October 20, 2003
Rules of the Game
Since ancient times elite groups have pursued their interests by employing the masses.
Utilizing governmental authority is extremely effective since governments create and administer laws that affect the lives, fortunes, and destinies of all who are subject to their jurisdiction. To impose its will the government must maintain ample police and military forces.
Strong as the governmental powers may be, it must not be too onerous or unreasonable because the rulers are vulnerable to an uprising of the people.
Many of the elite's interests conflict with the interests of the masses. Thus, they cannot divulge their plans. Various devious means are utilized to gain the loyalty and support of the masses.
Controlling the Rabble
Through years of experience governments have learned how to pacify and subdue the populace. Whether the state is capitalist or socialist, a democracy or a dictatorship, loyalty to the system must be established.
Indoctrination techniques are utilized throughout the lives of their subjects.
As soon as children are old enough to learn, rituals are employed to bind the children to the state. They are taught patriotic songs and loyalty oaths that they do not yet understand. They are fed myths of a heroic past that was bequeathed to the nation by their forefathers. They are assured that their well-being is guaranteed by the state and that they are fortunate indeed to be living in the finest country on earth.
This brainwashing is continued throughout their lives to prevent their joining dissenters. A sizeable opposition could forestall the leaders plans.
The education of the citizens must be carefully tailored to affect the desired results.
In totalitarian states the government is in control of the schools and the media. It is therefore imperative that their subjects have confidence that the government is honest and reliable. If the people distrust their government they will no longer believe the media's news reports.
To exercise control in a democracy the educational system and the media must be subtly enlisted to endorse the government's plans.
The citizenry must be aware that the state has ultimate control. Those who veer from the permissible path can be executed, their property can be confiscated, they can be imprisoned and/or they can be inducted into the military forces.
Patriotism of the Citizens
Every state enacts laws to produce 'good citizens' -- citizens who blindly support their government. Opposition is frowned upon. Opposition that is ineffective, however, will be ignored. The 'good citizens' will be impressed by how tolerant the state is. If opposition becomes sizeable and effective, more onerous punishments will be enforced to stall and reverse the momentum. Innocent dissidents jeopardize their life, their liberty and their property.
Nevertheless, the laws governing the state must be perceived as reasonable and fairly executed.
Peoples and governments everywhere probably consider murder the worst of all criminal activities. The mass murderer whose victims include helpless innocent women and children is the most despicable and heinous of all -- the worst of the worst. When ordered, indoctrinated patriots in the police or military will readily commit that most abominable act and find great pleasure and enjoyment in the performance of their duty. Since ancient times, states have enlisted their armies to perpetrate these terrible crimes. To remain in power every government -- totalitarian or democracy -- must abide by these precepts.
The U.S. Applies the Precepts
To discover the intentions of the elite it is necessary to know who they really are.
Thoughtful individuals realize that in the U.S. the multinational corporations and the wealthy billionaire fat cats are the obvious answer. That cabal includes the blue chips of corporate America and the blue bloods of society. To insure that the government is cognizant and responsive to their needs, sufficient grease is applied to the working parts. Generous campaign contributions are reciprocated most liberally (even by conservatives).
Because the government claims to be responsive to the people suitable justifications must be found for its raids on the treasury. Fortunately for the government, the elite enlist their experts in the art of persuasion -- think tanks, public relations firms, the media, etc. -- to formulate a plausible justification for governmental action.
Examine some of the recent P.R. campaigns to rip off the public for the benefit of the elite masters -- cutting taxes that are overgenerous for the wealthy; eliminating the estate tax and tax on dividends; reforming welfare; passing trade legislation (NAFTA); privatizing Social Security; legitimizing and promoting HMOs; deregulating; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Some have already produced the desired results.
To demonstrate their fiscal responsibility they will cut benefits for the poor and helpless who are characterized as undeserving and shiftless.
Look back into American history and discover a system that was created to turn Robin Hood on his head. Exploit the poor for the benefit of the rich. But feed the public fairy tales so they will be unaware of the con.
A simple analysis of some major historical events and programs follows.
The Founding Fathers and the Constitution
The colonial elite had a serious problem. How could they get the rabble to fight their battles without rewarding them?
The founding fathers, the colonial elite of the United States skillfully procured support from the populace by proclaiming their intentions for democracy; but their actions did not conform to their promises. The majority of the people favored the Articles of Confederation, a document that kept sovereignty in the states yet bound them together to fight the crown. But it required amending to strengthen it. The elite were not sold on the Articles as it did not meet their needs. They wanted a government that would protect their property; a government that they would control; a government that would have enough power to keep the less privileged in their place.
Armed uprisings by poor hard-pressed debtors were occurring in many states; in other states their legislative demands were prevailing.
The elite reacted by deceitfully engineering a convention for the stated purpose of amending the Articles. Instead, behind closed doors, they came up with a totally different document but one that met their requirements, the Constitution. Knowing that ratification of their masterpiece would be difficult, they lowered the necessary approval threshold from unanimous approval of all thirteen states to just nine. Since the limited electorate (only the propertied class could vote) would not ratify what was offered they were compelled to promise a Bill of Rights to entice a favorable vote.
The first ten amendments that emerged did not mar their accomplishment.
Ratification gave them what they wanted. The new government's police powers were able to squelch uprisings and maintain the status quo.
The Marshal Plan
How could goods and services be sold when the customers were broke; and how could unfavorable political policies be changed?
World War II left major world powers, most of Europe and many other nations around the world completely devastated. Colonial countries were rebelling and empires were disintegrating. Leftists who had gained credibility during the war by their heroic activities against the totalitarian enemies threatened the conservative regimes of the past.
The continental United States emerged untouched, and as the most powerful military and economic nation it was primed to extend its influence into the far corners of the earth. A sizable share of the promising European market was a goal of the business community. But the potential market was broke. To resolve that problem the crafty geniuses devised a program in which the taxpayer would pay the price while corporate America would capture the profits -- a unique scheme called the Marshal Plan.
The public was told that to save the poor starving children of Europe, who were in desperate need of help, humanitarian aid from the U.S. was imperative. The appeal was so effective that ever since the Marshal Plan has been extolled as a most impressive gift to save the poor, struggling people of Europe. It was a gift, all right, but from the American taxpayers to corporate America.
The Europeans could not obtain funds to restore their home economies or to purchase their needs from the most reliable source. They were required to accept American products and services. Those starving European children could appease their appetites with such nutritious products as Coca-Cola and Camel cigarettes. In addition, in order to qualify they were required to accept restrictions on their political structure. The democracies of Europe could not enact many left-wing programs that seemed to be on the horizon. Because of those restrictions, the Soviet Union and its satellites turned down the golden opportunity to latch on to some of America's big name brands.
Foreign governments' investment and trade policies were often detrimental to American business. How could those governments be induced to provide more hospitable conditions?
With the end of WWII America was now in the big leagues. It was time to play the game like all the other major players. All strategies and tactics, no matter how despicable, were permitted but everything had to be "hush-hush."
A new agency was created specifically to operate secretly. It was so secret that most congressional representatives were afforded limited knowledge of its activities. A massive budget, which Congress was required to approve, was also kept secret.
But oh those miserable whistle-blowers, former CIA employees, who were so revolted by what they experienced that they disclosed the criminal workings that were the stock in trade of the agency. Over the years, many of the nefarious activities have become common knowledge thanks to those dissidents, Congressional hearings and investigative reporting.
Coups engineered by the agency top the list of horror stories that have been exposed. Popular leaders were ousted and replaced by tyrants who were loyal to their American master.
A few of these notable CIA successes include the following:
Iran. The democratically-elected Mossadegh was overthrown and the Shah was restored to the throne. American oil companies were amply rewarded.
Guatemala. The popular nationalist Arbenz was booted out although he had offered the United Fruit company compensation for properties it distributed to poor peasants.
Chile. Democratically elected Salvador Allende committed suicide as General Pinochet, who became the new ruler, brutally crushed any opposition. The criminal activities of the new government were typical of the practices of CIA-created governments. The properties of ITT and US mining companies that had been nationalized were promptly returned.
Indonesia. President Sukarno was replaced during a bloodbath that may have chalked up as many as one million killed. The CIA itself described it as "one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century." His replacement, Suharto, welcomed big business in to feast upon the wealth of the country and to impose slave labor conditions upon its workers.
Occasionally, the CIA could not deliver a coup. Thus it organized, funded and supplied a paramilitary group to accomplish the task. Example: The Contras defeated the Sandonistas, those desperados who kicked out good ole Somoza.
Assassinating foreign officials, dealing in drugs, recruiting criminals were some of the no-holds-barred activities the agency employed.
Support by the masses was necessary to successfully wage wars. Their 'blood, sweat, and tears' were needed to win for the elite.
Whenever the elite's interests could not be satisfied short of war a justification was provided to get the requisite backing of the masses.
The Revolutionary War has already been mentioned.
The Civil War was the culmination of bitter disagreements between the elites of north and south as to the future direction of the country. The southerners were willing to quit the club if they could pick up all their marbles, but their northern rivals refused to lose that chunk of territory. Heck, numerous battles were fought across the continent to gobble up as much land as the country could digest. Well over half a million men died in the Civil War. Those numbers do not include the club members. The northerners could buy their way out; and wealthy southerners who owned 20 or more slaves were exempt.
Atrocities attributed to the Germans were concocted to stir up sufficient pressure for U.S. entry into World War I. Congressional hearings conducted after the war disclosed that influence and lobbying by the munitions industry and the bankers was instrumental in getting the U.S. in.
FDR was anxious to get the U.S. into World War II. However, the country was overwhelmingly opposed to entry. By enticing the Japanese to attack he was able to rally the country into the war. Big business readily fell into line since an allied victory promised a more profitable future.
Lies were prominent in the other wars as well. But exposure did not occur until well after those wars had ended.
The elite has masterfully pulled the strings to influence contemporary government policies. Beat The Bushes And Round Up The Usual Suspects will focus on a few examples and will appear in an upcoming issue of Swans.
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America the 'beautiful' on Swans
Philip Greenspan on Swans (with bio).
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