The Moment of Truth — January 31, 1998

Wanting Truth is Death to Capitalism

Thanks guys. Welcome to the Moment of Truth – the only place and time in the broadcast day on the electromagnetic spectrum where the truth is ever told. Last week we talked about the truth. "What is the nature of truth?" we asked. Here’s what we learned about truth: We acknowledge that the truth is multiform, variegated, multifaceted, fractured, fragmented – yeah yeah yeah, it’s all that. But we still reserve the right to demand the truth from our mass media.

But that’s very nasty of us, because we also proved that, under the yoke of capitalism, it isn’t possible for the mass media to tell the truth. The mass media, it’s mission being to make a profit, filters out everything that can’t be bought, processed, packaged and sold – and all that filtered out stuff is the truth. That’s you, that’s me, that’s anyone whose life isn’t neatly represented by a half-hour sitcom. Which is everyone. Yes, the truth is us, and everything else is worthless. And that’s what goes on TV, on radio, in the newspapers and magazines, on the billboards – we’ll talk about the Internet in later episodes. Anyway, it’s all garbage. That’s what we proved last week. And we proved that this is necessarily the case under capitalism. So we’re really smart. But we’re also nasty. Because demand the truth from the mass media even though we know through scientific inquiry that they are incapable of providing it.

So why do we demand it? Because we enjoy bashing our heads against a wall? No. I don’t like that. Because we hate the powers that be so much that we just can’t get enough of harassing them even though we know it doesn’t do any good? Well, yeah. But that’s not always the reason we do it, and it’s not the most important one, though it’s a good one.

Why? Why? We demand and demand and demand truth from the mouth of capitalism although we know that that mouth is not capable of speaking the truth, and that the eyes in the face that that mouth is a hole in can’t see the truth, and that the head that that face is plastered on the front of has a brain in it that is incapable of thinking, imagining, or knowing the truth. That capitalist head. What’s wrong with us?

What do we demand when we demand the truth from capitalism? We can demand sandwiches from capitalism, we know it can give us those. We can demand a bathmat. We might not get it, but at least we know that capitalism has one somewhere inside itself. And if we don’t get sandwiches and beanie babies and houses and health care, we get mad because we know capitalism has these things but just won’t give them to us. So what happens? We get madder and madder and more and more resentful until blammo – there’s a revolution. That’s if you’re lucky. But what was the revolution for? Was it a revolution to give everyone equal this and that and the other? No. It was a revolution to switch which people got to have most of what capitalism has.

But when we demand truth from capitalism what we’re really demanding is an end to capitalism altogether, not just switching who gets all the stuff. The demand for truth is a demand for an end to wealth inequality. Because capitalism can’t give us truth. So it’s like saying, I want my bath mat to give milk. What you really want is a cow, not a bath mat. If you demand that your knee disengage itself and pilot a Cesna you are going to be sorely disappointed. Unless you’re just being difficult. Giving your knee a hard time. Telling your knee that it doesn’t measure up, it’s not the kind of thing that could pilot a Cesna, which is what you want: something to pilot a Cesna. What a disappointing body part. But you’re talking to your knee! You’re yelling at it! You’re like, pilot a Cesna you damn knee! Look, stupid. Just get in the cockpit and…

Or it’s like telling your elbow to drive a car. Look, you stupid elbow. Just open the door of the car, get in, put the key in, blah blah blah.

All you’re doing is demonstrating to yourself and your elbow that your elbow is worthless as a car driver and will not get you where you want to go. All you do when you ask the capitalist media for the truth is demonstrate to yourself and capitalism that capitalism is worthless as a truth teller and will not tell you what you want and need to know.

But does the elbow listen? Does capitalism listen? Pfff. Ya got me!

Right now I think the important thing is that, when people go, like, why are they making a big deal about Clinton and his erection, or why doesn’t the media report about the military coverup of this and that, or why won’t they let such and such a third party candidate be part of the debates, or why don’t they tell you there’s high fructose corn syrup in apricot nectar, or why don’t they talk about how crazy it is that Henry Kissinger got a Nobel Peace Prize – whenever people are crabbing about not getting the truth from the media, what they’re really saying is, "Down with capitalism! One world one wage! Profit motive is an immoral incentive for distributing resources! Ross Perot is eating the lunches of a million starving children and that is simply wrong wrong wrong! That amount of wealth is an unacceptable misuse of resources and the only moral thing to do is redistribute it."

Who are these commies? Well, I’ve heard Bob Dole complain about the media, Gingrich – Reagan never shut up about the media – Bush. Dan Quayle. G Gordon Liddy. Ollie North. All these guys are commies. I’m not saying they’re aware of it. I’m just saying that if you take what they say and examine it, if you examine their criticisms of capitalist media, you’ll see, by following the logic they begin with to it’s logical end, that they lead inexorably to the conclusion that capitalism is a failure as a system and must be replaced by another more equitable one.

Well, it’s hard to believe that someone like George Bush would argue that Ross Perot shouldn’t be allowed to be rich. What’s even more amazing is that Ross Perot himself should argue it. But that’s exactly what he’s saying. Ross Perot cries out every day, "My obscene wealth should be distributed to the people." Steve Forbes can be heard opining to a friend over drinks, "It is wrong for me to have more money than I could ever need even if I lived tens of thousands of lifetimes." Zillionaires all over the world are actually saying, "The privilege we get from controlling enormous percentages of the world’s goods is illegitimate. We don’t deserve this nauseatingly excessive chunk of the universe."

They are saying that. You just have to know how to hear them. The clamor grows daily for an end the nightmare of greed that has dominated the last couple of centuries. To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower, "One of these days the zillionaires are gonna want socialism so bad that the people will just have to stand aside and let åem have it."

That’s this week’s Moment of Truth. I’ll be back next Saturday here on the show whose title is the subject of an ongoing controversy, here on WNUR 89.3 Chicago’s sound experiment. Good day!