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

Saturday, October 27, 2018

OPINION: CBS’s & NPR’s Rabidly False ‘News’ About the Khashoggi Case

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse posted on Washington's Blog. (Edited at 3:40 PM to add greater clarity.)

Zuesse is one of the best of analysts who discerns and writes about the lies perpetrated by the ruling class of capitalists--only he doesn't put it that way. He, like many others, identifies the ruling class using some other term. He prefers "aristocrats", a term borrowed from the feudalism. Many writers use other rather vacuous terms such as the "powers that be", or "the elite", "the deciders" (a favorite of Bush Jr.), etc. The Cambridge website defines the concept "powers that be" as "People in charge of or controlling other people" which is probably the most accurate and specific definition when applied to powerful people who rule over entire societies. Most contemporary writers on the subject demonstrate either an ignorance about who are the real controllers, or wish to avoid using the accurate term "capitalists" for various reasons. Some ideologues of capitalism consciously avoid using the term to distract attention away from the system whose legitimacy is increasingly being questioned.

Joseph Stiglitz whose article I recently posted entitled "The American Economy Is Rigged: And what we can do about it" is an example, I think, of the latter. He only uses "American economy" and nowhere does he identify it as a capitalist economy. Because Stiglitz is a well-paid ideologue of the ruling capitalist class, he wants to avoid using the term to, in effect, disappear the concept. He and all the other ideologues have been very successful at disappearing the term. Stiglitz in his article recognized the power of wealth but chose to ignore its implications, and assured his readers that reforms could be enacted to curb the abuses of the overwhelming power of wealth in private hands that we see today.
Political scientists have documented the ways in which money influences politics in certain political systems, converting higher economic inequality into greater political inequality. Political inequality, in its turn, gives rise to more economic inequality as the rich use their political power to shape the rules of the game in ways that favor them—for instance, by softening antitrust laws and weakening unions.
I don't know about Zuesse, but I give him the benefit of doubt by assuming that he has been trained to overlook the man-made system of capitalism and regards it as essentially a fact of nature. This is common among writers today whose understanding of the concept was handed down by Christian authorities and their Bible who argue that authorities are ordained by God. Of course this is false. Such nonsense justified the rule of feudal authorities. This is only another illustration of how ruling classes use every institution (in this case the religious establishment) to justify their rule. Ruling classes are rooted in history dating back to the first agriculture settlements when military chieftains took by force wealth created by others, and one ruling class succeeded the previous one down through history to what we see today with capitalist ruling classes and their exploitation of ordinary people.

Initially ruling capitalist classes legitimatized their rule through their ideology of liberalism. This ideology, like all ruling class ideologies, sought to justify the rule of capitalists in the early era of their rule. This ideology sanctified the "ownership" of property which was grafted onto the inheritance rules of feudalism. This was especially important when industrialization brought workers together in one place or facility to perform work. The place was "owned" by private individuals and the wealth generated by the workers was "owned" by the owners of the facility. The workers were simply rented and were known as wage workers who had no power over the work they performed or how it was performed. They were essentially wage slaves. Over time capitalists extended this concept over ideas and images--anything that could be used as a commodity to generate wealth. 

This class gradually appropriated sufficient wealth to enable them through the power of wealth to take over control from feudal rulers (monarchs and aristocrats) in various European countries starting in the 17th century in Britain. And the rest is history (of wars, social strife, poverty and riches, etc). But nowadays, they have abandoned the use of this ideology in favor of simply disappearing the concept of capitalism. It has now become a fixture of reality or a fact of nature. The term "liberalism" is now used most often to refer only to the remnants of classical capitalism that was used to rally the peasants to their struggle against the feudal authorities: the promises of fraternity, liberty, equality have largely morphed into vague notions of liberty, equality of opportunity, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

I applaud Zuesse's many fine articles that reveal so many lies by our masters in the capitalist class, but I wish he wouldn't identify them as "aristocrats". He and others like him must begin to explore the capitalist system and examine how it leads to lies, wars, extreme inequality, fascism, and an ongoing assault on our ecosystem which threatens human existence.