Discussion in 'The Vapor Lounge' started by J.R.R.Tokin', Feb 21, 2012.
Where is the HATE button?
This could quite easily be rewritten to read as:
Modern Capitalist Democracy holds that the individual must be fooled into thinking they have rights but that his life and labour belong to less than 1% ofthe population. That the 1% may sacrifice them at its own whim to its own interests.
The best way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by a means of (taken from Noam Chomsky's 'Requiem for the American Dream'):
1. Reduce Democracy. Chomsky finds this acted on by the very "founding fathers" of the United States, in the creation of the U.S. Senate, and in James Madison's statement during debate over the U.S. Constitution that the new government would need to protect the wealthy from too much democracy. Chomsky finds the same theme in Aristotle but with Aristotle proposing to reduce inequality, while Madison proposed to reduce democracy. The burst of activism and democracy in the United States in the 1960s scared the protectors of wealth and privilege, and Chomsky admits that he did not anticipate the strength of the backlash through which we have been suffering since.
2. Shape Ideology. The Powell Memo from the corporate right, and the Trilateral Commission's first ever report, called "The Crisis of Democracy," are cited by Chomsky as roadmaps for the backlash. That report referred to an "excess of democracy," the over engagement of young people with civic life, and the view that young people were just not receiving proper "indoctrination." Well, there's a problem that's been fixed, huh?
3. Redesign the Economy. Since the 1970s the United States has been moved toward an ever larger role for financial institutions. By 2007 they "earned" 40% of corporate profits. Deregulation has produced wealth concentration and economic crashes, followed by anti-capitalist bailouts making for more wealth concentration. Offshore production has reduced workers' pay. Alan Greenspan testified to Congress about the benefits of promoting "job insecurity" -- something those Europeans in Michael Moore's film don't know about and might find it hard to appreciate.
4. Shift the Burden. The American Dream in the 1950s and 60s was partly real. Both the rich and the poor got richer. Since then, we've seen the steady advance of what Chomsky calls the plutonomy and the precariat, that is the wealthy few who run the show and get all the new wealth, and the precarious proletariat. Back then, taxes were quite high on corporations, dividends, and wealth. Not anymore.
5. Attack Solidarity. To go after Social Security and public education, Chomsky says, you have to drive the normal emotion of caring about others out of people's heads. The U.S. of the 1950s was able to make college essentially free with the G.I. Bill and other public funding. Now a much wealthier United States is full of "serious" experts who claim that such a thing is impossible (and who must strictly avoid watching Michael Moore).
6. Run the Regulators. The 1970s saw enormous growth in lobbying. It is now routine for the interests being regulated to control the regulators, which makes things much easier on the regulated.
7. Engineer Elections. Thus we've seen the creation of corporate personhood, the equation of money with speech, and the lifting of all limits under Citizens United.
8. Keep the Rabble in Line. Here Chomsky focuses on attacks on organized labor, including the Taft Hartley Act, but one could imagine further expansions on the theme.
9. Manufacture Consent. Obsessive consumers are not born, they're molded by advertising. The goal of directing people to superficial consumption as a means of keeping people in their place was explicit and has been reached. In a market economy, Chomsky says, informative advertisements would result in rational decisions. But actual advertisements provide no information and promote irrational choices. Here Chomsky is talking about, not just ads for automobiles and soap, but also election campaigns for candidates.
10. Marginalize the Population. This seems as much a result as a tactic, but it certainly has been achieved. What the public wants does not typically impact what the U.S. government does.
Unless the trends described above are reversed, Chomsky says, things are going to get very ugly.
Then the film shows us a clip of Chomsky saying the same thing decades earlier when he was still shown on U.S. television. He's been marginalized along with the rest of us.
I imagine every friendly critic of this film has a #11 to add, and that they are all different. In fact, I can think of lots of things to add, but I insist on mentioning one of them. It's the same one missing from Bernie Sanders' home movie starring Iowa and New Hampshire. Its the thing missing from all U.S. discourse but showing up in Michael Moore's movie as a great difference between the United States and Europe.
11. Dump Massive Funding into Militarism. Why should this be included? Well, militarism is the biggest public program in the United States. It's over half of federal discretionary spending. If you're going to claim that lobbyists are concentrating wealth through their influence on the government, why not notice the single budget item that eats up over half the budget? It does indeed concentrate wealth and also power. It's a vast pot of unaccountable funding for cronies. And it generates public interest in fighting foreign enemies rather than enemies hanging out on Wall Street. It does militarize the police for free, however, just in case Wall Street generates any disgruntled customers.
Chomsky does, of course, oppose militarism. As far as I know he's consistently opposed it for many years. We see B-roll of him in the movie with anti-war books in his office. And discussion of point #1 above mentions the peace movement of the 1960s. How the single biggest thing that the wealthy and powerful do in their effort to expand their power over the whole globe didn't make the top-10 list I don't know.
The film concludes with a call to build mass movements for change. The United States still has a very free society, Chomsky advises. A lot can be done, he tells us, if people will only choose to do it.
Requiem for the American Dream Trailer (or full vid depending on your location):
Click to play YouTube Video
Not my philosophy but wanted to post Ying to MOTG Yang.
Fair enough bud, hope you didn't think I was having a pop at you.
If anything I'm having a go at Ayn.
"Here's my point, media," " Take up a hobby. I recommend journalism."
I was pontificating from on high to my daughter about one of my favorites from Tolstoy and Hulkette replied Toy Story?
Ayn L Rand?
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." -John Rogers
“I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.”
― Christopher Hitchens
“Ayn Rand's 'philosophy' is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society.... To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.”
― Gore Vidal
“To sum it all up, the [Ayn] Rand belief system looks like this:
1. Facts are facts: things can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, as determined by reason.
2. According to my reasoning, I am absolutely right.
3. Charity is immoral.
4. Pay for your own fucking schools.”
― Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, doubtless two of the most exquisitely adolescent of fictions.”
― Nancy Mairs
I actually slogged by way through that book. What crap.
Back when I was in High School in the 60's, critical thinking was taught. Also philosophy was taught.
You read Ayn Rand and then discussed it. Her philosophy was considered bankrupt at best.
Objectivism is brain candy for self-centered individuals; it tells them that they are great and society is holding them back.
There was a time when philosophy and critical thinking were taught in public schools.
And my teacher in High School (60's) had us read some Ayn L Rand then went on to teach us what a demented cult leader she was. Through critical thinking and rational discussion you could arrive at not other conclusion.
Your chances of being an Objectivist rise in accordance with your WoW level, and basement dwell time.
“It is not a novel that should be thrown aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
---- Dorothy Parker about Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Often doing nothing IS the next right thing, however. Teddy was a bit off an all balls/no forehead kind of guy, yeah? LOL
Click to play YouTube Video
"Nobody should underestimate how much [Trump campaign chairman and chief strategist] Paul Manafort did to get this campaign to where it is right now."
Newt Gingrich, last August
"Paul Manafort played a very limited role."
Sean Spicer, on Monday
Separate names with a comma.