I was born in 1956, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. I went to high school, but didn’t make it beyond grade 10. (I just hated school and was miserable and thought, simplistically, that quitting would be great and no one gave me any advice or encouragement to stay in school.) My mother’s name is Jean and my father’s given name is Archibald, but he went by Wayne. I have 2 full brothers (same father and mother) and one full sister. Another half sister, Laura, was part of our close family, having been born to my mother with a different father. My now-deceased father split when we were very young. Archie, and his full and half brothers and sisters, was not a part of our close family, but as adults we – all of my half and full brothers and sisters – have all gotten acquainted with each other and for the most part enjoy good relations.
I live in Toronto, about 35 miles west of Oshawa where I was born. I’ve made Toronto my home since 1993. I came here because our chef at the Oshawa Golf Club where I washed dishes for 7.5 years left the OGC to open the newly built Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning at Pharmacy and Steeles and he brought half of the kitchen staff, including me, with him. I was there for 5.5 years and was the last one remaining out of the group that our chef brought from Oshawa. Then they got nasty with me and fired me for speaking up about being pushed around. Workers can’t speak up to bosses – without consequences. I am still a wage slave but I now work as a security guard. I can’t retire. I’d either starve or have to move in with relatives, which I wouldn’t want to do. And so I will work until I die and hope that my health, and luck, will allow me to.
Toronto is ‘not’ a world class city. It’s simply big, which works for me. As a single person, I am able, over time, to flit around and find everything that I need to have a comfortable life here. I know the interesting (to me) nabes. I have found restos and espresso bars that I like and could never be stuck with having none to visit in Toronto because there are a zillion. Second hand bookstores do exist, even if they aren’t numerous. Once I got over my homesickness for the armpit called Oshawa, I was happy with my new home. I don’t how I survived in Oshawa all those years.
more than a nutshell:
Hello all! Here’s some bio of myself. I am, by the way, Rick Battams. I use Arby (RB) all over the net, or try to. I often end up using a variation of Arby because the name’s already in use or for some other reason. I used Arby on Baywords. I couldn’t use it on WordPress because someone (me?) is already using it. So here I’m Arrby. It’s not that I imagine that it makes me invisible. But I quite possibly avoid getting harassed by yahoos and other unhinged folks who hate to hear views that don’t jibe with the propaganda they think is revealed truth. It’s probably easy enough for some folks to hit a few keys and make someone who gets their attention, and under their skin, miserable. I’m just filtering those people out of my life and cutting out the crap a little, theoretically. I very well know that there are those out there – also yahoos and unhinged but smart, capable and empowered – who could get through any amount of disguising myself I might do.
I really don’t want to hide. I’m just being cautious, to a reasonable, not extreme, extent.
My full ‘about’ is long. My ‘about’ is quite a bit about what bothers me. But those irksome things will not be on the level of say, people who wear great shoes together with blue jeans or talking into cell phones too loudly. I am going to tell you what I know, in general, about the world we live in in this 21st century. And how I talk about what I see and know will tell you about me. It’s still not the whole me, but it’s an important part of me.
I’m single and without dependents. I was born in 1956. I connect with people easily. Paying attention to what’s going on in the world has some side benefits, such as enabling you to hold a decent conversation with people pretty much no matter what the conversation is about. There’s that. But then people don’t always like to be challenged to think. That can make them antsy rather than interested in anything further you might want to say to them. Also, Being non conformist and religious (but rational) sometimes puts people off, even though I really don’t bring up religion unless it’s reasonable to do so or it suddenly becomes unavoidable. (And I have as much patience for a discussion that suddenly diverts into the ‘fact’ of evolution as others have for my sudden references to Jehovah God.) Other subjects, my views on which make me non conformist, I am more willing to bring up. For example, I often toss out that I’m anti-capitalist since capitalism is against me.
I feel no need to talk to people about things they are not interested in. I am happy to talk to people about anything, depending. If you make me feel uncomfortable or if I detect belligerence, I’m going to disengage (and if that happens online, it can look like the dark side is winning now that it has squeezed out a little more light, but the battle isn’t the war). Other than that, I love a good conversation and I like people. And I like to learn and teach. Which isn’t to say that I have all the answers. And on the subject of learning and teaching, I pledge to you to not seek to dominate the discourse. Which isn’t to say that I don’t have something to prove. Anyone who has lived long enough to have ideas about life and the world will come to have an overview and will therefore have that to defend/prove. Can one be truly open to other views after that? (If we care, then I think we can agree to teach in a certain manner. I may ‘think’ I’m open to dialog, but if I’m authoritarian instead of democratic and authoritative…) I think so, but that’s not the same as being prepared to ‘casually’ toss out your big (identity-forming) beliefs. In my case, As with those who try, in all that they do, to prove the Lie [1.biological evolution and 2. the force belief], I have been trying in all [or in the totality] that I do to prove that the Lie isn’t true.
What is dominating the discourse? It’s something, obviously, that you will see most easily (when it’s there) online, where people can connect without physically going anywhere. You see it all the time. You see no opportunity to question the author of an article, whether that is via zero commenting features or a commenting feature set up to limit you to a few words only. You see no opportunity to discuss an author’s article with anyone else reading it online, unless you take the extra step of directly contacting the strangers you see there (if they are visible and have made themselves accessible).
You’re seeing a huge effort by the Corporatocracy’s agents to dominate the discourse. Even the worldwide web’s creator, Tim Berners-Lee, is getting in on the act. (See “Guardian promoting GCHQ demand for more internet censorship” by Claire Bernish.) While Corporatocracy governments and security orgs within them or attached to them target anti-police state journalists and whistleblowers and pass fascist laws to label as fake and a danger to national security information that they see as encouraging people to know something different than what they want people to know, their media allies (in print and online) do their part to help in manufacturing consent and stifling dangerous (from their standpoint) democracy. You’ll see that attack on non establishment information in online major media, with major dailies like The Toronto Star killing readers’ comments altogether. Then there’s the UK Guardian, and Russia’s RT News, which censor heavily. (Check out this Vidme video, by Alan Knight, aka Alansky, about the BBC’s manipulation and censorship during the Scottish independence referendum of 2014: “LONDON CALLING: BBC bias during the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum”) Other corporate-owned, state-allied media, like Canada’s Globe And Mail, now tests its readers to determine who can comment, online, on their articles, and who can’t. Behind all of that are powerful, special, Corporatocracy interests (including the deep, or permanent, State) that don’t want their media outlets to be used by the people to counter their own pro-state narratives. And that will always have money considerations behind it because all States are Corporatocracy – referring to profit making corporations – States.
You also see dominating the discourse among non-establishment writers (professional and non-professional). Regular people can be egotistical and unprincipled. They don’t have to be willing and able agents of the Corporatocracy or one of its appendages. And those ones can be found on the real Left and the fake Left. Indeed, 99% of the iconic 99% makes itself an enemy of the 1% of the 99% who are trying to push back (advocacy and amplification of advocates’ messages rather than squawking) against the darkness of Corporatocracy. And an even greater number of the 99% makes itself an enemy of the tiny fraction of those among them who are trying to prove that the Lie isn’t true.
As for myself, I am not bold enough, nor uninteresting enough (I hope), to assert that this or that is true without telling you why I think so, which means telling you about my intellectual journey, which means telling you about those sources of information that I have tapped. Some people are (authoritarian) like that. I never want to catch what they have. And I am honest, because I choose to be. I have always followed the path of honesty, in blogging (and life), because, to be frank, attribution and references to sources of information that I’ve tapped have also made my positions and views more ‘authoritative’ (and interesting, I think), not as in ‘special’ but as in ‘not authoritarian’. There are those who will assert this and that and not seek to back up their assertions in any fashion. “I’m right because I’m right.” But I’m also finding, more and more, an authoritarian attitude, in which there is a strong desire on the part of even good people (on the Left and online) to dominate the discourse. It’s disheartening how many of those who purport to be people’s champions simply disappear those, without allies (nobodies), who seek to get clarification from them or wish to intellectually challenge (debate) them or wish to offer constructive criticism. They disappear us, silently and out of sight, by just ignoring us or disrespecting us. You are not automatically a good person just because you aren’t rich or a banker. Maybe I get that treatment, when I do, because I don’t make an effort to dishonestly hide my bigger beliefs, which are not widely shared. I don’t blurt them out everywhere all the time. I simply don’t hide them when I feel that I have to point to them for some reason. And I would never lie about them.
I don’t plan on changing who I am, which isn’t to say that making changes is automatically a bad thing.
I’m a wage slave. I’m also anti-capitalist, as I’ve noted. Bosses don’t have to pull their weight, so they don’t. But they are encouraged to whine about taxes and beg for tax cuts that politicians, pursuing their neoliberal agenda, are eager to give. The problem is, The only ones who really benefit from those cuts are those who already have money. Then the politicians complain about the deficits that their endless tax cuts cause, telling the people – the majority who don’t benefit from tax cuts – that they must endure austerity now that there’s a deficit. The politicians who complain about the deficits that they create are simply setting the people up. The operation/theft begins with politicians complaining that there is no money, and is followed by dire warnings from them and their media allies about debt walls, followed by preaching about fiscal responsibility and the sin of living beyond your means. Corporatist politicians in power or wanting to be in power are all heard promising that “We will do the responsible thing and cut taxes and spending” which means mainly ‘corporate’ taxes and ‘social’ spending. Military spending is usually protected. (Imagine! Tax cuts, and unfair taxation generally – very low rates for corporations, tax havens, deferred taxes, tax inversions, etc – cause deficits. Then these ‘leaders’ tell us that the solution to the problem of deficits is to keep causing them, since they offer as solutions only punishment of the people harmed by those practices while the practices and policies that caused the problems are to be maintained!)
Corporatist politicians and their partners in the private sector, some time after the destruction/sabotage caused by underfunding has taken place, pipe up and start talking about better ways to deliver services. Sometimes out and out privatization is on the menu. Often it’s privatization by stealth, aka public-private-partnerships aka alternative financing and procurement. The people are told the truth, which is that there is no money. (Well, It’s a partial truth.) They are not told that there is no money because of deliberate unfair taxation and that the abandonment of programs and services is due to defunding in the pursuit of the neoliberal agenda of privatization (which is one component of that agenda). Now, If the socialist (public or collective) approach is inherently inefficient, then okay; There might be a basis for seeking alternatives. But if publicly funded programs and services are being sabotaged by neoliberals (who are believers in inequality) within and without, that’s a different thing than a publicly funded service being inherently inefficient.
Our Canada Post is a good example of neoliberals within and without sabotaging a publicly funded service and setting it up for privatization. Type “Canada Post,” with the quotation marks, into the search field on Rabble.ca and check out the returns. Here’s one: “Canada Post provided 800 pages on postal banking, but 700 are redacted.” Or visit (the visually horrible) website called “Friends Of Public Services.” I was going to throw in a quote here from Susan George of the Transnational Institute, but could not find it. I’m human and as I age I’m not as sharp as I was and so I am not immune to misremembering. Therefore I dropped Susan a line asking about that quote. She liked my attitude about attribution and offered that “Privatisation and the way debt is used in general is the greatest theft of our times.” (But the TNI’s funding is very problematic. When I emailed them recently to express disappointment, I received no reply. Which is fine, as I made the point in my email that I wasn’t looking for one. Still… TNI, under ‘Finances’ includes the following main funders: Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.)
I can’t add two plus two. I’m terrible with math. But I do get that there is less money available for investing in whatever publicly funded service you’re looking at if you privatize it. When you privatize, you then end up with investments ‘minus’ profits for the owner as compared to investments minus zero when it’s a fully publicly funded service or program.
In a democracy, the people should have some say in how their taxes are used. And they should have ‘all’ the say when corporatist politicians start talking about privatization of some publicly funded service. If the people, through their taxes, payed for it to be created and maintained, then it belongs to the people. And if it’s to be sold, then its owners should be the ones who are asking for that. As for deficits, People don’t ‘ask’ for deficits, specifically. A wife doesn’t tell her husband, when he’s received his paycheque or when she’s received her paycheque, that she needs to create a deficit. She says she needs to buy the groceries, pay the bills, etc.. Which is fine. If she said she had to buy weapons and/or drugs and/or beer and couldn’t afford the groceries and to feed the kids, etc., then no one would support that. Governments are a little different, granted. They do buy weapons. But the social spending takes an unnecessarily big hit under corporatist leaders who take their marching orders from big corporations, including the military intelligence industrial complex that profits from war making and the militarization of police forces, especially in an era of austerity in which the people are constantly squeezed by and ignored by uncaring, traitorous leaders.
“Inside Canada’s Defence Lobby” by Mitchell Thompson
Anyway, Deficit terrorism is examined in Linda McQuaig’s awesome book titled “Shooting The Hippo – Death By Deficit And Other Canadian Myths.” (See “Shooting Baby Hippos For The Sake Of Austerity,” by Linda McQuaig. For the book, I’m thinking ebay. And there are some good books about related subjects: 1. “A Game As Old As Empire – The Secret World Of Economic Hit Men And The Web Of Global Corruption” edited by Steven Hiatt and 2. “Treasure Islands – Tax Havens And The Men Who Stole The World” by Nicholas Shaxson and 3. “The Courageous State: Rethinking Economics, Society and the Role of Government” by Richard Murphy) The shooting of the hippo actually took place (as far as I know), in New Zealand, showing how far rightwing politicians will go to prove that their lies are the truth. There wasn’t supposed to be enough money to properly fund the zoo and so something had to go. The animals on the insides of zoos are no match for the vicious animals on the outside.
When the corporatist politicians talk about what we can’t afford, the ‘we’ actually doesn’t include the ‘important’ people, namely the iconic 1%, including the supposedly wealth-generating corporations. And that sets things up for their partners in the private sector who will then try to make the case for privatizing the services etc that are falling apart because they are now not properly funded due to austerity.
“In the last two chapters, noting the recommendation of the liberal intellectuals that with the “advance of knowledge” we should keep to “subtle” and “refined” methods of social control, avoiding “coarse, obvious and direct methods,” I discussed some of the modalities of thought control developed in democratic societies. The most effective device is the bounding of the thinkable, achieved by tolerating debate, even encouraging it, though only within proper limits. But democratic systems also resort to cruder means, the method of “interpretation of some phrase” being a notable instrument. Thus aggression and state terror in the Third World become “defense of democracy and human rights” and “democracy” is successfully achieved when government is safely in the hands of “the rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations,” as in Winston Churchill’s prescription for world order. At home the rule of the privileged must be guaranteed and the population reduced to the status of passive observers, while in the dependencies stern measures may be needed to eliminate any challenge to the natural rulers. Under the proper interpretation of the phrase, it is indeed true that “the yearning to see American-style democracy duplicated throughout the world has been a persistent theme in American foreign policy,” as Times correspondent Neil Lewis declared.” – pages 105 & 106 of “Necessary Illusions – Thought Control In Democratic Societies” by Noam Chomsky
It doesn’t matter that we don’t consciously vote for politicians who are bent on stripping the ‘civilization’ from society, which is what we get when they do this deficit terrorism at the behest of privatizers and corporations that benefit from it. Enough people, accepting the campaign rhetoric of “We are all in this together” and the lie “I will create jobs, protect the environment and hold rich corporations accountable,” ‘do’ vote for such politicians and the consequences to the majority are negative.
It’s a conundrum actually. When the majority eschews voting, out of principle, and because so many don’t understand politics (which makes such ones rational, not drop outs, for choosing to therefore not vote) or have other challenges, and because others just don’t believe in politics, which they have good reasons not to (and, admittedly, good reasons to try politics; There have been successes), then that leaves a minority of eligible (and mostly uncaring) citizens who will vote and who will find that the electoral system is tailored for them. That’s how this sham electoral system/ democracy is perpetuated. We can all vote and make the best of a bad situation, voting for the best of a bad bunch of Corporatocracy-approved candidates, which really changes little, or we can leave this harmful election ritual alone and try to build something else that we can use to replace the Corporatocracy-imposed system with. But that leaves the Corporatocracy-imposed system in place while we’re spending time building. And while it’s there, it will be used to consolidate power and keep the people sidelined and unable to build anything anti-corporatocracy.
Noam Chomsky has much to offer and in most ways is a principled and caring man, but he becomes ‘pragmatic’ when dealing with electoral politics. That’s because he doesn’t believe in a Creator and his plan of salvation for humankind. Therefore, he sees (like others, including those who simply betray God) imperfect humans as their own saviours and logically will urge voters to choose the least evil candidate among a slate that is all evil. People who can’t bring themselves to not participate in sham elections can vote for their candidate and work hard outside of election events (which Chomsky strongly recommends), as Bernie Sanders’s followers have done, but the movement building has to be genuinely pro-people and pro-environment, which it won’t be if the movement’s members are connected to the establishment via an establishment political party. Bernie, the non-establishment candidate in the 2016 US election was actually pro-establishment, which anyone who bothered to look at his record of establishment-supporting votes would see.
Occupy Wall Street was inspired by the Arab spring that started in Tunisia. That died. And other movements that bubble up will come and go. (I keep revising this page and it’s probably mainly due to events and changing circumstances, such as the Occupy movement that came and went. Yes, The movement has left traces.) Among the (former?) Occupiers are those who see the current electoral system the way I do. But, as a number of my 2012 posts show, OWS is seriously outgunned. Some, like Murray Dobbin, saw it coming. The goats, That is to say, The macho, pushy, destructive capitalists, weren’t going to suddenly become nice and embark upon a project of society-building together with the rest of us so as to make a world that works for everyone. They are, now that they’ve self-modified themselves, neoliberal neoconservatives.
At the heart of neoliberalism is inequality and the masters’ vile maxim – All for ourselves and nothing for others – which Adam Smith wrote about, as Noam Chomsky reminds us. They believe in ‘we’. They believe in collective society-building and collective problem solving, but only for their class. They like their socialism for the rich, which includes things like the insurance policy for banks called ‘too big to fail’. (Consider Noam’s clear explanation for the Pentagon system of socialism that is called ‘free’ enterprise.) And they are eager players in the godless game of ‘riches for the strongest’ in which there has to be losers, economic and otherwise. And when they take the means of survival from others, which privatization involves, they feel, perversely, strong. Neoconservatism is a philosophy that embraces deception, inequality and war, which neocons insist makes a nation strong, a convenient position to take for members of the ‘for profit’ (which the neocons call ‘for national security’) military-intelligence-industrial complex and their allies. Necons also support organized religion, not because they are big believers in civil rights and freedom (and freedom of association), but because they see that as a way to manipulate people, the way Zbigniew Brzezinski helped created Mujaheddin to suck the Soviets into war in Afghanistan and Graham Fuller supported Fethullah Gülen’s entry into the United States where he waited, like a spider, to activate his huge network in order to do US-supported and/or directed regime change in Turkey and who knows where else.
From “Neo-fascism in America” by Jim McGregor, the following:
Professor Shadia Drury provides a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of the neocons “Leo Strauss was a great believer in the efficacy and usefulness of lies in politics. Public support for the Iraq war rested on lies about Iraq posing an imminent threat to the United States – the business about weapons of mass destruction and a fictitious alliance between al-Qaeda and the Iraq regime. Now that the lies have been exposed, Paul Wolfowitz [Straussian] and others in the war party are denying that these were the real reasons for the war.
“The idea that Strauss was a great defender of liberal democracy is laughable. I suppose that Strauss’s disciples consider it a noble lie. Yet many in the media have been gullible enough to believe it. The ancient philosophers whom Strauss most cherished believed that the unwashed masses were not fit for either truth or liberty, and that giving them these sublime treasures would be like throwing pearls before swine A second fundamental of Strauss’s ancients has to do with their insistence on the need for secrecy and the necessity of lies. In his book Persecution and the Art of Writing, Strauss outlines why secrecy is necessary. He argues that the wise must conceal their views for two reasons – to spare the people’s feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals. The people will not be happy to learn that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior, the master over the slave and the wise few over the vulgar many.”
“Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, then the love of the Father is not in him because everything in the world… the showy display of one’s means of life – does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” (1 John 2:15-17)
The Benefactors in power never intended to work with the people to create a world in which peace, prosperity and security would be enjoyed by all. On the contrary. And they knew what their pushing would lead to, which is to say, They knew they were going to produce wounded, angry citizens who would take to the streets not because they want to be there, but because they have no other way of being heard. Certainly the electoral system doesn’t afford an outlet.
Glorious! And hey! Why not make money off of it? Aren’t we clever? Before OWS hit the streets everywhere, the security/surveillance network that began in earnest post 9/11 was being assembled, and the necessary legislation (easy enough to do when you – corporations and special interests – ‘are’ governments) was being put in place to allow that network to operate. OWS arrived and so did the Corporatocracy’s answer to it. We are outgunned. (But that doesn’t mean that the wild beast has no powerful enemies. Indeed, It has powerful enemies – not the people – who it will by no means crush. That’s another story.)
“According to a 2015 market research report, the global market for security technologies that support Critical Infrastructure Protection is expected to grow from $72.3 billion in 2014 to $114.8 billion in 2019, representing year-on-year growth of almost 10 percent.” – by Nafeez Ahmed, Ben Hayes and Nick Buxton, from pg 98 of “The Secure And The Dispossessed – How The Military And Corporations Are Shaping A Climate-Changed World.”
Crumbling publicly funded institutions and programs lead to the rightwing call to fix them by privatizing them. And privatizing poorly funded programs and services doesn’t lead to more efficient anything, since you no longer have investments going mostly into the programs and services offered. ‘For profit’ operations mean that investments are geared to returning a profit to owners of those operations and associated shareholders and investors. And deregulation means that there is no real guarantee that services – like buses or postal services that service sparsely populated areas, for example – will continue (everywhere or at the same relatively high level), since private companies can do what they want and they won’t prioritize the social aspect of their businesses over the profit making aspect of their businesses.
I have spent way too much time in payday lender hell, Penalized for what? (This is over for now, now being 2017. But I’m still making peanuts.) This is how hard working ‘law and order’ governments treat their citizens. Maybe they want us to join the terrorists they help create. I pay little rent, sacrificing freedom and privacy. And health to some extent. For a few years (in one rooming house I had to live in) I had to endure one roomer who would hork all over everything in the bathroom we shared in an effort to clear his throat. He would hork and then and walk away without cleaning it up. Anytime I’d do more than use the toilet or shower, I’d have to do major cleaning or else I might accidentally touch surfaces that might lead to a bad outcome for me. Home is not my refuge, which varies in degrees as I move around, which I seem to be susceptible to. With some places I’ve lived, thinking about my residence when on my way there stressed me out a lot. I don’t have debts (that are hunting me down anyway) or kids or pets or much in the way of expensive habits. I like my indy coffee and organic food. That’s where I could save money – which would leave me with no life if I were to do so. But that’s my problem. Right? So I am also reasonably comfortable.
The media is full of people, namely capitalists (only some of whom actually own capital), complaining, essentially, about capitalism, even if they are conditioned to not bring up the subject and not use the word. (And they, and the Left, have a hard time with the word ‘fascism’, although that’s changing. But are activists among the 99% playing at activism or serious when they can’t call fascism fascism?) Those ones are conditioned in different ways. Some (identifying with the 99%) in the alternative media, who truly benefit (in important if limited ways) from the exploitative capitalist system, consciously, or else instinctively, protect it by helping to kill open, frank discussion of it, partly by trying to not name the system/problem. And I’m sure that ego sometimes plays a role. Some leftists slow down discussion when they avoid plain language, which they do because they want to dominate the discourse, partly by their use of inappropriate terms, causing us to pause to scratch our heads. For example, there’s: 1. ‘Left’ that is actually Right and 2. merely ‘rightwing’ when it should be fascist and 3. anything but ‘neoliberal agenda’. Those ones mess up their own narrative. It must rankle when uneducated nobodies like myself can sometimes offer a narrative that is more compelling than their own, which it’s going to be by virtue of not being jargony or bent by a willingness to be fashionable at the expense of straightforwardness. (I learned the term ‘neoliberal agenda’ from leftwing writers, but they no longer use it!) I pay attention and for that reason I know enough and I like to think that I’m capable of finding the angle in a story (which will be unique at times because I possess a religious, but not mumbo jumbo, worldview that few do.) But I know what I know, often, from learning from the people whose education and research furnishes us with much knowledge and information but who are still imperfect and too eager to please man instead of God. By avoiding focussing on the exploitative system (while demonstrating ‘democracy’ by focussing on electoral politics) that many of us call “Corporatocracy” and which is fascist, they hope to have us not focus on it. That’s how they hide the problem of our neoliberal capitalist system. (Coming forward to mid 2017, There is much more discussion of neoliberal capitalism happening among the public.)
Faithlessness plays a big role here. Anti-God lefties, who go on about evil rightists who practice exclusion, take the position that God, the agency that/who has the power to save us and our livable earth, is us, and so while they are perfectly aware that corporations rule the world and are too powerful to overcome, they are caught in this thinking where the ‘only’ answer is unacceptable. An actual creator God can’t save us because he doesn’t exist and we therefore have to save ourselves, which won’t happen. Their narrative becomes quite contradictory or schizophrenic as a result.
Consider the chapter in Naomi Klein’s book, “This Changes Everything,” titled “You And What Army?” In it she recounts how she accompanied Native leader Arthur Manuel, former Neskonlith chief in the interior of British Columbia who is now (at the time of Naomi’s adventure with him) spokesperson of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, and Guujaw, a “charismatic” (which is the positive label you receive if you’re religious, non Christian or Christian, but not a serious Christian) Haida Nation leader, to see Joydeep Mukherji, Standard & Poor’s director of Sovereign Ratings Group, and the man responsible for issuing Canada’s credit rating. “In letters to the agency, Manuel had argued that Canada did not deserve such a high rating because it was failing to report a very important liability: a massive unpaid debt that takes the form of all the wealth that had been extracted from unceded Indigenous land, without consent – since 1986. He further explained that the various Supreme Court cases that had affirmed that Aboriginal and Treaty Rights were were still very much alive.” Naomi, who was present for this awful meeting, then reports that Mr Mukherji “did not dispute any of the facts,” but “explained as nicely as he possibly could that the agency had come to the conclusion that Canada’s First Nations did not have the power to enforce their rights and therefore to collect on their enormous debts.” Naomi sums up with “Which meant, from S&P’s perspective, that those debts shouldn’t affect Canada’s stellar credit rating.” (pages 397 -398 of “This Changes Evertyhing – Capitalism vs. The Climate” by Naomi Klein)
In other words, Naomi is giving us a real world example of the 1%’s adherence to the ‘might makes right’ principle, a reflection of what Adam Smith called the ‘vile maxim’ of those who own the world. The vile maxim says “Everything for ourselves and nothing for others.” When the 1% and its partners take the means of survival (money and essentials like water or employment that brings a paycheque) from others, nothing for those others results. Those others certainly notice that they are being robbed by those with power, and the Benefactors in power who rob and abuse the people do it partly for that attention. It’s glorious! Glory that is unseen isn’t glory. The Darwinian game they play – the organizing principle of this dark world – is ‘riches for the strongest’. It’s a game in which there has to be losers. Sadly, Even many of those losers are okay with this game.
*edit, May 30, 2017 – I just received an alarming email from Box about the apparent censorship of my Box content by them. It lacked info and took them eight days to respond to my complaint, which is incredible considering the fact that the issue at hand is censorship. The Box person who responded to me informed me that the link had been restored. I will do up a separate blog post about it and say no more about it here. What a distraction!
*edit, May 22, 2017 – In the above passage, I referred to Benefactors and Benefactors was a link to a short (3 verses) Bible passage in the cloud. I use a service called Box. And I have a paid account. In reviewing this page on my blog, I just happened to click on the link. Imagine my surprise and outrage when I was met with the following:
I immediately stopped what I was doing and complained. The only other time I had cause to complain was when Box announced that it was partnering with Google. I expressed my disappointment with Box’s decision to partner with tax evader Google, online in a Box forum and had my comment labelled a “rant” and deleted. Which is ironic, since the company they are now partnering with, along with some others, is joining forces with the (police) State to censor what it calls fake news. Is the Good News fake news? Even many good people think so, so I don’t know how much sympathy I will garner here. Here’s my query to them, in a Box forum online and in an email:
On my blog, A Yappy Trade Barrier, I have a “Who Is Arrby?” page. I am Arrby. And I link to a passage in the Christian Bible. It can be found at Luke chapter 22. This is it: “However, there also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them was considered to be the greatest. But he said to them: “The kings of the nations lord it over them and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. You, though, are not to be that way. But let the one who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one taking the lead, the one ministering. For which one is greater, the one dining or the one serving? Is it not the one dining? But I am among you as the one serving.”” -Luke 22:24-27
That scripture is one I often quote online and so I uploaded it to Box. I’m sorry if Box folks hate Christianity (and mine isn’t like most), but on what basis did they delete that short, simple link-to passage?
Box: “This shared file or folder link has been removed.”
Anyway, Naomi, who knows it’s hopeless, elsewhere writes about how we the people can’t conquer destructive neoliberal capitalism and save ourselves without the very State that has been captured by powerful, entrenched special interests. I thought I had noted where, but it seems I haven’t. You can always read the book.
Other capitalists, including those who are not actual capitalists, who are even victims of Corporatocracy but who don’t get what’s going on, just follow the example set by capitalists who do know what’s going on. They are also victims of demonstration (or horizontal rather than vertical) thinking and behavior, namely discussions and dire warnings about subjects that are relatively shallow and diversionary. It’s the “Look over there” ploy by manipulators who, in various ways, take from us our means of survival. ‘Over there’ is most effective when whatever topic is over there is of interest, for whatever reason, to us. And it can even be a worthwhile topic. But that’s not the point. That subject isn’t up for discussion. It’s being forced on the agenda, by the manipulators, so that another subject can be left off of it. It’s about control of the debates we might have. It’s about control of the agenda. Our being manipulated, not by people who care about us or believe in social justice, but who are trying to do things that are socially harmful, is the point. I use the term ‘horizontal’ this way because I’m trying to convey the idea of ‘relative’ shallowness. The shallowness consists primarily in the way social progress is hindered by the manipulators’ effectiveness in having their agenda tended to and the citizens’ agenda sidelined. (Obama’s White House responded, not too lately, to the revelations in the Panama Papers – dealing with users of tax havens – by proposing reforms that critics noted were insufficent, as an example.) The response of the White House ‘and’ the focus of the articles from the 1%’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and allied major media revealed that the PP were a black op, or as Pepe Escobar called it (in his OpEd article, but not in the one I’ll link to), a psy-op. Getting ‘down’ to business escapes the people when they are successfully herded by exploiters who convince us that not only is ‘that’ which they want to discuss (taxes for example) what is important but also ‘when’ it’s discussed. Their priorities come first, always. The end result is social inequality and injustice, making it clear that they should therefore ‘not’ hog the dialog or the power.
“The Panama Papers: The People Deceived” by Christopher Black
Demonstration thinking and behavior is a form of lying. (It may deal with horizontal, ‘Look, over there!’ matters that are not unimportant. Or it may simply be manipulation. It may be framing, which is essentially a ‘Look, over there!’ move, where you frame an issue so that people’s attention is narrowed. A frame looks like this: Which is correct?: a. The yolk of an egg ‘are’ white. Or b. The yolk of an egg ‘is’ white.) It’s an act, the way the doctrinal system posited that the Soviet Union and its form of social economic organization, namely communism, was a “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” for world domination’ (JFK). That was an act which was mirrored by the Soviets saying the same sort of thing to their people about the US and its allies. You know it was an act, as Noam Chomsky points out, when in 1989, without skipping a beat, the US tweaked that doctrine and replaced the Soviet Union with third world terrorists (which was implied in their reference to the growing technological sophistication of third world conflicts). That later became a global war of terrorism, under Reagan. And I guess that sort of faded until 9/11 when George W. Bush re-announced it. High level planners actually admitted, in private, that the Cold War anti-communist (game plan) document NSC 68 was subterfuge, which those, like Chomsky, who dig into official documents, have discovered. George Kennan frankly acknowledged that the real ‘fear’ by the West was simply a fear that the Soviet model of everyone having everyone elses’ back might be more desirable to people, everywhere, than the US model of mafia capitalism, aka vampire capitalism, aka dog eat dog, which ripened into neoliberal capitalism. (See chapter 1 of “Deterring Democracy” by Noam Chomsky for a fuller discussion of the doctrinal system, including Chomsky’s references.) Demonstration thinking and behavior is an act that’s designed to demonstrate to onlookers – who don’t grasp how shameless Corporatocracy politicians, and other soulless leaders, are – how they should think and behave. And when those wolves in the guise of sheep get their way and the people embrace the doctrines and other lies they are fed by them, those wolves – who liked to be called Benefactors – benefit, not those being duped.
“Putting second-order complexities to the side, for the USSR the Cold War has been primarily a war against its satellites, and for the US a war against the Third World. For each, it has served to entrench a particular system of domestic privilege and coercion. The policies pursued within the Cold War framework have been unattractive to the general population, which accepts them only under duress.” – page 28 of “Deterring Democracy” by Noam Chomsky
Again, Demonstration thinking and behavior (much of which comprises the doctrinal system) is usually done in relation to other subjects that elites want de-emphasized, sometimes permanently. Some of those subjects (Quebec’s language laws for example) replacing bumped subjects, are not unimportant, obviously. But they are diversionary, or shallow, in the sense that the politicians and their media allies consciously prefer to keep those issues and problems alive, and hot, as a way to avoid discussing with us other, more pressing issues relating to institutions and structures of power that need changing before we can have a society that works for everyone rather than solely for a minority. Then you have those on the Left who also engage in horizontal thinking and behavior, with the idea that divisive, diversionary electoral politics are essential. They hide behind the the qualifier “but the street is also important.” Others on the Left, such as Linh Dinh, state the obvious about the undemocratic electoral system that the Corporatocracy forces on us.
While elites and their political partners would like the people to believe that they are democratic and that our society is democratic, they are not and it isn’t. Democracy today only resides in pockets here and there, in the breasts of individuals, including those in charge of progressive organizations (when they’re actually progressive). Today, those individuals are viewed, collectively, as the 99%. (But that view is faulty. 99% of the 99% is dangerously dumb. Being a victim of neoliberalism doesn’t make you good. It doesn’t make you caring. And caring is knowing. If instead of actively learning – online research in the alternative media and by consulting the articles and essays and books of progressives – you plop yourself down in front of the television, you will not end up educated or fully informed. You will be fed propaganda and then, because of that, you will become an obstacle to the few who are trying to get the many to care enough to demand justice and peace and security for all. 1% of the 99% is both a victim of neoliberalism and meaningfully opposed to neoliberalism.) The 99%” is a useful way of looking at things, in one respect. It highlights the fact that the system under which we live features inequality and unequal social relations. It is run by believers in inequality who enjoy and willingly and knowingly play the godless game of ‘riches for the strongest’ in which there ‘has to be’ losers. But, again, Being a victim of criminals doesn’t automatically make you righteous.