by Peter A. Belmont / 2013-11-19
This essay, before some additions, was re-published at Counterpunch as: The Oligarchy vs. Planet Earth
The biological structure called “humankind” has gone haywire. Keep reading.
Humankind faces several large problems or catastrophes of human origin. Most dreadful is CLIMATE CHANGE, about which we (“humankind”) are essentially doing nothing.
Various political problems are also more or less catastrophic, if for fewer people: my eye (for my own reasons) is always on the Israel-Palestine-Arab-Iran problem, always a disaster for someone and always getting worse. The world’s and each nation’s or region’s economy seem always balancing precariously with a tilt toward disaster. Meanwhile, the world’s population keeps growing as if all were well.
These problems are aggravated and exacerbated, or far worse, by the demise of governance “as if people mattered.” Some of these problems—such as the banking crisis of 2008— are, doubtless, caused in large part by bad governance.
The sign that humankind has gone mad is the general delivery of the power of governance into the hands of “oligarchs” (usually corporations) which do not care for the welfare of the people.
This idea is not mine alone—it is well written up, for instance, in: The New World Order—The Betrayal of the Nation, where it says
In every country I can think of, the sovereignty and wealth of the Nation, which was once the embodiment of the power and will of the people, is being butchered and sold to the highest bidder. Everywhere, the Nation and the people within it, are under attack. Not from without by terrorists but from within. Because in every country the people who run the State have largely decided they no longer wish to serve the people but prefer instead to serve the interests of a Global Over-Class. The same author writes The Emerging New World Order – Part 2. The End of Sovereignty
In part one I wrote, ” …in every country the people who run the State have largely decided they no longer wish to serve the people but prefer instead to serve the interests of a Global Over-Class”. I believe we are in the midst of an historical shift in the alignment of loyalty and political power, away from democracy. I want to make it clear I do not believe the new arrangement of political and economic power was the clear goal of some hidden cabal. I think each change had an ideological drive behind it but, to begin with at least, each change was largely opportunistic and piecemeal. These pieces have, however, added up. And as time has gone by and the different pieces have accumulated, I think some wealthy and powerful people as well as some who were ideologically driven, have seen the chance to make something they desired out of the pieces. I think those who never liked democracy-for-the-masses, but preferred something that was more like the Roman senate – a place for the sons and daughters of the already wealthy and powerful families to ensure they remained wealthy and powerful – I think those people have seen an historical chance to further their vision of the future they desire and, particularly in the last twenty or so years, have actively schemed and pushed for it. Some of them have lobbied for it from Wall Street and the City, others of the same elite have written laws for it when they were in Congress and Parliament. And always they have found affordable lackeys among our political class.
”Democracy” has become little more than a mere word, a slogan, a bumper-sticker, as it has slipped away from naming a functional reality.
What has “democracy” (or the lack thereof) got to do with policy-making on, say, climate change?
Making the switch to green energy would be enormously difficult EVEN if people were well informed and democracy were functional. But they are not and it is not. The reason is “oligarchy”. Think “Citizens United.” Oligarchy is governance by and for the “BIGs”—BIG-OIL, BIG-DEFENCE, BIG-PHARMA, BIG-BANKS, BIG-HEALTH-CARE, and my old hobby-horse, BIG-ZION.
My “take” is that our government and the mainstream media are “occupied territory”, roughly, “wholly-owned subsidiaries” of the BIGs, the oligarchs, the several big-money interests, who/which allow popular democracy to take effect only on matters of no interest to themselves (or as to matters, if any, on which the oligarchs are, among themselves, in opposing balance).
The BIGs include individuals such as the Koch brothers, but consist mostly of big corporations and big banks, big hedge funds, big pension funds, and the like. They run America and much of the world. “The People”, as such, do not. Not on the important stuff.
I used the term “occupied territory” above to describe the USA’s political system. As that term suggests, America’s policy as to Israel, Palestine, Iran, etc., has long been controlled by AIPAC and its allies (together, BIG-ZION), against no discernible opposition from among the other BIGs, and the USA follows a strict pro-hard-line-Israel policy. (President Obama is trying to break away from that line as to war with Iran but succumbs entirely as to Israel/Palestine.) What the people would think or feel if fully informed is of no consequence. People are not “big”. Even taken together, “The People” are not a “BIG”. And they are not, in any case, well informed. The “occupied” media take care of that.
On energy-policy, the USA follows the line of BIG-FOSSIL-FUELS. Hard to make the switch (it would be difficult anyhow) to green energy when the BIGs oppose the switch (apparently without demur among themselves).
If BIG-INSURANCE and BIG-DEFENSE (or any other coalition of sufficiently big BIGs) opposed BIG-OIL on climate change, matters might be different, but it appears that there is no significant pressure among the (non-OIL) BIGs to get “off” fossil fuels.
The danger to the world of the oligarchy (rule by the BIGs that I described above) is not due to the fact of rule-by-bigs as opposed to rule-by-democracy. After all, “the people” are not so smart, and benevolent dictatorship always seems imaginable.
No, the danger to the world is that the BIGs do not care about the human future—their interests are not the same or even in the same line as the interests of people.
The BIGs concentrate intensely on their own immediate concerns, their own bottom-lines, their own profits, the value their own shares, and the like, not about anyone’s future beyond a 20-year horizon.
People, by contrast (unless actually starving at the time) care about the long range future, the world that their children will inhabit. As to environmental matters, people, or many of us, believe (as to the natural order as a whole) that “What God has put together, let not mankind put asunder”, but corporations and many of the very rich do not believe any such rubbish. “Plunder and Sunder” might be the watchwords of the BIGs.
Pirates were once thought to be a danger to humanity. We are now taught that “terrorists” are a danger to humanity. But concerns about pirates and terrorists are mere distractions, distracting people from concern with the real dangers we all face—as dangers to humankind, pirates and even terrorists are pikers compared to the BIGs.
If the BIGs were to energetically propel the world toward GREEN energy, I have no doubt that would be our direction. But it is not. Our governments generally ignore climate change. Many of the elected puppets of the BIGs pooh-pooh climate change entirely, call it a myth.
Biological structures go haywire sometimes.
People become dysfunctional due to illness or mental disease. A psychotic person does a poor job of directing his own life or the lives of others. A body sufficiently far gone with cancer does a poor job of carrying out the tasks of living.
The biological structure called “mankind” has gone haywire. Oligarchy is killing the earth or at least transforming it so human habitation will be rather dramatically changed—soon.
We all know this. And until we find a magic bullet to overcome the “oligarchy” that rules us, the madness (psychosis) of our rulers will doom us into further and further trouble—as to climate, as to war and peace, as to justice: as to all the things that people—as opposed to corporations—care about.
 The open showing of the oligarchy in action is discussed here.
 I have not analyzed how dangerous the BIGs would be if they did not participate in politics. If none except human beings could spend money for “political action” in the USA and if such spending were subject to a well-enforced cumulative annual “cap”, democracy might again be possible. That is of course, especially with the Supreme Court as so far revealed, counter-factual to say the least.