Monday, April 25, 2011

Truth by the bushel-full from David Michael Green

To read this EXCELLENT article in its entirety, go to:

By David Michael Green

EXCERPT: People are dumber now, certainly about politics. That's the reason why the notion of "President Reagan" was a laugh-out-loud joke in 1975 but a source of reverence in 2005. That's why George W. Bush is regarded as a basically benign-but-not-so-brilliant president, as opposed to a walking crime against humanity. That's why people continue to vote for politicians who will assist them in their own looting, and who have successfully carried out the greatest transfer of wealth in all of human history, while pretending to serve the public interest instead. And that's the reason why a Donald Trump kind of buffoon could actually lead in the polls for the presidential nomination of one of the country's two major parties.

It isn't so much a core civics education that is missing, though reading poll data on the public's comprehension of the most basic facts regarding their supposedly revered system of governance will positively singe your eyeballs. (What, senators have six-year terms? No! The Bill of Rights applies to us? Get outta here!) It's more of a kind of street smarts that's missing. More of a sense that people don't any longer have the ability to recognize their enemies - including, all too often, themselves.

To choose just the most obvious example, we live in a world in which unregulated private sector actors, greedily pursuing their boundlessly rapacious instincts, have crashed an entire global economy around our - not their - heads, then turned to governments in order to bail them out. And even though the whole notion of the capitalist system they so vehemently espouse is rooted in the idea of risk, they in fact came to believe retrospectively that they should take none, receiving in many cases full coverage for their obligations from the governments they so often and so vociferously deride, when their bets went south. Keep that in mind as I ask you to ponder when was the last time your heard anyone in American politics say, "Businesses should be run more like the government!"? Wouldn't that make a whole lot of sense, given the very recent history just chronicled? I mean who screwed up royally and who didn't? Who got bailed out and who did the bailing?

I have often noted that it isn't like the disconnect these days between the vast majority of Americans and the elites of the political right is simply a matter of two sets of honest-to-goodness patriots who just happen to have rather different ideas about how to make America a better place. That is an extremely naive view, in its most generous form, and I am positively slayed when I hear the president articulate it, because I sometimes think he actually believes what he's saying. In reality, the difference between these two camps is the difference between victim and criminal. It is an entirely false premise upon which to base any analysis of American politics to believe that the plutocrats and their Republican and Democratic marionettes have any interest whatsoever in the bettering of the country and its citizens. Indeed, their interests are quite to the contrary. Of course, they cannot market themselves that way, so instead do so by pretending to be hyper-patriots, and marching out a series of bogus enemies of the state du jour, whether those are Saddam or Castro or homosexuals or immigrants. Anything to keep the hoi polloi distracted from the fingers rummaging around in their pockets.

Nobody is better off as a group than older white males, and nobody foams at the mouth more about how screwed up the country is. Nobody gets more assistance from government programs than those who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits, and nobody races faster to the front of the barricades to rant about the evils of socialism. Nobody receives more in transfers of wealth than deeply red states like Alaska and those of the Bible Belt, and nobody complains more about having government on their backs. Enough, already!