Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The cult of the individual is destroying the United States

From a discussion on a FB thread came this question:

(anarcho-capitalism) is a political philosophy which advocates the elimination of the state in favour of individual sovereignty. It is theorized that in the absence of a central coercive monopoly on the use of force (a government), society would reorganize itself in terms of a free market (a fully voluntary society).[4][5] In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services would be operated by privately funded competitors rather than centrally through compulsory taxation. Money, along with all other goods and services, would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Therefore, personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would be regulated by victim-based dispute resolution organizations under tort and contract law, rather than by statute through punishment and torture under political monopolies."

Does that, in any way, sound like the United States?

Compared to other developed nations, democracies, and perhaps it makes more of a difference than many might think that the US is a constitutional republic, yes, it does sound like the US.

As a German professor who spent some years in the States said:

The US is the only developed nation where people both hate and fear their government.

So you have within the society a mistrust, fear and hatred of government which makes government influence, let alone control very difficult on many counts.

You also have so many States, over 50, which operate like little countries and which dilute where they can any Federal power in ways not seen in other developed nations.

You have a level of corporate power and corruption at the political level - free market capitalism and corporate individual sovereignty, which you just do not see in other developed nations.

The concept of individual sovereignty has been taken to extreme levels in the US across the spectrum. The irony is that it is the ordinary people who have lost out and lost their power, their individuality and their sovereignty.

The inability of the US Federal Government to introduce regulation - reduce sovereignty - at corporate and governmental levels, plays a part in the disenfranchising of ordinary Americans and the inequality at work in the US.

You can see the 'individual sovereignty' at work in some of the following things:

. an education system which at core is dependent upon the wealth of parents and the suburb in which the school is placed. (Other developed nations over-ride this and ensure across-the-board standards).

. a medical system controlled by individual corporations which works in their interests and not that of the people or patients. (Other developed nations use Government regulation to ensure there is an across-the board- universal healthcare system). NB: and the move to introduce some sort of universal healthcare, now called Obamacare, has resulted in the insurance companies writing the plan and creating the system and in people having to pay for it. In other words, there is still no universal healthcare in the US. It is individualised to suit corporate and political interests.

. a court system which at the highest levels consists of partisan political appointments. Individualised to suit politicians not people.

. a legal system which allows manipulating and lobbying to achieve ends in ways not tolerated in other developed nations which have greater government regulation and influence.

. a labour system which allows illegal workers to remain to suit the interests of individuals and individual corporations and which serves to keep wages low. (Not tolerated in other developed nations.)

. a labour system where corporations and politicians collude to limit if not destroy union activity, to meet the needs of individuals and individual corporations. (Not tolerated in other developed nations).

. a law enforcement system which is not independent and is answerable and in the control of individuals and individual political and corporate power structures. (In ways not tolerated in other developed nations.)

. a banking system which has been generally unregulated and allowed to write its own rules and meet its own individualised needs to a degree not seen in other developed nations although the level of government regulation varies from country to country. NB: the country which best rode out the economic meltdown was Australia and that was and is the country with the heaviest banking regulations. Other developed nations have since followed suit, to varying degrees.

. and with capital punishment retained and iniquitous treatment of prisoners, the US is probably top of the list on the punishment and torture stakes. We know the US sanctions and uses torture overseas so there is a good chance it does so at home.

. the individual needs of universities to make profits is met in the US in ways not seen elsewhere. A system which sees students graduate with debts which may cripple them for life.

It is the cult of the individual expressed in the United States, perhaps not exactly in the form you articulate above, but more so than any other developed nation, which has made it the least just, the most dysfunctional and unequal and the most socially challenged of any developed nation.


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