Every once in a while, I feel a dour responsibility rise up in me: the need to reflect on the American Empire. All citizens of the Great Behemoth should. We owe at least that much to the scores of peoples and countries we have immiserated.
The US is the #1 poster child for rapid disintegration. If any country shows the dangers of greed and fear, it is this one. After WWII, Uncle Sam became the Earth’s supreme power. Today, it is bogged down by the effects of ugly and immoral wars, and is no longer considered all-mighty. Communist China is taking over, in large part because almost everything we buy in American seems to be “Made in China.” Why? Greed.
Horror stories come out about China all the time: illegal imprisonments, suppression of speech and religion, censorship of art, and general mind control. Every couple months, a news emerges about Tibetan monks burning themselves to death to protest China’s usurpation of their spirituality and country. However, the American people keep buying “Made in China," blindly flaunting the myopic selfishness for which they are well-known.
Part of the reason Americans are so superficial and whiny is because businesses and corporations, craving larger markets for their industrial muscle, saturated American culture with shallow, glitzy, materialistic advertisements. The psyche of the average citizen caved in, and became hostage to wanting more and more stuff.
As America crumbles, the people generally blame everyone but themselves. Denial is as rampant as hate. Republicans hate Democrats and Democrats hate Republicans, and if you aren’t in one of those two camps, you will quickly be seen as siding with one or the other. The political landscape is completely polarized.
Big corporations and mega-millionaires own the 'democratic' system through unlimited campaign donations and perpetual lobbying, which has become an industry in itself. The USA doesn’t manufacture anything much anymore, it is full of spin-meisters and propaganda artists and of course there is the financial game of FIRE: Financial, Insurance and Real Estate.
The big banks on Wall Street destroyed the economy in 2008 through reckless gambling. The government bailed them out and left them in power, while the equity of the American home dropped by 30%. The rich win, the rest lose.
Insurance, an industry that got its start through fear, has thoroughly corrupted and bureaucratized the health sector. It is so bad that at least 50 million Americans can’t even afford to see a doctor. About 45,000 citizens die every year because they can’t afford insurance. 19,000 homes are sold to pay medical bills, which have skyrocketed due to the competing greeds of hospitals, insurers, and doctors.
In America, everything is about making money all the time. Short-term profit is god, resulting in long-term tragedy. The so-called ‘free market’ economy (which is actually a corrupt plutocracy) rewards the wealthy and punishes everyone else. The rich have become much richer while the middle class is sinking away.
Fear was a major monster before WWII, but afterward, it took over entirely. Out of fear, the US attacked its bogey, Communism, everywhere and anywhere. The threat was vastly and absurdly exaggerated by kingpins like J. Edgar Hoover, who led the FBI for fifty years, and defied Presidents.
Along with fear comes corporate greed. Here’s the typical pattern: the US engineers a coup or wages a war against a 3rd world country (in the name of fighting Communism or Terrorism), installs a vicious right-wing dictator who tortures his own citizens. In the aftermath, the big corporations make a killing buying up the resources that the vicious dictator privatizes for them.
Once Soviet Russia fell, our fear of Communism shifted to a more general Terrorist threat, a threat vague enough to endure forever. Indeed, the US has been in a state of emergency since 9/11/2001, which means the Constitution is hostage to fear. Our intelligence services and military torture “enemy combatants” at will, if not directly then through the practice of rendition.
My last point today: The US is incredibly violent. School shootings are increasingly common. Some kid takes out a gun and kills, kills, kills. I think it is happened at least a few times a year. It has even happened in an elementary school. A few days ago, a US soldier in Afghanistan, the site of our longest-running and incredibly inept war, walked off a military base and just started shooting Afghan civilians. 16 died, including women and children This kind of stuff happens all the time now--
And more and more people are buying guns in the US. Guns are everywhere, concealed, open, wherever.
The US citizen is mostly in denial about this moral disintegration. I think the country is going to break into two parts.
I’m tired. Those are some of the ways my country has enslaved itself to greed and fear.