One of the greatest Myths propagated by the contemporary American neo-conservative powers that be is the idea that Democracy and Capitalism are one and the same, that the former cannot exist without the latter, and, most dangerously, that big company-led Capitalism Uber Alles actually leads to, promotes and protects what the Founding Fathers intended for our Democracy.
Yes, most developed and Democratic countries are regarded as capitalist, but the vast majority of them have some “combination of mixed economies, government-owned means of production, economic interventionism” (paraphrased from Wikipedia) and/or various socialist-inspired policies that insure the well being of their citizens and the world.
The Conservative movement, at least the version I grew up with, used to be based on a core value of small government – a kind of overarching mistrust of big powerhouses that controlled everything. In a government of, by and for the people, it seemed in line with the Revolutionary “no taxation without representation,” except that Conservatives wanted, both, little taxation, and small government: control of your own money, choices, rules – an almost libertarian approach to decision-making, with the occasional foray into public safety (such as Nixon’s commitment to the environment).
But two groups have mostly taken over the Conservative agenda since the 80s: the Christian Right and Corporate America. The former was needed as a base simply to win votes, and is mostly kept happy with ideological rhetoric and a faux born again Christian in the White House (“I guess I’m more of a practical fellow,” in response to the Biblical / Rapture questions around the War on Terror this week). The latter is far more dangerous.
Ironically, the Christian Right goes against my aforementioned base Conservative values. It wants government to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and take rights away from same sex couples, for example. These have become part of core Neo-Conservatism over the years.
But Big Business actually takes hypocrisy to whole new levels. Of course, they are fully behind exporting Democracy (Capitalism). The Iraq war turned, and continues to turn, huge profits for the likes of Halliburton et al, and was also meant to insure oil in our futures, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola in Iraq’s.
On the one hand, we have a 9 trillion dollar deficit, warrant-less wire-tapping, unprovoked war, an obliteration of checks and balances, not to mention the ridiculous subsidies Big Farmers get in our “Free Trade” – basically, the biggest government (and debt) in the history of our nation.
On the other, we have these same “Conservatives” screaming for tax cuts, no regulation on things like pollution, the only developed nation without universal health care – all in the guise of small government.
In between, we have a media mostly maintained by the same corporate sponsors who lobby in Washington by making “donations” to our governmental “representatives” – leaving very little room for accountability.
This is not conspiracy theory; this is Capitalism in the guise of Democratic policy, and it’s no longer controlled by The People if The People are misinformed. In a country where Democracy = Capitalism, Power and Freedom are inextricably linked to Capital: dollars and cents. The main links holding the Neo-Con agenda together are, simply, Corporate America profits. Corporate America has become the powerhouse Conservatism always warned against; but since they are one and the same, they are not complaining.
At a distance, I’m beginning to mourn for my birth-country. We are fighting for principles we do not uphold; we are giving up Freedoms in the name of Freedom; we are enabling commercials to sell us lies, and user-tested rhetoric and taglines to define our government. This is not Democracy; it’s 1984.
If you are not angry, you are not paying attention.