Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

American Dark Ages, year 41

The United States wasn’t defeated by communism. The United States has been defeated by capitalism.

I count the American Dark Ages as starting December 7, 1972 with the last moon landing.

I have been looking at old ads and propaganda films and I am struck by the ringing tone of confidence that Americans effused back then. There was nothing that Americans couldn’t do. And corporations competed to see who could provide a higher standard of living to the working class.

But now, it wasn’t a communist invasion which ruined and depopulated New Orleans. It isn’t a Russian occupation ruling Detroit and keeping the people in penury. Though it might as well be.

At some point, the predatory element of American capitalism overcame the good sense of the ruling class and the United States started consuming itself. We neo-colonialized our own people. The US now is a hollowed-out caricature of what it once was. In reaction to the introduction of basic environmental and labor protection laws US corporations began to move production, and the jobs and income associated with them, overseas.

The productive effort and scientific and technological genius of the US was squandered on ten million million dollars of military spending. Not a typo, ten trillion dollars.

How can the US afford to bail out AIG for 182 billion but not Detroit for 18 billion? And since AIG was a giant re-insurance firm, why did banks insured by AIG still get bailed out too? And if banks got bailed out, how did AIG lose 182 billion overnight?

Instead of the patriarchal way of the Rockefellers and Carnagies and Mellons, who sought to improve the society through industrialization and philanthropy, albeit for uncertain motives, we now have the Kochs and Scaifes who appear to seek actively to destroy the Republic from within. And a Republican Party that would actually contemplate bankrupting the US in order to try to deny people the chance to *pay for* reasonably fair healthcare.

I am quite sorry to see that dystopian writers like Zamiatin, Huxley, Orwell, John Shirley, Phillip K Dick, Norman Spinrad, John Brunner, William Gibson, and Rudy Rucker, have been largely proven right. Though I am deeply impressed by their insights.

American Dark Ages, year 41. What fun.

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

15 August, 2013 Posted by | bad idea, bailout, capitalism, communism, democracy, Detroit, military-industrial complex, scanlyze, science fiction, too big to fail | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civilian Control of the Military?

This was written in response to a thread on the facebook group, The Constitution of the United States of America, titled, Do you think a President should have to serve in the military because he is Commander in Chief?

To ask, “Do you think a President should have to serve in the military because he is Commander in Chief?” is completely the wrong way of posing this question. The proper way of framing it is, “Do you think that the Commander-in-Chief should always be a civilian, elected President, in order to secure a democratic republic from military control?”

As James Madison said: “In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” [1]

This principle of civilian control has been and remains the fundamental precept upon which the command and control of the US Armed Forces depends and from which it draws its legitimacy:

“From the birth of democracy in ancient Greece, the idea of the citizen-soldier has been the single most important factor to shape the Western way of war. In a democracy, combatants bear arms as equals, fighting to defend their ideals and way of life. They are citizens with a stake in the society they have vowed to defend. They do not fight as mercenaries, nor are they guided by coercion or allegiance to the whims of a dictatorial leader. Rather, their motivation stems from a selfless commitment to an idea that far exceeds the interests of any individual member of the society. For the armed forces officer of the United States, this ethos began with the militiamen who defended their homes, secured the frontier, and won a war of independence against the most formidable military power of that era. The American military tradition has since been governed by a strict adherence to the primacy of civilian control and, within that framework, has continued to champion the role of the citizen-soldier as the defender of the nation’s ideals.” [2]

[1] Max Farrand. 1911. Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1:465. Civilian control of the military

[2] The Armed Forces Officer. Chapter 1
The Citizen-Soldier—An American Tradition of Military Service p. 21

Copyright © 2010 Henry Edward Hardy

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14 April, 2010 Posted by | armed forces, commander-in-chief, Constitution, control, democratic, government, military, officer, politics, President, republic, scanlyze, tradition, US, USA | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment