Of Aristocracies & Apathy

The perpetuation of the concept of U.S. “exceptionalism” and the use of the “noble lie” in school history books, the corporate owned establishment media, and political propaganda TV ads are methods used by those in power to quell a growing socialist-isolationist-populist movement that is understood by the financial elite as a danger to an existing financial system which increasingly funnels this country’s wealth to the rich and powerful.

So what is the definition of the “Noble Lie?” It means that false propaganda for the sake of the public welfare is totally acceptable. Although more often than not the “public welfare” generally means only the financial elite. Its use is incredibly effective in this country where a state of apathy exists among voters when it comes to knowing the issues and how they will affect them. An uninformed electorate is easily misled. A functional democracy that works for everyone depends on an informed electorate. The authors of the Constitution didn’t foresee a United States that was more interested in entertainment than in having a deep understanding of policies and issues.

Such it was with the invasion of Iraq for control of their oil reserves under the guise of a threat of weapons of mass destruction as a solution to this country’s growing economic problems in a new world economy. For the “public welfare”, the United States needed a new resource. One must remember that U.S. wealth is a result of our now diminishing natural resources. A second more recent economic advantage we had was this country’s gathering of intellectuals and scientists after the decimation of most of the manufacturing infrastructure across Europe and Japan during World War II. The United States industrial complex was left untouched by bombing. We now had a monopoly on the expertise and the factories needed to supply the world with goods – and large corporations became incredibly powerful. Powerful enough to perpetrate misinformation on an apathetic and uninformed public by way of massive campaign contributions to politicians who would return the favor with legislation that would allow them to become even more powerful. As of 2009, the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case allowed for unlimited contributions to politicians by corporations. It is a self-perpetuating circle of favors and exclusivity (and you’re not in it.)

Another noble lie for the benefit of the “public welfare” is the attempt to disseminate the concept of trickle-down economics as a solution to a disappearing middle class. But in truth, this is nothing more than a veiled tax break windfall for big business that further serves to concentrate U.S. wealth to those already in power.

What is the definition of “exceptionalism?” It’s the perception that a country, society, or time period is “exceptional,” “extraordinary,” or “exempt” in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles. For example: the ultra conservative 15 person Texas Board of Education’s influence is apparent in widely used school history books which imply that this country’s deeply rooted protestant God-endorsed morality gives us a right to our “manifest destiny” and this country’s expansion across the Americas at the expense of the indigenous Indian population. But we didn’t stop at the Pacific, we’ve gone on nation building across the world – stealing foreign resources and squandering unimaginable amounts of taxpayer money on the Department of Defense corporate war machine which include the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and the Raytheon Corporation. So while it is generally true that the poorest individuals enlist, serve and die in the military, rich investors benefit from the consistently rising the stock value of said companies. In essence the rich are using their excessive wealth from immorally low tax rates for profiting on investments in military-funded corporations as opposed to contributing fairly to a sobering national dept. We are putting their wealth on this country’s credit card to be paid off at a later time by a middle class which will for the foreseeable future harbor that burden – not the children of old money who will inherit and protect their oases of wealth in a crumbling America.

The purveyors of exceptionalist ideology will have the uninformed believe that as an exceptional society, we are justified in our actions and therefore immune to a condemning world opinion. We are not. They are the same strategists who will give you everything that’s free while taking the last dollar in your pocket. They will garner the vote of the poverty stricken gun owner, the support of the living-day-to-day Bible Belt intellectual delinquent, and the praise of the homeless homophobe. What is the most dangerous is indoctrinating our children with the belief that wealth inequality is “just the way it is.”

History shows us that revolutions begin when the chasm between the rich and the poor becomes too great and injustice becomes obvious to even the most apathetic, uninvolved and disconnected voter.

This is such a time in the United States of America.

Advertisements

Should You Care About the NSA?

Edit 2.21.17: This article was written by Alijah all the way back in 2013. It’s obviously out-of-date, and is used only to help us with theming the site initially. It will remain posted for nostalgic purposes.

Edward Snowden, hero or villain, exposed to the average United States citizen that their government is spying on their communications. A number of programs have been unveiled, each with its own creative name: PRISM, XKeystore, BULLRUN, etc. While they all may be unique approaches to the government’s tactics, the case remains that they all serve the same purpose.

The NSA and other three letter agencies are essentially scooping up domestic and foreign online activity for potential reviewing. This includes but is not limited to:

-Instant messaging

-MMS/SMS messaging

-VOIP calls (Skype, Google Voice, etc…)

-Cloud-stored data (Personal calendars, personal photos, this paper as I type it, etc…)

-Email

-Browsing activity and web searches

-Location data from your smartphone or tablet

To more than most Americans, this provides a rational concern about the power of our government, on the basis that the United States Constitution was probably meant to subvert efforts like the ones the NSA is making. The Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

While this Amendment does not particularly refer to online information, but rather only to forms of information relevant at the time of writing such as papers and effects, it can be assumed the Amendment was intended to protect all forms of information, including modern-day cloud-based forms. If we are to say that this is a true premise, the conclusion can rationally be made that the activities of the NSA are unconstitutional.

Some individuals have made an interesting observation in saying “If I have nothing to hide, why should I care?” This observation can only be reasonable in the rare case that this individual really does have nothing to hide and strongly believes that all Americans should adhere to every law regardless of that law’s rationality and also should have no sense of security or privacy in communicating with others. Two (of probably many) instances that might make the observation invalid:

1) If the individual claiming he or she has nothing to hide happens to send private pictures to a lover but would be concerned if an NSA associate were to see this picture (Search for “LOVEINT” on the web).

2) If the individual does not agree that the NSA should be allowed to install cameras and microphones in their home for random access, but should be allowed to tap in on American’s domestic Skype and FaceTime calls (contradictory viewpoints; in my experience this belief is common amongst society’s older members as they do not spend much time online, generally).

It can be believed that many supportive arguments for the NSA’s activities do not consider any contradictory premises such as the two listed above. It would be important to ensure any individual who is supportive of the NSA’s activities are not ‘guilty’ of either of the two instances of contradictory beliefs listed above.

Because the government has done an impressive job hiding the NSA’s true purpose from Americans since 2007, it can be assumed that at no point should citizens take information from government officials to be true without first reviewing evidence. In this way, it would be unwise to vote for an individual on the basis that he or she is against spying, because the only way to know if the individual is actually taking action against spying is by working for the government yourself. Thereby it is important to understand what you can do to protect yourself from spying if you do happen to be uncomfortable with spying. A list of ideas to dodge spying:

-Communicate sensitive information in person, or through offline means (via sneakernet or a private WiFi network).

-Use encrypted chat services such as Telegram.

-Use an iOS device instead of an Android device (As far as the public knows, Apple gives the government a harder time accessing personal data than Google. This might not be the case).

-Frequently send misinformation over the internet to confuse the NSA’s automatic profiling systems, and hope whoever you’re communicating with won’t get confused.

-Abstain from using networks that could allow the NSA to create sociographs, such as Facebook and Google+.

A majority of Americans believe that the NSA is crossing the line with its surveillance activities. If we believe America is a democracy, we can make the conclusion that democratically, the government should do less spying on the basis that most people do not agree with it. If we believe the Constitution is to be upheld, we can make the conclusion the NSA should stop spying without warrants completely.