Archive for corporatism

History Repeats: The Decline & Fall of the Western Corporate Empire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2020 by jtoddring

“The Goths remained on Roman land and would ally themselves with the Roman army. Later, however, one man, a Goth and former Roman commander, rose up against Rome – a man who only asked for what had been promised him – a man who would do what no other had done for eight centuries: sack Rome. His name was Alaric, and while he was a Goth, he had also been trained in the Roman army. He was intelligent, Christian, and very determined. He sought land in the Balkans for his people, land that they had been promised. Later, as the western emperor delayed his response, Alaric increased his demands, not only grain for his people but also recognition as citizens of the empire; however, the emperor, Honorius, continually refused. With no other course, Alaric gathered together an army of Goths, Huns and freed slaves and crossed the Alps into Italy. His army was well-organized, not a mob. Honorius was incompetent and completely out of touch, another in a long line of so-called “shadow emperors” – emperors who ruled in the shadow of the military.” 

   – Donald L. Wasson, The Fall Of The Western Roman Empire

As I’ve said, history is repeating itself.

A shadow government, a military industrial corporate security complex, rules a decaying Western empire, while the peoples’ needs are met with snears akin to, “Let them eat cake”.

An empire in decline, the Western (pseudo-democratic, crypto-fascist) corporate empire, facing both growing internal revolt and rising external competition, reacts in desperation with ever more desperate measures, like a wounded, dying beast, lashing out.

“By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman imperialism was responsible for its own destruction.” Peter Heather summed it up well. And again, it must be seen, it is happening again, as a new empire repeats the mistakes of the past.

The over-reaction, the hubris, the over-reach, both internally and externally; and above all, the callous and imperious, brazen heavy-handedness, will only hasten the decline and collapse of this latest of empires, which is the Western empire of corporate oligarchy.

Would-be God-kings never learn.

The Roman Empire fell for a number of reasons, including simple brain poisoning due to foolish choices of consumption (sounds familiar: lead goblets then, pesticides and junk food now). However, among the various causes, chief was internal decay. (Echoes, then as now: a culture of materialism, perpetual distraction, bread and circuses, and spiritual decay.) But a stubborn refusal to meet the legitimate desires and needs of the people, was key to the collapse and fall of the empire. (Again, a mirror image, and an echo.)

We will see the same again soon. It may take fifty years, or it may take five, but the new empire of global neofeudal corporate rule will fall, sooner or later. It is only a matter of time.

For the sake of the people, for the sake of us all, and for the sake of the Earth, let us pray it is soon. And we must do more than pray.

Let us make it so.

JTR,

May 17, 2020

Cutting through the crap, with Matt Taibbi

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 30, 2020 by jtoddring

Along with John Pilger, Abby Martin, & the handful of honest journalists left standing, I love Matt Tabbi. Here he sums up what’s wrong with politics & the media, in a few short lines.

“Klobuchar is a pure distillation of “electability,” i.e., a Washington reporter’s idea of what a Midwesterner finds charming. She isn’t funny, but her tireless marketing of her funniness matches the reportorial concept of what a “sense of humor” is in politics.

Her ability to speak at length without revealing deep ideological belief is also prized by our kind. This is what Washington for decades told people they wanted, instead of health care, peace, job security, etc.”

Perfect summary.

Contemporary neoliberal/neoconservative politics – two wings of the same plutocracy:

All BS and PR, hiding the ugly face of a crypto-fascist, deeply corrupt and authoritarian globalist corporate oligarchy.

Yep.

Now, what are we gong to do about it?

JTR,

April 30, 2020

See also (among other important works):

Brain Wash – Perlmutter

Manufacturing Consent – Herman and Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

Data Trash – Kroker

And the writings of Matt Taibbi, Piers Robinson, Orwell, Huxley and Thoreau

The Real Resistance: Lessons From History

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2020 by jtoddring

 

It does not require a majority to defeat tyranny and defend liberty, but only a small and dedicated minority – as we saw in the American and French Revolutions, and in the defeat of the first wave of fascism, which arose in the 1930’s (and was greatly loved and applauded by Western elites) and was defeated in WWII. We now face the second wave of fascism, though the sleep-walking great majority see it not.

Actually, this is the third wave of fascism. The second wave was installed by Washington and its allies around the world between 1944 and 2019 – the most obvious, or at least well-known example, being the CIA-backed coup in Chile, September 11, 1973, when democracy and freedom were destroyed, and the neoliberal corporate fascist police state of Augusto Pinochet was installed – which both brutalzed and effectively enslaved the people, and also destroyed the economy. (Sound familiar?)

Now, the Third World fascist model, having been perfected by Washington and its allies over the past 75 years, is being brought home. 

Don’t we all feel safer now? 

“We’re all in this together.”

Yes, lemmings, we all sing the joyous praises of our shackles and chains and mass house arrest, and sing the praises of the benign and all-saving aristocracy of the ruling oligarchy and crypto-fascist elite.

Orwell would shudder. Freedom and democracy are dying before our eyes, and as George Carlin and Jonathan Turley said, no one seems to care.

While it does not require a majority to defeat tyranny and to defend freedom, it does, however, require courage, and a spine – at least among a few. 

JTR,

April 29, 2020

See:

Piers Robinson – Geopolitics & Empire podcast

Robert Epstein – Geopolitics & Empire

America Has Created A Global Dystopia – Noam Chomsky, Scheer Intelligence

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Herd Mentality – Gerald Celente

The French Resistance and Vichy France – The Smithsonian (subject only: not exact title)

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boetie

Writings and speeches of Gandhi and MLK

Nostalgia For Simpler Times

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2020 by jtoddring

I generally am not one for nostalgia, having a strong preference for living in the present, and looking to the future. Further, I rarely write in conversational colloquialisms. But I must say this, as a short note:

Holy shit do I miss the ’70’s! Things were fucked up and crazy then, but nothing like this!

(I would say the same thing, but even more emphatically, about the sixties, but I was only four when they ended, so my comments and nostalgia would be more from reading, than from personal experience.)

Mass quarantine of entire countries?! A global house arrest? Draconian medieval measures on a global basis? Shutting down the global economy, while suspending fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms, and granting governments sweeping police state powers world-wide? Now that is truly unprecedented. (The new favourite word of the lemmings.)

Over the last 50 years, since 1970, we have made considerable progress in terms of a global cultural awakening. Racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, violence, war, imperialism, pollution, environmental destruction and degradation: all of these things are considerably less tolerated by the great majority of the people now. We still have major problems, clearly, but a global awakening is underway, and culturally, at least, we are making some progress, in terms of awakening.

That being said, the three-fold alienation that is at the root of our modern world problems – alienation from one another, from nature, and from our deeper selves – has only grown far worse, at least among the great majority of people in the “leading” “developed” nations, and in urban centres world-wide.

Not only has alienation from others, nature and ourselves grown far worse over the past 50 years, thanks to TV, media-spawned fear porn, the glorious internet, “social media” and “smart phones”, among other drivers of mass dissociation from reality. Further, the great majority of people in the “developed” parts of the world have clearly been following a trajectory of mass narcissistic regression to a highly neurotic and egocentric infantile state. (Erich Fromm, Morris Berman and Robert Bly have much to say on these subjects, among others.)

Worst of all, in the 1970’s, while we had war, violence, imperialism, pollution, consumerism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and many other serious problems, we had a mere crony capitalism to contend with. Big business had ruled the Western nations for 200 years since the birth of modern democracy, but democracy was still in place, as were liberty, civil rights, and constitutional rule. These things are now gone, stripped away, as the elite roll-back of all gains made by the people over the past 800 years, since the Magna Carta, have been systematically attacked, and the corporate take-over of society, in a slow-motion corporate fascist coup, has taken the place of liberal democracies and freedom.

This is the end-point of neoliberalism, and we have arrived: it is corporatism, which is the merger of big business and the state, otherwise known, as Mussolini himself said, as the proper term for fascism. It is the death of democracy and freedom.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Yet the people yawn, and obsess over their “social media” feeds – which are the opium and cyanide drip that is stuck into their arms.

Yet I hear a distant voice, calling out:

“Gilligan!”

How I wish for simpler times. But we will have to fight for that.

JTR,
April 24, 2020

See also:

Erich Fromm – Escape From Freedom

Noam Chomsky – Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies

The Herd Mentality – Trends Journal, April 21, 2020

The Death of Modern World – Or the Death of the Planet & the Human Species

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2020 by jtoddring
*
“The causality of the One was frequently explained in antiquity as an answer to the question, ‘How do we derive a many from the One?’ Although the answer provided by Plotinus and by other Neoplatonists is sometimes expressed in the language of ‘emanation’, it is very easy to mistake this for what it is not. It is not intended to indicate either a temporal process or the unpacking or separating of a potentially complex unity. Rather, the derivation was understood in terms of atemporal ontological dependence.”
– Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, On Plotinus
*
Yes! Exactly. It is not sequential; it is not this creating that; it is not the many being separately created by or out of the One. It is atemporal ontological dependency – well put, Standford.
More simply put, the many are the One; the One is the many.
Or as Meister Eckhart, the archetypal Western mystic said, “There is nothing that I can point to that is not God. God is within me, and God is all around me.”
Or in the terms of two of our greatest scientists:
“The perception of a division between self and other is a kind of optical delusion.” – Einstein
“The number of minds in the universe is one.”
– Erwin Schrödinger
Or in Eastern terms: “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” From the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra – the pith of the pith of the Buddha’s teachings.
Plotinus may be, in broad terms, the Bodhisattva of the West, along with Spinoza, Emerson, Blake and Thoreau. But of course, they are all foolishly buried and forgotten now. We are now far too clever for mere wisdom.
Burying and forgetting the ancients was no less foolish an act than largely wiping out and dismissing the Western monastic tradition, or burying and forgetting the Renaissance or the Enlightenment. But we moderns, for 400 years, and especially the past 100, when we really became full of… ah….hubris….and right into the 21st century, have prided ourselves on burying what we later will discover to have been some of our greatest of treasures.
Very wise indeed.
Meanwhile, we prefer pollysyllabic nihilistic psychobabble (post-modernism) and thinly veiled self-serving and utterly deceitful Machiavellianism (neoliberal corporatism) to either empiricism or common sense.
Wise indeed.
We will either recover our senses – which includes abandoning Netwonian mechanistic, materialist reductionism, Cartesian dualism, post-modernist nihilism, and neoliberal corporatism, with its crypto-fascist planet-killing class warfare – or we will go extinct.
Along with the tragic, pervasive illusion of powerlessness which holds captive the minds of the great majority, these are the big four sets of delusions which make up what Blake called “the mind-forged manacles”. We either break these chains, or we die.
We shift our consciousness, culture and dominant paradigm, or we make the shift right into the grave.
Simple choice, really.
– JTR

The Myth Of Progress – Pricking The Bubble

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2020 by jtoddring

Again and again, I am reminded of the need for humility, as well as dignity and confidence. I am reminded not only by my own faults and errors, which are numerous enough, but also by many of the people I respect the most. Again, and again, I read an exceptionally brilliant book, am floored by the clarity and lucidity of mind, and then, am momentarily shell-shocked by the seemingly sudden loss of clarity, and the introduction of what to me is a glaring error. Few people are omniscient or infallible. Shared illusions, furthermore, are not only possible, but are the norm. Shared illusions with regards to the mythology of progress, are a perfect example.

(Stephen Toulmin’s, Cosmopolis, a brilliant book on the history of the modern world, made me reflect on these things again today. A once in 400 year book ends with an assumption, a presumption, of the myth of progress? As I say, question everything. If the most brilliant minds are capable of error, and often great errors, what are our politicians and media pundits capable of? Sheer idiocy, outright lies, half-truths, distortions, evasions, blatant self-delusion? Yes, all of that, and more.)

No one demolishes our modern illusions about progress so marvelously, or with such wit, as Thoreau; but I will do my best here, to follow in the footsteps of one of my great heroes; and urge everyone to read Walden, and On Civil Disobedience, again.  We need such uncommon clarity and Earthy, practical wisdom now.

This is a short bit of reflection on a subject I have returned to many times over several decades – not a comprehensive discourse or treatise on the mythology or ideology of progress, by any stretch. But pithy kernels of thought are useful, it seems to me, because they spark further thought and reflection. Consider this one small spark – knowing that that is all it takes to begin a wildfire: one that can burn through our shared illusions, like the sunrise dispels the darkness of the night.

*

The Western world is heavily influenced by certain founding mythologies (mythologies in the proper sense of the term, meaning grand narratives, subtextual philosophies or worldviews), or confluences of mythology, culture and thought: including Judaism, and later Christianity and Islam; those of ancient Greece, both pre-Hellenic and Hellenic; Roman; Medieval, that of the Renaissance, and of the Enlightenment. (We are dealing in major patterns here, though of course there have been, and are, many other currents.)

Core among Western assumptions, are assumptions or mythologies surrounding the nature of time. Four common mythology groups can be identified, as a start, with regards to views of time: linear descent, linear progress, eternal return, and time as an illusion.

Let’s take the last view first. Time as an illusion is the least common view in the West, the view or mythology with the least cultural, psychological or historical influence – though it is most accurate. All is change, as Heraclitus, the Buddha and Lao Tzu have said, and King Solomon as well; yet, as the Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist views all assert, and mystics of the West as well, time remains an illusion, because while the many are always changing and in flux, the many are always, in truth, the One – hence all is in constant change, yet all change is illusory; therefore time is illusory. Compassion within the illusion of time is paradoxically essential to an intelligent life, much less an enlightened state; yet time remains an illusion, because duality is an illusion, and hence, no true change exists, but only changes in appearance or form.

We will pass over the mystics’ view of time, for now. Let’s look at what the non-mystic great majority have believed about the nature of time – since, unfortunately, they have shaped Western history more than any sages have done.

For the great majority of people, both East and West, time is very real. (Transcendent Oneness may be an attractive idea, but few are genuinely interested in even exploring it. Maya is everything.) And here we are left with three major remaining mythologies, philosophies, or views, with regards to the nature of time:

1. Time is linear, and everything is in a state of decline from an original golden age, or the paradise of Eden. This is the view of ancient Greece, China and India, and with important variations, it is also the core Judaeo-Christian view. Everything was wonderful, then there was a fall from grace, and we are on our way down to the bottom. And if we look deeply at this view, in all cases above, the bottom is not final, but only a nadir, from which rebirth is certain to occur. There is much to be said of, and for, this view, but that is not the topic of this essay.

3. The third view is one of circularity in time: the eternal return. Time may look linear to us, but it is circular in reality. There is much to be said for this view as well, but it too, is not the topic at hand.

2. The second view is linear time marked by an inevitable upward trend. This is the mythology of progress. This is – or became in the modern world – the true religion of the West.

When the Enlightenment thinkers revisited the ancient Western mythology of time, they turned it on its head – similarly to Marx turning Hegel on his head, and with similar general confusion.

The modern view became the mirror image of the traditional Judaeo-Christian view. Now, time is viewed as linear – that much is retained of the mythology; but the path is not inevitable descent, but inevitable ascent.

Modernity became as religiously devoted to the ideology and mythology of progress, as Judaeo-Christianity was wedded to the idea of the fall, decline, decay, the end of time, and cosmic rebirth.

The modern view was simply a secularization of the mythology of redemption. But redemption was to be by our own power and cleverness. (As Nietzsche said, “The ego –  our last article of faith.”) Progress is our redemption; and progress is assured – inevitable.

Thankfully, I haven’t heard anyone use the phrase, “You can’t stop progress”, in quite some time. The mythology has cracked, and is crumbling. “Progress” is not so assured to us now.

And what of the notion of progress? (The author John Michael Greer makes the case well: it is a dying and outmoded notion, that was largely illusory to begin with.) The ideology or mythology of progress takes it as an unquestionable truism that everything that comes later in time, must, by definition, be better than which came before. But is that really true?

Clothes produced in Chinese sweatshops tend to be low quality and wear out quickly – but moving all manufacturing to China and other low-wage areas of the world is a new phenomenon: so all products made in China must therefore be better in terms of quality, since this is a new “development” or phenomenon. Clearly this is not the case.

If the mythology of progress was true, then in the 1930’s, when fascism was rising in Germany and Italy, since fascism was new, it must therefore be an improvement, and must have been better than the free and open democracies which it replaced.

Clearly, only the criminally insane and the pathological would agree that Nazism and fascism were improvements over democracy, or free and open societies, simply because they came after democracy, and (for a time) crushed democracy. Clearly, what comes later in time is not necessarily better than what came before.

*

I do have faith, or confidence, if you prefer, in the long-term upward trajectory of humanity. I firmly believe that Martin Luther King Jr. was right when he said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But I have no illusions that we cannot have set-backs, or that temporary regression is not possible. Clearly it is. Look at the Nazis and other fascists in the 1930’s and ’40’s. Clearly, we can regress, just as easily as we can progress. You can climb up a mountain, stumble, and fall back down again. Stumbling and falling are not impossible. Descent is as real as ascent.

China is now ruled by a totalitarian bureaucracy that has wedded itself to neoliberalism, every bit as much as Western corporate neoliberalism has wedded itself to it. It is a match made in hell, and the two deserve each other – while humanity deserves neither.

China represents neofeudal technocratic corporatism (or Red fascism, as I call it); the West is ruled by a technocratic corporate neofeudalism. One is the mirror image of the other. Neither can be tolerated by those who value freedom or democracy, civil rights, or a world where people are something other than slaves, consumer drones, and mindless cogs in a great machine.

But this new form of society for China, this new Confuscianist-Orwellian neofeudal corporatism, came after Taoism and Zen. Does that make it superior to Taoism and Zen, because it came later in time? The newer is better, right? Everything that is new is best. That is the mythology of inevitable progress.

To my mind, one would have to be out of one’s mind, to say that an Orwellian-Confucian neo-feudal bureaucratic corporate police state is superior to either ancient Taoism or Zen. I think there is absolutely no question about this. What came latter, happens to be a profound regression – not progress at all. That can and does happen in history. We can make miss-steps.

Neoliberalism is a recent ideological construct, not yet quite 50 years old – because it is new does that mean it is better? Must the drive toward a global corporate oligarchy be accepted as inevitable, or worse, as inevitable progress? I think we would be quite delusional and deranged to assume such a thing, when all the evidence is that neoliberalism, and the corporatism – aka fascism – which it represents, is extraordinarily destructive to people and the planet both.

Viewed in this light, we have had 50 years of regress.

Culturally, it is clear we have progressed greatly in the past 50 years. But in terms of reigning political-economic systems, structures and ideologies, we have simply fallen into a ditch – because we followed blind men.

We’ve had fifty years of neoliberalism – which is the ideology which rationalizes the corporate take-over of the world – and fifty years of post-modernism – which effectively lobotomized intellectuals for five decades, spinning polysyllabic webs of confusion justifying a hidden nihilism, which in turn provided the perfect cover for a corporatist (that is, fascist) take-over.

Maybe now we can regain our senses, and reject both neoliberal corporatism, which is fascism with a pretty face, and also post-modernist nihilism, which vacates all intellect and common sense, neuters the people, and paves the way for the justification of, and collusion with, almost anything – including the worst of evils, and the worst regression.

Are post-modernism and global neoliberal corporatism improvements over the values of the Renaissance, of dignity and confidence, with a counterbalancing of  tolerance and humility? Are they improvements over Spinoza, or over Plotinus, Socrates or Aristotle? Are they improvements over Jesus, Mohammed, Daniel or Moses? Are they improvements over the Enlightenment values of liberty, equality, and solidarity, the values of the American and French Revolutions, the values of democracy and common sense? I would say that any reasonable or honest accounting would show both post-modernism and neoliberal corporatism to be deeply regressive, barbaric, profoundly myopic, and frankly delusional. We had best retrace our steps, and think again.

There are many treasures to be saved, and preserved, and cherished, from our 5,000 year journey. Neoliberalism and post-modernism are not among them. These belong on the dung heap,

*

We can take the best from the past and the present, and decide to reject certain new trends, ideologies or technologies as destructive to life on Earth: nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons; along with fascism, neofeudalism, and neoliberal corporate oligarchy – all of which are various ways of describing the same single system; are among the things which we should reasonably and unequivocally, and firmly reject.

In short, we have choices. There are dangers, and there are opportunities. We must make the best of the latter, while navigating around, overcoming, or defeating the former. This should be a matter of common sense.

Chomsky sums it up well, as he so often does:

(I am paraphrasing from memory here)

“The world is filled with ominous portent, and signs of great hope. Which result ensues, is largely up to what we do with the opportunities at hand.”

Exactly.

Let’s not be complacent. There is work to be done. We have a better future, and a better world to build – a task we are entirely capable of fulfilling. But complacency and denial are luxuries that we most certainly cannot afford.

JTR,
April 6, 2020

 

Further reading:

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies,
Year 501: The Conquest Continues,
Class Warfare,
and
Requiem For The American Dream: The Principles Of Concentration Of Wealth & Power
George Orwell, 1984
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
Jack London, Iron Heel
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule The World
Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns
John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World
John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, and
The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite
Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite
Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom
Bertrand Russell, Roads To Freedom
Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

And perhaps most urgently:

Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

For philosophical, cultural, anthropological and historical perspective, there is no better guide or place to start than here – an immenseley erudite and deeply perceptive book which reveals precisely, by contrast, and exactly where we stand in the early 21st century: still lost in a continuing dark age that daily threatens to get ever darker – until we reflect, and change our course:

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Time to wake up. Fascism is rising, and the planet and the people are in peril.

 

Step Number One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by jtoddring

Stephen Toulmin’s proposal of a return to a modest Renaissance humanism sounds wonderful (as a fresh start, so to speak, and only a start) compared to dogmatic ideology-fetishizing modernism on the one hand, or the arguably even  worse alternative of polysyllabic post-modernist nihilism on the other. But when the people can’t even see the reality before their eyes – of a global corporate oligarchy consolidating its powers in a move to fascism – how on earth can we hope to begin talking about philosophy?! First we have to open our eyes. That is step number one.

JTR

March 29, 2020

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