By Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner
“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”
Striving with the unwavering dedication of true believers and slaves to the grind, those of us who exist within the geographic, social, cultural, economic, and political boundaries of the United States are collectively destroying the Earth.
With dutiful efforts, heavily sedated consciences, and sweet obliviousness to the depth of our depravity, we toil away at our chosen or assigned tasks. After all, predatory plutocrats like “Mitt” Romney would be impotent without his minions—the hundreds of millions of wage slaves exercising their “right to work” (for as small a wage as they desire) while obediently manning the bulwarks of a system so putrid that were it possible to feed it to a pig, our porcine friend would wretch his guts out.
Capitalism, as Malcolm X suggested, is in its twilight. Under this egregiously malevolent and brutal system of economic organization, we have “evolved” to a point where corruption is so pervasive, the divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” is so vast, and the imperial wars for resources are so frequent and destructive that as it is imploding, capitalism may take most of us with it.
Despite the fact that he mixed his metaphors a bit, Malcolm drew an astute conclusion. With the United States as its nexus, the complex array of components and dynamics known as capitalism sustains itself in much the same way as did Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the vampires of Slavic folklore.
Like the bloodthirsty undead of Transylvania, capitalism is essentially parasitic. Contrary to the inane mythology that anyone who dreams, comes up with a novel idea, follows Oprah “wisdom,” and works hard will eventually sport a net worth north of seven figures, there is very little true upward mobility in the United States. High regressive taxes, low progressive taxes, de facto monopolies, nepotism, cronyism, bribery, a legal system blind to economic crimes of the highest order, and a host of other factors ensure that the rich stay rich and that those in the working class have just enough to ensure their continued existence as hosts for their parasitic masters.
Most capitalists -those who rest comfortably at the apex of humanity’s pyramid of wealth and power AND reside in the penthouses of the Park Avenues of the world–do not engage in the activity which is the staple of existence for most of us. Capitalists do not work. They may engage in taxing activities for long hours, but even then they are not working as most of us understand the concept. Capitalists are not compelled to expend their labor to provide for a family or to survive. They simply administer their vast fiduciary empires. They have “fuck all of you” money and have the choice of hiring armies of highly competent individuals to manage their affairs. Don’t look for Richard Mellon Scaife, John Franklyn Mars, Henry Kravis or the rest of their nauseating ilk to start punching a time clock anytime soon. While us “house negroes” in the United States and the “field hands” in the horribly exploited developing nations on the periphery of the Empire scratch and claw in quiet desperation, our lords and masters feast upon the blood, sweat and tears of our labor.
Yet the US moneyed elite’s malignity doesn’t end there. In fact, their direct actions are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The greatest testament to their indefatigable efforts to maintain their immense wealth and power is the ridiculously effective hologram their media assets relentlessly project. Ponder for a moment the inanity of the holographic illusion burnished into our consciousness that portrays our wealthy elites as “mere citizens” of a constitutional republic that acts on the will of its people and characterizes our nation as mankind’s benefactor, selflessly and thanklessly spreading freedom and democracy. Three million slaughtered Vietnamese, millions butchered in South and Central America, over a million liquidated Iraqis, and countless others around the globe are thanking us from heaven as you read these words.
Culturally programmed from birth to reflexively participate in such idiocies as CNN’s Nancy Grace’s recent “call to arms” against those evil “ravers,” we become our own worst enemies and the principal allies of the privileged scum who hubristically strut about the corridors of power in DC and on Wall Street. Persecuting and prosecuting “ravers” is simply one of many examples of our grossly distorted value system. To ensure the perpetuation of a “just” and “safe’ society, we criminalize “dangerous” behaviors like drug abuse, thus increasing our world leading prison population of 2 million plus—many of whom are non-violent offenders. Meanwhile, members of our ruling elite get away with the same infinitely reprehensible acts for which the Nazi architects swung from the gallows. Electrocution for stealing a loaf of bread, victor’s justice, and the criminalization of poverty are the foundations of our legal system.
Yet the media’s inculcated working stiffs (some of whom apparently still think they report “news”) and cynical opportunistic careerists like Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck don’t get all the “credit” for crafting and maintaining the false consciousness that keeps a majority of us aiding and abetting our filthy capitalist “betters” in their abject crimes against humanity.
Intellectually nursed at the teat of lying whores, most of us spend our lives truly believing the asinine mythology about our nation. Awash in a perpetual stream of endorphins triggered by the constant mind fuck that we are exceptional, blessed, and saintly, we pursue “life, liberty and happiness” (Jefferson meant property when he penned the word happiness) with a child-like abandon as our capitalistic endeavors savagely rape the planet.
Despite their nearly endless glorification as the gold standard to which all humanity should aspire, our national heritage, government, society, and culture are rife with deep imperfections, meaning that the “frightening” reality is that the United States has no monopoly on virtue. In fact, intellectually tethered by manufactured ignorance, imbued with a pathological sense of hubris, exhibiting knee-jerk denial in the face of our flaws and wrong-doings, and, in exchange for our service the Empire, insulated from much of the misery our nation inflicts upon the world, we stand with both feet firmly planted on the bottom rung of humanity.
Yet before we dismiss ourselves as miscreant aberrations who inherited a proud tradition and besmirched it, consider a brief perusal of a few strands of our cultural DNA that coalesced to make us the collectively despicable lot we are today:
The “New World” was settled by significant numbers of religious fanatics who subscribed to the principles of Calvinism, which included the exultation of the wealthy, a belief in humanity’s inherent wickedness, and a sadistic desire to severely punish those who had “transgressed.” Hence our worship of monetary success and our maleficent Prison Industrial Complex.
Once the Ulster-Scotts arrived in the “New World”, they ensured that our culture would be infused with heavy doses of mean-spiritedness, belligerence, and locust mentality. Following their lead, we did a “hell of a job” of eradicating most of the Native American population and stealing as much of Turtle Island as we could. To this day we continue to ravage the Earth like a swarm of locusts unleashed by a wrathful Jehovah.
Royalists settling in Virginia established the aristocracy that allegedly doesn’t exist in our “classless” society. As an added bonus, they “graced” us with the plantation system that proliferated like noxious weeds throughout southern states. Chattel slavery, the backbone of the economy fostered by Virginia’s “Cavaliers,” represents one of the most shameful elements of our history and obliterates the notion that America is an exceptional nation.
Sadly, we didn’t even live up to our hype coming out of the starting gate. While many of our deeply revered Founding Fathers were rather enlightened individuals for the times in which they lived, the government they forged was ultimately of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. While the monstrosity of industrial capitalism had yet to be birthed, remember that most of those who drafted our Constitution were affluent individuals primarily interested in grabbing the power the American Revolution had wrested from England. This white land-owning patriarchy only represented about 13% of the population. If anything, that percentage has declined precipitously throughout our history. How else does one explain a president who is hated by the vast majority of Americans yet remains immune from impeachment or a “do-nothing” Democratic Congress which is ignoring our mandate for them to end the brutal war crimes in Iraq?
Certainly we have compelling reasons for blindly supporting and participating in the depravities of consumerism, militarism, neocolonialism, speciesism, Zionism, and a host of other diseased “isms” we inflict upon the world. However, the fact that we have been severely hobbled by our ancestral roots, by capitalism’s exploitation of our tendencies to act on our greed and selfishness, and by deeply insidious psychological conditioning does not alleviate us of our share of the responsibility.
Revisiting the vampire metaphor, like the immortal undead of lore, we US Americans are spiritually vacuous. Ignoring our spiritual needs to invest nearly all of our time in the narcissistic, hollow pursuits our inculcation demands, at the collective level we contribute to capitalism’s vampiric feast on the Earth and its sentient inhabitants, and at the individual level we drain the life force from nearly all with whom we come in contact in a desperate attempt to fill our inner void.
Yet there is hope.
Despite the nearly overwhelming odds against it, increasing numbers of US Americans are seeking and finding the truth, refusing the system’s myriad tantalizing bribes, engaging in introspection, feeling a sense of moral outrage, acting with a sense of justice and compassion, abandoning what passes for thinking in the mainstream, and rejecting the notion that the disease of capitalism is incurable because it is natural (and even admirable) to consistently act on our greed and selfishness.
It is only a matter of time before decent human beings who are no longer willing to silence their consciences drive a stake through the heart of the vampiric moral abomination known as capitalism.
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com
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