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Where will this Drift towards Privatizing our Democracy Ultimately lead?
on March 27, 2012
Ms. Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar and liberal MSNBC Talk Show host, has provocatively tapped into a rich vein of public debate pointing to what in recent years has come to be known as "normalized governmental corruption," involving the "mother" of all corrupt organizations, the military industrial (and now National Security) complex.
This is an issue that none other than the illustrious solid Five Star Republican General, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about in his Farwell Address more than a half century ago. The reader may recall that in one of Ike's most solemn speeches as he was leaving office, he said in part that:
" ... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
The author of this book takes a politically balanced point of view, since it is clearly the case that all sides of the political spectrum have been caught "slopping" at the same government trough. Carefully researched but with a hint of "lightness and humor" that can sometimes be "off-putting" -- betraying a lack of seriousness -- she nevertheless hones in on several interrelated themes:
(1) that the military-industrial complex has drifted away from the ideals of the nation into the realm of perpetual war for the sake of war (spelled for the sake of profits);
(2) that wars are fought by soldiers who today are more like mercenaries, since they fight along side and on an equal footing with heavily funded military contractors, to whom our wars are now often being "outsourced to;" and
(3) that the burdens of fighting our wars is not shared equally, with the poor families of our voluntary army carrying the lion's share of the load.
I was mildly disappointed in the fact that the author seemed not to have closed the circle between her thesis about our "changed way of war" and its connection to our political authorities' larger attempt to "privatize everything" in our society? Otherwise she undoubtedly would not have missed that the single link in the chain that connects them are:
(1) the wide-scale corruption of our political process by weak sycophantic politicians,
(2) the missing predicates that places all the responsibility on us that is mentioned in the penultimate line of Eisenhower's Farewell address.
To wit: that "only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
That we as a citizenry have fallen down on the job since Ike's warning, seems all but self-evident now, and in itself is shameful. However, the point I think Ms. Maddow has missed is just how prescient General Eisenhower really was: Since his warning, this cancer has spread from the security industrial complex, to the Wall Street cabal, to the prison-industrial complex, to the medical, drug and Pharmaceutical-industrial complex; and will soon be moving on to the health and education industrial complex. In a short time nothing will be left that has not been turned into a globalized profit center, including every individual American?
Once our democracy has been completely strangled by mindless and immoral profitmaking privatizers, we will of course by then have reached the point of no return, far down the road to fascism. And make no mistake about it the potential for sliding into Fascism was exactly what General Eisenhower was warning us about.
These disingenuous attempts by "raiders of democracy for fun and profit" in order to place major aspects of our national functions under the complete control of some form of profitmaking enterprises, and then acting as if this is a patriotic act, have in the process neutered our democracy, outsourced our jobs, stripped away what is left of the social safety net, and rendered our nation infinitely more insecure both socially and militarily. That is precisely why those who are anxious for commercial enterprises to take over every function of our government and every aspect of our democratic freedoms, are also the ones quickest to assail the very government upon whose largesse they depend? They want no controls, no responsibilities and no obligations except to their stockholders' bottom line. But saddest of all, Ike would be considered a "flaming liberal" on today' severely "right-shifted" political spectrum. Three stars