by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog
American nationalism binds the whole-to-its-parts by using narrative to weaponize emotions and broadcast the idea of American ‘wholeness’ as somehow exceptionally greater than the sum of its parts.
There can be no doubt that zealotry became the dynamic forging the American character . First and foremostly, enunciations spat out by bearded prophets were carried on the winds of ontological time and eventually landing on the shores of the new world along with bible and crucifix to stave off inequities and help shape a mind-set (and foreign policy) for those taking possession of the Kingdom of God. A colonial policy that inevitably consigned the population of the occupied territories into misery and poverty would in time come to be regarded as regime change. The Protestant reformation was always about gilding the God narrative with a work ethic equal to the sum of its mercantile whole.
To this very day, individual achievements take precedence over collective values as missionary zeal is believed to have the potential to sublimate the libido and divert energy into productive work activities. The nub of the narrative being the ineffable Protestant-cum-existentialist credential underpinning the virtues of 19th century Anglophile culture that found ways of appeasing the mind with dreamlike emoluments to convey the promise of earthly rewards for the industrious of mind…or simply put; mercantilism became a-one-size-fits-all solution for man’s irascible struggle with his existential hairshirt.
In time, European mercantile classes would invasively penetrate every corner of the globe for the purpose of wealth extraction. Those who sought material gratification would eventually come to define democracy as freedom to pursue individual desires. What emerged from this was class-identified gentrification and fake sugar-coated democracy supporting a form of fake-individuality that created a class system based on the exploitation on just about everything.
As time passed the existential stature of the state grew, while the existential stature of the individual remained the same. With the advent of mercantilism came a national economic policy designed to maximize exports and minimize imports, with the state taking a more adversarial role in all business arrangements. For the state to be greater than the sum of its parts meant exporting a greater quantity of its manufactured products to its trading partners while minimising the amount of goods they imported from them.
To do this it was necessary to devise policies that aimed to reduce a possible current account deficit and achieve a current account surplus. Mercantilism introduced a national economic policy aimed at accumulating monetary reserves through a positive balance of trade, especially in finished goods…fine policies in theory, but when push came to shove in the competitive arena, greed inevitably exposed these polices to the raw ‘talents’ of people like Sheriff Trump and most of his contemporaries , who interpret business as dealership and mawkishly set out to wage economic warfare on all and sundry.
The practice of sucking in wealth associated with the resources of Africa, India, the Americas, India and other Asian destinations was so successful that Britain…almost inadvertently…found itself in possession of an empire. It had reached a plateau where the sum was greater than its parts and to sustain its ‘sum-status’ meant creating an alliance of collusive narratives to justify its pre-eminence…and the best way to do so and retain control of the narrative was to resort to propaganda and trophy issues that would weaponize the emotions of the population. Hence the modern state found a way to prioritize itself at the expense of the individual. Over time, business cartels in tandem with the government would create ever more contextual paradigms for the individual to deal with.
What was required to sustain the status quo was a narrative to make the people feel proud of the fact that they were part of a-top-dog-team in action. Once the authors of the narrative realized that propaganda, when coupled with patriotism, could produce adherents imbued with convictions that were inherent in the narrative, they realized that language itself could cement a profitable relationship between buyer and seller and public relations became a force unto itself.
If you were part of the bourgeoisie who came into existence in the 19th centuries as a consequence of the wealth pouring into Europe and Britain from the colonial exploitation of Africa or India, Ireland, Asia etc. and your conscience was troubled by virtue of being party to a culture sliding grandiosely up its own existential arse, you could find balm within the isolated confines of the psychiatrist’s couch if your pockets were deep enough. If you were of a humble disposition, there was the pastor or the priest who could deal with your existential woes. If you made it to the 20th century you probably would have become so conditioned by events as to be unaware of other people’s suffering…and if you made it to the 21 century…perish the thought!
It was in this phase of history that commerce cleverly entered the business of explaining the meaning of existence per educational fiat…for a price! Thereafter it would be secular experts who explained the meaning of life to anybody who could afford to pay for enlightenment while simultaneously repressing revolutionary instincts that could, in the first instance, allow the light of reason to filter through.
With the crafting of the existential narrative, more and more people came to see themselves as parts in a new whole. Personal history became the curveball of the 20th century, promoting a vision of America as utopia on steroids, which in turn, produced a sky-is-the-limit kind of optimism. America had long taken over from where Britain had left off after experiencing a fin de siecle stampede through its pearly gates in the 19th century which eventually produced an adrenaline rush to end all adrenaline rushes by the time it put a man on the moon. The net result was that American industry became kingpin for a century which left it convinced of its own invincibility.
When did America start to believe that it had to possess the biggest nuclear arsenal for it to feel that ‘whole’ America had become greater than the sum of its rival’s parts? Which raises the question; given the way power is used by the modern democratic-capitalist state, is the American constitution merely an example of baggage retained for baggage sake? Is there anything beyond raw power that may define its essence? Does it have an essence, or is it merely guided by some dark light that emanates from a single word…’democracy’…that stands alone on the blank piece of paper that was placed in a bottle and cast upon the ocean with information that might help ‘the people’ fulfil their desires?
Do the people not see that they need to be free from illusions that enfold them before they can revolutionize their system…and move on?
The elites who control the narrative remain invisible, they are neither deep nor surface stakeholders, they simply control the money flow. They are the sum-total of the faceless state, protected by protocols, secret intelligence agencies and the reality of the military budget that is put in place to maintain top-dog status for the elites and the illusions that comfort the multifarious minions now quarantined in citizen- zones that continue to emasculate their revolutionary spirit.
The current impeachment process in America best illustrates the sterility the population is immiserated in. They should be impeaching themselves (instead of looking for a scapegoat) for their inability to confront their own record. They seem unaware that they are party to a bloodbath that has devastated much of the Middle East and many other societies across the globe.
Once again, Americans are involved in the early stages of an election that leaves the question of America’s foreign policy in the too hard basket. A charade that would make Machiavelli blush. But alas, when blush comes to shove, American might is a God given right and collateral damage is not something that would soon alter the tone of its pugnaciously thick-skinned approach to reality.
Then there is ever more evidence of the schism that is corporate existentialism as opposed to individual existentialism. The former owning the right to squash the latter ever since Corporate America took the civil out of civilisation by assiduously seeking to remove voices/data/information/truth and honourable journalism from serving the public interest.
To observe how Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden (also Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Wigand, Thomas Andrew Drake and Frank Serpico) were treated for divulging the execrable crimes of the American state are odious to say the least. That so many Americans, in condoning “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” mentality, and dismissive of the service their whistle-blowers are providing, is appalling. A new class of people have come into existence and they hate whistle-blowers because they speak truth to power…pity the millions of Americans who don’t think that way!
And what does the MSM really think of all this? That the New York Times continues to readily publish Bibi Netanyahu’s blandishments concerning existential threats to Israel while ignoring the fact that Palestine have had their country invaded and countless Palestinians now live under appalling conditions where existential rights do not even apply to them. The hurt that is inflicted on Palestinians is akin to the hurt that can be extended to say, Julian Assange, because both insidiously demean the human spirit.
These are actions that highlight the schism that exists between governance and the governed…existence of the state in relation to the existence of the individual…or any other agent in the individual legal zone we recognise as being separate from the privileged existential zone of governments that includes corporations who enjoy limited liability by virtue of their status in law. Existentialism, at the individual level, is a concept born of leisure (think affluence), but when dealing with fiscal reality, finds its sovereignty somewhat overshadowed by the external trappings of an existential system designed to keep the checks and balances that favour the imperial narrative.
Six months ago when the US Government slammed Assange with 17 charges under The Espionage Act for publishing the Chelsea Manning Leaks, indications were that these actions were taken to stifle the existence of a precedent that challenged the rights of a government to suppress the existence of truth itself; eventually it became their right to gag the message and the messenger.
The American police state is a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle meant to keep the property and the resources of the American people flowing into corrupt government agencies and their corporate partners. In its present incarnation, it unmistakably exists as a pariah whose insidious meddling in other people’s systems knows no limitations. It unrelentingly spews out lies at every opportunity which vaunt variations on a theme of America’s self-righteous greatness ad nauseam. Its porous foreign policy exists to suck-out the essence of vulnerable states that are exposed to the gravitation pull of weaponised systems such as Wall Street and The Pentagon.
The systems that have weaponized American culture have spawned a host of ‘yes’ men and women…the MSM is aglow with them. The emotional and intellectual life of main street America is ominously self-righteous and defensive. To understand how reflexive American politics is, is to discover…by merely surfing channels…that the American public has become the meat in a political-duopoly sandwich.
To listen to Elizabeth Warren expostulating on Bolivia attests to a form of political incest that bedevils America. The Massachusetts Senator wanted to air her foreign policy bona fides in an interview with a former Barack Obama administration apparatchik on the podcast “Pod Save America.”
Warren praised Trump’s strategy of appointing the deflated Venezuela coup leader Juan Guaido as president and declared, “I support economic sanctions.” She also described the country’s democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator.” …although the interview was conducted back in February, video clips have recently resurfaced and gone viral on social media.
Which brings me back to the observation that America’s mawkish culture is viral in ways that are mainly lethal for those it disapproves of. It behaves like a giant octopus forever extending its tentacles into places that it wishes to exploit or annihilate. And behold The American Posse has morphed into stealth forces that operate outside of international law, human decency or basic accountability. It abhors the idea that leaders like Nicolas Maduro could curb the extortionist practices of corporate America and set about eliminating poverty in his beloved Bolivia. Worst of all is the fact that the American public condones regime change and all the other rapacious practices it is known for.
Sadly, America has become like an illiterate robot in a mathematical minefield stomping and headbutting everyone and everything it perceives as a competitor while waving its nuclear missiles and pruning shears at spectres of the existential sub-particle kind that threaten to lead humanity in a direction where it might discover that dancing the socialist fandangle might be o.k. after all.
Denis A. Conroy