20 years after the fall of communism, American-style capitalism has also fallen. But the downfall was silent, without any visible walls toppling or crumbling. The 9/11-like collapse of the financial firms of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers left no piles of rubble or slabs of fractured concrete on the ground, just lots of laid off traders and deal makers. But the brokerage and investment banks' end signaled the death knell of market capitalism as we knew it; another misbegotten ideology born out of the musings of Adam Smith, Ricardo and Milton Friedman was laid to rest unceremoniously. The troika which presumed that man’s most bestial instincts can be curbed in the pursuit of profit and happiness were wrong ...We know the truth. In his piece, "Self-jiving Nation", Jim Kunstler writes ...
The president’s inverted version of “perestroika” (that is, the restructuring or retooling of the economy) has been fine tuned to meet the need of the oligarchs and corporate barons who support him and prompt him behind the curtains. Obama and his czar–commissars (and his adoring minions of PR spin operatives) have deftly in a brilliant slight of hand in one swift jest, effectively expropriated the entire financial and industrial sectors in America by means of massive taxpayer funded “bail outs”. These ploys have turned the essence of capitalism upside down, by rewarding cronyism and criminal behavior to the point where “crime pays” very handsomely indeed, and enables billionaires, fraudsters and financiers to obtain great gain almost without almost any pain or punishment. These perverse policies are likely to fail. In the end, Gorbachev’s policies, although ostensibly well meaning, actually hastened the demise of the Soviet state. This later led to its fragmentation and disintegration of the communist superpower and its Eastern Empire. America’s current plight may lead to a similar outcome.
If you think we have been in a crisis of finance and economy for the past year or so, consider that we have also been sunk in a comprehensive crisis of leadership. Nobody in authority is willing to face the truth, state the truth, and offer a reality-based idea about how to meet the truth, This is a leadership failure not just in politics and government, but also in business, in the university faculties, in the editorial and production offices of the news media, and even among a barely-breathing clergy ...We know the truth, but we can't handle it. We grasp at straws of hope, looking for anything in the media blabber and bluster to light the sky over the wasteland. Even the survivalists don't seem to grasp that "The World as We Know It" is gone; what we see now is a chimera, and that's about all.
See it or not, most of us are sucking on a try breast of truly "faith-based" delusion that somehow "recovery" is just over the horizon.
I cringe when I hear that this will be a "jobless recovery". That is the new leader on the list of oxymora. An economic landscape which benefits only those who steal their money from the people is the new truth. We have not, through "bailouts", invested in a system in which the rich elitists reinvest their riches in the interest of a valued, common society of equal human beings. Fuggedaboutit!
But instead of moving gamely through the steps of dealing with our grief over the loss of comfortable, debt-generated illusion, we are caught in the vicious cycle of denial and anger, denial and anger, ad infinitum. And instead of turning our anger against those who have stolen our dreams (they were nothing more than that), we rage against each other in polarized cults, thinking we inhabit our own chosen political temples of truth. Such folly. Heh. We've got 'em just where they want us.
The truth is plain. Last week at the International Forecaster, in "A New System For The Privleged Is Not A Remedy For The Economy", the author writes ...
Our usurping, . . . spendthrift President, together with our corrupt, elitist-bootlicking Congress of money-grabbing Dumbos and Jackasses, are spending us into a multi-trillion dollar hyperinflationary oblivion as their ratings by their constituents drop into the toilet bowl, ratings which are disgracefully the lowest in all of US history. With a diabolical "Robin Hood in Reverse" plan in place since 1913 for the extortion of money from the US middle class to reduce their serfs to poverty and abject slavery, the Illuminati have managed to use the Federal Reserve Act and US income tax, together with the Social Security Ponzi Scheme, phony, orchestrated wars for profit, socialization of bankster-gangster losses, the globalism/free trade/off-shoring/outsourcing/legal-illegal immigration agendas, and a totally bought-and-paid-for President, Congress, judiciary and regulatory agencies, to reduce US citizens to consumerist credit addicts, living pay check to pay check like narcissistic hedonists ...There's that word again - "narcissist".
This is from a book review piece done back in April by MSNBC/Today Show, "Me, me, me! America’s ‘Narcissism Epidemic’" ...
A popular song declares, with no apparent sarcasm, "I believe that the world should revolve around me!" People buy expensive homes with loans far beyond their ability to pay — or at least they did until the mortgage market collapsed as a result. Babies wear bibs embroidered with "Supermodel" or "Chick Magnet" and suck on "Bling" pacifiers while their parents read modernized nursery rhymes from This Little Piggy Went to Prada. People strive to create a "personal brand" (also called "self-branding"), packaging themselves like a product to be sold. Ads for financial services proclaim that retirement helps you return to childhood and pursue your dreams. High school students pummel classmates and then seek attention for their violence by posting YouTube videos of the beatings.Yes, you see, we know the truth. We just can't do anything with the awful stuff.
Although these seem like a random collection of current trends, all are rooted in a single underlying shift in the American psychology: the relentless rise of narcissism in our culture. Not only are there more narcissists than ever, but non-narcissistic people are seduced by the increasing emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, celebrity worship, and attention seeking. Standards have shifted, sucking otherwise humble people into the vortex of granite countertops, tricked-out MySpace pages, and plastic surgery. A popular dance track repeats the words "money, success, fame, glamour" over and over, declaring that all other values have "either been discredited or destroyed."
The United States is currently suffering from an epidemic of narcissism. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines an epidemic as an affliction "affecting ... a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population," and narcissism more than fits the bill. In data from 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980s to the present, with the shift especially pronounced for women ...
Consider ... the primary thesis of classical liberalism, now brought to the farthest extremes in our society, dictates that the individual embodies the highest form of being, endowed with inalienable rights. No matter that the pursuit of such rights pretty much guarantees the alienation of everyone else's rights. The reconciliation was supposed to be managed by capitalism, thus taking the need for personal responsibility away from the individual and allowing "markets" to govern our behaviors. That, as Werbowski notes above, has finally failed, leaving the thieves with the keys and combinations to all the safes.
The truth is this: we have been and are being inexorably distracted from grasping the truth - wars, health care "reform", same-sex marriage, economic "recovery" statistics, cash for clunkers, political and media peccadilloes, and all the silly crap we are fed on a daily basis are a cacophonous diverson from the stark reality that the bread is all but gone and the circus is in town.
In "Social Decay in America" at CounterPunch, John stanton writes ...
American society merrily avoids accountability and responsibility. Americans seek the loophole and blame others--be they individuals, networks or nations--for their own deficiencies. American leaders direct the consequences of poor judgment down the chain-of-command. Why?Maybe, just maybe, the truth will set some of us free. But first, it is driving us crazy.
The American people have taken the bait from the nation’s op-ed writers and talking heads, corporate CEO’s, financiers, the president, members of congress, justices of the Supreme Court, governors, sports/movie/think-tank/academic stars, and military leaders. In the USA these are the script writers of the American narrative and masters of the American consciousness. They stand firm in their belief that the masses down below will follow their words and deeds, even die for them. They are the Unaccountable Elite.
And the American people don’t disappoint. Only on rare occasions is an “American leader” taken to task by a concerned public. The American people revel in their leaders, glorifying and emulating them and striving, one day, to make it like their idols did. In so doing they have forsaken their duty as American citizens to hold their leaders to account and, as consumers, divine what is theater and what is not ...
Categories: Americanism, narcissism, post-democracy, post-economics, post-society, reality
[originally posted at P!]