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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Five Years Later: Big Moneyed Establishment Rules The Roost

Bill Moyers Excerpt:
Gather round for the word of the day - metanarrative. Definitions vary but let’s say it’s one big narrative that connects the meaning of events to a belief thought to be an essential truth, the storytelling equivalent of the unified field theory in physics.

“…The Charles Koch metanarrative — and he’s said it explicitly — is that he is challenging collectivism, he is challenging the idea that when people get together they can do good,” she said. “And he is putting forward the worldview that we’re all very familiar with that if you free the individual to pursue their self-interest that will actually benefit the majority. So you need to attack everything that is collective, whether it’s labor rights or whether it’s public health care or whether it’s regulatory action. All of this falls under the metanarrative of an attack on collectivism.”

That is so true. I would add the one word everyone needs to focus on in Koch's war on the American system the word "public." It's not easy for many to grasp what collectivism is because it's not a tangible physical target and some have their own personal view to define it and ways to abuse it.

But everything "public" is visible and you can touch it. If they want to end collectivism, beyond Ayn Rand's poor idea of "individualism," it will only come through by the legislative selling out of public utilities, lands, parks, education, transportation, health care, libraries, police, fire, the whole public gamut. Basically we'll looking into the world of Atlas Shrugged where everything is "self"-regulated - like Wall Street is today but much worse. In my opinion, particularly in Wisconsin, the Kochs' and their tools are easily winning.

Take for instance the last two elections in Wisconsin. The majority of Wisconsin voters for some reason refuse to link the most important issues directly to the candidate they select.

You want to talk about a unified belief system? How about a majority of Wisconsinites (according to public polling) wanting to raise the minimum wage, wanting the state to operate a closer-to-the-people health care system, want to see an end to big money in politics, want to see equal opportunity for higher education, want more voter access to the ballot - not less, want less lobby influence at the Capitol - not more, want our environment protected, want our public utilities, lands and waters protected, want more local control, want open and accessible government - and they elect Scott Walker? And, a republican majority? Are you kidding me?

For the most part, I think we have a unified metanarrative that is consistent and easily adaptable to emerging issues. The problem seems to be the voter's inability to connect those issues to the event known as Election Day. Because, all I see throughout each year are good people protesting, writing and distributing petitions, writing letters to legislators and newspapers, only to lose on election day and repeat the process all over again. It seems even that process has become establishment.

My inbox is filled everyday with narratives on the issues. "Help us protest the oil pipelines, tell Rep. Jason Doe to oppose the bla, bla, bla, write a letter to your newspaper editor..." and on and on. Look, I'm not bashing those efforts, they are necessary. But I just see a whole lot of energy and passion being used in whack-a-mole fashion that dilutes the goal and in fact might turn like-minded people off by the time election day rolls around. People get tired of the daily grind and turn to status quo politicians, even when it's against their own interests.

Beyond the big money support, there's another reason why the Scott Walker's and Paul Ryan's continue to get elected when a so-called socialist commie Barack Obama (he's not either) wins in the same districts and wards. They are establishment.

In Wisconsin, they could not get elected without the support from some Democrats, Progressives and Liberals. You can't be all-in for the wage-earning worker and Wall Street at the same time. You can't be for economic development "incentives" and against corporate welfare at the same time. You can't be for a prospering sustainable progressive local community and support Scott Walker for your governor. It does not compute.

Still, I'm not too sure the day of reckoning is coming anytime soon regarding the establishment. That would require a huge political revolution. The kind of revolution where people simply vote for the candidate that best reflects their own positions on election day - not somebody's fear campaign, metanarrative or ideology.

Plus for obvious reasons, there are plenty of embedded co-opting forces that must be overcome in both parties, organized unions, chambers and the MSM that don't want the establishment identity focused on at election time. It's too divisive they say and a not-establishment presidential candidate won't work well with Congress - a gerrymandered Congress that has an 11% approval rating. * sigh *

Solidarity alone could not overcome those recent betrayals in Wisconsin to win on election day and unless something big happens that includes some major sacrifices, I don't see the people winning it in a national election.


Anonymous said...

Interesting take on the Moyers story, but confusing. Isn’t your “American system” and the establishment one and the same? Can you clarify that?

Lou Kaye said...

The American system and the establishment are not the same. The best shortest description I could offer for the American system is in a question asked by Mike Wallace in 1958 of Ayn Rand. The system is composed of edifices (all things public, gov’t, law, our media and educational system) and our contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government-regulated capitalism, and our rule by majority will. Those are all fairly stationary. That is what the Kochs want to destroy. The establishment is composed of the power and control players. That is very fluid. Koch and their wealthy supporters are members of the establishment at this point in history.

To take this further, collectivism is ordained as a power of Congress in our constitution in the form of taxation (Article 1 Section 8). Koch and their supporters obviously want to destroy it because it provides the funding mechanism for the American system. That’s why in the past I referred to them and their efforts as anti-American. I hope that clarifies it.

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