by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog
The American ruling class as represented by its own nomenklatura have been guilty of the sins of the French Bourbons in a different age: ‘’They have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.’’ (1)
I can hardly remember a US Presidential campaign/election carried out with virtually zero intelligent inputs and policies. It was as if it started at zero but then actually descended deep into minus territory. It was also clear from the outset that the same nomenklatura (or MICIMATT (2) – if you prefer) was solidly arrayed against Trump since the 2016 election when Trump defied all the media hype and had the temerity to win. From that day onwards a slow ‘colour revolution’ – i,e, putsches which had been successfully carried out by the US in various ‘naughty’ countries around the world – was operationalised and deployed against Trump. So for the entirety of his presence in the White House the sitting US President was the object of an unceasing campaign of character assassination, his loyalty to the US besmirched, his lack of education ridiculed, his manner boorish and clumsy, all of which shortcomings may have been to an extent justified, but he was never allowed to respond to a bogus narrative almost totally controlled by the MICIMATT complex.
THE AMERICAN CLASS SYSTEM
America and its advocates have always argued that America does not share the same class relationships, rigid social-hierarchies and history of class-struggles as has been the case in Europe. But even a cursory reading of American labour history will soon divest the reader of any such notion. Class struggles in the US have in fact been particularly vicious with the ruling elites being unrepentantly ruthless. For the established ruling elites Trump was an outsider, a voice of the hoi-polloi and decidedly not to the taste of the elite coalitions and ideologues of the F Scott Fitzgerald and Ayn Rand social/political strata. This has always been the case pretty much everywhere. To be sure, Trump was a semi-educated parvenu and many of his supporters may have also been somewhat deficient in this respect. But here’s the point. The worldview of the rich and famous was a perception of the world as they have and continued to experience it. In this respect being determines consciousness. This is the permanent social-political hierarchy that always and everywhere has existed from time immemorial but there are none so blind as those who refuse to see. Class struggle has been a continuous leitmotif throughout the ages and refusing this historical phenomenon doesn’t make it less so.
THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY
Contrary to the media-hype the US has never been either exceptional or indispensable. During the late twentieth-century and early twenty-first America had developed into an imperialistic hegemon, simultaneously repressing its own people and making war on and intimidating other nations. Indeed it has been at war for 95% of its existence. All of this is a matter of record but it is taboo in the US itself and in most of its vassals. The US is run by a ruthless coalition of oligarchs, not as it is claimed by the masses. But the rule of the oligarchs is anchored in the second tier of America’s class structure. In short in the emergence of a middle-ranking elite of professional and managerial types – ‘an outer party’ in Orwellian terms which is the crucial ideological basis for the ascendency of the oligarch ‘inner party’ – this two-tier structure constituted the greatest negation of US democracy.
This new cognitive elite was made up of what Robert Reich called “symbolic analysts” — lawyers, academics, journalists, systems analysts, brokers, bankers, etc. (Less complimentary referred to as ‘Bullshit Jobs’ by the recently demised David Graebner.) These professionals trafficked in information and manipulated words and numbers for a living. They lived in an abstract world in which information and expertise were the most valuable commodities.
Since the market for these assets is international, the privileged class is more concerned with the global system than with regional, national, or local communities. In fact, members of the new elite tend to be estranged from their communities and their fellow citizens. These social/political/cultural experiences then transmute and harden into ideological belief systems which, in behavioural terms at least, take on a life of their own. These professional groups send their children to private schools, insure themselves against medical emergencies … and hire private security guards to protect themselves against the mounting violence against them.
“In effect, they have removed themselves from the common life and contact with everyday ordinary Americans.” (3)
The privileged classes, which, according to the late Christopher Lasch’s expansive definition, now make up roughly a fifth, or quarter of the population, and are heavily invested in the notion of social mobility. The new meritocracy has made professional advancement and the freedom to make money “the overriding goal of social policy.” Lasch charged that the fixation on opportunity and the “democratization of competence” betrayed rather than exemplified the American dream. “The reign of specialized expertise,” he wrote, “is the antithesis of democracy as it was understood by those who saw this country as the ‘last, best hope on earth'”(4).
Citizenship was grounded not in equal access to economic competition but in shared participation in a common life and a common political dialogue. The aim was not to hold out the promise of escape from the “labouring classes,” Lasch contended, but to ground the values and institutions of democracy in the inventiveness, industry, self-reliance, and self-respect of working people.
Unfortunately Lasch’s observations may well have been correct but with the passage of time his prescriptions are actually becoming less pervasive than he contended since the publication of his book in 1995. The American ruling stratum have if anything gutted the United States of the (albeit limited) idealism of the 1945-63 period and a genuine commitment to a democratic polity but instead are committed to a ruthless, winner-take-all, greed-is-good, economic, and social barbarism. Herewith an interesting insight from one of F Scott Fitzgerald’s characters – Amory Blaine – in one of the earlier novels.
‘’I detest poor people’’, thought Amory suddenly. ‘’I hate them for being poor. Poverty may have been beautiful once, but its rotten now. It is the ugliest thing in the world. It is essentially better to be corrupt and rich than it is to be innocent and poor.’’ He seemed to see again a figure whose significance had once impressed him – a well-dressed young man gazing from a club window on Fifth Avenue and saying something to his companion with a look of profound disgust. Probably thought Amory, what he said was: ‘’My God! Aren’t people horrible!’’(5) Such has been and is a fortiori the view of their fellow countrymen by America’s haute bourgeoisie.
THE GREAT COUNTER-REFORMATION
At this juncture the US Presidential election has been a moment (important and significant in its own right) but situated in much broader global developments. As previously mentioned, (vide supra) the transient mini-enlightenment of the 1945-63 period, has given way, after the 1970s interregnum, into what can only be described as the great Counter-Reformation, a global process known as neo-liberalism or globalization or both. This Counter-Reformation was incubated in university departments, independent think tanks, political parties, Corporation Board Rooms, Global institutions such as the IMF, BIS, OECD, World Bank, WTO, financial books, journalists writing for broadsheet publications – The Economist, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal – and various papers being added to the output. What they were saying was essentially BS, but unfortunately, they were able to dominate the narrative, since they owned the means whereby to do so.
At one time those ideologies which had offered people of the world the hope of making their own histories and ideologies which offered hope have declined and collapsed at an increasing rate in Western societies. This collapse is also the collapse of the Enlightenment, that reason and freedom would prevail as the paramount forces in human history. Alas this is no longer the case; since the 1980s at least the forces of darkness have been on an ever increasing and accelerating rampage which shows no signs of letting up. Leading the process has been the United States with Europe in tow. Globalization, Neo Liberalism is the new orthodoxy which all must obey.
This historical process has brought these trends to a head and been conspicuously evidenced in microcosm by the 2020 US Presidential election. All the forces of darkness were quite blatantly coming into the open conspiring to get their man elected, by all and any means possible. This was essential for their more ambitious project of world domination. This ruthless undertaking consists of a plan for the US to become world hegemon sitting atop of its empire. The Europeans have already thrown in the towel and the rest of the world will soon be brought to heel – for their own good of course – and the world will be set fair for peace and prosperity. Yeah, right!
If the US and its allies (read vassals) think that it can impose their hegemonic ambitions upon the rest of the world, then they are in for a rather rude awakening.
This is because the world is no longer living in the economic and political golden age from 1945-71. The centre of global wealth-creation derives from the unusual coalition which has shifted from West to East, more specifically from the United States to China, whilst the distribution of power within international institutions still reflects the very different world of 1945. This incongruity is bound to foment tension.
‘’Some anticipate a Thucydides moment. In his History of the Peloponnesian War 2500 years ago Thucydides wrote that ‘What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear that this caused in Sparta’ today we seem to be on the same path as the old and new powers clash… Just as Sparta could not expect always to be on top, so America and the West should not always expect to be the dominant powers.’’ (6)
In short this means that the West will have difficulties in imposing its 1945 geo-political and trade agenda on the rest of the world. The current international configuration as inherited almost unchanged from the end of the Second World War no longer corresponds to the economic and increasingly political realities. The rise of Asia has decidedly flipped the location of production and new wealth generation. This has been an irreversible moment.
BRETTON WOODS – DECLINE AND FALL
The twilight of America and the American century began as a measurable decline and by the end of the 20th century this had become unstoppable. Firstly, there was the financialization and hollowing out of the productive sector of its economy and, secondly, with its wars of choice and endless military adventurism both of which tendencies are gradually bankrupting the country. The facts are irrefutable. The Presidential contest of 2020 was the conjunctural moment in this process; everything changed when the veils of obfuscation were torn away and the corruption and decadence of the old order – the blob – were fully revealed. America’s ruling elites have become irreversibly transformed into a lumpen, parasitic, aristocratic class, ruling by manipulation, wealth and power. It has been noted that,
‘’Nothing is more wretchedly corrupt than an aristocracy which retains its wealth when it has lost its productive power and which still enjoys a vast amount of leisure after it is reduced to mere vulgar pastimes. The energetic passions and great conceptions that animated it heretofore leave it then, and nothing remains to it but a host of petty consuming vices, which cling about it like worms upon a carcass.’’ (7)
The Epstein affair anyone? Enough said.
(1) The quote is attributed to Talleyrand in speaking about the restored Bourbon dynasty after the abdication of Napoleon, and subsequently used against the French socialists and others. It comes close to Einstein’s definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, though the Talleyrand quote gives us a reason for their repeating mistakes of the past over and over
(2) MICIMATT – Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex
(3) Christopher Lasch – The Revolt of the Elites –published in 1995
(4) Lasch – Op.cit.
(5) F Scott-Fitzgerald – This Side of Paradise – published 1920
(6) Phillip Mullan – Beyond Confrontation – published 2020 – p.xxv
(7) Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America – Volume 2, p.220