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Too Busy for Revolution

Type “revolution” into a search engine and find a soccer team, a tutoring system, a firm that engages in mergers & acquisitions, kites, pet care products, a music venue, dancewear, a health information database, climbing gear, a restaurant.

And the Communist Party, USA.

Well, at least someone remembers what a revolution is all about.

Except . . . neither Russia nor China are revolutionary. They’ve become like us, with only one difference. For them, the Communist Party controls the economy which in turn dictates how people live; private enterprise is just window dressing. For us, multinational corporations and Wall Street control the economy which in turn dictates how people live; representative government is just window dressing.

The search results seem to say: “revolution” is just another word we use buying and selling and entertaining ourselves. We’re busy getting what we can. Our national motto is now “Ubi Est Mea,”—Where’s mine?—a motto once dedicated to the always-on-the-take Chicago City Council by columnist Mike Royko.

Or perhaps Americans think one revolution is enough. We’ve had ours. Nothing is going to change now.

This view comes in two varieties—The Patriotic: America is the best country in the world, regardless of our problems; and, The Cynical: Nothing’s going to change, the fix is always in, what’s the point in trying?

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.” I think that pretty well describes our current situation if the meaning of “rulers” includes corporations and their lobbyists, the government officials, elected and appointed, who do their bidding, and the mainstream news media, owned by giant corporations and operated for the benefit of those corporations, not the people’s benefit.

Jefferson went on to say, “The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” And that’s the problem. According to Jefferson, the people must be educated, informed and enlightened. “Errors of opinion may be tolerated when reason is left free to combat it,” he wrote.

Tens of thousands of Americans work for public relations and “issues management” firms. Their duty is not to enlighten but to misinform, to spin, to tell something other than the plain, unvarnished truth.

Add corporate lawyers and lobbyists to that number.

Add every minute of every hour of every broadcast, cable-TV, and radio “news” or “opinion” program, because these broadcasters are not in business to enlighten people but to protect their own interests, which means to foster conflict and controversy, to use sentimentality and emotion for entertainment value, for the purpose of selling advertising. They have no interest—where’s the profit?—in providing education to enlighten the people.

Today’s rulers—the “spiders of Wall Street,” the aristocracy of corporate executives, the media barons and their vassal journalists—work tirelessly to keep the American people from understanding the true issues of our time. And that’s understandable, because if Americans ever took the time to figure it out, there would be a revolution.