Evils of American consumerism and corporate dominance. A rant. →
[More:]I have the sense that middle-class America is morally bankrupt and is the cause of enormous suffering both in the U.S. and abroad. And I feel that the dominance of corporations, an economy that emphasizes saving over spending, an enormous minimum wage service sector, a public education system that functions largely as a "youth prison," an anything-goes entertainment culture that caters to the poorly educated, passive consumers who populate our country ... are all part of this precipitous decline. We are lazy; we drive everywhere because our country has been dominated by land developers who sold us on a dream of having our "own home" in a suburb. We get fat because we work in cubicles, we are too tired and harried to moderate our eating and junk food becomes a kind of drug. Our lives are hectic, to support the spending that we've been taught we need to do by our corporate masters in order to have a full life, both partners in partnered relationships have to work, even if that means dumping a weeks-old newborn at daycare. Many of the interventions that could be done by government to improve life cannot be done because they are denounced as "nanny state" tactics in campaigns funded by corporate lobbyists and mouthed by individual consumer automatons who wouldn't know what was best for them if it hit them over the head. All of this darkness reflects a moral decline in the populace, a descent into a less-than-fully-rational living, a life going through the motions that have been laid out by corporate powers whose sole goal is to extract money from us. In this culture there is no hope of morality prevailing (in terms of doing the right thing, treating people humanely, ensuring dignity for our citizens, having a culture that is elevated and life affirming rather than just a calculated, crass spectacle designed to sell ads and further placate the mass of consumer automatons who have been stripped of their moral agency in a world run by and devoted to money.) Because the kind of spending that we do is, economically, based upon investor speculation, if investor confidence falls it can be catastrophic to the economy so the government has to, in effect, perpetuate an illusion of financial solidity. There is great potential for unrest by those disenfranchised through the growing gap between rich and poor, so a police state of shocking brutality has grown up to preserve the peace for the more comfortable people. A police state is also necessary to ward off threats from other nations whose ideologues are offended by the rapacious spread of our economy and our culture and gadgets and the moral vacuity that that comes with our culture and gadgets. We exploit other countries for their cheap labor, their natural resources, and their consumer dollars. All of these horrors are committed in order to preserve a middle-class world of apparent prosperity but one that is bereft of any widespread concern for human decency. In other words, horrors and evils are the price of preserving a cheap, crass world of consumer plenty that exists in a kind of precarious security and makes the corporate chieftains very rich, and these chieftains are the ultimate benefactors of the horrors inflicted by U.S. interests abroad and the morally vacuous consumeristic middle class life at home.
Does this account seem too pessimistic a view of U.S. culture, or does it ring true to you?