JR'S Free Thought Pages
The Joys of Entropy in a Neoliberal Nightmare
In accordance with The Second Law of Thermodynamics, like everything else in the Cosmos, the Highway to Hell of Global Slavery and Ecocide will die, hopefully from a massive heart attack
By Johnny Reb, June, 2017
“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters.” - Antonio Gramsci, from his Prison Notebooks
“It’s enough political economy for me to know that the idle class is rich and the working class is poor.” – William Morris cited in E.L. Grey’s William Morris: Prophet of England’s New Order, 1949, p. 237, Morris (1834-1896), a remark on Karl Marx’s theory of surplus value. 
A rumour is floating about cyberspace regarding a new psychological dysfunction of collective psychosis that will soon be added to the ever-growing list compiled by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Presently, it's being touted at PTSD, Post Trump Stress Disorder.
Now that the spectacle of the election is over, huge numbers of citizens are finally beginning to understand the growing divisions and hazards and toxicity of the neoliberal global dictatorship and serious economic and political cancers gripping our societies. The corporate controlled main stream media promotes the fallacious notions that the conflict between those on the political right and left will be played out mainly on issues of identity politics and the broader culture wars. This is palpable nonsense. The late comedian and social critic George Carlin summed up the moral bankruptcy and built-in injustices of our putative Western democracies that are merely veiled dictatorships with these words:
“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are going to realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”
What Carlin is trying to convey is what George Orwell meant when he said, “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” First democracy is, and always has been, a tacit assumption, not an operational form of governance of economic and social equality delivering fairness and justice for all. In fact one could argue that it is a plutocratic oligarchy, as authoritarian, exploitive and oppressive as any monarchy or theocracy in the past. Empires, including the current American incarnation, oligarchies and dictatorships have been the norm in recent history, expressing their amoral political philosophies in crass crude terms that differ little from Social Darwinism. Social and political decay and divisiveness in the form of religious fundamentalism, police violence, failure of the courts and endemic corruption within the structures of power and electoral process, citizen civil strife, anger, violence, socioeconomic collapse, homelessness, sexism, cruelty against minorities and the poor follows naturally and logically, as does depression, disobedience and the sense of futility among the citizenry. Understanding that conventional politics has nothing to offer them, people eventually express their rage by irrationally supporting demagogues (usually on the far right) who promise to improve their lot, or worse, those that guarantee to destroy the current establishment in its entirety and restore the exclusively defined nation and culture to an imagined antediluvian unity and grandeur. Without exception, violence with the full power of the proto-fascist state police and military will be deployed in order to achieve this objective. The 20th century alone offers countless examples.
It is far past the time for the 99% to remind the current neo-liberal corporatist edition of Adam Smith’s “Masters of Mankind” that nothing lasts forever including the global looting machines of kamikaze global capitalism; and that includes the grotesque beastly spectre of a narcissistic debauched man such as Donald Trump who may represent the end game for this nightmare. Perhaps, the collapsing Roman Empire like the USA today, which featured a bloated military budget, an over-extended military that terrorizes other countries with impunity and is plagued by systemic corruption and oppression at home, it’s now the denouement of the US imperialist empire. After all, throughout recorded history, all empires have eventually collapsed.
But plunder, legalized thievery, privatization by the know-no-limits greed of financial elites and endless wars of profit and pillage - even by the universal law of entropy - will not last forever. Perhaps our planets beleaguered ecosystem will collapse beyond repair which will render prognostications about our future superfluous. But eventually all that is properly part of the commons, a notion our native North American peoples believed was sacrosanct, must be returned to the people when that is what the people chose. Solidarity and return to the lost sense of caring and community, we must take back our anti-democratic authoritarian venal governing bodies, our privatized utilities and infrastructure, our schools, our media, our police, military and other public services. It is time to remind ourselves that we can carry out a peaceful revolution by new ways of thinking and a re-evaluation of values. Doing things a certain way because we’ve always done it that way is the essence of a sclerotic conservatism. It must, and will change; it’s simply a matter of how.
When we take back our democratically fraudulent governing structures, those structures that have for centuries enabled, protected and given legitimacy, often by divine right, to the property rights by which the land-owning elites and privateers lay their claim to the commonweal. How has it come to the point whereby eight multi-billionaires now own more than half the world’s wealth? Was it honestly and with concern for the other? Was it by adherence to the golden rule, the most universally accepted moral adage? Our children and grandchildren are not obligated to respect or honour the hucksterism, swindling and legalized piracy that was carried out by their rapacious predecessors.
The global capitalist utopian cult of neo-liberalism has delivered neither democracy nor the purported minimalist state, but rather a bloated unstable corporate welfare market state in which government, controls, manipulates, massages and panders to every aspect of the capitalist economy. The result has been a disaster for everyone with the exception of the already wealthy and parasitic financial elites. Coupled with imperialism and wars of plunder, an increase in state power has always been the inner logic of neo-liberal capitalism because, in order to inject markets into every corner of social life, a government needs to be highly invasive and insidious. Health, education and the arts are now more controlled by the state than they were in the post-World War II era of what has been called social democracy. Once-autonomous welfare state institutions are entangled in an apparatus of government austerity, targeted privatization and the cult of efficiency. The consequence of reshaping society on a market model has been to make the state omnipresent and authoritarian. The role of the state has now been relegated to safeguarding the pandering to corporate lobbyists and financial parasites while, in the name of private profit and exploitation, dismantling the social services for the vast majority and safety nets for the most vulnerable in society. The instability and undemocratic nature of this vile ideology is undeniable following the sickening bailouts of financial criminals in 2008 and the refusal to address the malevolence of the deregulated free-for-all casino atmosphere that defines neo-liberalism. The ongoing global economic crisis is systemic and the neo-liberal ideologues in government, finance and big business have no antidote for their massive failures to create any semblance of justice, equality or real democracy. When the next financial collapse arrives, and it will, it will take down what remains of social democracy and create global chaos and quite likely a world war.
“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned and man is at last compelled to face with his sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind”, wrote Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their Communist Manifesto. In 1848 they were witnessing the emergence of a global capitalist market hegemony that is trifling in comparison to what currently exists under neo-liberalism with its widespread disregard for state autonomy, rule of law, ethical norms and cultural boundaries. They were recognizing that the tyrannical revolutionary power of capitalism had blown apart larger and larger parts of the world out of its feudal or tribal slumber and sent it headlong into chaos and uncertainty. The agents of this wrenching transformation were the emerging capitalist class, or as he would have it, the bourgeoisie and they would, he predicted, would be destroyed in their turn. Their diagnosis was surely correct but the predictions have not, at least yet, been accurate. British political philosopher and LSE professor emeritus John Gray, in his many books such as Heresies: Against Progress and other Illusions, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and other Animals, False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, concurs with the Marx-Engels diagnosis and that the neo-liberal new world order has gone viral, beyond effective moral, social or political control, having unleashed chaos, conflict, gruesome economic inequalities, ongoing imperialistic war and instability on the planet. The 2008 global financial collapse was just one symptom of the self-inflicted dogma of deregulated casino capitalism and market mayhem. Gray compares Marx to Thomas Friedman who has reproduced the weakest and most implausible utopian features of Marx’s thought, depicting neo-liberalism as an analogue to a medieval theology.
To borrow another oft-used phrase from the Communist Manifesto, there is a specter haunting, not just Europe, but also the developed world and the capitalist class has, not unlike the two big monotheisms of Christianity Islam and their respective dictatorial Gods, have created “a world after its own image.” Moreover, as they did during the three decades following the Second World War when good wages, social safety nets and life-long careers were the norm, the middle class is dying and the good times no longer roll. That era of course was an aberration, the world, including the rigged game of our phony liberal democracies, the normalized world of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy has returned with a vengeance. And if the rich continue getting richer, the poor more impoverished and, like our contaminated ecosystems, the endangered species of the middle class become extinct, an inexorable, perhaps apocalyptic, day of reckoning will arrive and the chickens will come home to roost.
But contrary to Marx and the time honoured mantras of left leaning liberals, the human psyche is not progressive, but rather profoundly conservative. Most people resist change, even when their current status is bleak, even coercive and oppressively unjust. People cling obstinately to the inculcated ideas, customs, rituals, superstitions and prejudices such as the religion of their parents and culture. Even their understanding of ethics, usually grounded in religious authoritarianism, is warped by such factors. Sadly, freedom is not a universally accepted ideal; the familiar is comforting even when one is subject to coercion, even enslavement, poverty, malnourishment and illness. Change especially frightens the ignorant and uneducated, fears that are deeply rooted in evolutionary and genetic factors. And one cannot discount the impact of indoctrination by state, church and other conservative institutions.
But in a world of Donald Trump, a narcissistic buffoonish man clearly unfit both morally and intellectually for the office of leader of the most powerful country on the planet, conservatism, which has too often gravitated to fascism and other forms of authoritarianism when seriously threatened by the left, has taken on a new pyrrhic form. White nationalism, racism and various forms of chauvinism which have always existed in the West, have taken on a new twist with Steve Bannon, the “Alt-right” and others within the Trump administration. As a political ideology and philosophy, one needs to ask what conservatism has accomplished in the name of human progress (assuming one can continue to accept such a phenomenon). If we examine the balance sheet of history during the post Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution era of the past several centuries, most people would agree that leftward political shifts have been largely beneficial; after all, most of us wouldn’t go back to theocracy, monarchy and feudalism even if we could. Despite the despotic doctrinaire nature of the current economic global world order we call neo-liberalism, there has been undeniable progress in the realm of science. Although it still exists in parts of the world in the form of wage slavery, we have rejected slavery and the oppressive working conditions of the early Industrial Revolution and, despite backsliding during the past thirty years, replaced them with a forty-hour workweek, labor laws, safety requirements and important workers’ rights. Socially, we’ve made strong steps to eliminating bigotry, misogyny, religious persecution and intolerance and replaced them with pluralism and secularism. Although our constitutional democracies remain a seriously compromised project within our parliamentary and republican capitalist systems of governance, we’ve effectively done away with theocracies, monarchies, eschewed dictators and championed various forms of left-liberalism that have brought about universal health care, public education and social programs to alleviate suffering for the worst off in society. But these gains have all been under threat from conservative and other reactionary elements in the political landscape. In the past, reaching its pinnacle with the New Deal and War on Poverty, the political movement had been decidedly to the left and epitomizes what we mean by moral, social and political progress. The most profound political triumphs of human history, liberalism as exemplified by John Stuart Mill and others, constitutional social democracy, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, the movement toward social and economic social equality, social safety nets paid for by progressive tax structures, public schools and utilities, the emergence of the middle class protected by consumer rights and labor laws, global humanitarianism, and universal human rights as exemplified in the United Nations Charter share two consistent themes: clear moral progress and a politically leftward movement and rejection of calcified conservatism. Entitled elite conservative forces holding political and economic power have never conceded anything without a challenge and with the exception of the obvious advancements in science and, in particular medicine, what we can rightfully call “progress” has throughout human history been synonymous with the political left.
Despite the predominance of conservatism in both politics and our personal lives, change is as a fact of the universe and necessary to the survival our species as it is to each individual. The absence of change, even revolution, is death. The human body constantly changes from the moment of birth; all cells break down, die and are replaced with new cells. But it’s not difficult to understand people’s aversion to change. Habit, routine and tradition fortify the functioning of family, society and the individual. Over a long period they become ingrained, conditioning the beliefs and daily activities of millions of men and women. They are universally accepted, as are respect for the often unjust laws and customs that primarily serve ruling elites. The rules of political life, social mores and the existing institutions maintain the status quo. Conservatism and authoritarianism, although antithetical to the inevitability of change - and generally detrimental to liberty, intellectual advancement or even survival of our species - seem to be the dispositional norm. But surely we cannot simply choose what to believe and conjure up our own reality to assuage psychic vulnerabilities. As the great science fiction writer Philip K Dick proclaimed, “reality is that which when you stop believing it, won’t go away.” The palliatives of religion console and delude, but reality bites!
A similar situation exists in scientific inquiry. In his profound and penetrating study titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn explained how every period in the development of science is based on an existing paradigm that is generally accepted, providing a necessary framework for scientific methodology. For long periods this paradigm serves a useful function. But eventually small, apparently insignificant anomalies, inconsistencies and contradictions appear that eventually lead to the downfall of the old paradigm and its replacement with a new one. This, according to Kuhn, constitutes the essence of a “scientific revolution”.
A similar dialectic occurs within societies whose world views have existed for so long that they have calcified into biases, prejudices and dogmas that eventually conflict with existing reality. At that point, a revolution in consciousness may begin to emerge. People slowly begin to question what at one time seemed unquestionable. Ideas that were comfortable because they provided a delusional utopia or unachievable certitude are shattered on the hard rock of empirical reality. But change usually doesn’t occur in a straight line or necessarily for the betterment of our species. The harsh reality is this: there are no salvation plans or deterministic paths to political and social progress and justice; we simply muddle through. The current corporatist neo-liberal global world order of greed, exploitation, corruption and unprecedented economic inequalities ought to convince anyone who thinks otherwise. And now the world is plagued by the ignoramus vulture capitalist clown prince narcissist Donald Trump and his cabal of billionaire Christian fascist fundamentalists who controlling the most powerful, intellectually diseased, bellicose and terrorist state on the planet.
Although an ignorant bigoted buffoon, President Trump’s real agenda, despite his racist rants during the campaign, perhaps will not be to antagonize and oppress immigrant minorities. But one cannot rule out such a course of action from an uncultured philistine racist ignorant of history and science. He just might mean what he says; after all his narcissism, arrogance, impetuousness, racism, bigotry and knee-jerk proto-fascist rants are very real. One ought to expect the unexpected from a man who as a silver spooned draft-dodging brat, always got his way. Notwithstanding his demagoguery and numerous empty promises to rescind the phony free trade agreements, get people back to work on infrastructure, roll back the US military industrial complex, he's really an integral part of the Wall Street war mongering military industrial cabal, one of the shadow government backroom boys. He's a committed vulture capitalist of the worst sort, a predatory real estate developer committed to supporting the status quo of the neoliberal world order, profit for a thin layer of the 1% at the expense of the entire world, just like his "opponent" Hilary Clinton.
The ruling elites, shocked by the mobilization of widespread dissent and civil disobedience during the 1960s, or by what Noam Chomsky called America’s “excess of democracy,” countered with the usual appeals to police and military violence, but concluded something far more insidious was required to staunch the democratic movements. Corporate leaders, evangelical Christians and neo-conservative intellectuals of the far right realized a systemic counter-revolution was necessary and by drafting laws and constructing counter-institutions to delegitimize and marginalize critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism. They were able to rally the allegiance of the two main big business political parties. Both parties eventually submitted to the dictates of what we now call neoliberal ideology within academia and the corporate controlled mass media that endlessly promotes the magical elixir of the deregulated market as the solution to all human problems while demonizing environmentalists, anti-capitalists, even modest reformist social democrats and other naysayers as malcontents, troublemakers and deluded lunatics. It was nothing less than a master stealth plan for what has become a full scale corporate coup d’état that has now been fully consummated. A financial oligarchy and debased form of Stalinist-like corporate communism rules not only the United States, but Canada, Australia, Europe and much of Asia. Capitalism is based on an artificial state sanctioned exploitive socio-political order of economic tyranny sanctioned by a complex set of unjust laws, endless propaganda and backed by the full force of a militarized police state that some anarchist philosophers call command authority - as opposed to belief authority - that is void of moral legitimacy, having created massive economic inequalities comparable to theocracies and monarchies of our medieval past. Capitalism has enriched the few and poverty and misery for the majority and a minimalist “freedom” of choosing between Coke and Pepsi or during money driven elections, between two or more capitalist parties. As Emma Goldman, one of the great women and anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th century proclaimed, “Our true liberation, individual and collective, lies in emancipation from authority and from our belief in it.”
Global economic inequalities have now become so stark and shocking, such that, according to a recent Oxfam Report, eight people (yes that’s “8”) now control more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population. But it’s actually far worse than this because the poorest half of the world own nothing, except perhaps debt. The corporate plunder and pillage of the commons continues unabated as it tramples over individual rights and human decency, a state of affairs even George Orwell never thought could happen. We’ve regressed far beyond anything Orwell predicted in his 1940s dystopian novel 1984, describing an ominous surveillance state endlessly propagandizing its atomized lemming-like “citizens”. When you witness the glazed over the zombie-like masses staring into i-phones, i-pads and other self-lobotomizing techno-detritus as they rush through their disengaged lives of quiet desperation and agitated distracted activities whether it’s work, shopping, exercise regimens, pushing baby buggies, driving, walking to school (for those that still walk) or as fans at sporting events, it’s a disturbing sight. The late educational philosopher Neil Postman referred to this escape from the intellect and critical thought as “amusing ourselves to death” and the Norwegian existentialist Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899-1990), weighing in on the futile human search for meaning, called it “distraction”, a human propensity for mindless escapism whereby one “limits attention to the critical bounds by constantly enthralling it with impressions"(The Last Messiah, 1933). “Distraction”, he argued, focuses all of one's energy on a task or idea to prevent the mind from introspection and turning in on itself.
Authoritarianism has multiple sources, subtleties and manifestations; anyone who believes that we live in a democracy and are truly free in the sense of the people I’ve described above, is delusional. Real freedom and democracy are upshots of and outgrowths of social cohesion: cooperation, egalitarianism, responsibility, fairness, conciliation, tolerance and mutual respect.
In the past few decades of neo-liberal finance capitalism economic inequalities have accelerated to obscene levels globally In the United States the top one-tenth of one percent now control as much as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent while half the nation’s population is either poor or near-poor, living at less than half the federal government’s notoriously low poverty level. A scandalous 94 percent of the jobs created in the U.S. during the Obama years were part-time, short term contract and/or temporary positions. This has become the condition not only of working class skilled and unskilled workers, but for the teachers, professors, lawyers and other professional classes as well. Democracy has always been a fraud but even the severely compromised representative sock puppet versions are now dictated by what some radical writers call the Deep State [1a], shadow governments in which the real decisions for the rest of us are made in lavish corporate executive offices and surreptitious meetings in yearly meetings of the world’s billionaire oligarchs and other “masters of mankind”. Elections have become mere charades, a farcical marionette show of the dictatorship of money.
The demolition of democratic institutions, havens where citizens and the disenfranchised have a voice, is far more serious than the ascendancy to the White House of the proto-fascist jackboot demagogue like Donald Trump. The coup has destroyed the two-party system in the US, labor unions, public education at all levels, including the universities, the legal system and judiciary and genuine investigative journalism. The media has become a mere echo chamber of neo-liberal catechism. Moreover, it has destroyed consumer and environmental protection and the industrial base that once provided decent paying jobs and benefits. It has destroyed communities and cities that are collapsing into decay and failing infrastructure. And it destroyed the lives of tens of millions of Americans no longer able to find work that provides a living wage, destined to live in chronic poverty, poor health or locked in cages in our monstrous system of primarily privatized institutions of mass incarceration. The United States has about 4-5% of the global population but roughly one in every four people in the world in prisons is locked up in American jails.
But the real criminals who belong in prisons are not Muslims, immigrants, fictitious terrorists or those who challenge the hegemony of an amoral system of predatory exploitation but rather the parasitic capitalist class of bankers and financiers, hedge fund operators, corporate lawyers and lap dog politicians and legislators who sold us this venal dystopian nightmare and who are enriching themselves to the point of eight people controlling over half the world’s wealth. In 17th century England, financial speculators were regularly pilloried, shamed before the public and frequently executed.
The real fault line lies between those courageous and with sufficient imagination to create genuine community based democracy and construct new forms of cooperative peaceful, sustainable, non-coercive, non-hierarchical societies, and those people who have acquiesced to the failed obsolete political, economic and social paradigms of the past, victims of centuries of authoritarian religious and political indoctrination and thought control. There are perhaps those who prefer to remain slaves to complicit fundamentalist monotheisms, corporate tyranny [1b], the surveillance casino capitalist police state, endless neo-colonial wars for pillage and profit, systemic underemployment, unemployment and low paying dead end jobs. But there is an ever-increasing minority of people who are waking up from their indoctrinated semi-comatose condition, those hankering to break free by throwing off the shackles of command ethics and political models such as the anti-democratic institutions of state sanctioned corporate capitalism.
The dysfunction and injustice of the new gilded age we suffer under today is not new. Perhaps we can find solace in the works of an iconic American novelist and social critic, John Steinbeck and his Pulitzer Prize winning The Grapes of Wrath, highlighting the exploitive and inhumane treatment of the working poor of America during the Great Depression. The novel was made into a memorable spectacular 1940 movie featuring a young Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, an archetypical deeply principled and moral "bad guy", and ex con. I read the novel decades ago and have watched the 1940 movie multiple times. The movie has never failed to captivate me with its profundity, pathos and courage in the face of disenfranchisement, oppression and injustice. Steinbeck wrote sixteen other novels, all great reads and many were made into superb movies including Of Mice and Men, Viva Zapata and East of Eden. If you have never read the aforementioned books, I urge you to do so. Reminiscent of today's global predicament, Steinbeck, in his magnum opus The Grapes of Wrath wrote:
“Failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow . . . . And the smell of rot fills the country . . . . There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success . . . . and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is the growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
Bruce Springsteen lifted some key passages from The Grapes of Wrath in what I feel is his best composition called "The Ghost of Tom Joad", a condemnation of what he called The New World Order, our current "wrath", the dogma of neo-conservative/ neo-liberal globalized corporate capitalism. Listen to a scintillating powerful rendition here:
As Alvin Toffler astutely observed back in the 1980s, "Our political parties, as obsolete in structure as in ideology, seem so much like blurry mirror images of each other…All of them, while jockeying for power" Tariq Ali, in a recent book referred to this phenomenon of uniformity and complicity of the political establishment on the political continuum as "the extreme centre." Just recognize what has happened to our once proud and progressive social democratic parties in Europe and Canada, having been transmogrified into calcified liberal and conservative anachronisms 
Are things really so bad? Is our capitalist industrial civilization really at risk of collapsing? The answers have been in for some time now. The engaged inquirer might want to re-read The Limits to Growth which was updated in 2004, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher and James Lovelocks many writings on his Gaia hypothesis. These insightful works were written in the 1970s with dire predictions for our future. Another writer with a similar message back then was Barry Commoner, who had this to say: “My own judgment, based on the evidence now at hand, is that the present course of environmental degradation presents a challenge to essential ecological systems that is so serious that, if continued, it will destroy the capability of the environment to support a reasonably civilized human society.”
We live in a world in which our multinational corporate CEOs and financial flimflam fraudsters, like the colonialist robber barons of the British Empire and other Western European countries, have no sense of limits on a finite planet. Mahatma Gandhi once remarked that it took Britain half the resources of the planet to achieve its prosperity and asked how many planets would a country like India require? Gandhi remarked further that the economic imperialism of a tiny island kingdom was keeping the world in chains, and if an entire nation of 300 million (India’s population at the time) engaged in similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts. India is now 1.2 billion plus. American citizens constitute 4-5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as two Japanese, six Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians and 370 Ethiopians. Incidentally, The US is now an emergent fascist police state, with 25% of all people in the world incarcerated in its increasingly privatized prison systems.
The alleged ruptures and differences in our societies are not between Democrat v Republican, Liberal v Conservative or even Socialist v Capitalist. It's between those who understand our society must be re-evaluated and rebuilt with a new ethos from the bottom-up, versus those who are content with the "might is right" status quo, oblivious to the impending dislocations, disruptions and calamities. If humans were taught to be universally altruistic, kind, compassionate moral and ethical beings, then globalization might be a plausible work in progress. Unfortunately, the dark behavioural narcissism expressed by compulsive capitalist greed and an infinite appetite for power seems to have become the guiding precept of our emerging collective dystopian nightmare. If only the desire of certain sociopathic people to dominate others and control the resources of the world for themselves were not the prime motivations for the global elite on top of the human food chain, we could all have our respective modest slice of prosperity and happiness on this plundered planet. The Utopian project of globalization through institutions such as the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was ostensibly designed to eradicate the universal pestilence of war, extreme poverty, hunger and slavery using the might of the above supranational institutions to prevent the rise of so-called rogue nations usually ruled by corporatist dictators. What happened? Or was this not their agenda at all?
In the era of a world traumatized by World War II, many public servants, who had fought against the Nazis and their Japanese and Italian fascist allies quite likely had noble intentions when institutions like the United Nations were set up. Like the League of Nations following the "war to end all wars", if many of the original ideas were formulated with moral intent, a corruptive rot almost immediately contaminated and perverted most of the created institutions and quickly, using the pretext of the Cold War, men like the bellicose monarchist and war lover Winston Churchill and others of his ilk hatched the birth of a monstrosity such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In subsequent years, the neo-conservative and neo-liberal zealots and power brokers of global capitalism and imperialism have controlled and ultimately Wall Street has supported and financed, distinctly undemocratic tyrannical supranational government organizations such as the UN, IMF, World Bank, the phony free trade agreements such as NAFTA, TPP and CETA and a myriad of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
A Digression on the Buddha
Not only have these organizations of global capitalist elite power done nothing to curtail the man-made disasters of war, climate change, slavery and poverty, but they have exacerbated them, all in the name of greed and profit. Working people and the hundreds of millions of poor and indigenous populations throughout the world have been turned into mere cannon fodder and lubricant for the wheels of the capitalist machine, providing for the exclusive decadent comforts and enrichment of plutocratic corporate financial elites. Donald Trump is the quintessential exemplar of this venal corporate dictatorship. So what are the possible scenarios for the future of what some call "late capitalism" and the "end of history"? The United States is beginning to look more like the late stages Roman Empire described by Gibbon in his Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire or perhaps the era of emerging fascism in the era between the two World Wars. “Everything subject to origination is subject also to dissolution,” advises the Buddha, insightfully foreshadowing the Second Law of Thermodynamics (the ineluctable tendency of a system towards disorder) in a way whose simplicity would impress even a modern physicist. This law of anitya, or ‘impermanence’, proclaims that all contingent existence is transitory. The Second Law of Thermodynamics or principle of entropy guarantees that change is the only constant and nothing lasts forever. Capitalism is no exception. Capitalism has become like some out-of-control Godzilla that cannot be modified or reformed. Can you put a human face on a hydra-headed monster? But don’t become too despondent about the current state of the tyrannical corporatist state; even knowledge, repertory of probable and approximate conceptualizations and perceptions is a depository containing our representations of reality that are, for the most part, ephemeral. Wisdom, on the other hand, is not derived from knowledge of any particular state, but rather from an understanding of the process of change.
The Buddha’s law of impermanence is ubiquitous, governing all scales of existence: the molecular, the geological, and even the cosmological. Even our sun, the provider of energy which sustains this current cycle, will eventually exhaust its nuclear fuel, terminating the process of regeneration. Much larger stars await even more spectacular fatalities, cooling and rapidly imploding only to then violently explode as supernovae, selflessly distributing their flesh into a vacuous seemingly infinite cosmos, perhaps creating yet more planets, asteroids and nebulae to add to the billions that presently exist. Our insignificance, impermanence, mortality and ultimate demise are scientific facts most, especially the religious among us, refuse to accept. I can remember when the existentialist pop song by the group Kansas called “Dust in the Wind” hit the charts in the 1970s. The reaction within the Christian conservative community was one of rage and yet wasn’t it Jesus who said “What is your life? You are but a mist that appears for a short time and then vanishes.” But humans, it seems, can only handle so much reality, anguishing over their inability to a Nietzsche-like will to power, to control and order our futures and destinies. Freud and other forerunners of modern psychology have weighed in on this uncontrollable human condition. Alfred Adler described our response as a neurotic impulse resulting from the sense of inadequacy, inferiority and powerlessness from the condition of residing in a universe beyond our control, in which over time slowly but surely and inexorably disintegrates all.
Perhaps a new interlude has opened up, a period of Sturm und Drang that will disturbingly resemble the reactionary fascist 1930s rather than the democracy breakout period of social democratic reformism after 1945. All the bright memories of the capitalism with a human face post 1945 era will be erased from the consciousness of the rabble by a jack boot iron heel. In order to reinstate the gains won by men who were beaten and shot on the picket lines, the battles of the past will have to be re-fought with a grass roots revolutionary programme. We cannot deceive ourselves any longer; either capitalism is overthrown, or a horrifying fate awaits us. All attempts to reform and tame the corporate capitalist monster have failed.
On the basis of globalized cancerous capitalism there can be no way forward for the working masses, especially our young people who have been thrown off the bus. The liberal class is a rotting corpse and the sell-out reformists such as the social democratic NDP in Canada have died a slow death since the passing of the great Tommy Douglas in 1986. They are desperately trying to revive their party and win back support by a complicity in the very cruel conservative forces they fought against for decades. Social democrat political entities such as the NDP (formerly CCF) must return to their socialist roots as expressed by the Regina Manifesto of the 1930s and admit to the catastrophic failure of their navigation to the liberal right during the past 30 years. Otherwise they offer no alternative to the indistinguishable sclerotic Conservative and Liberal Parties that have predictably served wealth, privilege and big business since 1867. During the past 150 years in Canada parliamentary democracy has been a mere rubber stamp smokescreen concealing a big business oligarchy, a fig leaf behind which is concealed the crude reality of the corporatist dictatorship of the wealthy pampered elites, banks and multinational corporations. But time is running out on the rot and decay of the current system that ought to be patently is evident to all who have the will to see. Surely no one has any illusions about democracy anywhere in the world following the bailout of the financial corporate criminals in 2008. In reality, not unlike like the Roman Empire, the old system is already breaking down with the rot of corruption and legalized robbery. This vile world order in beyond redemption and can only be demolished by throwing the bums out. The symptoms of its decay are evident to all as social dysfunction, monstrous economic inequalities, chronic unemployment and underemployment, slave wages, endless imperialistic wars, corruption and infrastructure collapse.
But this is certainly not the first time that we have seen such breakdowns. The same symptoms can be seen in the period of the decline and fall of authoritarian societies and empires throughout history and the long periods of systemic poverty, rot and corruption during the theocracies and monarchies of the Dark Ages of feudalism. It is no accident that peasants and other impoverished masses in those days imagined that the end of the world was looming. But what was approaching was not the end of the world but rather the end of a particular hierarchical social economic system that had exhausted its potential and become a monstrous obstacle in the path of human justice and decency.
Horrific tyrannical systems have existed throughout history; capitalism is no exception. Lenin once remarked that capitalism is “horror without end”; we can now see the literal truth of this assertion with the neo-liberal doctrine that resembles the late 19th century robber baron era that Mark Twain called the Gilded Age. The decomposition is spreading in the established order of things as its institutions are collapsing. The defenders of the old order are seized by an undefined foreboding of something unknown and the collapse will likely be sparked by some black swan event that will make the global collapse of 2007-09 look like a Quaker’s picnic. Moreover, World War Three is not implausible. Again, nothing lasts forever, including our species which is on the short list for self-inflicted extinction along with the disappearance of 98-99% of all other living things that once thrived on our planet.
But the parasitic financial vultures, corporate oligarchs, bank fraudsters and the political sock puppets they own will defend this vile venal system of obscene economic inequality with all they have, including the militarized police, hired thugs and mercenaries and the military that will be urged to maim and kill members of their own class. Do they care about the life planet’s ecosystem? Not really; only insofar as it might compromise profit. Capitalists are those people described by Oscar Wilde who “know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” An ossified theology called “the market” now serves as the overriding principle that dictates all decision making as ethical oversight has been rendered redundant. It disrespects the natural environment and its creatures, tramples on people’s rights including a right to their homeland, invades, desecrates and contaminates entire countries disregarding tramples on their right to a decent existence. All those who are trying to preserve this vile world ideology, perhaps the most oppressive ever conceived, to patch it up, to reform it, to provide it with panaceas that will enable it to hobble along for a few years or decades to squeeze out what resources and profit remain are playing the most reactionary and perilous role. They are preventing the emergence of a new society of sharing, caring and compassion which alone can offer a future to humanity and put an end to the existing nightmare of kamikaze disaster capitalism in which greed and exploitation are deemed virtues. But beware of demagogues, especially those frauds on the extreme political right such as Donald Trump who is clearly the most reactionary right wing president in US history.
Both religious and secular utopias and salvation plans for humanity have always been delusional and saving ourselves from a ravaging unruly beast is not about to be found in Karl Marx , Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, reformist social democracy or any other socio-economic and political doctrine, because, especially at this point, there is no prospect for salvation at all. The slave economy of the Roman Empire collapsed in a chaotic violence of elites and warlords, walled cities and estates and clannish societies ruled by tyrants that ensued for centuries. Can anyone see something like this emerging? It's not at all implausible. The sequence of events that have unfolded since at least since mid-1970s are: (1) economic stagnation coupled with political and social fragmentation, (2) the emergence of a usurious plutocratic financial mafia combined with obscene economic inequality, (3) the plundering of the public domain, (4) systemic corruption and (5) emerging global dislocation, disorder, entropy, chaos, loss of community and authoritarianism and (6) resource pillage, climate change, ecological decimation and the doubling of the global population to unsustainable levels.
To counter these disturbing events, we might start a revaluation of values by perhaps first re-examining a generally cross-culturally accepted ethical adage that can be traced back to the days of Confucius, the Golden Rule. For the past thirty years or so it it's been the rusty knife rule, "screw your neighbour before he screws you". Surely we don't have to live the way we do; there's nothing in "human nature" that dictates we have to behave as crazed voracious Social Darwinian beasts void of conscience and ethical principles. In fact, most people do not behave like this; thousands of random acts of kindness and benevolence happen every day. We do not have to behave like the baboon bullies and psychopathic masters of untrammelled greed and confrontation, namely our careerist politicians and their corporate puppet masters. Are our imaginations and intellects so barren we have to behave like robotic docile gerbils on a treadmill and acquiesce to an authoritarian socio-economic model that permits no possibility of a genuinely democratic moral, caring, sharing and just world that is also on the brink of ecological disaster? 
There are more points of agreement with those who watch the factories of mass ignorance such as CBC, BBC, PBS, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News than differences. The barren messages of their culturally desolate programs are slavishly devoted to globalization, consumerism, celebrity worship, deference to police state corporate power, a culture of fear, an ecocidal economic system, endless war, worldwide surveillance, towards structural racism and ignore rising inequality as well as the international crimes of our corporations and their political pimps. There is more overlap between those who read Huffington Post and the New York Times and those who read Breitbart and Drudge Report, than either side is willing to admit. The sycophantic Anderson Coopers, Rachel Maddows, Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world are all far removed from any traditional conceptions of morality, any depth of conscience, compassion or sense of community and solidarity. Absolute objectivity is a delusion but for your television news outlets, you might want to take a look at RT-TV or Al Jazeera? You will be pleasantly surprised at the stories they cover with far more impartiality than in our own country, stories that are deliberate acts of omissions by the droll predictability of our local corporatist lap poodle lame stream media. Corporate newspapers in Canada like the Vancouver Sun, National Post and Globe and Mail are dying from their own deceits, omissions, lies and obsequious compliance with the corporate oligarchy. Cancel your subscriptions and head for the internet where real journalism still exists, at least for now. Our corporate neo-con rags don't even serve as useful kitty litter liner and they'd love to control the internet as well. Most of what's online may be intellectual rubbish, but with some effort you can discover alternatives to the droll claptrap rolled out by our less than useless daily newspapers and TV news sources. For two fine examples of antidotes to the droll echo chamber of corporatist neo-con pabulum, Counterpunch and Common Dreams are two such web sites I visit regularly. Check them out.
Basic logic, common decency, and journalistic integrity have vanished from mainstream news. Francis Fukuyama's The End of History has already occurred for them: there is nothing left to do but promote globalism, neo-liberal kamikaze capitalism and worship at the feet of the American Empire; they simply cannot be bothered with those pesky critters called evidence and facts. They are the public avatars of institutional stupidity, idiotic bureaucratic rigidity and the journalistic banalities and inanities of your typical metropolitan corporate controlled newspaper or TV news service.
Liberal and conservative voters are blinded by inculcated ideology. They hopelessly and credulously embrace the two big business political parties without an iota of scepticism or criticism. Both mainstream Democrats and Republicans (Conservatives and Liberals in Canada) have been so indoctrinated, propagandized, anaesthetized and hypnotized by the six media conglomerates which control 95% of all media outlets, that they are unaware of the true depths of their ignorance. If that doesn't destroy the desire for inquiry and intellectual growth, then the self-lobotomizing effect of cell phones and other mind numbing techno-toys will do the job.
While watching as much of the presidential "debates" as was tolerable, I was rendered dumbstruck, shell-shocked and mortified by the total lack of decorum and attention to issues that really mattered to ordinary working people. The entire spectacle was reminiscent of an episode of Beavis and Butthead.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it were only US elections that were "rigged" as Trump rightly claims, rigged in the sense of coercing and cajoling the public into choosing between two indistinguishable incompetent moral degenerates and criminal candidates. But it's always been a rigged game, like the loaded dice of our phony Western democracies, political edifice and global economic system. In the case of the US, the game was rigged from the start by the slave-owning authors of the US constitution. "Everything is a rich man's trick", gleaned from the title of a three hour documentary posted on You Tube.
By the way, that disgusting sucking sound you hear is the corporate plutocracy and their sycophants, the globalization gurus ensconced inside the Beltway, at the World Bank, IMF, WTO, EU, G7 and other anti-democratic instruments of global domination vacuuming up all public wealth in our countries, exploiting and robbing developing nations, using imperialism, war, neo-colonialism, privatization and austerity on bewildered masses to plunder whole continents for pennies on the dollar. Just remember what happened in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union as former communist apparatchiks became capitalist jackals overnight, making former KGB thugs like Vladimir Putin one of the richest men in the country. It's just a carbon copy of the current global world order.
Moments of silence and moral reflection, of critical thought, scepticism and shame are hard to come by for global elites while calculating and conniving away the hours at country clubs, multi-million dollar yachts, jet-setting to phony charity galas, climate change conferences and government chin wags at lavish hotels and corporate penthouse suites, while religiously maintaining the status quo, changing absolutely nothing as the planet burns. In their decadent private lives, the masters of mankind hide in their securitized mansions, cocooned and shielded in gated miniature kingdoms, with hired goons and thugs for added protection in case the "serve and protect" police and military don't carry out their traditional duties in protecting them from the "swinish multitude", to use one of the contemptuous bigoted expressions of one of the high priests of conservatism, Edmund Burke.
But if you closely examine the texts of classical liberalism such as those by Hobbes, Locke or even John Stuart Mill's famous On Liberty, you will discover that those enlightenment liberals had almost as much contempt for the working classes, the bewildered herd, as do today's neo-conservatives such as George W Bush, David Cameron or Stephen Harper. They deemed them ignorant and even unable to understand what was good for them, thereby concluding that they needed to be controlled and led by the nose. Our phony parliamentary and republican democracies display this attitude every day with the laws they introduce designed to protect their own elitist interests and those of the business classes. Their notions of freedom, contrary to Thomas Paine's classic The Rights of Man, are expressed quite accurately by the great French novelist Anatole France who once said, "Both the rich man and the poor man have the right to live as a troll under a bridge."Do the Ivy League "educated" lawyers, bank executives, MBAs and other parasitic swine who run our governments in the interest of wealth, power and multinational corporations have more wisdom and moral rectitude than Joe the plumber? I think not.
Not surprisingly, the knowledge deficit regarding US-approved planetary-scale special ops, drones and proxy warfare, and the accompanying neoliberal assault on the poor and the Earth's ecosystems is evolving along international lines. The gap between fact and fiction is purposely distorted in the US media, but throughout the world, citizens are waking up from their brainwashed lives, satiated by the war-mongering and steady stream of sleazy sanctimonious bullshit by the United States government and their equally hypocritical partners in crime, the main stream media and prevaricating corporate mafia who preach about democracy, justice and democracy, while putting profit before all else. Pretty sick eh folks?
Like the brave steadfast Native American demonstrators against corporate predation at Standing Rock, Dakota citizens across the globe will have to form bottom-up progressive revolutionary social movements on the ground using direct action even if it means violating state laws that have been forever designed to serve the ruling plutocrats, past and present. Grassroots solidarity with all nations and liberation from predatory capitalism and oppressive imperialist globalization must be at the nucleus of the agenda: public initiatives for universal free education in non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian humanistic ethical principles in a non-coercive atmosphere of free thought. The truth about the tyrannical and destructive neoliberal economic world order must be articulated, promoted and disseminated.
Donald Trump is now the US president-elect and soon to be 45th president. Let that sink in citizens of the world. We’re in for a rough ride of more of the same house of pain. Trump will not solve the structural problems in the domestic economy or the systemic problems of the deeply immoral foreign policies of corporate thievery wedded to imperialistic war. Despite his rhetoric, he will not confront the corporatist state. The prospective candidates for his new Cabinet and his National Security team are already known as Washington insiders, financial parasites, low-life hedge fund operators from criminal outfits such as Goldman Sachs and other corporate financial pirate organizations - a veritable sanctum of snakes in suits and vile vipers.
Sadly, American have just elected a silver-spooned, amoral, narcissistic, arrogant, sociopathic billionaire who, not unlike his predecessor George W Bush, cannot articulate a single coherent enlightening statement, yet manipulates the media like a marionette. His privileged and pampered white Christian world view slavishly devoted to unprincipled self-interest, corporate capitalism and self-aggrandizement and celebrity status is, we can only hope, a remnant of the dying world order. Nothing, after all remains the same. As the Buddha and ancient world philosopher Heraclites, anticipating the notion of entropy and Second law of Thermodynamics, affirmed, "The only constant is change". This too will pass, but since the survival of life on this planet is at stake, we cannot meditate on our navels waiting for the inevitable natural forces of entropy and decay.
In his first meeting with the eight year tragedy and boondoggle called Barry Obomber, he gave newly elected Trump some advice on how to be "successful" at the helm of the worst terrorist rogue state on the planet by encouraging him that he'd provide all the support needed. By "successful" he meant maintaining the status quo of a neo-liberal piracy of the public domain, imperialism, war and the continued gravy train for a minor stratum of the 1% and the square root of piss all for the rest of us. We'll know soon enough what Trump's regime will look like when he chooses his cabinet. Perhaps, as did Obama, he will simply chose from a rogues gallery the Wall Street bloodsuckers provided from a list of candidates sent to him by Citigroup, Goldman and other dons of the bailed out "too big to fail" and "too big to jail" financial mafia. If Trump has any balls and integrity, he'd seriously consider someone like the exiled Edward Snowden - or Julian Assange whose Wikileak revelations on Clinton's shenanigans helped him win the election. He would first need to pressure the Swedish government to drop the fabricated charges against Assange. The probability of this happening is about as likely as Jesus or Elvis being resurrected from the dead.
George Orwell, it would seem, borrowed a phrase from Antonio Gramsci, when he said "telling the truth is a revolutionary act". But first we must apply every morsel of intellect to find that truth in the face of universal prevarication and deceit from the hierarchical and authoritarian cultural forces in our communities, those of organized religion, politics and the corporate hegemony that controls us and our thoughts. We would also be advised to heed Antonio Gramsci’s warning that, not only all theocracies and monarchies of the past, but "all states are dictatorships".
Chris Hedges, in a recent speech at a rally in Washington. DC, prophesized:
“What comes next, history has shown, will not be pleasant. A corrupt and inept ruling elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will unleash a naked kleptocracy. Workers will become serfs. The most benign dissent will be criminalized. The ravaging of the ecosystem propels us towards extinction. Hate talk will call for attacks against Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, feminists, intellectuals, artists and dissidents, all of whom will become a scapegoat for the country’s stagnation. Magical thinking will dominate our airwaves and be taught in our public schools. Art and culture will be degraded to nationalist kitsch. All the cultural and intellectual disciplines that allow us to view the world from the perspective of the other, that foster empathy, understanding and compassion, will be replaced by a grotesque and cruel hyper-masculinity and hyper-militarism. Those in power will validate racism, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia.
Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. The movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, suffragists, labor movement, communists, socialists, anarchists and civil rights and labor movements—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond. The platitudes about justice, equality and democracy are just that. Only when power is threatened does it react. Appealing to its better nature is useless. It doesn’t have one.
We once had within our capitalist democracy liberal institutions—the press, labor unions, third parties, civic and church groups, public broadcasting, well-funded public universities and a liberal wing of the Democratic Party—that were capable of responding to outside pressure from movements. They did so imperfectly. They provided only enough reforms to save the capitalist system from widespread unrest or, with the breakdown of capitalism in the 1930s, from revolution. They never addressed white supremacy and institutional racism or the cruelty that is endemic to capitalism. But they had the ability to ameliorate the suffering of working men and women. This safety valve no longer works. When reform becomes impossible, revolution becomes inevitable.
The days ahead will be dark and frightening. But as Immanuel Kant reminded us, “If justice perishes, human life on earth has lost its meaning.” We fight for the sacred. We fight for life. It is a fight we must not lose. To be a bystander is to be complicit in radical evil.
Revolt is a political necessity. It is a moral imperative. It is a defense of the sacred. It allows us to live in truth. It alone makes hope possible.
The moment we defy power, we are victorious. The moment we stand alongside the oppressed, and accept being treated like the oppressed, we are victorious. The moment we hold up a flickering light in the darkness for others to see, we are victorious. The moment we thwart the building of a pipeline or a fracking site, we are victorious. And the moment those in power become frightened of us, we are victorious.
I do not know if we can build a better society. I do not even know if we will survive as a species. But I do know these corporate forces have us by the throat. And they have my children by the throat. I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.”
 According, an anti-authoritarian and libertarian socialist who held that capitalism is so evil it to be beyond redemption, beyond reform. The revolution had to come from the bottom upwards, contrary to all revolutions to date. It could only come about by a dramatic change in the relationship between people and their work in a conscious deliberate manner. Revolution he said “means a change in the basis of society.” Fundamentally, this meant a change in the moral foundations of society, a society where even Carlyle recognized that “in all senses, we worship after power.” The craving for power was usually exemplified by political success and raw ambition. AS it is today, success was generally measured by the accumulation of material possessions which, in many ways, epitomized social and economic inequality and the evils it wrought. Hence, Morris believed the revolution could not succeed without a dramatic transformation in values of the workers who must be the main impetus behind any permanent change toward abolishing the current authoritarian capitalist world order. He also believed, despite his pacifism, that it could only come about through violent upheaval, realizing that hierarchical regimes never relinquished power voluntarily. Freedom for Morris was the abolition of all artificial and arbitrary power, including the corrupt fraudulent parliamentary system in Britain which was merely a smokescreen for capitalist oligarchy. Like many anarchists, he believed the oppressive state, like the monarchies and theocracies that preceded it, had to be dismantled. He was against the Fabian Society socialists who, along with their successors, the Labour Party and other social democratic parties, believed in the idea of the state and that capitalism could be reformed. For Morris, democracy was impossible unless both were abolished.
[1a] The Deep State, according to Mike Lofgren, is the complex unelected network of elite private sector power that includes Wall Street, the military industrial complex, Silicon Valley, banks and financial conglomerates and their affiliates, pharmaceutical barons and their allies atop the national government’s key state-capitalist and related repressive and imperial governmental institutions (including the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Reserve) that rule the nation beneath the marionette drama of its quadrennial major capitalist party election carnivals to keep things running smoothly for those in real power while stifling real democracy while keeping popular dissent and rebellion at bay. The first objective of any capitalist government is to capture as many top policy making offices as possible within the new administration, stocking it with people who can be counted on to maintain Big Business rule-as-usual beneath all the new president’s right wing populist bullshit. As with the outgoing president, super-opulent Goldman Sachs alumni and neo-liberal dogmatists have been placed atop Trump’s Treasury Department and National Economic Council. His Commerce Secretary pick, the multi-billionaire J. Wilbur Ross is certainly no trade-warrior. Neither is Trump’s Secretary of State selection Rex Tillerson, the CEO of no less a multinational corporation than Exxon-Mobil. Trump’s top defense appointments are imperial globalists, military generals and war mongering imperialists, not isolationists.
But as a recent article in Jacobin Magazine argues he deep state concept is disingenuous in two fundamental ways.
First, invoking the deep state implies a misleading view of the state as a monolithic, unitary actor. While the deep state is usually said to be a network of individuals and agencies, it is assumed that these component parts are held together by a common will or mission (in this case, something like defending the “national interest” against Trump). This leads to a reification of the state as an autonomous and internally coherent force. Yet modern capitalist states are more fragmented than they appear. First, they are composed of class fractions and coalitions that have frequently clashing interests and are motivated by short-term considerations. Often, these internal differences arise from the pressure exerted by various economic interests (such as the competition between the financial, manufacturing, and small business sectors).
In addition, these class forces are intersected by other factors, including the different social bases of support behind the major political parties (including voter cleavages based on urban versus rural interests, racial and gender attitudes, and “populist” appeal), the mass media’s role in shaping certain ideological narratives, and competing visions of foreign policy and geopolitical strategy. As the Greek sociologist Nicos Poulantzas wrote in State, Power, Socialism, we need to “discard once and for all the view of the State as a completely united mechanism, founded on a homogeneous and hierarchical distribution of the centers of power moving from top to bottom of a uniform ladder or pyramid.”
The state is better understood as a temporary and historically contingent crystallization of social forces, a formation whose institutions are as liable to come into conflict with each other in times of political duress as they are to align seamlessly in times of stability. It is not at all clear, then, that the leaks are a power play by a unified deep state. The rivalry within the White House between the Bannon and Priebus camps, and Trump’s intent to govern by executive order (with little consultation from Congress, the Justice Department, or the federal agencies responsible for implementing these orders) have disturbed the normal functioning of the bureaucracy. As state personnel develop ways of coping with the unpredictable and ad hoc nature of this administration, the dissent within their ranks is a sign of the uncertainty that they have been thrown into since the election, rather than a well-coordinated, conspiratorial effort.
Second, to talk of the deep state is to suggest that political power is sealed off from broader social struggles. The state–civil society binary is one of the fundamental bases of liberal political theory. But this distinction is largely a by-product of the way that political power has represented itself, rather than a social fact. Where the state ends and civil society begins has always been permeable and contested — in other words, subject to politics and political struggle. The state is not an entity standing over and above society, but instead one premised upon the social forces that bring it into being.
Loose talk of the “deep state” misses this crucial point, advancing instead a facile vision of institutionalized power that constitutes its own foundation, and is therefore opaque, mysterious, and beyond the reach of citizens.
[1b] As Noam Chomsky has correctly claimed, "Corporations are totalitarian institutions. Board of directors at the top of managers give orders, everyone follows orders. At the very bottom of command, if you are lucky you can rent yourself to it and get a job, and if you are sufficiently propagandized you may even buy some of the junk they produce and so on." The totalitarianism inherent in corporate structures is defined and preserved by the hierarchy, and these structures stretch far beyond for-profit, private enterprises. In an attempt to justify arbitrary positions of power, organizations often portray them as "leadership" positions, deploying corporate doublespeak like "team leaders", “associates” or "officers" in their hierarchical arrangement. The problem with this is that leadership, in any true sense, is an absolute contradiction from power; and especially from arbitrary power. The acquisition of money and idleness that becomes synonymous with climbing the ladder makes leadership roles impossible for those who fill these positions to obtain. Never mind that the term "leadership" itself often includes connotations of superiority and coercion, or at the very least attempts to differentiate oneself from "the pack." Leadership can never be arbitrarily assigned through "promotions" or self-proclamation. If leaders truly exist among people, they only do so through a form of facilitating. Dictating from behind a desk is not leadership. Screaming down from a supervisory booth like a psychopathic staff sergeant is not leadership. Analyzing and calibrating labor productivity is not leadership. Those who climb the proverbial hierarchical ladder of power to (1) make more money and (2) work less can never be leaders. Thus, filling arbitrary positions in hierarchies can never produce any semblance of leadership. Coercion and fear will be the outcome, but never leadership.
Top down tyrannies exist throughout history and continue to exist. Democracy is a myth and has never existed and never will until we purge ourselves of three monstrous hierarchical and undemocratic institutions:
#1 – Organised religion
“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man, living in the sky, who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do! And if you do any of these ten things he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live, and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry, forever and ever, until the end of time… …But he loves you.” - George Carlin
This very idea of religion, especially the monotheistic brand, is intrinsically undemocratic, hierarchical and authoritarian. The idea of humankind being subservient to some grandiose arrogant, narcissistic metaphysical entity that is so insecure and lacking in self-esteem as to demand perpetual worship at the threat of eternal torture is the quintessence of totalitarianism. Not only is this idea not believable to a reasonably intelligent six year old, but as the great Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin once said, if such a celestial dictator did actually exist, “it would be necessary to abolish him.”
Indoctrination and intellectual enslavement notwithstanding, Christopher Hitchens, not unlike Nietzsche, attempted to explain the appeal of such a vile totalitarian narrative:
“The main reason for this, I think, is that it is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority, who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you, who must indeed subject you, to a total surveillance, around the clock, every waking and sleeping minute of your life - I say of your life, before you are born, and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you are dead. A celestial North Korea.” - Christopher Hitchens
As well as being authoritarian in principle, religion is also authoritarian in practice.
Throughout most of human history, at least until the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, the methodology on how to discuss and exchange ideas about the nature of the universe and how it came to exist was strictly and forcefully monopolised by an illegitimate and tyrannical religious hierarchy and bureaucracy. If you dared challenge that authority, you were a demonized as a heretic and thereby faced with ostracism, persecution, torture and possibly execution, often by being barbecued by fire on a stake.
Both the Christian and Islamic monotheisms have a long violent history of indoctrination, fear mongering, suppressing public debate and punishing dissent. Organized religion is the quintessential exemplar of hierarchical and authoritarian institutions marginalising the masses with coercion and fear in order to sustain their own power and privilege. Moreover, once the state took over as the primary source of power, churches followed lock step in supporting it. Moreover, the state considered religion as another mechanism to control and anaesthetize the restless masses.
Generally, socialists agree on the sort of societal arrangement they want, but on the means of achieving such a society there is widespread disagreement. Marxists favour a transitional phase from capitalism to communism via revolution in which workers usurp state power state power to dismantle the capitalist system. However, there’s also a brand of socialist who believes socialism can be achieved by a reformist or gradualist approach while leaving the basic structures of capitalism intact. This attempt to put a human face on capitalism has worked for only brief periods of time such as the three decades following the Second World War. Anarchists, many of whom call themselves “libertarian socialists” call for the dismantling of the capitalist state in its entirety.
But there are as many strains of anarchist as there are socialist. Factionalism has been the bane of socialism and anarchism throughout their long histories. It’s important to note that the word “libertarian” (often invoked as a synonym for anarchism) has a very distinct meaning in the United States where it is depicted as a strain of extreme right wing laissez-faire capitalism, not unlike the ideology of neo-liberalism taken to its logical conclusion. This is the sort of unrestricted freedom to exploit anything and everything agenda promoted by far right Republicans in the US such as Ron Paul.
In Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky and Edward S Herman explored the manner in which the corporate controlled mass media is used by the ruling classes and the wealthy elites to indoctrinate, divert and distract people from the sources of their own suffering. People have been, and continue to be, systematically propagandized by the schools, government, churches and media which are now controlled by a half dozen multinational corporations. The mass media strictly limits the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allows for very lively debate within that spectrum. This is a very sophisticated indoctrination and surveillance machine that makes Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 pale in comparison. The mass media is owned and funded by a mixture of private companies and the government, it’s sourced by think tanks and front groups, and it has a constant atmosphere of either misguided fear or just pure distraction. People are having their minds anaesthetized by technological toys and devices-toys, their brains turned into mush by mindless distraction and amusements. The cell phone has become the scourge of the 21st century with hundreds of millions addicted and distracted to death, oblivious to what is happening to them. It’s replacing religion as the most effective destroyer of the intellect.
Capitalism subjugates its participants through its authoritarian power relations, and because it assumes endless growth, like a giant, throbbing, cancerous tumour on the face of the earth, if you refuse to participate and go and live in the woods by yourself instead, at some point, some private owner will come along with some money and you will have nowhere to run. They will not acknowledge you as a human being and you will most likely be forced off of the land. They have the money and power to do that, so why not?
So, capitalism subjugates both participants and non-participants. It coerces people both internally and externally. Capitalism is not liberty. It never was, and it never will be. It truly is the antithesis of freedom.
#3 – The State
We like to think that we in the West are democracies, the beneficiaries of the French Revolution slogans of “liberty, equality and fraternity”. The reality is something quite different. In fact democracy is only available for a certain tiny layer of the corporate elite and other plutocrats who own most of the wealth and control our governments of the rich, for the rich and by the rich.
In Canada for example, our parliament has two primary components: the House of Commons that carries out the wishes of the aforementioned elite and the unelected Senate that blocks anything benefiting the masses that might slip by the House of Commons (a misnomer really since its members are not representing the “commons” in any way. The so called “representatives” of the people elected by big money interests in a farce called elections are mere sock puppets of big business and only concede to a few crumbs thrown at the masses if they fear a mass revolt.
Capitalism, like organized religion and the state are nothing but top-down tyrannies and in recent years the state has become indistinguishable from the multinational corporations that underwrite elections and dictate economic and social policy that are invariably at odds with the interests of the masses in the working class.
 The traditional distinctions between conservative and liberal have become blurred as political labels have reached the point of conceptual vacuity. Despite their rhetoric, conservatives and liberals alike support the capitalist system and their wars of plunder and profit. They rail against big government but the global capitalist system of neo-liberalism would not survive a day without it. They incessantly trot out the mantras of freedom, but certainly not community, equality or justice the three notions that define what democracy is all about. To them “freedom” is freedom to exploit and pillage everything and everything on the planet that can turn a profit, including wage slavery. Without the trillions of dollars in tax concessions, incentives and bailouts by the capitalist nanny state, over half the major banks of the Western world would be bankrupt, and that would be just based on the free market laws of flourish or die. But this is the nature of the capitalist beast that condemns socialism that the state invokes to provide them with golden parachutes for every bad bet, misguided venture, disaster and failure.
Big business has opposed every government policy that promotes community solidarity, social assistance for the poor or regulations against exploitive labour practises or desecration of the environment. Throughout history the state has consistently sided with wealth, power and big business against workers by calling out the police - or military, if required - to crack skulls and fire into picket lines. But in their incessant imperialistic wars, those same workers make useful cannon fodder as the rich stay home and rake in their profits.
 The deeper causes behind the crisis of capitalism and the obscene levels of global economic inequality go far beyond and social democratic or this left-liberal analysis. They demand a re-examination of Marx’s still relevant critique, in addition to left libertarian/anarchist ones by intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and David Graeber. This includes questioning the very existence of the state and bureaucratization of the world. The current corrupt and unjust global economic system is not unsustainable, but now has reached the point of oligarchic control of over half the world’s wealth in the hands of eight multi-billionaires. Moreover, it is unable to create enough real wealth (i.e., value) to sustain profitability (surplus value). It has fraudulently obscured this problem by churning out masses of what Marx called “fictitious capital,” claims on wealth which do not correspond with any real wealth such as actual goods and services. The financialized global economy resembles a Las Vegas casino that generates huge risk and mountains of debt, profits made on unproductive labour such as speculating on securities, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, making bombs, missiles, drones and other instruments of death and destruction, which, unlike cars, computers and steel production, do not re-enter the cycle of production. It’s like digging holes and filling them up again. Profits are privatized and losses offloaded onto the public with environmental degradation, privatizations of public utilities and other forms of primitive accumulation that entail looting the commons and the futures of our children and grandchildren. At some point there will be a day of reckoning when the bill was sure to come due. When it happens, it will, as usual not be predicted by anyone in the mainstream corporate media or financial oligarchy but rather be set off by some black swan event.
The current neo-liberal world order hydra-headed monster has reached the point of being beyond reform or redemption; it can only self-destruct or be taken down by mass revolt. Elections have become farcical charades and the seething anger in a generation that has been thrown off the bus will not sit idle for much longer, especially with the crowning of a comic book monster like Donald Trump as new head honcho of the American plutocratic police state. Banks, multi-national corporations and the authoritarian governments need to be expropriated by the workers and their communities for any possibility of real democracy. The corporatist capitalist system is not only immoral, but rotten and criminal to the core. Surely we can do better than this. The state has become a mere mechanism for the neo-liberal world order and, with its police, military, laws, constitutions and mass surveillance, a vehicle for maintaining the status quo of entrenched wealth and power.
 Regarding the long-standing philosophical debates on ethics and meta-ethics, perhaps rather than asking “What is the good?” or “Why be moral?” we should be asking “Why do we create systems of ethics and moral rules at all?” Many begin discussions of ethical behaviour by appealing to dubious notions about human nature that include confused notions of evolutionary theory and innate genetic factors. Our DNA is important, but as anthropological studies have shown, morality and ethical behaviour are very pliable, adaptable ideas.
The answer of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosophers was that morality was beneficial for the creation of any civil just society. Although there are no moral verities, as in mathematics and science, in the interest of the common good of society we embrace necessary delusions regarding ethical norms and free will, thus conquering our natural propensities to self-love and egoism. We are imbued with compassion and caring for our fellow-humans because without it we would be in a chaotic state of nature survival mode with every man for himself.
As Richard Dawkins argued in The Selfish Gene, Darwinian natural selection operates at the level of the individual and at an even more base level that of the gene. Genes seek their own replication whereas individuals are out for themselves as survival may be as much in competition with other members of one’s species as in cooperation with them. Human beings are scarcely unique among animal species in perpetual conflict and killing their own kind.
Our systems of morality, the “inventing right and wrong” as Australian philosopher J L Mackie called it, is based on a more or less sophisticated game of reciprocation (tit for tat) and as such it would hardly seem to justify Kant’s famous reverence for the “moral law within us”. John Mackie defended his “moral error theory” by criticizing a widely held conception of morality called “moral realism.” Moral realism is the belief that morality is something real, that moral rules can be deemed true and discoverable like the laws of physics rather than something we have conjured up. Mackie called his own view “moral scepticism,” but he was sufficiently provocative to open his 1977 book Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong with the assertion that “there are no objective values.” This approach to ethics automatically dismisses the notion of religiously based divine command ethics grounded in authoritarianism, a rejection that began with pre-Socratic philosophers who argued that it reduced morality to prudence.
Friedrich Nietzsche was probably the first philosopher to seriously consider the assimilate Darwinism and consider its moral implications. For Nietzsche, there are no moral facts and nothing intrinsically valuable about nature. Not unlike Baruch Spinoza before him, Nietzsche was a humanist, naturalist and determinist. Although two centuries apart, both philosophers replaced god by the laws of nature, saw human beings as an incidental part of nature within a deterministic universe, reduced good and bad to biological human needs and denied the freedom of the will. For Nietzsche, human beings hold no special place in the universe or on earth over other animal inhabitants. Rather, like them, we are part of “a causal web that comprises the whole universe.” Moreover, unlike other philosophers who write of the freedom of the will, Nietzsche informs us that the will is neither free nor un-free, but rather strong or weak. The purported special place we humans have in the universe and the notions of good or evil are human illusions, fabrications and lies we tell ourselves that we find necessary to get through the day, the need to “supplement reality by an ideal world of our own creation.”
Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals is an exercise in “animal psychology”, studying (in Nietzsche’s own words) “the physiology and evolutionary history of organisms and concepts.” In a number of other central works Nietzsche embraces science as providing access to what he sees as ‘the real world of nature’ – whereas our religious, moral and aesthetic sentiments belong only to the surface of things. Through our need to see the universe as existing for the sake of human beings, in effect we create a merely apparent world, which for Nietzsche is “the value-laden world as error.” (Human, All Too Human) To what extent we can live in truth not delusion and error is for Nietzsche, one of the key questions of our lives that permeate his writings, not the least of which is the illusion that we are rational creatures.
In sum, ethics is in essence an exercise in self-deceit, in the sense that we are self-programmed by our DNA to believe in an illusion. There is really no epistemological basis for moral truth or objective systems of ethics.
Notwithstanding Nietzsche’s compelling arguments and the existence of psychopaths and sociopaths, we are systematic value laden creatures who regularly make moral judgements. But how, one might ask? Explanations lie in our genetic makeup and the influence of societal norms.
Following Darwin and Freud, our moral codes are grounded in preconscious, perhaps subconscious, feelings of disgust with those who inflict harm on others, cheat, lie, are disloyal, unfair and selfish, violate generally accepted social norms, do not keep promises, defy legitimate authority and violate long standing social taboos such as incest. Many of these moral sentiments support progressive Enlightenment ideas of morality that would include slavery and racism, while others conflict with current liberal values of egalitarianism, economic and social equality, tolerance, anti-authoritarianism, individual rights, freedom of thought and safeguards against persecution from both religious and secular tyranny. By clarifying the ways in which our value systems are formulated by pre-rational impulses, we can make more conscious choices about how to build a fair society and practice the civic virtues of justice and engaged citizenship. In psychological studies and in game theory, cooperation, as opposed to conflict and competition, have been shown to not only promote a more ethical society, but have demonstrated greater utility value as well.
Studies have shown children to have innate moral sensibilities, particularly with regard to “fairness”. These intuitions can also be observed in our simian cousins. When chimpanzees and human children are set up in ultimatum situations, they invariably display a seemingly built-in understanding of fairness and a willingness to sacrifice rewards and to punish cheaters is the same manner as within ethical societies with laws against such moral offences. Even human infants under two years old react negatively when they observe unequal rewards given to others. According to Paul Bloom, one of the leading researchers on the moral life of infants and the author of Just Babies, infants exhibit four moral sensibilities:
But unless these key ethical values are promoted, rather than stifled, as in our capitalist cultures of selfishness and exploitation, they can be easily lost. Moreover, the fact that racism, religious and political persecution, imperialistic war, gratuitous violence, torture and the death penalty still exists throughout much of the world inform us we have a long way to go in creating a civil, just, fair and compassionate world.