On the one hand, people will deduce that their best interests are served by investing in productive activities that ameliorate deprivation of one kind or another. On the other hand, people will always try to legitimize the means they use as acceptable practice when faced with competition for access to valuable resources. It’s also the case that…like Endymion…people tend to sleepwalk through time hoping to retain possession of their assets, be they youthful looks or the prosthetics of power…gunboats, ballistic missiles et al…that provide some sort of leverage in the survival-of-the- fittest-game we trade in.
And that is where the power of inductive thinking comes into being as a powerhouse touting law and order as modus operandi. Someone will always appear on the scene to claim leadership of the herd for reasons of exploiting them. Bountiful images of Emperor-Empress, King-Queen, President, Pope, Bishop and the sundry minions attached to religious orders who stride arrogantly through our history books, bedecked in dog-collars or military insignia attempting to render all who cross their paths supine or compliant are most numerous. The imperative sought by people seeking control of other people’s minds is always the same; ‘pay attention to what I say, for I am the redeemer’ is as mind-bending as ‘follow me and you will be saved’.
To wit; vicissitudes of the imagination continuously come into real time to subvert our innate deductive capacity to think independently. Ideas…such as the idea of ‘state’… can acquire a life as existentially real as any living form after a period of incubation in the intellect’s womb. Revolutionary phenomena as such requires us to develop antidotes of a personal nature to cope with competing claims on our reasoning abilities. The recent contest to find a new leader of the ‘so called’ free world…Trump verses Clinton…was so banal that it left most people in a ‘state’ of apoplectic shock.
The American Constitution, perhaps little more than a document expressing laudatory syllogisms designed by propertied individuals to placate class struggle through tokenistic forms of theatrical comprise, achieved a quixotic pre-postmodern way of interpreting the values of statehood in the hands of the founding fathers. By way of sugar-coating privilege in rhetorical frippery, the founding fathers, adopting idealistic models of linguistic verbiage while retaining possession of Africans as slave labour, laid the foundation stones for the ‘White Republic’ of the mind, committed to claiming the right to promote the vector of corporatism as progress-de-jure.
But the White Republic of the mind built its’ case for supremacy on assertive action. Promoting exceptionalism as an ideology that holds that the United States is unique among nations in both positive or negative connotations, particularly with respect to its’ imagined role as leader of the democratic world, died an ignominious death when it directed its’ weapons of mass slaughter to Korea and Vietnam and later a whole string of other vulnerable states. The proverbial bull in the china shop, endowed with nuclear-tipped hoofs and under the aegis of The Pentagon, sent its’ wild beasts of the apocalypse to stomp on little brown bodies across the Muslim world. Using superior technology to assert its’ right to interfere in the affairs of lesser states, it eventually earned for itself the title of “Empire of Dystopia’ as it began threatening the world with a fait accompli.
Perceiving democracy as a litmus test of the imagination in relation to material progress, became a way of celebrating every permutation of the possible in ways that would promote the white man’s notion of his own exceptionality. It was the seeds of corporate capitalism that modified the meaning of democracy to suit its’ own ends when it cast its’ monochromatic shadow across the concept of statehood. It would eventually use a combination of usury, regulation and militarism to shape the character of the new ‘great’ state as it set about marketing its’ own unique brand of whack-a-mole on the world beyond its’ borders.
American industry had become inseparable from the interests of the Pentagon, whose ‘productive’ interests spread across the globe in an increasingly aggressive manner, unleashing the dogs of war on defenceless nations that had to be brought into the capitalist fold. Driving an economy that foisted mayhem on the world at large, while touting sanctimonious diatribes against all and sundry who refused to buckle to its’ sadistic bluster, this repressive superpower, ever more devoid of credibility… its’ dystopian pedigree more Neanderthal than modern…slaughtered millions of people with impunity as it invaded hapless nations that possessed the temerity to believe that they could control their own destinies.
In repeatedly releasing their weapons of mass destruction on the world, they have…like hyenas … left a trail of destruction in all the places they have set foot in. 3,000,000 here and 3,000,000 there…Korea and Vietnam…two examples among many of acts of belligerence and interference perpetuated by a callow American leadership bent on asserting unconscionable pain on the innocents of the world.
As the 20th century progressed, the fiat respectability of the ‘exceptional’ nation, secure in the belief that God was managing its’ destiny decided…with the assistance of the CIA…to implement a reign of terror in many parts of the non-white, non-Christian world. Using a mixture of unctuous diatribes and assertive military force to serve its’ purpose of selling itself as the leader of the ‘free’ world, the new-great-nation conducted a policy of regime change…a euphemism for killing all opposition to its’ mission to acquire evermore more power.
What transpired was the revelation that the ‘exceptional’ nation, assertively aggressive from its’ very inception (bye-bye ethnic Americans), was in the business of killing, conducting mayhem abroad as efficiently as shooting fish in a barrel. As the century progressed, the ‘all men are created equal’ mantra found little purchase in the imagination of the tech-peasantry, enamoured of the gadgets of war, who believed that patriotism was invented by the Pentagon and that everyone outside of America was envious of their great ‘engineering’ achievements…. M.O.A.B. et al. The ensuing silences that followed massacre after massacre abroad came to illustrate the tinsel-town mentality of a nation hyped on its’ own notion of grandiosity.
The Belt-Way-Class, believing that control of the levers of power…or being affiliated to same…was the way to keep the system alive. They felt comfortably ensconced in a boom and bust economy that factored in their need to be a part of the game that could clear bad assets from banks with money created out of nothing, so long as the Central Bank covered their backs. New money and credit became the buoy they could cling to…70% of the economy might be consuming the best their world could produce, but the shop-till-you-drop culture was their drug of choice…and as panaceas are in the eye of the beholder…it was required of the patriot/citizen to get out into High Street and create more of the same by spending up big…even if it put them in debt.
The whole US economic system relied on war and debt but home comforts came first… it was the two-car, two-lanes highway culture and supermarkets aplenty that made for exceptionality… that the new ‘great’ nation had cocooned itself in a hermitically sealed chamber of smug insouciance against having to account for the sheer volume of destructive actions wrought on the outside world was irrelevant. Remaining silent as a nation about their hideously murderous track record abroad, the superficial values that locked them into perspectives of the introspective kind, inured them against unpleasant sub-texts that might reveal the criminality of their practices… in the recent presidential election campaign, the subject hardly rated a guernsey.
But alas! … The influence of European-begat-institutions…colonial and expansionist…in the new great nation continued a process of consolidation that was more covert than communal. The proprietary nature of the banking system, the media, the propaganda agencies, foreign policy and the legal code, bunched together to form a union of voice-over specialists who came into existence to reinforce support for single issue subjects…one’s political stripe…that fell within the purview of acceptable discourse in matters relating to who was permitted to do the talking.
But even in America…maybe especially there…other voices have been heard lamenting, or sometimes pricking the hot-air balloon of celebrity-culture and exceptionality that the droning voices of so many self-righteous citizens emit while injecting perspectives of the introverted kind into the communication networks of the world.
And so, it came to pass in America…land of innovation…that a new art form took root in the 20th century that was, to all purposes, the phenomena of essayists putting themselves on stage. The stand-up comic appeared on stage as a voice that could deal with the dichotomy that existed in relation to the ‘particular’ and the ‘general’. The great essayists of the past remained great, but it had come time to craft a vernacular that activated the ‘collective’ funny bone as a divining rod in search of truth. Voicing an existential perspective that represented reality equivocatingly was the trick. Since money had entered the political arena, the public had become ever more aware of how corrupt the system had become. The deep state had bleached the backbone of the Republic by syphoning off the essence of the American dream by privatising it. It was time to essay the thoughts of an audience captive to fake values and put pay to pap.
H. L. Mencken’s observation “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under” has not lost its’ potency, but it took George Carlin to observe that Wall Street and Main Street were not on the same page. When the newsreel took centre stage in media, news became a visual experience more celebratory of money than mindfulness. T.V. of itself became the place where a dizzying bonanza of celebrities strutted their stuff to provide the hope that ‘you too’ might just be able to join the ranks of the ‘adorable’ set. As technology made information ever more visual, sound-bite reportage pleased the eye at the cost of rendering text mute… surface culture had arrived to showcase the superficial!
George Carlin discovered the power of existential pique and used it against the prevailing ethos…materialism… his way of crystalizing the opacity of the national character. “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff” …and while turning up the heat on money’s mawkish behaviour, went on to reflexively engage the audience in reflections of the existential kind with “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that”. George, forever aware of his audience…people as collective voice…was not keen on seeing them consume pap. He had to try and awaken them from the American dream…alive today, he would have a field day with the petulant unilateralist who won the presidency of the new-great-nation and the petulant looser who continues to sanitise her pedigree.
Denis A. Conroy,