The Mythology of Ideology

Alex Symington

Following up on last week’s contribution to the Blue Paper I wanted to elaborate on and counter the notion that privatizing publicly funded entities is the panacea for all things governmental. It is not. As I pointed out there is an on-going relentless effort by private/corporate business to sell the idea to the American public that no matter what the pursuit, the free market will always work more efficiently and be more cost effective than any government run enterprise. Again, not true. History and personal experience have taught me this simply isn’t the case by virtue of the fact that there has never been any single silver bullet solution to any given situation or problem that needs solving. The solution invariably lies in the gray area of compromise. In any adult relationship compromise is essential to avoid locking horns in a perpetual state of paralysis. I give you Congress as a perfect example. That is not to say that certain challenges in the public arena do not benefit from private enterprise; however no single ideology, belief system or myopic view of governance has ever been long lived or proven truly successful.

What is closer to the truth is our existence does not take place in a vacuum or a laboratory or fall neatly into place and conform to one theory or another. The variables and infinite permutations of reality will forever foil those “best laid plans” of the purist ideologue no matter which ideology he or she is promoting. Purist Communism is a failure just as purist unfettered Capitalism is proving entirely unsustainable.

At the very heart and essence of Capitalism is the religious zeal for increasing capital and gaining profit with little regard to the consequences for those not immediately involved in that profit taking. This is a fine path to personal riches, but a poor blue print for a healthy functioning society. Public monies, tax dollars are collected for the purpose of providing services that otherwise would not be in existence for the very reason they ARE NOT or SHOULD NOT be profit driven.

The example I put forth last week is in the “should not be profit driven” category; the repulsive development of the corporate creation of prison-for-profit; a corporate “business” complete with shareholders and investors in human beings reduced to a commodity, like pork bellies or soy beans. What’s next, incorporating the sex slave business complete with a board, shareholders and quarterly profit reports?! This current mentality that, somehow, if profit is the resultant end product of any given enterprise that enterprise is immune to any and all moral obligations is indicative of the disease that is purist Capitalism.

An example of the “are not profit driven” (but nevertheless essential) class of government projects is the Interstate Highway System. This is also a good example of that private enterprise benefiting the public arena in the form of government contracting out construction of the interstate, a win win. Even some conservatives have been forced to admit the success of this building program, with George Will calling it “the most successful public works program in the history of the world.” The interstate system provides the means for hundreds of thousands of private enterprises to thrive and conduct business throughout the US to the tune of billions of dollars. I would say that is tax dollars wisely invested.

The US federal government has also initiated the creation of consumer watchdogs such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. These agencies were all created at different times, but with the mission to protect the American consumer in the market place from nefarious industrial polluters, financial flim-flam shysters and run-of-the-mill criminals. All three of these agencies would never ever never ever NEVER have been created by the entities that are regulated by said agencies. NEVER! The not-for-profit federal government is the ONLY entity that would/could ever introduce these different protection agencies and as importantly enforce those rules protecting the powerless from the powerful. It is a safe bet that these polluters, poisoners and thieves were the first to coin the pejorative label “nanny state” to equate laws prohibiting their criminal behavior to some sort of infringement on their rights.

Unfortunately, like rust, criminals never sleep and never stop devising ways to corrupt and pervert the system to their advantage. The same capitalist ideologues and organized criminals have bribed congress with millions of dollars (the Supreme Court of the US made bribery “legal”) and for their investment (they just add the bribes to the cost of doing business) have stacked the deck in congress with corporate lobbyists writing laws weakening those government agencies and all the while grousing about government’s inefficiencies and incompetence. If we have a government operated by people that hate government with the intent to damage and weaken government, what kind of government will we get? I’m going to go out on a limb and say, “lousy”.

This brings me back to my thoughts on the purist ideologue and the absurd notion of the singular ideology as an answer to anything, never mind everything. Edmund Burke, the statesman and philosopher had this to say about the adult, problem solving practice of compromise. “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter”.

Government is NOT a business and the folksy comparison to a household budget is beyond disingenuous and it certainly can’t be run by individuals that want it to fail. Public service was never meant to be a career, but an opportunity to give back to the country and represent the people for a time and then step down. Today’s career politicians no longer give a damn about the people and are only interested in stuffing their pockets and war chests with corporate dollars in anticipation of the next election cycle. They have no interest in or incentive to compromise for the betterment of the country and are owned by and solely represent corporate interests. What we are left with is a vile union of sycophantic politicians and sociopathic hyper-capitalists gleefully screwing the little guy and selling it as “freedom” or “liberty” or some other Pavlovian buzz word to excite the myopic faithful. It is truly disgusting.

You may be more familiar with another Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

Alex Symington


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2 thoughts on “The Mythology of Ideology

  1. Alex, I suppose there is no secret amongst habitual Blue Paper readers that we are ideologically similar in our outlooks, but that does not change the fact that this article is right on. In fact, one has to wonder just why it is that the simple minded propaganda the status quo gives forth with is so easily pulled over the bulk of our citizenry’s eyes. I suppose the answer is simple: if you have the technology to put forth your message, the message becomes superfluous, they’ll believe anything. I know this sounds elitist, but hey, the truth is the truth. How else can you explain such idiocy as the Iraq War, our constipated ideas on health care, the megalomania of our gun laws, and a host of others? In fact, the message you put forth in this article is so obvious, one can only marvel that we are debating these things at all. Sigh … ciao, PCM

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