The Real News Video Series: Can Capitalism And Democracy Coexist? (Hint. The Answer Is No.)
I want to make a few quick comments about my last post before diving into this one. Russia’s economy is imploding. Their financial system is in massive crisis, the ruble is in crisis against the dollar and the fall in the value of oil is going to have a massively profound effect on their economy. Bloomberg remarked on Friday that capital controls may be just around the corner. Using gold as a form of trade settlement is a form of currency control. There are many reasons why I put up that last post. I noted on here in past posts that the U.S. empire is far more powerful than anyone who is reasonably uninformed could ever imagine. That is nearly everyone in the world today because humanity is kept ignorant to how American empire actually operates. Russia is at a crisis point. It is backed into a corner and will likely be forced into doing something drastic. The only question I have is if Putin’s government is in control. If it is, then we may see an abrupt currency market action of some sort. If he is simply a puppet for Russia’s oligarchs, he will likely be sacked because his government is costing them dearly. I don’t know which situation actually exists and neither does anyone else outside of those circles. This is clearly the most important dynamic unfolding in the world today. It’s no irony that the mainstream media is not talking about it. What happens next could play a pivotal role in the global economy. Now onto this post.
It has been some months since I have been over to The Real News, one of, if not my favorite news outlets. I very highly recommend it. That includes supporting it financially if one is capable of doing so. A couple of weeks ago I stopped by and saw an excellent interview re capitalism and democracy with Professor Sheldon Wolin conducted by Chris Hedges. The interview is an eight part session lasting about three hours. If you want to watch the interview, the multi-part links are below. If you would like the cliff notes with a few of my usual snarky interjections, you may wish to read on.
Let me start by stating that this is the type of true intellectual discourse that has been literally obliterated by dumbed-down state and corporate actors. I’m not just talking about the United States either. If you are still on that bender, you really need to wake up from your drunken stupor. Given politicians have gained an all-consuming control over humanity, any mainstream discourse has seen true intellectualism replaced with varying degrees of primitive political debate and ignorance. (As Plato noted, and Meno’s Paradox confirms, debate is a form of ignorance. It appeals to base, primitive constructs like emotions, bias and other sources of ego-driven ignorance. Debate is a method of control used by our political and corporate class-based masters to divide humanity.)
Mind you, the level of education has nothing to do with the degree of ignorance in this world. Some of the most ignorant people in our society and across the world are its most successful as measured by control mechanisms like state education, profit, money, corporate and business success or whatnot. All metrics that the corporate state equates to intelligence. (How would our world be different if social values defined the ability to be kind and to love one another as primary measures of intelligence?) Wolin essentially confirms what is apparent to anyone with their eyes open re the education remarks. That is, the university system has become the anti-intellectual depot for brainwashing corporate-wage-slaves to do corporate capitalism’s cruel and inhumane bidding.
The modern corporate state has mortally wounded the original intent of university, which was where liberal arts were taught and studied in a manner to arm citizens with the tools necessary to be active, aware, creative, free-thinking, participatory citizens of liberal democracy. It is no coincidence that liberal arts are mocked by the class of ignorance that serves class-based corporate capitalism. Liberal arts are a threat to the wide-spread ignorance that is required to rule the corporate state. That’s because our masters are buffoons and clowns. An inverted system of control today has destroyed meritorious democracy and meritorious society. That system can only survive by teaching people what to think aka propaganda, rather than how to think aka the liberal arts. That is behind the dumbing-down of modern corporate capitalist society. Corporations, politicians, the military-industrial complex and standing armies want people who can follow orders without questioning the ignorance, cruelty and exploitation of the diktats they are given. It’s no coincidence that military leaders are so prized in corporate Amerika while the liberals arts are mocked as useless degrees.
This is a lengthy, multi-part interview that may take some time to get through but it is very worthwhile. Wolin has over 90 years of wisdom and experiences to share with listeners. He characterizes corporate capitalism and the corporate state as an inverted system of totalitarianism that subjugates and enslaves humanity to a comparatively small economic aristocracy propped up by the state. This, comparative to a traditional totalitarian system that mobilizes the masses. Say, Nazi Germany that turned the masses into useful idiots. I can see his point but there certainly are elements of traditional totalitarianism in our nation. First is the glorification of war and anti-democratic institutions like standing armies where the masses are mobilized to defend the interests of the totalitarian corporate aristocracy. Another example is the mobilization of the masses of college graduates and their contrived corporate “careers” are one of those traditional totalitarian elements that is a very well-accepted form of propaganda that gives the corporate state its ability to perpetuate evil. Something noted by Soviet dissident Andre Amalrik as well. That is, the professional class exists to perpetuate state violence and so will never be a source of revolution of ideas or democratic changes. (By the way, as noted in prior posts, I suspect the concept of a career, which is really nothing more than a contrivance for most professions, many be winding down. Forever.)
Wolin remarks that “Corporate capitalism is an elitist system that is as elitist as any aristocratic system ever invented.”. Once again, apparent and obvious to anyone who uses their brain for anything other than a resting place for the latest hat fashions. Not that they aren’t productive elements we can learn from capitalism to create a democratic economic system. Or possibly even remove the anti-democratic elements of capitalism in order to “fix” parts of this system worth keeping. He also notes that the aristocracy and class that controls capitalism was well known to the early founders of this nation who supported it. He specifically mentions Alexander Hamilton, the primary political force responsible for bringing the tyranny of European corporate capitalism to our shores after we had fought the Revolutionary War to rid ourselves of the king’s class-based private banks and corporations. And he remarks how Jefferson, Paine and others knew of the damage corporations and private banks would do. (Jeffersonian democracy, a vision shared by Paine, Madison and others, is going to make a major comeback not just in North America but around the world as the Hamiltonian aristocracy fails.) Wolin goes so far as to say that capitalism has destroyed democracy. Another obvious reality to those driven by discovery and truth. There certainly is some contradiction in that remark. Capitalism is an invention of the state. It is not some alien life form. The state killed democracy through its embrace of corporate capitalism for the benefit of state actors. That destruction started within a generation of our nation’s founding. And, he remarks that Republicans started subversive efforts in the 1930s to immediately overturn any democratic gains when capitalism experienced a massive crisis that brought us the Great Depression. And that the Democratic Party joined the effort of subverting democracy by incorporating systems within their party to ensure democracy would never happen just a few decades later. Again, political parties are never going to save democracy. They killed it.
Wolin remarks that it is his perspective that we literally have no authentic democratic institutions left in our nation. And that he sees little hope for a restoration of democracy. And that episodic democracy, under which our nation currently operates, will never succeed. That the rigors of daily life surviving in this tyranny of corporate control are so overwhelming that people are too exhausted to participate. While the aristocracy can hire full-time actors to defeat democracy. (Ever wonder why you are dumbed-down to a culture that glorifies work? And why, even with the advent of massive new productivity and technology tools, you work magnitudes more than people living thousands of years ago? It’s certainly not that it is required for survival. And it can’t be because you love working for nonliving wages and no benefits.)
The ruling ideology of corporate capitalism and its diametrically-opposed value system to democracy is discussed. And how that corporate value system is based on exploitation, profit and the cult of the self. And how corporate capitalist values are counter to a system of democratic rule and thus seek to dominate democracy.
At some point Wolin essentially states that we, as a nation, have become drunk with the propagandized idea of superpower. That somehow projecting our military power around the world has deluded society into the U.S. being some form of global force for good when it is clearly just the opposite. It’s more than Orwellian in their discussion of how education is a tool of propaganda rather than discovery. He states that the public is unaware of itself and that state actors have no idea of the consequences of their own actions aka they are wildly ignorant to use my words. And how we ignorantly are pitted against each other and fragmented with political and corporate divisiveness and how that is a form of covert manipulation by the capitalist aristocracy meant to destroy the concept of the democratic public. That the concept of a public has been obliterated and now we see the profit-driven objective of grouping people around interests to control them. I would characterize this as primitive, fear-driven tribalism. Divide and conquer.
And he remarks that unfettered corporate capitalism is a revolutionary force. It certainly is. It is a major driver, if not the major driver, for the global revolution we are seeing today. People are revolting against the state and its creations of corporate control. While the mainstream political and social though keeps it taboo to talk about how anti-democratic corporate capitalism is, when the average person has a chance to form his own opinion, he or she clearly recognizes reality. The thumbs up and thumbs down ratings on this video series clearly shows the truth that resides in the suppressed lexicon of the average person exploited by this system. This could easily be the end of corporate capitalism as written on here ad nauseam.
I don’t want to give away the entire interview. Just enough to give interested parties a reason to watch. It’s actually quite interesting to see the many parallels with writings on here. The point is that truth is easily accessible to everyone if one can give up the ego’s many unconscious and subconscious intents of control and the associated belief systems that keep us enslaved to our own victimization. Waking up from that self-imposed ignorance is a long, arduous and never-ending process for most of us.
Now, I want to end my remarks with a few of my own comments about the interview. I respect both Sheldon and Chris but there is a consistent theme in this their dialogue. Sheldon is looking for political solutions and sees little to no prospects for change. This because the entire political system and all of our democratic institutions have been obliterated. It should be noted that Sheldon is a trained political professor. So, while he sees the mess quite presciently and clearly, like all of us, he has lived his life in the bubble of state power. It seems that he looks for state-based solutions derived through politics. Meh. There is a comment below one of the videos that defines the problem is democracy. This is a massive mythology that is perpetuated by the state and by the aristocracy that wants us to believe we somehow need both. Ask the Athenians. Democracy worked out for them for a few thousand years.
The problem is more along the lines that the modern corporate state has the technological tools and associated projection of modern power and associated physical, emotional and spiritual violence to subvert democracy for the benefit of a very small number of state actors, including politicians themselves. And to do so with more cunning than ever before possible by using human advances to their advantage. History has found an answer to this. It isn’t one I advocate but that doesn’t mean it might not repeat itself. The Athenians, the French and more than a few others in between, revolted and lopped off the heads off of the predatory ruling aristocracy and then proceeded to create democratic systems. The Athenians too were told by their aristocratic neighbors that direct democracy would fail because democracy places power into the hands of commoners whom they were told were too stupid to rule themselves. This myth is continuously perpetuated by class and hierarchy aka the aristocracy. Because otherwise, what benefit do the useless eaters of aristocracy provide humanity that allows them to rule over us? NOTHING. The world doesn't need politics or politicians or an aristocracy of class and hierarchy. And we don’t need a ruling elite to tell the rest of us how to lead our lives.
Politics is an institution of state control. Once you appreciate this, you can move beyond the old paradigm of control and seek true solutions. What the world needs is democracy and self-determined democratic economics. But democracy works most effectively when implemented locally like in the city state of Athens. It is a community construct. On a large scale, like the modern state, it becomes the tyranny of the majority. The answer is to replace the power of the state with community-driven, direct democracy. That doesn't mean giving the power of a president or congressional body to a local mayor or city council either. That would be absurd. To the contrary, it means direct, participatory democracy replaces the power of political institutions. You take responsibility for your own fate and that of your community. Doing so would remove the veil of ignorance that state liberalism has created in every aspect of our existence. It would stop the devolution of humanity that has been occurring over the last century of greater and greater state power grabs. I’ll write much more on this dynamic of the lifting of the veil of ignorance in future posts. But needless to say, I see a bleak future for the concept of the centralized state. Which is one reason why I have remarked many times over the last decade on here that this cycle could be coined the end of big.
Sheldon is correct in citing Jefferson and Paine that democracy must be forever vigilant. In other words, it is not episodic. But it can only be so at a local level. Of course, both Jefferson and Paine supported a very different America than we see today and they lost out to the aristocratic founders. If democracy is not local, any type of political structure on a large level, such as the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, India or any other modern state, only becomes a tool for violence. Because violence is the manifestation of control. And politics is an institution of the ego. And the ego’s primary intent is control. How does the ego achieve control? Through fear. Politicians, and other creations of the state, not only unconsciously create policies of fear (ignorance), but they themselves are slaves to their own unconscious and subconscious fear (ignorance). The "winners" in any large political structure simply subjugate and enslave the losers to their controlling political ideology. Winning and losing is a primitive ego-driven construct forcing people into competition for survival. Democrats win an election in the U.S. and the first thing they seek to do is subjugate Republicans, independents, the apolitcal, etc to their ideology and vice versa. There is no truth in politics. Only political solutions aka fear-based control. Big, centralized, all-powerful government is a failure and will always be a failure. Wolin cites this as the biggest issue of our time which is very consistent with themes on here. There is absolutely zero precedence for its effectiveness and there cannot be because it is a contradiction of ego and control without an effective solution.
This is why capitalism is so exceptional as a subconscious control mechanism. From the moment we are born into this world, we become acclimated and institutionalized to its fear-driven mechanisms. We simply accept their propaganda as normal. We accept our own victimization and exploitation. Effectively, we become blinded by our own institutionalization and the resultant fear-driven ignorance. And, mind you, no one born under the power of the state and its inventions, is beyond ignorance. We are all wildly ignorant. Oftentimes we even place our life in jeopardy to defend our own faith in that ego-created ignorance.
The Age of Enlightenment had it right. A central government with almost no power other than to loosely protect the masses when threatened. People are governed best when they govern themselves. Enlightenment principles recognized that I am best able to make decisions about my own life and that of my community. Umm… the Athenians also created this type of substructure in their democracy. The United States used to have this substructure to varying degrees. Control by a political bureaucrat in some far off land who is attempting to create political one-size-fits-all solutions, is an anathema of our own self-created victimization.
We have created this very moment by our own willful support of this system in every aspect of our being. There is absolutely no way humanity ever could have ended up with any other outcome. This is our fate. This is our moment. This is our time to rise to account and provide testament to the worthiness and dignity of all life. This system is finished. The system itself and its endless contradictions has guaranteed its own demise. The only question is what comes next. That is up to humanity to decide because politicians and corporations don’t have any answers. The entirety of the power they have grabbed from humanity was never based on merit or ability. Simply their pathological need for greater and greater control to ensure their own place at the table of capitalist and state exploitation, profit and gluttony.
Our karmic fate has created this moment for our own enlightenment. Where we are forced to confront the cesspool of belief systems we have created out of fear and either watch the world collapse under those belief systems or instead mindfully shatter those belief systems and, in their place, seek our higher power’s intent of discovery and truth. Whether that enlightenment comes of our own free will or whether we are forced into the light through personal, social and widespread human crisis, the end result will be the same. Our own karmic fate is forcing us to stand to account for our past self-created belief systems aka ignorance chosen in lieu of experiential light and truth.