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The Hucksters of Empire

With the publication of his courageous new book, Why America Failed (John Wiley, 2012), Morris Berman has become one of the very first well-known, left-wing writers to acknowledge that not only is the American Empire in decline, but that it is completely unfixable. In Berman’s view there will be no rabbit pulled out of the hat at the eleventh hour to save the nation, because “the hat is coming apart at the seams.”

Unlike most of the liberal pundits such as Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Michael Parenti, Rachel Maddow, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes, Amy Goodman, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, and Paul Krugman, to mention only a few, Berman has given up on America.

According to Berman the seeds of the Empire’s destruction were sewn in the sixteenth century by the early European settlers who were, above all, into “hustling” – looking out for number one. Ever since then, “hustling, materialism, and the pursuit of personal gain without regard for its effects on others” have provided the dominant theme of the American culture. He or she who dies with the most toys wins the game. Enough never seems to be quite enough.

The hustler’s credo is “Teach me how to be a moneymaking, moneyspending machine.” Most hustlers are obsessed with having – owning, possessing, manipulating, and controlling people, power, money, machines, and material wealth. Through having they try to find security and certainty in an otherwise uncertain world. Their compulsive desire to have leads straight to technofascism – affluenza, technomania, cybermania,

megalomania, robotism, globalization, and imperialism.

In response to their insatiable psychological and sensory needs, those who are into having often exhibit behavior patterns which are aggressive, competitive, and antagonistic. To have something is to take charge of it or to conquer it. Robbing, destroying, overpowering, and consuming are all forms of having. Those in the having mode are afraid of losing what they possess either to someone else or to the government or possibly through death.

FULL ARTICLE: The Hucksters of Empire » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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