Two articles today say a lot about our current predicament. I know the fence sitters, the deniers, the Ayn Rand cultists, the neoliberal financialization experts, consultants for the uber-wealthy, economic growth cultists, golfers, addicts, Kardashians, office clerks, salarymen and women, executives, salespeople, shopkeepers, and zombie consumers are all doing there best to avoid facing the facts, the truth. Their cognitive dissonance might have to be surgically removed, that's how stubborn they are. I'll say it again; they can't conceive of the forest for the Ikea furniture.
They are happy, happy I say, paying for wars when the global players order a reset; when banks run out of reasons to print money for investment banks to fuel the game. The people might call a war a "reset" if they were more aware of how the world works. Instead, they feel it's peacemaking. Or, that it's necessary to spread freedom, democracy, liberalism, Judeo Christian, or Western values. During and after "the reset," ordinary people sing hymns and patriotic songs while remembering their fallen heroes. Chris Hedges' book title aptly illustrates their catharsis, "War Is The Force That Gives Us Meaning."
They have been adequately brainwashed into believing that their leaders have their best interests at heart and are not merely in it for the money and power. Think, Dick Cheney, even if you think the movie was inaccurate or unfair. The system trains us to compete with each other and fight among ourselves. We are confused and retreat to the comfort of our tribe where we retrench and harden our hearts.
Ordinary people get all fired up when they hear weasel words and terms they don't understand but have been taught to fear. Ordinary people are easy to point and shoot. Tell them socialism is a bad word, and they will use grotesque invective when referring to a socialist. "Those beep, beep, mother beeping, socialists – kill them all!"
It's sad, but we are that easy to manipulate, and we don't even know it. We think we are making this stuff up as we go along. We have the illusion of a creative process when, in reality, we are programmed Zombies going about some other person's business.
I'm writing this in Hong Kong now, where thousands of people are in the streets fighting for their minimal but precious rights. All they want is for their leaders to keep their promises. I am sad to say that they don't stand a chance. If mainland people don't join their struggle, their struggle is lost. Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, that limelight seeking vandal, gives speeches to the players about how America is letting China down and nothing but regime change in Beijing can sort the world out.
Special forces consisting of economic hitmen continue to destroy Venezuela's economy, creating yet another refugee crisis. The player's story is that the blame for Venezuela's woes can be laid squarely at the feet of Maduro, he alone brought it upon the people. Of course, the people had already voted to keep Maduro in a free and fair election, only to have Koch Industries, and their CIA minions, fund an opposition party that has no legs and no legitimacy. And the faithful believe it without question — the millionaires who are paid by billionaires on cable TV spout the propaganda like deep fake puppets.
So what's in the news accept absurd irony and more honest attempts to point decent people in a new direction, a direction that will save their children's lives and give them the better life that they feel is their duty to provide.
First, let's look at an article in that radical rag known as The National Geographic. It sites studies that say that the best way for city dwellers to combat the existential threat of climate change is to consume less. It made me chuckle because people like myself have been saying this for thirty years. Can brainwashed consumer addicts get off that train? Remember what the 46th president of the great United States said was the answer to the last economic crisis; that great fleecing of the people? "Just go shopping." – George W. Bush
Now National Geographic is telling us that the only thing we need to do to come out smelling like a rose garden is to take a green shower by shopping less. I shake my head slowly, staring at the floor, my shoulders slumped before turning on YouTube to find inspiration from Jordon Peterson.
Next, we have some more honest and prescient advice published on Jacobin, titled, "Stop Polluting Our Green New Deal."
In it, they list their "The Ten Pillars of the Green New Deal for Europe."
1. Faced with the emergency of the climate and ecological crises, winning slowly is the same as losing. The Green New Deal, then, must meet the scale of the challenge with sufficient investment in an economic transformation that respects our planetary boundaries, not only decarbonizing our economies but also reversing biodiversity loss.
2. The burden of our transition cannot fall on the shoulders of working families, so the Green New Deal must be grounded in Keynesianism: the money must be raised by public banks issuing green bonds.
3. The green transition cannot be a top-down process. Instead, the Green New Deal must be infused with democracy, empowering citizens and communities to make the decisions that shape their futures.
4. Europe — like the United States — is mired in a mix of unemployment, underemployment, and precarious employment that fails to generate prosperity for working families. The Green New Deal must be a program of job creation, providing a decent job to all those who seek one.
5. But it must also move beyond a job guarantee and raise the standard of living for all. For example, the Green New Deal must construct millions of sustainable homes and smart energy grids, addressing the crises of housing insecurity and fuel poverty.
6. The standard of living generated by the Green New Deal cannot be clawed back by the interests of capital. So the Green New Deal must create structures that entrench equality within and between countries — regardless of race, sexuality, gender, age, or ability — by taking the interests of finance head on and challenging its pursuit of short-term gain for the few over long-term prosperity for the many.
7. The Green New Deal is an opportunity to reimagine our future. It must harness our collective knowledge and invest in technological advancements that will liberate us from labor — not increase shareholder value.
8. Measuring progress through GDP growth is at the root of our crises of inequality and environmental devastation. So the Green New Deal must abandon the dogma of GDP growth and focus on what matters: health, happiness, and the environment.
9. Because we cannot solve the environmental crisis on our own, the Green New Deal must redress the colonial legacy of aggressive pollution and resource extraction across the Global South. It must support others in their green transition and ensure that the supply chains that drive the green transformation are committed to principles of social and environmental justice.
10. Finally, the Green New Deal must graduate our environmental politics from negotiation to action. After nearly thirty years of failed negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Green New Deal is an opportunity for a decisive shift towards credible, specific measures targeted at every area of our societies.
That's all for today except to say, fence sitters, I want you to try to persuade me that The Zeitgeist Movement is not a great way to frame humanities struggle during the first quarter of the 21st Century. Come on, don't be afraid, my team argues to discover, not to injure.