[last update 11/23/97]
MANY YEARS ago, at the height of the Cold War when this writer was growing up, the greatest "evil" the world had ever seen (we were told)-- communism-- was condemned because it was a political system where the ends justified any means. Well, the Cold War is over, our "defense" budget is just as large (who are our enemies?), and the United States has left its ethics in the grave with Eisenhower and his warning to us about the military- industrial complex.
whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex
Dwight Eisenhower, farewell address, January 17, 1961
THIS NATION was founded on the principle of the right to be one's self. In the early years this applied to the states of the union as well as to the indivdual. Since our civil war, the federal government has usurped more and more power until today even President Clinton is prepared to maintain the supremacy of federal power even in the face of the legally expressed will of the voters. Apparently it's a sovereign, valid and legal act for the citizens of California to elect Clinton, but it's not when the same voters elect to eliminate preferential hiring practices in their state after seeing the results for almost 35 years-- and this in a state which almost is, and will be, the first to have no ethnic or racial majority. It is as unethical for Clinton to use the power of the executive office against the declared will of the voters as it was for Reagan to wage war in Central America against the declared will of Congress.
WHAT IS happening here is that the people with the power have no interest other than retaining it. Political agendas are less than secondary in the electoral process because the objective is to win-- and they don't care how they do that. Both major parties and the media consider the general electorate too stupid to understand "the issues", so they spend millions searching for the right warm fuzzy buzz-words (like family values) to con you into voting for them before they raise your taxes (by re-calculating the cost-of-living index to show you that prices haven't doubled in the last ten years) and rip social security and medicare from you. As we pay more in all kinds of taxes, and get back less. one must ask-- where does this money go? It is also increasingly clear they don't want you to know.
THE RIGHT to be one's self is theirs, and will be granted to others only insofar as you can assure their continuance in power and the forced acquisition of your money for their disposal. Your real rights extend only to aspects of life which do not affect their continuance in control of your lives. So not only have we reached a point where the means justify the ends (with barely a trace of sociallly- redeeming ethics), but we have presidents granting powers and withholding them as if they were kings. Are we back to divine right? Isn't this what our wonderful Constitution was created to avoid?
John Lehman, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, 1981-87
THE CONSTITUTION is a magnificent document and explicity guarantees a full set of supposedly inalienable rights to each and every citizen, regardless of color, origin, beliefs, gender, etc. Yet we now have federal courts ruling that employers have the right to tell you what you may or may not do while not at work. The same courts have ruled, however, that this does not apply if your state has laws specifically prohibiting such practices. This must mean that the wise judges have found a line in the Constitution which states or implies that employers own you if they pay for your labor-- or provide you with health insurance as part compensation for your work (interesting how employers and the government refer to this as a "benefit" rather than something earned the hard way). This currently concerns smoking and the use of certain prescription medicines which, one must suppose, make you less attractive (or more expensive) to the employer's insurance company. How on earth does this square with the rights our constitution grants us? Are we now slaves for the rest of our lives the instant we accept a penny for our labor?
WE ARE faced with a world of accelerating change. Technology is shrinking time and space-- this brings us together, but also vastly increases the power of those who already have significantly more than the rest of us. Huge multi-national corporations and governments keep as many secrets as they can and lie to us every day. They do this because power and wealth is their single-minded goal. If they tell you they do this is in your "best interest", believe them only if they accompany the pledge with an offer of greater rights and freedoms for you-- expanded autonomy-- and most importantly, local autonomy. Sorry to say, you will hardly see or hear of such magnanimity, least of all coming from the big boys at the apex of the power structure.
Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the
facts to fit their views... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen
to be one of the facts that needs altering.
AT THE LEVEL where it really counts, our elected representatives must be so rich and compromised to special interests to even get on a ballot that it has become irresponsible to expect them to have the faintest idea what life might be like "out there" where you and I live. Their response to the few issues of ours is inevitably predicated on whether or not that response will get them re-elected. Integrity usually goes out the window at this point-- it's time to manipulate the media, and the english (or the target voters') language. Be careful, for example, of the band-wagon phrase free market. To the small fry it means greater access to markets for his product-- to many consumers it means cheaper goods in the stores-- and to the ruthless power-freaks and bottom-line profit-makers it means cutting your job and giving it to the cheapest source they can find in the third world-- thus further inflating their profits. (Did you know that a $100-plus pair of Nike Air-Jordan shoes costs less than $10 to manufacture and ship [from SE Asia] to your local store?) This is modern politics-- free markets and family values will get them elected, they will then do what they want in as much secrecy as they can muster, and do it all, ostensibly, for decency and your best interests. Don't kid yourself-- the best interests are always theirs and those big special interest groups.
I COULD RANT. I have already, so I'll spare you further text and just give you some links with, if necessary, some helpful (I hope) description.
[multi-national & US capitalism described as "socialism for the rich"]
100 Harshest Facts About Our Future
Big Brother's Checklist
Or, for a little much-needed comic relief from Peter Rashkin's
Or more comic relief from Wake Up!
E-zine from the UK (Scotland):
Visit my new website J. Spoon's Gazette - The Hammerhead for news, commentary, and links that affect your freedoms
** and a new links category **
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