Thursday, December 9, 2010
On the Inability to Comprehend the Concept of "Captive Government."
As the WikiLeaks Thing proceeds, it's helpful to keep in mind that the Government -- which is supposedly trying mightily to suppress the Leaks -- is "captive." It is captive to its Owners and Stakeholders, and they are not us: We, the People. The Owners include a shrinking cabal of domestic corporate interests, a substantial number of foreign governments and corporate interests, and a relative handful of Old Line Wealth-and-Power families that have "always" been in influential positions.
The Stakeholders in general include the continuous associations of private interest such as the Military-Industrial Complex, the Medical-Industrial Complex, the Financial-Industrial Complex, the Petroleum-Industrial Complex and the Prison-Industrial Complex among others. They are generally represented by the lobbyists and specific "owned" representatives in the White House and in Congress Assembled.
These are the true rulers who hold the Government captive. The People have little more than an advisory role most of the time. Frequently, they don't even have that.
The media, you could say, "orchestrates" the interplay between Government, its actual constituency and the People.
And this situation is built in to the kind of government we have. It's a feature, not a bug in the theories of Constitutional Self-Government that were fundamental to the founding of the Republic.
The Government exists to protect and fulfill the interests of the Owners and Stakeholders. In effect, the Government is a subsidiary of the rich and powerful and well-connected.
When you internalize the nature of Our Government, many of its otherwise inexplicable actions make sense. Why are the banks constantly bailed out, but not the People? Why are wars continued indefinitely? What is the function of the Empire? Who is being served and why?
And you understand better why the interests of the People are so often completely irrelevant to the interests of the Government and the Interests the Government serves. The Government is not "yours." It is the captive of its Owners and Stakeholders.
I've pointed repeatedly to the "languid indifference" of the White House -- and Congress -- to the plight of the ordinary people in this country, but rarely have I got very deeply into the question of why they are so indifferent, apart from acknowledging their understanding that Americans aren't going to do anything about it. In fact, if anything, most seem to be as indifferent as their government.
When you understand that the Government serves the interests of its Owners and Stakeholders, not the abstract interests of the Constitution (ie: Holy Writ) or the practical and real interests of the People, then much of the Hysteria surrounding the Julian Assange/WikiLeaks episode seems a bit misplaced. To say the least.
The Government has no self-interest -- except, of course, self-perpetuation. If we want to pretend that WikiLeaks is an existential threat to the Government, then we have to wonder just what kind of rank nihilists are behind the outfit and its activities. Unless you are obsessed with destruction for its own sake, you do not pose an existential threat to the Government -- or any other standing institution -- without some kind of replacement vision in mind and widely shared by your cohorts. Cf: Luther, Martin. You just don't.
But are WikiLeaks and Goldstein/Assange an existential threat to the Government? Not likely. From everything I've been able -- or willing -- to learn about the docs that have been released so far, there is nothing -- at all -- Government-shattering in them. And Julian has never been much devoted to the anarchism/nihilism of many of his followers. He seems to me to be a fairly standard issue Anglo-Neo-Imperialist and Idealist who sincerely believes that current regimes are doing it wrong, and that "transparency" as he defines it is the curative.
He seems to believe that a Prissy Puritanism is preferable to what he apparetly sees as the licentiousness of practice.
But what he seems to miss -- and what his followers (especially the Libertarians) completely avoid is the fact that Our Government is not Ours. The actions of this government are not controllable by "us," and bringing "transparency" to its actions on Assange's terms helps not a whit to improve matters. The problem of absurd levels of secrecy in Government is real. But so are the problems due to the captivity of Government by limited company of private interests, and their levels of secrecy.
What I've seen happening from the beginning of the WikiLeaks brou-ha-ha (even prior to the April 2010 release of the "Collateral Murder" video) is what looks like a factional fight within government for power.
Much the same sort of thing was apparent when the Gingrichite bombthrowers were going after the Clinton White House. The difference is that much of what was going on during the Clinton Drama was on the surface. It's not so now.
It's not so much an attack on the White House by a Congressional Faction and its constituency. That battle has already been won. Now it is faction against faction within the Captive Government. The opportunist Libertarians want a seat at the table and a piece of the pie. What happens to every one else is of even less concern to them than it is to the Captive Government. They want to have a turn at the reins.
The Nihilists, of course, just want to destroy everything and piss on the debris.
It is their bliss.
Our problem is Captive Government. That problem is built in to our Constitution and the Government that arose from it and continues to this day. "Going back" to the Constitution as it was simply reinforces the problem, it does not in any way rectify it.
What we need is a complete overhaul of our governmental and economic systems.
What we are experiencing is a consolidation of some of the worst aspects of the system we have. I'm sure in the eleventy-dimensional realm so many gamers live in, that's a Good Thing because it will lead eventually to the collapse of the whole damn thing.
But there is nothing to replace it with. And that is only pleasing to Nihilists.
There is so much work to do.