Fighting for America’s Soul
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 25 Nov 2019
Democratic Institutions Are in Danger
Today there is a deep split in public opinion in the United States. Democratic institutions are in danger from racism and neofascism. Progressives are fighting to save the values and institutions on which their country was founded. They are fighting to save America’s soul.
Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia
Progressives today would like to eliminate all forms of discrimination, whether based on race, religion, ethnicity, or gender. They are opposed by white nationalist groups, especially in rural areas and among white industrial workers and evangelicals, who fear that their own groups will soon be outnumbered by those who differ from them in ethnicity, race or religion.
Donald Trump has appealed to these fears using rhetoric similar to that of Hitler. According to the testimony of his first wife, he kept a book Hitler’s speeches beside his bedside and studied it diligently. Hitler’s rise to power in Germany probably would not have occurred had it not been for the terrible economic stress produced by the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Working-class white Americans are similarly stressed, and they have chosen a similar leader.
Excessive Economic Inequality
The United States today is characterized by excessive economic inequality. As Senator Bernie Sanders said,
“There is no justice, and I want you to hear this clearly, when the top one-tenth of 1 percent – not 1 percent, the top one-tenth of 1 percent – today in America owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.”
Such exaggerated inequality is bad in itself, but it also leads to governmental corruption. Since Citizens United, corporations have been able to make enormous donations to the campaigns of politicians, essentially buying their support. Studies have shown that at present, the wishes of voters matter little in comparison to the wishes of the corporate sponsors of politicians. Because of this, the United States is not a democracy but an oligarchy. Progressives are fighting to change this. They are fighting to save “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. They are fighting for America’s soul.
The Military-Industrial Complex
In his famous farewell address, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the power of the military-industrial complex. He said “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
In another speech, Eisenhower said,
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
Today the United States has bases in almost every country of the world, and spends almost a trillion dollars every year on armaments, or more than a trillion, depending on what is included. Aggressive foreign wars and regime change coups have produced untold suffering, as well as a refugee crisis.
Progressives are fighting to change this. They are fighting for a more peaceful America. They are fighting for America’s soul.
Secrecy and Democracy Are Incomparable
John Adams wrote:
“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.”
According to the Nuremberg Principles, the citizens of a country have a responsibility for the crimes that their governments commit. But to prevent these crimes, the people need to have some knowledge of what is going on. Indeed, democracy cannot function at all without this knowledge.
What are we to think when governments make every effort to keep their actions secret from their own citizens? We can only conclude that although they may call themselves democracies, such governments are in fact oligarchies or dictatorships.
We do not know what will happen to Julian Assange. If he dies in the hands of his captors he will not be history’s first martyr to the truth. The ageing Galileo was threatened with torture and forced to recant his heresy, that the Earth moves around the Sun. Galileo spent the remainder of his days in house arrest.
Giordano Bruno was less lucky. He was burned at the stake for maintaining that the universe is larger than it was then believed to be. If Julian Assange becomes a martyr to the truth like Galileo or Bruno, his name will be honored in the future, and the shame of his captors will be remembered too.
Edward Snowden’s revelations showed us the extent of government spying, and the extent of the deep state. Progressives are fighting to make the American government more truthful and open. They are fighting for America’s soul.
A New Freely Downloadable Book
I would like to announce the publication of a book entitled “FIGHTING FOR AMERICA’S SOUL” It describes the efforts of US progressives to save the values and institutions on which their country was founded. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:
Other books and articles about global problems are on these links.
I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.
John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).
Tags: Anglo America, Conflict, Culture, USA
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Nov 2019.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Fighting for America’s Soul, is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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