By Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner
“America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you’ve lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn’t belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don’t care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve.”
–Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine
Does my profanity offend? If so, accept my sincere apologies for having the audacity to use a vulgar expletive in reference to the malignant force that is raping the Earth and murdering its sentient inhabitants. Then take my ‘deeply sincere’ pleas for forgiveness, and with the aid of an unlubricated rod of significant diameter, ram them firmly up the collective asses of the plutocratic bags of shit who comprise the ruling elite in the United States.
Capitalism, capitalism. How do I loath thee? Let me count the ways….
1. Few would argue with the conclusion that greed, selfishness, ruthlessness, and egocentrism are qualities that all of us humans possess, to varying degrees of course. Equally compelling is the argument that nearly all of us are capable of acting with kindness, compassion, justice, honesty, generosity, and empathy. Yet despite the sweeping epidemic of unnecessary suffering caused by torrential waves of avarice, self-centeredness, and brutality, our filthy moneyed elite, their well-compensated sycophants, and countless millions of deeply inculcated members of the working class defend the sacred cow of capitalism with the zeal of the Siccari. What a brilliant way to conduct human affairs and organize ourselves socioeconomically! Not only do we embrace the inevitability of our human frailties; we willfully and perpetually embrace a system that ensures that the worst elements of the human psyche will predominate AND which amply rewards those who act the most reprehensibly.
2. One of the idiocies advanced as a logical argument to justify the continued existence of the abomination of capitalism is that while it may be flawed, it is still better than any alternative. If capitalism is the best humanity can do, it’s time to cash in our chips and leave Earth to our non-human animal counter-parts. They may not have opposable thumbs and formidably sized frontal lobes, but at least they don’t engage in the systematic destruction of themselves and the rest of the planet. However, before we act too hastily and engage in mass Seppuku, perhaps it would make more sense to implement a mass reorganization of our socioeconomic structure, basing the new paradigm on far more egalitarian, sustainable, democratic, just, and rational principles. Or we could just keep destroying each other and the fucking planet….
3. Capitalismo has raped Central and South America nearly to death. Unlike the “Land of the Free,” most of those horribly victimized nations have a vibrant, thriving, and well-organized Left to stand in opposition to the scourge of humanity and the Earth. US-sponsored death squads, torture, disappearances, privatization, “free” trade, deregulation, union busting, evisceration of social programs, coups, and vilification of leaders with the audacity to defy the status quo of avarice on steroids have assailed our southern neighbors since we in the United States (the self-appointed champions of capitalism) began our wholesale exploitation, imperialism, and neoliberalism by “acquiring” half of Mexico. Let’s see now. Remind me again. How many invasions has that “dire threat” to humanity named Hugo Chavez launched? How much “collateral damage” has he inflicted?
4. Capitalism is an anachronism that long ago out-lived its usefulness (except to the morally rotten parasites comprising our de facto aristocracy) and has proven itself to be an abject failure as a means of human interaction and organization. It’s one step removed from feudalism, for Christ’s sake! (Oops! Sorry, I forgot about mercantilism—the transition to capitalism made such a difference). One of humanity’s strengths is our capacity to evolve. Given that, why in the hell do we stubbornly cling to a system that enables a fraction of a percent of the population to live in OBSCENE opulence while 35,000 of our fellow human beings die of starvation-related causes each day? Are the rest of us truly inane enough to believe that asinine myth that any of us has a REALISTIC chance of becoming the next Bill Gates, if we “just work hard enough.” Or that there is an ounce of moral virtue in pursuing the accumulation of excessive wealth?
5. Resting upon the “pillars” of greed, selfishness and hyper-competitiveness, capitalism is irrational and unstable. Crisis and resource wars are chronic and inevitable. How could we expect it to be otherwise? Unleashing some of the ugliest aspects of the human spirit and creating artificial shortages in a world of abundance (by allowing a select few to hoard most of the resources as “their property”), capitalism doesn’t exactly engender an environment of peace and brotherly love. While our filthy ruling plutocracy has allowed a degree of socialism to diminish their power to rape, pillage and plunder, they only did so to quell social unrest during times of serious instability (i.e. The New Deal). Meanwhile, reactionary elements in our “democracy” are consistently scheming to eliminate the use of public monies to actually benefit the public. Witness George Bush’s ongoing demands for an open purse to fund our insanely bloated military and the war crimes we are committing in Iraq. Compare that to his recent refusal to spend an additional $35 billion to provide health care for 3.9 million children. Bush and the moneyed interests for whom he is fronting are inflicting gaping, cankerous wounds upon humanity and the Earth. How much more obvious could it be? (And this administration isn’t an aberration; they are simply bold enough to reveal their agenda—that’s the scary part).
6. Thanks to our slightly adulterated yet plenty virulent infestation of capitalism, the United States is not the “Christian nation” it touts itself to be. While we certainly abide by the Golden Rule in the sense that “he who has the gold makes the rules,” there is little about the manner in which we conduct ourselves as a nation (particularly in terms of foreign policy) of which the person meeting the Biblical description of Jesus Christ would have approved. Let’s just run through a few highlights. We have killed millions of Iraqis via two invasions and barbaric economic sanctions (the sanctions alone killed over half a million children—they’re on your tab, Bill Clinton)—and these are people who NEVER attacked us nor posed a true threat to our “national security.” We arm and support Israel, the diseased enforcer of the mental illness known as Zionism. Ethnic cleansing. Now there’s a spiritually nourishing Christian pastime for you. We revere, idolize, and empower talented, “beautiful” people whose moral evolution came to a screeching halt at about age five. They are our CEOs, politicians, celebrities, athletes, billionaires, pundits, and Wall Streeters whose smug, hubristic “all-American” mugs, talking heads, and ‘surgically enhanced’ bodies are blasted into our homes 24/7 via Fox, CNN, ABC, and a host of other disseminators of the fetid garbage of infotainment. Sorry folks. Calvinism is about as close as our culture comes to the compassion and love modeled by Christ. And with John Calvin in the saddle, we fall significantly short of that mark. As his unwitting disciples, we are imbued with cynicism and self-hatred (we are, after all, “original sinners”), a sadistic desire to inflict ample doses of punishment for the smallest of transgressions (hence the US having the largest prison population in the world—comprised largely of non-violent drug offenders) and the notion that being rich means one has acquired God’s stamp of approval. (Thoughts of camels, needles, and kingdoms of heaven keep throwing me into a horrid state of cognitive dissonance in my desperate efforts to be a good little capitalist by embracing Part III of the Calvinist doctrine…..). Somehow I don’t think Christ had capitalism in mind when he preached the Sermon on the Mount…..
7. Let’s consider sustainability and consumerism for a moment, shall we? Two more of capitalism’s noxious, life-extinguishing qualities are its demand for infinite growth and its unavoidable “dilemma” of excess production. Problem number one is insoluble, but we can simply let our grandchildren worry about our insane insistence on maintaining a system demanding infinite resources from a finite world. As for excess production, that one is simple. We have the most advanced agitprop industry (Madison Avenue) and the most powerful delivery devices (the mainstream media) in the history of humanity churning out alluring appeals to consumers to buy what they don’t need, can’t really afford, and may never even use. Surplus schmurplus….
8. As an “added bonus” to the wounds it inflicts upon humanity as a collective, capitalism also causes serious character malformations in individuals. As infants and young children, human beings naturally believe themselves to be the center of the universe. In order to “succeed” (and sometimes just survive) in the rat race of capitalism, as we mature we begin viewing our narcissism as an attribute. Rather than shedding it, we nurture it with the tenderness of the most devoted of mothers. Looking out for number one, careerism, an obsession with winning, acquisitiveness, and putting money and appearances ahead of principles and people are considered to be virtues in this violently seething cesspool we euphemistically call a culture.
9. Perhaps most disturbing of all is the way in which capitalism’s relentless advocates have managed to bamboozle billions of people into equating it with democracy. Diabolical to its core, but sheer genius nonetheless. Concluding that capitalism and democracy are somehow synonymous is a bit like saying that Dick Cheney and the milk of human kindness relate to one another in even a very remote fashion. (Have you seen the myriad pictures of his evil grimaces floating around the Internet? Despicable creature that he is, he doesn’t even attempt to mask his malevolence). Capitalism is naturally hierarchal, authoritarian, and brutal. Corporations, the legal vehicles for the plutocracy to maximize their profits while minimizing liability, are structured as tyrannies. What the hell is democratic about dog eat dog, law of the jungle, and every man for himself? Besides, if we uber-capitalists here in the United States are truly “democratic,” and we “elected” a depraved idiot like W to what is ostensibly the most powerful position in the world, what does that say about us?
George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al aren’t anomalies or accidents. They are the naked face of savage capitalism evolved to its ultimate and inevitable state, which is embodied by corporatism, monopolism, cronyism, imperialism, and fuck-everyone-but-the-rich-ism.
Slice it, it dice it and spice it any way you prefer. A pile of shit is a pile of shit by any other name. Capitalism is just that from the standpoint of compassionate, moral, and intelligent human beings. One exceptionally virtuous person, Archbishop Don Helder Pessoa Camara, who was a progenitor of Liberation Theology and an unwavering champion of the poor, once remarked, “To examine capitalism is to indict it.”
Unfortunately, capitalism remains the 800 pound gorilla in the room. There is little doubt that its countless millions of fiercely loyal minions amongst the working class and poor will continue heeding their indoctrination, daring us to pry their copies of Atlas Shrugged “from their cold dead hands.” And we can count on the fact that the likes of the Mars heirs, Richard Mellon Scaife, and their ilk are not destined to experience profound spiritual awakenings anytime soon.
Yet there is hope. Capitalism exists in a state of perpetual crisis. Inequality is on the rise, globally and domestically. Our lords and masters are beginning to fall victim to their own hubris as they practice their predations more and more overtly. Palliatives can only delay the system’s inevitable collapse for so long. Sooner rather than later the deepening undercurrent of social unrest will burst the levees of injustice asunder.
Relative to what’s coming, the Great Depression was a mere warm-up. Yet in adversity there lies opportunity. Our US gulag, often referred to as the prison industrial complex, will serve as excellent quarters for the irredeemable scum stalking the corridors of power in DC, the Walton clan, Larry Ellison, and the rest of the parasites atop the capitalist pyramid.
Or perhaps things will take a more Jacobin turn and we won’t need to waste any more precious resources on these predatory sociopaths….
Fuck you, capitalism; fuck you…..
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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