In post-secondary education, one of the hot terms is flipped classroom. The first time I heard someone use it, I had a pretty good idea of what it meant: student-centered or student-directed learning. I've known since my earliest teaching days that one of the most effective ways to learn facts and concepts involves teaching them to others.
In political wonkery, one of my hobbies, I have only recently become acquainted with yet another IT: Inverted Totalitarianism. The true meaning of that term, I thought I could guess. But I could also guess incorrectly, and I did. Until today, I didn't even bother to look up inverted totalitarianism, because the implications of putting those two words scared me. It's actually way more complex and way scarier than I originally thought.
In classical totalitarian regimes, such as those of Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. But “under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” [Sheldon] Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics—and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.” He continues: “The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.”
Thom Hartmann's Take
It was in Thom Hartmann's book What Would Jefferson Do? that I first remember seeing an analyst use Neo-Feudalism to describe the economic system of the US in the 21st century. Corporate executives are the modern equivalent of feudal barons, and the top .01% are royalty; the rest of us serve the function of enriching them, not only through our labor, but also through our choices of recreation and entertainment.
I don't agree with Hartmann about everything. However, like Prof. Noam Chomsky, he is quite adept at pointing out the holes in the illusion of American democracy—which is why, as with Chomsky, I was so disappointed at his cheerleading for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I don't know all of Hartmann's motivations for falling into line that way, but from what I heard on his radio talk show, his primary reason seemed to be that AT LEAST CLINTON IS NOT DONALD FUCKING TRUMP!
If Clinton had in fact won enough Electoral Votes to move into the White House, that neo-feudalist/inverted totalitarian system would still be in place. Despite the Democratic Party's stated best intentions, drones would still bomb wedding parties in Pakistan; Israel would still inflict its deadly Apartheid on Palestine; police officers in the US would still "fear for their lives" and kill African Americans; disproportionate numbers of poor black and brown folks would still be in prison; self-appointed guardians of decency would still bully and kill gay and transgender people; etc.
Living in the Matrix
My list of Facebook friends is full of highly intelligent and well-educated people. By "intelligent," I mean in various senses of the word, including emotional and musical intelligence, not just "book-smart." I don't say this to brag or to imply that I am intelligent by association.
It troubles me how many of these friends rely on mainstream news sources to form their opinions, including their opinions on how to vote. These same news sources are owned by our modern feudal barons and have a vested interest in promoting the barons' agenda (i.e., making them even more obscenely wealthy than they already are). Excuse the Matrix cliché, but these friends have taken the Blue Pill and continue to operate as the illusion demands, in that narrow spectrum of debate that Chomsky identifies as what the system allows.
I'm not saying any of this to imply that my worldview is any more astute or correct or "woke" than theirs. I may have it all wrong, as my liberal friends never seem to tire of informing me. However, once that veil has been lifted, it's difficult to go back to seeing the world from the Blue Pill perspective.
Of course, I never swallowed the Red Pill either.
More than 20 years ago, I took the Green Pill, which helped me grok that the US is the true Evil Empire, that our two major political parties are in fact "one corporate party with two heads."
Bringing It Back to Jill
So I thank Dr. Stein for starting my journey down that particular rabbit hole today.
Despite my falling-out with certain members of the Harris County Green Party, I am still a Green. I have no regrets or apologies for my Green votes at various levels going back to 1996. Also, I hope to collect some signatures on ballot access petition sheets starting tomorrow, despite the formidable odds against the Greens getting back on Texas ballots this year.
Hedges has said more than once, "I don't fight fascists because I think I will win; I fight them because they are fascists." No, he doesn't go around sucker-punching Nazis in the street; he fights the Nazis who wield real power, challenging them with his words, ideas, moral arguments, and actions like teaching prisoners in the New York State Correctional System.
I don't vote Green and promote the Green Movement because I think it will win (although sometimes its candidates do win, whether despite or because of the establishment's will). I vote for Green candidates and promote Green causes because they reflect my values and ideals. I promote the ideas because some day an elected official might have an aha! moment and translate them into policy.
The Monster and the Machine
The two-headed monster and its neo-liberal sponsors are not our friends. Its Media Machine incessantly bullies and gaslights Progressives, taking our words and ideas out of context, twisting them to make it appear as if our political consciousness is just so much congealed opium haze. The more the Machine titillates us with Stormy Daniels and Russian water sports, the less space it devotes to our alleged president's truly appalling acts (and his Democratic enablers).
In 2016, the Machine had most of us convinced that Clinton would win the Presidency, that it was all but assured. As Michael Moore pointed out on that scary Morning After, the Machine didn't talk to all those disaffected workers in the Rust Belt, workers who were sick of the establishment's bullshittery, workers who ended up electing the King of the Bullshitters because at least it's obvious when he's lying.
Unplug your telescreens and kill the machine. Go forth in search of reality in this post-truth America. Take control of your own story, and don't depend on politicians or the media to tell it for you.