“No man nor any living thing in this world preserves their life forever. But only to men is it given to know that we must die, and that is a precious gift. This life that is both our torment and our treasure was never meant to endure for eternity. Life is a wave on the sea. Would you force the sea to grow still to save one wave? To save yourself?”—Sparrow Hawk - Tales From Earthsea
I should say that when people talk about capitalism it’s a bit of a joke. There’s no such thing. No country, no business class, has ever been willing to subject itself to the free market, free market discipline. Free markets are for others. Like, the Third World is the Third World because they had free markets rammed down their throat.
Meanwhile, the enlightened states, England, the United States, others, resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power, and still do. That’s right up to the present. I mean, the Reagan administration for example was the most protectionist in post-war American history. Virtually the entire dynamic economy in the United States is based crucially on state initiative and intervention: computers, the internet, telecommunication, automation, pharmaceutical, you just name it. Run through it, and you find massive ripoffs of the public, meaning, a system in which under one guise or another the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and profit is privatized.
That’s very remote from a free market. Free market is like what India had to suffer for a couple hundred years, and most of the rest of the Third World.
“…there’s an experiment going on. The experiment is: can you marginalize a large part of the population, regard them as superfluous because they’re not helping you make those dazzling profits — and can you set up a world in which production is carried out the most oppressed people, with the fewest rights, in the most flexible labor markets, for the happiness of the rich people of the world? Can you do that? Can you get women in China to work locked into factories where they’re burned to death in fires, producing toys that are sold in stores in New York and Boston so that rich people can but them for their children at Christmas? Can you have an economy where everything works like that — production by the most impoverished and exploited, for the richest and most privileged, internationally? And with large parts of the general population just marginalized because they don’t contribute to the system — in Colombia, murdered, in New York, locked up in prison. Can you do that? Well, nobody knows the answer to that question. You ask, could it lead to a civil war? If definitely could, it could lead to uprisings, revolts.”—
“…that’s the way that capitalism works. The nature of the system is that it’s supposed to be driven by greed; no one’s supposed to be concerned for anybody else, nobody’s supposed to worry about the common good - those are not things that are supposed to motivate you, that’s the principle of the system. The theory is that private vices lead to public benefits - that’s what they teach you in economics departments. It’s all total bullshit, of course, but that’s what they teach you. And as long as the system works that way, yeah, it’s going to self destruct.”—Understanding Power - Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)
“Elections are run by the Public Relations industry, which markets candidates much as it markets commodities in TV ads. The goal of marketing is to create uninformed consumers making irrational choices, thus to undermine the markets we are taught to revere, in which informed consumers make rational choices. The same techniques are used to undermine democracy. The McCain campaign was at least honest in announcing that issues would not be important in the campaign; only personalities. Democrats basically agree, and it is true of earlier campaigns as well, a lesson taught well by the Reaganites. There are other reasons to keep issues off the agenda: on a host of major issues, both parties - that is, both factions of the business party - are well to the right of the population, as revealed by many studies of public opinion. Democracy has always been regarded as a threat by elite sectors, and understandably so. Democratic theorists, across the spectrum, have been quite frank about the matter.”—Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)
“GTA V has little room for women except to portray them as strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humorless girlfriends and goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at. Characters constantly spout lines that glorify male sexuality while demeaning women, and the billboards and radio stations of the world reinforce this misogyny, with ads that equate manhood with sleek sports cars while encouraging women to purchase a fragrance that will make them “smell like a bitch.” Yes, these are exaggerations of misogynistic undercurrents in our own society, but not satirical ones. With nothing in the narrative to underscore how insane and wrong this is, all the game does is reinforce and celebrate sexism. The beauty of cruising in the sun-kissed Los Santos hills while listening to “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood turns sour really quick when a voice comes on the radio that talks about using a woman as a urinal.”— Carolyn Petit, Gamespot review of GTA V (via femfreq)
“'International terrorism' was placed at the center of attention by the Reagan Administration as soon as it was installed in 1981… The Administration was committed to three related policies, all achieved with considerable success: (1) transfer of resources from the poor to the rich; (2) an enormous increase in the state sector of the economy in the traditional American way, through the Pentagon system, a device used to make the public finance high-technology industry by means of the state-guaranteed market for the production of high-technology waste and thus to contribute to the program of public subsidy, private profit, called 'free enterprise'; and (3) a substantial increase in U.S. intervention, subversion, and international terrorism (in the true sense of the expression). Such policies cannot be presented to the public in the terms in which they are intended. They can be implemented only if the population is properly frightened by monsters against whom they must defend themselves.”—
“I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.”—Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman (via shesgothighmorale)
The reason was provided by St. Augustine in his tale about the pirate asked by Alexander the Great, “How dare you molest the sea?” The pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an Emperor.”
St. Augustine calls the pirate’s answer “elegant and excellent.” But the ancient philosopher, a bishop in Roman Africa, is only a voice from the global South, easily dismissed. Modern sophisticates comprehend that the Emperor has rights that little folk like Bolivians cannot aspire to.
“Moreover, the institutions of the transnational state largely serve other masters, as state power typically does; in this case, the rising transnational corporations in the domains of finance and other services, manufacturing, media and communications—institutions that are totalitarian in internal structure, quite unaccountable, absolutist in character, and immense in power. Within them, a participant takes a place in a fairly rigid hierarchy of domination, implementing orders from above, transmitting them downwards. Those outside may try to rent themselves to the masters and may purchase what they produce, but few other options are open to the great mass of the population.”—World orders, old and new - By Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)
A catcall is entirely about reminding you that you are not yours. The purity myth is entirely about reminding you that you are not yours. The fetishization of female purity in a world where catcalls are an acceptable form of communication telegraphs one thing very clearly:
“Women, stop sexualizing yourselves—that’s our job, and you’re taking all the fun out of it.”
The sexualization of women is only appealing if it’s nonconsensual. Otherwise it’s “sluttiness,” and sluttiness is agency and agency is threatening.
Fascism is a term from the political domain, so it doesn’t apply strictly to corporations, but if you look at them, power goes strictly top-down, from the board of directors to managers to lower managers and ultimately to the people on the shop floor, typists, etc. There’s no flow of power or planning from the bottom up. Ultimate power resides in the hands of investors, owners, banks, etc.
People can disrupt, make suggestions, but the same is true of a slave society. People who arn’t owners and investors have nothing much to say about it. They can choose to rent their labor to the corporation, or to purchase the commodities or services that it provides, or to find a place in the chain of command, but that’s it. That’s the totality of their control over the corporation.
”—Noam Chomsky, How The World Works; Defective Democracy
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”—Albert Einstein (via predatorywrites)
“Here’s a pack of morons who ought to be locked into portable toilets and set on fire.
These people with bumber stickers that say: “We are the proud parents of an honor student at the Midvale academy”, or whatever other innocent sounding name has been given to the indoctrination center where their child has been sent to be stripped of his individuality and turned into an obedient, sold, dead, conformist member of the US consumer culture. Proud parents? What kind of empty people need to validate themselves through the achievements of their child? Heres a sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child who has resisted his teachers attempts to break his spirit and bend him to the will of his corporate masters”.”—George Carlin (via dialectic)
“A business or big corporation is a fascist structure internally. Power is at the top. Orders go from top to bottom. You either follow or get out.”—Noam Chomsky, How The World Works: The New Global Economy. 1993
The doctrinal system, which produces what we call “propaganda” when discussing enemies, has two distinct targets. One target is what’s sometimes excelled the “political class,” the roughly 20% of the population that’s relatively educated, more or less articulate, playing some role in decision-making. Their acceptance of doctrine is crucial, because they’re in a position to design and implement policy.
Then there’s the other 80% or so of the population. These are Lippmann’s “spectators of action,” whom he referred to as the “bewildered herd.” They are supposed to follow orders and keep out of the way of the important people. They’re the target of the real mass media: the tabloids, the sitcoms, he Super Bowl and so on.
These sectors of the doctrinal system serve to divert the unwashed masses and reinforce the basic social values: passivity, submissiveness to authority, the overriding virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or imagined enemies, etc. The goal is to keep the bewildered herd bewildered. It’s unnecessary for them to trouble themselves with what’s happening in the world. In fact, it’s undesirable—if they see too much of reality they may set themselves to change it.
“To make sense of political discourse, it’s necessary to give a running translation into English, decoding the doublespeak of the media, academic social scientists, and the secular priesthood generally. Its function is not obscure: the effect is to make it impossible to find words to talk about matters of human significance in a coherent way. We can then be sure that little will be understood about how our society works and what is happening in the world—a major contribution to “democracy,” in the PC sense of the word.”—Noam Chomsky, How The World Works: Socialism, Real and Fake.
The terms of political discourse typically have two meanings. One is the dictionary meaning, and the other is a meaning that is useful for serving power—the doctrinal meaning.
Take democracy. According to the common-sense meaning, a society is democratic to the extent that people can participate in a meaningful way in managing their affairs. But the doctrinal meaning of democracy is different—it refers to a system in which decisions are made by sectors of the business community and related elites. The public are to be only “spectators of action,” not “participants,” as leading democratic theorists, (in this case, Walter Lippmann) have explained. They are permitted to ratifying the decisions of their betters and to lend their support to one or another of them, but not to interfere with matters—like public policy—that are none of their business.
”—Noam Chomsky, How The World Works: War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.
“When we are pleading with foreign governments to stop the flow of cocaine, it is the height of hypocrisy for the United States to export tobacco… Years from now, our nation will look back on this application of free-trade policy and find it scandalous.”—Everett Koop, US Surgeon General, USTR panel
…when some clients state complains that the US government isn’t sending it enough money, they no longer say, “we need it to stop the Russians”-rather, “we need it to stop the drug trafficking.” Like the Soviet threat, this enemy provides a good excuses for a US military presence where there’s rebel activity or other unrest.
So internationally, “the war on drugs” provides a cover for intervention. Domestically, it has little to do with drugs but a lot to do with distracting the population, increasing repression in the inner cities, and building support for the attack on civil liberties.
”—Noam Chomsky, How The World Works: The War on (certain) drugs, 1992
“A brutal tyrant crosses the line from admirable friend to “villain” and “scum” when he commits the crime of independence. One common mistake is to go beyond robbing the poor-which is just fine-and to start interfering with the privileged, eliciting opposition from business leaders.”—Noam Chomsky, How The World Works: What Uncle Sam Really Wants. 1992.
“There is no human institution that approaches totalitarianism as closely as a business corporation. I mean, power is completely top-down. You can be inside it somewhere and you take orders from above and hand ‘em down. Ultimately, it’s in the hands of owners and investors.”—reddit (via thequestion77)
“Back in the 1920s, it used to be frankly called propaganda. But the word acquired a bad flavour with Nazism in the 1930s. So now, it’s not called propaganda any more. But they were right in the 1920s. The huge public relations industry, for example, has its goal to control attitudes and beliefs. Liberal commentators, like Walter Lippmann, said we have to manufacture consent and keep the rabble away from the decision-making. We are the responsible men, we have to make decisions and we have to be protected — and I quote Lippmann — “from the trampling under the rage of the bewildered herd — the public”. In the democratic process, we are the participants, they watch. And the task of intellectuals, media and so on is to make sure that they are quiet, subdued and obedient. That is the view from the liberal end of the spectrum. Yes, I don’t doubt that the media is liberal in that sense.”—Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)