POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
Govern themselves badly indeed – this is fundamental truth that comparatively few appreciate.
But Jeffrey Simpson may not appreciate how conditioned Americans are to accept poor government.
The widespread hatred of all government and taxation works towards this: as in, do what you like, but do not raise my taxes.
So does the artificial hyper-patriotism constantly drummed everywhere in the society play an important role of immense social pressure.
The drumming has several effects. First, there is a general propensity to see critics of any major policy as unpatriotic.
In the Vietnam era, critics were widely told "to love it or leave it," a disgusting thing to say to another citizen, but decades later, the same filthy, divisive words are heard concerning the fantasy-induced war on terror.
The Washington establishment - the Pentagon, the CIA plus about thirteen other intelligence agencies, the ancient, almost unchanging Senate, and the major military contractors - almost form a government within a government, Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex, a genuine breathing presence in American society and not just a turn of phrase.
Obama - as humane and intelligent a man as America can produce - already has been captured in its tentacles. It is hard to distinguish what is going on abroad today from what went on under the ghastly Bush.
That is to say, national elections do not change much today in America.
And this complex eats money, leaving not a lot of room for programs like national heath.
And in such a society, the penetrating sense for so many is one of always living on the edge, just getting by, one step removed from financial chaos, and that sense of things works to the benefit of the Washington establishment’ s demand for resources.