Reprinted from www.counterpunch.org
Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman's Manufacturing Consent, published in 1988, was a ground-breaking, comprehensive analysis of the processes used by American government to persuade citizens to approve whatever witches' brew of deceit, crime, and murder the ruling elite elected to perpetrate.
Today that idea has a quaint, nostalgic charm since no serious person would now contend that our government requires anything resembling consent from its people. It rules imperiously an intellectually lobotomized public it has rendered torpid, quiescent, inanimate. You are now told what it has done or is doing, if you are told anything at all.
While the stupefied, comatose condition of Americans that allows them to opt out of the moral universe and assuage their guilt with petitions, donations, and memberships in faineant feel-good drum circles is not necessarily permanent, an awakening is most unlikely since all forces that could break that trance are devoted to maintaining it.
Government, which Plato, Burke and the Federalist argue will always work to aggrandize itself against all restraint, has triumphed over the people who theoretically empower it, but Government is only a device, a giant toy, a Rube Goldberg machine, and the wholly-owned subsidiary of Capitalism, and the dirty, tattered cover for its absolute rule. With apologies to Clausewitz, American government is the continuation of Capitalism by other means.
Capitalism, controling education, media and culture, ran an intense PR blitz to create a society of shallow, childish, insatiable consumers, paradoxically certain that they were at once utterly worthless and undeniably Number 1. This infantilization of the people produced a double payoff: a citizenry without the acuity to oppose the criminality of the state, but with no limit to their ingrafted materialist "needs". As their regressive, debilitating self-absorption grew, so did their indifference to their own psychic, spiritual, and social health, as well as to the full-spectrum horror their country continually inflicts on nations that won't come to Jesus and kneel to submit to our ravenous Minotaur.
Capitalism, dubiously victorious, is not what it used to be, evolving as its DNA coding required and Marx described. It is now so sick with Financial Elephantiasis that it can't evade its own voracity and, enchained in unpayable debt, it blindly, greedily devours itself. The insanity of world neurosis based on U.S. Capitalist rapacity is now driven entirely by America's own economic panic, not ideology.
There will be no redemption. Capitalism will crash and come disastrously, catastrophically undone. As Marx said, a mode of production's power continues until advancing history enforces its replacement. We are there, and ironically, as the terminally haemorrhaging Capitalist ghoul lurches toward its demise, its death throes will be most agonizingly painful to those zombified American souls who lost consciousnes to the siren lullabies of their destroyers.