Paychecks, Perception, Propaganda, & Power

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"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

jp morgan chase

I began to write this article in early December. I had just written an article that attempted to scrutinize how the American public could stand idly by while heavily armed mercenary thugs viciously crushed the Occupy encampments across the country in a Department of Homeland Security coordinated attack at the behest of the ruling oligarchy. Comfortably Numb made a case that the political and economic systems of the United States have been captured by a few evil men and they use their wealth and power to control the message hammered into the psyches of an apathetic, distracted, vincibly ignorant public. I started to tackle the question of why Americans could stand by as the new Greatest Generation was being abandoned, derided, scorned, beaten, tear gassed, and arrested for having the courage and audacity to stand up to a powerful corrupt unholy alliance between Wall Street psychopaths, corporate fascist barbarians, and Washington DC power hungry jackals. But I became overwhelmed with a feeling of disillusionment and hopelessness and was unable to write anything for about a month. I found myself questioning whether it was worth fighting such a powerful foe after seeing how easily they crushed the opposition put forth by OWS. After a month I decided I am not one to love my servitude.

“Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.” - Huxley’s Brave New World

I owe it to my three sons to keep fighting the good fight. They deserve a future. Day by day we draw ever closer to a showdown with the traitors who have sold this country into debt slavery. I don’t dream of revolution, but my eyes are wide open and I see it coming.    

I had been trying to wrap my head around what happened with the Occupy Movement since the Department of Homeland Security coordinated destruction of most of the encampments around the country in November. The corporate mainstream media immediately moved onto more pressing issues like the Kim Kardashian divorce and Jessica Simpson's weight gain. The American public has been instructed by the media the Occupy story is history, just like the BP oil spill, the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, and the Egyptian revolution. In a society consumed by reality TV Occupy Wall Street was just another show. The credulous American populace dutifully turned their attention to Black Friday and whipping out one of their 15 credit cards to purchase remote control pillows, 3D 72 inch HDTVs, a see through tank top from the Snooki line of slutware, or thousands of other ludicrous Chinese crap churned out by slave labor in factories built to support the “efficiency” efforts of U.S. conglomerates.

Without a constant irritating presence in the heart of NYC and other large cities, the Occupy Movement appears to have lost steam. I've been trying to figure out how and why this happened. The issues that motivated the protests have not gone away. The despicable MF Global crime, committed by a hall of shame member of the .01% - Jon Corzine - has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the Wall Street/Washington DC criminal conspiracy is alive and well. Unless you have been sitting in line at a Wal-Mart for the last two months to get a $3 waffle-maker, you saw young people across the country tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, maced, bludgeoned, and brutalized by the paid thugs of the ruling oligarchy on a daily basis. The outrage at the continued looting by the psychopathic Wall Street aristocracy and the horrific police brutality against young people exercising their Constitutional right to free speech and assembly should have ignited widespread anger and mass protest. Instead the reaction has been silence, scorn and smug satisfaction with the government response.

Paychecks & Perceptions

There are a plethora of rationales for the apathy and lack of critical thinking overwhelming our society as we plunge into the depths of a looming economic calamity. They include economic self interest, the power of propaganda to condition the masses, fear of opposing authority, and the perception of a reality that allows you to sleep at night. The Upton Sinclair quote above hit home for me a few weeks ago and explains much of the disdain for the Occupy movement. I was in a high level meeting at my University and during the course of the meeting the Occupy Movement was brought up. A senior executive made a derogatory comment about Occupy and then laughed. I smiled and bit my tongue. In retrospect it shouldn't have surprised me. I work at one of the top business schools in the world. The person who made the comment has spent his entire life educating students who end up with jobs at Wall Street financial institutions and with America's largest corporations. It is a natural response for someone whose whole life is reliant upon the existing financial system to psychologically overlook the obvious criminality of the Wall Street fat cats and corporate executives who validate his entire existence and life’s work. He chooses to not understand the message of these protestors because to truthfully comprehend their message would nullify his thirty years of academic efforts. My non-response to the comment about the Occupy Movement was also based upon self-interest and reliance on a paycheck to make a living. I had learned my lesson the hard way during a previous career stop.

It appears older generations have a considerably more negative view of young people protesting the capture of our political and economic system than younger generations. This also makes sense because they have the most to lose and cannot visualize a society other than the one they have created. To acknowledge the validity of the Occupy Movement and the justice of their positions would be to admit their own guilt in the creation of a society that has allowed a chosen few to enrich themselves at the expense of the many. The Baby Boom Generation has been living a lie their entire adulthood. It is true that prior generations created the welfare/warfare state we have today, but the Boomers have had the reins of power for the last two decades in Congress and chose to not only ignore the fact the entitlement promises made by previous administrations could not be fulfilled. They even made further promises in the trillions to their fellow Boomers. Instead of making a budgetary choice between guns and butter, the Boomers chose guns, butter, education, universal healthcare, the right to own a home, the right to a 72 inch HDTV, and zero percent financing on their Cadillac Escalade from government motors. The consequences of these choices are a $15.2 trillion National Debt growing at a rate of $3.7 billion per day and unfunded entitlement liabilities totaling in excess of $100 trillion.

I had the pleasure of meeting Neil Howe, co-author of The Fourth Turning and fourteen other books, in early December. His ground breaking work with William Strauss on generational theory has proven to be uncannily accurate, as their 1997 assessment of what dynamics would drive the course of history over the coming decades have materialized exactly as they presumed. We had a fascinating two hour discussion about various topics impacting the world today and I found that we were in agreement on just about everything, except for the Occupy protests. Neil Howe is an expert on interpreting how generations react to events. I expected him to be impressed by the courage and fortitude of the Millenials leading this protest against Wall Street gluttony and audacious criminality. This is the new GI Generation and I anticipated him perceiving these protests as a prelude to greater feats ahead by this generation. Instead he described them as naive adolescents being led down a phony path by anarchist Boomers. As an example he referenced the fact that many of the protestors were wearing Guy Fawkes masks, the most famous anarchist in history. He found this distasteful and dangerous. My interpretation of the Guy Fawkes masks was more in line with the movie V For Vendetta and the theme of a corrupt evil government keeping the public living in perpetual fear.

“Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.” - V For Vendetta

Neil Howe’s impression of the movie centered on the terroristic aspects of blowing up Parliament, not on the symbolism of citizens rising up and casting off the yoke of a malevolent oligarchy that has used propaganda, fear and intimidation to manipulate and control the population. Howe is a Baby Boomer and I’m Generation X. We are each viewing the Occupy Movement through the prism of our life experiences and perceptions about the intentions of these protestors. The existing social, economic, and political structure is dominated by Boomers. Neil Howe views the Occupy Movement as a threat to the system he believes in and supports. As a cynical Xer with no allegiance to a corrupt government, a crony capitalist economic system or a greedy self centered society, I see these young revolutionaries as our last great hope.

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