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    Hardly Neutral

    The Nurturing of Fundamentalist Ideology

    by | 11 | Apr 30, 2012

    The term “fundamentalist ideology” probably evokes the idea of Islamic fanaticism to many, Christian or Jewish extremists to others, but rarely are the promoters of capitalism associated with the term. Yet, there is clearly a similar level of intellectual dishonesty. Rush Limbo (my brother calls him Rush Limbeck, feeling that someone so monumentally dishonest deserves mis-pronounciation), implied at the time, that the Gulf oil-spill disaster was caused by “whacko environmentalists” and though he polices the hysterical end of capitalism you won’t find a lot of real analysis on the more respectable end either. His job, why he’s a multi-millionaire, is to distract the frustration and anomie felt by his listeners, and funnel it onto targets like the poor, women, minorities, unions, government… anywhere but the likely source of their anomie, capitalism.

    It is mostly through the media that we encounter information that we shape into a notion of what’s going on in the world and of course the way that information is presented is hardly neutral. Numerous pundits approvingly report on the “nuclear renaissance” without mentioning Chernobyl, indeed, scrupulously avoiding the New York Academy of Science’s recent claim that nearly a million people world-wide died as a result of that “accident.” Fukushima, on-going disaster, seems not to phase true believers either, superbly capable of withstanding any and all challenge to their deep denial. And my long unanswered question, if we truly have a free press providing a full range of views for an informed citizenry where are the socialist commentators? In my home town newspaper you get Bill O’reilly all the way over to Thomas Sowell. That’s probably true across the country. No commentator consistently pointing out the contradictions and corruption of capitalism and discussing an alternative need apply to any mainstream news outlet. The late Molly Ivins came closest, a token liberal perhaps but even she supported Clinton’s Kosovo war. The AJC dropped her column sometime before she died since she tended to point out the disparity of wealth in these heah United States, violating a free press no-no. Jay Bookman stands in as the AJC’s lone “liberal”. Though he writes many good columns he avoids dwelling on class.

    I will use the handy expression “elephant in the room” only once, to point out class as the mammoth subject avoided in the polite mainstream media, under the protection of fundamentalist ideology. The chief beneficiaries of class, the wealthy, are who own the mainstream media of course so no great revelation that they like to keep the rabble distracted. Like criminalizing whistle blowers who expose torture instead of the torturers, those who report class truths are shuffled off to the gulag limbo of silence by the overseers, the over-paid CEOs who run the media in the interests of the owners. The same class who exercises its “ownership” of congress and the political process in the U.S. directly related to how campaigns are financed. The owners disproportionately control policy and media debate and where this leads us is ominously illustrated in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the radioactive epicenter at Fukushima.

    ###
    • Illustration: By author (Tom Ferguson).
    Tom Ferguson

    Tom Ferguson

    Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

    • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
    • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
    • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
    • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)

     

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    • Drill_baby

      What better system is there than capitalism to allocate scarce resources? Where is your model socialist economy that hasn’t fallen into ruin? Look at what’s going on in Greece, Spain and all over Europe right now. Their unproductive socialist welfare states are sinking their economies and they have scarcely paid for a military since 1945. What’s sinking these economies is, first, unfavorable demographics and second, a rigid welfare and employment entitlement mentality. Entrepreneurship scarcely exists, especially on the continent.  The productive individuals at all wealth and income levels are the most important people in society to protect — the ones most predisposed to capitalism. They usually aren’t the ones asking for a hand-out but a government that treats people equally under the law (meaning: no wealth redistribution based on class envy).

      • Resources are, by definition, things we can use over and over again.  If they are scarce, it is only because they have been either sequestered (hogged) or spoiled to the point where it takes more than a life-time to reconstitute their use.
        Capitalism is a strategy which targets current assets for future use and preserves them instead of letting them go to waste. Socialism and communism are focused on who owns the assets and controls HOW they are used.  China is demonstrating that there is no conflict between capitalism and communism because, of course, they have different objectives.
        A productive person is one who transforms matter into something useful to humans.  People who play with money aren’t productive.  Calling a bank account a “product” doesn’t make it one. Ditto for “derivatives” and all the other figments of the imagination.
        While the law can be an instrument of justice, often times it is used to deprive natural persons of their human rights and advantage artificial persons (public and private corporations), which are already advantaged by the fact that their operatives are shielded from being  held personally accountable for mistakes and malfeasance.  That is, they engage in deprivation (theft) under cover of law.  This turns the law into an instrument of torture.

        • Drill_baby

          Resources are scarce because they are limited and can be exhausted. They must be allocated by market price, not by some perverse social planner who deems who is worthy and who is not. This person has no idea what a financial derivative is, how they’re used or why they’re useful. Just because you do not understand finance does not make it immoral, evil, etc. To the other point, finance is a means of converting inputs to outputs. The productive people don’t always have access to capital so they must borrow or raise it in capital markets. Capitalism is a means of price discovery where consumers and producers freely transact in an open market to exchange value. Socialism has people like Hannah deciding what is useful for the rest of us and who is worthy of reward according to perverse social motives. The same people who don’t understand finance or the risks one undertakes to achieve success. The socialist wants us all walking freely like savages while they live in their Al Gore mansions, fly around in private jets and live like royalty.

          • Ridiculous. In our society, dare I say world, the greatest wealth accumulation was not from practicing capitalism, hard work, invention or productivity, but bribery and extortion of governments. The monopolies in cahoots with the oligarchs control the “free markets” and access to capital. Just like the game with the same name, rules allow all to play for a while -- without them, it would be no fun and over quickly.

            • Drill_baby

              How can a government be bribed or extorted — are you saying they’re the victims of something? Somehow this noble Algonquin Roundtable interested only in the common good was somehow corrupted by commercial malefactors? The same commercial group of people that, you know, invented most of the productive tools and technology with the goal of making government less efficient? The mind boggles.
              Seems the smaller and least powerful government necessary would be that least capable of behaving corruptly. The politicians are the ones seeking the bribes and kickbacks. Productive people would prefer not to pay such patronage. When the government has less power, We The People can figure out our problems. Liberals hate that free people could work cooperatively to solve their own problems, though. That’s why they’re the ones in our way.

            • Were we all created and treated equal with equal access to education and opportunity, the idea a small government may well be a sound one, but we are not. Were we to live in a society where the needs of the common good -- national defense, transportation, power, clean air and water, communication, health care, and law enforcement not so great, your idea of a small government might be a good one, but they are. Were corporations not people and majority shareholders were, your idea of small government might be a good, but they are.
              As to your liberal baiting and silly rant about hate, anyone reading this knows it to be nonsense. If you the people are so good at figuring out your problems, why don’t you work cooperatively (a liberal word if I ever heard one) to solve them?

            • Drill_baby

              How is a corporation a person? What does that mean? How are majority shareholders NOT people?
              I would love to work cooperatively (and profitably) for community good but the government requires too many forms and fees to make it worthwhile — and then there’s all the legal liability.

    • Drill Baby -- I’ve read this story a couple of times and haven’t been able to understand your comment -- what in this story is about a system that allocates scarce resources? As to the rest of your comment, hard for me to understand how you fault Europe for all this without including at least some reference to the banking/Wall street failure in the US that has cause so much of the current problem. It is also hard for me to understand why you think the US system is so like your examples of failed systems? Or, what you base your statement that, “Entrepreneurship scarcely exists” -- except for some pockets of major industry, most of Europe, like the US, is made up of small entrepreneurial businesses. Or, this nonsense that we should be protecting the bankers. Or this nonsense that the handouts are going to those in need -- by far, the largest direct handouts are going to giant businesses. But I digress.

      • Drill_baby

         Dude wants to hear socialist voices, I assume, to espouse the (non-existent) virtues of socialism. Right here he says: “where are the socialist commentators?” Socialism and capitalism are economic orders designed to allocate scarce resources. All perfectly logical and straightforward. BA-BAM, there it is. Europe is a crappy place to own a decent-sized business with more than two or three non-family employees because the state wants to tell the owners they can’t fire their employees for cause or economic reasons. And, hey, I’m on board to eliminate the welfare queens on Wall Street or in Wal-Mart.

    • Love your illustrations, Tom.

      Your points are also well taken.  However, I think the reason our electronic media are dominated by dictators is because they mostly cater to verbal people and the auditors who rely on them.  Although TV has images to delight the eye, as a communications medium, it’s really mostly audio with some video thrown in — i.e. it caters to people who don’t see too well or clearly and prefer to rely on what they hear.
      I suspect that our basic instincts are more closely attuned to sound, which never ceases to be received (even while we sleep), than sight.  While we come to appreciate insight and oversight and perspicacity, vision is often an unreliable informant (appearances are deceiving), so what we hear carries more weight.
      It is not the fault of the electronic media that oral communication has been largely ignored by liberal thinkers and writers. That it is a potent medium is attested to by the fact that there is a consistent effort by our “dictators” (people who tell us what to do) to eviscerate NPR.  Nor are their attacks on “Sesame Street” misplaced.  The millennials, whom I refer to as the “Sesame Street Generation” are proof positive that what they heard as little kids in the streets of New York was totally subversive. Where did OWS get the idea that the streets of New York, the sidewalks and the stoops are for walking and talking and sitting?Although I only ever watched daytime TV, including the soaps, one year, it didn’t take long, when I was trying to organize a neighborhood, for the ladies to tell me not to call in the middle of the afternoon, or schedule meetings, while their “stories” were on. What were the messages being transmitted by the soaps?  I don’t know, but I suspect it’s what limp bough and Beck are trying to compete with.

    • Rconway864

      Is “Limbo” an intentional play on words?  If so I don’t get it.

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