#142 Fools are Us (2005)

All Rights Reserved © 2005 Thomas W. Day

So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Or, in regards to the subject that I am developing here, did our national business model create our national foreign policy or did the foreign policy come first?  My bet is on the business model.  I suspect that our cut-throat, amoral corporations and the execs that squirm within created the mess that the rest of the world sees as the United States. 

As a nation, our "leaders" have often acted as if the rest of the world, especially the third world, is populated by complete idiots.  Our current government is particularly arrogant in its expectations of the rest of the world, but they are just the logical extension of a long history of overconfident, under-skilled  politicians and bureaucrats.  Ever since the United States began to formulate a foreign policy, that policy has been directed by the assumption that everyone else is an idiot and we are so clever that they won't see through the thin veneer disguising our national purposes.  The fact that our politicians and their henchmen are as transparent as fine crystal has never occurred to arrogant American lunkheads from John Adams to G.W. Bush.  They simply see their malevolence as being so complicated and intricate that no one outside of their inner circle could possibly sense their motives. 

We haven't had a sophisticated Executive, Congressional, or Judicial branch since the early 1960s.  And the intelligent leaders didn't amount to more than a hand full of fingers before that.  Cats can predict the motives of the overwhelming majority of human politicians.  A pigmy child extracted from the depths of the most remote area of Africa could, in seconds, size up any of our federal or state bureaucrats and anticipate their actions.  Our national motives are as simple and impure as those of any villain ever dreamed up by Marvel Comics, "'We want your natural resources, all of them, and we will pay bottom dollar to get them.  We'd prefer to wreak your culture and crush your dreams in the process."  Even if the rest of the world was completely populated by morons, that message wouldn't be subtle enough to fool anyone who doesn't drool a in Texas accent.

Our management class is a carbon copy of our government class.  These "elites" stumble through company meetings, delivering foolish platitudes and grade school ultimatums, assuming that no one foolish enough to be employed by a company so disorganized as to hire them for management could detect deception if it were printed in a frame surrounded by flashing "lies, all lies" signs.  If anyone in the room is stupid enough to accept anything they say as worthwhile, that person is clearly management material.  They lie and cheat and stab each other, and the rest of their countrymen, in the back over power and wealth.  The difference between our executive class and Mafia dons is so minimal that the two swap positions without skipping a beat.  All the while, they assume the rest of us are too stupid to do anything about their crass manipulation and gross corruption.

In a way, they are right.  We take far too much abuse from the 1% who own 90% of our country.  Third world terrorists are quicker on the uptake than US voters.  The average man living on the streets of Calcutta knows more about what goes on in Washington D.C. than does the typical American voter.  It's incredibly embarrassing to admit that my own country appears to be the world's most universally hated and feared villain, but it's better to acknowledge that and fight against the inbred self-proclaimed royalty that owns the United States than it is to pretend crimes are not being committed in our name.  You can't fix anything until you recognize it needs fixing.  A startling majority of Americans seem to be too stupid to know when they ought to be asking for a little lubrication with their shafting. 

It's not like the execs are stunningly clever.  These are not people who are bright enough to learn from history, books, mathematical simulations, or remedial tutoring of the sort provided to the ruling class through their Ivy League institutions of slower learning.  They do not realize that eliminating freedoms, driving the middle class into poverty and servitude, terrorizing the third world, and acting as the planet's corrupt Chicago Police force is a sure formula for mass riot and individual violence.  When people do not have political outlets for their grievances, they are forced to resort to physical outlets.   You can bottle beer, but you can't hold your thumb over progress.  The human race is progressing, regardless of the efforts of the current administration, the U.S. military, or mismanaged multinational corporations. 

From the mismanaged side of the equation, the perception is anything but confused.  Most employees think management is overflowing with idiots.  Decisions are handed down without even the slightest clue as to the cause, effect, or purpose.  Every word uttered by mismanagement seems to be designed to demotivate, irritate, confuse, disorganize, or incite riot among the employees and alienate customers.  As I have written before, in every company I've ever worked, if the top management were to contract a disease that caused them to vanish, instantly, in their offices, it would be weeks, months, or years before anyone noticed they were missing.  Universally, the thing that would instigate a search for the missing execs would be a sudden increase in profitability, efficiency, and morale improvement beginning the moment the dead weight vanished. 

Abusing and destabilizing the countries from whom we depend upon for natural resources has been a terrible, vicious, failed experiment.  New York on September 11, 2001 suffered for all of our sins in that regard.  Allowing ourselves to be similarly abused at work and in our communities has resulted in the depersonalized, culture-of-one society that appears to be so susceptible to degenerative "life style marketing." 

Many of us have resorted to looking for a pill that will counteract our national low self-esteem and non-existent sense of community and purpose.  Pills won't help.  Treating the symptoms only works when you treat the right symptoms.  The cure is revolution in the voting booth.  We'll find a cure when the majority of citizens are taking part in the political system with an educated, motivated, outraged purpose.  Until we are "mad as hell and we won't take it any more," we're going to be stuck in crappy jobs, mismanaged by inbred idiots.  Until we want to honestly respected as "the leader of the free world," we'll be ordered about by fourth generation political hacks who only serve international corporate masters and have no interest in the fate and future of this country.  We either stand up and act like citizens of a free country or fall down and serve as floor mats for the ruling class.  There is no middle ground.

September 2005

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