by Herbert Salit
“All Western societies are based on large-scale oppression and systematic theft, much of that dependent on the use of, and the threat of the use of, force, that is, armed robbery.” So, why all the fuss and worry about the decline of the West?
Roots of Evil: Capitalism
by Herbert Salit
“Most of the ‘American way of life’ that the professor cited actually was then and has always been stolen.”
Western Capitalism clearly has failed, that's the meaning of the ongoing non-recovery of Western economies following the bursting of Western real estate bubbles, circa 2006-2007, and the open outbreak of Western financial collapse on 15 September 2008, the date it was announced that Lehman Brothers Wall Street investment bank could not be saved. The US Empire's government has admitted to pouring-in over $10 trillion since then in an effort to “restore” the economy to its pre-bubble-burst configuration, but that has proved to be impossible.
Moreover, even giving guarantees totaling more than an additional $20 trillion, and with a third round of Quantitative Easing already underway (another $500 billion, per annum of new money creation, and, thus, new debt, as the private banksters of the Federal Reserve system actually create the money and then lend it to the Treasury Department), the US economy, as revealed by weak full-time job creation, retail sales and manufacturing numbers in November, is going “back down.” So, too, of course, are those of the Eurozone.
What's the import of all this? During my first year of Business School, 1976-1977, at the University of Chicago, I took and also audited a number of graduate economics courses taught by none other than the great guru of Western Capitalist Academia, professor Milton Friedman, who had then just been awarded his Nobel prize. Professor Milton used to enjoy the lively debates I would offer-up on a regular basis. His thesis: 'free' markets, by which he meant 'ideal' markets, work, are the best system possible, and promote maximal freedom and overall prosperity. His evidence: “just look at the (1976) US economy,” by far the world's largest and strongest and which also supported the world's highest material standard of living. My counter-argument: most of the “American way of life” that the professor cited actually was then and has always been stolen, from domestic slaves, actual and economic, and from the citizens of nations, world-wide, effectively conquered and colonized by Western and, in latter centuries, especially, US, military force.
“The US economy, as revealed by weak full-time job creation, retail sales and manufacturing numbers in November, is going ‘back down.”
Professor Milton did agree with me, however, that if it ever should come to pass that the US economy and American corporations hit the skids long-term, such as they now have, this unprecedented new empirical evidence would overthrow his ideas on markets and “unfettered” Capitalism. I'm quite confident that professor Milton now is looking down in amazement as his much-cherished ideas about how economies, especially 'free' market economies, actually work have been exploded and shredded. I'm confident, as well, that one of Professor Milton's idols, the 'philosopher' Ayn 'greed-is-the-only-good' Rand, also is looking down in total bewilderment. Another of Rand's protégées, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, said it nicely while testifying in front of Congress in late 2008: “I was wrong. I always believed that markets were self-regulating.” (He also then famously observed that the 2003 Iraqi invasion “was all about the oil.”)
Professor Friedman was wrong, Ayn Rand was wrong and Alan Greenspan was wrong. They weren't the only ones, either. Adam Smith, the 18th-century English economist who wrote tomes of lies in order to apologize for the growing and increasingly-brutal British Empire, was, of course, equally wrong in hypothesizing that there exists an “Invisible Hand” that regulates markets and keeps them “optimally efficient” and in good working order; the best order possible, actually, even though these markets were and are composed only of ruthless, greedy individuals, striving hard to maximize their own gains at everyone else's expense, and operating under no rules, that is, total free-for-all conditions. So much for the intellectual and “theoretical” superiority of Western Capitalism.
If Capitalism is a system where Capitalists ideally are free to look-out for their own interests only, and none other, and also are completely free from any responsibility to restrain any of their actions, then, what is a Capitalist? As explained, a Capitalist is a person who thinks only about themselves; thus, a Capitalist is the opposite of a person who follows “The Golden Rule.” It's a type of personality; a species of personal character. A Capitalist is a person with no sense of responsibility for anyone or anything else. A Capitalist is someone who believes that their individual rights and wants, only, are what counts, and a Capitalist never wastes time looking at things from another person's point-of-view, because to them that would be meaningless and “inefficient!” Being a Capitalist is about the person, not their property; therefore, it has nothing at all to do with having money (capital) to invest, or with owning or running a business, or with whatever a person does for their livelihood. A person is molded into, raised as, a Capitalist, with or without money, wealth or property. Capitalism's fundamental ethos, is “me first, me second, me last.” It's all about me!
“A Capitalist is a person who thinks only about themselves.”
But, then, isn't everybody really a Capitalist? No! Not at all! This is made clear by much of the everyday experience of most people – in every Human society there are plenty of people who do care about right and wrong, The Golden Rule and the impact of their actions on other people. On the other hand, everybody also knows a lot of people, especially here in the West, who are Capitalists – totally self-absorbed in “me, me, me” – even though many of these people may lack capital, or any other wealth. A society that tries to raise all of its people to think of such complete self-interest as “natural,” “good” and “the highest and most ethical system possible” is ripe for true super-greedy Capitalists to run and own everything. Indeed, the fundamental ideas of the West, its basic ideology, which is Christianity, lends itself exactly to supporting this philosophy. For in Christianity the most important thing is for one to have “faith” in order reap “Salvation” – individual goals only attainable by each individual for themselves, nothing “group,” “social” or “society-wide,” here, no matter how big the society gets to be. It's “me, me, me,” given full “blessing” from “on high,” and that's how Capitalism got started.
In other words, the West, through its Christianity, always has praised, lauded, even worshiped, the individual, ideally unfettered by anything, free to pursue their interests, and has propagandized that such 'wonderful' Human beings will form the foundation of the best of all possible societies, totally in concert with “God's will.” This mendacious mythology, the basis of The West, spawned in the latter-day Christianized Roman Empire, which, later in its collapse, quickly evolved into Medieval Feudalism, and, since 1492, into Western world-wide militarist empire-colonialism, that still exists today. In reality, it never was or is possible for all of a society's members to have “maximum freedom,” and this was never intended, either. The few individuals whose freedom was to be maximized were a handful of rich and powerful people, everybody else being considered a lower form of life, thus, without Human rights, and whose only purpose was to fulfill their serfdom and toil away as wealth-producing engines for the capital-holding ownership class of Feudal lords.
“Modern” Capitalism, therefore, is fundamentally Feudal, as it remains based on this mendacious mythology of “maximizing individual freedom,” even though, again, only a few rich individuals' freedom is what's being maximized. Slavery, literal and economic, was and is a crucial part of both Medieval Feudalism and today's Capitalism, which means that a Capitalist society never can be any more “democratic” than a Feudal one – precisely the history of the West. All Western societies are based on large-scale oppression and systematic theft, much of that dependent on the use of, and the threat of the use of, force, that is, armed robbery. However, as the West is based on the unique theology of Christianity, it also has arranged for moral cover, in that Christianity teaches that people, no matter how miserable, destitute or oppressed, should accept their lot and instead strive for “faith,” so as to receive eternal Salvation from the Christian deity. In other words, embrace your slavery and misery as “God's will,” and dream lofty dreams of a “promised world to come!”
“The few individuals whose freedom was to be maximized were a handful of rich and powerful people.”
Thus, is the essence of all the West's behavior: murder and mayhem, death and destruction, all for economic gain for the few through armed robbery, but, also to hold out to the downtrodden masses the hope of Salvation, after having forced Christianity down the throats of the West's many victims. There has never been anything else like this in Human history! In all of the many brutal and barbaric non-Western empires, from Antiquity to the 20th century (Ottoman Empire), there never was such a systematic attempt to crush the minds of an empires' slaves through a theology telling them that this world is the best of all possible worlds, and that, anyway, lowly, miserable slaves should look beyond this real, material world to the Heavenly existence available to those, and only those, deserving of Christian Salvation!
Given this understanding, it is easy to see that to Western, that is, Christian, believers, there is dogmatic knowledge that wealthy individuals (practicing Capitalists) need to be as free as possible to pursue their individual (totally greedy) interests. How could any other arrangement be in harmony with God's will, make sense or even hope to work efficiently? Thus, Westerners, especially the real, White Westerners, at all times, have been trained (mind-crushed) from birth to regard the Capitalist way as their way, god's way and the best way there ever could be. Is it any wonder, then, that 'the average' person in every Western society thinks that 'getting ahead,' by whatever means, is smart and also is good and natural? Is it any wonder that virtually all Westerners regard their own societies as “just” and “moral,” forces for good in the world, regardless of what they've actually done? Further, is it any wonder that most Americans regard the US Constitution as a great historical document, a “basis of civilization,” even though, as first written, by those “awe-inspiring” Founding Fathers, it permitted outright Human slavery and considered as full citizens only property-owning White men?
The West also remains unique in Human history in that all Western societies and Western cultures, based on totally rigid, unalterable Christianity, are themselves completely rigid and purposely incapable of fundamental change. Thus, as noted above, all of the West remains fully Feudal and Medieval. Western societies today continue to exist as empire-states - though most no longer have outright colonial “possessions” – and, thus, they are fundamentally war-like, banal, vile and evil, but no more so, though no less so, today than they were at the time of Columbus. One thing that is different today, though it is a natural, logical outgrowth of unfettered Capitalism, is that since the “Reagan Revolution” – that open kick-off of such unbridled greed that the Capitalists actually now have “eaten their own bowels,” as Karl Marx predicted – Western societies have deliberately de-industrialized, dumbed-down and destroyed the possibility and reality of their own Middle Classes. In so doing, the Western Capitalist lands have re-created instead a new Gilded Age of hyper-rich Robber Barons, and, thereby, insanely, thrown away their own futures, by becoming unsustainable.
“Western societies have deliberately de-industrialized, dumbed-down and destroyed the possibility and reality of their own Middle Classes.”
To be fair to “the Gipper,” he did not invent the crazed, extreme plutocracy that The West is today; he merely began the now-complete undoing of FDR's New Deal, which had rescued the earlier, failed, extreme First Gilded Age Capitalists from the ruin of their own hyper-greed, by effectively stealing the thunder of “Socialism.” The New Deal created, for the first time in The West, genuine Middle Classes and the unprecedented expectation of large-scale, upward economic mobility into these comfortable, “bedrock-citizen” classes, the “pride and joy” of their 20th century “democratic systems.” As all that was rather short-lived, having now been fully repealed, the present-day state of the West, in the twenty-teens (this decade), is very much a carbon-copy of the very broken and nearly-terminal state of the West, circa 1930-32. Presently, however, instead of a Roosevelt to ride in on a white horse, the West has berserk, senescent, purely Capitalist-evil “leadership” still dreaming of enforcing permanent Western world hegemony and empires through military conquest, especially by the “sole surviving superpower,” none other than Uncle Sam.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, all Western societies are in financial ruin, economic collapse and also are facing accelerating demographic overturn, not to mention world-wide “blow-back” from the already-failed imperial expansion wars of their Hitlerite-like Neo-Con/Neo-Liberal Project for the New American Century (PNAC). At the same time, with China already the world's largest industrial power, soon to be quite dominant in high tech, and also soon to overtake the US Empire as the world's pre-eminent military power, the West's only ace-in-the-hole – the threat of mega-deaths via wholesale global violence – rapidly is evaporating. As The West's military potency continues to dwindle vis-a-vis the vast non-Western bulk of Humankind, the West's ability to import, that is steal, “The Western way of life,” will continue to evaporate, in proportion. Further, within these twenty-teens the world almost certainly will abandon the US Dollar as the reserve currency, choking-off the other main means of Western theft of its unique hyper-consumptive lifestyle.
“The West has berserk, senescent, purely Capitalist-evil ‘leadership’ still dreaming of enforcing permanent Western world hegemony and empires through military conquest.”
The Uniqueness of the West, coming from its singular basic theology (individual guilt from Original Sin necessitating individual Salvation through individual faith) is its most salient feature. One major result of this, very relevant today, in these final few decades in the lives of all Western empire-states and cultures, is the uniquely-Western approach to the potential for mass-murder through weapons of mass-destruction. For example, in 1945, when the US exploded the first atomic bomb, it was assumed by the then-new Pentagon that most other countries would immediately follow suit and go nuclear. The Soviet Union, facing the prospect of a Harry Truman nuclear blitzkrieg did exactly that. The doddering empires of England and France also worked feverishly, though poorly, to get nukes. Chairman Mao's China, having humiliated Uncle Sam in Korea, soon was under Richard Nixon's threat of nuclear oblivion, and also worked hard to get nukes, doing so even before the Brits or French. For a long time afterward, however, no one else made any such moves, and still few nations have. Why?
The reason, once again, points to the unique, hyper-evil nature of The West, deriving from their Western-Christian-Capitalist cultures. Only among Westerners, in their depraved, monstrous mentalities, could the concept of causing mega-deaths seem like a smart and good idea, a sane policy for protecting “national interests.” Thus, in Asia, Africa and Latin America – the places where the Human societies that will survive into the soon-to-come post-Western world are to be found – there have been virtually no moves towards the inhuman death and destruction represented by Western-invented nukes. There were, of course, two exceptional cases, both fundamentally Western.
The Western pariah regime of White Apartheid South Africa, in partnership with Zionist Israel, did develop nukes in the 1960s-1970s. Once South Africa became black-majority-ruled, even though today it remains very far from being a fully just, democratic society, the nukes quickly were abandoned, and the whole story openly told. The Zionists, the new Jewish zealot flavor of Christianity, by way of contrast, maintain their nukes, in total secrecy, for that “just in case” last resort. The other exception was the totally corrupt, Anglophile, Western puppet-regime of India under Indira Ghandi, Neru's daughter, trying to ape the West in playing “realpolitik” in the 1970s (Neru was responsible for starting India's border war with China in 1962). India's corrupt public revival of their nuke program in the 1990s caused a corresponding, defensive counter-program in Pakistan. [As for North Korea, if W. Bush had not publicly labeled them as part of his 'Axis of Evil,' that state long-ago would have been fully absorbed by the non-nuclear South, thereby ending Korean WMDs.]
“Within these twenty-teens the world almost certainly will abandon the US Dollar as the reserve currency.”
Thus, nukes being considered as a “good idea” is uniquely the thinking of the West, where there are no limits, conceptually or in practice, on legitimate weapons in a national arsenal to be used, or threatened to be used, in defending one's interests. This is especially so when a society's “interests” include an overseas empire in which the supposed colonials are resisting their subjugation, mass murder and economic rape. If only those Russians hadn't responded by defensively building-up such a huge arsenal of their own back in the Cold War, and now those “cheating” Chinese are building up a big, new, potent arsenal, too! Damn! American Whitey has always wanted to threaten the world with nuclear annihilation! That certainly would put a damper on all that talk about the “end of American exceptionalism!”
It would never, and does not ever, occur to most Western people, raised to be Capitalists, that certain self-promoting actions are unacceptable Human behavior, and thus, must never be undertaken. As a further example, all “modern” wars of industrial death and destruction, such as the non-stop Western post-WWII “discretionary” wars (Algeria, Vietnam, Iraq, et. al.), and, of course, World War II, itself, really were and are Holocausts of murder with the intended goals of conquest and empire. Adolph Hitler certainly was a Capitalist, as were the Brits and French who created him, as were the cleverly imitative Japanese who, after being conquered in the 19th century, decided to become “Western.” Their Asian Holocaust for empire between 1931 and 1945, including the murder of 30 million Chinese people, shows how well they adopted the Capitalist mentality of advancing their interests regardless of right and wrong and any cost to others. Hitler's mentality, of course, was the same, and his European Holocaust for empire resulted in the murders of 30 million Russians (their land was to have been his empire's richest prize), as well as 6 million Jews, half a million “Gypsies,” and many additional millions of people.
It is also a fully-relevant point that the Jewish/Zionist campaign of lies about Hitler's European Holocaust has tried hard since 1945 to convince the world that Jews were a unique, “special” target of Hitler's. Only in the fully-mendacious, Capitalist West has this idea found any traction. The bulk of Humanity regards all the lives lost in all imperial wars as equivalently-horrible murders. Thus, the Jews posturing as unique victims deserving of special compensation – such as the land already occupied by another people (Palestine) – represents just more self-serving, inhuman, Western lies. In other words, Capitalism!
Herbert Salit is a writer living in Los Angeles. He can be contacted at herbsalit(at)roadrunner.com.