By Hans Vogel
The thruth will set you free, the truth is simple and what is simple tends to be beautiful and attractive. Yet neither individuals nor societies can function without bending the truth. As matter of fact, many conventions and accepted ideas are based on fiction or and expressed as myths, but that is quite allright. After all, myths are collectively accepted versions of the truth that usually are not true in all their details. The truth is not really hurt by telling and repeating myths.
Apparently, modern “Western” society has been demythologized after the First World War that effectively ended European civilization. It would be foolish to argue that European civilization was perfect or the highest attainable, but at least it was a civilization, characterized by a coherent, identifiable world view. At least, European civilization has set standards in practically all fields of human endeavour that are still cherished and admired today.
The vacuum left by the collapse of European, or Western, civilization has been filled by the United States and that is the root of many current evils. The US has championed a pastiche of Western civilization, best indicated by putting Western between quotation marks. The US is a state based exclusively on a myth, supported by an ever increasing flood of lies and humbug. As long as the US was still a state confined to the North American continent, this was not a major problem. It was fine that the US believed its frontier was unique in history. It was fine for the US to cultivate the notion that it had been founded to be a “shining city upon a hill”, the envy of the rest of the world. Nor could anyone blame the US for believing it was an admirable democracy, whereas in fact, blacks were discriminated against and persecuted and any surviving native Americans routinely butchered. In their African and Asian colonies, Europeans often did not behave any better toward the natives.
Before World War I, few Europeans would consider calling their country a bastion of democracy. However, in the US nobody saw any inherent contradiction in the vociferous claim to be a democracy on the one hand and the treatment accorded their fellow citizens of a different hue on the other. The US was then and still is, in the words of Michael Parenti, a “democracy for the few.”
After the Europeans had slaughtered each other in a frenzied orgy of violence and destruction during the First World War, the US found itself suddenly in the lead position. It had been able to profit handsomely from Europe's collective suicide, but soon found out it could not possibly run world affairs without European assistance, guidance, inspiration, ideas, even money. In fact, the task proved so daunting it decided to embrace isolationism, instead of assuming its true responsibilities.
After World War II, the above process repeated itself, but this time there was no room for isolationism. Any likely competitors either lay in ruins (France, Germany and Japan) or were destitute and exhausted (Britain and the Soviet Union). This time, US preponderance seemed even more pronounced than in 1918 and the opportunity simply was too good to pass. Though the US had been able to compensate somewhat for its lack of ideas by welcoming masses of fugitive European intellectuals, scholars, scientists and artists on the eve of World War II, it still remained an intellectually and culturally barren country. Meanwhile, however, the US had discovered one of its special talents: to take a foreign idea or concept, simplify and streamline it a bit, put it into mass circulation and make it the focus of a broad marketing or propaganda campaign. By this process the idea becomes “American” and the whole world will indeed believe it is.
Apart from outright lying, the above may sound like ordinary theft and swindle and indeed it might be, if there existed any historical consciousness in the US. However, since there is no historical consciousness at all in the US, it is difficult to blame its citizens. Not only is there no historical consciousness in the US, history is considered irrelevant. Worse, in fact, there is a hostility towards history in the US. Its people seem to nurture a secret envy towards any foreign country, any civilization with a deeply felt sense of history. Henry Ford once asserted that “history is bunk” and in 1992 Francis Fukuyama seemed quite relieved to proclaim “the end of history.” For two decades, many have indeed believed that history had ended and that US-led globalization would transform the entire world into a copy of the US. Liberal democracy and laissez-faire capitalism would be embraced everywhere and any other political and economic system would forever be banned from the face of the earth.
The systemic crisis that has only just begun and that will develop in ways no one can possibly tell at the moment, will also signal a return to history. We are all back with our feet on the ground now, even the US. The entire system in which we are living is tied together by lies, spread with the purpose to confuse us, by a myriad of cynical agencies and individuals. The fairy-tale world they have tried to make us believe in, of eternal growth and development, of eternal youth, health and vigour, and never-ending profits has collapsed along with the stock markets. The mirage presentedto the world by Hollywood, the Main Stream Media, advertisement, the US State Department, the Pentagon the White House and all their foreign cronies and boot lickers has suddenly vanished.
The present crisis will be very serious indeed. Why? Because ever since the end of World War II, US-generated lies have blinded most of us and goaded us into believing the incredible, against our better knowledge. We're not talking one lie, or two, or a dozen, but a huge pack of lies, all interconnected, a framework of lies, a skyscraper of lies, with every single room, every nook and cranny filled to the rim with lies.
Over the last years, the avalanche of lies, like a true avalanche, has been picking up speed and gaining strength before finally being brought to a standstill by the credit crisis. What we will be witnessing from now on will be the unravelling of every one and single lie that has been distorting our view of reality. The first big lie to be pierced is the idea that capitalism is beneficial. Like socialism in the 1980s, it is now becoming clear that no single economic system can solve all the problems facing us today. Those who seemingly represent the essence of capitalism, the Wall Street bankers in their confidence-inspiring three-piece suits and shiny wingtips, are behaving like any old bum on Skid Row: they beg for your money and when they get it, they do not put it to any meaningful use. How dangerous it can be to trust Wall Street types has been demonstrated by the 50 billion dollar ponzi scheme operated by Bernie Madoff, until recently one of the industry's most trusted operators.
To name some of the biggedt lies that will, and will have to come unravelled:
- the official conspiracy theory of 9/11
- the threat posed by Bin Laden and al-Qaeda
- the bogus war on terror
- the role of the DEA in fighting drug abuse
- democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq
- the superiority of the US
- the need for NATO
- the US dollar
- the gold price (manipulated by COMEX)
- global warming
- US democratic values
- the trickle down effect
- the educational system (which has been turning out masses of undereducated kids)
- the food industry (which is slowly poisoning us, with government protection)
Many other lies will be challenged as well, including numerous truths that have never been called into question so far, with the result that the accepted view of much of 20th-century history will have to be corrected and amended. It would be straying too far trying to enumerate even a few of these. Without a doubt, this process will take place in the coming decades.
For now, we shall be busy enough coming to terms with the many lies of the immediate past. At any rate, it will be futile to seek out the culprits and punish them, for we are all guilty for having been too gullible. It will be a good lesson that teaches us to reclaim our status of citizens, of civilized, critical individuals with broad responsibilities, and cease to be just consumers.
Those who will benefit most from these lessons, at least it is to be hoped sincerely, are the people of the United States. This is their chance to reclaim their humanity and to join the rest of us in the world and to accept history, to learn it and to respect it.