February 25, 2010

“Parasites Upon Patriotism”

Filed under: Corporatism, Global War On Terror, Globalization, Neo-feudalism — Russ @ 3:36 am


This sounds familiar:

The curious weakness of popular opposition to imperialism, the numerous inconsistencies and outright broken promises of liberal statesmen, frequently ascribed to opportunism or outright bribery, have other and deeper causes. Half consciously and hardly articulately, these men shared with the people the conviction that the national body itself was so deeply split in to classes, that class struggle was so universal a characteristic of modern political life, that the very cohesion of the nation was jeopardized. Expansion again appeared as a lifesaver, if and insofar as it could provide a common interest for the nation as a whole, and it is mainly for this reason that imperialists were allowed to become “parasites upon patriotism.” (Hobson)

That’s from Arendt’s analysis of the delusions of imperialism and infinite growth in The Origins of Totalitarianism. These delusions are invoked and followed today as ardently as they were in the 19th century Europe she writes about, and today with even greater urgency and desperation.
As bottlenecked socially and economically as Europe was in the 1800s, they still had physical frontiers to push, and fossil fuel production was only beginning its great surge. As nasty as it was for the non-European peoples, Europe could in theory have conserved itself. The resources and energy were there. Yet even with such favorable conditions, in the end they destroyed themselves with their greed and selfishness and lust for violence.
Today the entire world is in the same bottleneck. The colonized peoples are mostly still colonized, either still by the West (now through such administrators of domination as multinational corporations or globalist enforcers like the IMF) or by their own oligarchies, as in China. Meanwhile the colonization process is entering its final stage as it returns to the Western countries themselves. The illusionary “middle classes” of the cheap oil-soaked mid 20th century are now being liquidated. Serfdom is planned for all of us.
As we move beyond the oil age and return to something closer to history’s normal level of energy consumption and economic output, so the power elites plan to restore something similar to feudal socioeconomic and political organization. While it’s too early to know whether they’ll try to reinstate formal serfdom (and whether Russia, having been the last to free its serfs, or America, even more belated in freeing its slaves, will be the first to reshackle peasants to the land), or just stick with the de facto indenture already being imposed on more and more millions of the economically dispossessed. But either way, we’re on a medieval mission.
The new foreign imperialism, redolent of what Arendt described, is branded and sold as the Global War on Terror, and is in fact a private corporate war being waged with hijacked public resources for private profit. But just like Arendt wrote of the 19th century adventure, its political significance is to redirect the generalized tension, fear, and dread the age invokes in a people who deep down senses its social and economic doom.
If terrorism didn’t exist, the government would have to invent it. (The 9/11 truthers believe it did.) There’s no good objective correlative between the magnitude of the fear and the reality of the threat, which is really more of a nuisance than a real danger. Instead, terrorism has provided a focal point for every kind of generalized dread, from the very real economic tension which has built for years, to forbidden social topics like the racial tensions which are bound to grow as vast numbers of middle class whites are economically wiped out.
The monstrous silhouettes of big corporations, militarized police forces, and sinister technology loom on a darkening horizon. No one wants to look at them, and they don’t want to be seen as they are. And of course their age old game has been to play off the non-rich, non-entitled, liquidated peoples against one another. The anti-terrorist hysteria and its concomitant war represent a way to objectify and misdirect fear and hate. It also provides ways to launder the hate against the usual suspects of right-wing demonology, but who are really the enemies of corporatism – activists, unions, environmentalists and others. And the anti-Muslim obsessive focus of the terror war provides a way to launder racial strife without looking overtly racist. (See here for an MSM clinic in how the word “terrorist” is only to be used for non-whites.)
But it wouldn’t be enough for corporatism to provide only a strictly negative outlet for the great dread. The people need something to exalt them, even if it’s the feverish euphoria of a cokehead. That’s where the growth ideology comes in. No matter how bad things get in reality, a new surge of “growth”, magically powered by the innovative magic of bankers and engineers, will suddenly descend from on high to save us. In the end consumer prosperity and the American Dream shall triumph if everyone simply stays in his proper place and obeys the leadership. The dream of infinite growth and mythical prosperity is the real religion of America. Its cults have been debt consumerism, the dotcom bubble (even arch-corporatist Greenspan called it “irrational exuberance”), and the mortgage hysteria.
The Permanent War, and the hundreds of bases splayed around the earth, in some perverse way seem a guarantor of this expansionist magic. We physically girdle the globe; this is existential proof of our permanent economic dominance. And if America is still the one and only superpower, which our alleged ability to wage war at will everywhere, forever, seems to prove every day, then surely our economic dominance will rain its bounty down upon the people any day now.
And so American patriotism, once a real ideal spurring us to sacrifice today’s comfort and today’s easy dreams toward the real prosperity which could be achieved tomorrow if and only if we worked hard for it, the patriotism which amended pride with wisdom, the patriotism which rose to FDR’s call to renounce “fear itself, nameless, unreasoning terror”, has been reduced to the prostitute of this same fear itself, and the pimp of this same unreasoning terror. It has been reduced from pride and wisdom to loutish arrogance and defiant stupidity. It has been reduced from the spirit of work and sacrifice to the petty sentiments of greed and hate. It’s gone from the calls of Washington and Lincoln, which have echoed down through history, to the snivellings of George Bush telling people the answer to 9/11 was to “go shopping”, and Barack Obama telling the children of America they should look to Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon as heroes to emulate. It’s gone from an ideal to a scam.
That’s patriotism in the hands of the parasites of patriotism, the corporatist slavers and purveyors of war. That’s the lie they tell to try to steal this too, another of the finest elements of our heritage. They’ll never stop until everything has been engulfed and destroyed forever.
It’s no accident that our times have seen the rise of the imperial presidency, as practice and today as ideology. There’s a historical precedent for this as well, from the old prelude to totalitarianism:

The contemptuous indifference of imperialist politicians to domestic issues was marked everywhere, however, and especially in England…[I]mperialism was the chief cause of the degeneration of the two-party system into the Front Bench system, which led to a “diminution of the power of opposition” in Parliament and to a growth of “power of the cabinet as against the House of Commons.” (Hobson) Of course this was also carried through as a policy beyond the strife of parties and particular interests, and by men who claimed to speak for the nation as a whole…The cry for unity resembled exactly the battle cries which had always led peoples to war; and yet, nobody detected in the universal and permanent instrument of unity the germ of universal and permanent war.

It’s the president who wages the imperial war, just as he presides over globalization, the Bailout, and the government contract state as well. These are all things which only call for Congressional rubber-stamping at most, and often not even that (thus the Obama adminstration’s moves to achieve complete executive independence of the legislature in pushing forward with the Bailout). Meanwhile the contempt for domestic issues speaks for itself when every issue is openly regarded as nothing but another opportunity to fleece the people.
In the corporate state there’s no real function for the legislature or the courts. These will be more or less maintained in a cosmetic role, as window dressing for inverted totalitarianism, for however long that model of tyranny is sustainable.
And so the president, as the chief parasite upon patriotism, will preside over the permanent war and the Bailout state for as long as he can.
His success will depend upon his ability to keep false patriotism pumped up and prevent the resurgence of the true patriotism which would seek to take back the country.


  1. Francis Bacon said –

    “The great end of life is not knowledge but action.”

    Herbert Spencer said the same thing about education.

    I wonder how many PhD’s were on the Mayflower?

    Of course I live in a very small world, like a lot of people, but I keep wondering “who’s going to act?” What actions can I take besides blogging?

    When you go to Wal-mart midday & midweek there’s an awful lot of extremely fat, mostly useless assholes. What are they going to do besides eat a lot?

    Then I wonder about the 6-8 million unemployed. Can anyone act to get them all to DC & surround the capital & white house & shut them down for a few days? You can’t arrest 6-8 million people. They won’t all fit in the DC jail. And how many bloggers are there? How can we get organized to act? Who can organize us?

    I keep thinking about people’s situations. Seems like one’s situation highly impacts their actions. Like those who came over on the Mayflower. Most people today, even the unemployed have food, clothing, shelter & a TV. So what does it take to get them to act?

    I’m a retired mechanical engineer so I’m looking at our dire situation from a practical, problem solving perspective. Like everybody else, with no clear cut actions to take.

    Of course the Bible says in Psalm 37:11 & Matthew 5:5 that the meek shall inherit the earth. Maybe that’s the answer. That seems a long way off.

    Comment by chas — February 25, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

  2. In the words of the late Frank Zappa, “The meek shall inherit nothing.”

    This has been proven throughout the ages more times than one can calculate. I’m afraid that, not only will the revolution (by the people) not be televised, but as things stand presently, it will not even occur.

    Comment by Edwardo — February 25, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  3. […] how nobody in the power structure or media takes it seriously except as political theater. (In yesterday’s post I spoke of how under imperial corporatism domestic issues are treated frivolously except as […]

    Pingback by The Law Fought The Law and the Law Lost « Volatility — February 26, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  4. I share your frustration, Chas. But I agree with Edwardo that the meek shall inherit nothing in this world.

    That doesn’t mean we have the capacity for any kind of frontal attack on the system. The real revolution, if such a thing is possible (and I agree with both of you, things looks grim for it), will be gradual and through subversion and preparation rather than direct fighting.

    The only thing which consistently heartens me is that the system is unsustainable. The only way it can keep itself from collapsing is by building itself ever higher, ever more top-heavy. It really is the Tower of Babel. It can’t stand, and it will fall.

    I don’t assume that what will follow will just be “the good” of its own accord. Certianly what follows may also turn out bad.

    But at least there will be an opportunity for people to take their lives in their hands and try to create something better, which opportunity doesn’t broadly exist at present.

    So I’d say “revolution” means there will be an opportunity.

    Whether or not the people seize it will be up to them.

    Comment by Russ — February 26, 2010 @ 3:36 am

  5. Some very interesting thoughts but far too much hyperbole to be taken seriously. Serfdom and unemployment are different. Taking back the government doesn’t mean canonizing the next demagogue braying about job creation. It means returning to limited government and honest money and elimination of monopoly in both the industrial and financial sectors. The only thing you get from grandiose government is grandiose war. What is all this BS about Roosevelt, who provoked a war with Japan when it was clear that all his statist coups were doomed to failure? Read some Hayek and Mises and put Hannah to rest. Her thoughtful hysteria only stirs up trouble. Be careful what you wish for.

    Comment by jake chase — February 28, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  6. It’s funny that you say I’m not sufficiently rigorous in my use of “serfdom” in the same comment where you recommend Hayek, he of the Orwellian invocation of that term. Corporations always want to reduce us all to serfdom. Governments may or may not, depending upon whether or not the people can keep them under control.

    I do in fact think that the plan is to deploy vast numbers of people as agricultural wage slaves once fossil fuel agriculture becomes untenable. That the farms will be owned by the banks instead of the state, and administered by the likes of ADM instead of the Communist Party, wouldn’t make them any less Stalinist. So “serfdom” is not too far off in that sense.

    More figuratively, when the middle class jobs of a region are wiped out and replaced with Walmart “greeter” jobs, I think that’s the real “road to serfdom.” That’s what we have across the whole front.

    I do agree that some of these posts probably have some hyperbole mixed in with what I hope are some interesting ideas. My expectation is that with practice the expression will become more taut, more concentrated. That’s what I’m trying to do.

    At any rate, I’m going to do less of trying to take an eagle’s eye view of the big picture. I want to try to look at things more from the bottom up – how the picture looks from there, look around at what people are doing already, and discuss what else can be done.

    Comment by Russ — February 28, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

    • Start with the obvious. Roughly one hundred years of dishonest money and collectivist gangster government. It started in earnest with Woodrow Wilson, a Morgan stooge. It continued with Roosevelt, a Rockefeller stooge. The Fed was a Morgan-Rockefeller compromise, WWI was a Morgan engineered bailout of the Rothschild loans to Europe. From the profits of war profiteering you got the beginnings of industrial monopoly, General Motors in particular. Henry Ford understood all this, tried to stop the war single handledly, got himself branded an antisemite for his trouble.

      Finance blew up the bubble of the twenties. When it crashed, Andrew Mellon advocated liquidation, purging the system of its rottenness. Instead, you got incompetent monetary policies followed by New Deal fascism, cartels, gangster unionism, world war. The income tax, originally billed as a progressive scheme to soak the rich, became a millstone around the working man, who now pays just about all the taxes that are collected. The Revenue Code is five thousand pages long, and four thousand nine hundred eighty pages support corporate and plutocrat tax avoidance, that is all they are for. After WWII government dedicated itself to ‘full employment’. Of course, you can’t simultaneously have full employment and gangster unions. The temporary solution was he permanent war economy. Pay higher wages, tax them through the government, distribute them to the military industrial complex. Vietnam was the beginning of the end; 2008 was the end of the end. After fifty years of growth economics we have twenty-five percent unemployment and urban squalor and suburban degeneracy and rural idiocy. We have an amoral elite which has sold out our country to Chinese Communists! We have intelligent people recommending Jacobin solutions.

      Take another look at Atlas Shrugged. She saw it all coming and she was dead right.

      Comment by jake chase — March 1, 2010 @ 10:07 am

      • That’s a good summation. It’s certainly as likely to be the real reason for America’s WWI involvement as any other rationale (since the one they teach in “school” makes no sense whatsoever).

        When John Reed got back from Europe in 1915 or so and some establishment jingoes asked him what the war’s all about, he simply replied “Profits”.

        They weren’t pleased.

        Comment by Russ — March 1, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: