Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How the World Works

[Brilliant writing and analysis from the blog 'AfterTheFuture'. click title above to read full post]

...this is the way the world works. Power uses power to consolidate power. The power system is self-perpetuating because it only hires and promotes people who serve its interests without questioning them. And the system and those who serve it co-opt or threaten anybody who would question it. The beltway media are full of people who have been threatened or coopted, and they may or may not be consciously aware of their acquiescence.

They live in a culture of acquiescence to power, and so it is normal and expected behavior for them to acquiesce to it. They do it without thinking, taking their cues from whoever it is whose job it is to give such cues. And they take the cues because their careers and lifestyles depend on it. They would not have risen to the positions they hold now if they were not ambitiously good cue takers. And so they have a vested interest in praising and supporting those who, like them, take the cues and squelching anybody who refuses to take them, because their livelihood and wellbeing depends on the charade continuing.

And whether we approve or disapprove makes no difference because we don't hire them, and our criticisms have little or no impact on their performance. They perform for their bosses and for one another in this self-reinforcing fiction that keeps them all in the positions they worked so hard to obtain. The self-perpetuation of the system doesn't require conspiracies and evil geniuses, just a lot of people pursuing their self interests and forming alliances with others who understand the game and will help you out so long as you serve their interests and play by the rules. Challenging the rules is out of the question, and gets you kicked out of the game. A guy like Ralph Nader will never be taken seriously because he challenges the rules--and Liberals who want Nader thrown out of the game are basically acquiescing to the rules as they are set up. The problem with Liberals is basically their naive belief that the system still works.

Kamiya and Greenwald are like wide-eyed boys who are telling us the emperor has no clothes, but it doesn't matter because there are too many people with a vested interest in the charade continuing, and everyone who sees the truth of the situation has no imagination about what to do about it. And if they do, if they express their understandable outrage, they will get ridiculed, ostracized or even tasered and arrested. And for what? Will it change anything?

Nothing is going to happen in Washington until serious power coalitions develop that have weight enough to counter the enormous entrenched and unaccountable corporate and bureaucratic power that is the driving force behind, particularly, the M/I complex. There are other power centers, but this one is the most deeply entrenched and the most resistant to political control.

I don't think the people who serve these power centers are evil, but they are the banal servants of evil. What is needed are heroes. These servants of power are just ordinary human beings like the media types described above. They are ambitious, and they do what they are told in order to get ahead. Petraeus is the archetype of this kind of person. The media recognize one of their own--he's a talented brown-nose, nothing more. That's what is so facetious about his being lionized last week. People like him don't think about the big picture. They are given assignments, they complete them, and they are rewarded. They mostly believe they are doing good work, serving their country. They don't think about the implications too much, and they are too willing to believe the propaganda justifying their mission because to question it would undermine their career aspirations, and, anyway, what good what that do?

The power system is self-perpetuating in this way. To change it would require a high level of awareness and a level of heroic commitment from millions of people inside and outside of government. And what citizens do in the ballot box is irrelevant until a slate of candidates arise who say that they are willing to confront and subject this system to the will of the people. Until that happens, the charade continues, and while Republicans are the more obsequious in serving these power centers, the Democrats, as we've seen, haven't the political will to confront them. They, too, are careerists, and first and foremost is the fulfillment of their own and their consultants' ambitions, and that requires that they, too, play by the rules. That's what it takes to be taken seriously, and that's just how the world works.

P.S. The whole Greensapn Iraq was "largely about oil'" statement in his new book is an interesting breach of the rules that even he, the most serious of serious Beltway types, felt he had to back away from by convolutedly talking about the threat Saddam posed to the Straits of Hormuz (?!). Just say anything, Alan--Americans don't know where the straits are anyway, and don't care. Of course Iraq was and continues to be largely, if not most importantly, about oil. But it's against the rules to talk about oil. What was he thinking? Did Andrea know he slipped it into his book?

No comments: