No “hope for righting the ship”

Some people watch horror flicks. I’m reading the Federalist Papers, the arguments advanced in the state of New York to support adoption of the Constitution. The Federalist Papers are also supposedly a definitive guide to interpretation of the Constitution. And I’m seeing a lot of ammunition for neoconservative arguments. It is truly scary stuff, that emphasizes consolidation of power in the hands of a privileged class judged solely fit to rule. I have yet to consult with a historian about the context, which also led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights as part of the deal, but I also don’t see among the amendments any guarantees of equality or democracy. Further, the Federalist Papers can be read as tempering any expansive view of liberties granted by amendments to the constitution. My analysis is in progress and will appear on disunitedstates.org when I get my web server back on line.

Meanwhile, Rand Clifford asks, I think rhetorically, “Why is it that Americans seem among the least aware that the radical changes needed for America to regain its Constitution, and survive as a Republic, will never happen within our rotted-out system?” Part of the answer here, surely, is that the Constitution is not what most people think it is, and a republic should not be confused with a democracy.

But Clifford’s argument runs to the rot in the U.S. system. He cites a former Italian President who claims that most intelligence agencies know that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job. Francesco Cossiga, we are to understand, “gained respect from opposition parties as one of a rare breed – an honest politician – and led the country for seven years until April 1992” and “was forced to resign after revealing the existence of, and his part in setting up, Operation Gladio – a rogue intelligence network under NATO auspices that carried out bombings across Europe in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.” It seems that these rogue operations conducted “what they coined ‘false flag operations,’ terror attacks that were blamed on their domestic and geopolitical opposition.”

On this basis, we are to doubt that Hillary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani, who both “are committed to The ‘War’ (criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq). Both lean toward expanding the ‘War’ to Iran, and beyond” can be trusted to get us out of Iraq or to “restore” the Constitution. “Both at least claim to believe the permanent ‘War On Terror’ is not the putrid baloney it really is; both support police state measures that ‘protect’ us from terrorists, eschewing our Constitution and its guaranteed civil liberties.”

But we don’t need a 9/11 conspiracy to support this argument. A far simpler argument relies on sociologist C. Wright Mills, who argued in the 1950s that the political, corporate, and military elites were allied and that their interests are barely distinguishable. Even conservatives have observed a “revolving door” for members of these elites that enable them to pass between political and corporate power, as power passes between Democratic and Republican factions of a one-party system. Retired military personnel at all levels often go on to government work and qualify for double pensions; at higher ranks, they often go on to highly-paid positions in the military-industrial complex.

As I observe in my analysis of the Federalist Papers, power is in the hands of an elite presumed exclusively worthy. The cost of entry to this elite, including attendance at Ivy League schools, membership in elite campus organizations and establishment clubs, the assets to gain acceptance among the very wealthy, and limited social mobility (a myth of unlimited opportunity notwithstanding) keeps all but a very few (very fortunate) outsiders out. These people have no interest in a more egalitarian system; the hierarchy guarantees their privileges. Further, by defining worthiness to hold power exclusively in terms of financial success, such success becomes the only standard to judge our fellow citizens. In combination with a myth of unlimited opportunity, we don’t just blame less successful members of society for their own misfortunes, we absolve ourselves of responsibility for their plights.

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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