Loaded Language and Loaded Guns
The Meaning of Opposites
By Charles Sullivan
10/03/07 "ICH" -- - -One can no longer understand US
governmental policy on the basis of conventional language or
traditional wisdom. Language itself and its long-established
meanings were long ago twisted and distorted in order to deceive
the people. Now war is peace and terror and occupation is
liberation. In order to make sense of what is happening, it is
important to understand everything within the context of a
specific economic philosophy, and the distorted capitalist
system that spawned it.
That ideology was crafted by a diminutive economist named Milton
Friedman, at the University of Chicago some five decades ago.
The holy trinity of Friedman’s version of
capitalism—privatization of the public domain, corporate
deregulation, and deep cuts in social spending—has resulted in
enormous societal inequity and socio-economic classes. It has
given us the haves and the have-nots, the haves and the
Friedman and his disciples, collectively known as ‘The Chicago
School’ do not believe in a minimum wage—much less a living
wage, unions, worker rights, environmental protections, worker
safety, or any other kind of restraint imposed upon
corporations. In Friedman’s view, the market should rule and
profitability should be the guiding principle, the end results
always justifying the means.
The implementation of Friedman’s version of unfettered
capitalism relies upon munificent corporate welfare, tax cuts to
the wealthy, exploitation of workers, and the outright theft of
other sovereign nation’s natural wealth through military
force—including oil and minerals, water supplies and other
societal infrastructure; cheap labor, and a procession of
consumers of goods and services without limits—an impossibility
in a closed ecological system.
Convincing the public to support policies that are, in fact,
detrimental to them, requires enormous marketing skill, as well
as a corporate owned and operated propaganda apparatus that is
second to none. This is accomplished by cloaking harmful
policies in patriotic language, and other forms of seduction.
In order to achieve this objective, which is really nothing less
than unqualified global corporate dominance, the public domain
must be privatized and run not for use, but for profit; and the
unparalleled might of the US military brought to bear against
any nation or people who stand in the way.
It is this thinking—the dominant economic paradigm that shapes
all US policy—that has brought us an endless succession of wars
and other human tragedies; exacerbated global warming, and
unprecedented rapacious planetary destruction, including the
mass extinction of much of the world’s flora and fauna — all for
Decades ago, in order to field test the economic theories that
were formulated by the right wing think tanks at The Chicago
School, Friedman and his disciples descended like locusts upon
Latin America. The results were devastating: Democratically
elected governments were systematically overthrown and brutal
dictators friendly to US business interests were installed in
their place—all of which were subsidized by US tax dollars with
the complicity of the CIA.
As a result, US-trained death squads roamed the countryside
torturing, murdering, and disappearing dissidents, union
organizers, and indigenous land holders—a process that continues
to this day. The corporate media, itself, an essential cog in
Friedman’s capitalist machine, referred to these death squads as
freedom fighters, and canonized the likes Ronald Reagan as
champions of liberty.
But the recipients of US policy in Latin America—those who
survived them—know better. Now the same policies are being
implemented in the Middle East, and with the same disastrous
results. Elements of Friedman’s policies have been in play here
in the US for decades, and the intent is to do to the US what
was done in Latin America and Iraq.
Language is a tool that can be used to either conceal or reveal
truth; it can be used to inform or to distort. Given the track
record of private enterprise, it is not surprising that
everything associated with Milton Friedman’s capitalism has been
hopelessly perverted, and language is no exception.
Understanding the role played by Friedman and his disciples in
shaping US policy—a doctrine adopted and praised by Republicans
and Democrats alike, is critical in order to bring the big
picture of world events, including our own domestic policies,
into clear focus.
The disciples of Friedman’s economic theorem have skillfully
manipulated the language to deceive the subjects of those
policies. Stripped of the garments of seductive language, the
hidden kernel of truth is clearly seen: unregulated corporate
power that masquerades as free market trade. The nations that
have undergone Friedman’s economic shock therapy: Chile,
Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia, and many others, were opened up
to privatization and corporate plunder that soon left them
impoverished and wasted.
The once sustainable and vibrant local economies, most of them
characterized by broad public ownership, were thoroughly
globalized, as capitalism was forced upon those who had rejected
it at the ballot box or through armed revolution. Local
manufactures were no longer protected from multi-nationals:
prices soared, wages fell, workers lost their jobs, unemployment
rose astronomically, and the infrastructure that once provided
inexpensive or free public services—among them, potable water
and inexpensive food—were privatized and rendered unaffordable
to the multitudes.
Shared prosperity quickly gave way to abject poverty and misery;
while predatory US corporations bled nation after nation of
their natural wealth, and kept the profits to themselves.
Here in the US, the people of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast
cities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina experienced the same
economic shock and awe as Latin America. The poor were relocated
and resorts for the rich quickly supplanted affordable public
housing. The public school system was virtually dismantled and
privatized. Contractors such as Halliburton and Blackwater
reaped enormous profits on the misery and suffering of the Gulf
Region’s working poor. Corporate profits mattered more than the
lives of the people. New Orleans will never be the same.
All of this was accomplished by stripping language of its
traditional connotations and perverting it into its opposite
meaning. Thus lies became truth and predatory capitalism morphed
into beneficent public service. The new definitions are designed
to conceal the real intent of the perpetrators of crimes against
humanity, and are employed as marketing tools to make blatant
theft and exploitation appear palatable to the multitudes, and
to the helpless victims of unfettered capitalism.
Had the hidden agenda of our elected officials been widely known
to the public, the people would likely find these policies not
only objectionable, but morally reprehensible and offensive. Now
Orwellian doublespeak is the norm, resulting in the enforcement
arm of capitalism—the police state and an emerging Gestapo
society, perpetrated in the name of a democracy that does not
The dictum of freedom, as understood by rational and
conscientious human beings everywhere, has traditionally been
applied to people and refers to their treatment by one another
and their respective governments. However, when free market
capitalists speak of freedom and democracy, as we are witnessing
in the catastrophic situation they have created in the Middle
East, they are not referring to human freedoms at all—but to
unfettered capitalism, absolute corporate rule, and human
servitude to wealth garnered at public expense—essentially a
global terrorist slave state. That is what is meant by so called
free markets as it pertains to the human condition.
Thus democracy, rather than meaning self-government of the
people, by the people, and for the people, is perverted into
support for deregulated corporations that are accountable to no
one, the ultimate arbiter of all forms of power—the market as a
Holy Grail; the decisive triumph of private ownership over
people and the public welfare by the global elite.
And that, in a nutshell, is what we are fighting for not only in
the Middle East, but in 135 nations around the world. These are
the American interests the military is protecting; these are the
freedoms they are defending from democracy.
In the idiom of free market capitalism, all things—whether soil,
mineral, plant or animal, including human beings (wage slaves),
are diminished and commodified, and valued only in proportion as
they can be privatized and exploited by the champions of
Furthermore, let it be understood that the president and his
cabinet, as well as every member of Congress (with one
exception), are disciples of Friedman’s economic paradigm. Not
only are they doing everything in their power to implement
Friedman’s policies, they have been doing so for a very long
This perception certainly demystifies the remarkable homogeneity
of US policy that has sent countless young men and women dressed
in military uniforms to their deaths, and disappeared millions
of leftist dissidents around the world. And it will continue
unabated unless we the people put a stop to it.
Author’s note: Anyone wishing a more complete understanding
of these policies should read Naomi Klein’s authoritative new
book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. I
cannot underscore enough the breadth and importance of Ms.
Klein’s work in understanding capitalism, corporate
globalization, and the grossly distorted governmental policies
they have spawned. Every citizen, regardless of nationality,
should read this book. It is that important.
Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer,
and social activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Province of
geopolitical West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at
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