Three Big Myths Right-Wing Propagandists Are Spreading to Frame the 2012 Election
During the past several years, a mess of plutocratic myths has been growing like kudzu across our political landscape. This aggressive ideological vine has crept from place to place, incrementally covering over the vital spirit of egalitarianism that defines us as Americans and unites us as a society. Deliberately planted and nurtured by various Koch-funded front groups, these invasive myths (let's dare call them lies) have been spread by assorted Ayn-Randian acolytes, advancing the anti-democratic notion that corporations and the wealthy are America's most able, virtuous, and deserving citizens.
Now, with the presidency and total control of Congress up for grabs in this election year, the Koch-Randians are going all out to entangle the national policy debate in their lies, the essence of which comes down to this overriding whopper: Government is an immoral, blundering menace that must be shoved aside so a virtuous society run by gifted, self-reliant "strivers" and efficient corporations can flourish. If you swallow that bucket of Kool-Aid, you might then be able to accept all sorts of the right-wing's current phantasmagoric policy proposals:
- Medicare must be replaced with a privatized "VoucherCare" (or, more accurately, "WeDon'tCare") medical system;
- All poverty programs must be slashed or eliminated to "free"poor people from a crippling and shameful dependency on public aid;
- The government framework that sustains a middle class (from student loans to Social Security) must be turned over to Wall Street so individuals are free to "manage" their own fates through marketplace choice;
- Such worker protections as collective bargaining, minimum wage, and unemployment payments must be stripped away to remove artificial impediments to the "natural rationality" of free market forces;
- The corporate and moneyed elites (forgive a bit of redundancy there) must be freed from tax and regulatory burdens that impede their entrepreneurial creativity;
- The First Amendment must be interpreted to mean that unlimited political spending of corporate cash equals free speech; and
- Etcetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.
The whopperites are trying to pass this stuff off as some sort of deep political "philosophy" rather than confessing that it is what it is: Shameless kleptocratic doggerel intended to disempower the many and enthrone the privileged few. So, this issue of the Lowdown takes them on, debunking The Big Three Major Fables of Plutocratic Theology they've put out to try and frame the 2012 election.
1. THE "SELF-MADE" MYTH:
The greatness of America, goes this one, is derived from the individual efforts of the strong. These are the "producers"--the worthy ones who make it on their own, never needing a helping hand or accepting any kind of freebie (certainly not from the government). The claim is that these admirable achievers often rise from the humblest of origins to create a business and attain personal success, overcoming such hurdles as union organizers, government meddlers, and other "parasites."
We're talking bootstraps, baby: Horatio Alger and Ayn Rand's fictional supermen, the industrial barons of the late 1800's, today's up-from-nothing high-tech billionaires, and such royal families of the corporate plutocracy as Coors, DeVos (Amway), Koch, and the Waltons of Walmart. In addition, all across the country, legions of lesser lights shine with self-lit luminosity, proclaiming their self-made success, ranging from the richest landowner in town to--well, maybe--to your own worthless Rush-Limbaugh-worshiping brother-in-law, who, bizarrely, sits in his well-worn La-Z-Boy, prattling on about how, by God, he got where he is without any government help.
This assertion of individual exceptionalism is said to be grounded in the 19th century writings of the eminent French political thinker and historian, Alexis de Tocqueville. Having traveled extensively in our country, de Tocqueville offered his assessment of the American character, and today's hyper-individualists hail him for proclaiming that "self-interest" is the driving ethic and special genius of our society. See, exult the true believers, even a Frenchman can see that greed has been a social good, for it unleashes the entrepreneurial creativity of the righteous rich.