Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Joe Bageant Spells It Out

Lately I've been thinking about the utter uselessness of America's eco-liberal demographic, which I have a lot in common with.  In the face of the breakdown of just about everything, they do... nothing.  As consumers, the question has always been (and still remains) "Can I pay for it?"  If so, or if they still have any credit remaining, then everything is just fine:  that vacation in Europe, that home theater system, whatever.  If not, then it looks like certain lifestyle modifications will be called for.  But in either case, supposedly intelligent Americans seem incapable of realizing that their culture of take-it-for-granted prosperity is crumbling around them, never to return.  Not only that, but the planet is rapidly losing its life-support capability.  I've been watching this process for years, and it always amazes me that so many Americans can still consider themselves capable and confident when in actuality they are such a bunch of losers.  Delusion runs deep among our species.

With that in mind, Joe Bageant's latest essay, "Understanding America's Class System," seems relevant.  Here are some highlights:

For Americans, self-examination is not just rare, it is nonexistent, which is one source of our pathology. Missing from our national character is love of the common good, and our collective civic responsibility toward one another. But if we acknowledged collective responsibilities to the individual members of our society, then we would have to deal with the issue of class in this country. Better to medicate the entire nation. To do that, you need big government...

None of us like the idea of a ruling class. We did not from the very beginning. Yet, we no longer take effective action, because it has become impossible to identify what we might do to change anything. Instead, we react to events. That is what the ruling class wants, because if we are reactive, then outcomes can be controlled by controlling the stimuli. Keep 'em dazzled with foot work. So the stimuli keep coming at us faster than we can think. And they are presented as fate, or the result of "fast changing world events," or a banking collapse no one could have predicted -- things to which we must respond immediately. Most of us just give up. Which again, is what the ruling class wants us to do -- become a uniformly pliant mass...

And besides, the ruling class holds all the money, not to mention the media that informs the populace as to what is going on in our country. It controls our health care, our banking and retirement funds. It controls our education or lack of education, and it controls the price, quantity and quality of the food we eat. It controls the quality of the air we breathe, and soon, through pollution credits, even the price they will pay for that air. Most importantly, it holds concentrated legal and governmental authority, not to mention the machinery of both parties to grant itself more authority.

In the face of all this stands a very diverse public, which regardless of what some might claim behind a few beers, is not about to take up arms or use force to unseat the ruling class. When your life and your family are so utterly controlled by persons and forces that you cannot even see, you don't take such risks. That's not gutlessness. It's common sense.

After decades of hyper-militant consumerism and its attending alienation, and a national consciousness spun from pure capitalist bullshit and mirrors, it is testimony to the American people that they can still see to piss straight, much less recognize any sort of truth whatsoever. Yet, a portion of Americans are beginning to grasp the truth about what has happened to their country -- that it has been bought and paid for by an elite class in a nation that is supposed to be classless. They are beginning to realize that, when it comes to actually governing our country, we are powerless as individuals -- even members of the political class -- and serve the overall will of its true owners. It's been that way so long we've become conditioned to accept it as a natural state, something we cannot change, and do not even know how to question, because, like the atmosphere, it's just there.

The higher truth is something we recognize when we encounter it. We may not have the right words, or all the facts, but we can feel it in our bones. Intuition is the first glimmer in the distance. It goes unsaid that we always have the choice of not looking in truth's direction, or not looking for it at all. Seldom is it a pleasant sight, which is the chief sign that it is truth. Even the best of it arrives to the sound of ominous bells


Anonymous glass display cabinet said...

interesting post..:)

9:53 AM  

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