It seems to me that Americans for at least the past seven years have been stricken with a collective trance such as I have never witnessed in this country in my lifetime. Psychologist, Paul Levy, in his superb article "Spiritually Informed Political Activism" speaks to the necessity of waking up from the spell and speaking the truth about the criminal insanity that is running our nation and our world. He takes this "waking up" many steps further by the end of his article, but for now, I'd like to address the questions: "Why such seemingly impenetrable denial in the American psyche these days? Why are some people almost incapable of awakening?"
On the one hand we can argue that the economic system is arranged in such a manner that people are required to work two or more jobs in order to survive and are overwhelmed with work, family, and keeping their heads above water. In which case, who has time to read alternative media, research current events, or even read a book? We can also attribute the societal stupor to the remarkable job of dumbing-down that American, so-called, education has done in the past two decades so that the current generation can barely read, let alone, concentrate long enough to engage with even the most basic works on current issues.
But what if there were something even more fundamental and more human at the root of the collective coma that inflicts American society? What if "my government" in some part of my psyche, has come to represent "my family"? What if it's easier to walk around in glassy-eyed roboticism than feel the pain resulting from comprehending at the deepest level what my government has become? What if recognizing that I live in an empire that is making war on me as well as my neighbors and the rest of the world is too reminiscent of the family I come from?
Dysfunctional Government/ Dysfunctional Family
So what might be some similarities between my dysfunctional government and my dysfunctional family?
First, a family's job is to protect the kid. Maybe it doesn't always pay enough attention to the kid and isn't always there for him when he needs it, but the family doesn't target him as an enemy. When the chips were down, they are the kid's ultimate ally. If I look at what my government is actually doing, I will have to own up that it has become my enemy, and that I am its enemy as well -- that my safety is the last of its concerns, and that Homeland Security isn't about protecting me but about waiting in the wings to implement martial law or confine me to a forced labor camp for not paying my debts. Furthermore, a healthy family provides basic necessities for a child and doesn't take food out of her mouth. Yet what we have witnessed in the last seven years is all-out warfare not only on the indigent, which really has not changed since the Great Depression, but a concerted effort to obliterate the middle class in America. The daunting, inevitable realities of Peak Oil, global warming, and worldwide recession are likely to make all of that much worse.
As agribusiness is allowed to genetically modify foods and ultimately patent all forms of life, as Congressmen introduce legislation to gut all state safety laws that conflict with toothless federal safety laws, as pollution is in the process of annihilating the human race and the ecosystems, as nearly 50 million Americans endure illness without health insurance, as big pharma insists on medicating everything that moves, as every semblance of privacy and individual civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution are shredded -- your government, my government is indeed eating the chosen people. Its sole intent at this point in history is to devour its citizens and anything that threatens to obstruct its voracious expansion of empire.
Well, OK, but even if my government/family isn't my ally, at least there is the rule of law which keeps things from decompensating into utter chaos, right? The best answer to this question comes from former insiders -- people who have worked within the centralized systems of law enforcement, finance, the media, and intelligence for example. Mike Ruppert and Celerino Castillo will tell you that the United States government has gone and continues to go to extraordinary extremes to bring illegal drugs into the country. Former San Jose Mercury journalist Gary Webb told us in great detail how such operations worked during Iran-Contra. Catherine Austin Fitts has written extensively about her experience in finance and government and has specifically addressed the myth of the rule of law in relation to some $4 trillion dollars currently missing from the U.S. government and how narco dollars are laundered through the U.S. stock market.
America's Love Affair With The Mob
Curious, isn't it, how fascinated Americans seems to have become with organized crime? How many seasons did they live for their weekly Sopranos fix, cluelessly unaware of how life imitates the Department of Housing and Urban Development or how HUD imitates the Sopranos? It's "safe" and somewhat titillating to watch Godfather re-runs as a series of mafia hits unfold while Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who ordered them, piously presides over the baptism of his son. "Gee, I don't know anyone like that. It's so "far" from my world," says the wide-eyed viewer, sucking up the sop of corporate media which has become just one tentacle of the globalist leviathan whose rapacious extremities comprise the other major institutions of our society: education, government, the intelligence community, the military, centralized financial systems, and organized crime. How fortunate for the criminal enterprise that this government has become so surreptitious that its citizens are mesmerized by fictitious mob bosses rather than the murderous racketeers that that actually run the world -- the world of most Americans -- the one they imagine is hermetically sealed by the "rule of law."
Recently, it seems that network and cable TV channels have become awash in prison voyeurism. On one night, MSNBC's Lockup airs three solid hours of life behind bars in various state prisons. In ghastly reminiscence of Rome's "Bread And Circuses," the antics of tattooed, pierced, bad boys and girls are sensationally displayed -- human beings whose incarceration insures that the stocks of Wackenhut and Corrections Corporations of America remain bullish.
Healthy caretakers set limits and model fairness. To open one's eyes to the reality that the United States government is one of the most corrupt on earth is to risk the anguish of feeling unimaginably violated and used by a government/family (crime family?) which holds only contempt for its citizen/offspring.
You're As Sick As Your Secrets
One hallmark of a dysfunctional system is secrecy. The Bush administration has been labeled by some members of the media as the most secretive in the nation's history. The mind reels at what information it holds on a plethora of issues that it is not disclosing, but in my opinion, the most egregious are the realities of global warming and Peak Oil -- issues of which it has been extremely aware for a very long time and has worked hard to suppress. To be intimately familiar with the disastrous consequences of climate chaos and the end of the age of hydrocarbon energy and do nothing is heinous criminal negligence.
History will indeed record that in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, a small group of ruling elite in the most powerful nation on earth, which consumed the largest amount of hydrocarbon energy on the planet, were well aware of the natural phenomena of global warming and Peak Oil, and knowing full well the catastrophic consequences of those, bunkered their own homes with solar panels and infinite quantities of food and water, yet failed to disclose information vital to the health and safety of all life forms worldwide and the ecosystems themselves and intransigently rebuffed all attempts to create viable solutions to issues which ignored and neglected, inevitably result in cataclysm.
Any caring parent, aware that a tornado was approaching and about to obliterate his/her home and family, would inform the children as quickly as possible, immediately gather them, and take them to a safe location. To move oneself to safety and leave one's children fending for themselves is nothing less than criminal neglect, indeed manslaughter. But the "children" (citizens) of America who may have some inkling of energy depletion and climate chaos and their consequences, blithely assume that the election of a new "mommy" or "daddy" president in 2008 will make everything "all better." Like so many neglected children placed in foster homes, those citizens may get a new "parent" in 2008, but it will be another neglectful one, equally invested in guarding the secret that catastrophe is rapidly approaching -- equally committed to his/her own political and economic well-being at the expense of the innocents.
Don't Go There
I am convinced that one's personal family history plays heavily in how deeply one can look into the black maw of evil that now runs this nation. As I have stated in earlier writings, I have repeatedly encountered hundreds of individuals who simply cannot assimilate, let alone investigate, the voluminous research regarding September 11, 2001. Frequently, they confess that they simply do not want to know that their government orchestrated the attacks that murdered almost 3,000 people in one day. They freely admit that they cannot bear the possibility that their government annihilated its own citizens, nor can they tolerate the sense of powerless they feel in relation to that possibility. Some individuals will never be able to dig deeper than the official story; others will be able to do so, but slowly, gradually, as the layers of their psyche absorb the anomalies that not only linger, but grow more blatantly incongruous with every passing day.
Mommy And Daddy And The National Melodrama
True to his scathing cynicism, James Howard Kunstler in, Mommy And Daddy, says that "Politics is the way we work out our collective national psychology," and that "American politics have fallen into a gothic family melodrama, and the theme is the same one being played out on the micro level all over the country: failed parenting." Kunstler asserts that the Republicans have made themselves into the Daddy Party, while the Democrats have become the Mommy Party. The Daddy Party is a stern, rigid taskmaster, while the Mommy Party wants everyone to feel good and wants all outcomes to be fair.
While I don't agree with everything in his article, I do agree with Kunstler projection that as the Daddy Party becomes more of a terminal failure, more eyes focus on the Mommy Party and its dazzling "supermom," Hillary, who will most certainly persist in keeping the family secrets and as Kunstler says, "keep the corporate flywheels spinning, and even look after the family's security from the thugs coming into the 'hood'."
Allowing oneself to enter the deeper layers of history and current events is to open oneself to transformation in the depths of one's own psyche. I believe that on some level, we all know this, and our readiness to engage or not engage with realities in the external world, which may alter the internal, calibrates our individual degrees of denial.
Carl Jung once said that human beings cannot bear too much reality. We prefer to assume that our government is incompetent, inept, and wasteful because it is not as excruciating as the reality that we are its next meal. Each day upon awakening, we have the option of continuing to perpetuate this delusion, or dig deeper. While the incompetent/inept/wasteful fantasy "feels" better, it is ultimately more disempowering, for as Larry Clow writes in his fabulous System Breakdown article, "the thought of a malicious government that's actively out to manipulate us is an enemy we can fight, which is somewhat more comforting than the alternative -- a series of bungling, incompetent institutions that have failed us, and will fail us again, just when we need them the most." In other words, denial is more soothing, but so is heroin.
Still another way of putting it might be: Ignorance is bliss -- until it kills you.
Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is author of a forthcoming book, Coming Out from Christian Fundamentalism: Affirming Life, Love and The Sacred. Her recent book, U.S. HISTORY UNCENSORED: What Your High School Textbook! Didnít Tell You, is available at her website: www.carolynbaker.org. This article is an update of an earlier version published in 2006 at From the Wilderness.
Other Articles by Carolyn Baker
Tapeworm Economics and its War on Families