Saturday, August 06, 2011

What can we do about the Great American Lie?

I. F. Stone told us many years ago that All Governments Lie. Daniel Ellsberg, in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, told us why governments, including Presidents, always lie, and must continue to lie about what they know to be true, but about which they cannot talk under constraints of "National Security." The lies place an impermeable barrier between Those Who Know and Those Who Cannot Be Told, a barrier that trickles downhill forever separating the citizenry of the United States from their government.

Today, the lies continue, as they must, even though journalists, bloggers and other malcontents desperately chip away at the facade. The raid into Pakistan to capture Bin Laden is revealed to have been not a one-off military adventure, but part of an on-going campaign of covert military intervention in 120 countries around the world on the part of a highly organized and secretly funded cadre of 15,000 specially trained soldiers let loose on the world.  There was never any intent to capture Bin Laden alive. The goal of the raid was to kill this living embarrassment to the United States government and remove any chance that he might say something awkward and revealing before he died of kidney failure on his own.

It's not just the President who is foisting lies on the public. Politicians of all stripes meet in smoke filled back rooms with corporate lobbyists and industry representatives, barely deigning to conceal the bribes slipped under the table into their grasping clutches. Nudge nudge, wink wink. The press is summarily dismissed from these gatherings, such as ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, as politicos hide their faces from the peering eye of the Internet, pretending we do not see. The back slapping and glad handing continue safely within the confines of the Marriott Hotel, where legislation is crafted far from the public eye. Would that they were only making sausage.

What do we do in the face of a government corrupt to the core, a government that professes to be Of the People, by the People and for the People, yet continues to do the bidding of unaccountable corporate lobbyists, revolving door "experts," and an overweening military technology industry? Do we continue to vote for new fodder for the corporate grist mill, aka Congress? Do we demand legislation that will stop the Congressional gravy train, from those who are first at the gravy bowl? Do we demand a President to lead us out of the wilderness scheduled to be clear-cut for corporate profits?

The central authoritarian government doesn't have the answer, as it is the central problem. Jeffersonian Republicans knew what they were doing when they opposed Alexander Hamilton's Federalists at the turn of the 19th Century. They foresaw the coming excesses of centralized authority in a world dominated by capitalist greed. They viewed the Federalist agenda as anti-revolutionary, a continuance of the economic system that had strangled the North American British colonies until the Revolution tore them free.  The Anti-Federalists argued for small government, democracy, mutual aid, self-reliance and self-government. As foreseen, Hamilton's paternalistic state has fostered a populous that cannot take care of itself, let alone serve as a beacon of democracy and freedom in an increasingly privatized world.

There is only one path open to those few willing and aware US citizens: turn around and take a new step forward. We cannot solve the problem of corrupt government by appealing to the corrupt government. Jefferson was fond of the concept of public dissent and rebellion: "Every generation needs a new revolution."

It's time for our generation to expose the lies and foster a new revolution, a revolution that starts between the ears, and works outward through our families, neighborhoods, communities and bioregions. Not a violent revolution, as that which spawned this country, but a quiet revolution over back yard fences, neighborhood meetings in living rooms, public gatherings with local representatives, the anonymity of the polling booth. By the time the central authority recognizes the revolution, it will be too late, a fait accompli, a done deal.

The challenge at present is to penetrate the fog of lies and mindless distractions of popular culture sufficiently to foster such a revolution.

The solution is simple: we tell the truth. The Orwellian bumper sticker tells us: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." Whenever we encounter a lie, we respond with the truth. From local neighborhoods to the White House, in the coffee shop or City Council chambers, we never let a lie pass unchallenged. This accomplishes two goals: we raise the consciousness of all within reach, and we challenge those who lie to us and expect to get away with it.

Thus the revolution begins.


    I know you are not kidding (Thus the revolution begins.), but you've got to be kidding.

    We play on words, such as the bauhaus deal - form follows function. I came over here from common dreams, who published a piece of yours today. Mere rhetoric, at this point, will not suffice. I'd suggest something more Camus -ish, go underground, yet even that water is now polluted.

    Any form of politics will not save the planet, Our House. You ring hollow lad, like shovel all their shit with a teaspoon, even Buneul saw that, then - how do we get out if we can't remember how we got in? That seems you comment. Be careful of your own mindless distractions. Believe me I know, I've been trying longer that you have been on the planet.

  2. I prefer to live in the real world, rather than in my head, which, though real, is one step removed from the greater world Outside.

    I'm not advocating saving the planet, as the planet does not need saving, nor is the planet in any danger.

    Well, let's see... I've been on the planet for 62+ years now. I've been writing on topics environmental and revolutionary since 1972, long before the Internet, Blogs, cell phones, iPads or much of the electronic distractions so critical to the worlds economies. I guess that counts for something.

    I don't put a lot of store in Camus, Buneul or cryptic poetry read in dramatic poetonics. I prefer the world of trees, clouds, raptors and predators, including the deadliest of all, Homo sap. Freedom and democracy are indeed mindless distractions, as they are a critical part of the real world of human interaction with the all that is.

    Give me a cold rock face warming in the morning sun over the dispeptic maunderings of Camus any day.

  3. august5:39 PM

    Good article, but I think I see a contradiction? You accurately praise the anti-federalist's call for smaller government, but then you also seem to criticize ..."an increasingly privatized world".

    The core of our problems is not capitalist greed, or voting for the right person or exposing lies. The only solution is to evolve a new system of social structure where NO ONE has the right to use force against anyone else. It is possible -and it's called Volutaryism.

  4. The two are not contradictory. Small government does not equal privatization, other than in the minds of a few men with tri-cornered hats.

    We cannot "evolve" a new system of social structure. Social structure is what people do. Social structure changes as people act. If we desire a different relationship among individuals, we have but to act it out.

    Voluntaryism is anarchism with another, more awkward, name. No need to invent something new that already exists.

  5. Jack Burns5:56 AM

    We have to move beyond the limiting view that there are only two choices, big government or privatization. Somewhere, as Edward Abbey wrote, there's a rational, middle way.

  6. The "middle ground" between big government and privatization is only found with a government much smaller than we have today. And let's hope that the "middle ground" is not some bland form of corporatism where the government is controlled by the wealthiest lobby as it is today.