JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MANY THINGS SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THE WAY AMERICA IS ORGANIZED AND GOVERNED A WRITER SAYS – NO SENSE OF THE PUBLIC GOOD IN THE COUNTRY – WHY THIS IS SO AND WHY IT CANNOT CHANGE THROUGH TRADITIONAL AMERICAN POLITICS – APPROACHING CHANGES IN THE WORLD – AMERICA’S CONTINUED DECLINE AND LOSS OF SPECIAL STATUS – THREATS AHEAD FOR WAR AND AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENT AS AMERICA’S ESTABLISHMENT POSSIBLY PANICS OVER NEW REALITIES   1 comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MICHAEL BRENNER

 

“WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?”

 

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/04/ranting-in-a-time-of-plague.html#more

 

A powerful cris de coeur.

These things, all of them true, have little to do with American politics per se. Rather the shape of American politics is determined by more fundamental forces, by the drives of the class of people who actually own much of the country and determine its direction, not trusting that task to anyone who might in any way interfere with their investments.

And institutions like the military and security services, whose main duty is service to the empire which serves the oligarchs, also do not want anyone coming along who could disturb their vast investments and elaborate arrangements.

American politics are shaped to serve them, the American oligarchs, bettering their positions through tax legislation and other privileged treatments, minimizing commitments to the general population in any form of social legislation, and of course pursuing the course of empire through the gigantic expenditures – more than a trillion dollars a year – on the military and security services.

Both political parties suffer from the same disease, and political dialogue in America has reached something resembling a set of schoolyard bullies throwing punches and calling names. Almost nothing is ever said of real value and meaning for America’s people or for the world’s.

The very fact that some comments here dismiss the piece as political just reinforces the pathetic state to which America has sunk: it has become almost a universally adopted slogan, on all sides, that “If it ain’t my way, it’s political and not worth paying attention.”

It’s a formula which goes nowhere, which is precisely where American society has been headed for years. If what everyone else says can be dismissed as merely political, no meaningful exchange of ideas or cooperation is possible. There is only division and words of little help or sincerity.

Trump and Pompeo and Co. have actually worked mightily to exalt and dignify bullying as high-level policy – surely, about as corrupt and uncivil an approach as you could take.

The base cause has to do with the corruption and decline of “the indispensable nation” and its “exceptional leadership.” Just the fact that those two self-serving phrases are used by some important Americans tells you something, even with no further investigation. Great families, great dynasties, and great corporations almost all have a limited time of greatness, and it is no different with empires and nation-states. What in their founders made them great is often missing in the makeup of their descendants.

Inherited great wealth without the hard-driving values of a creative founder tends to corruption and decay. That’s just one reason inheritance taxes, large ones, are important to a society. Otherwise, you do begin getting something resembling the France of Louis XV.

There are very real effects, too, always at work in society, captured by Lord Acton’s great dictum about power and absolute power and corruption. The closer you reach to absolute power, the closer you are to absolute corruption. It’s a position America as a whole has occupied for a good while, often thinking of itself in god-like terms as of its right to wantonly change the national arrangements of other states.

An extremely corrupt society cannot build the institutions required for healthy growth and the population’s flourishing, institutions which serve all and thereby receive the support of all or most. The leaders of such a society serve mainly themselves and their close allies. Even the least sophisticated Americans sense that about their national government. As in the grotesque role of money and lobbies in Washington. As in the smarmy, hypocritical nature of both political parties.

As in the excessive role of the military and security services, inherently anti-democratic and anti-human rights institutions, in the society. As in America’s aggressive posture towards the rest of the world’s people, a genuinely 19th century imperial posture which breeds arrogance and contempt for others. As in the government’s failure to deal with many basic needs of national infrastructure, both material and human.

As in a government which cannot even decently govern itself – just for a start, look at its grotesquely reckless deficit spending decade after decade or its shirking all responsibility for serious reform after the 2007-8 Financial Crisis – spending much of its time telling others in the world what they should be doing and how they should be doing it.

Just writing those last words out, about America telling others, makes them seem almost absurd, yet they represent a truth at the very heart of modern American government.

What kind of political statement is it about a great country that the best it can hope for from an approaching election is getting rid of the bellowing lunatic now occupying the Oval Office? Everything else will remain pretty much the same, just without the noise and irritation? Trump does not determine the big policies despite his delusional words.

I do think the set of events outlined in the article – and especially America’s embarrassing display of ignorance and hostility and incompetence in the pandemic – suggests the country has effectively given a huge boost to its own relative decline, a decline already underway for some years by natural forces of development and evolution in many countries.

The full emergence of a multi-polar world in the not too-distant future will be greeted by many with enthusiasm. Better cooperation towards worthy ends and respect for all members of the community of nations will gradually emerge to replace America’s bullying and fierce ideology and unnecessary conflicts.

Americans love to disparage dictators and unelected governments in other parts of the world – that is, in places where the tyrants do not support American goals, otherwise being quite happy with all those who do, no matter how tyrannical towards their own people. How much less attractive and more dangerous is it to have a tyrant over a good portion of the world rather than in just one country? That is what empire is about. It cannot be democratic. It cannot truly honor human rights. It is about raw power over others, about bending hundreds of millions to your will in everything from how they govern themselves to how they develop their resources.

However, there is a real threat as new global arrangements unfold, and that is from the privileged thugs in Washington, the American Overseers and Gauleiters. They could start a war in their desperation and anger about losing their previously unquestioned place. That is what much of America’s extreme belligerence towards substantial portions of the world in recent years has been about, America’s establishment recognizing what has been happening gradually for years.

But the belligerence could grow to a new intensity, reaching a point where it goes out of control, especially given a perception that things are moving even faster and more certainly away from the extension of America’s privileged and central role.

The ugly bullies won’t go quietly into the night, I fear.

 

FURTHER AFTERTHOUGHT

The establishment drive of recent years towards increased control both at home and abroad could simply drop the appearances of democratic government and become more openly despotic. All the rifles and pistols and shotguns in America – and there are several hundred million – could not make a dint in an American government, whether civilian or military, bent on such a course. America’s total military and armed police make an overwhelming force, and they are backed by many gigantic intelligence services, including the now everywhere-present NSA recording everything of significance about you.

Besides, time and again, despite a great deal of blowhard, faux bravery and toughness, all the Trump-like bluster and noise, through critical event after critical event, Americans have demonstrated themselves to be a remarkably passive population. Overwhelmingly compliant with huge, meaningless wars like Vietnam or the Neocon Wars. Overwhelmingly compliant through completely unexplained revolutionary events like the Kennedy assassination or, indeed, 9/11. Treated like children who can’t be trusted with facts and explanations, yet pretty much quietly accepting the treatment.

Posted April 19, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

One response to “JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MANY THINGS SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THE WAY AMERICA IS ORGANIZED AND GOVERNED A WRITER SAYS – NO SENSE OF THE PUBLIC GOOD IN THE COUNTRY – WHY THIS IS SO AND WHY IT CANNOT CHANGE THROUGH TRADITIONAL AMERICAN POLITICS – APPROACHING CHANGES IN THE WORLD – AMERICA’S CONTINUED DECLINE AND LOSS OF SPECIAL STATUS – THREATS AHEAD FOR WAR AND AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENT AS AMERICA’S ESTABLISHMENT POSSIBLY PANICS OVER NEW REALITIES

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