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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country?

Click here to access article by Tom Engelhardt from TomDispatch, a project of the liberal Nation Institute. 

Although Engelhardt points to the ominous tendencies of the ruling class to ignore the rule of law and their reliance on military adventures which sow chaos in the world, he introduces an analysis that only confuses and leads people to wring their hands over the state of the nation and "puzzled" by what is happening.  His essay illustrates how many people identified as belonging to the American liberal political sector are really confused about today's political realities. Thus, they spread their confusion (some think intentionally) and thereby muddle effective responses to the growing crises that the world is facing: wars, growing poverty and debts for most and extreme wealth for tiny ruling capitalist classes, and impending catastrophic climate destabilization. 

Engelhardt starts off his essay by focusing on the US as a nation and dividing its rule into two interrelated parts: a national security state and a militarized corporate state. 
...two great power centers have been engorging themselves in twenty-first-century America: there was an ever-expanding national security state, ever less accountable to anyone, ever less overseen by anyone, ever more deeply enveloped in secrecy, ever more able to see others and less transparent itself, ever more empowered by a secret court system and a body of secret law whose judgments no one else could be privy to; and there was an increasingly militarized corporate state, ever less accountable to anyone, ever less overseen by outside forces, ever more sure that the law was its possession.  These two power centers are now triumphant in our world.  They command the landscape against what may be less effective opposition than at any moment in our history. [my emphasis]
While one may use such a separation legitimately for a limited analysis purpose, he doesn't go any further to show how these "power centers" are really only limited concepts that obscure the reality of a ruling, rapacious capitalist elite who must hide their criminal designs and operations from a public that they have indoctrinated into believing in a number of myths like the "rule of law" and constitutional governments based on "democratic" principles. 

Another source of confusion is his myopic concern about the US as a state in a world of nation-states instead of the reality of a transnational capitalist gang ruling over an ever-expanding Empire. (Engelhardt doesn't seem to understand that we live in an increasingly globalized world.) This Empire has its own army called NATO, and it is ruled over by capitalist elites who reside in NATO countries. This transnational ruling class continue to remove national impediments to their capitalist operations through the current secret negotiations known as TISA, TTIP, and TTP. They mostly use national boundaries to control the movement of workers (that's us) to benefit their far-flung enterprises.