JR'S Free Thought Pages
On Late Capitalism, our Fraudulent Democracies and the Impending End Game
By Johnny Reb, August 26, 2020
These days we are experiencing a uniquely terrifying time in the United States particularly, but also in Canada and the rest of the world. When there is such widespread confusion, desperation and sense of futility combined with vitriolic, violent and conflicted anger within the increasingly restless and radicalized masses, we cannot help but witness the empty catechisms and mythologies of our capitalist nation states wither and implode. We are helplessly induced to gaze into the abyss of our faux democracies, historically sanitized pretense, cruelty, deceit, outright prevarications, dishonor and the re-emergence of fascism. When national disintegration of sovereignty and imminent death seem not only possible, but probable in the face of numerous existential threats we need to hold on to what’s left of our moral sensibilities and rationality. Most importantly we must try to understand historical precedent and how this dystopian state of affairs has come about.
How is it that - especially during the three decade post World War II era - most Western nations at least that had come so close to a truly fresh start in the possibility of real bottom up social democracy free of the socio-economic bonds and shackles of a calcified post-feudal Europe and unencumbered by the conservative paralysis of authoritarian traditions that stymied Africa, The Middle East and Asia? Why have we not evolved in accordance with the best and most humane Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment practices and principles? Why have we instead declined to a point whereby the obscenely vicious neo-liberal capitalist system and creeping fascist socio-political order that is so farcical – if not tragic - reeking of the stench of corruption and crippled by insecurity, anxiety, fear and racism, have widespread poverty and destitution become the norms?
It’s not possible to trace and record the impenetrably tangled complex of historical decisions and choices that, in aggregate over time, led to the critical, perhaps fatal, condition in which we are enmeshed and imprisoned today, but that’s not required. What is required is a variant of the extraordinary – an intellectual awakening and moral epiphany of epic proportions. But moral and intellectual revolution will only occur when humankind takes a quantum cognitive and ethical leap from one universal, absolute and oppressive dogma to a wiser, sounder world view and paradigm shift.
The leap that must be made, and against which the odds appear to be astronomical, is from the cancerous dogmas, doctrines and catechisms of Corporate Capitalism to a life-centered, life-preserving economic system. If this transition is not made and Capitalism is allowed to continue its mindless, murderous assault on all life it will destroy the natural world, including the human species, as all other species on earth are in steep decline, heading for extinction. That all humanity is not afire with passion to demand this leap be made is due entirely to the managed ignorance and police state induced fear, docility, hopelessness and impotence of the people perpetuated by the dictatorship of capital. Is this really the only way to live? Surely not.
Capitalism and its farcical pretense to democracy is, and continues to be, merely a tool of privilege and power - a cynical, cruel, malevolent fraud from its beginnings in slavery. In its austere, ingenious exploitive design it has proven to be the most efficient tool for mercilessly abusing human need and vulnerability, utterly debasing any semblance of governmental justice or semblance of democracy in its phony “representative” parliaments. It’s clearly one of the most devious authoritarian socio-economic systems ever devised by the perverse psychopathic mind of certain debased members of the human species. Since the 200 plus year institution of slavery has been for the most part abolished it is no longer the capitalist modus operandi. Capitalism has transmogrified its “profit before people” scheme to the deviously manipulative and equally immoral implementation of mammon to extract surplus value from workers who are paid the minimal possible wage to allow only mere subsistence, rather than actual “living”. In situations of general human poverty - which historically has been ubiquitous - capitalists paid only the bare pittance that could keep its wretched labor source alive.
Karl Marx, in his verbose academically directed prose, clinically dissected, dismembered and discredited capitalism in the 19th century, but only after its raging ideological plague had enabled controlling oligarchies with their police and military to monopolize with a financial pyramid that has enabled them to control and literally own entire governments, thus bureaucratizing and institutionalizing their vile doctrines of greed on the mass of humanity. This hegemonic monstrosity and theocratic control system is now the dominating force operating on a global scale. It was peddled (after all everything, including humanity, is now a commodity) as a means – in fact the only one – to generate universal prosperity which would benefit all justly, at least according to the lords of capital tracing back to Adam Smith and John Locke. That was the mythical narrative, endlessly repeated and affirmed by the power of the capitalist controlled media and state apparatus that allowed it to assume the magical character of a secular religion with economists as their popes, high priests and their mystical deity dubbed “The Invisible Hand of the Market”.
As Frantz Fanon wrote, “the entire Third World went into the making of Europe.” Indigenous people in the Americas for example, were forced, with the collusion of Christian priests and pastors, to sacrifice their lands which they naturally resisted and paid dearly for it in the genocidal practices of the good Christian white man. The Asians were forced to relinquish their industries and the Africans their families, dignity and very lives - all to feed the voracious capitalist beast and its immutable laws of market theology. Its sacraments consist of commodity obsession and technology -the material dogmas of production, consumption and uncontrolled hedonistic acquisitiveness, producing the infamous hedonic treadmill we witness today. Its moral and liturgical system is contained in the banalities of management theory authored by business hacks in what are, ironically, called “think tanks”. Its clerics inhabit a corporate class of “intelligentsia” consisting of what David Graeber called bullshit jobs: economists, cunning accountants, glorified bean counters, financial gurus, market analysts and forecasters, executives, managers of every stripe – a hierarchical bureaucracy akin to Aztec priests, Vatican popes and bishops, medieval scholastics and Chinese Mandarins. Its non-stop propaganda, indoctrination, surveillance and iconography consists of every available space-time consumed by advertising, public relations, marketing, new versions of the same technology and product design of basically gratuitous techno toys. Its alleged virtuous vision of a god sanctioned manifest destiny is the global imperial monarchy of omnipotent omniscient capital - the heavenly city of big business and entrepreneurial parasitism with incessantly expanding production, trade, consumption and predestined monopolization. And its god-man on earth is not Jesus, but rather Mammon, the ontology of existential sublimity and raw absolute power to its owners. This absolute power is typified by the central banks – the Federal Reserve in the US and Bank of Canada north of the border. These government institutions, once vehicles serving the public good, have been hijacked by the financial mafias, and have become all-powerful servants and “saviors” of failed capitalists - a form of purgatory that allows dismal failure to be instantly rescued by trillions of dollars to the shell game capitalists to continue their everlasting life in capitalist heaven. Accountability and adherence to "the rule of law" is not required and in fact Jerome Powell accepts the amoral dictum of the end justifies the means as he has proclaimed the Federal Reserve will do “whatever it takes” to save the dead souls of finance capital – the bandit banks and casino corporate behemoths. Their stack of chips will be replenished at all costs – but cost to whom? Always ask the key question: cui bono?
The traditional supernatural monotheisms such as Christianity were of course useful, in subduing the masses into slavish submission, futility and stupefied docility. After all, justice will arrive in the fictitious fairy tale called the “afterlife”. But the message conveyed to its devotees by mainstream Christianity today is “God wants you to be rich”, as though Jesus, their god-man who called the financial parasites of his own day, a “den of thieves”, was a vulture capitalist. Wealthy preachers and pastors deliver sermons in tax free mega churches, enjoy huge zero income tax salaries from their tithing parishioners, drive BMWs and fly about in lavish personal jets to their second and third homes at ski resorts and mansions on a Caribbean Island. But perhaps capitalism and its notions of hierarchy, human domination over nature including all other life forms, exploitation and acquisitiveness come naturally to Christianity. It would seem that Christian doctrine merges seamlessly with capitalism, particularly in light of certain biblical passages such as that expressed in Genesis 1:26. And God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Western capitalism, its cultural practices and ethics were founded on a hierarchy in which humans were perched far above all other organic life. The consequences of such an ideology are now being felt as humanity now faces numerous existential threats. Indigenous cultures, which embraced a sort of animism whereby the natural world and all life forms are sacred. For indigenous people the idea of anyone owning property was considered a form of sacrilege. For these beliefs they were referred to as uncivilized “savages” – un-people subjected to denigration, racism and genocide.
In Karl Marx’s day, capitalism evolved in an atmosphere of violent, unregulated financial competition as their business enterprises thrived or went bankrupt on the basis of conservatism’s unitary rules “might is right”, “flourish or die”, “devil take the hindmost” and “to the victor belong the spoils”. The basis for many great Robber Baron fortunes in the 19th and early 20th centuries was based on their colossal success and consolidation erected on blood, guts and bones, not only on their 12-16 hour day disposable workers, but their out-hustled, out-conned and out-maneuvered equally fierce competitors.
That kind of open warfare, so damaging to so many capitalist enterprises, went out through the bribed and brokered collusion of industry and government by World War I. Socialism, ever its bête noire, saw its central tenets appropriated to change capitalism’s rules, to diminish damaging untrammeled competition and bolster big business by government largesse and complicity among the big players by monopolization of markets. By the Great Depression capitalism had not the first, nor the last of its massive failures, often rendering the world FUBAR, as it became a permanent welfare client of government and a cruel joke for the rest of us.
As one of the great minds of the 20th century, 6 foot 7 inch John Maynard Keynes so succinctly and correctly expressed it, “Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of motives, will somehow work for the benefit of all.”
Though social critics, philosophers and even the ruling oligarchs understand its spuriousness, and though capitalism’s ruinous and catastrophic crashes had repeatedly rocked the world, violently attacking and impoverishing working people and efforts at solidarity and labor organizations, its non-stop propaganda program of “manufacturing consent” has prevailed beyond their wildest dreams. Marketing and propaganda (including 24-7 surveillance) now pollute every conceivable physical space - the airwaves, television, cyber space and who knows where else. That most humans are uncurious, credulous, complacent and willfully ignorant is nothing new. And considering the bombardment of useless information and cell phone addiction, most people are distracted, semi-literate, agitated and unable to relax, focus or think. Autism, ADHD and depression are currently at epidemic levels. In the past few years over 200 people have been killed taking “selfies”, which I understand is apparently a narcissistic practice of taking a photo of oneself with a cell phone camera.
To realize the magnitude of our collective predicament, simply observe the United States of Jesus, its fascist police state and their imbecilic, despotic and psychopathic moronic leader Donald Trump and their fully metastasized cancerous tumor of capitalism. Its vile dogmas that have been ossified in the dazed, deluded and confused minds of the country which has infected the masses throughout the rest of our one-dimensional tedious uninspiring world where several Starbucks and Macdonald’s outlets deface every city in the world, even those countries that were former victims of 500 years of brutal Western colonialism with its slavery and endless plunder.
Another very tall (6 feet 8 inches) and brilliant economist, the Canadian John Kenneth Galbraith, nailed it when he summed up the conservative mind that includes murderous war mongering capitalists, exploiters, racists and working class hating SOBs such as Cecil Rhodes, Winston Churchill, Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney and far too many others one could mention: “The modern Conservative is engaged in one of mankind’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
But that adage by Galbraith, despite being a truism, is perhaps a tad outdated. Conservatives, most of them self-described Christians - and today’s limousine liberals – don’t even bother dealing with superfluous moral inconveniences. They no longer find it necessary to search for legitimizing ethical justifications or rationales for their vile ideologies of greed and exploitation. Why should they when most people are unquestioning eternally distracted zombie-like sleepwalkers addicted to cell phones, endless trivia and other ADHD inducers. The power of the corporatist oligarchy is now absolute, a virtual totalitarian entity. Their bureaucratized power, entrenched and buttressed by compliant lap dog governments, permit them to wallow in their power openly, bribing politicians with impunity (called “lobbying”), flaunting their deceit via manipulations and outright thievery. Even charities are corrupt, nothing but entrepreneurial opportunities for vulture capitalists looking for a CEO level salary. Consider the recent “We Charity” scandal in Canada as merely one example of these scams from which even the Prime Minister and his corporate lap poodle Finance Minister were profiting. They truly believe, in the face of the often deadly chaos and disasters they’ve created, that– as the super bitch monarchist and libertarian capitalist Ayn Rand disciple Margaret Thatcher, once boasted - “There is no such thing as society” and “There is no Alternative” (TINA) to capitalism, that is.
Today there is no continuity, moral compass or expectation in late capitalism, what Mark Fisher called Capitalist Realism . There is nothing but what Naomi Klein called the “shock doctrine” (benefiting, exploiting and profiting from natural disasters like covid-19), destitution, systemic unemployment and poverty for all Americans except for a tiny layer of elitist plutocrats and corporate oligarchs.  Capitalism is a rotting zombie in a cesspool as it now feeds on its host, slowly but surely destroying the natural world. The fraudulent lie of classical Adam Smith style capitalism (often absurdly called "free" enterprise) long since deceased which we were informed, was all about freedom, independence, initiative, self-interested and “enlightened” ingenuity is now a corrupted defiled and deeply immoral racket on life support with banks as money making mafia and proto-fascist multi-national corporations all relying on government welfare with no moral requirement to function prudently, wisely, fairly or with any precautionary principles regarding the future of our planet’s survival.
Massive pollution, global warming and universal species extinction are real (all except humans) and most of the world’s ecosystems, including the oceans, are circling the drain. Trillions of dollars of public money are funneled into the capitalist Godzilla to keep it on life support following every self-inflicted catastrophe. The sad sack corrupt undemocratic governments and sock puppet politicians the financial criminal capitalists own are primed by the multi-trillion dollar Imperial War Machine, feeding the global crap game of debt and derivatives it runs as a casino. When bets go awry in the house of cards capitalist casino, the state typically concocts a facile ruse such as “too big to fail” as it pumps in endless supplies money through a huge funnel straight to Wall Street, Bay Street and every other capitalist den of iniquity, replenishing its stack of casino chips with more fiat money created out of a vacuum. The socialists and real welfare bums are the capitalists as dog eat dog capitalism is now reserved exclusively for the desperate masses scrambling for ever diminishing mind-numbing precarious gig economy jobs with a unlivable wage. The notion of a life-long career with sense of employee commitment and loyalty combined with health benefits and a pension from the employer disappeared decades ago.
The billionaire owners, having gang raped their own country’s natural resources, fouled the whole world’s ecosystems, its air, water land also continue to murder many millions of the guiltless poor and helpless in profitable imperialist wars, having robbed its citizens birthright and future, teetering perilously at the brink of financial implosion, societal meltdown and perhaps global war.
“Trickle Down” Bullshit Economics is nothing new. In the Roaring 1920s Will Rodgers had it figured out…
 In the United States, the most economically unequal country in the Western World, one-tenth of 1% of the countries billionaires and multi-millionaires (that’s 0.1%) have more wealth than the bottom 90% of the population. It’s for profit health care system is a disaster. With 4-5% of the global population, it has 30% of the worlds confirmed cases of the corona virus plague. Another revealing fact, the US has 25% of all people in the world locked up in its prisons, many which have been privatized.