Sunday, November 3, 2013

"How the 1 percent always wins"

Good piece at Salon from David Sirota - "How the 1 percent always wins: Liberal washing is the right’s new favorite tactic"

 Liberal washing has always been around, of course. But it has really risen to prominence — and dominance — in modern times. Indeed, one of the most reliable political axioms of the last 30 years is this: If corporate America cooks up a scheme to rip off the middle class, Republicans will provide the bulk of the congressional votes for the scheme — but enough establishment-credentialed liberals inevitably will endorse the scheme to make it at least appear to be mainstream and bipartisan. Yes, it seems no matter how venal, underhanded or outright corrupt a heist may be, there always ends up being a group of icons with liberal billing ready to drive the getaway car...
Sure, it may seem counterintuitive that liberalwashing has come to prominence at the very moment American politics has become more partisan. But it is entirely predictable. With politics more than ever becoming a mind-deadening video game between two principle-free teams, the oligarchy is no longer betting on one of those teams. Instead, it is employing liberal washing to hack the whole red-versus-blue operating system.

As a political tactic, it makes perfect sense. Whether it is a company, a trade association, a front group or a lobbying firm that is pushing a particular policy, corporate America knows that it has a better chance of getting its way if it can portray its goals as an apolitical agenda with support from both sides of the ideological spectrum. Liberal washing is the key to that formula; it helps depict the radical as mainstream, the ideological as pragmatic and the old-fashioned heist as an act of bleeding-heart altruism.
Reminds me of a great piece by Joe Bageant, "Escape from the Zombie Food Court"
We suffer under a mass national hallucination. Americans, regardless of income or social position, now live in a culture entirely perceived inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation and world that does not exist. Our national reality is staged and held together by media, chiefly movie and television images. We live in a "theater state." ...

You are as conditioned as any trained chicken in a carnival. So am I. When we go to the ATM machine and punch the buttons to make cash fall out, we are doing the same thing as the chickens that peck the colored buttons make corn drop from the feeder. You will not do a single thing today, tomorrow or the next day that you have not been generally indoctrinated and deeply conditioned to do -- mostly along class lines.
For instance, as university students, you are among the 20% or so of Americans indoctrinated and conditioned to be the administrating and operating class of the American Empire in some form or another. In the business of managing the other 75% in innumerable ways. Psychologists, teachers, lawyers, social workers, doctors, accountants, sociologists, mental health workers, clergy -- all are in the business of coordinating and managing the greater mass of working class citizenry by the Empire's approved methods, and toward the same end: Maximum profitability for a corporate based state. 

Yet it all seems so normal. Certainly the psychologists who have prescribed so much Prozac that it now shows up in the piss of penguins, saw what they did as necessary. And the doctors who enable the profitable blackmail practiced by the medical industries see it all as part of the most technologically advanced medical system in the world. And the teacher, who sees no problem with 20% of her fourth graders being on Ritalin, in the name of "appropriate behavior," is happy to have control of her classroom. None of these feel like dupes or pawns of a corporate state. It seems like just the way things are. Just modern American reality. Which is a corporate generated reality.
As Sirota suggests, it's all the more fascinating because they're doing this in an age of what is seemingly zero bipartisanship.  Brilliant on their part, and the result is "maximum profitability for a corporate based state."

Increasingly, our daily presentations (see Goffman's "The Presentation of Everyday Self") are dictated by our corporate puppet masters and at the end we'll be able to look back on our lives and relish nothing more than the corporate shows we watched, the money we made for corporations, and the corporate produced crap we bought to fill up our corporate financed homes.

 




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