Swans Commentary » swans.com November 19, 2007  



Back To Feudalism


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - November 19, 2007)   The misunderstanding by many Americans of certain word definitions is shameful because that misunderstanding is promoted by those who have much to gain while We, the People, lose. Modern hype, or slang for hypodermic, is meant "to stimulate, excite, enliven artificially etc. by or as by the injection of a narcotic drug." according to my old copy of Webster's New World Dictionary, 1970, p. 690. The journalists and their employers, the corporations, have been practicing this "art" of hype since, at least, Richard Nixon was president. The purpose is to change the United States into a stupefied client state of consumers rather than allowing citizens more standing than a mere business.

That being said, we will leave 1970-2007 and go back to 1880 and the Library of Universal Knowledge for definitions of some currently battered terms. My husband and I watched Michael Moore's movie Sicko this weekend. To our surprise, the medical programs in Canada, France, and Great Britain were totally free and totally democratic. So, what happened here in the United States? The word "socialism" reared its head. This word is so misunderstood and misused in this country that an alien from outer space would think we had no reference material and no time to look into what is printed daily in the newspapers (or not, as the case usually may be!)

Volume XIII, page 608, defines socialism as,

the name given to a class of opinions opposed by the present organization of society, and which seeks to introduce a new distribution of property and labor, in which organized co-operation rather than competition should be the dominating principle, under the conviction that the happiness of the race, and especially of the classes without capital, would be benefited thereby.

Historically considered, socialism, like many of the significant phenomena of our age, is a product of the French revolution. That terrible outburst of popular discontent is most properly regarded as an anarchic attack on the social system that had its roots in the feudalism of the middle ages. The furious hatred of the court and the aristocracy, the passionate love of the "people," of "humanity," of "liberty," though called forth by special circumstances, and never formally worked out into a theory of social life, virtually contained within themselves the germs of all later proposed organizations.

In the middle ages, the right of freely and fully enjoying life, property, and political independence was limited to a favored few, while the great masses were condemned to dumb servitude, and a perpetual minority. Even the industrial population did not recognize the socialistic idea. The members of the different guilds and fraternities claimed exclusive right to exercise certain branches of industry, and probably the great majority of the inhabitants of a town remained in a disregarded and dependent state.

Amid such social conditions, resting, as they did, on a belief in the necessity of different distinct ranks, the free action of individual life, and even the vital progress of the whole community, became well-nigh impossible. We have not the space here to trace the course of the various minor reforms that weakened the medieval theory of life; but we must not omit to notice the speculations of the political philosophers in the 18th c. (century) in France, England, and Germany, as operating powerfully in favor of the new social system, in which the idea of humanity (assuming, at the French revolution, as we have observed, the concrete form of the "people") stands out prominently.

Nevertheless, the first shape that the modern spirit of industry took was not socialistic, in the strict and proper sense of the term; it was rather individualistic, and found, as it still finds -- for it is yet the prevailing theory -- its natural expression in such proverbs as, "A fair field, and no favor;" "Everyone for himself, and God for us all." But still, even this lawless individualism is to be regarded as a protest against the false class-legislation of preceding times, and as an assertion of the absolute right of each member of society to a share in the general welfare (emphasis added).

That it has not universally recommended itself to civilized mankind as a perfect system, is demonstrated by the appearance and temporary popularity of such schemes ... and the enthusiasm excited at intervals in different parts of Europe by the promulgation of extreme communistic opinions.

It is objected to socialism, under its various forms, that it makes human happiness too much dependent on material gratifications; that it robs man of that energy that springs from ambition; that it unphilosophically ignores an individualism and inequality that nature herself has given her inviolable sanction; and that, by the abolition of social rewards and punishments, it neither holds out any hope to the industrious, nor excites any apprehension among the indolent.

On the other hand, we must admit that the vigourous assertion of socialistic principles has led men to a more liberal and generous view of humanity as a whole. Moreover, it has forcibly called public attention to numerous evils that have sprung up along with the modern development of industry, for which no remedy-not even a name-had been provided; to the vital interdependence of all classes; and to the inadequacy of the individual or "selfish" system, as it has been called, to redress the wrongs or cure the evils that inevitably spring from its own unchecked operation.

The recent spread of socialistic opinions in Germany, taken in connection with the two attempts made on the life of the emperor, has led, in 1878, to special and stringent legislation designed to check the growth of socialism.

Perhaps, as a People, we have forgotten to read the beginning of the United States Constitution, that is, the Preamble to it. In the preceding quote, I emphasized the term "general welfare" for a reason. This is the Preamble to our very own Constitution and should be the guiding principles to our behavior towards each other legally, judicially, politically, and actually.

We, the People of the United States, in order to:

*  form a more perfect union,

*  establish justice,

*  insure domestic tranquility,

*  provide for the common defence,

promote the general welfare, and

*  secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and

*  (secure the blessing of liberty) to our posterity,

do ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America.

Note that our very 230-year-old Constitution has the socialistic phrase: general welfare as one of our purposes as a People. That being said, the remarkable disdain for that general welfare in the form of universal healthcare for American citizens is put down as "socialism." Socialism is not a bugaboo; it is fairness to all. Our Founding Fathers sincerely knew this and set their lives and sacred honor to the above cause.

Other countries have healthier citizens with longer life spans than Americans do. We rank 37th from the top. The general welfare is necessary unless the planet is about to be decimated by the people worried they will be held to account for their depredations amongst our young, our sick, our old, our citizens dying needlessly for want of care they could get in Canada or Europe if we weren't so afraid of the boogeyman of socialism in the guise of universal health care for Americans.

In 1890, when a mere clerk elevated corporations to persons, We, the People, lost our place to the "new boss, just like the old boss" (the aristocracy of the Middle Ages). These new "business elites" have harmed us in several very special ways as elites are wont to do. For example, they have bought and sold most of our elected congresspersons to do their bidding with tons of money scammed from us by bogus laws.

What do we do? Go to court? Write our Congress? That may or may not work since the Executive Branch and the Congress have packed the court with their own. The Executive Branch is now a dynasty rather than a presidency. Its attendant bureaus no longer serve the People with scientists and well-rounded public servants, which was the case many years ago.

This Branch is being privatized and outsourced and replaced with political operatives. The Executive has run up the public debt to outrageous sums while our dollar is worth about $0.045 (that's cents). Our military uses sixty percent of the oil and trillions of our hard-earned dollars. Meanwhile, our health care is meted out in tiny amounts to those who have pure and clean medical histories without costs to the corporations, thanks to collusion between Richard Nixon and the HMOs.

Citizens are sick and dying but the establishment puts them out on the street in their hospital gowns. Our wounded veterans are being held in backroom barracks without immediately appropriate medical care. The Veterans Administration is part of the Executive Branch. Birth defects in the soldiers' children? Ignore it. Hide the deaths; hide the children; hide Iraq from us. Send our tax dollars to the weapons manufacturers for their welfare, not ours.

Jobs are going everywhere but here. The business people have replaced the earls, dukes, counts, princes, etc. of old under the feudal systems of the past. An unelected president from the new feudal dynasties of the world sits in Washington and spends lives and money, limbs and depleted uranium, as if it were a precious metal instead of a junk problem for the nuclear industry.

We send money to China to make items that will kill our children with lead poisoning, among other pollutants coming to us by sea and by air. Our consumer-oriented idiocy has produced hell on earth and the planet is in its grip. We act as a plague upon the planet. We swarm and harm and kill and maim, but here in our nest, we pretend we are civilized to the end. Do any of you remember the three monkeys? My parents had a set: see no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil. In other words, hide the truth from yourself, citizen monkey.

We haven't had news about the truth of anything since 9/11 or, maybe, 1980. It is all hype, the drug of corporate choices. We pretend we are the country but we have been supplanted by the bogus "persons" who poison our food, our medicines, our government, our air, our lives, and who no longer care to report anything. We are living in an insane asylum; but, it is so comfortable, isn't it? Thinking and acting sanely hurts; buying is more fun; it gives everyone something to show for the effort.

Even good conversation is disappearing as electronic devices supplant humanity's need for contact. Socialism isn't the problem; conditioning is. When death comes here as it must everywhere, will you realize that capitalism is worse than the general welfare for the uncaring few? Will it be too late?

What about our grandchildren? The native peoples worry about actions seven generations into the future. Do we? Nope, not even close to the next fiscal year. Will they live off dumps in their future since we never cared about them and still don't?

The Constitution is dead. We lost our rights this year, all of them. There is no hue and cry for restoration except my letters to Congress. I had to send them. My ancestors fought and wrote the Preamble. Soon the military will be taking over when we've had enough and rise up as the French did, provided we are healthy. If not, another bogus and inhuman empire will grace our shores for a short time. Am I angry? Yes. Are you?

I will close with a quote from Media Lens, November 13, 2007:

Even to have this discussion, even to talk about the problem of corporate control, is to be "untrustworthy," to be judged beyond the pale. As ever, the rationalization revolves round the idea that it is somehow impolite, disrespectful, unreasonable, and even disgraceful to bring to light what is "simply understood" and cannot be challenged. The "gentleman's agreements" that so often lie at the heart of modern systems of thought control are really deemed to be just that -- to challenge them is to be deemed something less than a "gentleman."

It is imprudent, indeed, for any of us to "shut up" when so much modern suffering is built precisely on silence.

And, I must add, all this silence is a serious misunderstanding of the general welfare, socialism, and the Constitution of the United States of America.


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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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Published November 19, 2007