- [I dedicate this essay to the untold millions who suffered
as a result of Milton Friedman's creation of an intellectual bulwark for
economic brutality. On 11/16/06, Friedman died of heart failure, an ironic
cause of death for a heartless individual.]
- We have reached the deplorable circumstance where in
large measure a very powerful few are in possession of the earth's resources,
the land and its riches and all the franchises and other privileges that
yield a return. These positions are maintained virtually without taxation;
they are immune to the demands made on others. The very poor, who have
nothing, are the object of compulsory charity. And the rest -- the workers,
the middle-class, the backbone of the country -- are made to support the
lot by their labor.
- ----Agnes George de Mille (granddaughter of Henry George),
New York, 1979
- Note that Ms. George de Mille penned her observations
before the patron saint of the "have mores" established residence
at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In less than three decades, a Friedman-inspired
Reagan and his successors made astounding gains for the "very powerful"
de Mille described.
- Reagan wielded the scalpel that emasculated organized
labor and convinced America that "regulation" is a four letter
word. George H.W. Bush further crippled unions and condemned many poor
Mexicans to corporate exploitation through his relentless efforts to make
NAFTA a reality. Convincing the multitude of his compassion and empathy,
Clinton proceeded to sign NAFTA into law and cheerfully eviscerated public
- Embarking on a "divine mission, George W. Bush has
taken "free trade", deregulation, fiscal strangulation of social
programs, enervation of We the People, and militarism to breath-taking
heights. In spite of W's failure to eliminate the "Death Tax",
Milton Friedman is beaming with pride as the flames of eternal damnation
incinerate his corporeal shell and render his wicked soul vulnerable to
the divine castigation he so richly deserves.
- Consider the words of Henry George, a US American economic
and political thinker who advocated a balance of free markets, government
regulation, and social programs:
- The forces of the new era have not yet had time to make
status hereditary, but we may clearly see that when the industrial organization
compels a thousand workmen to take service under one master, the proportion
of masters to men will be but as one to a thousand, though the one may
come from the ranks of the thousand. "Master"! We don't like
the word. It is not American! But what is the use of objecting to the word
when we have the thing? The man who gives me employment, which I must have
or suffer, that man is my master, let me call him what I will.
- ---Henry George, 1883
- Inculcating and deluding the masses with a multi-billion
dollar barrage of agitprop and sophistry potent enough to penetrate the
minds of the most adroit thinkers, the moneyed interests behind corporatism
and exploitative Capitalism have created a false dichotomy that clings
to our collective psyche like a cocklebur deeply embedded in a wool sock.
They are intent on retaining mastery over their wage slaves(1).
- According to "conventional thinking" proffered
by the corporate media, only two choices exist: the extant form of rapacious
Capitalism or the gross perversions of Communism implemented by Stalin
and Mao. Socialism might be considered as a third alternative at times,
but since it is theoretically a transitional state leading to Communism,
is "Leftist", and advocates the needs of the collective over
the desires of a few avaricious individuals, the MSM generally tends to
equate it with Communism.
- As all freedom loving denizens of the United States and
its satellite bastions of Corporatism know, Communism is inherently evil
while Capitalism is intrinsically good. Which is why the Bush Regime recently
rescinded a ban on training right wing military forces in several Latin
American nations. It is imperative that we keep the world safe for corporate
plunder, human exploitation, and rape of the environment. Even if that
means supporting murderous dictators like Pinochet or the slaughter of
tens of thousands of civilians by right wing paramilitaries trained and
supplied by the United States.
- While it is true that there are potentially insurmountable
problems with implementing a purely collective economic system that ignores
the natural human propensities for greed and self interest, "prevailing
thought" leaves no room for middle ground. As obedient wage slaves,
we must labor to our dying breath to preserve an economic order that ensures
the suffering of billions to afford a few million the means to satiate
their every whim and desire(2).
- Forget the existence of alternative economic theories
like Distributism or Social Democracy. Potential economic models which
threaten their stranglehold on prosperity are anathema to the plutocracy.
Adopting an economic system with at least as much emphasis on society's
needs as on the pursuit of individual riches would almost certainly achieve
a modicum of economic and social justice. However, as evidenced by their
tenacious efforts to eliminate public funding for socially beneficial programs
(rather than improving them), our opulent overlords have little interest
in down-sizing their fleets of expensive cars so that children can eat.
- And why do the wage slaves accept these pernicious lies,
gross injustices, and moral aberrations?
- Many have yet to shake free of insidious abstractions
like uber-nationalism, xenophobia, racism, militarism, narcissism, and
consumerism. These ludicrous conceptualizations effectively manacle their
very minds and souls. Those who have awakened face the stark reality of
nearly insurmountable economic barriers to freedom from some degree of
complicity in the fascist designs of the Corporatocracy.
- Virtually every member of humanity barring the pecunious
class faces a brutal dilemma. Do they serve the elite as wage slaves or
languish as one of their deeply impoverished victims? (In some cases both
fates befall them simultaneously). While there are those precious few who
win the lottery, exploit extreme athletic or musical talent, or miraculously
embody the Horatio Alger myth, most people find themselves choosing between
the Scylla and Charybdis.
- To maintain their affluence and power, the haut monde
need a relatively compliant stable of wage slaves to enable them to exploit
the rest of humanity. Bread and circuses ensure the cooperation of most.
As for the nuisances who begin to feel the agonizing prick of conscience
and start questioning the system, the Sirens of consumerism, conformity,
and fear often draw them back to devotional obedience and spiritual ruin.
- And as for incorrigible dissidents, humanity's subjugators
exercise isolation and ridicule to arrest the spread of their influence
on the rest of the population. And extortion virtually ensures a reasonable
degree of servility from dissenters. As Solzhenitsyn observed in the Gulag
Archipelago, even the most recalcitrant will fold when their families are
threatened or jeopardized.
- Leaving little to chance, the oligarchy has erected significant
structural and psychological barriers to meaningful dissent, significant
opposition, or escape from wage slavery. Consider this summary, which is
by no means exhaustive:
- 1. Maintaining nearly monopolistic control of the means
to disseminate information (excepting the Internet)
- 2. Providing seductively alluring offers of "success"
in the form of material wealth and trophy spouses
- 3. Dispensing immediate gratification via easy credit,
pornography, and fast food
- 4.Devoting insane levels of financial and human resources
to law enforcement and the military (creating a formidable means of employing
- 5. Manufacturing sufficient mass hysteria (first the
threat was Communism and now it is "Terrorism") to virtually
eliminate civil liberties with little more than a whimper of objection
from the populace
- 6. Deflecting responsibility to scapegoats like Muslims,
Gays, and illegal immigrants
- 7. Promulgating a militaristic, commercialized form of
Christianity via the mega churches of the Religious Right
- 8. Allowing corporations to set our government policy,
write our laws, and bribe Congress with impunity
- 9. Wantonly deregulating corporations
- 10. Implementing numerous free trade agreements
- 11. Virtually eliminating the existence of organized
- 12. Dumbing down many of our children by bombarding them
with rote learning to prepare for barrages of standardized tests (which
seriously limits their capacity to think critically and independently)
- 13. Wal-Martizing the economy
- 14. Demanding higher productivity for lower wages and
- 15. Increasing the staggering number of people without
- 16. Widening the wealth and income chasms
- 17. Financially starving social programs
- 18. Creating incestuous relationships between the state
and major corporations (as exemplified by the military-mass media complex)
and in turn endowing their government with power approaching omnipotence
- 19. Waging perpetual wars
- 20. Indenturing the poor and working class to creditors
by seriously weakening bankruptcy protection
- 21. Passing the Military Commissions Act and the John
Warner National Defense Authorization Act
- 22. Creating and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction
- 23. Accelerating privatization around the globe (which
is placing people at the mercy of ruthless corporations which sell them
health care, education, utilities, fuel for their vehicles, and even drinking
- 24. Perpetuating an unjust mandatory income tax (enforced
by a jack-booted IRS) on people who ultimately have no real say in how
the money is used
- 25. Hijacking the vote in the United States for two consecutive
- In the face of such severe oppression, some of the victims
in developing nations have resorted to fighting back with asymmetrical
warfare. Choosing a path of non-violence, larger numbers in the developing
world are employing political and economic power to defy the Neoliberal
and Imperialist despots.
- While some awakened souls amongst the wage slaves in
developed nations have freed themselves physically by dropping out of the
system, many have settled for spiritual and intellectual freedom as they
strive to evoke change while enduring their bondage.
- A relatively tiny number of craven and malevolent individuals
hoard a majority of the planet's wealth and have bullied billions into
economic subjugation or a form of indentured servitude. Given the elites'
stacked deck, loaded dice, and crooked croupier, what play can the enslaved
- How about an organized and unified effort to drive a
stake through the heart of a vampiric system crafted and championed by
compassionless bastards like Milton Friedman?
- Despite facing economic tyranny of immense proportions,
we wage slaves are far from impotent. In fact, we possess two strengths
which give us incredible leverage:
- 1. The system would collapse without our cooperation.
- 2. We outnumber our "handlers" by a wide margin.
- Prolonged massive boycotts coupled with widespread sustained
strikes would catalyze a rapid implosion of a system already teetering
on the brink of collapse. Businesses would shutter. Currency and market
values would race downward. War machines would grind to a welcome halt.
Governments would collapse. Hubristic malefactors would scurry as mice
fleeing the imminent pounce of a hungry tom.
- And chaos would ensue.
- Would reason and humanity triumph to the extent that
the emergent economic order would reverse the devastation inflicted by
Neoliberalism, Corporatism, and predatory Capitalism?
- Let's hope we get the answer to that question before
the criminal class crosses the Rubicon.
- (1)Karl Marx decried wage slavery and its inevitability
in a Capitalist system. But one doesn't have to subscribe to Communism
to recognize the smothering oppression and egregious social injustices
associated with the prevailing economic paradigm which is championed and
maintained by nexus of economic power in the United States.
- (2)Thankfully the United States has a "mixed economy".
Imagine the depth of human misery if unadulterated Capitalism was unleashed
with men like Cheney at the helm.
- Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who
has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically,
his essays have appeared widely on the Internet, and he volunteers at a
homeless shelter. He welcomes constructive correspondence at email@example.com
or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/