It appears that the information revolution is redefining cultural aspirations at a time when mass production has become a concave-convex supernova offering everybody (in theory) the right to ‘have everything,’ regardless of the cost to fellow beings or to nature itself.
In the West, free enterprise had become an object lesson in short-sightedness and purblind avarice, suggesting that it’s time to revisit an age-old conundrum; the conflict between capitalist expediency and enlightened social wellbeing. Having successfully focused consumers on the many ways in which self-gratification can be experienced, the consumer-economy, committed to seducing the somnambulant among us, while turning a blind eye to the damage that comes with gauche and expedient ways of can-do-ness, suggest that, collectively, we in the West have become befuddled pilgrims in a vainglorious journey to nowhere.
In the West, we live in a world where militarism and the production of arms has come to represent the pulse of capitalism. The journey that began at the tribal level has moved through a succession of capitalist incarnations to become the singular purpose of investment-capital and a business model in every respect. As it was never intended to be an exercise in creating homogeneous wellbeing…socialism… this model remains as the one best suited to the elites who manage money. Not surprisingly, the rest is history as they say. The story of capitalism’s right-of-passage towards its colonial adventures and onwards into its imperial hegemonic phase is one of bloody-mindedness.
Until recently in the West, it was the growth of personal wealth and middle-classness that underpinned the reality of ‘collective-individualism.’ Skills effecting upward mobility were highly sought after. The desire to embrace cultural norms that defined progress as freedom to enjoy lifestyles enhanced by copious amounts of disposal income, soon became everyone’s dream.
So, when the economy lost it’s bearing in the heat of the bizarre excesses leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, ‘collective-individualism’ was left to pick up the pieces. Struggling with the legacy of a febrile narrative that served the interests of Wall Street, middle-classness lost some of its shine. The market had spoken, the individual was merely a unit in a bourse that had little time for the niceties or human fallibility. Banking had become a low feeder-operation where the devil would take the hindmost.
It was the banking crisis of 2008 that revealed how ‘collective-individualism’ had become merely an adjunct of Wall Street’s insidiously covert private-banking system. Having cocooned itself in the system, the banking establishment managed to present itself as the face of liberal democracy…albeit pseudo… for the purpose of gratifying its own insatiable appetite. As a result of the 2008 debacle, fake-expertise-babble was required to disguise the signs of senescence now appearing in a banking system sliding toward obsolescence.
With the emergence of bureaucratic capitalism in China, the monumental task of moving countless tens of millions of people out of poverty was commenced and the results have been spectacular. Along with this operation came the realization that proportionality should be the linchpin for securing the principles of collective enterprise. The words Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong spoke in 1927 at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” were replaced by notions of incremental change occurring for the betterment of the entire community.
Using the resources of the state to improve the wellbeing of the many would mechanically elevate the population to a level of heightened social order. By any measure, a great awakening had occurred…an age-old trading culture had reassembled its resources in order to find common cause. Through the medium of central planning, the path toward achieving internal hegemony reappeared in a distinctly Confucian way.
With an agenda designed to eliminate poverty by utilising the collective potential of the state to solve problems, statistics suggest that a modicum of proportionality has already been achieved within China’s sovereign territories and that plans are on track to achieve what the revolution sent out to do. Namely, a way of floating all its boats…one billion and a quarter of them…on the rising tide of a renascent imagination collectively focused on technological ascendancy.
Alert to the potential within the Chinese tech garden to achieve yet another Spring and Autumn period, the core interchangeable elements of Confucianism, collectivism and hegemony militate to emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
History shows us that the Chinese city of Guangzhou (Early Modern Guangzhou) represented the reference point that enable one to understand the changing context of Sino-foreign economic and cultural relations in the nineteenth century. A great trading city that would ultimately reconstitute itself as a commercial centre for maritime exports and debut as post-modern Guangzhou. It was always the city that identified China as a maritime trader surfing the waves of silk road opportunities. Unlike most European nations, its expansionism was benign. It never went into the business of exporting armaments or colonizing the natives along its trade routes.
From the traditional trading posts in Quanzhou and Guangzhou, to the modern treaty ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shanghai, to the contemporary metropolis Hong Kong and Taiwan and special economic zones in Shenzhen and Pudong, southern coastal cities in the last five hundred years and beyond have connected China to the outside world and the global economy. Throughout this time, China never sought to colonise its neighbours or occupy continents or countries across the globe…trading remained its modus operandi…and besides, Confucius the thinker, never confused occupation or dominance with the Chinese notion of hegemony!
Conversely, the colonial West’s predilection for gunboat diplomacy and stand-over tactics produced an entirely different trading model. With the advent of the industrial revolution in Europe, sorties of the ‘dalek’ kind…robotic incursions into exotic lands for the purpose of procuring the resources and territories belonging to people of colour became the norm.
It was as though the industrial revolution had spawned a concept of superiority that ultimately resulted in the white race distilling a notion of its own exceptionality that would justify its own work-ethic as proof of its right to exploit people whose appearance did not please their albino imagination. In the succeeding centuries, the march of the ‘daleks’ would in effect enslave, slaughter and exploit non-white peoples with impunity, all the while deluding themselves that their actions were progressive…a code word for exploitation…and justifiably, the ‘white-man’s-burden’…a program adopted in support of their assumption that the non-white peoples were inferior.
In time, institutional racism would achieve the kind of value an asset might have in a bourse. The concept of democracy would be privatised in accordance with the wishes of those who were there to do the thinking for all those of a lesser stripe. Patriotism would become a mantra of majestic proportions in the West to assure white people that they were on the winning side of history. Proof of same would be diligently manufactured. Strangely, Western powers who imagined they owned ‘democracy’ felt the need to garrison the globe with 800 military bases, fearing that those ‘others’ may have sovereign economic models of their own they might wish to develop.
In fact, disproportionality had reached such levels of lethality that the doyens of liberal democracy became citizens of cloud-cuckoo-land in possession of a foreign policy committed to kneecapping…sanctioning… other nation’s economies if they didn’t do what they were told to do. China in moving to re-embrace the “maritime silk road” once again, soon became the fly in the competitive ointment. Westerners, as heirs to the traditional colonial trading-throne decided that carrying a big ballistic stick was the only way to do business. Alarmed at seeing how China could engage in trade without threatening its clients, it chose the American way of doing business. In true American style, the military budget was given a massive blow job.
In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex. Before and during the Second World War, American industries had successfully converted to defence production as the crisis demanded, but out of the war, what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions emerged. Eisenhower had no need of a crystal ball to see where the emerging disproportionality would lead his country to. His fear, rightly, was that disproportionality of this kind would ultimately obfuscate the principles of the Democratic Republic of America.
Had he lived to see the colossal damage his country wrought on the Middle East he would have understood that a permanent armaments industry must do what a permanent armaments industry must do…use and sell what they produced in order to justify their budget.
What Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to as a permanent armaments industry could equally be applied to the permanent propaganda industry that has overtaken America. Together, these two industries have created a narrative for Americans to reassure them that a system based on might, is right for them. By every measure, the fourth estate and the Fourth of July have synthetized into a narrative that is big on self-adulation.
On the occasion of the most recent Fourth of July parade, the presence of Apache attack helicopters, ballistic missiles, M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and F-22 Raptors were assembled to reinforce the notion that corporate-capitalist-democracy existed to deliver a patriotic narrative capable of turning the key that could unlock the potential of the American psyche and find greatness by shoving its hardware and unique ideas of identity into the face of all and sundry.
As the fourth of this and that got under way, it became ever more evident that America’s unique identity possesses an internal form of hegemony seeking greatness through strictly military means. After military might was chosen as the path to dominance and greatness, America developed external hegemonic programs to curtail un-American activities such as Iranian Mullahs imagining that they can export oil to whomever they choose to, or China and Russia talking multilateralism, or Venezuela resisting imperial vassalage…or just about anything that moved, squeaked, farted or failed to avow the American way of doing business. Non-compliance would be met with sanctions or military invasion.
On the occasion of the recent Fourth of July celebrations, Donald Trump (dealer extraordinary) stood before the statue of Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate his ability to wind up the patriotic narrative; he spoke thusly; “As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage.” Said he, “Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told…The Story of America.”
But strangest of all were the ‘daleks’ flying overhead and the steel-clad ‘daleks’ rumbling past on terra firma for the purpose of bonding the vast gathering of patriotic stalwarts in hegemonic unity. The crowd, agog with admiration for the men and women flying overhead in their wonderful flying machines were proud to witness the “The American Story” in all its first-hand glory. Most noticeably, they were indifferent to the fact that the things they found admirable in this show of strength were designed to annihilate people. They were no less enamoured of the wet pointy cone bits of the ballistic missiles…glistening like killer-candy… as they were rained upon.
All in all, “The Story of America” reverberates across the globe as the story of meaty stealth. Its true colours were made available for all to see, or for anyone with the nous to join the dots… message delivered; American style hegemony is great for boys with schizoaffective disorders and the lethal toys that find them.
As America-the-circus moves into election mode, its military arrive here in Australia to set up a military base in Darwin. As few…if any…of their political clowns will broach the subject of their lethal foreign policy, why should anyone in their right mind welcome one of their bases here? As for now, better we wait until Uncle Sam creates a peace bureau and sends an emissary of a different stripe to us.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” —Voltaire.
Denis A. Conroy is a freelance writer residing in Australia.