusion alive.
Remember, as I wrote on here before, this is a cycle when we can expect institutions of the ego to fail. How accurate that statement has become. Institutions of the ego, or of man if one wishes to use that term, are based on the illusion of control. Every institution of the ego ever conceived ultimately failed because it was nothing more than an illusion of control. Truth always and ultimately is what will be revealed in some manner. That is what we see happening around the entire world today. The failing of countless institutions of the ego. Money, banking, governments, companies, financial derivatives, nuclear power plants, political parties, tsunami break walls, economies, Wall Street, corporate personhood, “free” trade, “free” markets, genetically-modified foods, tinkering with DNA and artificial life without understanding of the forces involved, lobbying, religious fanaticism, the military-industrial complex; these are all illusory institutions of control created by the human ego. As a result, they are until they aren’t. Truth will always find a way. It can never be defeated by control. The unintended consequences and impacts when that illusion of control are lost often involve opening Pandora’s Box as we have remarked before.
------->>>>>>> Politicians are too egomaniacal and self-absorbed with the blinding need for power sought to ameliorate their own ego’s demons to even begin to realize they almost never have any idea what they are doing and as a result how much worse they are capable of making it.
Without transformation, the United States military-industrial complex continues heading down the same fateful path as the Soviet Union for all of the same fundamental reasons. Ronald Reagan didn’t win the Cold War. In a great bout of irony, he was just one of many men who contributed to the defeat of the rule of law in favor of special interests and therefore contributed to the United States following a similar path that led to the demise of the Soviet Union. History is indeed a weapon. In this case of the belief that Reagan and the military-industrial complex defeated the Soviet Union, history is clearly a weapon of the national security state.
Vanity Fair’s article - One Nation, Under Arms.
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all of the lessons of history” -- Aldous Huxley