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The Illusion of Freedom

January 13, 2013
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The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” — Frank Zappa

That time is nie upon us; John Boehner can no longer control his own party. The Republicans are splintered by tea party factions, the gun lobby and Bible thumpers. Barack Obama is the new crowned King / seat warmer / tragic figure head / corporate functionary. Barack Obama is no more a Democrat than Herbert Hoover gave lap dances. It all appears so muddled, the fiscal cliff and the budget negotiations, only it isn’t muddled at all. It’s all fixed up, just the way they wanted it fixed up, just the way they like it. Let confusion reign, they like it like that. Oh yeah, sure, first there was a public option, then there wasn’t, then there was, then, presto chango abracadabra, nothing. So what does the fiscal cliff deal mean? It means watch out; the devil is in the details

Everything which has been done to the American public over the past thirty years has been done intentionally.

“Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

There are no more Republicans and there are no more Democrats; they are merely stage props to create the illusion of an open political system. Mitt Romney was the bad cop and Barack Obama was the good cop, but still, a cop is a cop? It is nothing but an illusion to elicit your participation.

The philosophy of Neoliberalism demands belief in concrete absolutes, privatization, free trade, deregulation, denationalization, free markets and private property. The last is the first, as private property is the golden calf of Neoliberalism. In the neoliberal school of thought, property rights are the only rights which actually exist; all of the other rights of man are imaginary or simply transparent phantoms. If you hear a politician advocate for these policies, they are neither Republicans nor Democrats, they are Neoliberalists.

In 1989, an economic conference of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the US Treasury developed what has come to be called the Washington Consensus, in response to Latin American instability. The Washington Consensus was designed as an off-the-rack economic formula, the roadmap to a new dark age. Neoliberalism is the religion of money, the philosophy of mass exploitation and if Jesus saves, he’d better hurry his ass up.

The Washington Consensus

  1. Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;
  2. Redirection of public spending from subsidies (“especially indiscriminate subsidies”) toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;
  3. Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;
  4. Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;
  5. Competitive exchange rates;
  6. Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;
  7. Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;
  8. Privatization of state enterprises;
  9. Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;
  10. Legal security for property rights. — Wikipedia

Fiscal policy, which the politicians are discussing that right this minute, requires draconian budget cuts in social programs and redirection of public spending toward a broad based key pro-growth activity. You’d have to be pretty dumb not to know what tax reform means in this day and time. Thirty years of trade liberalization have brought only disaster to the American worker, but try to find a single leading Republican or Democratic politician who will admit the truth, that Free Trade is the 21st century equivalent of the wooden nickel.

Notice anything missing from this new Ten Commandments? See any concern for say, human rights? See any concerns for the environment or improving the human condition? See any concern with anything, save making more money? Do you remember when the Deep Water Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, after British Petroleum pressured the staff to hurry the well into production? Apparently, that wasn’t justified on safety, environmental or consumer protection grounds.

This is their “Mein Kampf”. It is dark and sinister and is no less than the face of evil. When combined with the overt nationalist and adventurous American foreign policies advocated by neo-conservative politicians, we are left with a clear picture of the American political landscape. Not all neo-liberals are neo-cons, but all neo-cons are neo-liberals. And there is one commandment shared between them as a sacred covenant complete with secret handshake.

“The ends justifies the means” — Niccolò Machiavelli

So what’s to be done when the game is fixed in a deck of fifty one? First and above all, we must understand that there is no turning back. Tomorrow beckons us like Sirens on the shore.

“I also know — and this won’t alter the course of history or your personal view of me — that you will die with a clenched fist and a tense jaw, the epitome of hatred and struggle, because you are not a symbol (some inanimate example) but a genuine member of the society to be destroyed; the spirit of the beehive speaks through your mouth and motivates your actions. You are as useful as I am, but you are not aware of how useful your contribution is to the society that sacrifices you.” — Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Che is speaking of our humanity, speaking to a society which has now drawn back that final curtain; of fiscal cliffs, amputated social services, broken unions and grinding poverty, only so that those with much…can have even more. It is a brave new world we face, where the title deeds of the rights of man passed down through centuries have been abrogated, where you as a person mean nothing, where your children mean nothing, where the planet means nothing, outside of its maximum profit potential.

An army of detectives, thugs, and murderers were equipped with badge and bludgeon and turned loose; old hulks of cars were fired; the alarm bells tolled; the people were terrified; the most startling rumors were set afloat; the press volleyed and thundered; and over all the wires sped the news that Chicago’s white throat was in the clutch of a red mob; injunctions flew thick and fast, arrests followed, and our office and headquarters, the heart of the strike, was sacked, torn out and nailed up by the ‘lawful’ authorities of the federal government; and when in company with my loyal comrades I found myself in Cook County jail at Chicago with the whole press screaming conspiracy, treason and murder… I had another exceedingly practical and impressive lesson in Socialism.

The Chicago jail sentences were followed by six months at Woodstock and it was here that Socialism gradually laid hold of me in its own irresistible fashion. Books and pamphlets and letters from socialists came by every mail and I began to read and think and dissect the anatomy of the system in which workingmen, however organized, could be shattered and battered and splintered… – Eugene Debs, November 11, 1887

We have seen what society looks like in a neoliberal regime under Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Pinochet in September of 1972, led a CIA backed coup d’état overthrowing a democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende. Pinochet was named the President of the ruling military junta and quickly took harsh measures against opponents of his unelected military dictatorship. Thousands were murdered or disappeared, thousands more were tortured and still thousands more were jailed. The Chilean coup d’état had two branches of government, its military and its neoliberal policies, which worked together hand and glove.

The government cut tariffs, opened Chile’s markets to global trade. The government restricted labor unions, privatized Social Security and then privatized all of the state owned industries. The Pinochet Junta also placed on “indefinite recess” all other political parties, before banning them outright.

The Chilean people were free at gun point, as long as they kept their mouths shut, showed up for work on time and didn’t complain. The illusion of freedom, free to work as a cog, as a tool in someone else’s machine, for whatever they offer to pay; for whatever hours are offered or whatever conditions, take it or leave it. We see this neoliberal machine working today in Greece, Portugal and Spain, where bankers are trying to overthrow the peoples elected governments with nothing more than scribbled bits upon paper.

Neoliberal philosopher and economist Friedrich Hayek said the following: “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.”

In this country, we have seen a peaceful Occupy movement suppressed; we have seen state legislatures take up laws to suppress labor rights, all while the Federal Government eviscerates our original Bill of Rights. There is no longer any mystery in this, their goal is clear: the brick wall is now plainly in sight.

“If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.” — George Orwell

“The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax; of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.” — Lewis Carroll

 

David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate”.

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