A Simple Explanation, In Three Parts
Part Two: Myths and a Cult
We now see the main problem with the US Government is clearly the overpowering of American Democracy by corporatocracy.
Just last Sunday, a New York Times article featured a classic story of corporatism at work. This was something straight off the DEBIT MAP. In the “debate” on health care, 42 representatives entered statements into the Congressional Record directly from talking points handed to them by lobbyists working for Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche. 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats submitted similarly worded claptrap about research and jobs and a provision that would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to approve generic versions of expensive “biosimilar” biotechnology drugs.
And then there were the insults added to the injury. A lobbyist close to Genentech said: “This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.”
Right, there’s nothing nefarious about corporations writing our Congressional Record, just big business as usual.
Indeed, there certainly couldn’t be bribery here from the corporate campaign donors. Evan L. Morris, head of Genentech’s Washington office, said, “There was no connection between the contributions and the statements.”
Yes, how could anyone possibly imagine such a connection?
Who’s responsible for this ongoing calamity? What is sustaining this mess?
This brings us to the Myth of Liberalism and Cult of Conservatism.
“Wait a minute”, you may be saying. “I know a lot of liberals and a lot of conservatives. I have liberal neighbors who are quite real. And my parents are conservative, but they are not Moonies.”
That’s true. In fact most people are not totally liberal or totally conservative. Almost all of us share opinions and views from both perspectives. Almost all of us want public safety, public education, and yes, public health. We all want jobs, prosperity and security.
And it’s true both liberals and conservatives are opposed to government abuse of power. Liberals, and a few conservatives, see abuse of power in warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention without charges, torture, and war based on falsehood.
Conservatives, and a few liberals, see abuse of power in bureaucracy, the Department of Education, “unfair” taxes of wealth, Medicare, Social Security, and other public services they call entitlements.
As long as inflexible ideology is not in the mix, there can be common ground with most Americans.
Real liberalism exists as much as conservatism in the public. It’s another story with government. Liberalism has been not only institutionally discouraged in government by the entrenched power of Big Money, it has been actively libeled and slandered by the radical Right. The Right has unilaterally defined the terms and the issues, and framed the debate to their advantage over the past few decades.
The real struggle, of course, is not between liberals and conservatives. It is between corporatocracy and democracy.
The Myth of Liberalism becomes clear when we look at how few liberals there actually are in government. Beyond Sanders, Feingold, and Franken in the Senate, I have a hard time seeing many more. I’m sure there are more than three liberals in the House. Let’s be generous and say about ten percent of the Senate and House of Representatives are liberal. What are they going to do against the ninety percent who do the bidding of their corporate masters?
Contrary to the Right Wing media circus, liberals have not been in charge in decades. And they still are not in charge.
Look at the financial collapse. If liberals were in charge we’d never have de-regulated Wall Street. Clinton was a company man working with the Republicans. It was not liberalism when Obama joined the Bush Administration in the TARP bailout for the banksters.
Look at the health care debacle. If liberals were in charge we’d have a single payer system of health care in this country. Instead we see endless haggle over a so-called public option that still channels money into insurance company pockets. It was not liberalism we saw when Obama met with big Pharma and let them set terms for their participation in the health care debacle.
Look at foreign policy. If liberals were in charge we’d have fewer dead soldiers, or none, returning to our shores. It was not liberalism we saw when Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan. Instead we’ve seen an escalation of troops in Afghanistan and pressure for more.
Look at our state of justice. If liberals were in charge we’d see Dick Cheney on trial for war crimes. Instead we see him fear mongering and undermining democracy at Fox.
It’s plain to see the influence of liberalism at the federal level has been reduced to non-existent.
The Cult of Conservatism, on the other hand, is thriving. And no wonder, it has all the money of corporate America behind it. With that financial leverage, the Cult of Conservatism has enormous access to corporate media. As we all know, money talks. And it talks incessantly in the mainstream corporate media and the Right Wing media of talk radio and Fox.
The Cult of Conservatism does not include all conservative people. I’m not necessarily referring to the fiscally prudent or socially reserved common folk. Many people live a conservative personal life style that doesn’t have much to do with politics.
The Cult of Conservatism is the right wing propaganda arm of corporatism. It is the authoritarian voice of a system of indoctrination. The purpose of the Cult of Conservatism is to sell a belief system. They need people to accept without question the idea that conservatism is good and everything else is evil.
The conservatism they promote is based on emotion, not on reason, logic, or fact. Their conservatism is devoid of compassion, love, and concern for the health and well-being of everyone outside their Cult, who is not a fetus. The emotional component of this conservatism is based on manipulation of ignorance, resentment, racism, fear and anger.
The only love exhibited in their world is for wealth and power. They embrace a system of authoritarian social control, through unrestricted surveillance by law enforcement and harsh punishment for those convicted of crimes. Of course this does not include corporate criminals and Republican politicians like Scooter Libby.
Their belief system embraces militarism and war over diplomacy and peace. Patriotism (to the flag, not the Constitution) is their primary virtue, along with obedience and loyalty to the Cult leaders. Above everything else is blind devotion to the bottom line of corporate profit. If more money was made through peace than war, they would be pacifists. Their god is Mammon, cloaked in a superficial facade of pseudo-Christianity. They do not love their neighbor and they do not love their fellow man.
They need the common folk to embrace an ideology that is openly hostile to their economic interests. For the corporatists to prevail, their politicians need the support of those people that would not share the benefits of their agenda.
Thus we were constantly deluged with their messages. For years the Cult worked to undermine, subvert, and destroy the very idea of liberalism. It cast liberals as unpatriotic for not blindly adhering to nationalism, militarism, and corporatism. Liberals were called treasonous for questioning the Bush/Cheney warrantless surveillance and torture crimes.
The Cult worked endlessly to demonize liberalism as ungodly satanic legions of secular humanists out to slaughter babies and burn the flag. The indoctrination is hammered in endlessly. Government can’t do anything right. Government is always the problem. Big Government is bad. Taxes are bad. Tax and spend Democrats are bad. Government regulation of business is very bad. Regulation and public services are socialism. And socialism is very, very bad.
This propaganda is crucial to the success of the corporatocracy behind the Cult. They run a thriving propaganda operation that has successfully redefined important terms through which to push their agenda. The Cult has been quite adept at manufacturing its own myths to confuse the people.
Perhaps the most famous myth from the Cult of Conservatism is the “liberal media”. You see, all the Cult had to do was substitute the inaccurate word “liberal” for the accurate word “corporate” to create their myth. Everyone has now heard the myth of liberal media. This lie has been repeated so often by so many that it has become accepted by at least half the American public.
The Cult has redefined the Estate Tax on inherited wealth as a “Death Tax”. Most Americans would rightly not be overly concerned with how much poor little rich kids scoop up when the wealthy Old Man who was never home finally croaks. Notice how falsely calling it a Death Tax not only gets attention, it throws in a little fear mongering as well. Death scares everybody, right? Now the Death Tax myth frightens those poor people who would otherwise never have heard of an Estate Tax.
This worked so well, the Cult decided to call health care counseling a “death panel’. See the pattern here?
The Cult claims to represent freedom. And they do in a limited sense. According to Cicero, “Freedom is participation in power.” The Cult of Conservatism has a great deal of power. But their freedom and power is not democracy and freedom for America. It is freedom for the power of wealth.
The Cult must be exposed and its victims need de-programming. This will not be easy. The indoctrinated believers have had their senses of fear, anger, frustration and confusion manipulated and aggravated for a long time. They are suspicious of ideas not fed to them by the Cult.
This indoctrination is so powerful the followers can’t even see the obvious fact that the interests of private and corporate wealth are always held over the interests of the public welfare. The cultists are enraged over health care to the poor and oblivious to the vastly larger corporate welfare handouts to Big Money.
Remember the Cult of Conservatism plays the God card to these frightened souls. As with the Divine Right of Kings, God’s will is invoked as the guiding force behind the Cult. This Cult is as medieval as witch burning and inquisitions. They are proponents of execution and torture. Humanity is not so far removed from the Dark Ages.
The Cult frightens people with horror stories of a non-existent myth of gun control. It promotes imaginary myths of threats from different sexual orientation. Fortunately the God, gays, and guns fabrications and hysteria are losing their hold on folks. I can see some hope in these strange and cruel times.
Let’s compare the results of the latest efforts by the Cult of Conservatism to the efforts of its opposition.
We’ve seen the Fox/Republican Tea Parties, and the angry True Believers carrying ridiculous signs of the fictional “Death Panels”, “We Come Unarmed: This Time”, and “National Socialism Death Camps”. There was nothing positive or constructive or helpful to any person accomplished by these rallies.
Now contrast this image with the reality of a “Life Panel” in Louisiana. There was a free health clinic for the uninsured in the convention center in New Orleans. Over a thousand people without insurance were treated. Some had life-threatening diseases like hypertension and diabetes diagnosed. They surely would have eventually been among the thousands of Americans to die without health coverage. Now they at least have a start towards treatment. This was made possible by donations from compassionate Americans in response to Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Health Care.
Some real and tangible good is being done. My friends, there are grounds for optimism.
The True Believers are finally becoming more marginalized. We can be thankful for the Tea Parties, where the Hannity insanity-afflicted, Beckerheaded Foxsuckers expose the rampant raging lunacy within their group.
The Cult of Conservatism is finally being challenged by some voices, albeit relatively few, in commercial media. Air America radio and the three evening hours of MSNBC are still dwarfed by the machinery of talk radio and 24/7 right wing propaganda from Fox. But there are others out there doing their part in the struggle for democracy.
What can we do to make a difference? We’ll discuss this in part three of A Simple Explanation.