Cultures that cannot distinguish between illusion and reality die. The dying gasps of all empires, from the Aztecs to the ancient Romans to the French monarchy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, have been characterized by a wide disconnect between the elites and reality. The elites were blinded by absurd fantasies of omnipotence and power that doomed their civilizations. We have been steadily impoverished by our own power elites—legally, economically, spiritually, and politically. And unless we radically reverse this tide, unless we wrest the state away from corporate hands, we will be dragged down by the dark and turbulent undertow of globalization. In this world, there are only masters and serfs. We are entering an era in which workers may become serfs, no longer able to earn a living wage to sustain themselves or their families, whether in sweatshops in China or the industrial waste-land of Ohio.
=== Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Chris Hedges
In Part One of Friederich Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” there is a passage in “Of the New Idol” that stands as an eternal truism, as Nietzsche exclaims, “The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.” And further on, “[t]he state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.”
America was taught to believe that the state existed only as a reflection of the people, to serve that reflection of the people’s will, restrained by the rule of law, morality and civic duty as ably as possible. A quaint myth, perhaps once an accurate description of the philosophies of the elected leaders at the birth of the nation and throughout their stewardship while they still breathed life into the public discourse and guided, by their increasingly frail presence, the unencumbered civic altruism of many in the political class in the formative years. This was when the national experiment in republican democratic government was truly exceptional, from then to today it has been as Plato and de Tocqueville warned, an increasingly accelerating march towards tyranny.
I, the state, am the people. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”— Barack Obama.