Monday, January 11, 2021

Trump's an ogre; but so's the thing that made him.

By Allan Nairn

As many, including some corporations, have pointed out, Trump, Republicans and the right incited violence. They should be punished. But it should also be pointed out that violence is at the core of how the US and world system --and much of business -- works.

As the bard of US and corporatist violence, Thomas L. Friedman, memorably put it in the New York Times: "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist -- McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. 

An immediate priority is to turn back the fascistic, racist surge of the Trumpists.  

But equally urgent is the need to alter and abolish the system that produced them. 

While they were mounting a frenzied assault on the very idea of US democracy, it is also the case that the state of that democracy is such that both their hero Trump and many of the liberals they want to murder are in broad agreement on a series of abominable principles, including the idea that it is tolerable that there are billionaires while others starve, and that the US has the right to invade and kill whomever.

It's great that empowered people have the ability to hold free elections, but its only great to the extent that they're not lording it over the disempowered.

When US voters choose a president they are handing that person the ability & self-assumed right to kill anyone in the world, 98% of whom aren't US voters. 

"No annihilation without representation" -- as minimalist a demand as that might be, is still unthinkable as a consensus precept in US politics. 

Barely anyone blinks when a US-sponsored army (Indonesia's) assassinates a pastor like West Papua's Yeremia Zanambani , or a CIA death squad executes Muslim schoolboys in Omar Khail, Afghanistanor the corporate-free-market-preserving F-15s like those lovingly invoked by Thomas Friedman massacre weddings and funerals in Yemen through the dropping of Raytheon bombs.

Beyond the old Hobbes, Max Weber conception of the state as the entity with a legitimated monopoly on the use of violence, the US system -- although legitimated only within the US, domestically -- extends that writ across the globe, and, even domestically, applies it differentially, killing or sparing people, to an important extent, based on race and wealth.

In a system that is a constantly struggled-over mix of one-person-one-vote and one-dollar-one-vote, US rich people & top officials become de-facto demi-gods with global, life-and-death reach. 

It's one reason why Trump was such a shock. It was, in a sense, the big reveal. Here, made flesh, was the ugly soul of the machine. He's an ogre; but so's the thing that made him.


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