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  1. 1. THE COUNTERCULTURE MOVEMENT AND AMERICAN CAPITALISM Copyright © 2009 by Shivaprasad Srikantia. All rights reserved. Contains extracts from the book titled AMERICAN CAPITALISM, AMERICANOMICS, & MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS - The concealed economic and political secrets of capitalism that made America a superpower in less than one century, by Shiv Srikantia. Paperback edition of book available at PLEASE CLICK ON BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER OF THIS TEXT WINDOW TO VIEW THIS ESSAY IN FULL SCREEN MODE In European societies that were extremely class conscious, intellectuals were regarded as citizens belonging to a completely distinct social class. In England, intellectuals enjoyed certain privileges. The pubs in England served them liquor without charging a shilling. Intellectuals in London could barge into high society and romp around the banquet hall. Moreover, obstreperous behavior under the influence of Scotch whiskey provided an escape hatch. Looking back in history, British and Irish intellectuals often entertained mainstream society with amusing opinions and political commentary. In England, Bertrand Russell had kept the English aristocracy philosophically provoked and socially enlightened. European intellectuals were like uncivilized impressionists. They did not have to be morally right or politically sensible all the time. Their business was to paint an intriguing picture of civilization and entertain an interesting reaction from mainstream society. The primary goal of European intellectuals was never to guide or enlighten the hooligans of society. In fact, there is also enough circumstantial evidence to prove that the primary goal of many European intellectuals was to carelessly draw attention upon self. The older European societies were conditioned to take the fascinating views of intellectuals and rock stars with a pinch of salt. In contrast, American society was conditioned to either take the views of intellectuals too seriously or attack the views violently. Working class American society failed to understand the fine distinction between scholars and intellectuals. Often, American societies in the Bible belt overreacted on trivial issues. At one time in history, radio stations in America would refuse to play songs with provocative lyrics. In some ways, this was defeating the very purpose of British rock music. To a great extent, British rock music was about letting off steam. It was about a social rebellion at a time in history when the British Empire was coiling up like a dry fire hose. Apart from the terrible bedlam and electronic noise, it was irksome lyrics midst the aroma of marijuana weed that made British rock music thoroughly amusing. However, during the hey days of rock rebellion, many songs of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles were refused air time on American radio. It seemed as if the radio jockeys had lined up with the local clergy to cleanse the airwaves. While dangerous handguns and assault rifles were not banned in America, menacing rock music was banned. 1
  2. 2. With shades of medieval conservativeness and outdated militaristic bearings in her social markup, America was culturally one generation behind England. Despite a track record of unreasonable empire building, British society was far more liberal with rock music, far more enlightened politically, and far less violent militarily. After a great deal of consternation, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones was greeted cordially and knighted reluctantly by the Queen of England. Mick Jagger was understandably presented as a role model citizen for the louts patronizing the streets of London. Elements of poetry in British rock music began bringing philosophical enlightenment to a younger generation of citizens. The intrusion of British youth doctrines into American society through rock music came to be known scornfully as the British Invasion. When the social messages in rock music began nurturing critical thinking, the counterculture movement began taking shape. The counterculture altitudes focused on frugal living and philosophical thinking. In the American political landscape, the White House administrations, Congress, and the Federal Reserve had collectively managed to evolve a scheme of financing warfare activities and military adventures. Furthermore, an ingenious censorship scheme was also put in place. The censorship machine within the American democracy made sure that mainstream American society would never develop a healthy distaste for warfare. After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the media censorship lasted for a period of seven years. An entire generation of the American people remained ignorant of the extent of destruction, and the peculiar nature of nuclear destruction. After 1975, the American news media was discouraged from taking pictures of battlefield casualties. In some instances, the White House administration would intervene and disallow photography of coffins draped in flags. Therefore, the tragedies of war could never be broadcast truthfully over television in an attempt to generate intelligent public opinion. The higher purpose of modern journalism within a democracy was destroyed through censorship. Over a period of time, American Presidents and the White House administrations managed to build a vast pool of desensitized flag waving citizenry who could hastily embrace the idea of military aggression. Soon thereafter, American Presidents could use deceptively simple reasoning and take the nation to war without consulting Congress. There were no legal consequences if the American President had made a rash decision. This points to a major weakness in the country’s legal system. After World War II, the American democracy has had to wrestle with a minority of citizens who exhibit a dangerous masculine craving for warfare. These desensitized flag waving patriots have remained relatively untroubled by battle fatalities. Incidentally, the Veteran Affairs Department estimates that nearly 6000 American war veterans commit suicide every year, while nearly 12,000 war veterans attempt suicide every year. As corporate media in America has become a mouthpiece for Pentagon officials, it has successfully managed to keep American citizens ignorant of the plight of war veterans. While the death penalty was an emotional issue in America, war casualties were never an emotional issue. By 1960, America had turned into an industrialized nation in dire need of legal, political, and social re- engineering. By the mid sixties, the hippies discovered that America was no longer a benevolent world power. In fact, politicians and Pentagon officials seemed to be turning America into a menacing military power. Over the years, simplistic Cartesian political thinking without a philosophical backdrop had become the 2
  3. 3. dangerous hallmark of American and Russian politicians. Though America and Russia represented great military powers, their political philosophies were too embryonic, vestigial, crude, and underdeveloped. Instead of building erudite political societies capable of using intellectual insight to soften conflicts, both nations set out to build nuclear weaponry for militaristic intimidation and confrontation. In Russia, Vladimir Lenin insisted that imperialism was the highest form of capitalism. Fundamentally, Soviet communists abhorred European colonists who tried to annexe wealth from weaker third world nations. Through Soviet expansionism across Europe, communists wanted to stop European colonization However, many American politicians involved in framing foreign policies deliberately muddled the issue by alleging that communists abhorred the idea of political democracy. Communists did not abhor democratic values. They abhorred the imperialism and expansionism that European capitalists were engaging in. American politicians keen on drawing political mileage guessed that common citizens in America were not sophisticated enough to understand the subtleties. During the mid sixties, young Americans began to protest against the post World War II culture of military posturing, consumerism, and materialism. The hippie culture evolved to soften the violent military culture that threatened to grip American political society. The young hippies wanted to discard mainstream American values that evolved after the world wars. Returning war veterans masquerading as war heros had inadvertently brought military regimen into ordinary life. At home, they behaved like soldiers on the battle lines, argued unreasonably with their spouses, and abused their children. In fact, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and after World War II, America had turned into a nation of whining war veterans. The surrender of Japan and the defeat of Germany in World War II had made the American infantrymen very proud. Thereafter, a new set of American social values seemed to endorse military maneuvers, warfare, and consumerism. On the other hand, the hippies wanted to revive an interest in good literature, theater, art, music, spirituality, and Eastern philosophy. They desired a world of peaceful coexistence without warfare, aggression, and political argument. In the sixties, war protestors were seen as being unpatriotic by the patriarch society of orthodox war veterans with bullet holes. Cartesian historians failed to notice that the counterculture movement had all the markings of an interesting civil war. It was a small civil war between young Americans with serious ambitions, and their poor blue collar working class parental generation. In the sixties, young Americans wanted to be liberated from their blue collar working class roots. They resented the practice of laboring hard in the trenches for the ruling classes. Therefore, young Americans had expressed a serious desire to study philosophy, literature, history, poetry, art, and music to move up the cultural ladder. However, at that time in history, most working class citizenry wanted their progenies to learn a mechanical trade and get a job in a factory. In the sixties, young Americans were tactlessly told to return to their working class roots. Therefore, the counterculture movement in America began as a rebellious movement to vigorously challenge the intellectually repressive blue collar ideologies of the parental generation. The counterculture movement never got an opportunity to improve the intellectual viscosity of American society. In the new epoch, to become a middle class American was to give up political debate, intellectual discovery, history, philosophy, art, and literature to pick up a wrench and a screw driver. In America, any man or woman with the talent for using hand tools or operating machinery was guaranteed a reasonably well paying job in a factory. After the great economic depression, the American endeavor was never about acquiring a sharper philosophical intellect or social manners to climb the ladder of cultural aristocracy. Instead, the new American aspiration was to pick up a useful skill in the mechanical trade and become a 3
  4. 4. machinist or a technician. The Vietnam War and the Watergate Hotel burglary were important milestones in American history. When the American forces dropped bombs on women and children in Vietnam, young Americans from middle class households began to lose faith in the government. With the Watergate scandal, some young people lost faith in the politicians in the White House. Some others lost faith in their parents, who had voted into power politicians controlled by big businesses and Pentagon officials. Gradually, young people in America began to discover that American capitalism was a brand of libertine capitalism that factored in treacherous warfare, military spending, corporate imperialism, weapons research, and spirited consumerism as fundamental activities. In fact, building deadly weapons, missiles, and spy satellites had turned into a paranoiac obsession in America. At that time in history, the counterculture movement of the sixties actually symbolized what was morally, ethically, and philosophically right for society. It was mainstream American society that was corrupt, dishonest, and overly materialistic. When examined from a higher vantage point, issues of marijuana use, sexual attitudes, and the anti-establishment posturing associated with the hippie movement seemed trivial and inconsequential. Many American leaders including Henry Kissinger preferred to operate behind a veil of secrecy even on trivial political issues. In 1971, Kissinger made a secret visit to China. Such behavior precipitated suspicion. The Vietnam War was never explained clearly to the vast majority of middle aged Americans. Often, the American corporate media tried to display unwavering allegiance to the political administration in power. In America’s capitalistic society, journalists and reporters were expected to show deference towards those holding power. Therefore, most American reporters and journalists did not have the courage to confront politicians with tough questions. Incidentally, it is said that a bad press can destroy democracy. For many intelligent Americans absorbed in the counterculture movement, it was disheartening to see a misinformed class of middle aged American citizens support the Vietnam War. As long as the American military seemed to be in a position to win the Vietnam War, the popular American sentient was pro-war. At a later time, when losing the war was imminent, the popular sentiment was anti-war. For a philosophically unsophisticated middle aged American society, the moral propriety of fighting the Vietnam war had become secondary. Instead, the chances of winning or losing was a pivotal factor in guiding public sentient. To the counterculture fanatics, the cognitive ability of the middle aged American voter seemed to be strikingly similar to that of young children witnessing a street fight. The invasion of Cambodia by the Richard Nixon administration infuriated the student community. When young American students protested on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen opened fire to control an unruly crowd. Unwittingly, the guardsmen killed a few protestors and restored order. In recent years, students and faculty at Rutgers University in New Jersey have been protesting the Iraq War. For many years, an eminent American researcher named Richard Hofstadter had been perplexed by America’s anti-intellectual slant. Hofstadter was a professor of American history at Columbia University in New York. He had won Pulitzer Prizes for his works, and attained celebrity status. Intense curiosity drove Richard Hofstadter to take a closer look at America’s cultural evolution. Richard Hofstadter’s analysis revealed that America had been nurturing dysfunctional fraternities throughout history. According to Hofstadter’s hypothesis, America had been a nation where business tycoons and poor farmers competed ruthlessly for economic gain. While doing so, they had also inadvertently laid the foundation for 4
  5. 5. the American Civil War. Another eminent American historian named Charles Beard held the view that many popular American ideologies were based on economic interests of the rich. In fact, in some intellectual circles, it was believed that the American constitution was framed while keeping in view the financial interests of the wealthy founding fathers. George Washington was himself a wealthy landowner. Washington volunteered to fund the Revolutionary War in America, with the contractual understanding that his war expenses would be reimbursed to the last penny. Incidentally, gaining independence from the colonists would open up a mind-boggling array of money making opportunities for George Washington and his cronies. A French political thinker named Alexis de Tocqueville had once observed that hard work and money making had become critical to the American democracy. Tocqueville also reported that the American civilization did not have any philosophers worthy of public attention. While the vast majority of French people strongly desired a President who was a distinguished intellectual, American people preferred a President with an anti-intellectual demeanor. The counterculture movement was actually a vibrant intellectual movement that was reawakening young Americans. Like a bright comet in the sky, it was a movement of resurrection that could have subdued and enlightened American society. Like the Renaissance in Europe, it could have liberated America from her working class heritage, materialism, consumerism, and military affliction. Incidentally, a few American economists insisted that debt was good for the economy. Consumerism drove Americans into credit card debt. In turn, credit debt motivated people to work hard and earn more money. It created a society of overworked citizens. It also created a society of sleep deprived citizens who could not think clearly. While the American counterculture revolution began to establish itself in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, the hippies began experimenting with Indian spirituality, rock music, and narcotic drugs. At that point in time, smoking marijuana was a common diversion on American college campuses. Those who had experimented with psychedelic drugs and marijuana began steadily distancing themselves from the harsh working class ideas embedded in mainstream American culture. Student protestors in America cried out that acquiring wealth should not be the fundamental goal in American life. A few student protestors even tried to spread the message of peace through violent demonstrations. On American college campuses, the Vietnam War ignited an intense interest in world history, political theory, and politics. At Harvard University in Massachusetts, students congregated and ridiculed American foreign policies. In some dark intellectual quarters, the Vietnam War was seen as a delayed extension of World War II. Incidentally, World War II was not just a war that resolved European conflicts and drove Adolf Hitler to suicide. It was a war that weakened European global power. World War II demolished the European economy and allowed America to emerge as the most dominant economic power. While nations in Europe were recuperating from the wave of destruction, America utilized the available window of opportunity to gain political and economic prominence. After World War II, the famished European nations turned into scavenger economies feeding on the American economy. Thereafter, the subdued political leadership in Europe was willing to be guided by the iron hand of the White House. By 1960 European nations had lost their political clout in the global arena. Later, the Vietnam War removed the last traces of French colonization in South East Asia. The Vietnam War helped drive out European economic domination in Asia and lay the foundation for American domination. 5
  6. 6. In 1969, those experiencing Vietnam battle fatigue after 10 years of war looked forward to three days of peace, drugs, sex, music, and philosophy. At the Woodstock rock music festival held in New York, about 300,000 counterculture devotees assembled on Max Yasgur’s hog farm. When President Richard Nixon learned of the Woodstock festival, he was enraged. Richard Nixon saw the counterculture movement as a threat to America’s capitalistic society. In many globalizing cultures of the world, ordinary mankind was not able to cope with the pace of industrialization. In the twentieth century, rapid industrialization was also disrupting mainstream British society. The clash of ideologies began with the industrial revolution. Along with the industrial revolution in Great Britain came a musical revolution. One facet of rock music rebelled against industrialization, while the other facet tried to offer comfort and solace to the helpless victims of industrialization. A genre of rock music known as punk rock had themes that were critical of the political, social, and economic agendas of the ruling classes. From a sociological angle, discouraging rock music or political poetry would tantamount to shutting off a safety valve. In England, rock music provided a sensible form of non-violent diversion. It is important to understand that rock music was not just about music, melody, and romantic ballads. For instance, the British rock band known as Pink Floyd became known for philosophical lyrics. American folk rock singer Bod Dylan wrote captivating songs with political, philosophical, and sociological overtones. Rock music was often music to vent one’s feeling against the stress inducing industrial culture. Perhaps, rock music helped avert the possibility of a violent youth revolution in England. As the English society was extremely class conscious, the wealthy aristocrats had been tyrannically cruel to the youth of the poor classes. The stressful situation could have reached a flash point. Fortunately, rock music provided an outlet for pent up feelings. Had it not been for youth music legends like Sir Mick Jagger, the British youth would have violently taken to the streets to express their frustration. Until 1967, large quantities of LSD were made available to scientists, intellectuals, and the American CIA for use in research projects. These research projects were in mind control and social engineering. Some veteran drug users of LSD had reported long term side effects that included changes in perspective, perception, and personality. Famous authors such as Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary expressed the opinion that drugs like LSD could alter the way people think. In fact, it was often seen as a wonder drug that could help extend human brainpower. In medieval India, ancient scholars had claimed that narcotic drugs could provided a rare spiritual experience. They said that narcotic drugs helped users gain inner insight into the way their mind worked. Professor Benny Shanon at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has expressed the opinion that Moses was probably under the influence of psycho tropic substances. Professor Shahon also pointed out that the Bible contained references to the bark of the acacia tree. In medieval times, narcotic drugs were used at most religious events and ceremonies in Israel. Most supernatural events reported by prophets might have been hallucinations under the influence of naturally occurring narcotic plants. Systematic use of narcotics had helped the great Indian civilization produce prophets with extraordinary insight and perceptive intelligence. Ancient Indians claimed that the use of narcotics lead to spiritual advancement. With the use of narcotic weeds for gaining insight, the Indian civilization was able to produce many major religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Incidentally, weeds of marijuana grow in the wild in several parts of northern India. In fact, marijuana weed grows by the truckloads. Though these regions in India could be a great tourist destination for junkies, the local natives show no interest in 6
  7. 7. smoking the weed. Back in the sixties, working class households in America were unable to financially support children who were aimlessly drifting into Eastern philosophy, pop art, yoga, meditation, and organic farming. Therefore, young Americans were told to learn a useful mechanical trade and get a job in a factory. As Richard Nixon was not as culturally refined as John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he might have seen the counterculture movement as a greater threat to social values than the burglary at the Watergate Hotel. Sadly, the counterculture moment was deflated by Richard Nixon. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was roped in to help flatten the Renaissance movement. The crushing of the counterculture movement in America continued to shackle the nation to her Cartesian blue collar heritage. Several decades later, it created an uninformed society of voters within the American democracy. In recent times, a politician running for President complained of small town voters clinging to their faith and their handguns. Though an industrialized nation for over a century, America was never able to build an erudite society that could grasp the nuances of international politics and vote intelligently. Looking back in history, America had failed to recognize a social reawakening movement that had once appeared on her horizon. After a series of military adventures which included the Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, and the Gulf Wars, the American flag became a piece of cloth that represented savage military power and an insatiable craving for economic gain. By 2005, the world at large began to identify the 50 stars on the American flag as trophies that represented the 50 military missions the nation had undertaken while policing the world. Legalizing LSD and marijuana could have greatly altered the fabric of American society. Incidentally, many experts claimed that these substances were less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. However, Richard Nixon defused the possibility of an American Reawakening that could have rivaled the European Renaissance and greatly improved the course of American history. American intellectualism was not intellectualism that took birth naturally out of a great reawakening movement within a philosophically rich social culture. It was also not born out of natural human curiosity of the American race. Intellectualism in America was born out of persuasive university education. Like everything else in America, intellectualism was also mass produced. Universities picked up young Americans from working class households and put them on a diet of advanced text book theory. Like factories, the universities supplied American society with assembly line manufactured scholars whose ideas, ideologies, and sense of inquiry were nearly identical. It is said that university manufactured American intellectuals found it extremely difficult to distance themselves from the social values of the environment they were born into. Local customs, inbred social values, religious beliefs, and native prejudices prevailing in their immediate social environment seemed to influence their thinking. Therefore, there was very little scholarly diversity, originality, and philosophical rigor in American intellectualism. When measured against seasoned European standards, American intellectualism was bland and insipid. Another point to note is that American society did not allow intellectuals and scientists to speak their mind freely. Unlike European society, mainstream society in America insisted on socially desirable responses from intellectuals. In sharp contrast, European society expected intellectuals to behave like upstarts. By 1925, it was time for America to become self reliant and make a quick progression from a faltering 7
  8. 8. agrarian economy to a stumbling industrial economy. While the best scientific brains in America were told to drive weapons research programs, the best philosophical brains were told to drive shuttle buses from JFK International Airport to Grand Central Station in New York City. Interestingly, the social culture of Greenwich Village in New York City savored the views of writers, poets, musicians, artists, drug addicts, and homeless tramps. Legend has it that the founding fathers of the American nation had not understood how poetry, art, and literature could benefit society positively. Their primary agenda was to establish agricultural colleges to teach farming to citizens. At that time in history, farming was a serious business endeavor. Unlike Europeans, the American founding fathers had failed to grasp the idea that poetry, art, and literature were communication mediums for conveying philosophical concepts to common citizens. For instance, European artists conveyed philosophical ideas on canvas. In many cultures, folk songs and poetry conveyed philosophical ideas. The founding fathers had played a decisive role in suppressing artistic intellectualism. Perhaps, the founding fathers inadvertency laid the foundation for an anti-intellectual agrarian culture. However, this mutated and progressed insidiously into an anti-intellectual industrial culture. One century later, this very culture made America the home to paranoid multinational industrial corporations and war mongers. In America, Ivy League graduates flock to Wall Street in search of high paying corporate jobs. Incidentally, Professor Howard Gardner at Harvard University wishes to see more Ivy League graduates choose careers in public service. In America, New York City and Los Angeles were the only cities where intellectualism and industrialization could coexist peacefully. In New York, intellectuals were encouraged to trim their beards and write poetry. Elsewhere, intellectualism was piously considered un-American and blasphemous. In the southern states, intellectuals were ambushed and restrained with an iron hand. In small town societies that were deeply religious, intellectuals were persecuted by clergymen, councilmen, snooty sheriffs, and the Ku Klux Klan. In New York City, prolific intellectuals began enjoying the same status as stand-up comedians. Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, and George Carlin were New York intellectuals who cashed in on the comical side of intellectualism. It is said that intellectuals in New York were ready to argue with each other until they collapsed due to exhaustion. Incidentally, even the Sicilian Mafia in New York was made up of intellectuals who could philosophically justify their criminal acts in a court of law and escape lengthy prison sentences. In fact, their intellectual influence in the East Coast created the right aura for the Ivy League business schools. Most graduates from Ivy League business schools were brainwashed in the sophomore year and later sucked up by Wall Street firms. Many of these firms were intent on orchestrating multi-billion dollar financial rackets. Wall Street executives who could mastermind financial wrongdoing and hoodwink the SEC were looked up to as smart people. As this was the value system inculcated at the business schools, it was every graduate’s dream to land a job with the smart people in Wall Street. By 1990, white collar crime was becoming a respectable profession in Wall Street. Until 1900, America was an unprogressive nation with cattle ranches and a faltering agricultural economy. At that time, science education in America was in conflict with religious teachings. In fact, in the state of Tennessee, it was illegal to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution at colleges and universities meant for the deeply religious working classes. The wealthier class of American citizens who wished to study science with a serious commitment fled to Britain. Americans who wished to pursue careers in nuclear physics patiently 8
  9. 9. stood in line, and sought meaningful research opportunities at the Cavendish Laboratory in England. People who are reasonably curious can learn a few lessons from European history. When Florence became an economically flourishing financial capital in Italy, opulence began bringing about alarming levels of social decline. The treacherous philosophies of Niccolo Machiavelli began glorifying unprincipled political conduct and public deception. While lowly thugs and loan sharks in the banking business had put Florence on the world map, the Mafia had put Sicily on the world map. As some distinguished scholars had observed, Florence was steadily evolving into a society of corrupt politicians and swindlers. As degenerate value systems began threatening civil society, the Renaissance movement was launched on a war footing. The great Italian Renaissance movement began taking shape in Florence. The Renaissance began moving attention away from mindless swindling, trade, commerce, science, and technology. Instead, the Renaissance movement aggressively revived an interest in classic literature, philosophy, poetry, art, architecture, and sculpture. Until the Renaissance, artists had enjoyed the same social status as laboring craftsmen, carpenters, plumbers, and butchers. After the Renaissance however, artists began enjoying the same status as philosophers. Artists began to be looked upon admiringly as the intelligent interpreters of native European culture. Within a brief period of 200 years, the odious business culture of Europe had received a complete make over. Intellectual decline was arrested, and the path of social progress was corrected with the assistance of art, literature, and philosophy. Florence also became the home to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. In a revitalizing change, the Renaissance had helped create two distinct social classes within European society. One was the intellectually privileged class that sat behind wooden desks and evolved the working doctrines of democracy. The other was the economically privileged class that wished to engage in colonization and imperialism. As the Renaissance movement was unable to cleanse the political system in Europe, many European nations became colonists. European colonists began benefitting economically by maintaining Asian and African economies at subsistence levels. However, European society had a politically active intellectual class that condemned imperialism and colonization. Systematically orchestrated intellectual repression within working class American societies started breeding resentful idealists. In most societies, the idealists tend to be citizens who lack the intellectual finesse to understand real world impracticalities or an opposing viewpoint. Graduate schools began breeding text book trained intellectuals who were moralistic and idealistic. Excessive moralization not only restrained intellectual thought, but also retarded philosophical progress. It also made intellectuals and academicians the arch enemies of capitalists, politicians, bureaucrats, and Pentagon officials. By 1925, the great American democracy was harboring idealists and intellectuals who were incorrigibly unrealistic and impractical. Idealists of the lowest intellectual denominator began working as newspaper columnists. The ranting and raving of idealists became a source of annoyance to most American Presidents. In fact, it became difficult for American Presidents to be forthright and honest. Fearing unpredictable outbursts from pigheaded idealists, most Presidents in the White House began to refrain from truthfully discussing political issues and foreign policies with the American people. White House officials began classifying documents to conceal vital deliberations from idealists and bullheaded intellectuals. When the newspaper idealists were denied access to juicy information, they had very little to write about. Some were forced to sit back and twiddle their thumbs. Meanwhile, a few idealists decided to make a 9
  10. 10. complete U-turn and start supporting the agendas of politicians in power. At least, this would assure them a weekly paycheck. When this happened, American citizens were lead down through a dimly lit path of ignorance. The Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra issue, the Middle East policies, and the two Gulf Wars were never clearly and truthfully explained to mainstream society. Perhaps, there were intelligent reasons to fight wars in Vietnam and Iraq. However, American politicians seemed to be reluctant to discuss the real reasons openly on a public platform. Sometimes, they tried to spin yarns about Soviet communism in South East Asia, drug trafficking by Manuel Noriega, and weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Soon, the White House press secretaries had the newspaper journalists guessing wildly, and running around like a bunch of headless chickens. Many American economists held the view that impoverishing a third world nation’s economy by wealth annexation was justifiable, if American companies were investing in research, and developing new products useful to humanity. This meant that Asian, African, and South American nations rich in natural resources could end up becoming victims of legitimate imperialism. It was evident that annexing wealth from Latin America could help raise living standards of working class citizens in America. Therefore, the draft of the Monroe Doctrine of a previous political generation was conveniently reinterpreted to strengthen America’s financial influence over South America. At the present time, the economies of many South American nations are directly tied to the American economy. Nations that have tried to practice capitalism without imperialism have created extremely harsh economic divides between the rich and poor. This has eventually lead to social unrest and political instability. This explains why the White House administrations install brutal dictators in small nations where capitalism is practiced. A democratically elected government in a third world capitalistic nation is a sure recipe for disaster. Incidentally, small Asian nations that practice capitalism without imperialism have their economies tied by steel chains to the American economy. In a strict sense, their capitalistic economies are not self sustainable without the American economic alliance. In the post colonial era, instead of governments taking part directly in wealth acquisitions, powerful business corporations try to exploit weaker nations through clever business contracts. In the global economic landscape, multinational corporations are more influential than third world nations. Moreover, the United Nations cannot ordinarily exercise control over the actions of private business corporations. In the civilized world, industrialized nations with powerful military battalions see themselves as societies on the top of the food chain. When the laws of the industrial jungle demand the survival of the fittest civilizations, the United Nations is not going to bend over backwards to rescue small nations from imperialists. Moreover, the United Nations is an organization whose top level bureaucrats are closely controlled by the politics of the great industrial powers. In a strict sense, the UN is not an independent organization. If capitalism is the way to go, corporate imperialism should no longer carry a negative connotation. Rather than coyly denying the existence of imperialism, political leaders, policy makers, and economists should discusses imperialism openly. Citizens in third world nations must be told to wake up and get their act together. In the battle for economic survival, citizens in third world nations should start taking extraordinary protective measures. Third world civilizations must try to use their political ingenuity and their ill-trained militias to the best of their ability to protect themselves from corporate imperialists. Small nations might have 10
  11. 11. to fight it out in the boxing ring. They should elect political leaders who have the intelligence, genius, and determination to hold off imperialistic forces. We notice that Fidel Castro in Cuba successfully fought off American expansionism for several decades. Incidentally, the Soviets had pointed out that Fidel Castro had as much a right to promote socialism in South America, as the American President had the right to promote capitalism. In recent years, the corporate news media, with allegiance to Western capitalists, has tried to misinform citizens and present North Korea as a belligerent nation. Looking back, history shows that the Koreans had been colonized by the Japanese. Justly and philosophically, the North Koreans ought to have the right to defend themselves with nuclear warheads and missiles. Fundamentally, the international nuclear treaties are instruments of imperialism and expansionism. The treaties disallow smaller civilizations the right to defend themselves against civilizations that are higher up in the food chain. While these treaties are undeniably discriminatory, intellectuals, scholars, political scientists, and Nobel Laureates have not voiced protests. This unquestionably points to the absolute inability of modern college education to produce citizens with the philosophical and moral fiber to stand up and challenge policies that are unjust to certain sections of society. By the time Elvis Presley put his distinctive pelvis shaking pop culture on the world map, it became fairly apparent that the anti-imperialistic sermons of the founding fathers had to be muffled. However, the American Constitution was never officially amended to reflect this change. In the Elviserian period, while many American politicians and foreign policy makers publicly claimed to have a distaste for imperialism, corporate America began stealthily embracing expansionism. Corporate tycoons began gaining entry into the White House through the back door. Thereafter, American corporate executives and banking cartels wished to help the President shape foreign policy. Within the American democracy, this created a mild disconnect between business tycoons and the ruling political class. By 1970 however, American corporate imperialism was becoming a respectable economic component of American capitalism. To counteract the Soviet communist threat, many American politicians insisted on forcing capitalistic dictatorships and sweat shops on third world economies. Industrial workers in many third world nations in Asia were willing to work for pitifully low wages. The only capitalism poor nations in Asia, Africa, and South America could practice was sweat shop capitalism. Therefore, Western capitalists helped set up Asian sweat shops that could supply multinational corporations with merchandise at competitive prices. The clothing sold at many department stores in New York City and London are actually produced by starving citizens working under inhumane conditions in sweat shops in Asia. Many Asian capitalists flout local laws. They employ starving child laborers at miserably low wages. Incidentally, corrupt law enforcement authorities have been allowing such exploitative practices to continue. While Soviet and Chinese communists opposed imperialism with military invasion, they were willing to tolerate sweat shop capitalism. Therefore, it became possible to set up sweat shops even in communist controlled Chinese territories. In the new millennium, the more pragmatic breed of Chinese communists are discovering the benefits of imperialism. Chinese policy makers, driven by unbridled ambition, are now trying to gain access to mineral and oil resources in Africa. In the new millennium, emerging economies of India, China, Brazil, and Mexico might start a new wave of imperialism and try to plunder nations in Africa. At present, Indian companies with overly ambitious expansion plans are looking for new sources of oil in Cuba, Libya, Venezuela, and Sudan. 11
  12. 12. In recent years, the extraordinarily strong blue collar heritage has become America’s greatest political handicap. As societies with blue collar value systems operate from a mind set of self survival, they narrowly focus on economic self interest. They also tend to be less generous. Political and business societies shackled to blue collar value systems are not spontaneously open to the idea of philanthropy and social responsibility. For instance, American drug companies with a Cartesian blue collar corporate culture have declined to make life saving drugs available at lower prices to poor nations in Africa. Their blue collar corporate value systems restrain them from thinking beyond the idea of manufacturing, merchandising, and profiteering. In comparison, many European drug companies flaunt a Pascalian white collar corporate demeanor. European drug companies seem to be more open to the idea of making available low cost generic drugs to fight the AIDS epidemic in poor countries. In recent decades, less than 0.5 percent of American GNP was allotted to foreign aid to help impoverished nations. This percentage symbolized a pathetically low figure that made European nations look insanely generous. This directly points to the fact that American politicians and businesses were not willing to carry the financial burden of development aid that was consistent with the global stature of the American economy. This is typical of a Cartesian blue collar political culture. This attitude is also perfectly consistent with the general agenda of legitimate corporate expansionism. The Cartesian capitalist’s objective is to cleverly exploit the weaknesses of a third world economy. The objective is not to aid a third world economy through a spirit of magnanimity and strengthen it. Most American politicians tended to be extremely tight and frigid in matters pertaining to foreign aid. Incidentally, the USAID was fundamentally an institution that could be safely entrusted with the principal agenda of getting a foothold in a foreign territory. Disguised as a benevolent organization, USAID could seek entry into a third world country threatened by socialist militias. It is conceivable that USAID could covertly enter a foreign territory to lay the cultural foundation for American capitalism and corporate imperialism. 12