Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1996 15:32:55 -0500
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>>> Item number 10416, dated 96/10/17 22:27:31—ALL
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 22:27:31 GMT
Richard K. Moore <email@example.com>
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Richard K. Moore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: America and The New World Order Part 1
Although there was very little sentiment for independence in the American colonies prior to the middle of the 18th century, there were objective conditions which made independence a natural, and comparatively non-disruptive step. The colonies were largely self-governing, had their own social identity, had immense natural resources, were mostly self-sufficient economically, and had their own extensive trading fleet. Boston had the third-busiest harbor in the British Empire.
The colonies paid taxes to the Crown, lived under restrictions such as a prohibition on industrialization, and received in return the protection of the Crown and access to British markets. But in fact the benefits of being subject to Britain were marginal. When frontier war with the French-backed natives occurred, for example, help from the Crown was slow in coming, and the colonies were then taxed for the troop expenditures. On a day-to-day basis, colonists collectively fended for themselves.
The factor necessary to spark revolution turned out to be ideological: the enlightenment ideas regarding market forces and of the rights of man. For the wealthy elite, these ideas implied commercial freedom—from Royal interference in economic development, while to the populace, the ideas were presented as implying personal freedom and popular democratic sovereignty.
These two different meanings of
freedom, and their two distinct
constituencies, created a foundation of political hypocrisy and
propaganda doublespeak which has fractured the integrity of democracy
ever since. It was the elite, in pursuit of commercial self-
interest, who were the vanguard of the revolutionary movement, while
the populace was stirred up by high-sounding democratic principles and
sensationalized rabble-rousing around the issue of Royal oppression
The turning point in revolutionary consciousness, when a majority came
to favor independence, occurred in the form of a single earth- shaking
essay: Tom Paine’s
Common Sense. This essay, written in
an unprecedented popular style that anyone could understand, broke all
existing publication records and was read aloud in every village and
town (and not only in America).
Common Sense created in the popular Western mind, for the first time since the early Roman republic, the notion that government arises from the consent of the governed—that the people are the nation. It marked the beginning of the popular concept of nationalism—the notion that citizens find their identity in their nation and its interests, rather than in their role as subjects of a domain belonging to royalty and nobility.
Following independence, the American Constitution was drafted in secret by members of the elite leadership. In fact, though not in rhetoric, the Constitution was carefully designed to protect the interests of the wealthy elite: from autocracy on the one hand, and from popular democracy on the other. The original document did not even contain a citizen’s Bill of Rights, which had to be amended in later, following popular outrage.
Some members of the elite certainly did support popular democracy (typified by Thomas Jefferson)—after all, the elite are people too. But in the final analysis, it was the rhetoric of the new regime which was democratic, while the reality was the facilitation of capitalist development under elite control.
America was founded on hypocrisy (the myth of popular sovereignty) and has been characterized by propaganda ever since. Propaganda is by no means unique to the American experience—all governments and elites employ propaganda—but propaganda has played a uniquely intimate role in the American experience. Every event in American history, from Independence onward, has been characterized by an elite agenda, coupled with a propaganda cover story.
Because America is endowed with democratic mechanisms—the government is elected, after all—such propaganda has been essential from the beginning in order to maintain elite control. Propaganda is one of the elite’s primary antidotes to the dreaded disease of actual democracy.
The tendency of Americans to believe in illusion was a central part of
their nation’s birth trauma. America is the land of Hollywood,
advertising, public relations, sugar-coated fairy tails, cult
Defense Department, Disneyland, and
progress. It was of Americans that it was said
A fool is
born every minute,
You can fool all the people some of the
You can never underestimate the intelligence of the
The rhetoric of liberation and democracy captured the imagination not
only of Americans, but of the whole world. America became an almost
mystical symbol, spoken of in fable-like imagery:
the land of
the land of opportunity,
streets paved with gold,
democracy. America was something people everywhere yearned to
believe in—it seemed (and claimed) to be the fairy tale kingdom
of everyone’s childhood dreams.
The rhetoric vs. reality examples abound: rights-of-man vs. slavery, self-determination vs. native genocide, democracy vs. exploitation, defense vs. imperialism—it was profound ironic justice (almost a proof of a just God) when the Liberty Bell cracked on first ringing.
America was born out of a war it initiated, and it has achieved its growth through periodic warfare ever since. There has been a significant war approximately every thirty years, usually initiated (overtly or covertly) by America, and always achieving a new stage in the growth of American power and the expansion of American-based elite interests.
The national anthem glorifies exploding rockets and the waving of the flag, and warfare is central to the American spirit. A common scenario underlies these wars: there is always an incident which is portrayed as an outrage against America, and the populace then rallies to the common defense with a characteristic ferocity and self-righteousness.
The incidents may be provoked, as with the Mexican War, arranged, as
with the Lusitania, or imagined, as in the Gulf of Tonkin—but
they are always deftly exploited and enable the elite expansionist
agenda to be further advanced, under cover of yet another crusade for
freedom and democracy. The elite is always well-prepared for
the incident, has a plan ready for execution, and its propaganda
machinery goes into full gear as the incident unfolds.
The use of outrage-incidents to launch elite-planned military campaigns accomplishes several objectives. It triggers the in-built American war spirit, and channels the resulting righteous wrath toward the nominated enemy. It also concentrates power in the executive branch, where elite control is usually most undiluted by popular influence. Congress—where popular will is most likely to find expression—is then relegated to the role of loyal stores- supplier for the duration of the campaign.
This process is exemplified by the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which
enabled full-scale U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. The incident
itself was faked, but Congress promptly issued its usual knee-jerk
Resolution, authorizing the President to
act in defense. The
authorized actions were then incrementally escalated into a
full-scale war, with Congress having no further influence, and popular
will finding expression only in the streets.
The eventual scope of the war was completely beyond anything authorized by the original Congressional Resolution, but once America is on the warpath, its war-culture ethic does not include room for dissent or reconsideration—it would be betraying the boys at the front.
Territory was acquired via purchase (Louisiana, Alaska) or conquest (Mexican Southwest). But the interesting story was the process of consolidation into the capitalist scheme of development.
front line against the natives was not advanced by the
army, but rather by land agents. They would gain title to tracts of
native land, sell them at a profit to naive pioneers, and then the
army would finally get involved to enable the pioneers to occupy
their land. The propaganda was about defending against the
heathen savages, while the real agenda was increasing the
territory available for profitable investment.
The Civil War was not a moral crusade against slavery, as became the cover story. It was rather a scuttling of the feudalistic, free-trade oriented, plantation pattern, in favor of a national dedication to protectionist industrial development, which offered greater scope for capital growth.
Just as America was originally an economic colony—an investment zone more than an administrated territory—so America’s own pattern of imperialism has been one of creating safe-haven investment zones, administered by proxy.
Every revolution takes to heart the lesson of its own birth, and America has excelled at preventing its econo-colonies from breaking away—avoiding a replay of the American Revolution. Vietnam was a singular setback.
America gained independence via guerrilla warfare, and became thereafter the world’s expert at suppressing guerrilla warfare. It espoused democracy in its own formation, and endeavored thereafter to suppress or subvert democracy everywhere. Its independence was possible because of a fortunate self-sufficiency, and ever since it has sought to undermine or destroy self-sufficient economies, to provide new venues for capital growth.
While immigration’s cover story was
welcoming the huddled
masses, the real purpose was to provide a constantly renewed pool
of exploitable cheap labor. Instead of Britain’s static class
system of tiered exploitation, America invented a dynamic class ladder
system (known as the Melting Pot), where new (ethnically identifiable)
lower classes were continually placed on the bottom rung, willingly
trading their home-country cultural identify to struggle for
acceptance as bona fide Americans.
Ethnic rivalries helped divide-and-conquer the masses, preventing democratic solidarity. Each segment of the American socioeconomic ladder was happy to see lower rungs suppressed, while it viewed higher rungs as its future opportunity. Thus the prisoners of the ladder class system were motivated to embrace their own exploitation, and the elite was spared the development of a general popular socioeconomic consciousness.
The American Image became not only the
land of freedom, but
land of opportunity. This latter image was more
truthful, and more in harmony with the elite’s own vision for
America, focused on wealth accumulation. The Horatio Alger myth was
born, of the poor immigrant who achieves immense wealth in one
Thus was fostered a
lottery mentality regarding
economics—attention is focused on the rare individuals who win
big, distracting attention from the overall pattern of systematic
subjugation and exploitation. The victim takes the blame for his own
predicament: if he isn’t well-off, it’s only because
he’s not clever enough. The question of why most things are
owned or controlled by the elite is never raised.
Capitalism has only one goal: the increasing of a pot of gold into a larger pot of gold. National economic development is not pursued to provide general prosperity (as goes the cover story), but because it facilitates the growth of elite wealth hordes. This distinction becomes clear when we see capital migration to lower-waged areas (early: movement of cotton mills from New England to the South; eventually: movement of capital out of the country entirely).
Progress, says the myth, is about improving the quality of people’s lives. In fact, progress is about continually scrapping one infrastructure (or product portfolio) for another—thereby allowing capital to go through another cycle of re-investment and profit-taking. Thus rail is superseded by highways, coal by oil and electricity, home-made by store-bought clothes, ovens by microwaves, main streets by shopping centers, small farms by agribusiness, family doctors by medical corporations, home remedies by high-priced pharmaceuticals, etc.
Such transformations do not always make even economic sense, but often require intentional elite intervention. Functioning intra-city light rail systems, for example, were covertly purchased (in several urban areas) and dismantled, by automobile-related interests, to be replaced by far less efficient, more polluting, oil-hungry bus and auto traffic.
World War II, it turns out, was largely planned and arranged by elite elements, primarily in the U.S., Germany, and Britain. Hitler began his rise as an operative of German military intelligence, and received funding and support from elite Western industrialists. While in prison, he kept a portrait of Henry Ford on his desk.
During the Spanish Civil War, the West kept the anti-fascist opposition disarmed, while it approvingly observed the efficiency of Hitler’s growing war machine. American volunteers who fought against Franco found their patriotism questioned when they returned home.
One must keep in mind that the rise of communist and socialist movements created intense fear in elite capitalist circles. The fascist movements were welcomed as desirable bulwarks against popular democracy, which would naturally have involved less elite-friendly economic policies, with socialist leanings.
Mein Kampf made it quite unambiguous that the primary strategic objective in Hitler’s mind was the subjugation and economic exploitation of Russia. By ignoring their own prohibition on German re-armament, and providing loans, the Western powers were in fact collaborating with Hitler in the development of an invasion force targeted on Russia—socialism’s bastion.
Meanwhile, the West was watching with discomfort Japan’s growing economic power and imperial scope. Japan was aiming to create a formidable Asian economic zone, backed up by a large, modern navy.
This was a significant threat to Western, and especially American, interests and designs. Not only would markets and investment opportunities in populous Asia be highly curtailed, but Japan would be dislodging the West from its accustomed role as collective master of the seas and arbiter of global imperial arrangements. And who knew what would be the bounds of this Asian empire? The aggressive expansionism of Japan seemed destined to force a war with the West, sooner or later.
America handled this complex situation with all the finesse and subtlety of a skilled marital-arts expert, guided by a strategic vision unsurpassed by the imperial masterminds of any previous age.
In the prewar years, Japan and Germany enjoyed credit and trade with the West, while their aggressive designs and military machines were allowed to develop. They were being given enough rope to hang themselves with. Then, as was completely predictable, Hitler became embroiled in a war with Russia and Japan became similarly entangled in China and Southeast Asia.
It was only after this anticipated scenario had unfolded that Uncle Sam unholstered his guns and prepared to take charge of the sequel. The traditional war-popularizing incident, in this case, was the inevitable Japanese strike on America’s Pacific fleet. The incident-facilitating provocation, in this case, was the cutoff of Japanese oil supplies, which America convinced Holland to undertake.
When the incident occurred, President Roosevelt feigned surprise and outrage, and the most formidable, popularly supported, military crusade of all time was launched. The well-funded and well-armed G.I. was loose on the world, and because of the eagerness with which Germany and Japan had hung themselves in world opinion, he was welcomed as a hero wherever he went.
While Japan was contained by rear-guard actions, peripheral pressure was applied against the Nazis. The full-scale landing in Europe was carefully withheld, to enable Germany to keep most of its troops on the Russian front, so that Hitler and Stalin could decimate one another to the maximum extent possible. Only when Stalin turned the Nazis around, and began to advance toward Berlin, was the landing carried out. D-Day was obviously timed to minimize the Russian advance, not to hasten the demise of Nazism.
At the end of the war, America had managed to put itself in a position which was very close to total global hegemony. It had the run of the seven seas, an intact military machine and national infrastructure, a monopoly on nuclear weapons, greatly expanded influence in the oil-rich Middle East, and the lion’s share of the world’s disposable wealth and industrial capacity. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world was in shambles, in deep debt, and/or under occupation. America had the prestige, power, and resources to guide the construction of post-war arrangements largely according to its own designs.
Hitler had threatened to conquer the world, and lost a generation of his men instead; Uncle Sam lost a comparatively minuscule number of troops, with no proclaimed territorial ambitions, and yet world domination seemed to fall into his lap.