quarta-feira, abril 30, 2003
Pensando em fazer turismo em Nova York?
Leia isto e pense de novo.
terça-feira, abril 08, 2003
A elite e a massa
Texto anônimo encontrado no Slashdot. Não concordo com tudo que ele diz (fascista é exagero, ainda mais desde 1945) mas, no geral, mata a pau:
One constant throughout human history has been the struggle between the "haves" and the "have nots." For the purpose of this discussion, I will refer to the "haves" as "the elite" and will call the "have nots" "the rabble." I am doing this to emphasize the fact that the rabble, while comprising most of the population, is almost always pitifully weak and disorganized, thanks to constant manipulation by the elite. "Divide and conquer" has always been the name of the game here; it has always been easy for the elite to manipulate public opinion and keep the rabble squabbling among each other.
The elite, though comprising only 1% of the population (the exact percentages are arguable, though the figures I am using are in the right ballpark), control most of the wealth. (In modern America, one has to be worth at least $100 million to be a serious player.) The elite don't have to work per se; they spend their time making deals, which, although stressful at times, is much too stimulating to fall into the realm of institutionalized drudgery which people commonly refer to as "work."
Falling below the elite in status and power are what could be called "elite wannabes," "lackeys of the elite," or "wealthy rabble." These people are very wealthy by rabble standards.
Power and status are hardwired into human behavior. Before the rise of agriculture, when humans were nomadic hunter-gatherers, it was difficult to accumulate power and status, since possessions were limited by what people could carry with them. There were probably powerful lineages that got passed through the generations, but the gap between the powerful and everybody else was limited due to the nature of their lifestyle.
All this changed with the rise of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago. For the first time, people became sedentary, and they produced surpluses of grain which had to be defended. These surpluses meant unprecedented power for whoever was able to control them, and the first elite was born. For the first time, organized war became possible.
Howard Zinn's "A Peoples' History of America" describes the real dynamics at work behind the American Revolution. Rather than some idealistic "liberty and justice for all," the American Revolution was actually fomented by the American elite, who chafed under the British royalty.
It has been pointed out that by fighting an enemy, one takes on many of the characteristics of that enemy. Interestingly, it was World War 2 when America became a fascist power. By fascism, I am referring to Mussolini's definition: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
By 1945, state and corporate power in America had merged into what was later termed the "military-industrial complex," even though it wasn't until 1961 that Dwight Eisenhower gave his famous speech warning America about a system that had already been in place for 15 years.
Even though America had become fascist by 1945, there remained a vast amount of consolidation to do: there still remained the rabble and their pesky vote (an archaic carryover from the Revolutionary War era). The rabble had recently suffered two major traumas -- the Great Depression and World War Two, and had reached an unprecedented level of solidarity. The rabble had become dangerous, and it was necessary to manipulate them back into their customary position of helplessness, while at the same time enhancing the power of the elite.
It's important to realize that everything to come was perfectly "legal." (The elite have always defined what is "legal" and what is "illegal.") Further, there was no need for a "hidden conspiracy." Every iota of what the elite did was reported (and is still being reported) in the press every day. There was no need for the elite to get together and form a conspiracy: they already shared the same line of thinking. An analogy is the peace movement: nobody has to tell anybody what to do.
The elite strategy, which began during WW 2 and was modified to fit evolving circumstances (which always ratcheted their way), was three-fold:
Maintain this country on a permanent war footing. From the elite's perspective, the federal government has only two functions: (a) to keep the rabble in line, and (b) siphon as much money as possible from the rabble to the elite. War is the most lucrative scam of them all. Not only does war produce vast wealth for the elite, it keeps the rabble divided, traumatized, and unable to form any kind of rebuttal. Thus we were presented with the Cold War and the McCarthy witch hunts: Anything to keep the rabble fearful and distracted, while siphoning vast amounts of money to the elite. (Sounds exactly like 2002's "War on Terrorism," doesn't it?)
Shift the tax burden from the elite onto the rabble. This has proven wildly successful. The results of this are twofold: not only do the elite pay less taxes than ever before, but the rabble start to resent their newly-increased tax burden, and by association, the government that has imposed these taxes. This leads directly to the third prong of the elite strategy:
Weaken the federal government as much as possible, while keeping the military as strong as possible. This is done by starving the government of funding (except for military spending, of course), and by doing away with any and all government regulations.
The Federal Government is the only entity powerful enough to fight the corporations, which the elite have hidden behind for well over 100 years. Although they are nothing but legal fictions, corporations are all too real as far as the law is concerned. Corporations not only provide a mechanism for the elite to protect their assets, they allow the elite to become immortal, since corporations never die. And further, the law allows corporations the same rights as individuals -- freedom of speech and so forth.
Such a deal for the elite -- financial protection, immortality, legal rights. But still, the corporations remained vulnerable to government power. It wasn't until the 1980s, and the Reagan presidency, that the balance shifted radically in favor of the corporations. Not only was Reagan forthright about "starving" government, it was his administration that started the major rollback of government regulations that continues to this day.
Finally, the corporations were able to pillage at will, and what an orgy they have had during the past 22 years.
Television has played a vital role in the dumbing down of the American mass mind. It has been shown that reading to a young child, or telling it stories, are vital to developing a child's imagination. Throughout history, long before writing was developed, people sat around campfires at night and told each other stories. This simple act of storytelling stimulates the appropriate synapses in childrens' brains, neural networks are established, and they are able to imagine. By contrast, a child exposed to a constant diet of television never develops these neural networks -- there is no need for them, because everything is done for the child. What we end up with is an individual, or in America's case, tens of millions of individuals, with a constant need to be entertained. Incapable of thinking for themselves.
TV is its own validation: events on TV are "real" in a way that events in the physical world are not. Thus, a "President" (forgive the quotes, but you know what I mean) speaking on TV is validated in a way that protestors standing on the street are not, if they are not televised.
Much has been made of the emphasis on sex and violence in TV and movies. But not enough has been said about a third powerful message: the abject worship of wealth for its own sake. Since the people that make movies and TV shows are hungry for wealth, it's only natural that their products are also... and infect the cultural mythos.
The contagion has spread beyond TV and movies into all areas of popular culture -- music, sports, the enormous popularity of gambling, politics, corporate boardrooms -- which are infected by a culture of violent greed, with an understory of exploitative sex for good measure.
sexta-feira, abril 04, 2003
Ataque das lulas gigantes!!!
Pela mãe do guarda!