63. The Freedom Enterprise and Other Yarns

Freedom-enterpriseThe very best social ideas are always a cover for the very worst behav­iour. That’s the story of ide­olo­gies. The rea­son is hardly a secret. Almost every known soci­ety has, and always has had, a rul­ing elite whose inter­ests only occa­sion­ally and par­tially over­lap with the inter­ests of myr­iad enlis­tees who, in one way or another row the boat of state (tribe, clan …) or are rats in the bilge. In other words, there always have to be two sto­ries, one for pri­vate profit and one for pub­lic virtue. In the last cen­tury or so democ­racy has been one of the hand­i­est pub­lic virtue sto­ries. Actual democ­racy is a very embar­rass­ing beast for elites, but they have become pro­gres­sively bet­ter at man­ag­ing the appear­ance with­out the sub­stance.

Since the United States of Amer­ica is in everybody’s face 24/7, it makes a fine illus­tra­tion of the democ­racy-elite shadow play on the world stage. From the time of its foun­da­tion, the United States qua nation has cease­lessly sought inter­na­tional ene­mies. This propo­si­tion will be greeted with incom­pre­hen­sion by most US cit­i­zens, who find it hard to  accept that they may have been brain­washed. The act of turn­ing aggres­sion out­wards has usu­ally paid off hand­somely for at least one seg­ment of Amer­i­can elites, those who profit from trade, plun­der and gov­ern­ment con­tracts. The Amer­i­can sheeple are sold on this by a shrill and never-end­ing lie that they are fight­ing for democ­racy in for­eign lands. It is a ridicu­lous story, and when signs of democ­racy actu­ally emerge else­where Amer­i­cans are typ­i­cally hor­ri­fied at what bar­bar­ians in num­bers actu­ally prefer. Nev­er­the­less, ide­o­log­i­cal smog has deeply pen­e­trated the gen­eral Amer­i­can psy­che and ren­ders manip­u­la­tion easy.

Non-Amer­i­can peo­ples come in all kinds of cul­tural shapes, and react in a vari­ety of ways to Amer­i­can aggres­sion. The social and polit­i­cal tableaux in many of these places is usu­ally less than ideal (though by no means desir­ing an Amer­i­can ideal), so reac­tions often depend upon local des­per­a­tion, which is a highly volatile vec­tor. There are always oppor­tunists ready to play com­prador cap­i­tal­ist with the out­side invaders. Then there are those affected by a kind of Stock­holm syn­drome, and with half of their minds iden­tify with Mickey Mouse. This is also an unsta­ble and decep­tive con­di­tion, which can flip on a dime to extreme xeno­pho­bia.

How­ever, some­thing has changed sub­stan­tially, beyond the old nar­ra­tives. That some­thing is the Inter­net, with uncon­trolled actors dis­sem­i­nat­ing infor­ma­tion, while elites scram­ble des­per­ately to recover con­trol of the spin. Such infor­ma­tion is often incom­plete, biased, or mis­in­ter­preted, but it is also not the offi­cial story (no mat­ter how many shills gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies pay as online agents provo­ca­teurs). This new swirling mass of sto­ries has its own dynamic with com­plex inter­act­ing cur­rents beyond anyone’s sim­ple con­trol.

One com­mon emer­gent theme from the uncon­trolled nar­ra­tive is that China is ded­i­cated to con­struc­tion while the United States is ded­i­cated to destruc­tion. (Yup, we can hear the howls of Amer­i­can out­rage, but get out­side the US echo cham­ber and take a cold shower). 

Another emer­gent theme is that Amer­ica (i.e. the mil­i­tary-indus­trial-polit­i­cal com­plex) is wag­ing a phony war on the world under the cover of a ter­ror­ist threat. This is nearly as prof­itable for the elite as the phony war on drugs. Again, out­side of the Amer­i­can echo cham­ber it is evi­dent to huge num­bers of cit­i­zens of the world that this war on ter­ror­ism is sub­stan­tially a com­mer­cial enter­prise.

Finally, the infinitely fuzzy term “secu­rity”, which seemed such a gift to pro­pa­gan­dists is also turn­ing out to be a gift for expos­ing fraud. There is a mul­ti­ply­ing num­ber of peo­ple world­wide who have decided that jet set­ting elites from wherever have more in com­mon with each other than with any of the national feu­dal estates they feed off. 

It is not that the non-elite “masses” are more vir­tu­ous than the lucky ones in five star hotels, sim­ply that they rec­og­nize they are being screwed. Of course, the glo­ri­ous ide­o­log­i­cal frauds of the 20th Cen­tury, like so-called Com­mu­nism and Cap­i­tal­ism, played on just these “class divi­sions” (which of course are more like blobs on the social land­scape, with many over­lap­ping shades). The dif­fer­ence this time is that the masks are off, and the well-groomed crowd in the con­trol room have over-reached with tech­nol­ogy they have been too dumb to under­stand : spy mon­strosi­ties like Prism which reach deep into everyone’s pri­vate lives, are com­pletely immoral vehi­cles for com­mer­cial espi­onage, and from the Amer­i­can angle, demon­strate the utter con­tempt of Amer­i­can elites for what they call “aliens”. Even with their non-alien peas­ants in tow, this par­tic­u­lar elite have for­got­ten that Amer­ica con­sti­tutes less than 5% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion in a mix whose tech­no­log­i­cal accel­er­a­tion is already leav­ing Amer­ica in the dust.

Pro­fes­sional bio: Thor May’s PhD dis­ser­ta­tion, Lan­guage Tan­gle, dealt with lan­guage teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. Thor has been teach­ing Eng­lish to non-native speak­ers, train­ing teach­ers and lec­tur­ing lin­guis­tics, since 1976. This work has taken him to seven coun­tries in Ocea­nia and East Asia, mostly with ter­tiary stu­dents, but with a cou­ple of detours to teach sec­ondary stu­dents and young chil­dren. He has trained teach­ers in Aus­tralia, Fiji and South Korea. In an ear­lier life, prior to becom­ing a teacher, he had a decade of drift­ing through unskilled jobs in Aus­tralia, New Zealand and finally Eng­land (after back­pack­ing across Asia in 1972). 

con­tact: http://thormay.net    thormay@yahoo.com

aca­d­e­mic repos­i­tory: Academia.edu at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay
dis­cus­sion: Thor’s Unwise Ideas at http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/unwisendx.html



The Free­dom Enter­prise and Other Yarns” © copy­righted to Thor May; all rights reserved 2013

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