A short history of why we eat oil, can't smoke pot, and why assault weapons are so expensive in our hour of need
By Joe Bageant
(With running commentary by THE SCREAMING MAN)
Well, for starters, the above title is a damned lie, since this little screed is not a history. It's just rumination on the tilting point at which Americans started the slide into the deepest sort of cultivated consumer consciousness -- which is to say our corporate managed engorgement and swinedom at the service of the rich.
Very rich families and corporatists, to whom, as in earlier articles, we shall refer to as "the bastards," have always been with us. Even Tom Jefferson thought periodic revolution against wealth and authority was desirable to keep these bastards in check. Which implies that he figured they would inevitably get us by the throat down on the floor from time to time.
But the bastards scared the hell out of later presidents too. Abe Lincoln feared the large corporations born of business profiteering during the U.S. Civil War -- the military industrial complex of the day -- easily constituted the greatest threat to the American republic. Being president and all, he couldn't call them what they were, and settled for the term "money power," and predicted that, "money power will … work upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."