If Henry David Thoreau still believes that “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty,” then he must be awfully disappointed about the current state of America.
As if he could peer into the future, American author Henry David Thoreau is credited with the expression:
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
As nearly as I can distinguish, there are three requirements for maintaining an empire, particularly an empire in decline:
(1) Obedience at home
(2) Oppression abroad
(3) Wholesale destruction of the living planet.
This essay focuses on the initial item in this short list.
Herein I present a few recent examples of obedience at home. This essay is hardly comprehensive, and the hits keep coming.
I focus on the Obama administration because it is the most recent and also the most horrific example of imperialism. I refuse to play the game currently popular among Democrats in which Obama is compared to Mitt Romney or John McCain. Obama has a record as president, and Romney and McCain don’t. I cannot imagine a worse president than Obama, although that’s what I thought about his predecessor, too. I’m hardly the only person to refer to Obama as the worst president ever. Full disclosure: Back when I was still registered to vote I was a lifelong Democrat.
Obama’s corporate government is doing the bidding of the corporations. The corporate media aids and abets the enemies of the people. As Noam Chomsky points out, “…any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.” The American people, fully convinced they are consumers instead of citizens, capitulate to their masters. The unseen bars keep the people enslaved.
-Obama seeks cradle-to-grave power to rule over Americans, with examples that are breathtaking in their number and scope. He is responsible for torture, according to two-year independent investigation by the Constitution Project released 16 April 2013 (see here).
-Obama’s Department of Justice has brought charges against six whistleblowers under the Espionage Act of 1917, a number that exceeds every previous administration combined. Indeed, he destroys whistle-blowers with a hateful vengeance, with a recent example focusing on a man who tried to reduce government waste. His vision of this country is termed Obama’s wiretap America in the 8 May 2013 issue of Salon, although it’s merely an extension of policies in place since at least 2001, according to an 11 May 2006 story in USA Today. Even before then, the National Security Agency (NSA) had a back door built into Windows software. Obama’s government gives AT&T and other telecommunications companies secret immunity from wiretap laws. In fact, officials in his administration have authorized a new government program involving the interception of communications on Internet service providers, as well as to record every single telephone conversation (as reported in the Guardian as recently at 6 June 2013). The same day, the Washington Post reports that one of George W. Bush’s legacies, continued by Obama, is a collaboration between U.S. spy agencies and Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. Oh, and Obama’s Internal Revenue Service could be reading your email without a warrant.
These invasions of privacy in the name of security — an overview of the “best” articles on this worst of horrors is offered by ProPublica — are merely warm-up acts for the massive National Security Agency data collection and analysis center under construction in Utah which, according to a former NSA official, puts us very near “a turnkey totalitarian state.”
All of this probably is fine with most Americans. It’s been a long, relatively gradual road to this point. Most American citizens favor being spied upon, according to a poll conducted 6-9 June 2013 by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post. Most Americans also favor imprisoning terrorist suspects even without evidence to convict, according to a Rasmussen poll conducted in April 2013. And we’re busily looking the other way as the NSA uses a bogus, secret interpretation of the Patriot Act to get away with recording millions of telephone calls and retaining every email message for an indeterminate length of time. Fortunately for them and all of us law-abiding citizens, Obama refuses to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay — yet another in an endless string of broken campaign promises — and instead has approved major upgrades.
And, lest we ever forget, I’m here to remind you what George W. Bush and his cabal of evil-doers proclaimed: Those terrorists hate us for our freedoms.
Not surprisingly, the corporate media is barely making a peep as Obama’s corporate government continues to practice socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Why do you think a homeless man gets a 15-year sentence for stealing a few dollars whereas a CEO receives a 3-year sentence for stealing $3 billion? Why do you think local police officers work for Exxon after a spill? Why do you think the Fifth Amendment no longer exists as a functioning law of the land?
It’s difficult for me to imagine a more passive citizenry than the current state of American Empire. Surely Thoreau would be stunned.
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–Photo: Lorianne DiSabato/Flickr