United we stand — in our cluelessness

When British Petroleum announced that it wouldn’t know for a little while whether or not its “top kill” effort would work, I knew that it probably wouldn’t. So I wasn’t exactly shocked when BP announced today that indeed it didn’t work.

The BP debacle is about more than just the millions of gallons of crude oil that continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an environmental catastrophe, to be sure — and, next to global warming, it’s shaping up to be the worst man-made environmental catastrophe in the history of the planet — but it’s also an undeniable, gargantuan display of the fact that the powers that be (1) don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, (2) don’t care that they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, (3) can’t protect us from the disasters of their own making, and (4) will destroy us all if we don’t remove them from power ASAP.

These facts were made evident on Sept. 11, 2001, and were reinforced in August 2005 with Hurricane Katrina.

With the Gulf of Mexico disaster, it’s strike three — the powers that be are fucking out.

The common American is as much to blame as are the corporatocrats. The corporatocrats and the other power elites have assured the common American that they have everything under contol, and the common American, like a child, has ceded control of everything to the power elite and the corporatocrats. It’s been quite a co-dependent relationship — one that has been going on for so long that no one has a fucking clue as to what to do next.

The current system clearly isn’t working, but Americans don’t know how to begin to even come up with a new system, because everything that they’ve been taught, directly and indirectly, has been in service to the old system that doesn’t work anymore. (I must credit Chris Hedges, whose great book Empire of Illusion I’m reading now, for that thought, because while I’ve long recognized that truth, that truth is fresh in my mind right now because I’m reading his book.)

So Americans stand around befuddled as oil continues to fill the Gulf of Mexico and no one is doing anyfuckingthing about it.

In a culture and a society in which the individual’s own good has been paramount, and in which it has been this way for decades, it’s no shock that when something requires a huge common effort, such as the debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, egocentric Americans don’t have a fucking clue as to what to do.

The word “teamwork” — and its derivatives, like the vomit-inducing “team player” — have been bandied about primarily in order to manipulate us serfs into continuing to toil for our feudal overlords, while the true spirit of teamwork in the United States of America was lost long, long ago. (Americans proclaimed “United we stand” immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, precisely because Americans don’t stand together, but are out for themselves and because, being so divided, Americans actually are, I surmise, pretty conquerable.)

Indeed, under the capitalistic system, in which it’s everyone for him- or herself, and in which the goal is to become super-rich at everyone else’s expense, the concept of actual teamwork is anathema. In actual teamwork, you wouldn’t have a few fat cats at the top and a whole bunch of wage slaves at the bottom. Indeed, true teamwork would look much more like socialism or communism than it would look anything like capitalism.

I have little doubt that BP’s bigwigs have shoved “teamwork” (and its derivatives) down their employees’ throats. Yet the employees’ “teamwork,” as defined by the BP bigwigs, has served only to make the BP bigwigs and BP’s stockholders even filthy richer.

If the BP bigwigs truly cared about teamwork, truly believed that we’re all in this together, BP would have been able to handle its fucking oil leak by now.

BP doesn’t know what the fuck to do because BP’s focus has never been on how to handle shit that goes wrong big-time. BP’s focus has only been on how to make more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more money.

And that’s true of most corporations.

Alas, corporate greed does not serve the whole.

We Americans are only very slowly learning this obvious lesson, and I am not confident that we will learn it in time.

God(dess) save us from ourselves.

1 Comment

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One response to “United we stand — in our cluelessness

  1. The Destructionist


    Capitalism was founded upon basic principles: production, supply and demand, and capital accumulation. It is a social theory whereby prices are determined by profit and loss, as well as market interest and fluctuations.

    Although I understand the need for a free market enterprise, such a theory should not imply that we are willing to disregard our environment, or sacrifice the needs and comforts of our humanity in an attempt to realize higher profits (a.k.a., BP, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, etc).

    Capitalism may be wonderful, but like anything else, it is still a flawed system. It’s a work in progress. It needs to be tweaked here and there in order to perfect its balance and to soothe the inordinate swings that occur day-to-day in our financial markets. If left unchecked, however, such a system will prove to be our economic downfall.

    How so?

    Well, for one thing, there is only so much profit a business can make from a product before it is left to cut costs in both quality and workmanship. In order to continually sustain a profit, businesses have to create those same products with lower quality ingredients and cheaper labor: which means that they must pull up stakes and move to other countries like China, Taiwan, or Mexico in order to survive. What does this eventually mean for people like you and me? It means that the very financial theory that promoted our country to super power status has turned on us. It means that the American workforce is now expected to work harder, longer, cheaper, and faster if we are to compete with the global economy now breathing down our necks.

    Where do we go from here?

    George Orwell had it right, to some extent, when he wrote his book1984. Many years from now, money will become worthless and the global populace will be employed and subject to hundreds (if not thousands) of individualized corporations that managed to survive attrition through merger aquisitions. It will be a feudalistic society: every corporation out for blood and vying for global dominance and absolute power. Our children and grandchildren will be there too: housed, clothed and fed by these various corporate entities; all the while being sent out on occasion, like brainless automatons, to errands of war, in an effort to absorb the weakest corporations into the fold. After all the dust settles, and everything is said and done, the remaining corporations will finally merge into a one-world government.

    Science fiction, you say?

    (…I’m left wondering.)

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