In electoral politics, the establishment point of view attracts hefty campaign contributions from the, well, establishment. Conversely, and obviously, anti-establishment points of view do not. Establishment comes in suit and tie, as if to declare the area off-limits to the imagination, though politicians of the female variety, apparently for reasons of their traditional, established, status as decorative objects, are granted some leeway here, a dab of color there. Otherwise, no suit and tie? No credibility – closed eyes/ears/minds will greet citizens testifying before a congressional committee without the required garb, except perhaps when an actor dressed as plumber is trotted out to convince the working class to vote against their own interests.
Advocates of the established stance are practiced in their capacity for denial, competitive with any alcoholic. There is an ease with which factual material can be cherry-picked and basic logic obliviously ignored, competitive with the most fundamental of religious adherents. As in this latter arena, naivete is not always the full explanation. Corruption and cynicism can come into the unsavory play.
Instances of establishment positions would be a zealous pro-nuclear backing (whether power or weapons), regardless of Chernobyl, 3-Mile Island, Fukushima and the routine radiation releases involved, and the unimaginably long term nuclear waste that must be absolutely isolated. Not to mention also, the Armageddon hanging over us, to this day, from hair-trigger, launch-on-warning nukes at bases in the U.S. and Russia. Nuclear armed submarines lurk in our oceans, any one of which could vaporize millions of world citizens. Survivors would suffer the fatal effects of the nuclear winter such an event would almost certainly trigger. The screening process for crew members is mistake-proof, right? Right, just as mistakes can’t be made at nuclear power plants, and security is impeccable (unless you read readiness test-results). The proliferation to ever more nations of the nightmare of nuclear technology, abetted by the U.S./Russian refusal to honor NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty) obligations, further substantiates this critique.
Another bullet point in this tirade would be ideological calls for austerity that emphasize cuts to social spending but rationalize against increased taxes on the 1%. The social security trust fund is a separate tax, set aside for the protection of citizens in their waning years, meager to be sure. But the establishment has borrowed this money, interest-free, spending it mostly on weaponry and war, limos and pork. Instead of treating this loan as sacred the powers that be entertain ways to reduce or eliminate the debt by extending the retirement age, reducing monthly stipends, privatizing the whole thing… all the while bailing out imprudent, hell, criminal! Wall Street banks and reducing taxes on the rich. When mafia-controlled unions make off with the pension fund we know what to call it – theft. When the gummint does it, a euphemism comes in to obscure what’s going on – austerity.
Climate change is another issue that can only be examined through the filter of campaign contributors and media hacks like Rush Limbo. I got an email recently that put this rather succinctly: If you consulted multiple doctors on a health issue and 98% of them recommended a certain course of action would you go with the 2% or the 98%?
Storm trooper establishment mouthpieces attack any attempt in the congress or executive to take measures which benefit the general population or address pressing issues which infringe on “business interests.” Hysterical cries of, “socialism,” “communism” or “class warfare” arise knee-jerk fashion at any such sign – words that have been carefully cultivated for their utility in demonizing ideas and persons. The intent is not to merely prevent “socialist” legislation but to roll back any measures already passed, such as Roosevelt’s New Deal, campaign finance reform or the clean air and water acts. Ideology and denial are effective tools with which to clobber those who attempt to call for a change of course as we drift toward the Niagara Falls waiting downstream, along the river of business-as-usual.
The struggle, the polarization, at root, is between those who see the social world populated by separate individuals ruthlessly competing for limited resources and those who relate more to the lines of Mick Jagger’s song from the album Steel Wheels…
“We’re in the same boat, on the same sea… in the same breeze.”