Archive for neoliberalism

Neoliberalism & The Death Of The Middle Class

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2020 by jtoddring

The death of the middle class is due to a very conscious, four decade class war, known as neoliberalism. (See Chomsky, Profits Over People, and, Requiem For The American Dream. See also, The Crisis of Democracy, the very first publication of the Trilateral Commission.) Offshoring of production, or corporate globalization, which is the centre-piece of neoliberalism, was intended to wipe out the middle class, dis-empower the people, and thus roll back the “excess of democracy”; and in turn, consolidate the power of the ruling business elite. It has worked spectacularly, at least in the short term, in doing exactly that.

Anyone who has not yet understood this has no idea what just happened over the past half century, or what is happening now.

JTR,
April 24, 2020

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 Death & Rebirth of Freedom & Democracy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2020 by jtoddring

 

The two greatest threats to freedom and democracy in the West, as well as to peace, justice, or even a viable future for humanity, are, without question, the currently reigning de facto world government of neofeudal corporate oligarchy, along with its ruling apologetics, which is the corporatist ideology of neoliberalism; and the fascist order which it is rapidly morphing into.

The Red fascism of China’s totalitarian neo-feudal corporate-Mandarin model is simply the mirror image of the neo-feudal corporate fascism of the West. And although few realize this fact either, the two have effectively merged, like the double coil helix of a mutagenic DNA, which is the new cancer spreading over the world, and devouring all.

We either come to understand these three deeply intertwined phenomena better – the neoliberal corporate oligarchy of the West, and its mirror in China, and the global fascist order the two are clearly transmuting into – or we will soon be slaves, living in a poisoned, gulag world, watching the Earth slowly die.

*

What is fascism?

Fascism and neoliberalism are widely misunderstood. As is the state of contemporary China widely misunderstood, though perhaps less so, because it is so stark. This must change. We must first see, before we can act with both purpose and effectiveness.

Fascism is widely confused with flags and banners, slogans, uniforms, marching styles – mere outer drapings. It is even more widely confused with racism, xenophobia, and a very malignant form of nationalism. The latter three elements are common to fascism, but they are not the heart of fascism. The heart of fascism, and the only essential element, is what Mussolini himself defined it to be: it is the merger of business and the state.

And that is exactly what we have seen over the past 50 years, with the Powell memo of 1971 and soon afterward the Trilateral Commission’s publication of The Crisis of Democracy, the rollback of democracy and the re-engineering of the economy, the de-linking of the US dollar from any real world connection (the 1971 decoupling of the dollar from gold, and unilateral abandonment of the gold standard by the US), the birth of heavily financialized global crony capitalism, and the emergence of neoliberalism and corporate globalization. All of this represented the slow-motion fascist coup which is the big business take-over of both government and the global economy.

Fascism is not men in black uniforms goose-stepping in the streets, necessarily. It is the hyper-concentration of power in the hands of the few, whereby big business has effectively usurped and taken over the powers of democratic governments.

And there can be a fascism with a right-wing face, or a liberal face. The outer guise does not matter. It is the concentration of real power which is the central definition and sole, truly grave danger.

It is not the window dressings we need to be afraid of, but the lust for power which is at the core of fascism, and which has clearly been at the core of neoliberalism, its for-runner, for well over 40 years.

What is neoliberalism?

First of all, neoliberalism is not static. It is always changing. The cancer stage of capitalism describes it well, as the Canadian philosopher John McMurtry put it.

Neoliberalism is always morphing. There is no permanent state of neoliberalism. It began with crony capitalism, and it is moving toward its culmination, which is fascism.

The central tendency of neoliberalism is the same as crony capitalism, or capitalism itself: it is the tendency to concentrate wealth, and therefore power, in ever greater degrees, in ever fewer hands.

What began as liberal capitalist democracies in the late 1700’s, quickly devolved and descended into crony capitalism, which means societies effectively ruled by business elites, with democracy reduced, by and large, to an essentially hollow shell.

That wasn’t much of a step, since that was essentially the starting point of Western liberal capitalist democracies. They were dominated by land-owning elites, slavers, merchants and manufacturers from the outset. It was easy and natural to continue that trajectory of de facto elite rule.

Thomas Jefferson saw what was happening in 1812, when he said, “I pray we shall crush the birth of the moneyed aristocracy in its infancy, for already it bids defiance to our laws and seeks a contest of strength with our democratic government.”

But we failed to listen. We did not place checks and balances, or any effectual limits, on the natural tendency of capitalism to concentrate wealth, and thus to concentrate power.

The result is neoliberalism: a social order in which business elites – the less than 1,000 corporate CEOs and 1,000 billionaires who meet yearly at Davos – effectively rule the world, and rule over every major nation and government, with few exceptions.

But the important realization is that neoliberalism is not the final end point of this historically unfolding trajectory. It is just a mid-point on the arc. The descending arc of modern democracy runs from 1776, through crony capitalism, through neoliberalism, to its natural conclusion – which is the full merger of business and the state: which, again, as Mussolini said, is called corporatism – which, as he said, is the proper term for fascism.

There is nothing new with neoliberalism. As Chomsky said, it is not particularly new, and it is not particularly liberal. What it is, is a bid for power. Business elites 200 years ago simply wanted more and more wealth and power, and they got it. 200 years later, having effectively taken over the global economy, the financial system, the media, much of academia, science and the church, and most governments and international institutions in the world, the ruling business elite are now seeking to consolidate their power – before they lose it.

They are keenly aware that they have been in the midst of a rapidly deepening, global crisis of legitimacy, which is quickly coming to a global tipping point. Their advisors have told them what this means. It means the Western corporate oligarchy could collapse like a house of cards, virtually overnight, just as the Soviet Empire collapsed, between 1989 and 1991.

The Western elite are terrified of losing power, and at the same time, have never had such dizzying heights of power – although it is increasingly, and undeniably, fragile. They simply want to batten down the hatches and hold onto what they’ve got – as the new rulers of the world – by any means necessary. Fascism is simply the most expedient means to their desired end. In fact, it is the only means available. It is either that, or it is major compromise with the people, and the tolerating of real democracy – which they decidedly do not want; or else, losing power altogether – which they are adamantly opposed to.

The Western elite see the resort to a more authoritarian, and highly controlled, technocratic, scientific fascism, as their only means to keep their power – without having to compromise with the pesky 99.9%, or demands such as justice, equality, freedom, democracy, civil liberties, environmental concerns, or anything that might require a sharing of wealth or power.

*

In 2020, we are seeing the Western and Eastern oligarchies carry out a test run and a social engineering project with a global mass house arrest and lockdown of society, rationalized by a greatly exaggerated public health crisis.

The facts are coming in now, to confirm what should have been obvious from the beginning. The mortality rate in Europe this year is no higher than in the three previous years, and in fact lower, despite the “pandemic”. The centre, right and left all swallowed the hook, line and sinker of this latest propaganda war, and accepted the trial run of fascist lockdown – cheerfully. They will, it is hoped, soon come to their senses, and check the facts, and more importantly, question the rationalizations for a global police state.

What was emerging in 2019, was a global wave of democratic uprisings, and the beginnings of a wave of global democratic revolutions. This explains the 2020 lockdown, along with the end of the line for the ability of vast money printing to keep afloat a wildly unstable global economy.

The bastardized germ theory, or what has become the standard narrative, simply does not fit the facts. Sociological analysis explains what should have been obvious from the start. Elites are scared of losing power. They are lying in historically typical ways in order to hold onto power.

A sixth grade child could understand it. How is it that our best minds cannot?

*

Whether it is sooner or later, the people of the West must reclaim their democracy and their freedom. And in China, they must discover that this is, in fact, a better way than the Maoist-corporatist Confucian totalitarianism, which they currently have.

In the world’s biggest democracy, which is India, with the second largest middle class in the world, the people must decide if they wish to see the death of the Gandhian dream, of freedom, democracy, self-government and independence, tolerance and peace, as the country which for thousands of years has been one of the great spiritual lights of the world descends into a narrow-minded, bigoted, petty and brutal, barbaric neoliberal/neoconservative corporatist oligarchy and fascist state, a la Modi, sowing war both within and outside its borders, like a mad leper devouring his own flesh; or whether, perhaps, they can imagine something better.

(And I am with Gandhi, Vandana Shiva, and Arundhati Roy: I say they can.)

Whatever transpires in the weeks, months and years ahead, we will not see neoliberalism last. It is rapidly descending, or morphing, to be precise, into the full merger of business and the state, which is fascism. Only the willfully ignorant, or most dogmatic of ideologues, can refuse to see this most obvious fact by now.

Whether this new, second wave of fascism lasts decades, or is but a brief flash, is up to the people to decide. But if it lasts for long, not only will freedom and democracy, human rights and dignity be crushed, at least temporarily; but so too, will all chances and all hopes for a green and sustainable society; or even, a viable future of any kind for humanity on Earth.

This is our last stand. Make your choices well.

*

Roughly 650 years ago, in the mid-1300s, the Black Plague spelled the beginning of the end for feudalism. While the global “pandemic” of the CIA-Wuhan Flu in 2020, so far, and by all present measures, is infinitely smaller in magnitude than the Black Death, and more on par with the common flu; the draconian lockdown and mass house arrest of more than three billion people has caused an economic meltdown that is fanning the flames of social unrest, which were already extremely high and rising by 2019.

We can look at that authoritarian lockdown and its implications in two broad ways – other ways being frankly deceitful, or else delusional. Ominous and disastrous, is one side of the implications. Potential for great, tectonic social change, is the other side, and equally as real. Crisis always presents opportunity, as well as roads to change.

However, in the early 21st century, unlike the 14th century, with the neo-feudalism which we are now facing, both East and West, we do not have 400 years to throw it off, and rise above it.

If it takes us 400 years to overcome our present global neo-feudal order, or even 40 years, then humanity, by all likelihood, and almost certainly, will have ceased to exist, for the global ecosystems of the world will have long since been degraded to the point of collapse.

Whatever we are going to do, we had best reflect deeply, and be clear as to the true meaning and implications of our actions. What we do not need now is to forge the shackles and chains of our own slavery, or sow the seeds of our own destruction, thinking that is the road to freedom, to happiness, to security, or to a better world.

Moreover, whatever we do, we had best do it now. We have simply run out of time for any kind of denial, dithering, delays, avoidance or evasion, procrastination or hesitation. The time, quite simply, is now.

Democracy must be reborn. It truly is, now or never.

JTR,
April 8, 2020

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.

 

Waiting For The Crazed Clown Show To End – Or, Welcome To The Brave New World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2020 by jtoddring

I don’t know when I will be able to go to the gym or library again, or a park, or my favourite local bookstore or record store – or whether they will still be in business when this is over, if it does indeed end; or when I will be able to leave the country (what is this, the Soviet Union?); or when I will be able to see my daughter, who has been kept separated from me for nearly a month now, in her own separate quarantine – under mass house arrest, like the other three billion of us.

Remember how people lost their minds, so to speak, in utter outrage at Trump separating families – as they rightfully were outraged? Well, this is pervasive now. We now have a world filled to the gills with governments that make Trump look like an arch anti-authoritarian.

When this crazed clown show that is being imposed by our neoliberal, eternally benevolent, corporatist, fascist governments will end, I do not know. But I pray it is soon, for the sake of us all. The Western elite, as is also happening in the East, are killing people en mass by economic warfare. The people cannot, and should not, and will not, take much more.

No, we do not accept the sweeping, draconian, authoritarian, quite literally fascist powers the elite have granted themselves, in what looks like a bid to out-do China in totalitarian control; nor do we accept the sweeping away of our cherished liberties, which our parents, our grandparents, and our great grandparents  fought and died for.

The draconian, authoritarian, literally fascist measures of mass quarantine and enforced “social distancing” are not helpful, do not protect life, have no valid scientific basis, and are utterly unjustified. Moreover, they are killing millions slowly through economic warfare – far more, many orders of magnitude more, than will die by this virus.

And do note: the people and governments who have been implementing, colluding with, or cheer-leading the present extreme, draconian, fascist measures, are going to take a severe hit to their credibility, and very soon.

(You’d better start back-peddling now – though it will be on record, and remembered, have no fear. You sorry lot will not be forgotten. Your credibility is now shot.)

Check the numbers for a critical, and urgently needed regaining of perspective. 58,000 deaths globally from coronavirus in the past four months, vs 110,000 from the common flu, 1.9 million from cancer, and 2.3 million from poverty and hunger – numbers which are soaring now, thanks to the fascist lockdown and economic warfare waged by the elite.

This global wave of authoritarianism has nothing to do with protecting public health – despite what the dim-witted bureaucrats and rank and file medical community may firmly believe. This is about power.

And no, it is not just far right governments like Modi, BoJo and Trump, but the equally far right corporatist neoliberals in Canada, Europe, and around the world, as well.

This is a bipartisan corporate fascist coup on a global scale.

And no, the people will not take much more.

The voices of sanity, which were just a handful only a few weeks ago, are growing in number. Even the BBC is tolerating (some slight) dissent! Lo and behold. Wonders never cease.

The unanimity of propaganda and group think is beginning to crack. However, there is a long way to go to cut through the fog, the manufactured panic, the hysteria, the fear-mongering “divide and conquer” strategy which is the core of what this is about, and the lies – and there is no time to spare.

The major media, the alternative media, and most governments and health authorities, have failed the people completely and utterly – including the WHO, of course, which has been effectively bought and paid for by Big Pharma for some time.

Remember the lesson from Saddam’s WMDs. Or the total corruption of the OPCW. Have we learned nothing? Remember that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Moreover, as Goethe said, “Those who cannot learn from 5,000 years of history are living hand to mouth.”

Amen.

To repeat, this is a global neoliberal/neoconservative joint endeavour which is nothing less than a corporate fascist coup. It is the oligarchy, both East and West, consolidating their power, because the rapidly growing wave of popular protests were terrifying them, and they are afraid of losing power.

This is the elite’s response to a global crisis of legitimacy, which, by 2019 had reached the tipping point. Their reaction is clear: it is a fascist lockdown.

Note the war criminal Henry Kissinger’s statement on COVID-19: “The world will never be the same after the coronavirus.” This statement, remember, is from the man who is on record as having ordered genocide in South-East Asia – “Send everything that flies. Kill everything that moves.”

Time to wake up. This is a power grab.

JTR,
April 4, 2020

 

See my recent articles for further information, references, critical facts and analysis:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The Central Facts

Elite Power Games: Any Enemy Will Do – Even A Virus

Coronavirus: Hype Confirmed, Fascism Confirmed

Global Geopolitics Analysis 2020: Sinking All Ships (But Our Own): Elite Aim To Sink Global Economy, In Order To Consolidate Global Neo-Feudal Corporate Rule

The Most Dangerous Epidemic Of All

Tipping Point Is Near: It Is Now Revolution, Or Extinction & Slow Death

Hurray For the Daft! (That’s Us)

Flash-Drive Revolution – and – Who To Trust?

 

See also:

Trends Journal

GreenMedInfo

The Corbett Report

The Centre for Research on Globalization

Peter Hitchens

John Pilger

Barbara Honegger

Piers Robinson

And especially the following article:

Here We Go Again: 9/11, Coronavirus and Another ‘New Pearl Harbor’, Barbara Honegger, American herald Tribune, March 23, 2020

https://ahtribune.com/world/covid-19/3991-coronavirus-new-pearl-harbor.html

And the following podcast interview:

Piers Robinson: Is Coronavirus the New 9/11?

Apr 2, 2020,  in Podcast

Piers Robinson: Is Coronavirus the New 9/11? #140

 

And this above all, confirms yet again what should have been obvious all along:

Official Figures: COVID-19 Yet to Impact Europe’s Overall Mortality

Year-to-date statistics show excess mortality lower than previous years

 

These few sources, along with myself, are the only ones at present, that I know of, who are getting it right on the coronavirus event.

 

The Faux Left, and, The Urgent Need To Unite The People

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 2020 by jtoddring

What’s called “the left” is really a few camps, very narrow in range:

There are neoliberals such as Hilary Clinton, Obama, Biden, and the Democratic party establishment, who (like Tony Blair and new Labour in Britain, and the Liberal party in Canada) are in reality extreme right – they are corporatists, like the neoconservatives, which means, as Mussolini said, fascism: which is the merger of corporate and state power.

Then there are centrist liberals, but by now, they are so spineless, and mindless, that they effectively support the neoliberal fascists, having no idea what they are doing.

Then there are the FDR-style liberal-progressives. Sanders is a good example. Harmless, but not revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, and generally obtuse, oblivious, well-meaning, but self-neutering. I pray to be proven wrong, but do not expect it.

100 or 90 years ago, they were the leading edge. Now they are a throwback, and too timid and unimaginative to get the job done: which is, to defeat the corporate oligarchy, not seek a compromise with it, or to petition it, or plead with it, but to defeat and dethrone it, and to replace it with genuine citizens’ democracy, civil liberties for all, and constitutional rule. That means revolution – real revolution. (Gandhian, but uncompromising.) They don’t seem to understand that, though they soon may, now that the neoliberal fascist lockdown – which the dithering left, centre, and grassroots right, all seem oblivious to – is underway.

Then there are democratic socialists, but most are really Sanders-progressive-FDR liberals, and greatly lacking in boldness, as well as vision and strategic intelligence: self-neutering, again, by and large.

That represents 98% of what is CALLED the left. But there is far more than this left in the world. Far more.

More importantly:

There are thinking liberals, conservatives, socialists, libertarians, anarchists and greens, who have some understanding of what is really going on. They disagree on a great deal, but they, in general, all agree that constitutional democracy, with civil liberties and freedom for all, is vastly preferable to fascism or oligarchy – which we have now. They, the not silent but marginalized majority, need to unite, and to stand up now.

“The resistance” – what a sad and tragic, dangerous joke. The neoliberals and the neoconservatives are two wings of the same ruling corporatist oligarchy. They must BOTH be overthrown, and now.

Planetary-health wise, there is no time left for compromising with either neoconservative or neoliberal corporate crypto-fascists, even if that were morally tolerable, which it is not. Both must go. It is now a matter of democratic revolution, or slow death in a gulag society.

Let us choose wisely – and choose now.

JTR,
April 4, 2020

Sanders & The Terror Of Socialism, vs The Real Dangers

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

 

A note to those on the right:

Universal public health care is considered a basic human right in Canada, the UK, Europe, and every civilized country. It also happens to cost less than the private profit-driven US system – a lot less.

So let’s not be too dogmatic. The market is good at some things, but not everything. Does anyone remember private fire stations? No? That’s because they didn’t work, so we abandoned them.

It’s the same for private, for profit health care systems: they don’t work, they’re cruel, mean-spirited, morally bankrupt and depraved, and they furthmore cost too much. They are corporate vampirism, and they are bankrupting both the people and the Treasury of the nation.

A Green New Deal is simply necessary in order to create real jobs, restart the economy, and keep us from destroying ourselves and the planet we live on – and can easily be paid for if we tax the richest 1% more fairly and equitably, instead of laying the bulk of the tax burden on small business, the middle class and the poor, which is economically foolish as well as morally reprehensible.

As to Sanders self-described position as a democratic socialist, we should not let that frighten us. Virtually all of Europe is democratic socialist to one degree or another. They have elections, and civil liberties are more intact than they are in the new police state USA. They have mixed economies, part socialist, part market economy, and it works very well.

What you need to be worried about is not public libraries and fire departments, schools and health care, in a mixed economy as Sanders would encourage. What you need to worry about is fascism – and that is being brought in fast by the Wall Street oligarchy and their neoliberal and noeconservative prostitutes in high office.

Bernie is an FDR New Deal compromise kind of guy. Hold your nose and vote for him, because the alternative may well be civil war, or planetary death.

JTR,
March 29, 2020

Global Geopolitics Analysis 2020: Sinking All Ships (But Our Own): Elite Aim To Sink Global Economy, In Order To Consolidate Global Neo-Feudal Corporate Rule

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2020 by jtoddring

The currently reigning political-economic orthodoxy, philosophy or ideology, both East and West, and in virtually every nation, with only a few exceptions, has rightly been called neoliberalism. What that means, is the merger of business and the state, which as Mussolini himself defined it, is properly called corporatism – which, he said, is the proper term for fascism. That is the order which we are facing now. And this is the final phase, it would seem, of the slow motion fascist coup which has been under way for the past forty years. Things are coming to a head, right now, in 2020.

Neoconservatism, which arose along side neoliberalism in the 1970’s, as its uglier Siamese twin, is its mirror image – without the velvet glove, or the Obama-esque, silky smooth PR machinery.

Both neoliberalism and neoconservatism – the two wings of the global corporate oligarchy and its self-serving ideology – have been a disaster for human beings and the Earth – as well as for democracy, human rights, civil liberties, constitutional rule and the rule of law, and for freedom.

Everywhere, this beast roams, or lurks, waiting to devour ever more. And devouring the people and the planet, our freedom, our democracy, our future and our rights, indeed it is.

What neoliberalism and neoconservatism represent, at their heart, is simply an escalated and intensified class war. It is a class war waged by the elite 0.1% upon the other 99.9% of the people, along with democracy, freedom, and the Earth.

The oligarchs are fulfilling Adam Smith’s depiction of what Thomas Jefferson called “the new moneyed aristocracy”, which Adam Smith called “the architects of policy”.

Note what Thomas Jefferson said about “the new moneyed aristocracy”, 200 years ago. In 1812, Jefferson said, “I pray we shall crush the new moneyed aristocracy in its infancy, for already it bids defiance to our laws, and seeks a contest of strength with our democratic government.”

Adam Smith spoke in similar ways, referring to “the vile maxim of the masters” – which he said was, “All for us, nothing for any one else.”

The elite simply want it all: all wealth on Earth; and more dangerously, all power. And they are making rapid progress. The richest eight individuals now have more wealth than the poorest half of humanity. Inequality has skyrocketed. Checks and balances and limits on power have been shredded, along with constitutions and human rights. The corporate coup is approaching completion.

What the neoliberal and neoconservative “New Bad Deal” of the past 40 years represents, is a) corporate globalization, b) globalism (closely related, but distinct), and c) corporatism. Corporatism means merger of business and the state – or the full corporate take-over of the state, in the case of the West, and the state take-over of the corporatized economy in the formerly Red East of China. Again, what is critical to remember is that in both cases, it is corporatism – which, again, as Mussolini said, is the proper term for fascism.

Globalization, and the ideology of neoliberal and neoconservative corporate globalism, is at heart, a war on democracy, since it is a slow-motion global corporate coup. It was sold to the people with the lie that it would lift all boats, and benefit all – while of course leaving all precious liberties and our democracy in tact, naturally.

What happened over the past four decades of neoliberal and neoconservative class warfare, however, has been the devouring of the middle class in the formerly wealthy nations of the West, the de-industrialization of the West, the offshoring of production for higher corporate profits, along with the offshoring of profits, and above all, a war on democracy at home and abroad.

Instead of lifting all boats, the result was a massive, historically unprecedented transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor – from Main Street – to Wall Street, the City of London, Davos, and the already stratospherically rich global business elite. And the corresponding hyper-concentration of power has been even more disastrous, and extremely dangerous.

*

Now that the elite have given themselves trillions of dollars worth of cash and assets from the public purse between 2008 and the start of 2020, and have looted, privatized, bought up, or taken private, just about everything they can, they want to sink the global economy, pull the plug, and sink all boats – other than theirs, of course.

Remember, the super-rich are never harmed in a crash – they prosper, and go on a feeding frenzy. Moreover, they can demand more bailouts for themselves while sinking and devouring everyone else – and they will get it becuase they control the levers of power.

It’s happening now:

$4.5 trillion in public money, in the US alone, is to go to the corporate elite, for their protection, while they continue to crash the economy by the new fascist lockdown they themselves have imposed on the people.

The elite trash the economy with their imposition of  “temporary” police state lockdown measures, then loot the people, claiming an emergency multi-trillion dollar bailout for themselves…. Predictable. And this is just the start.

A “temporary” invocation of emergency powers and martial law, with the suspension of all civil rights, is already here.

A “temporary” suspension of all regulations, contractual obligations, labour and environmental standards is being rammed through as well.

Event 201 and the Rockefeller Foundation Lock Step plan had nothing to do with health, and everything to do with power and wealth. We are seeing a continuity of agenda.

Again, we should not be surprised. This is turbocharged class war on nitrous oxide. This is end game. Re-read Orwell, Huxley, Zamyatin, and Jack London’s Iron Heel.

 

‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules

“The EPA uses this global pandemic to create loopholes for destroying the environment. This is a schoolbook example for what we need to start looking out for.” – Common Dreams, 

‘Looting of America by Big Corporations’: Progressives Appalled as Senate Unanimously Passes Largest Bailout Bill in US History

“A transfer of wealth and power to the super rich from the rest of us, with the support of both political parties—a damning statement about the condition of American democracy.”

– Common Dreams,

“At the moment when the American people are most in need, our coffers are being looted by the wealthy and well-connected.”
—Progressive Change Campaign Committee

“We oppose the Senate’s looting of America by big corporations,” the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) said in a statement. “Over and over, the American people are told there is ‘no money’—for student debt relief, for Medicare for All, for a Green New Deal, to create millions of jobs and save our planet. And now, at the moment when the American people are most in need, our coffers are being looted by the wealthy and well-connected.”

 

But this is business as usual for the elite. Cause a crisis, present yourself as the cure, and increase your wealth, and more importantly your power, by delivering “the cure”.

 

*

“Worth citing here is Caitlin Johnstone, who in a recent article noted how America’s response to COVID-19 illustrates the pathologies of market-driven capitalism and the politicians who so willingly serve it:

The corporate cronyism of America’s political system has been highlighted with a massive kleptocratic multitrillion-dollar corporate bailout of which actual Americans are only receiving a tiny fraction. Instead of putting that money toward paying people a living wage to stay home during a global pandemic, the overwhelming majority of the money is going to corporations while actual human beings receive a paltry $1,200 (which they won’t even be getting until May at the earliest) at a time of record-smashing unemployment.

America’s capitalism worship has been highlighted with Wall Street Journal headline “Dow Soars More Than 11% In Biggest One-Day Jump Since 1933” running at the exact same time as “Record Rise in Unemployment Claims Halts Historic Run of Job Growth — More than 3 million workers file for jobless benefits as coronavirus hits the economy“. Stocks are booming, Amazon is surging, and mountains of wealth are being transferred to sprawling megacorporations, while actual human beings are terrified of what the future holds.

Nice to know a few are profiting while so many worry, suffer, and die.  But should we be that surprised by how callous America’s leaders are?

I recall reading Daniel Ellsberg’s book on U.S. planning for nuclear war.  Sixty years ago, U.S. leaders were prepared to kill 600 million people (that’s not a typo) in their efforts to “win” the Cold War.”

– William J. Astore, American Herald Tribune

Only 600 million killed. That was the plan. Mind you, world population is much higher now. The numbers may need adjusting.

Do the elite feel ok about mass murder for money and power? Yes, they do. Are they deeply concerned about public health? Are you delusional? They’re interested in money and power, as always. Mass deaths are quite fine. So are prison camps and a police state.

*

And in turn, in the aftermath of the next great economic crash, which looks to be unfolding now, the cycle of an every-intensifying feeding frenzy of the elite few upon the many will continue, and with greater ferocity and speed.

Of course, if the ruling elite sink the global economy, then the levels of popular discontent, which are already extremely high, will go through the roof. That is understood. That is why a police state has been built.

But a police state must be rationalized. That was the purpose of the “war on terrorism” – which in reality was a war on democracy at home and abroad, as well as a pretext for resource wars and coups the world over.

However, the “war on terrorism” propaganda narrative is no longer working. People are beginning to realize what even Trump has admitted: the wars in the Middle East are about oil. The propaganda narrative is failing.

So a new narrative was created, to distract the people from the three powers at home who are devouring them: Wall Street, Washington, and the military industrial complex. The new official enemies became Russia, China and Iran – regardless of their real threats, which in reality are basically economic competition only.

But even the new Red Scare and the new Cold War have failed. People are seeing through that as well. Something new was needed.

After a number of trials, over several years, the public health emergency pretext for the police state, fascism and martial law, have been refined to a fine edge.

Whether the coronavirus was naturally occurring, or whether it was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Bioweapons lab, or whether the Chinese government released it deliberately, or the US government, or perhaps even a US-China joint effort, to consolidate the powers of the oligarchs East and West simultaneously, or some other actor, it ultimately matters very little. Any crisis, real or manufactured – whether honestly portrayed, or greatly exaggerated, as this one seems clearly to be – any crisis will do as a rationale for the new global police state.

*

So there you have it. Conspiracy theory? No: it is simply political-economic, sociological and geopolitical analysis of power elites and their known patterns and proven past actions, with extrapolation to the near future, based on very clear and undeniable indications.

In short, get ready for a global shit-storm: not necessarily due to a pandemic, which is very unlikely to amount to anything much beyond its present, wildly exaggerated levels. (Compare 11,000 global deaths from coronavirus vs nearly 50,000 deaths per day from the combined body count from poverty, hunger, obesity and poor diets).

What is clearly unfolding is:

a) fascist architecture continues to be being built;

b) draconian and authoritarian, fascist responses to the coronavirus, both East and West are in play;

c) an already extremely unstable global economy is being pushed toward collapse by the fascist lockdown imposed by elites, both in China, and also in the West;

d) economic crash – with huge spikes in global uprisings, as well as suffering and deaths, are certain to result if the draconian lockdowns continue for long; and

e) the hounds will likely be unleashed by the new global fascist police state, justified by the war on terrorism, by the new Red Scare and Cold War, by calls for “order”, and quite possibly by a public health emergency – and whether it is real or fabricated, does not matter – as popular unrest soars to new hiehgts world-wide in the face of the global economic crash which the elite have brought about.

The oligarchs create a crisis, then use the crisis to ram through sweeping changes that favour themselves, at the expense of the people, democracy, freedom, and the Earth. That is what is happening now – again, only this time with greater ferocity.

Remember, I will say again, I predicted the 2007-2010 global economic crisis when everyone was saying things are just rosy. It would be unwise to dismiss this second warning, of an even greater economic crisis coming fast – and the fascist “solution” to the crisis which will follow.

Speak up, and stand up: for democracy, freedom, human dignity, and the Earth which is also being razed, looted, devoured and destroyed.

The hour is very late. The next few months to several years will be our greatest; or, if we are complacent, or reality avoidant, our darkest hour.

Speak up, stand up. It ain’t over ’till it’s over.

Neo-feudalism, or more simply put, global fascism, is what is arising now.  The oligarchs, the elite, are consolidating their power. If we value our freedom, our democracy, or our future on Earth, we had better stand now.

JTR,
March 27, 2020

See Trends Journal, Economic Epidemic, March 17, 2020

Medical Martial Law, The Corbett Report, March 2020

Demystifying Economics – Or, Rescuing Humanity From Death By Shared Delusion, Part One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2020 by jtoddring

To start with, it should be made clear that it is unwise, to say the least, to disparage mysticism. Mysticism, in the true sense, means to dive into, and deeply examine the mystery of being: it means, to cultivate a direct experience of the true nature of being and reality. It is a philosophical-ontological-epistemological investigation that is not content to rest with second hand opinions or mere conjecture, or the castles made of sand that are ideological constructs of ideation and philosophical speculation – an investigation into the nature of being and reality which is radically empirical, or in contrast to virtually every other approach, including the “scientific”, the only truly empirical approach. Direct contact with reality should appeal to us, not be something we scorn. Hence, mysticism should not be disparaged, but investigated, and plumbed. Which is to say, being should be investigated and plumbed. Mystification, however, is another matter entirely.

While mysticism, in its true sense, is a positive and direct investigation of the real; mystification is something altogether different. And mystification reigns in modern society – particularly in “the dismal science” (which is profoundly unscientific, and more medieval than it would ever dare to admit) which is the (pseudo-academic) field of economics.

Mystification means, of course, to obfuscate, to muddy, cloud, or confuse – whether intentionally or unintentionally. Mystification does not help us. Demystification does.

After three a half decades and fifty thousand hours of study, research and reflection in the areas of philosophy and politics, and the realms these are connected to – which are all realms: including science, world religions, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, mythology, ecology, and economics – I have begun to decrypt the puzzling palace in the sky which is known as “economics”.

I am not formally trained in economics, I hasten to say. And for those of us not formally trained in economics, economics can seem impenetrably baffling, cryptic, obscure, arcane, esoteric, filled with hopelessly vague jargon and jingo, and steeped in a veil of deep, thick, all-concealing fog. For those who are formally trained in economics, I would say, the fog is thicker still – for the training is one of indoctrination, rather than education; as is the norm in modern society, but only more so.

Why is economics so layered in fog? I propose that there are several reasons or causal factors involved:

1. The profession must guard the gates, lest too many join, and the price the high priests (“economists” and economics professors) can charge for their services, be reduced. This is common among many professions. And the mystification unintentionally created around the “discipline” is intended, however unintentionally, to keep out the riffraff, so that those working in the field can keep their prices for their services high. Lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors, psychiatrists, stock brokers, investment managers and hedge fund managers….many befuddle themselves and others by unconsciously keeping to obscuring and counterproductive jargon and jingo, rather than speaking or writing in plain words. But as it has been said of physics, and science more broadly, and it applies to all fields: the measure of your understanding of the subject is whether you can express it in layman’s terms that a general audience can understand. Philosophers (I am embarrassed for my field to say it) are among the worst for this fault. And economists are no better. Their vagueness does not indicate extreme competence, much less genius; but more commonly, shared delusions, and profoundly sloppy thinking. But all this must be hidden, so that the ranks remain relatively closed and small, that is, elite, and thus the failings are hidden while the price tag of their services, however dubious, remains high. It’s a matter of artificial scarcity, public relations and marketing, in sum, which causes a large part of the obfuscation in the field – and obfuscation is its “profoundly abnormal norm”.

*

But there are other reasons for economics to be obscure. The subject matter is complex to begin with, and in reality. This is the case in many fields, including economics. If economics is the realm of human material interactions, with or without the use of currency or money as intermediaries, then it is naturally complex. Coming to clarity in such a field is therefore unsurprisingly challenging, as with most fields – but far from impossible, even without formal training; and especially so without formal training (like a poodle) and “education”, since the indoctrination factor is typically far less.

There are now seven billion human beings on Earth, roughly speaking, and trillions of other living creatures, all interacting within local, regional and global economies, within local, regional and global ecosystems, on a small, fragile, beautiful, life-giving planet that is home to almost infinitely intricate systems of interaction and interdependence.

Ecology is the broader study of this field of interaction. Sociology, anthropology, history and political-economy are subsets of this global field of interactions – among others, such as systems theory, chaos theory, physics, biology and psychology.

Political-economy in particular cannot be separated into separate fields of study – politics and economics – without both being lost in utter confusion. And nor can economics be separated from ecology, which is the greater system in which economics, as a subset, is embedded, without severe confusion, illusion, delusion, and disaster ensuing.

From this simple statement of facts we can conclude two further things, as a start:

2) Economics is going to be riddled with confusion, illusion and delusion if it is studied in isolation from the larger fields of political-economy, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and above all, ecology. Since this is how orthodox economics are practiced, we can see why orthodox economics is not only layered over with mystification – it makes no sense, because it truly makes no sense: it is steeped in delusion, arising from a radical disassociation from, and denial of reality. Economics is confusing because it is filled with confusion, quite simply – radical confusion, to the point of sheer delusion.

3) Further, since the interaction of seven billion people and trillions of other living beings within interlinked and interdependent local and global ecosystems makes for essentially incomprehensible systems complexity – for any supercomputer, cloud of supercomputers, or any human mind (the latter being, by the way, not just at present but probably forever, far superior in analytical and synthesis ability, not to mention categorically superior in value assessment, to any computer or hallowed AI).

Therefore, the study of economics, like the broader studies of political-economy, sociology, anthropology, history or ecology, must be approached with an ever-attentive balancing of both confidence and also humility. Hubris is our current downfall, in both the narrow sphere of economics, and in the broader spheres of hard and “soft” sciences and humanities, and in our general modern society.

That hubris will be corrected in one of two ways: either our civilization will collapse, under the weight of its orthodoxy and shared delusions, which is to say, under the weight of its hubris; or we will rediscover an open-minded sense of wonder and awe, as Einstein recommended, and with it, a kind of balancing of confidence, dignity, and yes, humility, which Renaissance society understood to be essential to a good society, or even a sane society, or a sane or decent life.

But at present, the pervasiveness of hubris in both economics and the broader society makes for widely shared delusions, and that means mystification, and dangerous levels of denial, and hence, a pervasive fog.

4) Neoclassical orthodox economics tells itself, and tells the world, that a) the orthodoxy is correct and true – like an unquestionable medieval religious doctrine, upheld and spoken by the mysterious high priests; and tells itself and the world that b) the global economic system of neoliberalism is beneficial to all human beings, or at least the great majority – and to all people in the long term; and tells itself and the world that c) the economic orthodoxy and global economic system are at least neutral in terms of the planet we live on, if not actively improving it.

(Note the legacy of John Locke, and the idea that nature and the wilderness have no value, until the forest is cut down and turned into lumber, or toilet paper, at which time it is redeemed and “improved”. Note also that neoliberal economic imperialism, or corporate globalization, follows the history of previous empires: “This is for your own good. We are on a civilizing mission. We are helping you.” No wonder Thoreau remarked, “If I knew someone was coming to help me, I would like to get as far away as possible.”)

All three assumptions, or holy dogma, are simply untrue, demonstrably false, and based on lies, illusions, delusion, and a radical dissociation from reality: economic orthodoxy is not based in reality and not sound; and the global neoliberal economic system is not aiding the great majority of the people, but looting and shackling them; and it is not neutral toward nature, or improving it, but looting and razing it. Unless one is a dedicated ideologue – or an orthodox economist, which is the same thing, as well as a secular fundamentalist – these things are becoming quite obvious, and undeniable.

The result is that economists have to lie to themselves systematically, and believe their own lies – which means, to delude themselves, and render themselves functionally insane. If they did not, they would have to, not only question neoclassical orthodox economics and neoliberalism, but reject the lot entirely.

Few are courageous enough, either morally or intellectually, to question or challenge their profession, their holy dogma, their society, or the hands that feed them – whether directly or indirectly. (Careerism, dedication to a paycheck over basic sanity, integrity, conscience or common sense, and unwavering obedience to authority, along with conformism, tend to rule the academy, and particularly the economics department, which couldn’t say “shit” if it had a mouthful, but would only smile and say, “Yes, master.”) Therefore, mystification is the inevitable result of an intellectual system, doctrine, and field which is based in lies, willful ignorance, denial and delusion.

There are many who will argue against the claims I have made here, of course. Most of them are economists, naturally, or members of the ruling business elite or their loyal servants in politics, academia and the media. And many will cite figures and statistics to back their dismissal of what I have asserted here – that the economic orthodoxy is based upon lies, delusion, self-serving rationalizations and self-deceit, and a radical denial and dissociation from reality. But we should remember, numbers, figures and statistics can be massaged, fudged, wildly distorted, or simply made up.

A forensic accountant who was interviewed by Canada’s public state media, the CBC, said that most of the books and economic reports issued by corporations belong in the fiction section.

“Creative accounting” is now the norm. Moreover, both big business and big government utilize highly fictional accounting and economic reporting practices. 2+2, we are supposed to believe, equals five.

Governments now routinely lie about employment rates and inflation rates, for example. Job creation figures are also more fiction than reality, considering precarious, low-wage “McJobs” are the mainstay of most “job creation” figures reported – jobs which no one can live on.

Employment rates don’t account for the growing and vast ranks of the working poor. And unemployment rates don’t count the growing underclass, a large percentage of which have given up on finding regular paid jobs.

And while official inflation rates run at 3% or lower, those official rates leave out giant increases in housing costs, rent, home heating, transportation, education and health care costs – these things are not considered essential to life, we are to suppose, so they are not counted into the official inflation numbers. Real inflation rates are typically closer to 6-9%.(See Gerald Celente, Trends Journal, and Shadow Stats.)

There has supposedly been an economic “recovery”. (Remember that I predicted the 2007-2010 economic crisis, when virtually everyone was saying things are just rosy.) The “recovery” has driven the stock market to new highs. But the stock market is now radically out of touch with the real economy.

What was done was to inject trillions of dollars of money-printing into creditor’s pockets – banks “too big to fail” and economic elites too big to jail – with the promise that it would trickle down. Well, the people have been lied to, swindled, and trickled on. The billionaires got richer, while poverty and inequality soared.

This was not a recovery. It was a blood-letting: the super-rich accelerated their devouring of the middle class, the merely affluent, the planet, and of course, the poor. In the process, the debt bubble, the asset bubbles, and “the everything bubble”, simply grew exponentially bigger. When it blows, as it will, it will be greater than the Great Depression. And “the recovery” has only made it so that the coming crash will be far bigger.

(Don’t wait until your money is worthless before diversifying, moving your money out of paper money, and building real resiliency, by the way.)

By some official figures, world poverty rates are falling. But, is being driven off the land and rural farms and into shantytowns and slums, to go from subsitence farming to desperately poor, precarious workers in cities, a decrease in poverty? In many cases, if not most, the opposite is true.

The newly urbanized poor, driven off the land and into the slums, in general have more income, yes, more precarious paper money, of ever more dubious value or worth; but their lives are more precarious, less secure, and in general, more impoverished, degraded and degrading – and more desperate, not less: exactly as with the land enclosure acts of Europe, generations ago, which was a feeding frenzy of the aristocracy, the elite, upon the peasantry, the great majority; which gave rise to what is called the industrial revolution, and “progress”.

God bless the robber baron parasites! They are our salvation!

Poverty is rising, and inequality is soaring, while precarious work and living conditions are becoming the norm for the overwhelming majority of people world-wide. This is progress? This is a rising tide lifting all boats? No, this is rape and pillage economics, economic imperialism, economic apartheid, or simple cannibalism of the middle class and poor, along with the planet, by the super-rich billionaire, plutocrat class – the rentier class.

Remember what Mark Twain said: “There are lies, there are damned lies – and then there are statistics.”

The fact is that neoclassical orthodox economics and neoliberalism represent a body of thought which is radically out of touch with reality, in radical denial of reality, and is radically delusional – at best, if not simply deceitful, and based upon lies. (In part, it is simply Machiavellian, but cannot admit it.) As a result, the pseudo-intellectual field of economics, and the actual real-world global economic system which it upholds and perennially defends, like guardian high priests, or deranged holy war paladins, is causing exponentially growing human suffering and ecological devastation, and will result soon in neofeudalism, crypto-fascism, and a new dark age, followed by the collapse of human civilization.

These are the facts that the majority of people, who are not economists, nor among the self-deceiving business, “intellectual” or political elite, are coming to perceive and to realize. In short, the people must trust their instincts more: the emperor truly does have no clothes – and the elite and their high priests are quite insane.

To puncture and rupture and pierce this bubble of shared delusion is thus a moral responsibility, not only of economists, but more importantly, of all thinking people – before we create, or allow to be created in our names, a global sweatshop, a global plantation, a global gulag, and a global fascist neofeudalism, that will make the Dark Ages look like a picnic; and will lead, in the end, and very soon, to the collapse of our civilization, in either nuclear war or ecological holocaust.

*

Awake now, people. The emperor has no clothes. The elite are robbing us blind, looting and pillaging the planet, and amassing vastly excessive powers, leading to both global fascism, and global collapse.

We must stop this madness now. Think, question, read, listen – and hear; then speak, and act.

As Thomas Paine said, “It is in our power to begin the world again.” Well, we simply must, or else perish, slowly and painfully, by result of our own hubris, or inability to question the high priests of the reigning orthodoxy of a delusional society that is clearly off the rails, and headed for disaster.

As the Canadian environmental scientist and geneticist, David Suzuki said, “Orthodox economics is a form of insanity.”

Well, the madness must end now.

JTR,
March 1, 2020

 

For further reading, talks, interviews, videos, and general clarification, in terms of economics narrowly, but critically, and other inseparably inter-related areas, see:

Max Keiser
Gerald Celente
Paul Craig Roberts
Matt Taibbi
Susan George
Michel Chossudovsky
Steve Keen
Ann Pettifor
Joseph Stiglitz
Yanis Varoufakis

And equally important, for critical context and perspective:

EF Schumacher
Gregory Bateson
Joanna Macy
Rianne Eisler
Murray Bookchin
Bertrand Russell
Peter Kropotkin
Marx (of course – because he was a brilliant sociologist,
despite being a terrible political philosopher)
David Suzuki
Jared Diamond
Ronald Wright
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Vandana Shiva
Naomi Klein
Jeremy Rifkin
Aldous Huxley
Alan Watts
Allan Wallace
David Bohm
Erich Fromm

And perhaps especially:

Michael Hudson
Ellen Brown
Daly & Cobb
John Perkins
John Ralston Saul

 

 

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