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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RINF

 

“FOR WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN, IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?”

Absolutely.

And what so few Americans even begin to appreciate is the simple fact that you can either have a world empire or you can have a decent society, but you cannot have both.

Whether Patriot-types or just ordinary party loyalists or genuine liberals (albeit there are mighty few of the latter in America) the entire gamut of American political society misses this point. They all pretend they have an explanation for who or what is responsible for all the things which are so clearly wrong, but almost none of them touches the truth.

Everything about Imperial America works against having a decent country.

Huge, intrusive security services. Intrusive everywhere abroad, causing great pain and injustice, and not the least reluctant to practice the same well-honed arts at home.

A massive military which influences all of society and, especially young people, daily, its fundamental principles being necessarily the opposite of free and democratic principles. The military is authority-oriented and no believer in democracy in anything it does. The larger it is, the more its values permeate. And that’s in addition to the destructive fact that its very existence provides a constant temptation for politicians to use it for more wars.

An entrenched, privileged political class which essentially lives off of the vast donations of America’s wealthy. The best government money can buy is a joke often heard, but it is a joke with a bitter truth to it. Special interests are almost all that matter in American politics.

And with all of these institutions, Lord Acton’s dictum about power is in full force.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Nothing truer was ever said, and it is unbelievably naive to think America is somehow exempt.

Waving the good old Stars and Stripes, a folded copy of the constitution in your wallet, a framed copy of The Declaration of Independence on the wall, reading endless blather about rights and freedoms – it all counts for nothing under the insidious, ongoing influence of great and corrupting power.

I think a good comparison for the extremely naive beliefs of so many Americans is found in the Catholic Church of, say, the Sixteenth Century.

High official principles. Glorified sense of purpose in the world. The words of Jesus. The genuine naive belief of many millions of humble followers. Pious painting and statues everywhere. Beautiful churches and music.

But the unquestioned reality of a power structure which worked only for power, both in money and political influence, and almost nothing else. Wars. Slaughters and massacres. Corrupt church officials with lifetime sinecures. Great temporal lords who know that money given to the right church official will buy whatever you want, from the appointment of a cardinal to a divorce or support for some claim.

Yes, the Catholic Church of that period closely parallels the reality of America’s establishment today, and it will take a grindingly long time or some great catastrophe for it to change.

I’m sure for some, especially for the American Patriot-types, the notion of repeating one of humanity’s many past rebellions and revolutions in history springs to mind, but that is a hopelessly naive thought because it ignores the reality of an establishment now so well-armed, it is untouchable. You cannot rebel against Zeus hurling thunderbolts from Olympus.

A fair number of people did believe Trump was going to go to the Temple and whip some money-changers until they ran away, but, instead, the money-changers intimidated him into complete submission. He is indistinguishable along any important line from the person many regarded as America’s genuine Political Satan, Hillary Clinton.

The American establishment is far too powerful and entrenched ever to be changed by the almost-silly ritual of America’s money-drenched elections, and any figure who is elected quickly faces, gathered around massive polished tables in Washington, the true face of American power.

Immensely-rich special interests, immensely-rich corporate owners and management, and their faithful servants, crinkly-faced Senators with lifetime sinecures, the brass-and-ribbon bedecked figures of the Pentagon and the Armani-clad, arrogant, almost unaccountable figures of the CIA and other security services.

But they all dutifully salute Old Glory and subscribe to all the words about rights and democracy, Just like the College of Cardinals and the Pope embracing the Holy Bible in the Sixteenth Century. A magnificent wine-drenched lunch in a church palace with a blessing for God’s Grace just before viewing a group of heretics being burned alive or having a quiet meeting with a great duke, seeking favors and carrying a heavy bag of gold.

 

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