Time for a revolt against the war economy? | AspenTimes.com

Time for a revolt against the war economy?

One hears the word revolution more and more frequently these days, even in polite conversation at cocktail hours, dinner parties and quiet, late-night gatherings at the neighborhood pub.Much to my surprise, I heard it uttered at the recent Republican precinct caucus meeting in Aspen, the one that split the vote between the vapid offerings of John McCain and Mitt Romney, although the utterer was hardly an example of standard Republican values.In fact, he was a supporter of Ron Paul, whose Libertarian bid for the presidency has been carefully and cleverly buried by the national corporate media, just as the campaigns of Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards were entombed.And as often as one hears it in conversation, one reads it in the various venues offered to radical thought. For example, Dr. Tom Jeannot, Gonzaga Universitys radical philosopher, spoke the word earlier this month while addressing the Humanist Breakfast, a twice-monthly meeting of the Spokane Humanists group.Jeannot, among other things, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, whose 1967 speech now known as Beyond Vietnam warned that the U.S. was heading in dangerous directions, and that Vietnam was only a symptom. King, in turn, was quoting President John F. Kennedy, who once remarked, Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.How true it is, or at least should be.Jeannot, King and others also have decried the stifling of dissenting voices, whether through such draconian authoritarian measures as the U.S. PATRIOT Act or the quieter subjugation that spins off from the very nature of U.S. commercial totalitarianism. What I mean is, if we are kept busy working our asses off, madly buying everything we are told we need while hoping we somehow become rich, we wont notice or complain about the fact that we are all deeply enmeshed in something called the permanent war economy.The occasion for all this cheerful thinking is the release last week of President George W. Bushs 2008 budget, which contained the alarming projection of defense-related spending that will top $1.1 trillion in the coming year. We now spend more on our defense budgets than do all other nations on Earth combined and none of it has to do with true defense of our nation. Weve been at this since the end of World War II, to the detriment of all other governmental spending and programs.Author Chalmers Johnson, in this months Le Monde Diplomatique, calls it 60 years of misallocation of resources, and borrowings [and] the establishment of the military-industrial complex as the basis of the nations economic life.You remember the military-industrial complex. President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican and a general who never could be accused of weak-kneed liberalism, warned us about it a half-century ago, saying we needed to be careful or we would find ourselves slaves to a war machine.Well, he was right. And here we are.We have managed to allow corporations to export our once-vaunted industrial might to other countries. Our national economy has been converted into an information highway that really does little but create new electronic games for us to play with and movies for us to watch. And that same corporate superstructure, in cooperation with a willing parade of economic lackeys at the helm of our national government, has put us in such deep hock to China, the European Union and who knows who else that it would take us decades to dig out of our economic grave if we stopped borrowing right now.All because of the rabid devotion of a relatively small coterie of wealthy zealots who believe that their personal fortunes, in every sense of the phrase, are more important than the lives and fortunes of the population at large.And, as it happens, their personal fortunes are tied to those of the permanent war economy. If were at war, somewhere with someone, they make money. Never mind that, nationally speaking, our highways are falling into ruin, our transportation system is a joke, our health care situation is a crime, our forests, lakes and deserts are being polluted and developed beyond recognition, and the vast majority of us are making less than we did a decade ago in real terms, and rapidly going broke.Hence, the word, revolution, is heard more often, and in odder places, than it has been in some time. JFK was right, and so was Thomas Jefferson when he said that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.You do the math.jcolson@aspentimes.com

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