We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bill O’Reilly and the advertisers’ dilemma

Click here to access article by Jonathan Cook from his blog.

This is a short piece about the morality of our masters in the capitalist class. It's something that we ordinary people endure everyday of our lives to the extent that we simply take it for granted that our master's morality is a fact of existence much like water is to fish. But it really isn't so. It is a reality of living under a capitalist system that was established long ago by people who saw the splendid benefits accruing to them if people accepted the capitalist system. Ordinary people resisted for some time, but soon succumbed to this powerful new class.

Back in, I think, the 16th century adventurers discovered the system while exploring for the monarchs of Europe when the latter wanted to extend their control over other lands and to compete with other European monarchs for power.  The monarchs gave as an incentive to attract adventurers exclusive rights to a big share of the wealth that could be had from the conquering of new lands. Thus we had the Dutch East Indies Company and the British East India Company, etc. Soon after this mostly investors from the aristocracy were soon granted charters (or similar rights) by the monarchs to do likewise. 

The practice soon established a new class of people who overthrew the feudal authorities of monarchs and the landed aristocracies. These people became known as capitalists, and they extended the practice of exclusive rights to produce goods and services by the fiction of "ownership". Instead of simply violently conquering lands that the ancestors of the feudal authorities had done, they saw that the benefits of "ownership"--a method of nearly exclusive rights over property supported in law by the new states they created--could soon increase their wealth and power. Gradually they extended this concept to everything. 

For example, in Britain the lands held in common by subsistence farmers were purchased and cleared of their people because the new "owners" saw the benefits of using the land for sheep raising. Ultimately they converted everything into a commodity that could be bought and sold. Even non-Christian people (which they called "heathens") could be bought and sold. Workers who were Christians, even children, were simply rented by the capitalists in a labor "market" for as long they were needed, or sufficiently productive, to increase their profits. All of this capitalist enterprise was blessed by the new Protestant Christian churches that were more "progressive" minded than the Catholic church which was more wedded to the old feudal authorities.

Today, if we really think about the system as Cook does, and not as a fact of existence, it soon becomes obvious that it is a deeply immoral system that encourages people to commit all kinds of harmful acts on others.
Of course, we all understand that corporations only care about profits, and that in this case they are worried only about the possible damage to their image with women consumers from association with O’Reilly. The battle isn’t about the the truth of O’Reilly’s claims or the women’s. The issue, as presented by the Guardian, is solely about whether Murdoch’s commitment to make money from his association with O’Reilly outweighs the advertisers’ commitment not to lose money from an association with O’Reilly. The stronger profit motive will win out. 
However it is clear from all the other dreadful news (for example, see this) we receive daily that the harmful acts discussed in this article are the least that we should be concerned with. Capitalism, especially as practiced by the US Empire, is literally killing people and nature across the world in wars, famine, and environmental destruction.

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