The current financial meltdown was not created by George W. Bush or the Republicans. I want to put that out there right now; because election fever has created a tornado belt of mendacity.
The form of the system in crisis is called neoliberalism. The big players are rentier capitalists. The accomplices are the heads of the Republican and Democratic Parties, and the corporate media.
The system itself is capitalism. It's not popular these days, or even prudent, to say this directly and aloud. It's no easier to say it when the core of anti-capitalism for the last century has been the equally-deluded project of state-directed, industrial socialism. But it has to be said if we are to have any chance of transcending both.
A blog is no place to outline the evident complexities of the historical process that led us here, so I'll point to a few sources and leave it to the handful of people who still eschew easy answers to study on it themselves.
The he and the she of it, however, is that the pundit-consensus about the current bailout being necessary is the most monumental con game in history. It's a lie so bold and big it would make Goebbels blush; and it's being greedily absorbed into the sponge of our staggering ignorance.
There were warnings by a handful of Kassandras... for at least a decade now. But those who noted that "the wolves of deflation are howling around the campfire" were dismissed and marginalized... as "catastrophists." And the cattle ambled steadily toward the kill chute.
We are still ambling; and we'll do precisely nothing as our smallest children are put on the hook to pay for the rest of their lives to rescue thieves and bunko artists.
What we should be doing is refusing to pay a dime in taxes. What we ought to be doing is a general strike. But the mystifications of our punditocracy work. They know that we are people without the capacity to do more than "choose" between Pepsi and Coke.
Well march to the polls in November, deluding ourselves that Pepsi is responsible (for what, we don't have the slightest clue) and that Coke will save us. We surrendered our opposition to a war to win an election. Now we'll surrender our own children to an unpayable debt... even though there will likely be a total collapse before many of them are grown.
Yes, that's what I said. The latest lie is that this bailout just means that our involuntary "investment" in the ocean of fictional value -- that just smashed over us like a tsunami -- will be recuperated "when the values go back up." I'm on record right now, and you can call me when I'm seventy. The value is fictional. It will never go back up. They are stealing from you, and both parties of Congress will stay past their vacation start dates to ensure that the theft is signed, sealed, and delivered.
We are in the first stages of a great battle in a class war; and we have already surrendered without a clue. The ruling class has been pumping our brains full of consumerist superficiality for so long that we have lost our ability to think, much less resist. It's like we have LSD in the water supply.
It's not because we are stupid. The recourse to misanthropy is just too easy. It's because one's way of life shapes one's way of knowing; and we don't know any better. We are core-imperial cyborgs, for the most part, hooked up to a vast, extractive life-support system. We believe tv and eat frankenfoods.
Here is what frightens me more than the fact that our children and grandchildren are being set up: our way of life is going to change. That change is going to be abrupt, traumatic, and total; and we are already so utterly and helplessly dependent that we will be susceptible to the call of autocracy and xenophobia. The theoretical debt with which our children are being saddled -- because it is unpayable, and because the money at the heart of the system is itself an article of the blindest faith -- is nothing compared to the world our children will inherit if we don't find our own different way.
We are well into the exterminist stage of imperialism; and it promises to last for some time.
In part 3, I suggest readers compare the "bailout" of Katrina victims with the bailout of Wall Street.
Here are some other links that might help demystify the crisis that is exploding under our feet:
Or you can turn on the television and drink the Kool-aid.