Monday, November 22, 2010

Capitalism: The Silent Killer

"The streets and people of New York are devastated for the second time in a decade. This time, the culprits behind the wrecked lives and ruined livelihoods are not foreign extremists, but homegrown. And rather than receive appropriate retribution, the perpetrators receive billions of government dollars for their demolition job."

~Tom Engelhardt

Capitalism. A word that should be at least as well known as Communism or Socialism. Or terrorism for that matter. Yet a word that is strangley missing in most debates about or descriptions of U.S. government. The word is often replaced by sunny sounding proxies such as "freedom and democracy" or "liberty". One wonders about the taboo nature of this word in the imperial lexicon of corporate media. So let's break it down.

This is a system primarily fueled by the most base of base human nature; greed. Yet, this engine of exploitation and inequality is exhorted as instrinsically good and pitted against the intrinsically evil-by-association Socialism. We are thus being sold the idea that greed and selfishness and ranking priviledge by the amount of excess accumulated property is more noble, natural and godly than an egalitarian and selfless existance. What would Jesus do if faced with this assumption? As we are faced with it every day.

And it has been more in our face than usual these days as the system has collapsed in a massive tangle of crooked deals and unstaunched bleeding of outsourced jobs. All of this mess made possible by politicians on a legalized bribery binge pushing continued de-regulation of industries irrevocably driven to excess. Some very public dirty dealing was seen in the last few months as the Democratic congress and president attempted to tackle the most vital issue facing us; health care. We saw how crooked and gamed the legislative process is. The health insurance and pharm lobbies strangled the best option, single payer, in the crib then kneecapped even a weak public option. We saw our lives and well being quite literally given less priority than industry profit. It was there in all its naked, destructive glory, this god called Capitalism, the magical hand of the marketplace that decides whether we live or die.

It also decides where we live and the quality and conditions of our life. One of the sadder stories I have read recently is that of the children affected by the foreclosure tidal wave sweeping the country. This will not be a good holiday season for them, and neither may be future ones as the emotional scars of being uprooted remain for a long time.

So when you hear about the evils of Socialism and Communism or when you hear about the great goodness of freedom and liberty, remember the premature death, suffering and misery of the most dangerous and deadly "ism" out there: Capitalism.


Black Diaspora said...

If Rush Limbaugh, himself vile and evil, refers to socialism and liberalism as "vile" and "evil" then that characterization alone says that socialism and liberalism merit a scrutiny that's not usually accorded them.

If Rush is against socialism and liberalism then it must be a good thing.

This country has believed its own hype for so long (its unparalleled greatness), that it will not bring into question its system of governance and the economy that supports it.

Those things are beyond reproach.

Yet, the gap between the rich and the poor, as well as the middle class, continues to grow, and has done so at an amazing rate during the past 5 years--and at a time when the country's growth was in decline.

The pursuit of the American Dream has been so satisfying and fulfilling that we've become a nation of addicts--stoned, intoxicated, or high on some substance or another, legal or not so legal.

I fear for this country. It's brewing up a deadly mixture of fear, bigotry, and hatred, a concoction that's sure to kill any integrity, and goodness that might be left in its collective soul.

Ernesto said...

BD...we were at a similar place a century ago. Out of the sweatshops, mines and meat packing plants came a resistance that forced a change. This change resulted in a 40-hour work week, women and minority rights, and even a living wage that helped form a middle class.

For the past 30 years there has been class warfare from above to end all that. It has been a one way battle with globalization being the nuclear bomb in the arsenel of the ruling class. All our labor and environmental laws are trumped and the effort in Washington against us has been pretty much bipartisan. Old battles must be fought again, but the working class is so far going down without a struggle. And of course, power concedes nothing without a struggle. Maybe the drugs will wear off before it's too late.