President Obama to Mika Brzezinski: ‘Iraq was won, but things change’
They just sat there on their horses watching him die.
— No Country for Old Men (2007)
Well, I think the dangerous edges here are that he (president Trump. svh) is trying to undermine the media, trying to make up his own facts, and it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he could actually control exactly what people think… and that is our job!
— Mika Brzezinski. Amerikaanse televisie ‘host’ en politiek commentator van MSNBC, dochter van de geopolitieke havik, wijlen, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
In zijn essay Nature as Measure (1989) zet de Amerikaanse essayist, dichter en boer Wendell Berry het volgende uiteen:
For a long time now we have understood ourselves as traveling toward some sort of industrial paradise, some new Eden conceived and constructed entirely by human ingenuity. And we have thought ourselves free to use and abuse nature in any way that might further this enterprise. Now we face overwhelming evidence that we are not smart enough to recover Eden by assault, and that nature does not tolerate or excuse our abuses. If, in spite of the evidence against us, we are finding it hard to relinquish (laten varen. svh) our old ambition, we are also seeing more clearly every day how that ambition has reduced and enslaved us. We see how everything — the whole world — is belittled by the idea that all creation is moving or ought to move toward an end that some body, some human body, has thought up. To be tree of that end and that ambition would be a delightful and precious thing. Once free of it, we might again go about our work and our lives with a seriousness and pleasure denied to us when we merely submit to a fate already determined by gigantic politics, economics, and technology.
Typerend is dat Geert Mak, die landelijke bekendheid verwierf met zijn boek Hoe God Verdween uit Jorwerd (1996), nog steeds propaganda maakt voor een machtsbolwerk als de Europese Unie, dat al vanaf het allereerste begin eveneens op het gebied van de intensieve landbouw en veeteelt een politiek van ‘abuse’ heeft gevoerd, of zoals Berry het stelde: ‘Rape, indeed, has been the result, and we have seen that we are not exempt from the damage we have inflicted.’ Mijn oude vriend Geert is niet op zoek naar de werkelijkheid, maar naar verlossing, of dit nu via God of deTechnologie verloopt, maakt hem niet uit. Het gevolg is, aldus Wendell Berry in 2000, dat
most people in our country, and apparently most people in the ‘developed’ world, have given proxies (volmachten. svh) to the corporations to produce and provide all of their food, clothing, and shelter. Moreover, they are rapidly increasing their proxies to corporations or governments to provide entertainment, education, child care, care of the sick and the elderly, and many other kinds of ‘service’ that once were carried on informally and inexpensively by individuals or households or communities. Our major economic practice, in short, is to delegate the practice to others.
The danger now is that those who are concerned will believe that the solution to the ‘environmental crisis’ can be merely political generated — that the problems, being large, can be solved by large solutions generated by a few people to whom we will give our proxies (toestemming. svh) to police the economic proxies that we have already given. The danger, in other words, is that people will think they have made a sufficient change if they have altered their ‘values,’ or had a ‘change of heart,’ or experienced a ‘spiritual awakening,’ and that such a change in passive consumers will necessarily cause appropriate changes in the public experts, politicians, and corporate executives to whom they have granted their political and economic proxies.
The trouble with this is that a proper concern for nature and our use of nature must be practiced, not by our proxy-holders, but by ourselves. A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life. The ‘environmental crisis,’ in fact, can be solved only if people, individually and in their communities, recover responsibility for their environmental crisis,’ in fact, can be solved only if people, individually and in their communities, recover responsibility for their thoughtlessly given proxies. If people begin the effort to take back into their own power a significant portion of their economic responsibility, then their inevitable first discovery is that the ‘environmental crisis’ is no such thing; it is not a crisis of our environs or surroundings; it is a crisis of our lives as individuals, as family members, as community members, and as citizens. We have an ‘environmental crisis’ because we have consented to an economy in which by eating, drinking, working, resting, traveling, and enjoying ourselves we are destroying the natural, the God-given, world.
Precies 145 jaar eerder probeerde Chief Seattle de expansionistische witte kolonisten iets soortgelijks duidelijk te maken door hen te vertellen:
How can you buy or sell the sky — the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? We will decide in our time. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s graves and his children’s birthright is forgotten. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red-man. But perhaps it is because the red-man is a savage and does not understand…
One thing we know that the white man may one day discover. Our God is the same God. You may think that you own him as you wish to own our land, but you cannot. He is the Body of man, and his compassion is equal for the red-man and the white. This earth is precious to him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites, too, shall pass — perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by the talking wires, where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.
Vanzelfsprekend was zijn waarschuwing vergeefs, de witte man uit de christelijke/verlichte cultuur bleef zijn verlossing in de materie zoeken, en kon daarom niet begrijpen waar een Indiaan het allemaal over had. Claimend dat hij beschaafd is, leeft de witte man al sinds ruim twee eeuwen in een permanente staat van oorlog met de mens, de natuur, en uiteindelijk zichzelf. Geen volk is zo verslaafd aan drugs als het ontzielde en van zichzelf vervreemde Amerikaanse volk. Twee recente, willekeurige voorbeelden: de ‘international edition’ van The New York Times van maandag 12 juni 2017 berichtte op de voorpagina onder de kop ‘From Prozac Nation to United States of Xanax’:
It’s a medical condition, but anxiety is looking like a sociological one, too… Anxiety has become our everyday argot, our thrumming lifeblood: not just on Twitter (the ur-anxious medium, with its constant updates), but also in blogger diaries, celebrity confessionals (Et tu, Beyoncé?), a hit Broadway show (‘Dear Evan Hansen‘), a magazine start-up (Anxy, a mental-health publication based in Berkeley, Calif.), buzzed-about television series (like“Maniac,” a coming Netflix series by Cary Fukunaga, the lauded ‘True Detective’ director) and, defying our abbreviated attention spans, on bookshelves… anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too: a shared cultural experience that feeds on alarmist CNN graphics and metastasizes through social media. As depression was to the 1990s — summoned forth by Kurt Cobain, ‘Listening to Prozac,’ Seattle fog and Temple of the Dog dirges on MTV, viewed from under a flannel blanket — so it seems we have entered a new Age of Anxiety… the Americans of 2017 can make a pretty strong case that they are gold medalists in the Anxiety Olympics.
‘There is widespread inequality of wealth and status, general confusion over gender roles and identities, and of course the fear, dormant for several decades, that ICBMs will rain nuclear fire on American cities,’ Mr. Stossel(redacteur van The Atlantic magazine, en auteur van My Age of Anxiety. svh) said. ‘The silver lining for those with nervous disorders is that we can welcome our previously non-neurotic fellow citizens into the anxious fold.’
Een dag later berichtte dezelfde internationale editie — opnieuw op de voorpagina — onder de kop ‘Drug Trade thrives in web’s dark corners. Anonymous sale surging for opioids, many made in Asia’:
As the nation’s opioid crisis worsens, the authorities are confronting a resurgent, unruly player in the illicit trade of the deadly drugs, one that threatens to be even more formidable than the cartels.
In a growing number of arrests and overdoses, law enforcement officials say, the drugs are being bought online. Internet sales have allowed powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — the fastest-growing cause of overdoses nationwide — to reach living rooms in nearly every region of the country, as they arrive in small packages in the mail.
The authorities have been frustrated in their efforts to crack down on the trade because these sites generally exist on the so-called dark web, where buyers can visit anonymously using special browsers and make purchases with virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
The problem of dark web sales appeared to have been stamped out in 2013, when the authorities took down the most famous online marketplace for drugs, known as Silk Road. But since then, countless successors have popped up, making the drugs readily available to tens of thousands of customers who would not otherwise have had access to them.
Among the dead are two 13-year-olds, Grant Seaver and Ryan Ainsworth, who died last fall in the wealthy resort town of Park City, Utah, after taking a synthetic opioid known as U-47700 or Pinky. The boys had received the powder from another local teenager, who bought the drugs on the dark web using Bitcoin, according to the Park City police chief.
Largely because of their potency, synthetic opioids have become the fastest-growing cause of the overdose epidemic, overtaking heroin in some areas. Just a few flakes of fentanyl can be fatal.
Their deadly efficiency also makes them ideal for sale online. Unlike heroin and prescription painkillers, which are relatively bulky, enough fentanyl to get nearly 50,000 people high can fit in a standard first-class envelope.
Er schuilt een fundamentele stoornis in de Amerikaanse consumptie-ideologie, waarvoor Geert Mak een ‘geheime liefde’ koestert, en die door Bas Heijne wordt gekwalificeerd als ‘in alle opzichten superieur.’ Die ‘geheime liefde’voor het ‘superieure Amerika’ is kenmerkend voor het nauwelijks verholen autoritaire karakter en dédain voor het volk van veel mainstream-opiniemakers in de polder. Dit draagt bij tot het versterken van allerlei fascistische tendenzen inherent aan het kapitalisme. Colin Jenkins ‘founder, editor and Social Economics Department chair at the Hampton Institute’ schreef hierover onder de kop ‘Americanism Personified: Why Fascism Has Always Been an Inevitable Outcome of the American Project’ op de website van Truthout! van zaterdag 24 juni 2017:
Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University said in a 1938 interview, ‘When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism.”’ Luccock’s view was that of a Christian theologian during the height of Nazi Germany, likely meant to not only downplay the role of religion but perhaps more so warning against the false idolatry of nationalistic reverence.
Despite the tidbits of insight offered, both quotes underestimate Americanism as a highly-authoritative and dominating national project in and of itself. At the time of both quotes, America had already cemented strong elements conducive to fascism: an economy based in capitalist modes of production, a geography created through mass extermination of Native American populations, white supremacist ideals rooted in both dominant culture and pseudoscience, and aggressive expansionist and imperialist projects throughout the Western hemisphere. It should come as no surprise that Adolf Hitler studied, admired, and was inspired by the US genocide of Native Americans as well as its subsequent reservation program. ‘Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history,’ John Toland wrote in his book, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography. ‘He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination — by starvation and uneven combat — of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.’
This notion of American fascism is certainly nothing new. As Steve Martinot explains in his invaluable essay on ‘Fascism in the US,’ this discussion has been around for a long time:
‘In an early, now canonical discussion of racism in the US, Pierre Van den Berghe (1967) pointed out that a prevalent racial despotism coexisted with constitutionality, a confluence he characterized as “herrenvolk democracy” —- “democracy for white people.” In his book, Friendly Fascism, (1980) Bertram Gross argues that the US under Reagan began moving toward a form of governance closely analogous to 1930s European fascism; he compares the social consequences of corporate influence to Mussolini’s “corporate state.” George Jackson finds no better word than “fascism” to describe the psychotic use of power and violence by which white prisoners relate to black, or by which the prison administration maintains its hierarchical system — and which he sees mirrored in white —- black relations outside the prison.’
As a settler-colonial project steeped in white supremacist domination and capitalist ideals, America is and always has been an ideal fascist breeding ground. The current rise of Donald Trump, the ‘alt-right,’ neo-Nazism, and white nationalism is nothing new, it is merely Americanism becoming further personified through the vulnerabilities opened by the failures of capitalism and the weakening of liberal democracy — systems that were constructed on shoddy, hypocritical foundations to begin with.
Ondanks de waarschuwingen van Amerikaanse dichters, schrijvers, cultuurcritici, academici, beeldend kunstenaars enzovoorts, blijven Nederlandse opiniemakers nagenoeg blind voor de keerzijde van de Amerikaanse cultuur. Daarom opnieuw Wendell Berry. In het essay The Total Economy wees hij in 2000 op het volgende:
Sentimental capitalism is not so different from sentimental communism as the corporate and political powers claim to suppose. Sentimental capitalism holds in effect that everything small, local, private, personal, natural, good, and beautiful must be sacrificed in the interest of the ‘free market’ and the great corporations, which will bring unprecedented security and happiness to ‘the many’ — in, of course, the future.
These forms of political economy may be described as sentimental because they depend absolutely upon a political faith for which there is no justification. They seek to preserve the gullibility (goedgelovigheid. svh) of the people by issuing a cold check on a fund of political virtue that does not exist. Communism and ‘free-market’ capitalism both are modern versions of oligarchy. In their propaganda, both justify violent means by good ends, which always are put beyond reach by the violence of the means. The trick is to define the end vaguely — ‘the greatest good of the greatest number’ or ‘the benefit of the many’ and keep it at a distance. For example, the United States government’s agricultural policy, or non-policy, since 1952 has merely consented to the farmers’ predicament of high costs and low prices; it has never envisioned or advocated in particular the prosperity of farmers or of farmland, but has only promised ‘cheap food’ to consumers and ‘survival’ to the ‘larger and more efficient’ farmers who supposedly could adapt to and endure the attrition (conflict. svh) of high costs and low prices; it has never envisioned or advocated in particular the prosperity of farmers or farmland, but has only promised ‘cheap food’ to consumers and ‘survival’ to the ‘larger and more efficient’ farmers who supposedly could adapt to and endure the attrition of high costs and low prices. And after each inevitable wave of farm failures and the inevitable enlargement of the destitution and degradation of the countryside, there have been the inevitable reassurances from government propagandists and university experts that American agriculture was now more efficient and that everybody would be better off in the future.
The fraudulence of these oligarchic forms of economy is in their principle of displacing whatever good they recognize (as well as their debts) from the present to the future. Their success depends upon persuading people, first, that whatever they have now is no good, and , second, that the promised good is certain te be achieved in the future… ‘liberal’ capitalists and ‘conservative’ capitalists alike, have needed to replace religion with some form of determinism, so that they can say to their victims, ‘I’m doing this because I can’t do otherwise. It is not my fault. It is inevitable.’ This is a lie, obviously, and religious organizations have too often consented to it.
Vandaar dat eind jaren tachtig de toenmalige sociaal-democratische leider Wim Kok kon verklaren dat ‘[e]r geen alternatief’
was ‘voor de maatschappelijke constellatie die we nu hebben en dus heeft het geen enkele zin daar naar te streven,’
om in 1995 opgelucht te spreken van ‘de bevrijdende werking van het afschudden van de ideologische veren.’
Precies zoals voor christelijke gelovigen geldt dat ‘de mens wikt, God beschikt,’
zo verordonneert het al even metafysische dogma van de vooruitgangsgelovigen dat de ‘vrije markt’
het lot van de massa dient te bepalen. Als hoogste waarheid heerst over de gehele wereld de neoliberale markt — overigens geenszins vrij, maar in handen van financiële monopolies die zowel een bedreiging voor de mens als voor de natuur vormen. Zowel alle hedendaagse politici van links en rechts als alle mainstream-opiniemakers van de commerciële massamedia steunen in woord en daad een systeem waarbij om een ‘winner’
te kunnen zijn het kapitalisme ‘an endless supply of disposable people’
As inequality in the United States has widened, more and more Americans are dismissed as disposable ‘losers.’ But there are policies that can reverse this pernicious trend, as Paul Buchheit shows in his new book, Disposable Americans: Extreme Capitalism and the Case for a Guaranteed Income.
Of, zoals Wendell Berry dit proces beschreef:
And so we have before us the spectacle of unprecedented ‘prosperity’ and ‘economic growth’ in a land of degraded farms, forests, ecosystems, and watersheds, polluted air, failing families, and perishing communities.
This moral and economic absurdity exists for the sake of the allegedly ‘free’ market, the single principle of which is this: commodities will be produced wherever they can be produced at the lowest cost and consumed wherever they will bring the highest price. To make too cheap and sell too high has always been the program of industrial capitalism. The global ‘free market’ is merely capitalism’s so far successful attempt to enlarge the geographic scope of its greed, and moreover to give to its greed the status of a ‘right’ within its presumptive territory. The global ‘free market’ is free to the corporations precisely because it dissolves the boundaries of the old national colonialisms, and replaces them with a new colonialism without restraints or boundaries. It is pretty much as if all the rabbits have now been forbidden to have holes, thereby ‘freeing’ the hounds.
The ‘right’ of a corporation to exercise its economic power without restraint is construed, by the partisans of the ‘free market,’ as a form of freedom, a political liberty implied presumably by the right of individual citizens to own and use property.
But the ‘free market’ idea introduces into government a sanction of an inequality that is not implicit in any idea of democratic liberty: namely that the ‘free market’ is freest to those who have the most money, and is not free at all to those with little or no money. Wal-Mart, for example, as a large corporation ‘freely’ competing against local, privately owned businesses, has virtually all the freedom, and its small competitors virtually none.
Maar voor de werkelijkheid heeft Geert Mak geen oog, voor hem blijft letterlijk gelden: ‘Geen Jorwerd zonder Brussel,’ en wel omdat
de EU een markt [is] van bijna een half miljard mensen met de hoogste gemiddelde levensstandaard ter wereld. Alleen al voor Nederland is de Unie goed voor tweederde van onze totale export, eenvijfde van het nationale product. We hebben nu een open toegang tot die markt,
waardoor ‘we’ de ‘deur’ naar de buitenlandse ‘markt’ onmogelijk kunnen dichtgooien, hoe desastreus het neoliberaal marktdenken ook mag uitwerken voor de ecologie en het individu. De realiteit van het kapitalistische winstprincipe speelt geen rol in Mak’s beschouwingen, ondanks het feit dat er, volgens hem ‘machten aan de gang [zijn] boven Europa,’ die hijzelf het ‘grootkapitaal’ noemt, dat ‘ons totaal ontglipt en waar je niks tegen kunt doen!’ En hoewel mijn oude vriend dit ‘buitengewoon beklemmend’ vindt en zijn ‘gevoel’ hem zegt dat ‘iedereen die een beetje bij zinnen is moet nadenken over vormen waarmee je je daartegen kunt verweren,’ is de ‘populairste geschiedenisleraar van het land’ toch bereid zijn ‘normen en waarden’ te verraden om zijn onverzadigbare drang naar aandacht te bevredigen. Overigens net als zijn vader, dominee Catrinus Mak, die in 1936 bereid was God’s‘uitverkoren volk’ te verraden door de nazi-wetgeving, waarbij joodse Duitsers uit het openbare leven werden verbannen, publiekelijk als ‘staatkundig tolerabel’ te kwalificeren. Zo vader, zo zoon. In dit opzicht heeft de schrijver van De eeuw van mijn vader (1999) niets wezenlijks geleerd van de geschiedenis. Ook hij is het prototype van een conformist, wiens eigenbelang boven de moraliteit uit gaat. De ene moment speelt hij de rol van dominee, en het volgende die van de koopman. Dit verklaart ook Mak’s populariteit in ‘onze’ handelsnatie, waarvan de ‘eenheid,’volgens Nederlands grootste historicus, Johan Huizinga, ‘bovenal gelegen [is] in zijn burgerlijk karakter,’ waaruit‘onze weinig militaire geest, de overwegende handelsgeest [sproten],’ waardoor ‘[h]ypocrisie en farizeïsme hier individu en gemeenschap [belagen]!’ met als gevolg dat ‘het niet [valt] te ontkennen, dat de Nederlander, alweer in zekere burgerlijke gemoedelijkheid, een lichte graad van knoeierij of bevoorrechting van vriendjes zonder protest verdraagt.’ En inderdaad, ik zou geen betere omschrijving weten te verzinnen voor Mak’s houding dan ‘[h]ypocrisie en farizeïsme.’ Wendell Berry:
To keep the cost of labor low, it is necessary first to entice or force country people everywhere in the world to move into the cities — in the manner prescribed by the Committee for Economic Development after World War II — and, second, to continue to introduce labor-replacing technology In this way it is possible to maintain a ‘pool’ of people who are in the threatful position of being mere consumers, landless and poor, and who therefore are eager to go to work for low wages — precisely the condition of migrant farm workers in the United States… Low prices encourage overproduction, as producers attempt to make up their losses ‘on volume’ and overproduction inevitably makes for low prices. The land-using economies thus spiral downward as the money economy of the exploiters spirals upward…
This sort of exploitation, long familiar in the foreign and domestic colonialism of modern nations, has now become ‘the global economy’ which is the property of a few supranational corporations. The economic theory used to justify the global economy in its ‘free market’ version is, again, perfectly groundless and sentimental. The idea is that what is good for the corporations will sooner or later — though not of course immediately — be good for everybody.
That sentimentality is based, in turn, upon a fantasy: the proposition that the great corporations, in ‘freely’ competing with one another for raw materials, labor, and market share, will drive each other indefinitely, not only toward greater efficiencies’ of manufacture, but also toward higher bids for raw materials and labor and lower prices to consumers. As a result, all the world’s people will be economically secure — in the future. It would be hard to object to such a proposition if only it were true.
But one knows, in the first place, that ‘efficiency’ in manufacture always means reducing labor costs by replacing workers with cheaper workers or with machines.
In the second place, the law of competition’ does not imply that many competitors will compete indefinitely. The law of competition is a simple paradox: competition destroys competition. The law of competition implies that many competitors, competing on the ‘free market’ without restraint, will ultimatelv and inevitably the ‘tree market’ without restraint, will ultimately and inevitably reduce the number of competitors to one. The law of competition, in short, is the law of war.
In the third place, the global economy is based upon cheap long-distance transportation, without which it is not possible to move goods from the point of cheapest origin to the point of highest sale. And cheap long-distance transportation is the basis of the idea that regions and nations should abandon any measure of economic self-sufficiency in order to specialize in production for export of the few commodities, or the single commodity, that can be most cheaply produced. Whatever may be said for the ‘efficiency’ of such a system, its result (and, I assume, its purpose) is to destroy local production capacities, local diversity, and local economic independence. It destroys the economic security that it promises to make.
This idea of a global ‘free market’ economy, despite its obvious moral flaws and its dangerous practical weaknesses, is now the ruling orthodoxy of the age. Its propaganda is subscribed to and distributed by most political leaders, editorial writers, and other ‘opinion makers.’ The powers that be, while continuing to budget huge sums for ‘national defense,’ have apparently abandoned any idea of national or local self-sufficiency, even in food. They also have given up the idea that a national or local government might justly place restraints upon economic activity in order to protect its land and its people.
The global economy is now institutionalized in the World Trade Organization, which was set up, without election anywhere, to rule international trade on behalf of the ‘free market’ — which is to say on behalf of the supranational corporations — and to overrule, in secret sessions, any national or regional law that conflicts with the ‘free market.’
Geert Mak’s voortdurende oproep de Europese Unie en de NAVO te steunen, past naadloos in deze beschrijving. Wanneer hij als ‘opinion maker’ zijn propaganda samenvat in de politieke slogan ‘Geen Jorwerd zonder Brussel,’dan is ‘its result (and, I assume, its purpose) to destroy local production capacities, local diversity, and local economic independence. It destroys the economic security that it promises to make.’ Niet voor niets ontving hij van de gevestigde orde de ‘Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischer Verständigung‘ en werd hij tot ‘Ridder in het Légion d’Honneur’ benoemd. Propagandisten zijn onmisbaar voor elke elite van welke ideologie dan ook. Berry heeft gelijk wanneer hij stelt dat de ‘powers that be, while continuing to budget huge sums for “national defense,” have apparently abandoned any idea of national or local self-sufficiency, even in food.’ Zo zijn bijvoorbeeld Georgische boeren werkloos geraakt nadat de EU de overproductie uit de Europese gesubsidieerde landbouw- en veeteelt in dit Kaukasische land begon te dumpen, terwijl ondertussen de NAVO ernaar streefde het land lid te maken van het westerse militaire bondgenootschap om de Russische Federatie overal te kunnen bedreigen. De VS en Europa, die tezamen ruim dertien keer meer spenderen aan bewapening, vormen intussen een ernstige bedreiging van de Russische Federatie. Het probleem voor de westerse financiële elite is namelijk dat Rusland weigert zijn economische macht te verkopen aan westerse concerns. De Russische elite wil voorkomen dat het, qua landoppervlak, grootste land ter wereld zijn soevereiniteit verliest wanneer multinationals en buitenlandse banken er de dienst gaan uitmaken. Maar dit alles verzwijgen de gecorrumpeerde Makkianen van de mainstream-pers. Helaas heeft Geert Mak zo weinig zelfrespect dat hij bereid blijft zijn ziel aan de hoogste bieder te verkopen. Ik ben van nabij getuige geweest van deze morele verloedering, en het was geen prettig gezicht. Wat hij verder verzwijgt is het volgende:
The folly at the root of this foolish economy began with the idea hat a corporation should be regarded, legally, as ‘a person.’ But the limitless destructiveness of this economy comes about precisely because a corporation is not a person. A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral arrive allegiance. Unlike a person, a corporation does not age. It does not arrive, as most people finally do, at a realization of the shortness and smallness of human lives; it does not come to see the future as the lifetime of the children and grandchildren of anybody in particular. It can experience no personal hope or remorse, no change of heart. It cannot humble itself. It goes about its business as if it were immortal, with the single purpose of becoming a bigger pile of money. The stockholders essentially are usurers (woekeraars. svh), people who ‘let their money work for them,’ expecting high pay in return for causing others to work for low pay. The World Trade Organization enlarges the old idea of the corporation-as-person by giving the global corporate economy the status of a super-government with the power to overrule nations.
I don’t mean to say, of course, that all corporate executives and stockholders are bad people. I am only saying that all of them are very seriously implicated in a bad economy.
Unsurprisingly, among people who wish to preserve things other than money — for instance, every region’s native capacity to produce essential goods — there is a growing perception that the global ‘free market’ economy is inherently an enemy to the natural world, to human health and freedom, to industrial workers, and to farmers and others in the land-use economies; and, furthermore, that it is inherently an enemy to good work and good economic practice.
I believe that this perception is correct and that it can be shown to be correct merely by listing the assumptions implicit in the idea that corporations should be ‘free’ to buy low and sell high in the world at large…
These assumptions clearly prefigure a condition of total economy. A total economy is one in which everything — ‘life forms,’ for instance, or the ‘right to pollute’ — is ‘private property’ and has a price and is for sale. In a total economy, significant and sometimes critical choices that once belonged to individuals or communities become the property of corporations. A total economy, operating internationally, necessarily shrinks the powers of state and national governments, not only because those governments have signed over significant powers to an international bureaucracy or because political leaders become the paid hacks (huurlingen. svh) of the corporations, but also because political processes — and especially democratic processes are too slow to react to unrestrained economic and technological developments on a global scale. And when state and national governments begin to act in effect as agents of the global economy, selling their people for low wages and their people’s products for low prices, then the rights and liberties of citizenship must necessarily shrink. A total economy is an unrestraint taking of profits from the disintegration of nations, communities, households, landscapes, and ecosystems. It licenses symbolic or artificial to ‘grow’ by means of the destruction of the real wealth of all the world.
Among the many costs of the total economy, the loss of the principle of vocation is probably the most symptomatic and, from a cultural standpoint, the most critical. It is by the replacement of vocation with economic determinism that the exterior workings of a total economy destroy human character and culture also from the inside,
aldus Wendell Berry in zijn essay The Total Economy (2000). In deze ‘total economy,’ bestaat geen keuzevrijheid. De mens is gedwongen mee te marcheren tot de dood erop volgt. De westerling moet lijdzaam toezien hoe het systeem van ‘jobless growth’ hem overtollig maakt, en hoe het neoliberalisme hem in toenemende mate eerder als hinderpaal ziet dan als aanwinst voor een technocratisch systeem dat het maken van steeds hogere winsten als heiligste dogma heeft uitgeroepen. Een illustrerend voorbeeld van de huidige ontwikkeling gaf donderdag 23 januari 2014 NRC.next. In een vertaald artikel uit het invloedrijke neoliberale tijdschrift The Economist werd medegedeeld dat in de toekomst door de computerisering
[v]eel van de banen die gevaar lopen voor mensen onderaan de maatschappelijke ladder [zijn], terwijl de vaardigheden die het minst kwetsbaar zijn voor automatisering (creativiteit, management) vaak het terrein zijn van hoger geplaatsten.
De boosheid over de toegenomen ongelijkheid zal groeien, maar politici zullen moeite hebben er iets aan te doen. De vooruitgang mijden zal net zo onzinnig blijken te zijn als protesteren tegen de gemechaniseerde weefgetouwen in 1810. Want elk land dat weigert mee te doen wordt ingehaald door landen die de nieuwe technologie omarmen. En de mogelijkheden om de rijken te straffen met hoge belastingen zullen beperkt zijn, omdat kapitaal en hooggeschoolde arbeidskrachten dan doodleuk naar een ander land verhuizen.
The Economist beschrijft slechts de neoliberale werkelijkheid die wereldwijd al dan niet met geweld is afgedwongen. Nadat het Britse weekblad eerder had gemeld dat ‘[v]an alle inkomsten in de VS in de jaren zeventig 9 procent naar de rijkste 1 procent van de bevolking [ging], nu is dat 22 procent,’ kwalificeerde The Economistvervolgens ‘hoge belastingen’ als ‘straffen.’ Dankzij het socialisme voor de rijken konden The Economist en in zijn voetspoor NRC.next melden dat
de mogelijkheden van mensen ongelijk [zullen] blijven. In een wereld die economisch steeds meer gepolariseerd is, zullen velen hun kansen zien verminderen, terwijl hun salarissen worden afgeknepen. De beste manier om hen te helpen is niet, zoals links vaak denkt, dan maar het minimumloon te verhogen. Dat zou de verschuiving van ‘werk laten doen door mensen’ naar ‘werk laten doen door computers’ alleen maar versnellen. Het is beter hun lonen op te hogen met publiek geld, zodat iedereen die werkt een redelijk inkomen heeft.
Het weerhoudt Geert Mak geenszins om het neoliberale bolwerk Brussel te blijven aanprijzen, omdat ondermeer Jorwerd — het dorp dat hem nationaal bekend maakte — niet zonder Brussel zou kunnen voortbestaan. Dit totalitair mens- en wereldbeeld rechtvaardigt het gebrek aan ‘government protections against the total economy of the supranational corporations,’ dat ertoe heeft geleid dat momenteel
people are where they have been many times before: in danger of losing their economic security and their freedom, both at once. But at the same time the means of defending themselves belongs to them in the form of a venerable(eerbiedwaardig. svh) principle: powers not exercised by government return to the people. If the government does not propose to protect the lives, the livelihoods, and the freedoms of its people, then the people must think about protecting themselves… Perhaps also one begins to see the difference between a small local business that must share the fate of the local community and a large absentee corporation that is set up to escape the fate of the local community by ruining the local community… A community, if it is to be viable, cannot think of producing solely for export, and it cannot permit importers to use cheaper labor and goods from other places to destroy the local capacity to produce goods that are needed locally. In charity, moreover, it must refuse to import goods that are produced at the cost of human or ecological degradation elsewhere. This principle of subsistence(levensonderhoud. svh) applies not just to localities, but to regions and nations as well.
Om een concreet voorbeeld van dit principe te geven, schreef Berry:
Albert Schweitzer, who knew well the economic situation in the colonies of Africa, wrote about seventy years ago:‘Whenever the timber trade is good, permanent famine reigns in the Ogowe region (Gabon. svh), because the villagers abandon their farms to fell as many trees as possible.’ We should notice especially that the goal of production was ‘as many … as possible.’ And Schweitzer made my point exactly: ‘These people could achieve true wealth if they could develop their agriculture and trade to meet their own needs.’ Instead they produced timber for export to ‘the world market,’ which made them dependent upon imported goods that they bought with money earned from their exports. They gave up their local means of subsistence, and imposed the false standard of a foreign demand (‘as many trees as possible’) upon their forests. They thus became helplessly dependent on an economy over which they had no control.
Such was the fate of the native people under the African colonialism of Schweitzer’s time. Such is, and can only be, the fate of everybody under the global colonialism of our time. Schweitzer’s description of the colonial economy of the Ogowe region is in principle not different from the rural economy in Kentucky or Iowa or Wyoming now. A total economy, for all practical purposes, is a total government. The ‘free trade,’ which from the standpoint of the corporate economy brings ‘unprecedented economic growth,’ from the standpoint of the land and its local populations, and ultimately from the standpoint of the cities, is destruction and slavery. Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice.
Door dit alles te verzwijgen verraadt Geert Mak, net als zijn vader, zijn publiek, zijn vrienden, zichzelf en zijn geclaimde normen en waarden, in een poging zijn onverzadigbaar verlangen naar euro’s en aanzien te bevredigen. Tegelijkertijd laat het orakel van Bartlehiem, een ieder die wil luisteren, weten: ‘De kracht van onze westerse samenleving is onze democratie, onze variatie in ideeën, onze tolerantie, onze openheid tegenover andere culturen.’ Daarentegen vertelt de stem van de miljarden slachtoffers iets heel anders:
The pages of history are full of licensed murder and the plundering of weaker and less developed peoples, and obviously the world today has not outgrown this system. Behind the material and intellectual splendor of our civilization, primitive savagery and cruelty and lust hold sway, undiminished, and as it seems, unheeded. When I let go of my simple, instinctive nature religion, I hoped to gain something far loftier as well as more satisfying to reason. Als! it is also more confusing and contradictory. The higher and spirited life, though first in theory, is clearly secondary, if not neglected, in actual practice. When I reduce civilization to its most basic terms, it becomes a system of life based on trade. The dollar is the measure of value, and might still spells right; otherwise, why war? Each man stakes his powers, the product of his labor, his social, political, and religious standing against his neighbor. To gain what? To gain control over his fellow workers, and the results of their labor.
Ohiyesa. 1858-1938. Charles Eastman, The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa). 2007
Whatcha got ain’t nothin new. This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.
— No Country for Old Men (2007)