Wednesday, February 04, 2009

TruthDig: "It's Not Going to Be OK": That is, Be Very Afraid!


Today, AlterNet offered an alarming piece by Chris Hedges (Feb. 2, 2009), “It’s Not Going to Be OK,” which I tracked back to the TruthDig source here.

I used to reflect a thought in my own brain when hardship threatens, “It won’t be so bad, or will it?” Hedges writes, early in the article, quite bluntly: “At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had.” Yup, three strikes against “generativity.”

He also warns of a perilous political crisis, and then goes on to discuss “inverted totalitarianism,” a term used by Sheldon Wolin in a May 2003 article in The Nation (here. Of course, that would seem to imply that we are already well into our political crisis, launched by the Bush Administration in the wake of 9/11.

All the bailouts and economic stimulus passages that Obama can conjure can’t stop the unraveling of democratic capitalism, he suggests. Somewhere else today, I saw an ad claiming that entitlement obligations amount to $486000 per household in this Nation. You can put the pieces together. “You can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

He mentions some other left wing writers, including especially Noam Chomsky, whose books (with pictures of the Twin Towers burning) I used to see at a newsstand in Minneapolis on Hennepin Ave before going into the Saloon.

Indeed, the democratization of speech, that grew out of the Internet and the success of search engines, should be the antidote to “inverted totalitarianism.” But look at the effect of all the talk about “online reputation” and now even bloggers insurance. Think how that could allow the Internet to be used to channel people back into social conformity.

The “Left” is certainly being heard. Obama wants to limit CEO’s of banks getting TARP money to $500000 a year, with all bonuses in company stock. That sounds like “rounding errors”. That will get plenty of applause and cheers, and sounds painless to everyone else. Okay, will the “forced “ sacrifices stop with CEO’s? Back in 1972 the People’s Party (Dr. Spock’s creation) wanted to limit all incomes to $50000 a year!

We’re also finding, that even with the new government (“Change”) it’s hard to find cabinet and other appointees that don’t have tax and nanny problems. But we’re also finding out that a lot of “barter” can the taxable – and that should concern the rest of us. It’s possible for government to extend that concept into the family (particularly re-merged households necessitated by the economy) and find a lot more targets.

How did all this happen? Was it too much government or too little? It’s true, the “faith-based” Bushies looked the other way as Wall Street came up with Ponzi schemes to sucker ordinary Americans (especially families seeking larger homes than they could afford) that they could get something for nothing. All along, we kept getting deeper into trouble with our foreign oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, investing relatively little into real sustainability. We’re not to the point that sustainability is getting discussed as a concept of resocialization than just economic development. That is dangerous. It may not be OK. Welcome to “The Purification.”

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