April 14, 2003
"Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power: 21st-century market-capitalism, American-style, will fail for the same reasons." --Arundhati Roy, Guardian (UK), Sept. 27, 2002
It's hard to pinpoint the exact time that I stopped believing. Perhaps I can do so by finding the various attempts at epiphany -- that is, to prop up things that I was supposed to believe. A loyal child, I wanted to uphold the values and teachings of my parents.
It wasn't always easy. (I will leave the Santa Claus Myth where it belongs.)
It wasn't easy, because I thought about things. Thinking is never very supportive of humbugs, benign or malign. Better to believe. Believers have supported humbugs throughout recorded history. "Knowing," or attempting to get information has always been seen as rebellion against authority -- heresy, as the case may be -- whether the proclaiming authority is religious, or secular.
How can I say this?
Because, if you care to check things out -- a heresy in its own right -- you will find authority censoring thought and limiting information (secrecy) in order to maintain control. If you can find a ruling authority that did not/does not do this, please enlighten me. Usually the censoring and secrecy is sold as being for the good of the country/religion/organization/world -- take your pick.
Currently the censoring and limiting authority is the Bush II administration. Executive orders to "classify" scores of documents have been put into effect. The draconian Patriot II Act looms. The excuse is "national security." The reality is that the political class seeks security for itself and is fearful that the citizenry may become aware that they are pawns.
When you find authority using censorship and secrecy, you can be assured that you are being lied to. How? Through "embedded" news of all types. Why? Because if the citizenry "knew" what was really going on, they would not support the authority.
Isn't that rather simplistic?
Yes. But, as Plato once said, "The Truth is simple. Lies and Sophistries are complex." That general rule still holds.
But, back to Arundhati Roy. The prevailing wisdom says that Soviet Communism failed, because it could not deal with market forces. Soviet Communism was a "top-down" hierarchy. Ms. Roy says it failed because it got too big and could not respond to client demand.
The English writer Sir Edward Gibbon made the same statement about the fall of the Roman Empire. He said that it "fell of its own weight." My old college professor thought this was imprecise -- and he laughed at such a simple explanation. The college professor was wrong. Arundhati Roy and Edward Gibbon are both right.
The current prevailing wisdom says that "free-market" capitalism will prevail. Ms. Roy says it will not. It will not prevail, because it is not what it pretends to be; i.e., "free." At best it is mercantilism, masquerading as free-market capitalism. At worst it is neo-Fascism. Both Fascism and mercantilism are as unresponsive to client demand as Soviet communism was -- and for essentially the same reasons. Thus, it will eventually fail.
Were capitalism to remain small and vulnerable to market forces, it -- like democracy -- would have a chance to survive. Both capitalism and democracy are dependent on popular input. But this is something the ruling elites are afraid to do. They are afraid to allow free intercourse, both of thought and goods, because they might lose control.
These things are size specific. When order (organization) becomes remote, the people (so-called) quit believing in it and take things into their own hands. This is evinced by black markets.
Proclaiming that something is "capitalistic," or "democratic," or "free," when it is not, is corrosive to authority. People aren't stupid. They don't remain ignorant forever. They eventually figure out what the truth is and adjust their lives accordingly. They pay lip-service to Power, but act and believe otherwise.
The words and actions have to line up. Belief is dependent upon this.
Belief is something that Power can't properly gauge. As Power lies to its constituents, the constituents figure it out and lie in return. Power, caught in hubris, swallows its own lies and subsequently, the lies of the populace who are lying to survive.
Yassuh, Boss Man!
And once caught in a lie, Power is never fully believed again. If questioned, unjust Power resorts to force (guns). This further limits information, which causes Power to become more isolated and blind to the forces around it.
The blind do not see the sand shifting beneath their feet. The self-possessed don't feel it. The unwise ignore it. Then, flushed with hubris, Power races toward the abyss.
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Richard Macintosh was a Public High School Teacher in California (1956-1989). Ed.D, Educational Leadership, BYU, 1996. MA, Liberal Studies, Wesleyan University, 1982. BA, history, Stanford University, 1956... Macintosh is currently a part-time consultant on Personnel/Team matters in Washington State.
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