by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
Oligarchs, though they speak of deconstructing the administrative state, actually increase deficits and the size and power of law enforcement and the military to protect their global business interests and ensure domestic social control. The parts of the state that serve the common good wither in the name of deregulation and austerity. The parts that promote the oligarchs’ power expand in the name of national security, economic growth and law and order.
– Chris Hedges, The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs
If you’ve been checking in with this site in recent days, you may have wondered if I was on vacation. I’m not. Rather, I’ve been suffering from a bit of sluggishness and writers block, and it wasn’t until I took some time to think about why earlier this morning that I was able to determine the cause of my affliction. The best way to describe what I’ve been dealing with in recent days is insanity fatigue.
It’s not as if there’s been a lack of news or things to talk about. There’s plenty. The problem is I’ve once again become exhausted and overwhelmed by the superficial stupidity and narcissism of our national political dialogue. I first expressed this sentiment about a year ago in the piece, Lost in the Political Wilderness, and the feeling came back in spades in recent days.
It’s been a year since I wrote that post and not much has changed. The political conversation, if you can call it that, remains largely polarized between two groups primarily focused on whether they support Trump or swear he’s Putin’s devilish puppet. One side insists he’s going to Make America Great Again, while the other thinks everything was perfectly fine before his election, and all will be well as long as we can rid ourselves of his presence. Meanwhile, the oligarch class continues to loot and pillage at will.
It’s actually quite extraordinary that a people so systemically and obviously preyed upon cannot see what’s right in front of them. It’s mind-boggling that tens of millions are so easily divided and conquered into manufactured tribes intent on avoiding at all costs what’s really going on in this country, such as a fraudulent financial system, endless imperial wars and the ever encroaching surveillance state. Long story short, we as a people simply refuse to accept what’s really causing the rot in this country and continue to be mesmerized by bread, circuses and opportunistic pundits leading us straight into oblivion.
I suppose this is always the way it is at the end of a failing and bankrupt empire, it’s just extraordinary to watch it happen in real time. The total insanity of the political debate in the U.S., and a lack of any willingness to admit our real systemic problems — let alone face them — is what convinces me without a doubt that this train is headed straight into a brick wall.
That’s not to say other countries are in fine shape, they aren’t. The whole planet’s become entangled in America’s increasingly corrupt, militaristic and fraudulent imperial financial system. Escape will not be clean or easy for anybody. Nevertheless, the U.S. has the furtherest to fall given it is the world’s dominant power armed with the global reserve currency. An empire with such an overwhelming structural advantage can last a lot longer than it should in the face of monumental incompetence, but the day of reckoning is coming.
Meanwhile, Trump isn’t addressing any of the major structural issues we face like our fraudulent and corrupt financial system, endless and pointless imperial wars or the ever-expanding surveillance panopticon managed and controlled by the unelected “deep state.” Sure, he talks a good game sometimes, but the core elements of the U.S. empire continue to expand in power and hubris with virtually zero resistance. Hillary Clinton would’ve done much the same while deflecting criticism as “sexist.” If the general public refuses to confront our real issues,the politicians and bureaucrats sure as heck aren’t going to. As such, it appears imperial implosion is inevitable at this point.
Chris Hedges recently wrote a piece on oligarchy at TruthDig and the role it plays in imperial collapse. The excerpt below was particularly poignant.
Oligarchs accelerate social, political, cultural and economic collapse. The unchecked plunder leads to systems breakdown. The refusal to protect natural resources, or the economic engines that sustain the state, means that poverty becomes the norm and the natural world becomes a toxic wasteland. Basic institutions no longer work. Infrastructure is no longer reliable. Water, air and soil are poisoned. The population is left uneducated, untrained, impoverished, oppressed by organs of internal security and beset by despair. The state eventually goes bankrupt. Oligarchs respond to this steady deterioration by forcing workers to do more for less and launching self-destructive wars in the vain attempt to restore a lost golden age. They also insist, no matter how bad it gets, on maintaining their opulent and hedonistic lifestyles. They further tax the resources of the state, the ecosystem and the population with suicidal demands. They flee from the looming chaos into their gated compounds, modern versions of Versailles or the Forbidden City. They lose touch with reality. In the end, they are overthrown or destroy the state itself. There is no institution left in America that can be called democratic, and thus there is no internal mechanism to prevent a descent into barbarity.
This is where we stand now. The system is breaking down in a very serious and dangerous manner as a result of decades of unaccountable oligarch plunder. A historic theft aided and abetted by politicians, intelligence agencies and corporate media, which provide the necessary backbone to keep oligarchy entrenched and the public confused and bickering about endless superficialities. If a thoughtful public backlash based on incisive analysis and energy capable of reforming this imperial oligarchy was coming, it would have arrived by now. It’s not coming, thus, imperial collapse is all but guaranteed. My guess is it’ll probably all be over by 2025 at the latest.
Although it may appear that way, my message isn’t one of doom and gloom. After all, it’s clear to me that the U.S. empire isn’t helping the typical American anyway. Rather, our system of predatory imperial oligarchy is more akin to a parasitic albatross around our collective necks, sucking away our spirit, wealth and liberty to enrich and empower a handful of empty and voraciously greedy sociopaths.
I don’t claim that the transition period will be smooth or painless, but I do harbor a great deal of optimism about what the future can and will look like on the other side. Younger generations understand as much as anyone how corrupt, fraudulent and unsustainable this system and its institutions are. Meanwhile, thoughtful and brilliant people globally are working day and night to create the necessary rails for a decentralized future in which we can reduce the need to trust institutions and individuals, hopefully ushering in a new paradigm characterized by greater transparency, ethics, liberty and an opportunity for a vastly improved experience for humankind.
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