Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Oh the irony the irony, it abounds in all of today's headlines, the wringing of hands as pundits bemoan, "Who coulda known", the shaking of heads, as this or that is now too much, then old hat, the shrugging of shoulders as we indicate another cherished belief has been jettisoned or another War on Fill-in-the-blank has been lost, but not a word on the name freakism that is Ferguson. And not Ferguson Plumbing or Ferguson Carpentry, Ferguson Accounting or Ferguson Baths, but Ferguson Mo., and the three Fergusons that seem to be to be an ironic historical trio to line up with the goings on in Ferguson Missouri.
Historically first in the queue would be Adam Ferguson, but first in irony is, of course, Plessy v. Ferguson, that being the landmark SCOTUS decision that upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal", before being overruled in 1954 by "Brown v. The Board of Education."
Here again in another Ferguson first we're being shown the separate but equal treatment of the racial minority in question, where this time it is the Police Force that is separate and the minority that's proven not equal to the task of fending off their Military-style attacks against them.
The next Ferguson apropos to our discussion is, although seemingly unrelated, gets included because he, as an advocate of the US taking up the mantle of Empire it wrested from Great Britain, he espouses a philosophy that explains exactly what those, and other police forces, were doing with having military weapons in their armamentaria in the first place, and that Ferguson is Niall, of the take-it-in-the Chinamerica lexiconcoction: Chimerica, a frightening chimera if there ever was one.
Perhaps it sounds unrelated to the events in Ferguson, but the fact that the so-called Republic isn't one, because an Empire simply is not a Republic, not by definition, not by its economics and finance, and certainly not by the power of its citizens over the actions and directions of its government. To an Empire, the decisions it makes are based not on how they affect his own electorate, but how they affect those of other countries, be they China, Japan, Israel, the Philippines, Iraq and Iran, Russia, Egypt, Somalia, Nigeria, or any of another dozen countries, their citizens welfare being effectively managed by Washington with their local leaders lining up for position at the Washington Consensus patronage trough as willingly as any State Senator. Their voices and concerned are considered as much, and as Ferguson, Missouri, not Niall this time, knows, often carry more weight in his, our Black President's, decisions.
Now, whereas it is admittedly difficult to find common ground with the only group of people that feels free to refer to my President as a nigger, black people, those who call each other brother one minute and nigger the next, pretending that there's no disrespect meant, even as they feel quite justified in physically assaulting anyone who isn't of the same complexion simply because they called them a name they don't like, a name which, to listen to them talk at one another, you would think is their favorite appellation, the images of military vehicles being brought to bear against US citizens is disturbing for a number of reasons, the first of which is the resemblance it has to the too-easily-resorted-to deployment of stealth technology against the Iraqi's in the first of the Gulf Wars by George HW Bush, once the Soviet Union was safely out of the picture as a restraint against unbridled US power.
The citizens of the US, not their government, seem to think people, in this Globalized world, a world that one of the most rabid War-mongers in the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, likes to call a village, are far too ready to start dropping phosphorous bombs and use depleted uranium weaponry on their fellow villagers. Either it's a village or its a world of Sovereign nations each trying to derive advantage by undermining and otherwise putting their neighboring countries into dire straits. Since it's obviously the latter, why is it surprising that whenever the US government has a domestic problem, they use the only tool that's proven effective elsewhere: Military force and paid assassins glamorized as "Warriors", but are nothing more than snipers-for-hire. And this is but one of many instances where we keep, and by we I mean black people as well as white, and maintain the separate but equal doctrine, not caring so much about the equal part, only maintaining the separate.
So when you adopt a term like Global Village to justify your ambitions to rule an Empire, pretending the world's just a quaint hamlet wherein every one has a voice, and then bomb the bejeezus out of a part of it, the Niall Ferguson picture of the US as World Police maintained via Empire Militancy always has a way of creating a similar dysfunctional dynamic back in the Homeland, Fatherland or Mother country that results in a Ferguson, Mo.with a minority, that insists on striking down Separate but equal doctrine while maintaining views, such as their cry for reparations, that are at compete odds with it. In this respect, the masses, as epitomized by the behavior in Ferguson, remind one of Adam Ferguson's comments on Adam's Smith's observation that "in free countries, where the safety of government depends on the favorable judgement which the people form of its conduct" a mass of ignorant, culturally degraded citizens easily becomes an immense drag on the system, because they become easy prey to demagogues and applaud every attempt to undermine the foundations of that "natural liberty' which they've enjoyed in the first place.
This reflects on the cultural costs of Kamikaze Kapitalism, which Adam Smith, the economist most cited by the Wall St. trading community as justification for giving them a "Free Hand" to steal whatever they wanted from whomever they wanted, whenever they found it convention, and thus brought the world to the edge of the financial abyss and then blackmailed it into meeting their ransom demands, threatening to push it crashing into oblivion otherwise, but Smith had argued that no society benefited from becoming entirely "commercial" in its mentality and attitudes, yet that is what the Wall St. cohort and their bought politicians insisted the US, and of course, if you want to be held in favor by the US (i.e. be allowed to exist), other countries as well, turned into, as they monetized everything that wasn't nailed down and then started on those things that were.
It was Adam Ferguson who argued, contrarily, in his "Essay on the History of Civil Society", published in 1768, and which was richly informed by both Adam Smith and Hume, not to mention Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that commercial society, with its over-specialization and mental mutilation, destroyed the integrity and courage of native peoples everywhere. The effect of Capitalism on those qualities, he argued, is to eat away at them as they are replaced with new, self-centered, modern traits wherein the individual considers his community only so far as it can be rendered subservient to his personal advancement and profit. Humans become weak and soft, and lose their sense of honor and courage. They must have their creature comforts, no matter what. Freedom itself becomes a commodity, to be sold to the highest bidder - or seized by the strongest power.
Ferguson saw history moving along the same lines as his fellows amongst the Edinburgh literati, but the ultimate destination would be very different from what the prophets of progress were forecasting, and the events that are being show-cased in Ferguson, Mo. are proving his more sobering views to be more in line with reality as it has unfolded. Kamikaze Kapitalism has proven his thesis that although it builds walls ad ramparts, it enervates the minds of those who are placed to defend them; although it forms disciplined armies, it reduces the military spirit of entire nations, and by the sword where it has created a distaste for civil establishments, it prepares for mankind the government of force.
Thus, the last stage of modern history, which is exactly what he US claimed itself to be in its post-USSR hubris-soaked triumphalism, by spouting such absurdity as "The End of History", Adam Ferguson claimed, Niall Ferguson Boasted, Plessy v Ferguson denied, but Ferguson Mo. highlights, would not be liberty but tyranny, unless something was done to prevent it. Because "left to itself Capitalism would become humanity's tomb." So, as you can see, when I call it Kamikaze Kapitalism Kultur, I am not being overly pessimistic nor out of line with the thinkers at the very beginnings of Capitalism, including Adam Smith himself who is used as the though he were Ayn Rand, which only the ignorance of the polity allows to happen because they swallow the rhetoric, believe the lies, without ever bothering to take up the most famous book written by the man the Wall St swindlers quote as justification for their high-handed abuse of that most precious of commodities: Your money. A commodity that proves again that what is separate, can never be equal, otherwise, what's the justification for the separateness?
Power and control. The justification for everything, and the one that Niall Ferguson advocates for the US as Empire to replace their empire, but wherein Great Britain, would of course, be separate, and not equal, but more equal than any other country. So the irony in the situation that I mention in the opening paragraph is one we all share, but becomes more austerely evident in the racial component of Ferguson, Mo, in that a minority that has accepted the subjugation of the rest of the globe via military ascendancy riots in the streets and is surprised when that military might is then turned on them. To me it appears similar to the outrage about the NSA spying that Snowden exposed. My reaction is the same. "What did you think?" Do you really think that you;re immune to the whirlwind you've unleashed onto the world? Such power without restraint is, well, power without restraint, Once you've taken the muzzle off the pit bull, it can well prove impossible to get it back on.
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 12:52 PM