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Truth Against the World

Truth Against the World:Humanities’ Greatest Enemies; Mammoth Multi-National Corporations

 

 

Introduction

          I first started this project approximately seven years ago & had it not been for my hubris & naivete, I probably never would’ve embarked on such a colossal endeavor. I have wanted to be a writer since I was in the second grade and as I grew up, I’d write short fiction pieces. In my twenties, I started writing little essays and around the age of 32, I developed a keen interest in politics and began to write serious & critical essays of social & political criticism. And like the probably overwhelming majority of aspiring writers out there, I read dozens & dozens of books on how to write & grew ever more frustrated at all the contradictory advice. Moreover, my inner critic kept harping “who do you think you’re fooling Rob, you don’t have what it takes & you don’t know what you’re doing.” But when I turned 50, I told my inner critic to shut the hell up & took a thick stack of notes down off my bookshelf that had been collecting dust for 17 years or so. I spread them out on the living room floor and started grouping them roughly under similar headings.

 

This first section of my book was from a stack of notes I’d compiled over the course of a summer when my son was one year old. The subject was the Christian fundamentalists war on Secular Humanism. I started into typing and basically elaborated on my notes making sure to cite the authors of every note. My notes gave me a sort of skeleton or framework to connect my thoughts. This first part of my book went smoothly and I was in a sort of glow or natural high from the creating. It felt so liberating & empowering to at last be writing daily, sometimes ten pages or more in a day, after so many years of pent-up creative energy. I was out of work and if it hadn’t been for my lovely wife’s kindness, I would’ve been out on the street and certainly not writing.

 

As I was nearing the end of the writing on Christian fundamentalists, I noted that connections between Christian fundamentalists and a great book by Richard Hofstadter called Anti-Intellectualism in American Life kept popping into my mind. I also recalled reading somewhere that a writer must be passionate about what he was writing about if it were to have any greatness to it & I am definitely passionate about these issues because I can see how relevant they are to the crisis humanity is facing. Therefore, I launched into the second section of my book by using the copious notes I’d made in my copy of Hofstadter’s classic book. At times it became hard to get my ideas down fast enough because my brain was rushing ahead in brief insights into overlapping areas of fundamentalism & anti-intellectualism. This section of my work also went fairly smoothly. And again, as I neared the end of this section, I began to see more connections to the public schooling system in America.

 

For this section, I used my notes in John Taylor Gatto’s excellent book titled The Underground History of American Education. But in this part of my writing, my closer analysis of Gatto’s book began to make me question Gatto’s agenda. I began to intuit that perhaps he was a closet fundamentalist and like the Christian fundamentalist extremists who are very up front about their goal of dismantling the public education system so they can shove the Bible & their interpretations of it down every child’s throat, he had the same goal? Gatto taught me a lot about the history of the American public education system that I didn’t know & he makes a lot of powerful arguments but I don’t agree with all that he claims. Nonetheless, his work provided a very valuable glue in my weaving or connecting of the dots. By the time I had finished this third section of my magnum opus, I had written over 1,800 pages and had started on the corporate media and the part they play in fomenting the power elite’s control over us. I didn’t get very far though, perhaps the task I had set myself was just becoming too daunting or maybe my old daemon, my inner critic, had regained some of its power to influence me? And as a result, for the past year or so, I’ve done hardly any more work on this project. I started a work of fiction I’ve titled The Return of the Flower Children, reasoning that since people have complained that I write the same old stuff & that it’s a bit dull, maybe if I included some sex scenes and wove a fantasy tale which injected my political & social ideas here and there, it’d keep people’s attention and go over better? I’ve written somewhere like 250 pages so far but have dropped off on writing it as well. I began to feel like I was just masturbating with words and throwing in way too much gratuitous sex for the sake of titilation? Though I have to admit, it was fun letting my imagination run wild in the sex scenes. I may pick it up again but for now, I want to complete this major work and don’t mind admitting that I’m not looking forward to the time when I have to start editing it.

Perhaps because of my growing confidence in my writing ability as I progressed with this project, I got the idea of looking up contact information for my intellectual hero, Noam Chomsky? Anyway, several years ago, I found an e-mail address for Professor Chomsky and sent him a short e-mail. And to my great amazement and delight, he promptly wrote back. I could not believe this guy considered by many to be perhaps the greatest living intellectual, would take the time to respond to me? And over the years, we’ve exchanged several e-mails and a few snail mails. And just recently, it dawned on me, ‘hey, Chomsky is noted for his ‘revolution in the field of linguistics,’ why not ask him for any tips on learning grammar because I’m still insecure about my abilities in grammar & punctuation. And once again, this kind man wrote back & here is what his response was; “On grammar and punctuation, maybe I should say that the only course I flunked in High School was English grammar. The standard rules are just conventions, sometimes senseless, one constantly gets into hassles with editors who have English BAs. They just have to be learned. Reading is probably the best way, as you suggest.”

 

This truly blew my mind. Professor Chomsky has taught at M.I.T. for over 50 years and travels the world lecturing on politics & etc. and all these years I’ve put myself down thinking I’m stupid when it comes to grammar. Once again I was touched by the graciousness & humility of this great man. I’ve also sent some of my essays, particularly a piece  I wrote trying to convince my son to never join the military, to several well-known people like Michael Parenti. And again to my utter amazement, Professor Parenti wrote back in less than an hour after having read my essay The Politics of Patriotism, and commented “Wow! You’ve said everything there is to say on the subject. Perhaps you can get this published somewhere?” I hope this doesn’t come across as too self-aggrandizing? I guess I’m just hoping to inspire any other would be writers? We all have something valuable to contribute and I believe we should encourage and support one another as much as possible. It’s a very intimidating world and especially so if you’re a struggling artist or a dreamer.

 

Furthermore, I also hope that I don’t come across as putting Chomsky up on a pedestal & that everything he says is the gospel truth. While I do agree that he’s the world’s greatest living intellectual as well as in the top ten most quoted people in history, I have disagreed with him. I sent him an e-mail on the subject of credit card companies & their corruption and greed & he responded graciously as usual, agreeing with my counter argument. I, of course, was polite in my argument. In fact, as I recall, I suggested he check out Professor Elizabeth Warren who President Obama is appointing to head the new office charged with protecting consumers against Wall St. sharks (my phrasing). Yet, I want to state again, and unequivocably, Noam Chomsky is a one man intellectual revolution, especially in the field of political science. I’m bringing this up because I know that sadly, the vast majority of Americans have never heard of him although in my travels, every major city I’ve visited in Europe that had a bookstore with a small section of books in English, Chomsky’s books made up the majority of the space. Chomsky has been effectively marginalized in his own country because quite simply, the corporate media are afraid of him. Chomsky’s institutional analysis is so scalpel like in its incisiveness and so well documented that he demolishes any opponents who deign to debate him. So, if you are a novice in the political arena and are interested in self enlightenment, you couldn’t pick a more fruitful place to begin than with this venerable scholar from Massachusetts.

 

To return to the task at hand, this introduction, let me start with a thought that occurred to me recently & let me state up front that no, I don’t think this is a conscious or overt conspiracy but I think it’s interesting to note that it’s been a little over one hundred years ago that corporations were granted the rights of humans, in fact, “immortal persons,” and it’s also been a little over one hundred years ago that the field of psychology took hold here in America. What’s the connection? Well, another excellent book I read years ago, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and The World’s Getting Worse, pointed out that the goal of psychotherapy is to get the patient to take responsibility for his problems, of course the answers vary as to how to do this depending on the school of psychotherapy your particular therapist ascribes to but it’s always about something lacking in you, self blocks, etc. But the authors, James Hillman (a Jungian therapist) & Michael Ventura (a brilliant writer who used to write a column for the L.A. Weekly, a free paper) point out that due to economics, politics, etc., many people are suffering, breaking down, turning to drugs & alcohol, etc., due to factors outside themselves and through no fault of their own. It made me recall the concept/phrase, “blaming the victim.” And that is precisely what the Right-wing extremists are doing, they keep telling us we’re failing because of our own personal shortcomings & don’t acknowledge let alone take responsibility for all their corrupt practices which are pushing us towards the cliff’s edge like a multitude of lemmings rushing headlong to their death.

 

Continuing on, a good amount of the following information I am going to present is from the book & the documentary of the same title, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan.

 

The beginning of the film shows brief clips from a variety of news commentators, most of whom who claim the latest corporate scandal was the result of “a few bad apples.” And this is where I want to begin in my refutation of this perspective. This is clearly corporate “spin,” trying to deceive us into believing that the majority of American corporations are honest & law abiding businesses. A cursory review of news headlines shows that this is clearly a pattern, or business as usual. Because time and space do not allow for an in depth argument in an introduction, I will return to this in chapter one which begins with General Electric, touted as the world’s largest corporation. G.E. is especially relevant because Ronald Reagan was their spokesman for over 20 years and he toured the country giving what he dubbed ‘the speech.’ ‘The Speech,’ boiled down to ‘the commies are coming, unions bad.’ In those 20 years, Reagan honed his ass kissing to corporate America and that’s why they made him the president of the United States. They knew he’d tear down the rules & regulations and social safety net programs established by FDR in the New Deal.

 

By the way, it’s also noteworthy that Reagan’s presidency was what initiated my interest in politics. I remember that it was somewhere in my twenties that I started hearing people say “Oh, I don’t watch the news, it’s always so sad & depressing.” And I thought, ‘yeah, that’s true,’ and I too, didn’t care about the news. It wasn’t too much later that the once honorable profession of television journalism started down the slippery slope of “infotainment,” where the physical attractiveness of the newscaster & the upbeat spin they could put on the news became the norm. Anyway, when Reagan became president, I could no longer bury my head in the sand because his vicious war on the working class, the poor, Central America, unions (recall that one of his first acts as president was to fire the air traffic controllers who were out on strike, for life?), etc., scared the hell out of me. It might be that I remembered somewhere in the back of my mind, Reagan’s fascist statements as governor of California where I grew up. For example, his comments regarding the student protests at Berkeley.

 

The following is taken from a website called UC Berkeley News which came up when I typed in my search “Reagan’s comments regarding student protests at Berkeley.”

“Reagan launched his political career in 1966 by targeting UC Berkeley’s student peace activists, professors, and, to a great extent, the University of California itself. ‘Get them out of there. Throw them out. They are spoiled and don’t deserve the education they are getting. They don’t have a right to take advantage of our system of education.’…The governor could not interfere directly in the administration of Berkeley. The two weapons he had were verbal abuse and the budget. He heaped a great deal of abuse on the Berkeley campus, and particularly on liberals and liberal faculties. He even singled out sociology and philosophy as hotbeds. He tried to cut the budget. And, he did get Clark Kerr fired as UC president.”

 

Seems an obvious example of anti-intellectualism in my book. For the sake of brevity, I left out the tragic consequences of the People’s Park Riot instigated by Reagan sending in 2,000 National Guard. Bottom-line, Reagan was the darling of the extreme Right-wing reactionaries who want to silence any and all who dare to speak truth to power & he built his political career with the help of J. Edgar Hoover as well as mafia-connected politicians like Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada, see Ronald Reagan, MCA, and The Mob (I believe the main title of the book is “Dark Victory.”

 

In conclusion, I will provide a brief history of corporations and how they have grown into such powerful monsters that literally threaten the survival of our species, not unlike Godzilla, etc. In addition, I will highlight the human, animal, environmental, etc. harms that corporate callousness and blatant disregard of the law is perpetrating upon us. Moreover, I will cite numerous examples of how “business as usual,” definitively proves my thesis of multi-national corporations as humanities’ greatest enemy and therefore, it is imperative that we unite as a nation, and euphemistically castrate these “immortal persons!”

 

—Rob DeLoss, Tualatin, Oregon, Sept. 19, 2010

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