"Of Shameless Devotion to Wealth, Privilege, and Empire"
Consider this my mea culpa for publishing If You Hate America So Much, Why Don’t You Get the Hell Out! (1) on my notoriously unorthodox sociopolitical blog, Thomas Paine’s Corner (2). When Jay Gould III, the former CEO of a major defense contractor, challenged me to post his viewpoint, I agreed to do so. This despite the fact that most of his positions clash violently with Thomas Paine’s Corner’s stated purpose, which is:
… advancing universal human rights, fostering social and economic justice, and supporting the cause of all oppressed, exploited, and impoverished human beings on our Earth.
After a series of email exchanges with my allies, publishers, partner sites, and with Gould, I realized that I had exercised poor judgment in putting his piece on my blog and in exercising my publishing privileges on his behalf on OpEd News(3). As Gould himself pointed out in a gleeful email (in which he called me his “useful idiot”), I had provided him with a means to reach online readers to advance his elitist agenda, which could easily have been learned at the knee of the Bush matriarch.
Upon reading Gould’s vituperative attack on minorities, dissidents, human rights, equality, economic justice, the rule of law, Chalmers Johnson, and a host of other progressive people, causes, and values, Jeff Rense of Rense.com(4) assessed Gould by commenting:
“He’d have no problem manning the guard towers at death camps for dissident Americans…dissident meaning people who don’t agree with him. He’s possibly insane by some standards.”
In retrospect, I agree with Jeff. It is obvious that Jay Gould III, despite being an ostensibly respectable member of society, has some serious mental health issues and is badly in need of intensive therapy. His absence of compassion and empathy would probably indicate something on the order of narcissistic (or perhaps even anti-social) personality disorder. Obviously his position of privilege has enabled him to keep his pathologies hidden enough to avoid legal entanglements and maintain the wealth and influence that his kind craves. However, that makes him no less dangerous than an impoverished, uneducated individual with similar tendencies who has acted out by committing a violent crime.
Over the last few days he has flooded my inbox with emails. Virtually every time someone has posted a negative response to his harangue (which appeared on a number of sites), he has taken it personally and sent me an attack email. I have acquired a cyber-stalker of sorts, who delights in bombarding me with acrimonious missives. While it gets tiresome, it is actually more amusing than bothersome. When I envisage that bitter, terrified individual safely barricaded within his gated community making desperate attempts to preserve his pampered lifestyle and justify his loathsome existence, I feel an ambivalent blend of pathos and schadenfreude.
As I am wont to do in adverse circumstances (or after I have made a poor decision), I have made a conscious choice to find the silver lining in this situation. Mr. Gould has provided us with a rare opportunity. Dispensing with the deceitful rhetoric of benevolent intentions and baring his depraved soul, this mean-spirited member of the plutocracy has revealed a face of the United States’ ruling elite you won’t see on CNN.
An analysis of a few points of Mr. Gould’s diatribe are highly instructive for those 6.4 billion (or so) of us not “fortunate” enough to have the option of casually urinating on the rest of humanity as a means of satisfying our sadistic impulses.
Gould mentioned that he was enraged by Chalmers Johnson’s opinions and conclusions(5) about the United States. Anger is a natural response when one feels threatened. Wealthy elites like Gould, particularly one whose roots are deeply intertwined with those of the military industrial complex, have plenty of reason to fear Johnson’s insights. Military Keynesianism is bankrupting our nation, fueling perpetual war, and establishing a tyranny ruled by a unitary executive. As Johnson asserts, an imperial foreign policy is inimical to a republic. To restore our republic, we need to let our empire go. And in so doing, men like Gould stand to lose much in the way of wealth and power.
Attacking the alternative media on the Internet was an obvious reactionary move by Gould. The Internet is the last frontier of mass communication that is still relatively free of domination by major corporations (on which the US plutocracy depends to inculcate and manipulate the masses). Whether one agrees with the politics of the sites which Gould impugned or not, the beauty of those online publications is their independent nature. Their content is not shaped, molded, or choreographed to advance the interests of corporate paymasters and well-heeled aristocrats.
It is telling that Gould launched such vicious attacks upon “liberals”, “Communists”, and “Socialists”. For years we US Americans have been indoctrinated to believe that people subscribing to such “subversive” political or socioeconomic philosophies are threats to the United States. Ironically, those who believe in such “malevolent” concepts as regulating corporations, the dismantlement of the military industrial complex, human equality, preservation of the environment, a diminished wealth gap, universal health care, and labor rights are a genuine threat to only a couple million filthy rich individuals. Why does most of the remaining 99.5% of the populace in the United States fight so hard for the right of the likes of the Bush’s to keep their obscene fortunes built via a system that enriches the few and impoverishes the many? Simple. We have been programmed to defend American Capitalism from all “threats”, even if it means sacrificing our lives or the lives of loved ones in imperial conquests like Iraq.
Men like Gould have a deeply vested interest in maintaining the utterly insane status quo. In perpetuating perhaps the most powerful mass delusion in the history of humankind, a bevy of moneyed concerns have acted to further their common objectives by enticing a majority of the remaining 298 million US Americans to devote their existences to further enriching those atop a brutal pyramid scheme which they fraudulently label “capitalism”. In reality, the post-feudal serfdom experienced by most human beings in the US sphere of influence does not remotely resemble Adam Smith’s (nor his contemporaries’) vision for humanity. Even if their notion of capitalism had evolved beyond the abstract, it is inconceivable that these men, who dwelt in a world where chattel slavery, monarchy, colonialism, and imperial expansionism were common practice, could have conceived of an economic scheme that could even begin to facilitate the existence of a society based on democratic principles or a government based upon constitutional republicanism.
Gould’s train truly jumped the rails when he started referring to a number of unindicted US war criminals in favorable terms. Reams have been written about the egregious transgressions of Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, Kissinger, Rumsfeld, Feith, and the rest of the motley crew cited by Gould as saviors and heroes. Lying, cheating, stealing, and committing mass murder with impunity, these individuals are guiltier of far worse acts than most of the two million human beings languishing in the vast American Gulag which Gould characterized as a “a privatized prison system that is the envy of all those who respect the rule of law”.
Jay’s disdain for Black Americans, Native Americans, Latin Americans, and people of Middle Eastern descent coupled with his contempt for women, the homeless, non-Christians, the disabled, gays, and the mentally ill demonstrate that he does believe in a standard of equality, at least when it comes to discriminating and hating. Thanks, Mr. Gould. But we don’t need another reminder that the United States was founded by a wealthy white Christian patriarchy. Or that one of the most flawed aspects of our Constitutional republic was that women, blacks, Native Americans, and the poor were severely marginalized by our revered founding fathers.