Fear is Born in Ignorance

So many progressive thinkers looked on the recent mid term election with dismay and disbelief! How could such obvious nutcase conservatives be able to mesmerize so many voters — ending up infecting the congressional body with the crippling nonsense of 19th century anti-intellectualism? How did they do it? Let me count the ways:

Throughout the masses of insecure, shallow-minded good citizens within every section of the country, there is a fascination with the sort of belligerent rhetoric that professional neo-con provocateurs dish out persistently and profitably. The anger and resentment that they stir up feels so good to people who feel powerless and left out of the social evolution (that slows down for no one). Lies and insinuations become gospel and the “tea” mob swells with proud, burning enthusiasm. Subtle racial bigotry was the fuel that made the gatherings blaze high and loud.

“Big gubmint” looming over powerless, misinformed, deliberately ignorant people is an extremely effective threat! Reducing the size of government is a ridiculous and impossible goal in light of an unstoppable population explosion and the conservative legislators have no intention of reducing the size of government — however, propaganda-wise, it sounds so much less threatening. Legal abortion is fought with such single-minded zeal that it has grown into a movement of its own. Saving “babies” is a heroic, beatific concept and it is a real ego boosting thing to strive for. It is one of many ways to feel a religious and moral supremacy. These blustering zealots need that feeling of being so much better than the people who see abortion as needful in certain situations and consider it a highly personal, private matter.

Less gubmint spending is another effective catch phrase — for many of the conservative true believers are poor or on the super highway toward poverty in very painful and frightening ways since the economy cannot rapidly improve. The government they can trust the most should be extra thrifty, like they have to be, with no taxes or restrictions within all industrial power structures.

When a conservative media pundit is interviewing a progressive/liberal popular figure it is an unbending rule in neo-con world that no complete thoughts can be made by the (enemy) liberal — so ALL con-pundits interrupt with accurate timing and persistence. Have you heard O’Reilly lately? Liberal citizens pay attention to the Faux News crowd and their quaint sayings, but just how many true believing conservatives read The Progressive Populist? How many listen to the Ed Schultz Show or the Rachel Maddow program? They do not dare.

When a conservative legislator comes out with a really really stupid statement that reeks with partisan nonsense, those words are specifically directed toward his or her loyal district folks who sent this character to that special lofty job. Our problem today is not commies, Muslim terrorists or Socialists. The poisonous and dangerous injustice that has sapped the progressive life out of societies for centuries is the blatant exploitation of ignorance and fear — to achieve the vainglories of nothing but savage power and control over other people and the institutions that support social order. Aside from corrupt propaganda, big “bidness” finances the political engines that survive on mindless public enthusiasm — more so now that the supreme court gave them free reign on conflict of interest. Fascism may never actually get the best of us but it surely may again come close if the next election is stolen like in 2000.

Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.

Our Five Current Wars

In the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 in New York, global observers, many our allies, wondered what the response of America’s politicians in Washington would be.  

Would the world’s only remaining superpower respond coolly and cautiously, careful not to allow itself to be plunged into rivers of blood, endless war and the death (by its own hand) of American democracy, or would it go berserk, unleashing a frenzied attack upon anyone and everyone it could think of, regardless of the consequences?

     The answer came quite quickly. We are mired in wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are deploying drones in Pakistan, we have covertly unleashed the CIA, the FBI and teams of mercenary assassins across the world, to hunt down and kill anyone we don’t like, and now, we are waging a war in Libya.

That makes five wars that the United States of America, an alleged democracy, is currently involved in, right now.  

To quote the words of Michel De Montaigne, we are “drunk with malice.” We are addicted to war. To violence. To bloodshed. To greed. To hatred. Our leaders believe that we can bludgeon the world into obedience. There is no question that can be posed, no query submitted, to which Washington cannot answer with bombs, missiles, tanks, guns and mechanized death. 

Assisting the Libyan rebels is, in my opinion, a global good.  However, it’s unfortunate that Congress has completely abdicated its constitutional duty to be the only government body that can declare a war, and is now routinely ignored in matters of military action, like the royal figureheads of some forgotten kingdom.

Regardless of the immediate question of Libya, and our actions there, the bigger issue is this: our violent, destructive, counter-productive, terrorist-recruiting, manic desire to control the Middle East and its oil, and to rule the world as the empire-heirs of Ancient Rome.

It’s killing us and it’s killing them — literally killing countless thousands of innocents in many different countries and economically killing America. Our roads and bridges are in disrepair. Our schools are a shambles. Our people can’t find good work. Our corporations rape and pillage and plunder with complete impunity. Our democracy is a distant dream.

     Yet, we spend over $1 trillion per year on war, death and destruction, bombs and missiles and guns, and tanks and helicopters and nukes and assassins, mercenaries, torture chambers, prisons, spies, and dictator-support, and god only knows what else.

It is utter madness. A complete obscenity. It is the very essence of The Pornography Of Power. And it is destroying America.

Tom J. Wright
Oakland, Calif.

Protests Instead of Conversations

When the US experienced protests and marches in the streets in the 1960s, conservatism grew into backlash. People were alarmed at the violence and destruction and blamed the protesters for causing it, not the government and/or anti-protesters who were using violence. We see the same thing happening today in the Middle East. Peaceful protest provokes violent reaction.

What has most amazed me is that conservatives are so excitedly protesting these days against “liberals” and all the “evil horrible things they do!” Like what? Fasten their seat belts? Wait their turn in line at the grocery store? Quietly ignore their screaming and yelling? Eat organic? Drive in the speed limit? Wish more people had more food and could get health care when needed that was affordable? Pay their taxes? Can’t see the need to own a gun? What? Ranting about “liberals” makes about as much sense (to me) as complaining that the rubbers you put on are keeping your feet dry.

I just don’t get it. And it’s impossible to keep up with all the things conservatives choose to rant about! We are confused and exhausted — by conservatives.

For all their noise, what — exactly — is their problem?

And you just know that if we — who weren’t them did join in their ranting techniques they’d just use it as an excuse to say “See? See? They’re just like we said they were!”

No, we’re not. But they don’t know that — or want to. They just enjoy Being Upset. It doesn’t really matter, it seems, about what. When one thing gets solved, they jump to something else.

I resent that these people keep jerking us around. There is no Peace. They don’t want peace. It’s not up to us to educate them on every issue. They don’t want to be educated. They want to protest. And that is their right. But even God has an end to His patience. And conservatives surely like to test ours. Too bad that’s all they seem to really want to do.

Their approach is one that only discourages what it seems they want: a conversation. It would really help if they could think about how they might allow that to happen. Otherwise — forget it.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Corporate Moguls Don’t Give Up

As an addition to the 4/15/11 issue item by Randolph T. Holhut, recent reading of three books originally published during the Great Depression reveal identical conditions, players and vocabulary of an attempt by the same corporate fascist forces to overthrow the Constitutional Republic. War is a Racket by Marine Corps Major Gen. Smedley Butler, originally published in 1935, is a short booklet available free online through Google and reissued in 2010 in print by World Classics Books. The Plot to Seize The White House by Jules Archer, originally published in 1973, was republished in 2007. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, originally published in 1935, copyright renewed by Michael Lewis in 1963, was republished with an introduction by Michael Meyer in 2005.

All of the books relate to a plot by corporate moguls to use a private army led by Gen. Butler to seize the White House and reorganize and control the government with their own dictatorship. Butler’s book lists the crimes of the earlier governments and business corporations in worldwide — mainly Central America — use of US military forces to serve business interests in a series of intrusions into and overthrow of foreign democracies. The Archer book goes into detail about the plot to involve Butler in the US overthrow as the general leading the private army made up of WWI veterans. Butler revealed the plot to the first House Un-American Activities Committee ... but, as occurred in every “committee” since, the government failed to follow through to indict the conspirators. The final Sinclair Lewis book is a fictionalized version of the overthrow if it had succeeded.

These three books document the same vocabulary, demonized elements and artifices currently being used to finalize this longtime goal of the corporate oligarchy. Every element is as true today as it was then, only more effective with modern technology. Since that inglorious period, the same forces have been pecking away at the remnants of democracy remaining from continuous assaults over the years, i.e., McCarthyism, Cold War, Military Industrial Complex, Nixon Dictatorship and Watergate, Moral Majority, Carter Administration, Reagan Revolution, Clinton Capitulation, Bush/Cheney Dictatorship, Obama Corporate/Buffett Agent.

Too many Professional Progressives call for phony solutions through the current corrupt institutions. Only the force of millions in the streets to put the absolute fear for their existence will stem this tide of Corporate Fascism determined to destroy all human rights and democracy throughout the nation and led by the Republican/Tea Party/Oil Baron Overlords.

Richard L. Morgan
Bellingham, Wash.

Lost in the Sand

I can’t help calling attention to the writer of “Grain of Sand” letter [3/1/11 TPP, which called for an increase in the federal gasoline tax to pay for highway and bridge improvements]. He must be quite young and doesn’t remember the last gasoline tax bill passed to repair and bring “up to date” our highways, bridges, etc. It was raided to conduct an ongoing war and to prevent regulations on big banking and Wall Street. Check out history before you comment.

Marilyn L. Zielke
Bruce, Wis.

Need Third Party Now

The readers of and writers to The Progressive Populist always provide insightful analyses of our nation’s problems but one that never seems to be broached is the one that eats on me the most: how are we going create a viable third party in America that could gain critical mass before the sun burns out?

I consider the Democratic Party today nothing more than a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party and totally beyond reform and redemption. However, when I interact with members of various socialist groups, Greens and others on the left, I am very disturbed by the fact that merger is not in their politcal lexicon and without that, how can a third party base ever be achieved?

Furthermore, the vast majority of anti-war activists and other peaceniks I know are not socialists, never would become so and are unwilling move any farther to the left than the status of Disaffected Dems which, indeed, may be the core group on which to build the base of a third party.  

I am not a political scientist and hope I haven’t already overstepped my intellectual bounds but I hope readers of and regular syndicated and other contributors to The Progressive Populist will address this subject. Also, perhaps TPP itself will conduct an online forum among its contributors about a third party and publish the results. I certainly would like to read the thoughts of Ralph Nader, for one.

I also urge TPP to survey the American communists, socialists, Greens and all of the anti-war groups and other peacenik groups it can find and ask them: what it would take to motivate you as an independent entity and as individuals to be willing to merge your organization into a new one that we hope would become a third party to challenge those who are confiscating and claiming our America for themselves?

I do know this: if we fail to take any substantial action now toward creation of a third party, our chances of doing so will diminish. Sooner or later, we either will be shot or jailed by the plutocratic oligarchical neo-Nazis in the fascistic Republican/Tea Party, and our ideas and ideals will die with us.

Willard B. Shapira
Roseville, Minn.

Poetic License

Michael Silverstein proves “there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip” [In his introduction to “Never Too Old To Work,” 4/15/11 TPP]. “Grow old with me, the best is yet to come” is Robert Browning, not Robert Burns.

Ed Margerum
Salem, Mass.

From The Progressive Populist, May 1, 2011


News | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2011 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652