By Jason Miller
Each day untold millions of US Americans unwittingly immerse themselves in an intellectual, social, cultural, economic, political and spiritual cesspool so rancid and toxic that even microbes with the most voracious appetites for human waste, vomit, and inanimate flesh would shun this infinitely repulsive sewer.
Many highly qualified and intelligent researchers, analysts, and authors have written books, essays, and reports documenting the astounding multitude and variety of crimes committed by the United States throughout its history. Since a nation is an entity comprised of numerous elements and dynamics, we can’t simply blame the government, the Republicans, the Religious Right, the Democrats, George Bush, Bill Clinton, or any one particular component. Therefore, nearly all US Americans bear a degree of responsibility. Obviously, some (i.e. Bush and Cheney) are far more culpable than others because they wield such tremendous power and act with a conscienceless, cynical awareness of the suffering they are inflicting on the Earth and its sentient inhabitants.
Since only about 4% of the population shares Bush’s sociopathic inability to experience empathy or guilt, what is this powerful siren call that motivates so many inherently decent human beings to repeatedly lacerate their souls upon the jagged rocks of complicity in acts that inflict unnecessary suffering upon billions of humans and animals?
How did we become a statistical aberration to the extent that we are a nation of resource-rich, technologically-advanced, mean-spirited, intellectually-stunted moral barbarians where a significant percentage of the population behaves as sociopaths by directly supporting or apathetically ignoring the evils in which they are complicit?
Is it something in our water? Are we genetic misfits? Does our population represent the vanguard of the next step in humanity’s moral “evolution”?
Sarcasm aside, the underlying cause of our depravity is our false, skewed and fractured consciousness which our malignant system begins hammering into our minds as we draw our first breath. This relentless psychological assault persists until we take our final gasp of air.
Nearly unshakeable illusions and delusions enable a relative handful of ruthless corporations and plutocrats to manipulate nearly 300 million people into helping them pursue their objective of world domination and exploitation, as out-lined in the Project for the New American Century.
Let’s deconstruct but a few examples of the nearly innumerable strands in the tangled web of pernicious lies comprising our false consciousness:
[The Founding Fathers were noble, saint-like champions of the “common” people who forged a nation affording freedom and equality for all.]
Our founders were mostly aristocrats who formed a constitutional republic of, by and for land-owning white males. Native Americans, the poor, and women were excluded. Chattel slavery was recognized as a legal enterprise. Many of our revered founders advocated and facilitated the Native American Genocide in the interest of expanding our borders.
[Greed and selfishness are virtues.]
Capitalism, which has evolved into its utterly reprehensible advanced stages here in the United States, is intellectually buttressed by the ridiculous notion that people acting on two of the most despicable traits of humanity, greed and selfishness, will enhance the commonweal. The current state of affairs in the United States demonstrates otherwise. Despite the slight doses of socialism which have mitigated the abject suffering inflicted by relatively unfettered capitalism during the Gilded Age, and despite the fact that we are the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity, there are still over a million homeless human beings, millions experience hunger and food insecurity, nearly fifty million lack a viable means to obtain our outrageously expensive medical care, our leading indicators of health are amongst the lowest of industrialized nations, urban public school systems are in a state of crisis and decay, and, as Katrina so clearly indicated, we are content to spend most of our hard-earned tax dollars on industrialized murder, blame victims, and leave the suffering to die, even here at home.
[America is the land of opportunity.]
Are many of us better off than most of the people on the planet? In a material sense, yes. However, bear in mind that the principal reasons many US Americans enjoy a degree of prosperity is that we stole a large chunk of a resource-rich continent (which is geographically situated in a way that makes a mass invasion nearly impossible), and that we built much of our prosperous economy on the backs of black slaves. Rapacious capitalism has enabled us to economically colonize and exploit many nations in the developing world, which explains the utterly nauseating gluttony we exhibit by representing 5% of the world’s population and consuming 25% of its resources. Oink, oink!
Is there economic upward mobility in our society? Yes. Yet rags to riches stories are extremely rare. Aristocratic dynasties are alive and well in the United States. One need look no further than George W. Bush or Paris Hilton to recognize that we are far from being the meritocracy that media shills like Oprah would have us believe. Beloved Oprah is ostensibly a benign and benevolent self-made billionaire emblematic of the “boundless opportunities” in the US. Certainly there is merit to her philanthropy. However, she erases her positive contributions many times over by promoting the notion that if a black woman like her can make it, anyone can. (And by the way, you who haven’t “made it” like Oprah, what the hell is wrong with you?) Her glowing endorsement of The Secret and its wholesale promotion of employing “magical thinking” to attain the “American Dream” was beyond the pale.
[America saved the world from fascism during World War II.]
Let’s set the record straight here. A number of large US corporations and dynastic plutocrats, including Bush 43’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, made significant financial contributions to the Nazi cause before the Trading with the Enemy Act became law in 1942. We also need to remember that the United States refused to lift a finger to help the poor and working class in Spain as they fought to preserve their democratically-elected government from the fascist onslaught of Franco, the Church, and the moneyed elite.
We lost about 500,000 people battling fascist imperialist forces in World War II. Russia sacrificed 20 million human beings. Were it not for Russia, we would probably be speaking German right now.
Besides, the United States is now in the prefigurements of fascism. We are becoming the very threat from which we allegedly saved the world.
[America needs to maintain its leviathan military industrial complex to ensure its security and to spread freedom and democracy.]
The United States spends more money on “defense” each year than the rest of the world combined. With the vast arsenal of weaponry we possess, it is beyond farcical to suggest that our security is seriously threatened at the existential level.
We maintain military bases in 130 countries. We invaded Iraq and Afghanistan preemptively (which is a war crime for which we hanged Nazis). Yet we tenaciously strive to perpetuate the inane assertion that we are not an empire. Capitalism demands perpetual growth, meaning capitalist nations inevitably engage in imperialism to expand their markets, enhance their profits, and find cheaper wage slaves. We utilize the legions of the empire to spread the misery of “free markets,” consumerism, exploitation, and environmental rape.
[America is a Christian nation.]
While many argue endlessly over the separation of church and state, or whether or not the United States was founded as a Christian nation, an equally profound question receives far too little attention.
What is the nature of the Christianity that our nation, in which a large number of denizens label themselves as Christians, collectively manifests?
Our rigid Puritanical roots still maintain a tenacious grip on our psyches. This impedes our capacity to overtly experience life’s carnal, sensual pleasures without experiencing guilt at violating taboos. Denying ourselves reasonable indulgence triggers the bacchanalian excesses that lead to rampant addiction to pornography, drugs, and alcohol.
The isolation, rage, and spiritual emptiness engendered by our consumerist, narcissistic, and violence-obsessed culture catalyze events like the ones at Columbine and Virginia Tech. With lamentations and hand-wringing, the mainstream media repeatedly expresses its utter astonishment when people snap to such an extent. After all, human beings living in a spiritually vacuous, hyper competitive environment have an infinite capacity to absorb insults, loneliness, rejection, exclusion, bullying, and hatred without reacting violently, don’t they?
One of the basic principles Christ espoused was to practice the Golden Rule. Whoops. Slaughtering millions of human beings throughout our history leaves us well short of the mark on that one.
Perhaps the most inspiring spiritual wisdom the Jewish carpenter conveyed to humanity came in the form of the Beatitudes. How do we manifest them in the United States?
The poor in spirit are considered to be impotent and irrelevant in a culture that thrives on egoism and self-promotion.
Those who mourn over moral injuries and tragedies are instructed to “get over it,” take some pills to mask the pain, and “move on”.
The meek are crushed by aggressive, acquisitive mobs.
Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness find that their efforts to satisfy, slake or quench are in vain as they wander a seemingly endless spiritual wasteland.
The merciful are considered weak and fall prey to those who abuse their compassion for their own personal gain.
The pure in heart are exploited as a reward for their decency.
The peacemakers are ridiculed as idealists, cowards, and collaborators with the latest enemy our plutocracy has created to justify its endless wars.
Despite the brutal nature and seemingly insurmountable power of this juggernaut of a nation, there is still hope for humanity and the world. While the opulent class, military careerists, fundamentalist Christian leadership, corporatists, AIPAC, “elected” officials, and the prostitutes in the corporate-dominated media propagate a sociopathic agenda through maintaining the simulacrum of the United States as the “leader of the free world,” there is abundant evidence of an increasing awareness of their perfidy and malevolence. Simmering beneath the surface for years, moral outrage now threatens to reach full boil thanks to the increased awareness facilitated by the Internet.
The people of the United States are not freaks or anomalies. 96% of us have a conscience and can act empathetically. It is simply a matter of time, and perhaps a few more doses of pain, before reality obliterates what is left of the fiction we have been inculcated to embrace as the United States of America.
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor ( http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com