Politics Magazine

What is of Greater Concern Than the Military-industrial Complex?

Posted on the 12 September 2011 by Andy96

In a posting from August 2006, I provided a table on the traits of the authoritarian personalities: Leaders and Followers. This same table was reposted in a December 2010 posting about the Tea Party. In January 2009, my posting included a table comparing the conservative and progressive worldviews based on factors defined in the writings of George Lakoff.

These postings summarize the two visions of America we are facing today: American Democracy and American Authoritarianism.

This posting adds to this comparison of the two visions for America. The first table below is based on a recent article by George Lakoff. The second table is based on the book Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism by Professor Henry Giroux.

The Fading American Dream The Growing Authoritarian Nightmare

Public – People, acting together to provide a complex infrastructure we all depend on Private – Corporations providing return only to shareholders

Care for fellow citizens (we) You’re on your own (me)

Building and improving national infrastructure for the common good Building your own infrastructure and charge others to use it

Pay taxes based on use of national infrastructure to keep it functional Pay taxes in inverse proportion to my wealth

A government which protects and empowers citizens to provide an equal opportunity for success A government run by corporations through privateering and lobbying

Public spaces created to promote critical thinking and long-term investing Many public spaces converted to private spaces to promote consumption and near-term self-gratification

Mutual caring and trust of our constitution based government Greed and distrust of our constitution based government

Quality education for all to enable equal opportunity for success Quality education only for the wealthy

Voting for citizens of all makes and models Voting for some with certain qualifications

Checks and balances against any realized or potential abuse of power Checks and balances based on religious beliefs and none for the free market

We are successful based on innate talent and things beyond our control (systemic causation) We are all totally self-made. There are no external factors affecting success

We care for ourselves and, through our government, others affected by circumstances beyond their control I am only responsible for myself and don’t need the government

Government caring for those with the least on behalf of the rest of us Privatized government by corporations caring for the wealthy among us

America for all citizens American only for “real” Americans

An America based on empathy for our fellow citizens An America based on fear of those not like me

We have a revenue problem due to three decades of tax cuts We have a spending problem because we want to destroy the government

Health care is a public matter Health care is a corporate/profit matter

Americans deserve real wage growth based on their productivity gains CEO bonuses and dividends for stockholders are taken from worker productivity gains

Our Social Security and Medicare are bought and paid for by American workers Your “entitlements” are bankrupting the country

Of the people, by the people, for the people Of the Multinational Corp, by the Multinational Corp, for the Multinational Corp

Standardized medical care for all with a 3 percent administration fee Thousands of private insurers limiting medical care with a 10 percent or higher administration cost plus an additional corporate tax called profit

Provide boots with bootstraps where needed – equal opportunity Expect those without boots to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps

Democracy is public Corporatocracy is private


The following is based on the book Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism by Professor Henry Giroux.

The Fading American Dream The Growing Authoritarian Nightmare

More teachers to educate all youth More prison guards for youth of the poor

Health care for all with 3% overhead costs Health care for some with 15% overhead costs

Citizen driven and accountable to the voters Market driven and accountable to shareholders

Critical thinking required Beliefs trump facts

Widespread acceptance of diversity Increased use of racist dog whistles

Public officials held accountable by a free press Widespread acceptance and propagation of lying and deceit for profit

A nation for all citizens A nation for those who see “other” Americans as the enemy and disposable

Language, literacy, and hope on the side of justice Willful ignorance and widespread injustice on the side of hate

Language and critical thought for holding the government, military, corporations, and other power centers accountable Language and mind numbing media for producing social amnesia and coma-inducing ignorance

A culture of empathy for all Americans A culture of cruelty for Americans not like me

National powers bestowed on the federal government to uphold a society based on the obligations of citizenship, compassion and collective security National powers transferred to ultra rich and mega corporations to uphold a totally deregulated, privatized, and commodified society

Freedom defined in terms of responsibility for others, moral decency, and the common good – freedom from abuse Freedom defined in terms of individualism and self-interest – freedom from constraint

Compassionate and politically active citizens, who are critical thinkers, are required Only selfish consumers, who can be easily scared by lies, are required and those who can’t consume will be imprisoned or left to die.

Ethical considerations are critical to life and death situations Life and death situations are a matter of cost/benefit analysis and profit

Torture was illegal and prosecuted Torture legalized and used against children.

Citizens are obliged to listen, respect the views of others, and engage in a literate exchange on the issues – a culture of questioning and informed argument Citizens engaged in unbridled intolerance, seething private fears, unchecked anger, and a decoupling of reason from freedom – a culture of shouting and unsubstantiated opinion

A society able to translate privately suffered misery into genuine public debate, social concerns, and collective actions. A society that watches others suffer for entertainment, blames them for their suffering with no understanding of systemic causation, and indulges in individual actions of self-interest.

A publicly, well funded, education infrastructure which teaches critical thinking for use throughout a large variety of public spaces for the sake of maintaining democracy A private, well funded, re-education infrastructure which entertains and teaches consumerism in a variety of privatized spaces for the sake of replacing democracy with a plutocracy

Critical thought, nurtured in a variety of public spaces, to promote democratic principles, responsible government, and the translation of private suffering into social concerns and collective remedial action Mob rule, financed by corporate wealth and stoked by political fear mongering, to promote marketplace fundamentalism, privatization of many public spaces, and elimination of the social state and collective action

Public spheres nurtured and maintained to promote dialog, debate, and arguments with supporting evidence Private spheres grown out of a national entertainment pedagogy to infantilize almost everything it touches, while offering opinions that utterly disregard evidence, truth, and civility

Public values and public good viewed as a legacy that needs to be reclaimed, re-imagined, and renewed continuously Public values and public good put on display like a museum piece that is worth viewing but not worth struggling over

Public schools for all that value youth, and provide protection, empowerment, equity, and hope. Broadly based schools that prepare young people to be knowledgeable, compassionate, and critically engaged citizens Public schools for the poor that have become military fortresses, ready to mete out injustice and humiliation in a zero tolerance atmosphere. Market based schools based on factories and prisons

Sufficient school taxes are invested in teachers, social workers, health workers, teachers aides, and safe travel to and from school Fewer school taxes are diverted from education to metal detectors, surveillance cameras and recording equipment, security guards, high security fences and armed police with dogs roaming the halls.

A society which supports all young people as necessary for democracy A society which sees the youth of the poor as disposable and in need of punishment

A social safety net provided boots to those in need so they could pull themselves up by their boot straps – a society of shared responsibilities. The social safety net is replaced with prisons, an expanded criminal justice system, and the erosion of civil liberties – a society of shared fears and state sanctioned torture.

A society based on a culture of mutual respect and caring for others – the common good. A society based on a culture of war, military metaphysics, and national security – the individual good

All young people are seen as an asset – a symbol of long term commitment for the common good Poor young people are seen as a liability and trouble that needs to be contained – a drain on the empire of consumption

A post WWII society worried about the military-industrial complex A post Greatest Generation society promoting a fundamentalist free-market and the academic-military-industrial-prison complex

What is of Greater Concern than the Military-industrial Complex?

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