“Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, Lobbying, to get what they want.The rest of this quote from George Carlin is at this link.
Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking’ years ago. They don’t want that."
[UPDATE: Just after I posted this I thought I ought to check to be sure that Carlin actually said this. This Youtube video is pretty good proof.]
I always seem to have way too many windows open in Firefox. I go through them regularly and get rid of the ones I don't need any more. As I did that this morning, I found the above quote. I have no recollection of opening it or how it got there. But there it was.
It's pretty grim and probably a little exaggerated. I know Alaska legislators and Assembly members who aren't bought and paid for. Alaska Democrats have been fighting the oil companies, for instance, and just yesterday I got an email directing me to this website that has a counter showing the money being given by the state to the oil companies because of the recent tax cut the governor pushed.
While I may nitpick with Carlin's picture, overall it's a lot more accurate description than say this vision extracted from the Republican platform of 2012:
"Republicans believe in the Great American Dream, with its economics of inclusion, enabling everyone to have a chance to own, invest, build, and prosper. It is the opposite of the policies which, for the last three and a half years, have stifled growth, destroyed jobs, halted investment, created unprecedented uncertainty, and prolonged the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Those policies have placed the federal government in the driver’s seat, rather than relying on energetic and entrepreneurial Americans to rebuild the economy from the ground up. Excessive taxation and regulation impede economic development. Lowering taxes promotes substantial economic growth and reducing regulation encourages business formation and job creation. Knowing that, a Republican President and Congress will jumpstart an economic renewal that creates opportunity, rewards work and saving, and unleashes the productive genius of the American people. Because the GOP is the Great Opportunity Party, this is our pledge to workers without jobs, families without savings, and neighborhoods without hope: together we can get our country back on track, expanding its bounty, renewing its faith, and fulfilling its promise of a better life."I thought I'd check the Democratic platform as well, thinking it would echo a lot of the Republican American dream. Most of it is a list of things the Obama administration had done. I was surprised to see that parts are much closer to Carlin than I expected. Though much toned down.
"For too long, we've had a financial system that stacked the deck against ordinary Americans. Banks on Wall Street played by different rules than businesses on Main Street and community banks. Without strong enough regulations, families were enticed, and sometimes tricked, into buying homes they couldn't afford. Banks and investors were allowed to package and sell risky mortgages. Huge reckless bets were made with other people's money on the line.
That behavior not only nearly destroyed the financial system, it cost our economy millions of jobs, hurt middle class and poor families, and left taxpayers holding the bill. . .
Republicans would continue to allow lobbyists too much sway over lawmakers, leading to gridlock in Washington, an outdated regulatory system, and a tax code riddled with loopholes. The President put in place unprecedented ethics reforms and we're fighting for campaign finance reform. We know that millions of Americans are struggling to get by, and their voices shouldn't be drowned out by millions of dollars in secret special-interest lobbying and advertising."
And Libertarians? They seem to support the rule of corporations that Carlin decries. Here are some excerpts from their platform:
2.1 Property and Contract
"Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others. We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners."
We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.
I don't believe anything is a done deal. The world is always changing. An accurate picture of what we're up against is an important first step in figuring out how to fight for a fairer world.