The Special Danger from Obamamania

“I just can’t believe that….” The mind-set that preludes our acting together to save our comfortable survival and our civilized democracy.

Obamamania is rampant among Obama voters. By this I mean a continuing almost-religious faith that President Obama will give us what we need despite all of the accumulating factual evidence to the contrary. I know of no “mania” that has ever served mankind well, and there is a special danger inherent in Obamamania. To get at this phenomenon, I choose to explore some back ground.

When people say: “I just can’t believe that President Obama would betray us,” I shudder. There are several critical current factual exposures of the falsity of Conventional Wisdom about which many people respond, “I just can’t believe that …” With that statement and the mind-set behind it, we are defending the status quo. This mind-set constitutes the powerful controlling special interests’ defense against the exposure of the real factual weaknesses and lies of the status quo. Obamamania serves the same purpose. Among the most important of these uningested factual exposures of Conventional Wisdom are these:

  • Our private banking system at the Wall Street level has substantial systemic defects that public regulation can not control.
  • Israel practices apartheid and secretly undermines all efforts for peaceful settlement with Palestine.
  • The $180 Million Dollars that Wall Street contributed to elected officials in the last election cycle in fact controls their votes and policy solutions. We are in fact governed by a ruling class oligarchy.
  • President Obama is continuing or enlarging every single act and policy that Wall Street demands, just as ex-President Bush did. The latest example is Obama’s position in court that detainees have no rights under law.
  • 9/11 was intentionally caused or enabled by persons high in our government, specifically including former Vice President Cheney.

I have long believed that speaking writing and publishing the truth among citizen-voters could ultimately overcome Wall Street, the Wall Street Banks, the military industrial complex, and even the fact that our elected officials are bought and paid for by very wealthy and powerful financial interests. I have always believed that truth speaking citizens could overcome the contention of Karl Marx that the ideas and ideology of the ruling class inevitably become the ideas and the ideology of citizens everywhere. I had not realized how addictive and how hypnotic the ideas, the ideology, and the brainwashing of the Wall Street Banks, the military industrial complex and the main stream media are. These powerful special interests in fact constitute our ruling class. The exposure of these implanted defensive ideas that many have ingested may help.l I hope that the exposure and communication of this truth will thaw our immobilization and enable us to act politically together.

There have been several recent factual expose’s that expose the falsehood of ruling class mind-sets. For example:

  • Two recent Bill Moyers programs exposing Wall Street’s control of the government and the power of big money on our elected officials.
  • The surprising 2 hour documentary by CNBC “House of Cards” that exposed the acts and the greedy motives of every actor including the Fed and the Wall Street banks that resulted in our current “depression that threatens to turn out to be worse than the Great Depression.”
  • The recent book by Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, the serious academic study by Professors John Mearschiemer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, and the many articles by Professor Norman G. Finkelstein exposing that the acts of Israel are often in conflict with the best interests of the United States, and in conflict with Israel’s PR about its stated acts and objectives.

About each of these exposes, many people, including mainstream politicians, academics, economists, advisors and citizens say: “I simply cannot believe that…” For example, many state: “I cannot believe that Israel does evil things,” and claim that Carter, Walt, Mearscheimer, and Finkelstein are anti-Semitic, or self-hating Jews and simply ignore the facts. Some will say, “I cannot believe that our government is that bad or that corrupt” and dismiss the facts with one or more of the status quo defenses that I outline below.

From his actions, appointments, and policy proposals as President, it appears that Obama himself is a victim of this addictive brainwashing.

Our brainwashed state appears to be founded in large part on the fact that we all, rich and poor, Phi Beta Kappa bright, and not so bright, employed and unemployed, male and female, NGO employees and government employees, union members and non-union members, are dependent for our survival on the existing status quo. It is very difficult if not near impossible for us to believe that the source of our survival is somehow corrupt, non-functional or untruthful. We are something like 6 year old children who are terrified at the thought of the death of our mothers. Moreover, we are fairly well off now. We do not want to jeopardize what we already have. The trouble with this is that we may wait too long until things really get bad, and then it will be too late to save civilized democracy. In fear many will turn then to a strong man, perhaps a General who promises to “save” us, as the Germans did in 1933. So let’s wise up now.

In our addicted brainwashed state, when we are called to act, the following are our varying reactions and responses when presented with the true facts, all based on our inner fear that is usually not known or acknowledged.

* Refusal to listen or read. I will not waste my time with that crap.
* Claimed lack of time. I am too busy earning a living to keep what I have. I am doing ok right now.
* Claimed lack of intelligence. I do not have enough brains or facts to act. Those in control know far more than I do.
* Denial. Things are not really what the facts show. Our situation is not nearly as dire as you say.
* Moral Relativism. What you say is “dire” is just a matter of opinion and there are a lot of contrary opinions.
* Groundless Optimism. Things will work out alright. They always have in the past.
* Self Destruction. If it really is that bad, I will kill myself.
* Alcohol. Have a drink, fella. Relax and it will all go away and you will feel better like I do.
* God will save us. All we have to do is pray.
* Conspiracy Nut. You are a just a proponent of some crazy conspiracy theory.
* Retreat into Inner Life. Meditation, serious prayer, being in the “now,” “our survival depends only on our own inner growth,” I am saving us all by doing my inner work.
* Science will save us. I have confidence in our human ability through science to survive.
* Claim of impotence. There is nothing that I can do that will really help.
* Communism. What you propose is communistic or socialistic
* More Big Government. We need to get the government off our backs so that we can enjoy our freedom and take care of ourselves.
* Ad Hominem attack. You are a crazy grandiose zealot. What gives you the right to proclaim the truth? I too keep up with the current news. I know just as much about the truth of what s going on as you do. You are a control freak. Your proposed actions are unloving. All change must be based on love.
* That is class war. We have no classes in America. We all have the same common interests. We are all Americans, like Obama says.
* There is no alternative. For example, many will say Israel has no alternative. About the private Wall Street banks, defective that they may be, most people say they are better than any possible alternative
* Obamamania. President Obama will save us. This is probably the most dangerous of the ruling class myths of all because it immobilizes the civic impulse in thousands and thousands of bright knowledgeable citizen-voters from acting to support Obama. Obama himself does not want this mania and wants us to help him now, between elections, as he begs in his many web sites. The civic impulse is limited in most people. The most we can expect is that they will vote. We are in bad trouble indeed unless some Obama voters can be mobilized to take other political action besides voting. Obamamania is a form of what theologian Walter Wink calls the “Myth of Redemptive Violence” cast in the form of a very bright orator, constitutional lawyer, and democratic politician. (Some argue that Wall Street selected and financed Obama for the very purpose of immobilizing us, our civic impulses, and our normal tendencies to act on our outrage.) This Myth of Redemptive Violence is pervasive in our society. We ingest it from early childhood on. In the case of Obamamania, built on his seductive vague promise of hope and change, his strength and his “violence,” are that he will use his oratory, his constitutional law brilliance and his political brilliance to save us by himself without effort on our part. This is my short summary of how Wink describes this Myth:

Our childhood TV shows, our comic books, many of our movies and our foreign policy are all founded on the false myth of redemptive violence. It promises to redeem, to restore order, law, peace and democracy, but it never does. This myth appears in The Lone Ranger, Batman, Superman, Cowboy Westerns, James Bond movies, TV games, modern adult movies and popular TV shows, and in our foreign policy and CIA. No cooperation, community effort on our part or democracy is required to remove the evil. The Myth is the essence of totalitarianism. The myth is the simplest, laziest, most exciting, uncomplicated, and irrational depiction of evil trouble the world has ever known. The good guys always win. We are devoted to this Myth because it seems so real. It survives in our religious institutions. This myth, and not Christianity, is the real religion of America. No preacher in church once a week can match its power, its excitement, its addiction and its fascination. It is the foundation of holy wars and “just” wars. The distinctive feature of this Myth is the victory of order over chaos by means of “violence” of some kind by one person, albeit a “super” person. “One super man’s might (“or hope and promise of change”} makes right.” There is an underlying theology that the brilliant strong man has the powers of God. The strong man is thus a king with the power of God. Obamamania means that President Obama has become a God for many Obama voters.

All of us, radical, conservative, libertarian, Phi Beta Kappa brilliant or of meager intelligence, in elective office, or citizen, will be damaged and our democratic civilization will fall unless we can act together to meet the threat, and act together to mobilize and act on our outrage. Given the “gung ho” tendency toward “happy talk” as far as our economy is concerned on the part of the ruling class who say the economy can be restarted by relatively conventional means by the same persons and ideas that created the crisis, we must deal with the possibility that things could get much worse than anybody has so far dared to say. Before we can mobilize ourselves and others to act, we must ourselves transcend the addictive brainwashing, the hypnotic trance, and the mythical falsehoods that support and defend the status quo. We all must surpass our differences to deal with our common paramount peril whatever its dimensions may turn out to be.

Here is how it can all play out:

Some of us clear ourselves of our trance, face the facts, and inform those around of us of our new mind-set and our recognition that civic action on our part is urgently required.

We join existing organizations like Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats, Code Pink, and MoveOn.org. I have found that my local chapter of Democracy for America is tentatively supportive of Obama, but wary, and free of Obamamania. I believe Code Pink is also.

We help these groups to mobilize million person marches, focusing their action on two strategic objectives, both locally and at the national level:

* We focus on elimination of the Senate filibuster. We will never get any of our objectives so long as an unconstitutional supermajority of 60 Senators is required to pass legislation or good appointments. So long as it is in place, we would have to elect 2 good Senators in all 50 states to get what we need. Given Blue Dog Democrats and other problems, this is impossible. A simple majority of a quorum of Senators can change the rule if they want to. We must organize, hound the Senators, the Vice President, and the President in DC and in their local offices until they do so. We must bang our pots and pans with a focus.

* We focus on securing public democratic control of our money, to be accomplished by causing the Secretary of Treasury to be the sole creator of money, the incorporation of the Fed into the Secretary of Treasury, and the prohibition of fractional reserve banking, largely as proposed in the American Monetary Act. This is the strategic time to do so. The banks are bankrupt and on the ropes. By doing this, we cut off their source of Ponzi-like money, and hence their immense political power. Then and only then will we be able to push for things like Single Payer Health Coverage. Since Wall Street private bank money is the “mother’s milk of politics,” we will cut off the source.

These focused actions, when accomplished, will not adversely affect us at all. Local banks and local businesses will still function as usual. These actions will insure economic and political stability and sustainability. They are the least radical changes that can deal effectively with the radically profound economic and political problem now confronting us.

Doug Page is a retired lawyer for unions, a former Democratic politician, and a life long observer of government, unions and business. He can be reached at: dougpage2@earthlink.net. Read other articles by Doug, or visit Doug's website.

19 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Stan said on February 28th, 2009 at 9:38am #

    I think it is important to note that Obama as Senator went along with all the policies and practices that the Bush Administration enacted, including the Patriot Act and its renewals, weakening of the Constitution, implementation of torture while simultaneously denying it, etc. Also, crucially, Obama as well as Bush used crisis and catastrophe to propel and catalyze public support for expensive wars and policies that aided the war machine and the investor class and the elite at the expense of the working middle class and the poor. Obama and Bush are successors of the same program and not the antithesis of one another.

  2. bozh said on February 28th, 2009 at 10:44am #

    karl marx, i believe, saw- among many other dissenters thruout ages- simplicity out of which he avoided making complexity.

    he saw obvious. to observe it, all one needed was ?total freedom from religion and ‘education’
    i, self, had three yrs schooling and finished last in each class.

    he saw that basics structure of society had not changed anywhere. and upon this, he predicted that as the wealth increases, lower classes wld weaken and higher classes strenghten.

    prestidigitation by higher classes, renders out of simplicity a complexity and out of a complexity a simplicity.
    and well ‘educated’ child or even adult is made to evaluate exactly as s/he is programed to evaluate.
    and you got self a serf for a life time! thnx

  3. tony smith said on February 28th, 2009 at 12:05pm #

    Well, slowly but surely…..

    Chicken Little Politics: Moderate Obama Causes Progressive Panic

    Free at Last? No!

  4. kalidas said on February 28th, 2009 at 1:55pm #

    Or, in terms the average bear might comprehend…
    “Never give a sucker an even break..”

  5. Deadbeat said on February 28th, 2009 at 8:22pm #

    We join existing organizations like Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats, Code Pink, and MoveOn.org. I have found that my local chapter of Democracy for America is tentatively supportive of Obama, but wary, and free of Obamamania. I believe Code Pink is also.

    The organization mentioned by Mr. Page are dubious on its face. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink deliberately sabotaged the Green Party in 2004 and Code Pink’s theatrics has done nothing to build solidarity which is needed in order to alter the course where things are going. MoveOn and the Progressive Democrats are too wedded to the Zionist loving Democratic Party to really push for new directions on Middle East policies and even to challenge Zionism and Capitalism within the ranks of the Democratic Party. Much of the Left has been extremely late educating the American people about the ills of the Fed and its debt-based control of the economy which was constructed siphon wealth from workers to the rich. The organization sited by Mr. Page are “elitist” and really has no affinity with the working class which is why the he gets the kind of responses he is critical about.

    For example Democracy Now on the issue of the economic collapse has yet to interview any radical or Marxist economist. Such a perspective is missing from the line-up of liberal/”progressive” economists that has been paraded to explain the crisis on the show. Such “progressive” voices and phony leftists such as Noam Chomsky are all perpetrators of the miseducation of the American people that it is no wonder they are ignorant and act against their best interest and are distrustful of sound ideas.

    Before people can take real action they must be educated. Unfortunately that education will most likely come in the form of further degradation of their economic conditions. At that point they may “rediscover” Marx.

    But the real problem as it stands is not Obama but the lack of SOLIDARITY and the drive to retard solidarity especially by certain members pretending to be on the “Left” and especially the avoidance of building solidarity with people of color. None of the organization sited by Mr. Page has a history of working with communities of color. This vacuity in Mr. Page’s analysis looms large especially since it is in Latin America where the greatest changes and challenges to neoliberal capitalism is occurring.

  6. mike said on February 28th, 2009 at 9:29pm #

    “Obamamania is rampant among Obama voters. By this I mean a continuing almost-religious faith that President Obama will give us what we need despite all of the accumulating factual evidence to the contrary.”

    ————————–

    Yes, it is pathetic, isn’t it. All of this fawning over messiah Obama. That’s exactly how many so-called “liberals” and so-called “progressive” see this man. As some messiah. I don’t understand it, other than some/many people seem to need someone to worship and they need a savior and he has a D behind his name. That is sufficient. I heard one talk show host ask his audience during the campaign if they really thought anything would change with either Obama or Clinton in the White House? He was essentially saying: Don’t expect anything to change. But since that time, he has drunk the kool-aid. Now he doesn’t want to say anything negative about his messiah/savior. The other night he said that he couldn’t imagine messiah (well, he said Obama) continuing anything that Bush did. (Sigh.) After messiah rushed to kill innocent people in Pakistan this talk show host tried to justify that by saying, “it MUST be left over from Bush.” Uh no. If you recall Mr Talk Show Host, messiah talked about attacking Pakistan and Iran during the campaign. So why would you think it’s left over from Bush especially considering Bush’s Robert Gates is at messiah’s side? And if it were “left over from Bush” don’t you think your messiah would have the sense to make a statement to the world saying that?

    I was on the forum for this talk show host the other day and it was a very negative experience. They couldn’t stand me referring to Obama as messiah. They called it a “right-wing talking point.” I’ve only noticed some progressives using the term. I don’t know what the right-wing is using because I don’t pay attention to them. I was called the usual stuff: a Republican, a right-winger trying to spew Republican talking points. When reality, I’m a true progressive, vegetarian, independent and I voted for Nader/Gonzalez.

    I don’t know how long this messiah-fest will continue. I expect at least 2 more years. There is an anti-war protest/demonstration in March, but I’d imagine it would not be very well attended because the Obamabots will not want to protest their lord and savior. But if it were Bush doing these same things, it would be a different story. It’s called switching, based on party-line.

    You might want to check these out:

    http://obamamessiah.blogspot.com/

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2008/02/barack-obamas-messiah-complex

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2008/02/obama_the_messiah.html

  7. Atiya said on March 1st, 2009 at 3:05am #

    Mike, you are right. I thnik it is easier for most people to abdicate their own thinking resposnibility and hand it over to someone that they worship. Obama was suspicious to me from the beginning. And it is not just Obama that is the problem. It is the fact that the Democratic party is now very similar to the Republicans.

  8. AaronG said on March 1st, 2009 at 5:26am #

    Don’t discount the “alcohol” solution. It is quite effective……….

  9. Lisa said on March 1st, 2009 at 1:30pm #

    In the last year I have felt like the only one of my college-aged generation to be skeptical of obama’s promises and motives, and it is comforting to know that not only are people having the same realizations and understandings but that there is also a forum in which people can actually express these realities to the public. i just wish more people, especially those brainwashed on college campuses, would put in the effort to think critically about those in power, no matter how “articulate” and “hopeful” those in power may be.

  10. Ron Horn said on March 1st, 2009 at 5:26pm #

    I think that the corporate ruling class’ appointment of Obama to be President is an attempt to provide some time for them to save the capitalist system. The problem is, as I believe, that the system is in far worse shape that it was in 1932 when Roosevelt was elected.

    As Rodrigue Tremblay, a Canadian economist <a href=”http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2009/02/obama-like-bush-is-throwing-public-money-into-a-black-hole/”/a>. “The ratio of total debt to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now higher than it was in 1933, when it reached the lofty and unsustainable level of 299.8 percent. It took nearly twenty years to bring down the debt/GDP ratio to below 140 in 1952. In the second quarter of 2008, all debt records were broken when the total debt ratio in the U.S. registered at 356,7 percent of GDP. If the same process of unwinding of excessive debt level plays itself out this time, this could translate into a debt deflation process lasting possibly until 2027!”

    For another thing, there is little in the way of a working class consciousness that existed in the 30’s. That was essentially killed by the post WWII purge of radicals from the unions and subsequent cooptation of union hierarchy by corporations that transformed union bosses into corporate friendly labor managers.

    Hence I don’t believe that Obamamania will last long enough for the ruling class to save itself. That begs the question, what happens next? I think that the solution that the US ruling class will opt for is the fascist one as they chose in Germany and Italy in the 30s. Bush put in place all the police state apparatus in terms of prisons and laws (Patriot Acts) to make this easy to accomplish.

  11. lloyd rowsey said on March 2nd, 2009 at 6:41am #

    Thank you for this, Doug. I intend to quicklink it to OpEdNews tomorrow in the “Best_Op_Ed” column (down about halfway on the left), and I hope it gets wide and thoughtful attention there. Please bookmark OEN’s homepage, and watch for comments on your piece on 03.03 beginning in the morning.

    PS. DV commenters to this article. Your comments will be automatically included at OEN, as of the time I submit it there tomorrow morning.

  12. Eddie said on March 2nd, 2009 at 10:46am #

    One could see this coming since before the election results. Due to urgency of getting rid of the previous administration, people who voted for Obama (I didn’t) were so emotionally invested in the process that it was clear that they would be unwilling or unable to see the consequences as anything but positive. As the direction and intentions of the new administration become increasingly clear, many of these people will have a hard time admitting to themselves that they chose an illusion. Not only does this cause, well, disillusionment, but in some cases egos or pride will get in the way of a sober assessment of the situation. Sometimes it’s hard to admit one was wrong, or worse, gullible.

  13. Stan said on March 2nd, 2009 at 11:08am #

    I think it should be added that Obama skillfully uses rhetoric to bamboozle his starstruck fans. He knows how to use the yearnings of his political supporters to work against their own best interests just as the Republicans used similar tactics to destroy their supporters in the Rust Belt.

    Obama promises an end to combat, but the words are shallow and meaningless. 50,000 US troops left in Iraq are not needed to train Iraqi troops, but to guarantee submission of the Iraqi government.
    Every “improvement” that Obama supporters credit to their hero has a caveat that partially or potenially wholly invalidates it in real terms.

    But the Obamamaniacs hear what they want to hear and believe that he is telling them what they are yearning for. The truth is quite different.
    And some of us have seen this propensity all during the campaign and realized all along that Obama is a snake oil salesman, a cheerleader for Empire, a protector of the status quo, and a pretend “friend” of people of his color and people of the working class and the poor.

    Obama has NOT told the truth or even overtly discussed Peak Oil. His solutions to global climate change are those of the status quo and the financial elite and offer no real benefit to solving the problem itself. Obama protects the bankers and financiers who maliciously used the influence to downgrade government regulation and then exploited their ability to make gigantic gobs of money for themselves at the expense of the vast majority of Americans who were conned into massive debt enslavement.

    Obama says one thing, but means another and does another, and yet he has bamboozled his delirious followers into self-harm even as he plots more of the same.

    America gets what it deserves and Obama is what America has chosen and will have to face the consequences for. We are at the stage of American history where big bubbles will finally break and the potential of America will be revealed as finally lost and never regained.

    Things are going to get very ugly within the next year or two, and Obama will backtrack from his stated agenda even as he blames forces beyond his control for the predictable failures of his policies. If and when the American people wake up, they will find themselves in a situation not unlike the citizens of Iraq with a devastated infrastructure and imploded economy and no way to rebuild at previous scales whatsoever. The American Dream will have died under the first black president and all the elation will have turned into sorrow.

    Things could have been much better if Cynthia McKinney had been elected, but there was no chance in hell that a black (or white) person of character and honesty could achieve the presidency.

  14. Stan said on March 2nd, 2009 at 11:49am #

    I think the best way to understand Obama is that he is part of the elite system of governing the U.S. He is not about change in philosophy of the elite, who know that the economic and the ecological systems of the U.S. and the capitalist civilizations of the world are unsustainable, overburdened, and irrevocably destined to crash in the near future.

    Obama is a tool to help inhibit or delay mass panic, especially among Americans, but also worldwide. His role is to make the little people think that government is on their side, even as governments serving the interests of the financial elite prepare for collapse. The goal is to pacify and even stupify the masses with hopes of change they can believe in, while simultaneously bringing the system to a controlled crash for as long as possible.

    And the masses seem to want this sort of treatment. They want to believe in change, and do not want to see that the change that is really occurring is not the change they are bargaining for.

    The elite know that the population of the planet, for instance, is well over the sustainable carrying capacity. They know that the collapse of the financial systems and the diminishing availability of petroleum resources, especially cheap resources, means that the current phantom carrying capacity of the planet for mankind will shrink rapidly and soon. Many humans will die in the next few decades (or sooner) until a static level of no more than one or two billion humans will be reached.

    The trick for the elite is to keep people pacified as long as possible, and then when all hell breaks loose, duck for cover, use their private militias to protect themselves in defensible enclaves, and wait out the storm for a period of time until statis is reached.

    Obama is part of the program and he plays his role well. He pushes the right buttons and cynically manipulates the masses while he winks and nods at his wealthy financiers.

    How could it be any other way?

  15. bozh said on March 2nd, 2009 at 1:28pm #

    stan,
    that is a likely scenario. but the army, cia, fbi, police, assorted spies are already there in sufficient numbersa to prevent an uprising or quickly squash one if it happens.

    uncle sam had always one party, one army, etc. thnx

  16. bozh said on March 2nd, 2009 at 1:59pm #

    yes, most people are misoneistic; i.e., hate to learn or hate knowledge. but such attitude appears to be learned in schhools; it may not be innate.
    if kids wld be properly educated [and one cannot do that as long one rates/grades them] kids wld love to obtain knowledge.
    the key, is do not to demand.
    if one says to kids, Let’s go and pick berries or to observe birds they wld be gleeful to learn new behavior.
    but if one demands kids learn mathematics and are expected/demanded to learn, dread takes over. parents don’t help at all; they make matters worse by praising a child when s/he gets an A but not if s/he gets a D.
    present culture demands excellence which, perforce, results in failures/acrimony.
    it’s a brutal culture that brutalizes own people and aliens as palestine, iraq, afgh’n prove. thnx

  17. Craig Wilson said on March 3rd, 2009 at 7:25am #

    I must have been born under a different sign, or maybe it’s been life’s experiences, but last year when I watched Barak Obama denounce Reverand Wright on television in order to protect himself from personal ridicule, a man whom he had revered for fifteen years, and from whom he sought guidence, revealed to me that Obama was just another “other directed type,” another average person among the masses who do what others do without question or regret, because they’re right. They have an inabilility to decide which way to turn, when confronted with a fork in the road, without the crowd being there to direct them, because they lack the inner directed nature required to make the decision internally. Mohamad Ali, when he refused to fight in Vietnam on his conviction that it was wrong to kill, and told the mightiest Government in the world he wouldn’t fight, expressed an inner directedness that Barak Obama will never possess. When Martin Luther King said, “a man should be judged by the context of his character, not the color of his skin,” is a statement that Martin Luther King meant to be addressed to all human beings of all colors and creeds, knowing that there are worthy and unworthy people among us from all nationalities.

  18. Gary Lapon said on March 3rd, 2009 at 1:30pm #

    Karl Marx did say that the ruling ideas of any age are those of the ruling class. Which makes sense, since the ruling class owns and controls (to a great degree, at least setting the bounds of the acceptable) the means of mass distribution of media, the school system, government, etc. And under modern capitalism, with the vast centralization and concentration of capital (squeezing out smaller, more independent sources of info), including in media, this tendency becomes sharper.

    In fact, it can’t be any other way (it terms of the dominance of the ideas of the ruling class), since if the interests of the ruling class are opposed to those of the working class, and the ruling ideas (common sense, etc) of society were not those of the ruling class, then it would be easy to organize a revolution, since it would be common sense for most people to do so.

    So the dominance of ruling class ideas is one tendency. Another ID’d by Marx is the tendency for the contradictions of capitalism to push people to develop working class consciousness. When people see homeless people on the one hand and empty houses on the other; when they see people starving while there is plenty to go around; while billions are wasted on useless wars while millions lack healthcare; when they read the news and see the economic crisis, proof that capitalism cannot even consistently function on its own terms: this provides an ideological and political opening for an alternative set of ideas.

    It was the latter that Marx spent his life trying to spread in books and in the streets.

  19. Deadbeat said on March 3rd, 2009 at 3:38pm #

    Gary Lapon is absolutely correct. Great post.