Sascha D. Freudenheim on Mon, 4 Nov 2002 01:33:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Rock-A-Bye Baby

Posted with the permission of the author....

"Rock-A-Bye Baby"
by A.D. Freudenheim - 3 November 2002

A recent conversation with two brilliant and well-educated friends left 
me slightly stunned: they admitted a certain respect for a conspiracy 
theory (advanced in a variety of formats and by differing factions) that 
suggests the Bush administration bears more responsibility for the 
attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001 than most of us would 
like to believe. My friends were not (necessarily) suggesting that 
President Bush and his minions instigated the attack, or that the Bush 
Administration supported Al Qaeda's efforts, but instead noted that a 
number of the normal procedures that might have prevented the attack 
seemed to malfunction on this particular September day. In other words: 
the Administration had advance knowledge of the attack and intentionally 
took no defensive measures. Such conspiracy theories captivate; in this 
case, we know that no fighter jets were sent to intercept these planes, 
so there must be some deeper truth to the reasons why this did not happen.

Accepting for a moment that some facet of such a theory might be true 
... the goals behind allowing the attacks to proceed seem difficult to 
determine, if only because predicting the results of the attacks 
themselves seems too complex. Perhaps Bush was hoping to jump-start his 
long-desired war with Iraq. Maybe he believed that the devastation 
caused would further advance the U.S.'s geopolitical position, through a 
combination of sympathy for the events and fear of the U.S. response. It 
is not difficult to imagine that the motivation was to increase 
right-wing control here, to secure a future (in government as much as in 
business) for the white elites in a country becoming increasingly less 
white. Nor is it hard to see where the success of the attacks could 
serve as a pretext for the removal of undesirables from our culture - a 
revisiting of the failure from the Vietnam and Gulf wars, to tidy up the 
American populace by removing those who opposed such imperialist, 
military actions.

How about all of the above. Look around: as I wrote last week, we live 
in a money-oriented, acquisition-focused culture - one that encourages 
people to measure themselves against what are ultimately a poor set of 
standards (how much can you buy?), and which feeds a negative sense of 
self-worth. Adhering to these goals makes us easier to manipulate, 
however; if everyone wants the same meaningless objects of a happy, 
consumer life, then no significant challenge to the power structure is 
likely unless we are all denied our toys.

As for the creeps running our government these days, well, part of the 
problem is that they are fundamentally out of touch with the bill of 
goods they have been trying to sell to their constituents. Since most of 
them do not take part in the same society that the rest of us live in, 
they are constantly stuck looking for new methods to enforce the rules 
and rally everyone to the cause of consumerism. The first President Bush 
was doomed the moment it became clear he did not know how much basic 
groceries cost in late-twentieth century America. The second President 
Bush has astutely avoided going to a grocery store and facing any such 
embarrassment; he maintains a folksy image by running laps around a 
ranch that is several hundred times larger than the average American 
homestead, but with the harsh Texas landscape, in shorts and a T-shirt, 
George W.'s allegedly-plebian nature makes for an easier myth to buy. 
(At least with Clinton we had someone inarguably real, inimitably 
American: he happily sought out McDonalds, and could think of nothing 
more fulfilling of his power fantasies than to receive oral sex in the 
Oval Office. And if the name "Oval Office" doesn't cause you to think 
sexual thoughts, trust me, you're the one with the problem, not Bill.)

Americans suffer lame anti-drug campaigns that clearly do not work, 
since marijuana's status as the nation's largest cash crop continues 
unabated. Many have tried to rally America to this cause, but even the 
mildly-successful "Just Say No" campaign could not have served as a key 
platform for keeping power. The strength of the economy worked well 
enough to give Clinton two terms in office, but the G.O.P. saw clearly 
the threat that such avowed centrist policies would mean to their 
ultimate dominion here. Life improved for too many people, and too 
easily at that; with money comes education, and a further accumulation 
of wealth, and ultimately political strength. Blacks and Hispanics, 
along with other minorities, made significant gains in the last decade. 
But if you believe that the G.O.P. is happy with this situation, you 
must believe that Jeb and George Bush's stump speeches in Spanish are 
unconnected from their pursuit of immigration policies that seek to 
block further the flow of immigrants from Latin America. Try explaining 
away that contradiction.

In a recent Newsweek column, George Will acknowledged the strength of 
the arguments presented in the new book "The Emerging Democratic 
Majority," by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira[1], which suggests that the 
political trends in America favor the Democrats for precisely these 
reasons. It was a brave concession to admit that this research has 
merit, even as it serves as a call to arms for Will's conservative 
brethren: wake up and read this book, before it's too late. (It may be 
too late, George.) The acknowledgement is also frightening, suggesting 
as it does that what I have written above is truer than we might want to 
imagine, that Will and his political kin recognize the oblivion that 
awaits them in the successful rise of minority populations in America.

So you might call the "war on terrorism" a sort of Zionist movement for 
the WASPs. It is an all-out effort to consolidate power, to refocus 
America on the distraction of a distant war, and to ensure that in 
(ultimately) winning the war, the key elements of American consumer 
society can stay put. We will continue to have the cheap oil and gas and 
imported goods that make life easy - and that encourage us to overcome 
our better natures and to forget about the unfortunate folks elsewhere 
in the world, not to mention the unfortunate things about ourselves. It 
is the lullaby power of the SUV! The gentle, constant motion helps 
babies sleep, and adults too. It's cable TV for everyone! More sex, more 
city, and if we stay at home and out of trouble, well, more "Sex And the 
City" as well. A self-satisfied population is unlikely to rise up out of 
its couch-potato state and overthrow anyone or anything, least of all 
the ruling class that can give them an SUV that converts to the comfort 
of a living room with the touch of a button, and do it all for 0% down 
and no payments through the end of the year. Hoorah for General Motors!

Some conspiracy theory, right?

[1] "Politics and The 'Ideopolis'", by George F. Will, Newsweek, 16 
September 2002

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