The War on Consciousness

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By Graham Hancock

Special Guest Writer for Wake Up World

We are told that the “War on Drugs” is being waged, on our behalf, by our governments and their armed bureaucracies and police forces, to save us from ourselves. “Potential for abuse and harm” are supposed to be the criteria by which the use of drugs is suppressed — the greater a drug’s potential for abuse and harm, the greater and more vigorous the degree of suppression, and the more draconian the penalties applied against its users.

In line with this scheme drugs are typically ranked into a hierarchy: Schedules I, II, and III in the US, Classes A, B, and C in the UK, and so on and so forth all around the world. Thus, to be arrested for possession of a Schedule I or Class A drug results in heavier penalties than possession of a Schedule III or Class C drug. Generally if a drug is deemed to have some currently accepted medical use it is likely to be placed in a lower schedule than if it has none, notwithstanding the fact that it may have potential for abuse or harm. In the absence of any recognized therapeutic effects, drugs that are highly addictive, such as heroin or crack cocaine, or drugs that are profoundly psychotropic, including hallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin, or DMT, are almost universally placed in the highest schedules and their use attracts the heaviest penalties.

The notable exceptions to this system of ranking according to perceived “harms” are, of course, alcohol and tobacco, both highly addictive and harmful drugs — far more so than cannabis or psilocybin, for example — but yet socially accepted on the grounds of long customary use and thus not placed in any schedule at all.

The Failed War

When we look at the history of the “War on Drugs” over approximately the last 40 years, it must be asked whether the criminalization of the use of any of the prohibited substances has in any way been effective in terms of the stated goals that this “war” was supposedly mounted to achieve. Specifically, has there been a marked reduction in the use of illegal drugs over the past 40 years — as one would expect with billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money having been spent over such a long period on their suppression — and has there been a reduction in the harms that these drugs supposedly cause to the individual and to society?

It is unnecessary here to set down screeds of statistics, facts, and figures readily available from published sources to assert that in terms of its own stated objectives the “War on Drugs” has been an abject failure and a shameful and scandalous waste of public money. Indeed, it is well known, and not disputed, that the very societies that attempt most vigorously to suppress various drugs, and in which users are subject to the most stringent penalties, have seen a vast and continuous increase in the per capita consumption of these drugs. This is tacitly admitted by the vast armed bureaucracies set up to persecute drug users in our societies, which every year demand more and more public money to fund their suppressive activities; if the suppression were working, one would expect their budgets to go down, not up.

Meanwhile the social harms caused by the “War on Drugs” itself are manifest and everywhere evident. In the United States, for example, there have been more than 20 million arrests for the possession of the Schedule I drug marijuana since 1965 and 11 million since 1990. The pace of arrests is increasing year on year, bringing us to the astonishing situation where, today, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 38 seconds.1 The result, as Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, recently observed, is that marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for “all violent crimes combined,” meaning police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.2 And it goes without saying that those who are arrested for the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs do suffer immense harm as a result of the punishments inflicted on them—including, but not limited to, personal trauma, loss of freedom, loss of reputation, loss of employment prospects, and serious, long-lasting financial damage.

Inventory of Harm

Such matters are only the beginning of the long inventory of harm caused by the “War on Drugs.”

Western industrial societies, and all those cultures around the globe that increasingly seek to emulate them, teach us to venerate above all else the alert, problem-solving state of consciousness that is particularly appropriate to the conduct of science, business, war, and logical inquiry, and to such activities as driving cars, operating machinery, performing surgery, doing accounts, drawing up plans, accumulating wealth, etc., etc., etc. But there are many other states of consciousness that the amazing and mysterious human brain is capable of embracing, and it appears to be a natural human urge, as deep-rooted as our urges for food, sex, and nurturing relationships, to seek out and explore such “altered states of consciousness.” A surprisingly wide range of methods and techniques (from breathing exercises, to meditation, to fasting, to hypnosis, to rhythmic music, to extended periods of vigorous dancing, etc.) is available to help us to achieve this goal, but there is no doubt that the consumption of those plants and substances called “drugs” in our societies is amongst the most effective and efficient means available to mankind to explore these profoundly altered states of consciousness.

The result is that people naturally seek out drugs and the temporary alterations in consciousness that they produce. Not all people in every society will do this, perhaps not even a majority, but certainly a very substantial minority — for example the 2 million Britons who are known to take illegal drugs each month3 or those 20 million people in the US who have been arrested for marijuana possession since 1965. And these of course are only the tip of the iceberg of the much larger population of American marijuana users, running into many more tens of millions, who have, by luck or care, not yet fallen foul of the law and are thus not reflected in the arrest statistics.

Needless to say, it is of course exactly the same urge to alter consciousness that also impels even larger numbers of people to use legal (and often extremely harmful) drugs such as alcohol and tobacco — which, though they may not alter consciousness as dramatically as, say, LSD, are nevertheless undoubtedly used and sought out for the limited alterations of consciousness that they do produce.

For the hundreds of millions of people around the world whose need to experience altered states is not and cannot be satisfied by drunken oblivion or the stimulant effects of tobacco, it is therefore completely natural to turn to “drugs” — and, since the “War on Drugs” means that there is no legal source of supply of these substances, the inevitable result is that those who wish to use them must resort to illegal sources of supply.

Herein lies great and enduring harm. For it is obvious, and we may all see the effects everywhere, that the criminalization of drug use has empowered and enriched a vast and truly horrible global criminal underworld by guaranteeing that it is the only source of supply of these drugs. We have, in effect, delivered our youth — the sector within our societies that most strongly feels the need to experience altered states of consciousness — into the hands of the very worst mobsters and sleazeballs on the planet. To buy drugs our sons and daughters have no choice but to approach and associate with violent and greedy criminals. And because the proceeds from illegal drug sales are so enormous, we are all caught up in the inevitable consequences of turf wars and murders amongst the gangs and cartels competing in this blackest of black markets.

It should be completely obvious to our governments, after more than 40 years of dismal failure to suppress illegal drug use, that their policies in this area do not work and will never work. It should be completely obvious, a simple logical step, to realize that by decriminalizing drug use, and making the supply of all drugs available to those adults who wish to use them through legal and properly regulated channels, we could, at a stroke, put out of business the vast criminal enterprise that presently flourishes on the supply of illegal drugs.

It ought to be obvious, but somehow it is not.

Instead the powers that be continue to pursue the same harsh and cruel policies that they have been wedded to from the outset, ever seeking to strengthen and reinforce them rather than to replace them with something better. Indeed the only “change” that the large, armed bureaucracies that enforce these policies has ever sought since the “War on Drugs” began has, year on year, been to demand even more money, even more arms, and even more draconian legislative powers to break into homes, to confiscate property, and to deprive otherwise law-abiding citizens of liberty and wreck their lives. In the process we have seen our once free and upstanding societies — which used to respect individual choice and freedom of conscience above all else — slide remorselessly down the slippery slope that leads to the police state. And all this is being done in our name, with our money, by our own governments, to “save us from ourselves”!

Winners and Losers

Who benefits from this colossal stupidity and systematic wickedness? And who loses?

The beneficiaries are easy to spot.

First, the large and ever-expanding armed bureaucracies, funded with large and ever-growing sums of public money to suppress the use of drugs, have benefited enormously. Everyone who works for them, including the PR people and spin merchants who concoct the propaganda used to sell their policies to us, including their subcontractors both public and private, and including the (often privately run) prisons stuffed to bursting point with their victims, are the beneficiaries of this catastrophic failure on the part of our governments to think laterally, generously, and creatively. Whether you are a Drug Enforcement Administration agent or a prison guard, you naturally have a deeply vested interest in maintaining the miserable status quo, justified by the “War on Drugs,” that keeps you in your job, that ensures your monthly paychecks continue to come in, and that continuously expands your budgets.

The second main category of beneficiaries is – of course! – the criminal gangs and cartels that the present misguided official policies have empowered as the sole source of drugs in our societies. Over the past 40-plus years they have earned countless billions of dollars from the sale of illegal drugs which, had they only been legal, would not have earned them a single penny.

Who are the losers? First and most directly those millions upon millions of good, nonviolent people in our societies who have been jailed or otherwise punished for the possession and use of drugs. And second (regardless of whether or not they use illegal drugs themselves), virtually everyone else in our societies as well. For the quality of life of all of us has been diminished by the growth of the police state and by the murderous activities of the criminal gangs enfranchised, and kept in business, by the blind and mindless perpetuation of this failed and bankrupt “War on Drugs.”

So, in summary, the criminalization of drug use has brought no positive effects, only negative ones, and it has not stopped or even reduced the use of dangerous and harmful drugs. On the contrary, we have been so little “saved from ourselves” by this phony war that the use of almost all illegal drugs, far from decreasing, has dramatically increased during the past 40 years.

Learning from Tobacco

A contrary example, but one that is most instructive, concerns the use of tobacco in our societies.

Tobacco has never been illegal; far from that, its use has been actively encouraged by clever advertising campaigns mounted by the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry. But the use of tobacco does undoubtedly lead to great harms, both for the health of the individual and the health of society at large, and facts about these harms have been widely and successfully disseminated without a single tobacco user ever being arrested or persecuted.

It’s interesting in this connection to compare the success of public information campaigns about the dangers of tobacco use with the utter failure of public information campaigns about the dangers of marijuana use. The reason the anti-marijuana campaigns have failed is that millions of users know from their own direct, long-term experience that marijuana does not do them any great harm and (with reference to the most recent anti- marijuana propaganda) most definitely does not drive them mad. It may well be true that very small numbers of fragile teenagers whose mental health was already compromised have had their latent schizophrenia or other similar conditions worsened by the use of marijuana — but the vast majority of marijuana users are not at all affected in this way. Likewise efforts by government agencies to persuade us that new, stronger strains of marijuana presently available on the market (e.g., “skunk”) are more dangerous to our health than traditional strains of marijuana because they deliver much more of the active ingredient THC to our systems, have not persuaded anyone. Regular marijuana users presented with a stronger strain simply adjust their consumption, consuming far less of it than they would of a weaker strain in order to achieve the same effect, and feel intuitively that smoking less of any substance has got to be better for their lungs and general health than smoking more.

The consequence of this disconnect between personal experience and “facts” purveyed by official public information campaigns is that huge numbers of people no longer believe anything that our governments have to say to us about drugs. There is an increasingly widespread recognition that tainted, unreliable, and tendentious information is being passed on — information that cannot be trusted. And this distrust of official sources of information is, of course, only worsened by the propagandistic character, witch hunts, and scare tactics of the “War on Drugs” and by the realization that the health information purveyed in anti-drug campaigns is not underwritten by caring and nurturing official policies but instead by draconian criminal sanctions and punitive authoritarian attitudes.

Where the health hazards of tobacco use are concerned, on the other hand, since there are no criminal sanctions against tobacco users, no large, armed bureaucracies to enforce them, and no special interests to serve by the dissemination of misleading information, the evidence has been accepted and believed by most rational adults freely making up their own minds, precisely as one would expect.

The result? While the use of illegal drugs has everywhere skyrocketed over the past 40 years, regardless of the violent persecution of the users of these drugs, the use of tobacco, in a climate of free choice and reliable information, has plummeted to an all-time low. The consumption of tobacco, once seen as a socially approved, even desirable, and, indeed, “stylish” habit, has come to be regarded as a pariah-creating activity that only idiots would indulge themselves in. Although there are, of course, still many tobacco users — because nicotine is intensely addictive — their numbers continue to fall dramatically year on year as more and more of us make the free choice to give up the habit for the sake of our health.

Is it not obvious that the “tobacco model” could be applied with equal success to all illegal drugs? In other words, is it not obvious, if our governments really wish us to stop using drugs, that immediate legalization of adult personal use must follow, that the giant, armed bureaucracies that persecute drug users must be closed down, and that the whole matter must be thrown open, in the way that tobacco use has been thrown open, to the effects of good, reliable information and the sound commonsense of the vast majority of the population? If that happens then we can be certain that drugs that are genuinely harmful to health and wellbeing (in the way that tobacco certainly is) will fall out of favor with their users in exactly the way that tobacco has done. And if it turns out that some of these drugs are in fact not so harmful, then it should not concern us at all if some adults make the free choice to continue to use them.

Of course, even against a backdrop of legalization and good information, some adults will make the free choice to continue to use genuinely harmful drugs as well, just as some adults today do continue to make the free choice to continue to use tobacco. But that, too, is as it should be in a truly free society. Republican Congressman Barney Frank was spot on the truth of what a free society really means when he announced a proposal in August 2008 to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams (almost a quarter of a pound) of marijuana. “The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government’s business,” Frank said on Capitol Hill. “I don’t think it is the government’s business to tell you how to spend your leisure time.”

It goes without saying that Frank’s proposal is unlikely to succeed in the hysterical climate of disinformation that presently surrounds this subject, and we must ask ourselves why this should be so. Why are commonsense proposals for the legalization of drugs never adopted, or even seriously considered by our governments? Why, on the contrary, are such proposals dogmatically opposed with even more propaganda and tainted information emanating from the big, armed anti-drug bureaucracies?

That legalization of drugs would shrink the budgets of those selfsame bureaucracies, and ultimately put them out of business, is part of the answer. But to find the real engine that perpetuates the “War on Drugs” we need to look deeper and ask fundamental questions about the relationship between the individual and the state in modern Western democracies.

Freedom of Consciousness

What is Western civilization all about? What are its greatest achievements and highest aspirations?

It’s my guess that most people’s replies to these questions would touch—before all the other splendid achievements of science, literature, technology, and the economy—on the nurture and growth of freedom.

Individual freedom.

Including, but not limited to freedom from the unruly power of monarchs, freedom from the unwarranted intrusions of the state and its agents into our personal lives, freedom from the tyranny of the Church and its Inquisition, freedom from hunger and want, freedom from slavery and servitude, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought and speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to elect our own leaders, freedom to be homosexual — and so on and so forth.

The list of freedoms we enjoy today that were not enjoyed by our ancestors is indeed a long and impressive one. It is therefore exceedingly strange that Western civilization in the twenty- first century enjoys no real freedom of consciousness.

There can be no more intimate and elemental part of the individual than his or her own consciousness. At the deepest level, our consciousness is what we are—to the extent that if we are not sovereign over our own consciousness then we cannot in any meaningful sense be sovereign over anything else either. So it has to be highly significant that, far from encouraging freedom of consciousness, our societies in fact violently deny our right to sovereignty in this intensely personal area, and have effectively outlawed all states of consciousness other than those on a very narrowly defined and officially approved list. The “War on Drugs” has thus unexpectedly succeeded in engineering a stark reversal of the true direction of Western history by empowering faceless bureaucratic authorities to send armed agents to break into our homes, arrest us, throw us into prison, and deprive us of our income and reputation simply because we wish to explore the sometimes radical, though always temporary, alterations in our own consciousness that drugs facilitate.

Other than being against arbitrary rules that the state has imposed on us, personal drug use by adults is not a “crime” in any true moral or ethical sense and usually takes place in the privacy of our own homes, where it cannot possibly do any harm to others. For some it is a simple lifestyle choice. For others, particularly where the hallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin, and DMT are concerned, it is a means to make contact with alternate realms and parallel dimensions, and perhaps even with the divine. For some, drugs are an aid to creativity and focussed mental effort. For others they are a means to tune out for a while from everyday cares and worries. But in all cases it seems probable that the drive to alter consciousness, from which all drug use stems, has deep genetic roots.

Other adult lifestyle choices with deep genetic roots also used to be violently persecuted by our societies.

A notable example is homosexuality, once punishable by death or long periods of imprisonment, which is now entirely legal between consenting adults—and fully recognized as being none of the state’s business — in all Western cultures. (Although approximately thirteen US states have “anti-sodomy” laws outlawing homosexuality, these statutes have rarely been enforced in recent years, and in 2003 the US Supreme Court invalidated those laws.) The legalization of homosexuality lifted a huge burden of human misery, secretiveness, paranoia, and genuine fear from our societies, and at the same time not a single one of the homophobic lobby’s fire-and-brimstone predictions about the end of Western civilization came true.

Likewise, it was not so long ago that natural seers, mediums, and healers who felt the calling to become “witches” were burned at the stake for “crimes” that we now look back on as harmless eccentricities at worst.

Perhaps it will be the same with drugs? Perhaps in a century or two, if we have not destroyed human civilization by then, our descendants will look back with disgust on the barbaric laws of our time that punished a minority so harshly (with imprisonment, financial ruin, and worse) for responsibly, quietly, and in the privacy of their own homes seeking alterations in their own consciousness through the use of drugs. Perhaps we will even end up looking back on the persecution of drug users with the same sense of shame and horror that we now view the persecution of gays and lesbians, the burning of “witches,” and the imposition of slavery on others.

Meanwhile it’s no accident that the “War on Drugs” has been accompanied by an unprecedented expansion of governmental power into the previously inviolable inner sanctum of individual consciousness. On the contrary, it seems to me that the state’s urge to power has all along been the real reason for this “war”—not an honest desire on the part of the authorities to rescue society and the individual from the harms caused by drugs, but the thin of a wedge intended to legitimize increasing bureaucratic control and intervention in almost every other area of our lives as well.

This is the way freedom is hijacked—not all at once, out in the open, but stealthily, little by little, behind closed doors, and with our own agreement. How will we be able to resist when so many of us have already willingly handed over the keys to our own consciousness to the state and accepted without protest that it is OK to be told what we may and may not do, what we may and may not explore, even what we may and may not experience, with this most precious, sapient, unique, and individual part of ourselves?

If we are willing to accept that then we can be persuaded to accept anything.

About the author:

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Graham Hancock is the author of the major international bestsellers The Sign and The SealFingerprints of the Gods, and Heaven’s Mirror. His books have sold more than five million copies worldwide and have been translated into 27 languages. His public lectures, radio and TV appearances, including two major TV series for Channel 4 in the UK and The Learning Channel in the US – Quest For The Lost Civilisation and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age – have put his ideas before audiences of tens of millions. He has become recognised as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity’s past.

Graham HancockHancock graduated from Durham University in 1973 with First Class Honours in Sociology. He went on to pursue a career in quality journalism, writing for many of Britain’s leading newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and The Guardian. He was also co-editor of New Internationalist magazine from 1976-1979 and East Africa correspondent for The Economist from 1981-1983.

Throughout the early 1980, Hancock’s published 6 books, his breakthrough to bestseller status coming in 1992 with the publication of The Sign and The Seal, his epic investigation into the mystique and whereabouts today of the lost Ark of the Covenant. Fingerprints of the Gods, published in 1995 confirmed Hancock’s growing reputation; selling more than three million copies, it was described as ‘one of the intellectual landmarks of the decade’ by the Literary Review. Subsequent works Keeper Of Genesis and Heaven’s Mirror have also been Number 1 bestsellers, the latter accompanied by Hancock’s three-part television series Quest For the Lost Civilisation.

In 2002 Hancock published Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age to critical acclaim, and hosted an accompanying TV series. The culmination of years of research and on-hand dives at ancient underwater ruins, Underworld offered tangible archaeological evidence that legends of floods destroying ancient off-coastal civilizations were not to be dismissed out of hand.

Hancock’s recent ventures include Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith which explores evidence of the continuation into modern times of a secret astronomical cult, Supernatural: Meetings with The Ancient Teachers of Mankind, an investigation of shamanism and the origins of religion, and his latest work Entangled, a story of a supernatural battle of good against evil fought out across the dimension of time on the human plane; a work inspired by his journey to the Amazon to drink visionary brew Ayahuasca, used by shamans for more than 4000 years.

To learn more, visit www.grahamhancock.com or follow Graham Hancock on Facebook.

via The War on Consciousness | Wake Up World.

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The Beginning Is Near

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By Zen Gardner

Reprinted with permission from Zen Gardner

We have free will, a majestic gift of choice coupled with conscious awareness at a level that seems to be unique to creation. All of creation has its own vibrational attributes, but humanity has been gifted in a very special way. Whether we utilize this gift consciously or not appears to be the dilemma we’re faced with.

Yet we seek an escape from this life, a place of refuge. Ironic. Or is it a sense of knowing that something more real and wonderful exists?

There’s much talk about portals, energy vortices, jump locations and wormholes. Where we’re trying to go to is a fundamental issue. The point is, how and where do we find a place of transition to other circumstances? Is it activism? Is it our personal way of perceiving reality?

Or both?

Do we already have access to this other reality? Has escape always been the default position in this accosted world resulting in religion and sequestered lives driven by survival and an engineered sense of scarcity? Is this what has happened to the stand and fight mentality?

Does Humanity Get What It “Deserves”?

This is a huge question. Not just the karma issue, but the even deeper innate mechanics of the Universe. If Universe is perfect in every way, everything we’re experiencing is “justified”. Has humanity allowed itself, yes allowed itself, to be so degraded that its very decrepit condition invites and encourages predators?

To continue the analogy, are the parasites and viruses “going for the whole enchalada”?

Pretty serious stuff to consider, especially in the light of society being a reflection or reinforcement of anything imposed upon it. The question remains; does a dying body politic invite the very influences it eschews?

The Universe is Reflective

What we impose comes back. What we are willing to receive is another factor. But just imagine we’re abutted with a huge energetic field, ready to do our bidding. An extremely empowering notion. No matter what is living in this force field is considered fair game for such a Universal force. As an independent resource we should revel in such an idea.

Most profoundly, this “field” reflects our intentions and desires.

Now picture a human race that is enthralled with its own survival, under similarly subjected conditions. But they’re under attack. Where will they place themselves in the scheme of things? Will they realize their condition, or relinquish their autonomy for something that seems to save them?

Taking It Lying Down Is a Choice

A dead or dying organism invites parasites of all kinds. This is the current state of our world. As perverted, drugged down and immune deficient humanity glides into their brave new world of somatazation, we see the growth of the totalitarian police state.

We’re inviting it. By our acquiesced degradation.

A dead animal, or human, decays at an accelerating pace. Parasitic organisms move swiftly to devour and do away with the dead corpse. It’s natural. So the degradation of ethical and spiritual aspects of human culture. As we lay down, we accept the seemingly inevitable. A terrible vortex to find our collective selves, but we are there apparently, circling the drain.

This discourse may seem to meander, but it has its purpose.

Our Aliveness is the Key

An alive, resilient body is not a target for disease. The dead and dying are. The overall diseased “body politic”  today is  a sitting duck for control and manipulation. Ours is to keep alive and activating.

As synchronicity has it, as I was pondering these thoughts, I walked past a dead animal under a tree by the roadside. It was infested with hungry insects devouring the food. The next day all that was there was the fur. They work fast once the subject has succumbed.

Will humanity succumb? It doesn’t look good from a macro perspective. But I know individually the awakening is creating health and wellness at an enormous rate. Will it be in time?

It’s up to us.

Be alive. Be active.

You are in charge. Use your majesty of free will.

Love, Zen

Previous articles by Zen Gardner:

About the author:

I have questions. Life is wonderful – full of amazing wonders that continue to unfold. My quest for truth has given me new perspectives which lead to well springs of information that continue to inspire awe and wonder at the world we live in. Dare to explore and see what leaves you…. just wondering. Love Zen.

Connect with Zen at zengardner.com

Beyond Left & Right: Escaping the Matrix

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The defining dramatic moment in the film The Matrix occurs just after Morpheus invites Neo to choose between a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill promises “the truth, nothing more.” Neo takes the red pill and awakes to reality – something utterly different from anything Neo, or the audience, could have expected. What Neo had assumed to be reality turned out to be only a collective illusion, fabricated by the Matrix and fed to a population that is asleep, cocooned in grotesque embryonic pods. In Plato’s famous parable about the shadows on the walls of the cave, true reality is at least reflected in perceived reality. In the Matrix world, true reality and perceived reality exist on entirely different planes.

The story is intended as metaphor, and the parallels that drew my attention had to do with political reality. This article offers a particular perspective on what’s going on in the world – and how things got to be that way – in this era of globalization. From that red-pill perspective, everyday media-consensus reality – like the Matrix in the film – is seen to be a fabricated collective illusion. Like Neo, I didn’t know what I was looking for when my investigation began, but I knew that what I was being told didn’t make sense. I read scores of histories and biographies, observing connections between them, and began to develop my own theories about roots of various historical events. I found myself largely in agreement with writers like Noam Chomsky and Michael Parenti, but I also perceived important patterns that others seem to have missed.

When I started tracing historical forces, and began to interpret present-day events from a historical perspective, I could see the same old dynamics at work and found a meaning in unfolding events far different from what official pronouncements proclaimed. Such pronouncements are, after all, public relations fare, given out by politicians who want to look good to the voters. Most of us expect rhetoric from politicians, and take what they say with a grain of salt. But as my own picture of present reality came into focus, “grain of salt” no longer worked as a metaphor. I began to see that consensus reality – as generated by official rhetoric and amplified by mass media – bears very little relationship to actual reality. “The matrix” was a metaphor I was ready for.

In consensus reality (the blue-pill perspective) “left” and “right” are the two ends of the political spectrum. Politics is a tug-of-war between competing factions, carried out by political parties and elected representatives. Society gets pulled this way and that within the political spectrum, reflecting the interests of whichever party won the last election. The left and right are therefore political enemies. Each side is convinced that it knows how to make society better; each believes the other enjoys undue influence; and each blames the other for the political stalemate that apparently prevents society from dealing effectively with its problems.This perspective on the political process, and on the roles of left and right, is very far from reality. It is a fabricated collective illusion. Morpheus tells Neo that the Matrix is “the world that was pulled over your eyes to hide you from the truth…. As long as the Matrix exists, humanity cannot be free.” Consensus political reality is precisely such a matrix. Later we will take a fresh look at the role of left and right, and at national politics. But first we must develop our red-pill historical perspective. I’ve had to condense the arguments to bare essentials; please see the annotated sources at the end for more thorough treatments of particular topics.

Imperialism and the Matrix

From the time of Columbus to 1945, world affairs were largely dominated by competition among Western nations seeking to stake out spheres of influence, control sea lanes, and exploit colonial empires. Each Western power became the core of an imperialist economy whose periphery was managed for the benefit of the core nation. Military might determined the scope of an empire; wars were initiated when a core nation felt it had sufficient power to expand its periphery at the expense of a competitor. Economies and societies in the periphery were kept backward – to keep their populations under control, to provide cheap labour, and to guarantee markets for goods manufactured in the core. Imperialism robbed the periphery not only of wealth but also of its ability to develop its own societies, cultures, and economies in a natural way for local benefit.

The driving force behind Western imperialism has always been the pursuit of economic gain, ever since Isabella commissioned Columbus on his first entrepreneurial voyage. The rhetoric of empire concerning wars, however, has typically been about other things – the White Man’s Burden, bringing true religion to the heathens, Manifest Destiny, defeating the Yellow Peril or the Hun, seeking lebensraum, or making the world safe for democracy. Any fabricated motivation for war or empire would do, as long as it appealed to the collective consciousness of the population at the time. The propaganda lies of yesterday were recorded and became consensus history – the fabric of the matrix.

While the costs of territorial empire (fleets, colonial administrations, etc.) were borne by Western taxpayers generally, the profits of imperialism were enjoyed primarily by private corporations and investors. Government and corporate elites were partners in the business of imperialism: empires gave government leaders power and prestige, and gave corporate leaders power and wealth. Corporations ran the real business of empire while government leaders fabricated noble excuses for the wars that were required to keep that business going. Matrix reality was about patriotism, national honour, and heroic causes; true reality was on another plane altogether: that of economics.Industrialisation, beginning in the late 1700s, created a demand for new markets and increased raw materials; both demands spurred accelerated expansion of empire. Wealthy investors amassed fortunes by setting up large-scale industrial and trading operations, leading to the emergence of an influential capitalist elite. Like any other elite, capitalists used their wealth and influence to further their own interests however they could. And the interests of capitalism always come down to economic growth; investors must reap more than they sow or the whole system comes to a grinding halt.

Thus capitalism, industrialisation, nationalism, warfare, imperialism – and the matrix – coevolved. Industrialised weapon production provided the muscle of modern warfare, and capitalism provided the appetite to use that muscle. Government leaders pursued the policies necessary to expand empire while creating a rhetorical matrix, around nationalism, to justify those policies. Capitalist growth depended on empire, which in turn depended on a strong and stable core nation to defend it. National interests and capitalist interests were inextricably linked – or so it seemed for more than two centuries.

World War II and Pax Americana

1945 will be remembered as the year World War II ended and the bond of the atomic nucleus was broken. But 1945 also marked another momentous fission – breaking of the bond between national and capitalist interests. After every previous war, and in many cases after severe devastation, European nations had always picked themselves back up and resumed their competition over empire. But after World War II, a Pax Americana was established. The US began to manage all the Western peripheries on behalf of capitalism generally, while preventing the communist powers from interfering in the game. Capitalist powers no longer needed to fight over investment realms, and competitive imperialism was replaced by collective imperialism (see sidebar below). Opportunities for capital growth were no longer linked to the military power of nations, apart from the power of America.

In his  Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II  (see recommended reading), William Blum chronicles hundreds of significant covert and overt interventions, showing exactly how the US carried out its imperial management role.In the postwar years matrix reality diverged ever further from actual reality. In the postwar matrix world, imperialism had been abandoned and the world was being “democratised”; in the real world, imperialism had become better organised and more efficient. In the matrix world the US “restored order,” or “came to the assistance” of nations which were being “undermined by Soviet influence”; in the real world, the periphery was being systematically suppressed and exploited. In the matrix world, the benefit was going to the periphery in the form of countless aid programs; in the real world, immense wealth was being extracted from the periphery.

Growing glitches in the matrix weren’t noticed by most people in the West, because the postwar years brought unprecedented levels of Western prosperity and social progress. The rhetoric claimed progress would come to all, and Westerners could see it being realised in their own towns and cities. The West became the collective core of a global empire, and exploitative development led to prosperity for Western populations, while generating immense riches for corporations, banks, and wealthy capital investors.

Glitches in the Matrix, Popular Rebellion, and Neoliberalism

The parallel agenda of Third-World exploitation and Western prosperity worked effectively for the first two postwar decades. But in the 1960s large numbers of Westerners, particularly the young and well educated, began to notice glitches in the matrix. In Vietnam imperialism was too naked to be successfully masked as something else. A major split in American public consciousness occurred, as millions of anti-war protesters and civil-rights activists punctured the fabricated consensus of the 1950s and declared the reality of exploitation and suppression both at home and abroad. The environmental movement arose, challenging even the exploitation of the natural world.

In Europe, 1968 joined 1848 as a landmark year of popular protest. These developments disturbed elite planners. The postwar regime’s stability was being challenged from within the core – and the formula of Western prosperity no longer guaranteed public passivity. A report published in 1975, the Report of the Trilateral Task Force on Governability of Democracies, provides a glimpse into the thinking of elite circles. Alan Wolfe discusses this report in Holly Sklar’s eye-opening Trilateralism (see recommended reading). Wolfe focuses especially on the analysis Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington presented in a section of the report entitled “The Crisis of Democracy.” Huntington is an articulate promoter of elite policy shifts, and contributes pivotal articles to publications such as the Council on Foreign Relations’s Foreign Affairs (see recommended reading).

Huntington tells us that democratic societies “cannot work” unless the citizenry is “passive.” The “democratic surge of the 1960s” represented an “excess of democracy,” which must be reduced if governments are to carry out their traditional domestic and foreign policies. Huntington’s notion of “traditional policies” is expressed in a passage from the report: To the extent that the United States was governed by anyone during the decades after World War II, it was governed by the President acting with the support and cooperation of key individuals and groups in the executive office, the federal bureaucracy, Congress, and the more important businesses, banks, law firms, foundations, and media, which constitute the private sector’s ‘Establishment’.

In these few words Huntington spells out the reality that electoral democracy has little to do with how America is run, and summarises the kind of people who are included within the elite planning community. Who needs conspiracy theories when elite machinations are clearly described in public documents like these?

Besides failing to deliver popular passivity, the policy of prosperity for Western populations had another downside, having to do with Japan’s economic success. Under the Pax Americana umbrella, Japan had been able to industrialise and become an imperial player – the prohibition on Japanese rearmament had become irrelevant. With Japan’s then-lower living standards, Japanese producers could undercut prevailing prices and steal market share from Western producers. Western capital needed to find a way to become more competitive on world markets, and Western prosperity was standing in the way. Elite strategists, as Huntington showed, were fully capable of understanding these considerations, and the requirements of corporate growth created a strong motivation to make the needed adjustments – in both reality and rhetoric.

If popular prosperity could be sacrificed, there were many obvious ways Western capital could be made more competitive. Production could be moved overseas to low-wage areas, allowing domestic unemployment to rise. Unions could be attacked and wages forced down, and people could be pushed into temporary and part-time jobs without benefits. Regulations governing corporate behaviour could be removed, corporate and capital-gains taxes could be reduced, and the revenue losses could be taken out of public-service budgets. Public infrastructures could be privatised, the services reduced to cut costs, and then they could be milked for easy profits while they deteriorated from neglect.

These are the very policies and programs launched during the Reagan-Thatcher years in the US and Britain. They represent a systematic project of increasing corporate growth at the expense of popular prosperity and welfare. Such a real agenda would have been unpopular, and a corresponding matrix reality was fabricated for public consumption. The matrix reality used real terms like “deregulation,” “reduced taxes,” and “privatisation,” but around them was woven an economic mythology. The old, failedlaissez-faire doctrine of the 1800s was reintroduced with the help of Milton Friedman’s Chicago School of economics, and “less government” became the proud “modern” theme in America and Britain. Sensible regulations had restored financial stability after the Great Depression, and had broken up anti-competitive monopolies such as the Rockefeller trust and AT&T. But in the new matrix reality, all regulations were considered bureaucratic interference. Reagan and Thatcher preached the virtues of individualism, and promised to “get government off people’s backs.” The implication was that everyday individuals were to get more money and freedom, but in reality the primary benefits would go to corporations and wealthy investors.

The academic term for laissez-faire economics is “economic liberalism,” and hence the Reagan-Thatcher revolution has come to be known as the “neoliberal revolution.” It brought a radical change in actual reality by returning to the economic philosophy that led to sweatshops, corruption, and robber-baron monopolies in the nineteenth century. It brought an equally radical change in matrix reality – a complete reversal in the attitude that was projected regarding government. Government policies had always been criticised in the media, but the institution of government had always been respected – reflecting the traditional bond between capitalism and nationalism. With Reagan, we had a sitting president telling us that government itself was a bad thing. Many of us may have agreed with him, but such a sentiment had never before found official favour. Soon, British and American populations were beginning to applaud the destruction of the very democratic institutions that provided their only hope of participation in the political process.

Globalisation and World Government

The essential bond between capitalism and nationalism was broken in 1945, but it took some time for elite planners to recognise this new condition and to begin bringing the world system into alignment with it. The strong Western nation state had been the bulwark of capitalism for centuries, and initial postwar policies were based on the assumption that this would continue indefinitely. The Bretton Woods financial system (the IMF, World Bank, and a system of fixed exchange rates among major currencies) was set up to stabilise national economies, and popular prosperity was encouraged to provide political stability. Neoliberalism in the US and Britain represented the first serious break with this policy framework – and brought the first visible signs of the fission of the nation-capital bond.

The neoliberal project was economically profitable in the US and Britain, and the public accepted the matrix economic mythology. Meanwhile, the integrated global economy gave rise to a new generation of transnational corporations, and corporate leaders began to realise that corporate growth was not dependent on strong core nation-states. Indeed, Western nations – with their environmental laws, consumer-protection measures, and other forms of regulatory “interference” – were a burden on corporate growth. Having been successfully field tested in the two oldest “democracies,” the neoliberal project moved onto the global stage. The Bretton Woods system of fixed rates of currency exchange was weakened, and the international financial system became destabilising, instead of stabilising, for national economies. The radical free-trade project was launched, leading eventually to the World Trade Organisation. The fission that had begun in 1945 was finally manifesting as an explosive change in the world system.

The objective of neoliberal free-trade treaties is to remove all political controls over domestic and international trade and commerce. Corporations have free rein to maximise profits, heedless of environmental consequences and safety risks. Instead of governments regulating corporations, the WTO now sets rules for governments, telling them what kind of beef they must import, whether or not they can ban asbestos, and what additives they must permit in petroleum products. So far, in every case where the WTO has been asked to review a health, safety, or environmental regulation, the regulation has been overturned.

Most of the world has been turned into a periphery; the imperial core has been boiled down to the capitalist elite themselves, represented by their bureaucratic, unrepresentative, WTO world government. The burden of accelerated imperialism falls hardest outside the West, where loans are used as a lever by the IMF to compel debtor nations such as Rwanda and South Korea to accept suicidal “reform” packages. In the 1800s, genocide was employed to clear North America and Australia of their native populations, creating room for growth. Today, a similar program of genocide has apparently been unleashed against sub-Saharan Africa. The IMF destroys the economies, the CIA trains militias and stirs up tribal conflicts, and the West sells weapons to all sides. Famine and genocidal civil wars are the predictable and inevitable result. Meanwhile, AIDS runs rampant while the WTO and the US government use trade laws to prevent medicines from reaching the victims.

As in the past, Western military force will be required to control the non-Western periphery and make adjustments to local political arrangements when considered necessary by elite planners. The Pentagon continues to provide the primary policing power, with NATO playing an ever-increasing role. Resentment against the West and against neoliberalism is growing in the Third World, and the frequency of military interventions is bound to increase. All of this needs to be made acceptable to Western minds, adding a new dimension to the matrix.

In the latest matrix reality, the West is called the “international community,” whose goal is to serve “humanitarian” causes. Bill Clinton made it explicit with his “Clinton Doctrine,” in which (as quoted in the Washington Post) he solemnly promised, “If somebody comes after innocent civilians and tries to kill them en masse because of their race, their ethnic background or their religion and it is within our power stop it, we will stop it.” This matrix fabrication is very effective indeed; who opposes prevention of genocide? Only outside the matrix does one see that genocide is caused by the West in the first place, that the worst cases of genocide are continuing, that “assistance” usually makes things worse (as in the Balkans), and that Clinton’s handy doctrine enables him to intervene when and where he chooses. Since dictators and the stirring of ethnic rivalries are standard tools used in managing the periphery, a US president can always find “innocent civilians” wherever elite plans call for an intervention.

In matrix reality, globalisation is not a project but rather the inevitable result of beneficial market forces. Genocide in Africa is no fault of the West, but is due to ancient tribal rivalries. Every measure demanded by globalisation is referred to as “reform,” (the word is never used with irony). “Democracy” and “reform” are frequently used together, always leaving the subtle impression that one has something to do with the other. The illusion is presented that all economic boats are rising, and if yours isn’t, it must be your own fault: you aren’t “competitive” enough. Economic failures are explained away as “temporary adjustments,” or else the victim (as in South Korea or Russia) is blamed for not being sufficiently neoliberal. “Investor confidence” is referred to with the same awe and reverence that earlier societies might have expressed toward the “will of the gods.”

Western quality of life continues to decline, while the WTO establishes legal precedents ensuring that its authority will not be challenged when its decisions become more draconian. Things will get much worse in the West; this was anticipated in elite circles when the neoliberal project was still on the drawing board, as is illustrated in Samuel Huntington’s “The Crisis of Democracy” report discussed earlier.

Management of Discontented Societies

The postwar years, especially in the United States, were characterised by consensus politics. Most people shared a common understanding of how society worked, and generally approved of how things were going. Prosperity was real and the matrix version of reality was reassuring. Most people believed in it. Those beliefs became a shared consensus, and the government could then carry out its plans as it intended, “responding” to the programmed public will.

The “excess democracy” of the 1960s and 1970s attacked this shared consensus from below, and neoliberal planners decided from above that ongoing consensus wasn’t worth paying for. They accepted that segments of society would persist in disbelieving various parts of the matrix. Activism and protest were to be expected. New means of social control would be needed to deal with activist movements and with growing discontent, as neoliberalism gradually tightened the economic screws. Such means of control were identified and have since been largely implemented, particularly in the United States. In many ways America sets the pace of globalisation; innovations can often be observed there before they occur elsewhere. This is particularly true in the case of social-control techniques.

The most obvious means of social control, in a discontented society, is a strong, semi-militarised police force. Most of the periphery has been managed by such means for centuries. This was obvious to elite planners in the West, was adopted as policy, and has now been largely implemented. Urban and suburban ghettos – where the adverse consequences of neoliberalism are currently most concentrated – have literally become occupied territories, where police beatings and unjustified shootings are commonplace.

So that the beefed-up police force could maintain control in conditions of mass unrest, elite planners also realised that much of the US Bill of Rights would need to be neutralised. (This is not surprising, given that the Bill’s authors had just lived through a revolution and were seeking to ensure that future generations would have the means to organise and overthrow any oppressive future government.) The rights-neutralisation project has been largely implemented, as exemplified by armed midnight raids, outrageous search-and-seizure practices, overly broad conspiracy laws, wholesale invasion of privacy, massive incarceration, and the rise of prison slave labour. The Rubicon has been crossed – the techniques of oppression long common in the empire’s periphery are being imported to the core.

In the matrix, the genre of the TV or movie police drama has served to create a reality in which “rights” are a joke, the accused are despicable sociopaths, and no criminal is ever brought to justice until some noble cop or prosecutor bends the rules a bit. Government officials bolster the construct by declaring “wars” on crime and drugs; the noble cops are fighting a war out there in the streets – and you can’t win a war without using your enemy’s dirty tricks. The CIA plays its role by managing the international drug trade and making sure that ghetto drug dealers are well supplied. In this way, the American public has been led to accept the means of its own suppression.

The mechanisms of the police state are in place. They will be used when necessary – as we see in ghettos and skyrocketing prison populations, as we saw on the streets of Seattle and Washington D.C. during recent anti-WTO demonstrations, and as is suggested by executive orders that enable the president to suspend the Constitution and declare martial law whenever he deems it necessary. But raw force is only the last line of defense for the elite regime. Neoliberal planners introduced more subtle defences into the matrix; looking at these will bring us back to our discussion of the left and right.

Divide and rule is one of the oldest means of mass control – standard practice since at least the Roman Empire. This is applied at the level of modern imperialism, where each small nation competes with other for capital investments. Within societies it works this way: If each social group can be convinced that some other group is the source of its discontent, then the population’s energy will be spent on inter-group struggles. The regime can sit on the sidelines, intervening covertly to stir things up or to guide them in desired directions. In this way most discontent can be neutralised, and force can be reserved for exceptional cases. In the prosperous postwar years, consensus politics served to manage the population. Under neoliberalism, programmed factionalism has become the front-line defense – the matrix version of divide and rule.

The covert guiding of various social movements has proven to be one of the most effective means of programming factions and stirring them against one another. Fundamentalist religious movements have been particularly useful. They have been used not only within the US, but also to maximise divisiveness in the Middle East and for other purposes throughout the empire. The collective energy and dedication of “true believers” makes them a potent political weapon that movement leaders can readily aim where needed. In the US that weapon has been used to promote censorship on the Internet, to attack the women’s movement, to support repressive legislation, and generally to bolster the ranks of what is called in the matrix the “right wing.”

In the matrix, the various factions believe that their competition with each other is the process that determines society’s political agenda. Politicians want votes, and hence the biggest and best-organised factions should have the most influence, and their agendas should get the most political attention. In reality there is only one significant political agenda these days: the maximisation of capital growth through the dismantling of society, the continuing implementation of neoliberalism, and the management of empire. Clinton’s liberal rhetoric and his playing around with health care and gay rights are not the result of liberal pressure. They are rather the means by which Clinton is sold to liberal voters, so that he can proceed with real business: getting NAFTA through Congress, promoting the WTO, giving away the public airwaves, justifying military interventions, and so forth. Issues of genuine importance are never raised in campaign politics – this is a major glitch in the matrix for those who have eyes to see it.

Escaping the Matrix

The matrix cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Under the onslaught of globalisation, the glitches are becoming ever more difficult to conceal – as earlier, with the Vietnam War. Last November’s anti-establishment demonstrations in Seattle, the largest in decades, were aimed directly at globalisation and the WTO. Even more important, Seattle saw the coming together of factions that the matrix had programmed to fight one another, such as left-leaning environmentalists and socially conservative union members.

Seattle represented the tip of an iceberg. A mass movement against globalisation and elite rule is ready to ignite, like a brush fire on a dry, scorching day. The establishment has been expecting such a movement and has a variety of defences at its command, including those used effectively against the movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In order to prevail against what seem like overwhelming odds, the movement must escape entirely from the matrix, and it must bring the rest of society with it. As long as the matrix exists, humanity cannot be free. The whole truth must be faced: Globalisation is centralised tyranny; capitalism has outlasted its sell-by date; matrix “democracy” is elite rule; and “market forces” are imperialism. Left and right are enemies only in the matrix. In reality we are all in this together, and each of us has a contribution to make toward a better world.

Marx may have failed as a social visionary, but he had capitalism figured out. It is based not on productivity or social benefit, but on the pursuit of capital growth through exploiting everything in its path. The job of elite planners is to create new spaces for capital to grow in. Competitive imperialism provided growth for centuries; collective imperialism was invented when still more growth was needed; and then neoliberalism took over. Like a cancer, capitalism consumes its host and is never satisfied. The capital pool must always grow, more and more, forever – until the host dies or capitalism is replaced.

The matrix equates capitalism with free enterprise, and defines centralised-state-planning socialism as the only alternative to capitalism. In reality, capitalism didn’t amount to much of a force until the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s – and we certainly cannot characterise all prior societies as socialist. Free enterprise, private property, commerce, banking, international trade, economic specialisation – all of these had existed for millennia before capitalism. Capitalism claims credit for modern prosperity, but credit would be better given to developments in science and technology.

Before capitalism, Western nations were generally run by aristocratic classes. The aristocratic attitude toward wealth focused on management and maintenance. With capitalism, the focus is always on growth and development; whatever one has is but the seeds to build a still greater fortune. In fact, there are infinite alternatives to capitalism, and different societies can choose different systems, once they are free to do so. As Morpheus put it: “Outside the matrix everything is possible, and there are no limits.”

The matrix defines “democracy” as competitive party politics, because that is a game wealthy elites have long since learned to corrupt and manipulate. Even in the days of the Roman Republic the techniques were well understood. Real-world democracy is possible only if the people themselves participate in setting society’s direction. An elected official can only truly represent a constituency after that constituency has worked out its positions – from the local to the global – on the issues of the day. For that to happen, the interests of different societal factions must be harmonised through interaction and discussion. Collaboration, not competition, is what leads to effective harmonisation.

In order for the movement to end elite rule and establish livable societies to succeed, it will need to evolve a democratic process, and to use that process to develop a program of consensus reform that harmonises the interests of its constituencies. In order to be politically victorious, it will need to reach out to all segments of society and become a majority movement. By such means, the democratic process of the movement can become the democratic process of a newly empowered civil society. There is no adequate theory of democracy at present, although there is much to be learned from history and from theory. The movement will need to develop a democratic process as it goes along, and that objective must be pursued as diligently as victory itself. Otherwise some new tyranny will eventually replace the old.

It ain’t left or right. It’s up and down.
Here we all are down here struggling while
the Corporate Elite are all up there having a nice day!

– Carolyn Chute, author of The Beans of Egypt Maine and anti-corporate activist

Footnotes:

1. Primarily Western Europe, later joined by the United States.
2. See “KGB-ing America”, Tony Serra, Whole Earth, Winter, 1998.

Recommended Reading:

Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization Of Poverty – Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms, The Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia, 1997.

This detailed study by an economics insider shows the consequences of “reforms” in various parts of the world, revealing a clear pattern of callous neo-colonialism and genocide. Definitely red-pill material.

Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, eds., The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward The Local, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1996.

This fine collection of forty-three chapters by knowledgeable contributors analyses the broad structure of globalisation, and explores locally based and sustainable economic alternatives. An excellent introduction, textbook, and reference work.

Richard Douthwaite, The Growth Illusion, Lilliput Press, Dublin, 1992.

A fascinating and wide-ranging look at growth and capitalism, their historical roots and their consequences. Offers a healthy dose of common sense, and a vision of stability and sustainability.

Frances Moore Lapp?, Joseph Collins, Peter Rosset, World Hunger, Twelve Myths, Grove Press, New York, 1986.

Another red pill. Debunks Malthusian thinking, among other things. Here’s a sample: “During the past twenty-five years food production has outstripped population growth by 16 Percent. India – which for many of us symbolizes over-population and poverty – is one of the top third-world food exporters. If a mere 5.6 percent of India’s food production were re-allocated, hunger would be wiped out in India.”

Hans-Peter Martin & Harald Schumann, The Global Trap, Globalization & the Assault on Democracy & Prosperity, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1997.

A best-selling European perspective on globalisation. Recommended for American audiences in order to understand more about the European context.

William Greider, One World Ready or Not, the Manic Logic of Global Capitalism, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1997.

A tour by a superb journalist showing how the global economy operates in various parts of the world. Not much emphasis on political issues or economic alternatives.

James Goldsmith, The Response, Macmillan, London, 1995.

A critique of neoliberal thinking presented as a debate with those who criticised the author’s previous book, The Trap. It may be pointless for the author to attempt logical debate with matrix apologists, but the book is informative for readers.

Third World Resurgence, a magazine published monthly by the Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia,http://www.twnside.org.sg.

This magazine deserves widespread circulation. It covers a wide range of global issues, presents a strong and sensible third-world perspective, and is a very good source of real-world news. Martin Kohr is managing editor and a frequent contributor.

The New Internationalist, a magazine published monthly by New Internationalist Publications, Ltd, Oxford, UK, http://www.newint.org.

Another good source of real news and commentary, with a global perspective.

Holly Sklar ed., Trilateralism – the Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management, South End Press, Boston, 1980.

This well-researched anthology explains the role in global planning played by such elite organisations as the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergers. Examples from various parts of the world are used to show what kinds of considerations go into the formation of on-the-ground policies.

Michael Parenti, The Sword and the Dollar, Imperialism, Revolution, and the Arms Race, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1989.

One of many red-pill books by a prolific and well-informed author. Here he talks about the reality of imperialism and the matrix of Cold War rhetoric. For an insightful examination of how matrix reality is fabricated, see also his Make-Believe Media, and Inventing Reality, also from St. Martin’s.

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, HarperCollins, New York, 1989.

A superlative and well-researched treatment of American history from 1942 to the present. The material on grass-roots social movements provides valuable lessons for present-day movement organisers.

William Blum, Killing Hope, U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, Common Courage Press, Monroe Maine, 1995.

A comprehensive review of how the US government manages world affairs by force and intrigue when persuasion and economic pressure fail to do the job. A red-pill antidote for anyone who feels tempted to trust the “international community” to pursue “humanitarian interventionism.”

Covert Action Quarterly magazine, published quarterly by Covert Action Publications, Inc., Washington D.C. 1994, http://www.covertaction.org.

Keeps you up-to-date on covert activities, cover-ups, military affairs, and current trouble spots. Contributors include many ex-intelligence officers who saw the error of their ways.

William Greider,  Who Will Tell The People? : The Betrayal Of American Democracy, Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993.

This best seller shows in detail how the American democratic process is subverted at every stage by corporate interests. Greider was a highly respected journalist for many years at the Washington Postand his high-level contacts permit him to present an insider’s view of how the influence-peddling system actually operates. A chilling eye-opener.

Samuel P. Huntington,  The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon and Schuster, London, 1997.

Another classic by one of the foremost spinners of matrix illusion. In the guise of historical analysis, Huntington fabricates a worldview designed to justify Western domination under globalisation. According to The Economist, Huntington’s civilisation-clash paradigm has already become the “sea” in which Washington policy makers swim. The book reveals the backbone structure of modern matrix reality, putting day-to-day official rhetoric into an understandable framework. And it clearly reveals the real intentions of elite planners regarding the tactics of global management through selective interventionism.

Foreign Affairs, a journal published quarterly by the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

The best source I’ve found to track the latest shifts in the matrix and to glean an understanding of current elite thinking. Some reading between the lines is called for, as the journal frames its analysis in terms of US national interests, failing to make the obvious links between geopolitical and economic regimes.

About the Author

Richard Moore, an expatriate from Silicon Valley, currently lives and writes in Wexford, Ireland. He runs the Cyberjournal “list” on the Internet. Email: richard@cyberjournal.org,http://cyberjournal.org. Address: PO Box 26, Wexford, Ireland.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 62 (September-October 2000).

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5 Reasons Why More Americans Don’t Protest Against The System

EGYPT-POLITICS-UNREST
The Declaration of Independence still stands as an important example of how the tolerance of any man can be exceeded by the actions of an over-bearing and intrusive government. Yet, 237 years after the signing of this document, one has to wonder what has happened to the spirit of fearlessness and rugged self-determination that set the American experiment in motion.

As a form of redress of grievances by a people to it’s leadership, protest is as much of a historical part of democracy as voting is. A near-last resort when the populous is bereft of political power, publicly voicing dissent in an organized, peaceful, and constructive manner is a critical and vital sign of life for a society that wishes to be free. Yet, when a ruling elite and political class become too intrusive, parasitic or too dangerous to the population, protest is often a precursor to violence, therefore the outcome of rebellion and protest is never certain and often disastrous. However, the fate of a people without the will to resist the suffrages of an encroaching tyranny is just as foreboding.

While giving credit to the Occupy movement, those who engage in protest at global summits and party conventions, growing national actions like the Tar Sands Blockade and Idle No More, and growing localized activist movements, the nation has no formidable popular mass-movement for dissent. Apparently the American people have little interest in expressing dissatisfaction with the quality of leadership we have in America today.

Why are the American people so permissive of government abuse, intrusion, waste, corruption, cruelty, and stupidity?

Here are 5 reasons reasons why more Americans don’t protest.

1. Protest is Unwelcome in the Matrix

The matrix cannot function properly when people are in the streets speaking truth to power, therefore, protest is an unwanted inconvenience for the economy, the media and the government.

For this, the government is engaged in squashing domestic protest and the media makes every effort to marginalize and ignore popular dissent. Increasingly, protest and civil disobedience are also being viewed as security threats to be met with near-military force. ‘First amendment zones,’ event permits, and laws that equate protest with terrorism all assist in dissuading Americans from participating, while tricks like agent provocateurs, police intimidation, arrest and assault are used to shut protest events down.

The modern American protestor faces regulations, intimidation and physical threats from military crowd control technologies like flash-bang grenades, the LRAD acoustic weapon, pepper sprays, surveillance of all modern types, and even the prospect of microwave pain ray technologies.

All of this already makes protest and dissent seem rather unpalatable to the average American, but, the media further demonizes protest by highlighting and focusing in on any violence that may occur, while downplaying the peaceful moments where intelligent people come together to articulate valid grievances with an out of control system.

The media tarnishes the image of any protest movement to take advantage of the fact that most people are natural followers, not natural leaders, and that most people are watching the protest in relative isolation at home, separated from friends and neighbors. Creating the perception that protests are dangerous events involving un-American, un-patriotic and irresponsible people who are likely to get hurt, helps to prevent popular support on any single issue from reaching critical mass by convincing the average person that it is too complicated and too risky to get involved.

2. Conflict Consciousness – Divided We Fall

Are you a liberal or conservative? Democrat or Republican? Are you on this team, or that team?

It doesn’t matter at all really, but, we’ve been brainwashed into dividing ourselves into an inescapable prison of bi-polarized pigeon-holes.

We blame our neighbors, friends and families for the mismanagement in the world. We blame those different than us, those in different countries, those with different color skin. We trust in authority, those with matching uniform shirts and batman belts, while we distrust and fight amongst each other. We have become culturally programmed to argue, compete, fight, and win for no real purpose. Winning, and being on the winning team has become more valuable than learning, gaining wisdom or uniting.

In this climate, with a social atmosphere so rigidly divided and so pointlessly competitive, any energy for consensus and widespread concerted action is sapped in inter-personal and tribal-like conflict. We are missing great opportunities for compromise, reciprocity, healing and growth. The consciousness of conflict ensures our self-destruction.

3. Higher Priorities… Work and Play

The American Dream of personal freedom and the opportunity for prosperity as a reward for hard work has been transformed in recent decades, influenced by an ongoing sales pitch about what life should be like for the average person. Convenience, ease, comfort, entertainment, excess, escape, work, money, debt. These are the values most available today.

Americans are working harder than ever, if they’re working at all. The economy is in terrible shape and in decline, and the American lifestyle has become so heavily invested in consumerism and debt that the average person is too dependent on continuity of income to risk even a single paycheck. Protesting is at the bottom of the list of things to do on vacation day.

Outside of work, life for most people has become a screen. Television, movies, the internet, work, handheld devices, iPads, Kindle, whatever. A new version of reality has emerged in the delivery of media and the sophistication of entertainment. Our priorities have evolved to put entertainment and escapism at the top of the list, and increasingly less value on honest government, human rights and justice.

Life is also still very good in America for most in the middle class. Food is easy to come by, credit still widely available. Charity, welfare and government assistance in some form are available to most if sought. Drone strikes and IED‘s are not yet to be seen in the homeland.

Commitment to protest and social change requires personal sacrifice. In our social atmosphere of extreme busyness and dumbed-down priorities, participation in social causes is now too risky, too inconvenient, and insufficiently fun. Our natural and historical energies for rebellion and protest are effectively expired in the office, at the bar, or at the movies, or projected onto a character on a screen.

Life has become a hamster wheel of superfluous labor and deliberate distraction.

4. Mindset of Fear, Apathy, and Resignation

Mindset is everything in our quantum-world, and our emotional under current governs how we relate to and participate in the world. Regarding politics, participatory democracy, and protest, the typical American mindset generally falls into one of three categories:

Fear – We are heavily propagandized to approach life from fear-centered consciousness. Life is to be viewed as a threat. America has already become a police state, and is heavily invested in the combination of fear and security. To the average person, the prospect of facing militarized police and possibly being beaten, gassed, dispersed, arrested and perhaps even criminally charged for voicing dissent is certainly an adequate deterrent.

Brutal, violent oppression of dissent works famously well to stop a protest, and for this, people logically fear getting involved.

Apathy – Apathy is another symptom of our cultural decline, and a mindset that keeps most people from participating in civics or protest. Apathy is a nearly-conscious choice to remain ignorant and distracted about something while pursuing the path of least resistance. Apathy seems to be the number one byproduct of our culture of convenience. People don’t care about the quality of our world enough to become involved.

Resignation – Many Americans understand all too well what is happening to constitutional and lawful government and realize that until a much more massive awakening occurs and far more people take interest, there is little to be gained from protesting. This resignation has led many to focus instead on preparing for the worst, including for scenarios like economic collapse and social unrest. Storing food and developing emergency plans is now seen by many as a more productive use of energy than attempting to influence a corrupt political system by participating in politics or protest.

While there are signs that Americans may be slowly waking from the dream-like state that is preventing any unified form of mass protest, it appears that for now, the formerly American qualities of courage, independence and self-determination have been replaced with fear, apathy, and resignation.

5. People Approve of the Status Quo

Americans, by and large, are still happy to enjoy the lifestyle that the status quo delivers, even if it means further forfeitures of privacy and essential human rights. Additionally, the lack of public opposition in mass is also a de facto approval of the political and economic status quo.

‘It is better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission,’ goes the saying, and by not objecting to any scandal or violation, no matter how offensive, the majority of America consents to being governed by this domineering logic.

Whether actively or passively, the majority of America supports any and all actions by our government and the corporate status quo.

Conclusion

America is a wonderful place with a vast and breath-taking landscape and a rich culture of ingenuity and creativity. Americans are interesting and generous people. It is difficult to grasp the contradiction between the beautiful and comfortable aspects of American life and the troublesome developments emerging from our leadership. It not easy to understand the gap between the values extolled in still celebrated Declaration of Independence and the lack of public will to hold the government accountable to even the simple Bill of Rights.

Why don’t more Americans protest things like government spying, endless wars, the fraudulent banking system, the growing police state, the destruction of the environment, genetically modified foods, the assault on natural health, or even torture?

While the above 5 reasons are merely one person’s observations and generalizations about American culture, the patterns that emerge here are useful in helping to recognize opportunities for our own personal and collective evolution.

Please add any additional you thoughts you may have in the comments section below.

About the Author

Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he pursues the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for mankind.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Thousands of people join a march and demonstration to protest health care reform proposed by US President Barack Obama

Source: Waking Times.

Bridging the Reality Gap: Sensory Overload and the Ostrich Effect

Bridging-the-Reality-Gap

Have you ever wondered why people struggle to make the leap to real awareness of what’s going on?

How can world conditions not completely startle someone into thinking clearly? Why do so few people seem to care about the dangers of the unreported radiation levels and toxic debris washing across the Pacific? Why are GMOs and EMFs considered sideline issues? How is it no-one but local residents raise the alarm about the horrific effects of the Gulf oil spill, and the poisonous seafood landing on American dinner tables?

As the Orwellian police state sweeps into place in the United States, the economy crumbles, and their faultless leader languishes on his latest vacation or exalted meeting, Americans are actually celebrating their entry into a brave new police state with minimal awareness of the true dangers – dissolving their health, wealth and chances for survival in an engineered conflagration of mythic proportions – that are already descending on their heads. Buried heads, I might add.

Sensory Overload and the Ostrich Effect

As the gap between reality and manipulated public perception grows, it may just be too big a leap for many at this point. Having been dumbed down and unresponsive for so long, it’s too much for many to take in, never mind respond to…. Or so they’ve been conditioned to think.

Sad, but again, that’s the projected reality that many unconsciously adopt.

“Hey, why wake up when everything’s such a bummer if you do?” – That’s the underlying mentality. The thing is, this is a conditioned response. Overload and recoil. And it’s been going on a long, long time.

Why? Like the dumbing down effect of not just the manipulated media but fluoride and chemtrails and adulterated water and food, this continual conditioning eventually suppresses natural responses. When the real alert presents itself, the subject will not be able to react and protect himself, never mind mount a coordinated response.

Why all the dramatic end of the world sci-fi movies in popular culture at the moment? Why the emphasis on violence and horror movies and graphic, destructive wars? Why does the news focus only on the bad events of the day? Why the combative gladiator sports, emphasis on technology instead of humanity, and the mind-numbing crass consumerism and sexualization of society?

This is deliberate social engineering, and that’s the biggie. Conditioning.

It’s all engineered…. and that’s the last thing most people want to realize. And it usually IS the last thing for those who refuse to see it sooner.

The Power of Cognitive Dissonance

The world has become essentially schizophrenic in outlook. Being told one thing while the exact opposite is happening before their eyes for so long, the “dissonance” created by this conflict causes humanity to shut down or accept a carefully synthesized solution. America is the perfect example. Fighting for freedom and liberty, they commit genocide and destroy nation after nation. To supposedly protect their liberties the government has overturned all of the basic human rights originally afforded via the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, however rigged it was.

cognitive-dissonance-theoryYes the populace sits and takes it. Why?

It’s too big of a leap.

If they realize they’ve been completely conned by a massive manipulated agenda, they may just completely break down. And subconsciously the horror of that reality is therefore a “no”. Most would rather pass on in a numb, however ill-founded false reality. They’re at the point where, if all of this manipulation were true, they’d rather not know.

I’ll Take Conscious Reality

“Why all the negativity?” is what you’ll hear a lot of the time when you bring these things up. The answer is that what we’re trying to make known isn’t negative, it’s ignorance that’s negative. Truth is empowering, no matter how awful it may be sometimes. And at this point in history the more you learn the more negative it may seem, with the Controllers’ agenda in full, final-phase swing.

But so what. Keep learning and you’ll have that breakthrough into the wonders their veil has been hiding; the infinite well of our source of empowerment. The purpose of life is to rediscover who we truly are, and that wonderful awakening makes everything else pale in comparison. Our mission then becomes to inform and empower, share and encourage. The same one it has always been.

That it’s taking this kind of extreme compression to awaken the slumbering masses is really no surprise, and ultimately a gift from the Universe to help people back into the real world…. that of conscious loving awareness.

Awaken from slumber, one and all. Make the choice to do it now. That’s always the best time to awaken.

And once you find out, get your butt in gear telling others any way you can.

The storm is coming…. in fact, it’s clearly already here.

Spread the word, under any conditions.

Love, Zen

Previous articles by Zen Gardner:

About the author:

I have questions. Life is wonderful – full of amazing wonders that continue to unfold. My quest for truth has given me new perspectives which lead to well springs of information that continue to inspire awe and wonder at the world we live in. Dare to explore and see what leaves you…. just wondering. Love Zen.

Connect with Zen at zengardner.com