Religion and money, the way to complete power – or not? By Siv O’Neall

By Siv O’Neall
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
axisoflogic.com
March 1, 2009

Religion and money have always been the sacred pillars of American civilization, ever since the time when it was a British colony, ever since the Puritans in New England branded the philosophy of the new country as a god-fearing and materialistic new world. Thus it was and thus it still is. Today’s merciless invasions and bombings of various foreign countries is simply a continuation of the century-old U.S. expansionist strategy that has from the very beginning been the trade mark of the self-righteous and the most powerful country in the New World.

Expansionism is part of their religion

Long before Hollywood, television and Disney World surfaced on the horizon of the entertainment-hungry masses, the worship of money and the mostly innocent belief that the one and only God created the world in seven days were the solid corner stones of their society. From there came the convenient belief that the colonists and later the Unites States government had the moral right to decimate the native Americans, to wipe out their culture and to take over their healthy lands in exchange for barren desert land where their souls were stifled, even in those whose bodies survived.

The endless ‘Westering’ was later followed by cruel wars of conquest and the moral rights of the governments seemed never to be questioned by the people. After the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, which added vast new territories west of the Mississippi in what is now the enormous center of the country, the appetite for new lands was only whetted for further forays in the surrounding areas. The remaining areas of what is today the United States of America were added in various wars during the course of the 19th century, mainly the Mexican-American war and later the Spanish-American war. The U.S. governments grabbed huge new territories from Mexico and from the Spanish conquistadores to add to their own country as if it were their god-given right to kill and rob and plunder.

Greed, religion and patriotism

Human beings have always looked for approval from their fellowmen. We all need to feel that we belong somewhere, to some group or community. Religion and wealth both serve the purpose of making us feel accepted and, at the same time, making us escape from the barrenness and the drudgery of our everyday existence. There is hardly any escape more powerful than religion, but in the United States it is also a way of gaining a high standing in our communities

On the other hand, crass profiteering serves both as a goal in itself and as a way of getting accepted in society. It’s the sure path to power. There is hardly any country in the world where greed and religion have combined in such perfect harmony as in the United States of America.

‘Greed is good’ has become the national anthem. God rewards those who work hard and thus it is a mark of honor to be among the wealthy few who are chosen to govern the communities and the nation. It is the old Puritan way of seeing wealth as the proof that God is with you. The arms manufacturers and the corporate chieftains are the Elect who will be saved on the day of the Rapture and we, the poor sinners, are doomed to a life in hell.

If it had not been for the worship of money which underlies all other values in the United States of America, it would have been impossible for Wall Street to act with such total impunity in their shameless scheme to con the U.S. citizens out of their savings and modest wealth.

Add to this poisonous brew of intolerant, fundamentalist religion and the puritan worship of money, the unrestricted faith in the country’s superiority over all other countries, that is their unquestioning patriotism, their second religion, the die-hard belief that their country can do no wrong, and you get to where the country is today.

Deregulation and the silencing of the opposition

The superficiality of the U.S. citizens in accepting a man like George W. Bush as the President of the country seems perfectly unbelievable to most people outside the U.S. We know now how this was brought about, however, and it was not achieved from the superficial image of Bush as a man you’d like to have a beer with, the man with the friendly smirk, the popular appeal. No, it was much more carefully planned. And the sine qua non was to get a harmless president ‘elected’, that is get him parachuted into the White House so speedily that people wouldn’t have time to react. We know how the neo-conservatives were all maneuvering to grab total power ever since the 1980s. The two essential preconditions for getting their scheme to succeed were the complete submission of the media and the buying up of the Congress via the lobbies. They succeeded in both enterprises beyond belief.

The deregulation movement got started under Ronald Reagan who instigated laws in favor of Big Business, which made it possible for this psychopathic set of neocons to scheme their way to power. This continuous trend in economic policies towards the Milton Friedmanesque [1] free market as the gospel for ‘progress’ killed off all the humanitarian laws that had been instituted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the New Deal after the Great Depression; now we are regressing towards tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation of the savings and loan industry. Opening the floodgates for increased media consolidation and the war on Labor were also some of the major features pointing towards the radical take-over of the wealthy elite during the Reagan presidency. These deregulating trends were followed up faithfully by the succeeding administrations. This very much includes Bill Clinton who signed the horrendous NAFTA agreement declaring that “NAFTA means jobs, American jobs, and good-paying American jobs.” (It is also pure nonsense that Reagan should be in any way credited with bringing down the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War, but that is the subject for another essay.)

The neocon gospel

This more or less underground neocon set of power-hungry lunatics was determined to achieve complete domination over all aspects of the United States, have total command over the three branches of government and, finally, most likely install a police state where elections and a government would not be needed any more. Democracy had become an empty word and unfettered capitalism was going to rule the world. The multinationals with their financial center in the United States were going to have complete economic control over the world and they managed very well with the major Asian economies during the Asian financial crisis, beginning in 1997. This severe crisis that threatened to bring about a global systemic financial meltdown was enhanced or, as some claim, even brought about by the “fast-track capitalism” methods of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. [2]

And what about the working people and the middle class who were going to see their comfortable living conditions disappear? Don’t worry, said the neocons. They won’t know what happened until it’s too late. All the money goes to the clique that runs the corporations and the little people will be left with their religion. Drive up the hysteria and the coming of Armageddon to the boiling point and the fundamentalists will be so convinced that they are the ones who will be saved on the Day of Judgment they won’t even worry about their money and their good lives trickling away. They are the ones who will go to Heaven, they and the good men and women in the government who believe, the way they themselves do, that God is with them, the people who pray for the country, for victory in the morally right wars and for all those who are convinced that the United States will always be the unrivaled leader of the world.

An important part of the neocon gospel consisted of depriving the poor of valid education and cutting down on entitlements that could serve to create more livable conditions for the poor and the middle class. Starving the beast was their motto. By the use of relentless propaganda and making sure they are kept in profound ignorance of the greed and corruption that are the true leaders of the country, the poor people who are the principal victims of this ‘disaster capitalism’ [3] are still the blind believers in this absurd system of government. There is no way you can make them believe that democracy is dead and that nobody in Washington cares a whit for their being totally left behind. [4]

What about the rest of the world? The neocons say ‘We’ll buy them up’. We’ll get so much influence over the Middle East, India, China, Russia that nobody will have enough power to fight us. We’ll hit them so fast they won’t even have the time to put their pants on. The nukes the other countries have are firecrackers next to ours. If one country gets unruly, we’ll take out its nukes in one big blow. Their arsenals are antiquated or they have just one or two tiny bombs for show. Africa and Latin America are powerless and if they ever go against the system we have set up, we will show them who has the muscles. Muscles, spelled B-O-M-B-S.

Has anything changed?

Now, fortunately, this infantile attitude to anything the government does as being unquestionably right, has of late been watered down. The missteps and the disasters have become so numerous and so glaring that even an intellectually challenged and half-blind American might begin to see through the lies and the fear-and-theft tactics of their criminal leaders. The country has gradually been brought to the edge of disaster over the past eight years of misrule, and the financial global meltdown which is now progressing might well change the world so drastically that we can’t even guess at what is lying ahead.

However, the neocons have not given up on their free-for-all-to-see fight for global power. They are all set on destroying Barack Obama and the Democratic party and finally getting the complete power they were so close to achieving under the misrule of Bush/Cheney, the project they had insanely been working on for almost thirty years. [5] It might seem as if the Republicans wouldn’t really have to destroy the Democrats, since they are all so indebted to Big Money that they could easily melt into one party, but the neocons want more than that. They are aiming at dictatorial power without any form of intrusion from the few humanitarian-minded Democrats who are still left in the House and the Senate.

One thing is certain. The raving lunatics will be back. Nothing can stand in their way, not even self-destruction.

Notes:

[1] See Siv O’Neall: ‘The Big Con Game’, among multiple other sources on Milton Friedman, the father of the Chicago School of economics and the Free Market power-for-the-rich ideology. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/the-big-con-game-by-siv-oneall/

[2] Source:IMF’s Role in the Asian Financial Crisis’ by Walden Bello

[3] Term used by Naomi Klein in her latest book ‘The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism’

[4] See for excellent background on Middle America: ‘Deer Hunting With Jesus’ by Joe Bageant

[5] PNAC – the Project for the New American Century See also Wikipedia

© Copyright 2009 by AxisofLogic.com


Siv O’Neall is an Axis of Logic columnist, based in France. She can be reached at siv@axisoflogic.com

Read the Biography and Additional Articles by Axis Columnist, Siv O’Neall.

see

The Big Con Game, By Siv O’Neall

A Blessing in Disguise – Economic Freefall By Jon Ronnquist

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

9 thoughts on “Religion and money, the way to complete power – or not? By Siv O’Neall

  1. Pingback: The Rachel Maddow Show: Apocalypse Now? « Dandelion Salad

  2. Well that sums up a whole bunch of my problem with the USA, having come of age in the age of raygun — Too young to remember any celebration of intellectual thought, social awareness & creativity, but old enough to see the maniacs march headlong into another false-flag endless illegal war overseas, while the population at home was pacified by consumerism run-amok.

    There’s been a film done based on Thomas Frank’s book “What’s the matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (and why they vote against their own best interest, and how they took apart the social progress of the 1960’s with this giant backlash via televangelists in the service of right-wing greed-based Reaganites)

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtD8S5SnViQ)

    It is an enormous conundrum, the patriotism for amerigun militarism after the faux pas of Vietnam defies any logic (and still they enlist).

    There is an obsession with fire-arms in the USA, so-called ‘patriots’ relish the romance of Daniel Boone & frontier cowboy types, and believe they hang onto their guns to fight the government and it’s bunker-busters, when in fact their just obsessed with guns and killing things. It’s a big reason people are ultra-right.

    Combine that with ‘Manifest Destiny’ in which the western expansion was supposedly preordained by a Christian god, and you have a nation of gun-wielding religious arrogance, pouring west like locusts to greedily gather gold from under the feet of the Native Americans. A strange culture indeed, not at all an enlightened population to live among (to say the least).

    It’s not the first time whole nations have been lead down paths of ignorance, fear-based religious indoctrination, and nationalistic imperialism at the expense of the native population and its treasure.

    Perhaps in the past such imperialistic believers were based in an ethnic commonality, and lacking that in the USA, they’ve glommed onto the next best mentality for controlling nationalistic cults: Religious terror rewarded with the Vegas-style fantasy of wealth.

    Convince them of some side-cult of Christianity from Revelations (which apparently had nothing to do with Christ’s words), and that they get the carrot of the rapture if they believe while the rest of us get the stick of incineration for being sinners.

    The culture was indeed settled by witch-hunting religious groups of various stripes (not all of them violent imperialist ‘patriots’ like these hateful Limbaugh-loving evangelicals or the ‘conservative’ caricatures on FOX), but the cultures from whence they arrived seem to have since evolved from 18th century notions of ‘god and country’.

    Perhaps the destruction of the last European colonialists in two world wars tempered Europeans’ taste for imperialism (and their capacity to afford it), while we still see victory as affirmation of our greatness, hence our marching around the globe for the subsequent 60 years seeking to relive that ‘valor’ while quashing any political movement that could threaten our cherished greed-based organization of governance.

    But we can’t forget the motives for mesmerizing and gerrymandering and vote-rigging the heartland into hypnotized soldiers of the apocalypse: The Military Industrial Cash cow. These are the people who complain so bitterly about this ‘stimulous’ bill, yet spent three-times that amount on the pointless waste of the Iraq war, waving their flags all the while.

    The scary thing is not what the Americans have done to their own economy with this ‘greed is god’ indoctrination, it’s the danger their vast military and bombs pose to the rest of the world.

    If past performance is any promise of future returns, they’ll be more wars, and the Democrats are no different in this regard.

    • Thanks, Natureboy.

      The Christian religion has been perverted by these nationalistic, war-mongering, “greed is good” mentality people. All go against what Jesus taught.

      • I’m not one to quote Biblicisms, but for you, dear, anything:

        What would Jesus say?

        On War:
        “Seek Peace and ensue it.” (Peter 1:3)
        “Have peace with one another.” (Romans 9:50)
        “As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18 Phillips translation)
        “On earth peace, good will towards men.” (Luke 2:14)

        On Greed:
        “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed”. (Luke 12:15).
        “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”. (Luke 12:15)
        “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

        It would appear that Jesus did not have in mind the moral trainwreck of vast flocks following perfumed televangelist shysters of the Neo-Christian ‘Right’ and their sinister alliance with the spooky zionist Neocons.

        Either way, neither group should have had anything to do with US foreign policy! (even if they had “a vision of the Cold War as a transcendent struggle between Good and Evil”).

    • Natureboy says Prosecute Now!

      We agree on everything here. I just want to add a thought to your comment about the young people enrolling in the military. It’s certainly not out of some feeling of so-called patriotism, a feeling that I see with much suspicion, it’s because there’s a lot of unemployment and it pays well to go to Iraq or wherever. And one more thing. I didn’t have much hope fro Obama as being the savior of the nation. I am pretty convinced that NOBODY can save the world from an economic meltdown. But I am surprised and pleased to see that he is much more for the people than I expected him to be. What bothers me about Obama is the way he’s trying to assure us all that the U.S. of A. is going to keep (or rather get back) its standing as the world leader. What we absolutely don’t need is an arrogant nation that claims to be better and wiser and stronger than the rest of us. We need A LOT of cooperation between countries, not one power that claims to do everything right and that acts as if it had the god-given right to lead the world – to what? to where we are today?

      For pete’s sake, President Obama and the rest of you, stand back and look at the world and see how many big and small countries there are out here, countries that have a far better vision (than the U.S.) for what it takes to run a good government with universal health care, excellent education, care for the environment, a good life for the average citizen and no need to use fear to hold the people together.

      • I agree the USA needs to withdraw behind its borders, and pay reparations to those its warcrimes have devastated.

        Indeed anyone who grew up on Rev. Wright can’t be all wrong. “America’s chickens are coming home…. to roost”. In a way I’m glad to watch him blow the economy from within, the USA deserves to get a taste of its medecine, for hiring and beleiving in trickle-up manifest-destiny in the first place. But Obombing Afghanistan, and spending what he’s proposing on the military, this is extremely dangerous, and unforgivable.

        I watched Sicko with a sick, sixth sense that all my indictments of the bible-belted believer-cult of conservative christians are correct, and that the addiction to militaristic, religious ‘conservative’ lock-step free-market belief is itself a crime against progress and an epic gift to their gipper-goppers and their various military-industrialist banksters. Anti-environmentalist warmongering self-defeating believers, deserving of the coming dustbowl in the heartland.

        A billion women in this world live on a dollar a day. And we and other military-industrial manufacturers so often supply weapons to those who would assure the song remains the same. These bailouts are a crime against humanity, hence the USA is inhumane. People here like it that way. Good their greed and ‘conservative’ arrogant ‘belief’ is dissolved into daylight.

        Fear and greed has never merged so well as in the minds of the minions of the amerigoon evangelicals.

        But I’m afraid I must insist that there is something askew in the minds of militaristic enlisted men (and women), it’s not just unemployment.

        When it comes to bonafide war-crimes, the body has a head. Either these job-seekers are decapitated by the brain-drain of basic training, or the military simply selects for those psychopaths who like to kill.

        I suspect the latter.

        • Natureboy – You say
          But I’m afraid I must insist that there is something askew in the minds of militaristic enlisted men (and women), it’s not just unemployment.

          When it comes to bonafide war-crimes, the body has a head. Either these job-seekers are decapitated by the brain-drain of basic training, or the military simply selects for those psychopaths who like to kill.

          I suspect the latter.

          Yes, I pretty much agree with that, but I definitely blame the people most who started this insane and illegal war (they were in no way reacting to a threat!) and who keep it going. Obama is carrying on the insanity, but we knew that from the way he ran his campaign. “The United States is going to get back to its role as a leader of the world.” Thank you we don’t need a world leader, but I believe I am repeating myself. We need cooperation, not aggression. And certainly not theft of other people’s resources. The arrogance is almost beyond belief. And they keep talking about morals and values!!!

  3. Religion and money are sure way to power in Philippines.
    The two most popular evangelists are in politics which is always dirty here.

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