Skip to main content

"Deliver us from Drought!"
Free market Capitalism inevitably produces massive inequality, thrives in political corruption and imbecility.  Texas is a good example of the disease, as the state confronts climate change and its inevitable effects. I think this episode of VICE, the excellent HBO documentary series, encapsulates the tragedy of Texas, and the threat that its culture represents for the nation as a whole.

By Patrice Greanville (Rotekapellerin)

America is a nation of profound contradictions.  A leader in technology, the nation that put men on the moon also has (by far) the largest percentage of science illiterates and fierce nonbelievers. (In science, that is.)

The US, whose middle class once was the envy of the world, is also a nation deeply divided by class:  Thanks to Wall Street Americans today enjoy the dubious distinction of having the worst income inequality in the developed world.<!--more-->

The Texas drought as chronicled by Shane Smith's VICE Documentary team (HBO)

Numerous studies confirm this. But what is Wall Street if not an offshoot, a creature of capitalism?  Thus, just as Disraeli found in the industrial England of the 1840s a people divided into two nations, one of masters and exploiters, the other of the exploited masses, with a huge chasm separating them, so it is with America today.

While the billionaire plague keeps gaining momentum as a result of the control this class exercises over government, education and media, the people find it hard to fight back, having lost most of their self-defense organizations—unions, parties, and an effective press.  In fact, the only thing that the nation has in common today is the existence of an utterly corrupt leadership at the top, or simply a lack of positive leadership, and the unrelenting growth of imbecility and inequality—the natural product of such wretched condition, at the bottom.  Under these circumstances, the US now more than ever leads the world in the export of inequality.

The alarming degree of citizens' stupidity and naiveté is not a new phenomenon in America. Many foreign observers have mentioned this in their diaries as a defining trait of the culture, and even native sociologists and historians have written tomes explaining its existence in our midst. Richard Hofstadter won the Pulitzer for nonfiction in 1963 for his uncomfortably titled Anti-intellectualism in American Life. Hofstadter saw the rejection of intellectualism as a form of misguided "democratization of knowledge", and "historically embedded in America's national fabric, an outcome of its colonial European and evangelical Protestant heritage."  He correctly saw this rarely challenged characteristic of the national psyche as a threat to democracy.

I agree with most of Hofstadter's theses, especially the notion that the evangelical Protestant strains have done and continue to do considerable damage to the United States. This is not to exempt Catholicism or Judaism—themselves pestilences of a different sort. As the reader may have gathered I have little use for most religions and less so for fanatical brands, considering them all a form of self-inflicted mental rot and prime exemplars of barbarism.

Politicians, the media, and the educated classes—the "adults in the room"—should have put up a fight to push back against such nonsense. But politicians as a rule lack any principles, many in the educated classes have been themselves victims of the religiosity disease (witness Mary Baker Eddy, for example), and the media, being engines of commerce and not social improvement, like politicians, cater to the lowest common denominator. In sum, in a society in which prostitution, opportunism and cowardice are the the generally admitted ways to forge ahead and protect privileges, few have dared rise in defense of reason.

The ugly upshot of all this is that America today is an improbable union; a civilization born with a profound injection of religious fanaticism—not uncommon for the 17th century—but which, unlike most nations in the modern world, including England—never got over this poisonous legacy. The effects of backward religiosity on public policy and the lives of the ordinary citizen are perfectly exemplified in the political and social culture of Texas, a state where not only has religiosity won the day, but where rabid capitalism has found its most loyal champions and mercenaries. Considering Texas's influence on the rest of the union, this is something to be reckoned with.   

Patrice Greanville is The Greanville Post'sfounding editor. 

Originally posted to patrice greanville on Sun May 18, 2014 at 02:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, and Progressive Atheists.


Does religion advance or retard justice and human progress?

26%34 votes
65%83 votes
3%5 votes
3%4 votes

| 126 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Click here for the mobile view of the site