Monday, December 22, 2008


SUPERSTRUCTURE. Leftwing thinking recognizes the economic structure of society, the actual basis which supports the judicial, religious, cultural and political edifice, as that which determines the level of social consciousness. The wealthy right wing have received not just wealth but the infrastructure that has allowed them to amass their wealth: banks, the Federal Reserve, the stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the legal system, federally-sponsored research, patents, tax supports, the military protection of foreign investments, and more. American taxpayers’ support of wealth accumulation. Because the right is busy trying to cover up its original sin- that of making money at the expense of all comers, if possible, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what they are talking about, and the consciousness of the population is confused. It is important for people to understand that when there is talk about morality, religion, politics, what they are really talking about, whether they realize it or not, is economics. The roots of American puritanism lie in the Protestant Reformation in Europe. The traditional Roman Catholic prohibition of any lending of money at interest as "usury," the monastic glorification of poverty as an ascetic ideal, and the Roman Catholic system of holidays as times when no work was to be done were all seen by the rising merchant class (whose heirs are the American upper middle class) as obstacles to financial development. True to form, rather than object to the real economic reasons for their revolt, they took what they considered the moral high ground, railing against "venal priests" and general licentiousness that was permitted by a forgiving church.
FREE WILL. The justification for their objections is closely tied to the idea of free will. Whereas the Catholics could sin and be forgiven, the Protestants, even if they were to be forgiven, must be punished anyhow because they have "made a choice". This is why we find politicians and others who have strayed welcomed back into the fold, but are also fired from their jobs. A number of Southern Baptist ministers believed Clinton should be forgiven, if he repented, but that he also should resign because he was no longer fit to hold office. All taint must be wiped clean for the sake of capitalism’s good reputation. If there is free will, you have a choice, and they made their choice, now they must pay for it. The idea of "choice" is a recurring theme among capitalists. It is seen as a blessing for those with tenacity, work ethic and determination. That is how one wins (gets rich). If you choose unwisely, poverty is the probable, and well deserved, option. This idea is closely tied to that of the "freeloader" who is too lazy to choose, and in turn this gives rise to the idea of a superior people (those who choose wisely) and an inferior people (those who choose unwisely, those who would rather have a good time than work hard for their rewards). The right bristles at charges of racism; they would welcome people of color who follow the puritannical agenda, but those with a different tradition, who are a vast majority, are seen as taking away the hard-earned good life of the right.
POSITIVISM. To butress their rather shaky ideology, the right plunges headlong into positive thinking. It is considered impolite to criticize, and even to tell the truth. To an American rightwinger, greatness is guaranteed if negativity is kept at bay. To tend, unflinchingly toward a goal, no matter what the reality is, is the secret of success. Capitalism has its belief system, and to contradict it in any way lands you in the enemy camp. Thus attitude and positive thinking are paramount. The wrong word and the market could fall. The right word, even if it is a lie, and the market could go up. A smart Republican never advocates 'drilling for oil'; he prefers 'exploring for energy.' He should never criticize the 'government,' which cleans our streets and pays our firemen; he should attack 'Washington,' with its ceaseless thirst for taxes and regulations. They refrain from using the word "outsourcing," because they will then be asked to defend or end the practice of allowing companies to ship American jobs overseas. The concept of framing links with that of agenda-setting: by consistently invoking a particular frame, the framing party may effectively control discussion and perception of the issue. The problem, of course, that the real world can interfere and throw a monkey wrench in the works. For idealism, as opposed to realism, to work everyone in the world would have to subscribe to it, and millions do not. The right sets about trying to get the world to adopt its world view, (to Christianize, as well as capitalize the world) and those who refuse are branded as the enemy. "They are hurting their own cause". Ultimately, positivism is an ideological strategy that tries to show the inferiority of marginalized groups (those who are not puritans, those who complain, dissent, or otherwise tell the truth) in order to justify their further exploitation. Positivists are not interested in the common good; they focus on the individual, (they are proudly mavericks) and not on class interest, which they see as slavery. The right is so adept at twisting what is obviously to their detriment into a bizarre plus for them, that Bill Kristol was able, with a straight face, say that "Obama won the election because Bush was protecting the country since 9/11 and we were winning in Iraq so the question of national security receded into the background, and voters were able to vote their unhappiness with the stock market crash. Without the surge we would have come out in defeat. No good deed goes unpunished." Since the capitalist right is unable to address criticism rationally, because it really does create poverty and wreaks havoc wherever it takes hold, it refuses to accept criticism, once again changing the subject ad hominem, accusing its critics of engaging in "class warfare", in not being patriotic (patriotism is equated with capitalism) and of the most grievious sin of all, not being positive and optimistic. They are terrified of exploring an issue to its ultimate consequences, and insist of working exclusively within their own established, safe parameters. Language takes on a particular importance, since "speaking truth to power" is considered rude and clownish. Only accepted words may be used, all others bring down opprobrium on the critic’s head. By bringing up irrelevancies and ignoring unpleasant truths, the capitalist right hopes to take the heat off its own destructive policies. Here we can see the reason why they rail against "eggheads" scientists and intellectuals who might discover the real functions behind the smokescreen of capitalism, and they hope to gather about them those who they condescendingly regard as "the common people", people who they have carefully nurtured in ignorance through a privatized, quasi religious educational system.
HANDOUTS. The right winger has been taught to work hard, and anyone who gets something for nothing is a deadbeat. He is incensed over "hand outs", which contradicts his sense of the work ethic. When the feds start to give you handouts that means that everyone else who works hard is supporting them. I don’t want to work so some drunk can get benefits and live off my taxes. Those who demand entitlements are whiny slackers. "We conservatives don't like programs that give entitlements with no reqirements on behalf of the recipient. We don't like paying for other peoples' lifestyles after we've indivually worked so hard to be able to afford our own lifestyles. While we're a people that value giving the needy a hand up, we would rather not give a hand-out. " (Sarah Palin). Curtail benefits for welfare mothers who have children out of wedlock. Budget tightening, however, only applies to government programs designed for people in need. After "we've indivually worked so hard to be able to afford our own lifestyles," the right feels justified in using worker’s taxes to pay for any and all private enterprise programs, from waging war for the benefit of war profiteers, to building an infrastructure for the benefit of corporations so they can pocket the profits, what has been called "welfare for the rich". The problem is not the "handouts", but who gets them. Government borrowing is supposed to "crowd out" private investment.
CHARITY. The right wing’s answer to social problems is charity. Rather than invest in social services, captalists recurr to their favorite ploy; that of voluntarily addressing social problems, as long as "the government" is not involved. Thus they urge the population to " Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed." As long as the taxes of the working population are used to buttress privatized capitalist enterprise, and not to solve social problems, the "good people" of capitalism will advocate working with the poor, preferrably through profitable churches, and inspiring them to better themselves, to be celibate and work hard for almost no pay. Institutions must be privatized and as soon as they are no longer profitable, they must be abandoned
LIBERALS. The right sees "liberals" as people who refuse to subscribe to their ideas of rugged individualism, and who advocate the dreaded collectivism. They immediately set about trying to demonize them. Since Jews have been in the forefront of the peace movement and other progressive movements, there is a heavy dose of anti-Semitism. The Jews, runs the narrative, tell the Blacks what to do, and they are trying to take over the country. (These ideas are seemingly confirmed with an Obama presidency and staffers such as Rohm Emmanuel. That Obama is the president means little, since the right is convinced he is a figurehead, and the Jews are secretly running things). At the same time liberals are wimps and shiftless. The right mocks them with "boo hoo-grow up!" They wont’t fight in a war, and they advocate surrender. But liberals are not a majority, the rightwing is. They try to usurp what is rightfully the rightwing’s –ownership of plain, ordinary (white and protestant) working Americans. They do their best to create a master narratives that makes Democrats, liberals, and "the media" into the cultural enemies of ordinary working people. When liberals get their way, these same wimps become a dangerous menace.
ELITISM. In this strategy, every little Democratic misstep is inflated into a cultural parable, while gaping holes in the Republican story are neatly sidestepped. The master narrative of Obama as an unqualified elitist is reinforced again and again, as it was with Palin lines like these: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities." "I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening. We prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco. Liberals are two-faced, pretend to be your friend while engaging in machinations behid your back. The right are straight-talkers.
MACHISMO. In contrast, the right offers a sanguine picture of individualistic macho men. When one looks at the actual men in office and the actual CEO’s one sees a bevy of fat, old, cranky men and women who have little in common with the glamorous idea of Hollywood action heroes. A macho could coceivably have some nobility, but the enemies of "liberal wimps" are so lacking in real courage that all we see is hostile, prejudiced, racist, nationalist (the nation is more important than humanity) destructive, backward looking, ignorant, arrogant, death-before-dishonor jingoist bullies. "It is irrelevant whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or not, they feel, "we" took the fight to him. Stop apologizing for America. We are the good guys and they are the bad guys." Kenneth W. Starr was uncompromising, disciplined and straight back-boned. Tommy Franks won 3 medals of valor and was made a four-star general of American and coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and won the order of the British Empire. Ignoring the US role in first attacking those countries, at a Republican convention he brought up old wounds. " To prevent 9/11 we should have dealt with 1979 Teheran, 1983 Beirut, 1991 incomplete mission in Iraq, 1993 with our wonderful Rangers dead in Mogadishu, Somalia, 1996 the World Trade Center 1996, 1998 the embassies in East Africa, 2000 the USS Cole." John McCain waxed rhapsodic; "We believe in a strong defence, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law. We believe in the values of families, neighbourhoods and communities. I liked to strut a little after I'd been roughed up to show the other guys I was tough enough to take it. I learned that no man can always stand alone. I got back up and fought again for our country and for the men I had the honour to serve with. Fight for what's right for our country, for the ideals and character of a free people. for our children's future, for justice and opportunity for all. Defend our country from its enemies. We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit." "Obama, complained Sarah Palin, is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory."
BORROWING. All wealth originates with production. At some point this trueism has seen the gradual merging of banking and industrial monopolies, leading to an imperialist economy. The availability of interest across nations allows for loans that produce "magic money" that appears out of nowhere, and is manifested merely as numbers on a computer, not tied to production. Extending long range credit allows the banks to control the economies of other countries, and additionaly their politics. The rationale is that borrowed funds (unlike the expenditure of tax revenues, which do come from the working population) will generate added disposable income, enhance the demand for the products of private industry, and make private investment more profitable, creating more jobs. The problem is that when something goes wrong the money is not really there, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. In a panic, when the capitalist has mopped up all the profits but cannot meet his responsibilities, he promises to reform the financial and regulatory systems, but because he is inextricably tied to free market principles, which according to him, offer the surest path to lasting prosperity, he is unable to do anything but repeat the same process over again and again. "The crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system. It is to fix the problems we face, make the reforms we need, and move forward with the free market principles that have delivered prosperity and hope to people all across the globe." (George Bush). On the contrary, this anarchy of production results in the contradiction between the social character of production and the private confiscation of production, and thus makes the recurring crises inevitable
OFF SUBJECT. One of the reactions of the right to criticism is to throw up a smoke screen and change the subject. If Obama attacks the costly and murderous war in Iraq, or the economic crash of Wall Street, they will immediately come back with the argument that he has support because he is a slick talker, and not because people have died or are jobless, and he has promised to do something about it. Obama is wrong in being against the war or supporting social programs- he is just smooth and shallow. Michelle is an angry black woman. If the left addresses racism, they argue that Blacks have it better here than in Africa, and they pretend to be victims because they want a free ride. Their answer to criticism is "get a job". Someone running for office on economic grounds has his/her patriotism questioned. Little is said by the right on the consequences of their agenda, the stock market crash, mismanagement by the fed, the devaluation of the dollar, the national debt, the high price of gasoline, the impossible college tuitions, the crumbling high schools, the thousands who die from lack of health care, the subprime loans and bankruptcies, dismantling social security, the media as a propaganda machine, the homeless, the high unemployment rate, reduced salaries and benefits, the 2 million in US prisons, torture, withdrawing from the war in the middle east, plans to invade new countries, the squandering of resources by the war profiteering pentagon, increasing taxes on the rich to pay for social services, or tax-payer-subsidized bail outs. If they deal with any of these at all, it is obliquely, changing the subject so that capitalism is never understood to be the cause.
LIES ABOUT SOCIALISM. What socialism actually consists of has been turned into one more bogey man to trump any argument by analogy, proceeding from the erroneous premise that two or more objects observed are necessarily the same. Consistent with the fantasy world they have constructed with polite words, the right insists that the socialist experiment has yielded devastating results. Soviet communism, they insist, starved millions, bankrupted an empire, and collapsed as decisively as the Berlin Wall. Cuba, once known for its vast fields of cane, is now forced to ration sugar. And while Iran sits atop giant oil reserves, its people cannot put enough gasoline in their cars. (It would take good old Yankee know how to get things going again). Americans don’t want a European style socialist government, because the government disproportionately takes money from the wealthy to redistribute to the poor to ensure a lifestyle for them. To the right, anything they dont like is "socialism" although socialism is never defined or explained. Obama's comments about a national security force similar to the WPA and the CCC under the New Deal came during a speech in which he called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military by expanding the nation's civilian forces. The right reacted in horror, claiming they will be thrown into slavery, even though there is nothing coercive in Obama’s volunteer program. They allege that that was what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's what the Soviet Union did.
POPULISM. The right’s take on social issues does not include the vast majority; the workers and the unemployed. Their version of "the people" is an idealized Ozzie and Harriet small town existence- decent, hard working, involved in some small business, white and protestant. Sarah Palin, for example, is "one of the people." She's the mother of five children. She's helped run a small business, worked with her hands and knows what it's like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries. She is NOT a single mother on welfare, she is NOT an illegal immigrant, she is NOT a family living in a trailer. In a subtle way, the right paints ordinary American people as white and middle class, leaving millions out of the picture, no matter how much they may strain at getting the popular vote. "They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America ... who grow our food, run our factories, and fight our wars.They love their country, in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America." Contrasted with these are the evil but unspecified "special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol' boys network." The problem, of course, is that the party of capitalism gulps down small businesses for breakfast in a headlong run to create monopolies, and the Republican aristocracy is anything but populist. Few people are fooled by their stab at being just plain folks.
DENIAL OF EVOLUTION. Anyone who promotes evolution is saying that things will change. The right cannot bear this, because it tries to preserve the status quo by protecting the ruling class and metaphysically denying the evolution of history. (There can only be isolated changes while the system remains intact.) This is a not only a denial of natural processes, but more to the point, a denial of politics. Clinton, they say, was not the beginning of a new democratic era--- the GOP took the Congress back. The republicans suffer temporary setbacks, but they will always be here because capitalism (the best of all possible worlds) will always be here. True to a religious-fantastic idealist approach, they offer only vague promises of redemption, used to cover up the fact that they are dominating, undemocratic and oppose equality. desirous of money and personal power, amoral, intimidating, secretely hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, dishonest (they cheat to win), highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic, mean-spirited, militant nationalists who glorify war), psychophants who tell others what they want to hear, while taking advantage of advantage of "suckers" for whom they have contempt and characterize as welfare freeloaders. They specialize in creating false images to sell themselves, they are submissive to authority while at the same time aggressive on behalf of authority, all the while insisting that your future is in your hands, and if you fail its your fault because you are lazy, and they are going on to success and can’t be bothered by anyone dragging them down. They are highly conventional in their behavior, afraid of new ideas even when new ideas become an imperative. They are highly religious, in keeping with their "wishing will make it so" ideology, which is consistent with their lack of education, or, alternately, their being home schooled, or educated by "teachers" as idealistic and ignorant and anti-scientific as they. This inability to analyze makes them uncritically trusting of untrustworthy authorities, they think nothing of following others' lead in being mean spirited, narrow-minded intolerant bullying, zealous and dogmatic. In no time their hypocrisy comes to the fore, and they become inconsistent and contradictory, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous and moralistic. Their extreme Puritanism makes them strict disciplinarians, severely punitive, people demand loyalty above all else. They possess little self-awareness. Somewhere in their subconscious they realize that things cannot go on as they are, and that the working class they loathe and fear will some day take over, so their insistence that "nothing evolves" is a source of comfort.
COMPARTMENTALIZATION. We can have blacks versus whites, gays versus straights, Catholics versus Protestants, urban versus rural, North versus South –young versus old. Ignorant people automatically gravitate toward one or the other, not realizing that issues must be handled inclusively, and not as "either—or" The right’ modus operandum is consistent with capitalist practices of compartmentalization. A product will be categorized at a certain price, while the same product, because it is in a different category, will become a "luxury item" and cost more. A few items will be on sale, and the product in its totality brings in high profits, since it is addressing different sectors, it is worth the same in each case, but the different prices allow it to yield profits that wouldn’t be there if the product was sold at the same price to everyone. In the same way Congress people will introduce a bill with "sops" or "sweeteners", to get an immoral and criminal bill passed that will benefit its corrupt author. Schools compartmentalize their subjects, so that there is no "spill over" between science, politics and economics, so that students are seldom able to see the connections that give all things meaning.are unable to grasp the interrelatedness of all things, but remain mired in mechanics, compartmentalizing and isolating phenomena. Unemployment is categorized at the 6 or 7 % range, and those who have stopped looking or never worked are ignored, so that the figure will not zoom up to 30 or 40% range. They are, coveniently, in a different category. Bait-and-switch tactics do the same thing; one category is offered, but then the real cost is shown by a different category, always to the seller’s advantage, and is set in stone, because, supposedly, categories determine the price, and categories cannot be changed. The right doesn’t want unity- divide and conquer is their tactic. They want to set the population, whom they fear and loathe, against eah other, and compartmentalizing is an effective tool in this regard.
VALUES. Those who would steal from the poor admit only to benevolence and high-mindedness, Thus the right "defends our nation (from illegals and people of color) defends our treasury (from socialism) and defends our values (puritannical) with everything they’ve got. The great tradition of the GOP is equality of opportunity (for those who can afford college or have backing for a business). Opportunity for all; traditional moral values, the sanctity of life (no abortions) and sanctity of marriage (between a man and a woman. No divorce) . Strong defense (carry assault weapons), limited government (privatize social programs). Willing to fight at every level for what we believe in (or at least send the working poor to fight) . They love "America" for its decency (or hypocrisy, since torture must never be admitted) , for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people (who elected twice an obviously corrupt president who oversaw the crash), because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. John McCain would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless ... the wisdom that comes even to the captives, by the grace of God ... the special confidence of those who have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome. this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity. The right has taken over post-modernism so that its democratic content has been eviscerated. Thus only right-wing rich Blacks, Latinos, women, gays, Native Americans, etc. will be trotted out as proof of Republican "compassion". Those the post-modernist movement was meant to highlight, people in the gehttoes, women stuck in unhappy marriages, are left where they are—poor and ignored and demonized.
RESUME. The superstructure of any society is economic, closely followed by its political formation. It supports the judicial, religious, and cultural edifice, which in turn determine the level of social consciousness. Most people will deny they "are in it for the money, no matter who gets hurt", and they set up a complicated structure of language, culture and institutions to cover up the fact. Under feudalism, the Catholic church had stern prohibitions against usury, working on the Sabbath and other Holy days, while looking favorably on vows of poverty, none of which were any use to the rising capitalist class. Capitalism in the religious sphere would have been impossible without the Reformation. Gnostics often ask,"If God is so powerful, why does he allow poverty and murder and wars?" The religous answer is that we have free will. We chose to do right or choose to do evil. Even if you are born with, say a cleft palate, you can succeed if you exercise personal responsibility and try hard enough. The same applies if you can't meet your mortgage. Its up to you, not to society. You "deserve" the bad things. If you live off others, you have made a choice to be a free loader and have earned the contempt of the righteous because you have chosen unwisely. If there are holes in the argument, it is impolite to say so. Greatness is guaranteed if negativity is kept at bay. Wishing will make it so. If you contradict the virtuous with reality, you are an evil enemy. Control the language and you control perception. No one will ask embarrassing questions. Non-Christians, non-whites around the world must be shown the light of capitalism and christianity, which go hand in hand. It is individuals, not populations, which make a system great. Education should be privatized and never be used for science or to analyze phenomena. Students should be trained for the work force so they are not "over qualifed". Liberals are elitist wimps who want to argue fine points, and Americans dont want complexity. Liberals advocate surrender and are against wars, which can be highly profitable and assure the continuation of "the American way of life". (Therefore those who are against war are traitors). Liberals are two-faced, pretend to be your friend while engaging in machinations behid your back. The right are straight-talkers. The right wing is the majority, it has "America" in its heart, and it cultivates the support of the most jingoistic, ignorant and basic elements in the society. The right, where men are men and women are women, are ready willing and able to blow their enemies away, since they are all armed to the teeth. That is what makes America strong. The failures of the system (defeat in Viet Nam, Iraq, Somalia, etc, and poverty and crime within the country simply do not exist, or if they do, it is the fault, again, of "bad choices," and not systemic. Fight for what's right for our country, for the ideals and character of a free people. for our children's future, for justice and opportunity for all. Defend our country from its enemies. We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. To question American chauvinism is to be a traitor. Wealth does not originate with production. The smart money is in making a killing on the stock market, where "money" is no more than numbers on a computer screen, transferrable at the click of a button. Credit and interest rates determine wealth, and Americans are the wealthiest because they can loan money and charge high interest. Borrowed funds create disposable income, and create low income jobs, making more profits. Taxes do not create jobs, they are dangerously close to socialism. Taxes are only useful when bailing out the Fortune 500 which have crashed from too many high-interest loans and not enough liquidity. Taxes are good for fighting wars and building the infrastructure of enterprises (The corporation does not pay for the building of the factory, the working class taxpayer does, because "its good for the country"). Anarchy of production results in the contradiction between the social character of production and the private confiscation of production, and thus makes the recurring crises inevitable, but the right is unable to see that, because whenever unpleasant truths come up, the
right changes the subject; "Get a job". Although socialism is never defined or explained, it is an unmitigated disaster. Collectivization is not the natural state of human societies, collectivization is slavery. Socialism has killed millions and the captive populations yearn to be free, like the capitalists. When the Feds start to give ordinary people money, they are getting a free ride, using the money we have worked so hard for. Capitalists have a right to their money, the people don't, even if "behind every private fortune there is a crime". Rather than use tax funds, the right believes that charities, which can themselves be very profitable in spite of their non-profit status, will take care of the few social problems not solved by capitalism. Those awful people in filthy ghettoes who have made all the wrong choices because they have no self-control and don't want to work, are not the real Americans, Real Americans may be poor, but they are hard-working, decent and church-going. They are almost always white and protestant, further proof of God's mercy. Anyone who promotes evolution is saying that things will change. The right cannot bear this, because it tries to preserve the status quo by protecting the ruling class and metaphysically denying the evolution of history. (There can only be isolated changes while the system remains intact.) Capitalism will always be here-how can you have a society function without money? Their extreme Puritanism makes them strict disciplinarians, severely punitive, people who demand loyalty above reason and all else. They possess little self-awareness.The right' modus operandum is consistent with capitalist practices of compartmentalization. Everything is in its place and unrelated to anything else. If a child is murdered in Iraq, what is that to me? Why should I be responsible for a crackhead in the Bowery? I sent my factory overseas for cheap labor--Im not to blame for the unemployment it caused. That is the worker's fault-they should have taken night classes and should be looking for another job. This is the land of opportunity, but the whine instead of taking advantage of this great country and what it has to offer.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home