Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday musings

As regular readers know, I don’t really go in for conspiracy theories. Sure I’d be delighted to claim that I was an empiricist, purely evidence based, but alas I don’t meet that ideal fully either.

Still, a persistent and growing body of evidence appears to support a nagging concern that Australia and the US are moving glacier like towards a form of national socialism, or fascism as it has also been known.

It helps to be effected by policies to gain the insights needed to make reasonable analyses. My years in North America allowed a close-up experience of how the US is moving towards government for corporations.

Now back in Australia I am having a very similar experience. Day by day I am seeing mounting evidence that we are being stripped of those precious aspects of society we somehow expect are unassailable.

The crux of the issue is the importance of our individual rights and freedoms within the whole system. Our governments have been steadily stripping these, probably since the late 1960s, and have given powerful corporations licence to continue that process.

It is one thing for governments to curtail our rights in the name of supposed security implications. The real signs of a drift to national socialism are when business, big business, is given the right to curtail our rights to deal fairly in the marketplace.

Even living in Canada I felt the effects of the corporate power through Telcos and various utilities. Sure they have a product to market, but increasingly they can market those services, or deny them, to anyone they choose. Never mind community responsibility or as the old Scots expression has it– the commonweal (for the good of all).

I say even in Canada because I left that place with a great respect for a remarkably equitable community, even give the various right wing excesses. I feared the election of Harper’s Conservative government, but even they have gone no further than tradition liberal economics.

The US has rarely ever had any great regard for the common good; even the downtrodden seem capable of demanding stricter controls on those who might be in need. Australia’s have traditionally been a fairly caring community, but politics of greed or just plain greed, are changing that.

The forthcoming general election here, the pre-election posturing with activities like APEC, is all showing where this country is going, and providing a window into US directions. The insanity of the APEC talkfest can be found in several posts on this blog, with more updates to come.

The significance of the APEC example is the growing potential for expected protests to be inflamed in order to create ‘reasons’ to tighten Australia’s draconian security laws even further.

Prime Minister John Howard is now claiming, without support of evidence, that violent protesters are to blame for the severe security measures in place for the APEC meeting in Sydney. I predict that, after APEC, government moves will begin to introduce universal and obligatory identification documents for all Australians, an issue which has faced strong public opposition over many years.

But the security excuse, which we share with the US, is just one example of a fundamental shift towards a Fascist type system of government. I could talk at length about specific examples of how corporations have gained supremacy over the bulk of citizens.

We have all experienced the growing difficult of challenging corporate excesses. I suggest that even if you can win a specific claim you then face officially sanctioned penalties including reduction or suspension of services.

One of the major examples of a move toward corporate socialism is found in the refusal of our governments to regulate business activity, even socially destructive activity.

In the forefront now is the sub-prime crisis. Our governments have sanctioned lending practices which are guaranteed to harm borrowers. The system only works when property prices continue to rise, continue to ensure these unscrupulous lenders cannot lose.

The problem now, in an unregulated market, is that the housing crisis reaches far deeper than sub-prime. Figures on mortgage defaults and housing stress are sky rocketing in Britain, Australia and the US. Again this is a crisis driven by officially sanctioned corporate greed.

Regardless of the example presented there is one constant, overlying scenario; the victims and the unwary citizens are cast as the guilty parties, not the unscrupulous power elites. There is no longer any presumption of innocence; it is far easier to sell unproved guilt to a populous seemingly ready to simply accept it.

The US was always further down this road, but times have changed in Australia and consumer diversions have ensured that vigilance is no longer sufficiently engaging. Perhaps the answer comes from a cat:

Stand up to your government creatures. Growl at them. Bite and claw for what you believe... Fred the Cat coming at you fast


enigma4ever said...

I like that about growling...yeah..that is what is needed...I need to stick my cat on them....really good post....

Cartledge said...

enigma, thank you. I think too much and despite my best efforts, need too many words to express the thoughts. Your kind thoughts are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the example presented there is one constant, overlying scenario; the victims and the unwary citizens are cast as the guilty parties, not the unscrupulous power elites.

As you so rightly point out, Howard is following this script without deviation. His characterization of the need for draconian security measures for APEC is a case in point. The who, how, when, and why are not important, only the post summit result. Stricter security.