The Moment of Truth — May 20, 2012

Up The Cavity

Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the philosopher’s kidney stone. 

We in the USA are always in search of ourselves. Sometimes even in unreasonable search. In a nation hellbent on individualism and privatization, unreasonable search might be the only way we can find ourselves. 

Meanwhile, though, Europe is about to lose itself. We as a global species are now four years into our spectacular Third Millennium financial disaster, and it’s just getting deeper. That’s good news, because it’s going to take at least twelve years to get ourselves out of this mess, so we’re one-third of the way home. Where did I get the twelve-year figure? From where all great ideas come: where the sun doesn’t shine. Just ask the surveillance community spying on you right now, that’s where they get their brilliant ideas. They know all great ideas require quarantine from the sunshine. Otherwise people might see the ideas and cause them to wither under their attention. So the watchers hatch their great ideas where the sun doesn’t shine and keep them there. That’s why they’re called the anal-retentive, or “shadow”, government. 

Playing one’s cards close to the chest or vest is a euphemism. Those in charge of protecting our freedoms by disregarding them play their cards in that tight little room around back. Those in charge of the financial sector siphoning wealth from the real-work sector make their deals in the backroom, too. Backroom dealers by any other name… they don’t smell so sweet. 

Entire nations are crumbling. Entire leagues of nations are on the verge of dissolving. But take a look at the organizations that are not suffering at all right now, then tell me who’s running the show. Even if democracy were working, or were allowed to work, what good would it do when governments don’t actually control their own wealth, and what wealth is ascribed to them is earmarked for those who truly operate at the highest levels of power? 

It’s unclear what the next form of government will be after this loose affiliation of constitutional entities dies. Perhaps a ruling council of Warren Buffet-style enlightened despots, making sure that the greed of the few doesn’t entirely preclude the survival of the species as a whole. 

Am I just being silly? Is it all going to work out in the end? I don’t see why it should, but maybe you’re right, Voice of Reason. 

So how will the sovereignty of nations somehow reassert itself over that of the financial-industrial complex? Oh, come on, while the news isn’t entirely bleak, that sure won’t happen! 

But, Voice of Reason, the postmodern nation-state is the interface between the will of the people and the will of the arrogant superwealthy. The people are real. They can be a real threat and a real asset. So you can’t just get rid of the nation-state, can you? 

Well, there is a way for the financial-industrial complex to control the people without the nation-state’s intermediation. They could hire us all. 

But, Voice of Reason, that would create one hundred percent employment, and we know they can’t have that. 

They could, actually. They would have to abandon capitalism as we understand it currently. But since only the minimal amount of popular rule is necessary for a republic to exist these days, perhaps only a minimal amount of capitalist attributes are necessary for a certain type of corporation to operate. Competition and transparency of information have fallen by the wayside, why not the tendency toward minimizing personnel to keep the job market tight? 

In a capitalist republic, the only place a citizen has no actual democratic rights is at work. If we were all always at work, our freedoms of speech and assembly, our rights to due process and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure would no longer apply. That sounds like something worth altering the traditional nature of capitalism for. 

Right now we’re being told that Greece, the cradle of democracy, is suffering from too much democracy. True, the will of the people is often contrary to what’s best for them, and at no time has this been more clearly cut than now, when it’s a question of taking the medicine of austerity in service to the national debt. 

If only the financial-industrial complex represented a unified corporate face, they could simply hire all the Greeks and give them lousy jobs with no benefits. It would be impossible for the Greek government to require the only corporation in town to follow liberal labor laws. The Greeks would never know what hit them. They’d be fully employed. Every Greek would have an income under the terms of the real rulers. It would be a win/win. 

But, you might ask, how would such a corporation punish undesirable behavior? Were they to fire the discontented, that would put the dissident exactly where the corporation doesn’t want her - back outside the corporation where a citizen’s rights might again obtain. 

Here’s the ingenious part: instead of firing the dissident, you demote her. Just give her a worse job in the company! Make everything a job with the company. Redefine “prisoner” as a level of employment. Redefine homelessness as a job description. 

Redefine everything as a job description: “Your job is to subsist on the street with tuberculosis and malnutrition. You think you can handle that? Excellent, you were born for this! Here’s your check for almost nothing.” 

And when it comes time for an election, just make sure everyone’s scheduled for triple shifts until the polls close, even if it takes three or four days. Who’s going to stop you? And remember, it’s for the people’s own good. All that democracy was no good for them. It made them greedy for things like rights - rights regular people just can’t afford. 

Here in the US we’re already pioneering this system. We’re a model democracy for the blossoming age of non-competitive, opaque, total-surveillance, electronically-calculated backroom capitalism. It’s part of our constant quest for our own identity. 

America is always trying to rediscover itself, and I think we’re really hot on our own trail right now. I think we’re about to find ourselves. All we need to do is a cavity search. We’ll find ourselves right up our own cavity, where the sun don’t shine. 

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day.