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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rulers' Ideas Rule

Rulers' Ideas Rule

By William J. Astore
Truth Out
January 28, 2014

I can’t remember where exactly, but I stumbled across this
apothegm of Karl Marx:

“In every era, the ideas of the rulers are the ruling ideas.”

Striving for even more brevity, I truncated it to rulers’ ideas
rule.

Contrarians of the world should unite to identify and challenge
these ruling ideas.

When they serve only the needs of the powerful, we should
be prepared to mark them as dangerous and most likely as
undemocratic.

And we should work to change them.

What are some of today’s ruling ideas?

I challenge you to come up with some, but here are ten that I
see as ruling our lives:

1. That capitalism is the only economic system that works, and
that rampant consumption is necessary to keep the economy
growing.

2. Related to (1) is the idea that GDP and similar economic
measures are the best measure of America’s strength.

3. That “success” in life is measured by money and titles and
possessions.

4. Related to (3) is the idea that education that doesn’t end
in a lucrative career is largely worthless.

5. That poor people and other disadvantaged groups are the
way they are because they refuse to work.

6. That it’s absolutely necessary to spend nearly a trillion dollars
a year on national defense, wars, homeland security, intelligence
agencies, and nuclear weapons, all of which are justified in the
name of “keeping us safe.”

7. That privatization is the way to improve everything, including
public services like education, the prison system, and health care.

8. That corporate spending in elections is the equivalent
to freedom of speech for individuals and is therefore
protected by our Constitution as our nation’s founders
intended.

9. That there’s no such thing as class warfare in the United States.

10. Related to (5), that there’s equality of opportunity for
everyone in the United States, regardless of race, ethnicity,
economic background, and so on. Thus those who “fail” do
so because of their own failings, not because the system is
rigged against them.

That’s my non-rigorous, somewhat off-the-cuff rendering of rulers’
ideas.

Contrarians of the world unite!



Professor William J. Astore, is a retired lieutenant colonel
(United States Air Force), writes regularly for Tom Dispatch.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21493-rulers-ideas-rule

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