Dynamics of Divisiveness: Re-Defining Our Shift to the Right

As both sides of the narrowing and perpetually right-moving political dynamic in the United States continue to blindly and self-righteously proclaim their side as the side of liberty, the move toward the obliteration of social service and justice for the benefit of large multinational corporations has been progressing steadfastly as the divisions expand while the two political parties meld into one before our blind eyes. As rhetoric and reaction defines the political landscape and limited ideological schema of the populace devoid of historical perspective and reality, the move to the far right is already complete as every government protection granted us through our unique system of representative democracy is eroding away before our eyes, yet we continue to consume the hollow and hypocritical rhetoric by politicians and mass media who are nothing but puppets for the institutions that control the world’s wealth and resources. As rhetorical dissonance rules the airwaves and cyberspace, the perpetuation of our dwindling freedoms and liberty are a result of our own ignorance and self-fulfilling propaganda that we cling to with dear life.

To say there is no more Left and no more Right might be a bit of an over simplification of a complex dynamic of political economy, but nonetheless is an accurate one given the utter and total takeover of government by moneyed, corporate interests. This modern corporatism has created a democratic system that serves only to divide and conquer. Rather than taking constructive and historically realistic views of the state of the two party system, the two camps, Liberal and Conservative (Democrat & Republican), are engaged in a constant reactionary state, disregarding material reality in order to claim the rightness of their actions and engage in a type of verbal and intellectual warfare that lacks any depth or understanding of the past thirty years of American political and economic history, but merely repeats and regurgitates the rhetoric that they have unknowingly been programmed to believe.

When W. Bush was blindly supported and cheered by the right for the dismantling of democracy for corporate interests (under the guise of protecting our freedom and keeping us safe from evil-doers), the so-called left spent a great deal of energy reacting to Bush’s actions and using charged hyperbole that did little, if anything to change the right’s perceptions of his administration’s actions. Likewise, as those on the left, or the Liberals, blindly cheer Obama as he dismantles our democracy for corporate interests (look closely at his ties to British Petroleum, support of Financial Reform legislation, and the exacerbation of global warfare), the right uses their energy to react by claiming socialism (utterly absurd given the blatant pro-corporate actions of the Democrats) among other loaded terms that perpetuate the same divisiveness.

Through a variety of propaganda mechanisms aimed at creating blind fear over vague enemies of freedom, be they the communists or radical Islamic Terrorists, we have developed a deep seeded construct of an all encompassing state that, thanks to George Orwell, has been dubbed Big Brother. While the term Big Brother is forever ingrained in our social conscience, the idea of a totalitarian system of rule is seen through the narrow perspective of 1950s anti-communist fervor, yet Big Brother has manifested himself through our blind support of a one-party system that allows the rights of corporations to take precedence over our freedom.

In Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985), the concept of big brother is described through an analysis of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 classic Brave New World rather than the cliched totalitarianism of Orwell’s 1984. There is one particular passage that is quite profound in regard to the current climate of political, cultural and social discourse — or the lack thereof — that pervades every aspect of our current ability to disregard history for the immediate reactionary propagation of disinformation intended to keep us divided. When the term Big Brother is used and thrown around, its meaning is relegated to a very simplified notion of Government and/or corporate control of our lives. In this particular case, Big Brother is the Government and Corporate interests all in one package: a symbiotic assimilation of capitalist/corporate interests that control our democracy through our elected officials.

…spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk. (Postman)

When Postman wrote this, the television was the instrument of Big Brother, as it still is to a great extent. But now, discourse has expanded through the internet and perhaps further muddied the waters of rational observation. Rather than sitting at the television and watching the two sides bicker and bemoan each other, we are now active participants in these mindless shouting matches. For instance, in the comment section below any article, both sides can have back and forth baby talk — as Postman calls it — declaring each side as completely wrong; with added insults, profanity and personal attacks that weren’t the norm on television not so long ago.

What we fail to realize, by and large, is that the left and the right is in essence cheering for the same team when they blindly support and defend whatever particular values we believe the current administration happens to represent, that in our minds, either represents our core values and beliefs, or is the antithesis of those values and beliefs. Disregarded is the reality that these two sides promote the exact same Corporatism that has relegated us to mindless drones using the same terms, phrases and charged hyperbole, almost verbatim, when we are perceived to be under attack from the “wrong” side of our beliefs — beliefs that have little to do with reality and much more to do with perpetuating division.

Take a look at the Clinton Administration for example. Clinton continued the slow dismantling of social services — afforded us through years of struggle — that was initiated by Reagan. Clinton filled his cabinet with the same corporate and moneyed interests as Reagan and HW Bush and perpetuated the deregulation of the Banking Industry through the blind adherence to the economic philosophies dictated to him by Ayn Rand disciple Alan Greenspan. Clinton would sign into law The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which would create a monopoly of media conglomerates furthering the hegemony of information designed to divide us while we tacitly allow the furthering and perpetual takeover of our Democracy by the Corporations that use our elected representatives to do their legislative bidding. Those who define themselves as on the left of the spectrum continue to defend and blindly assume that Clinton was looking out for our interests simply because he stated that he had our interests at heart, despite evidence to the contrary.

Much the same can be said of the right who blindly supported W. Bush and consider Reagan to be a true hero of the American ideal as they know it. By simply stating that they had the interests of good Americans who had “traditional” values at heart, they were able to perpetuate policy that has done nothing to advance our interests, but has only benefited the few wealthy corporations that control the majority of the earth’s resources. Those on the right are so easily duped by politicians who claim to be pro family, pro-life and for traditional American values. These same politicians often lead lives of immorality and just use the same cliched rhetoric that is not questioned by their duped supporters. The right tries, and largely succeeds in convincing their followers that the left is determined to use the government to control their lives. The simple fact is, they, more than anyone, have allowed the corporate control of all branches of government to exacerbate unimpeded and have in fact increased the size and scope of government while preaching against the same actions they themselves perpetuate.

Engaging in baby talk with one another, and ignoring historical realities will not save us from what will be a continued degradation of our security, prosperity, humanity and dignity; promoting catastrophic damage to the earth and its inhabitants all in the name of Corporatism. We are all benign to the fact that our political system has drifted far to what was once considered the right. There is no more left in the traditional sense. There is no more right as we define it. There is a one party system that is gaining more and more control as we continue to divide ourselves. The creatures that inhabit our political system — the politicians — are just as blind as the rest of us as they allow themselves to do the bidding of the Corporations they have sold their soul to for their fleeting taste of fame and vanity and a twisted and distorted sense of their own importance, yet still beholden to money rather than us, the voters, whom they represent. I will close with a quote from a recent letter from a friend of mine who is both wise and unfortunately entrenched in this twisted system called Democracy: [T]he various political parties and ideological franchises that purport to improve society by advancing noble causes [are] nothing more than cash and fame machines for the self-absorbed baby boomers that run them.


Parts of this article were taken from The End of the Left, The End of the Right, originally published on my site, The Todd Blog, on 05/22/10

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