Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Living in Interesting Times

The velvet fist of modern fascism tightens its grip, inexorably, day by day. Each meeting of Congress, that great national asylum for the criminally inept, brings with it another restriction on the freedoms citizens of the United States of America have enjoyed and expected as a part of the privilege of living in this country.

We weren't told about this in Civics class in High School. We heard the grand patriotic panoply of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, "World" Wars I and II, and now, I suppose, even the Viet Nam invasion and occupation, and the invasions of Panama, Granada, and all the rest, culminating in the greatest of embarrassments, the invasion and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq.

High school civics is all bout patriotism, love of country, glorification of the excesses of the Empire of the United states, the sad story of the subjugation and domination of the world to line the pockets of the few. We didn't learn about the Philippines in High School, the national disgrace of a massive armed force turned on the few unarmed old men, women and children left alive after years of economic subjugation, all necessary to demonstrate the economic and military might of the big bully next door.

Over the years, Uncle Sam has learned how to deal with insurrection and rebellion. The best way to avoid opposition by the people is to keep them in ignorance and distraction, never allowing the people to know what's going on, keeping them happy and entertained with circuses, sexual titillation, crime, the shenanigans of the very wealthy, the peccadilloes of the famous and showy.

The media that knuckles under to the needs of the controlling elite are the media that receives the most pecuniary recompense in the form of advertising doled out as "foreign aid" by the corporate oligarchy that controls all information in this sad country. The government is even now overtly paying off "journalists" to spread their vile lies, as they crank up their own "PR" to create tailor-made news stories to fit the needs of the hour.

The only thing wrong with the prophetic novel "1984" was the limit of the imagination of the author. Orwell didn't see far enough to the excesses of the government intent on controlling the past, the present, the future and the access to meaningful information.

What to do about it? Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Our whole civilization is based on access to cheap oil, and that's coming to an end. Global climate change is changing a lot more than just the climate as a global agricultural systems based on fifty years of moderate, stable climate, peter out in droughts, floods and extreme weather events.

Even more, centralization and industrialism, as a basic approach to economic and political organization are increasingly called to question as we face these twin challenges to Homo sapiens very survival as a species. Centralization is shown to be a wasteful and unsustainable path to human social organization, creating the conditions leading to global climate change that threatens to drive us into extinction. Without oil, our centralized, industrial society will sputter to a halt, creating population declines through drought, disease and failure of birth rates, leading to a new, decentralized society based on local production for local consumption, bioregionalism, localism ad mutual aid. The Dicks of the world will be ignored in a bioregional society.

It's hard but it's fair.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

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