THE LONG HISTORY OF HUMAN INCAPACITATION BY POLITICS AND THE PRESS
By Wolfgang Jungmann
[This article published on February 3, 2017, is translated abridged from the German on the Internet, www.Free21.org.]
Democracy was exhausted in the population absolving the actions of the powerful once every four years. Billions of euros were awarded to bailout the banks, tax cuts for the rich and the super-rich or deploying German soldiers in war zones. Unity always prevails among the parties…
The Wailing Wall is long and high… All this began in the government times of Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain with the introduction of a thought prohibition.
"There is no alternative" was the favorite and killing argument of the "Iron Lady." The "TINA-principle" as it was soon called was a justification and reason for the cruelties in the labor- and social policy at that time. But it was also the foundation for belligerent actions like the outbreak of the Falkland war. Later the German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder concocted the social cold-heartedness and social dismantling and his successor Angela Merkel seized this argument. Then the word "no alternative" was chosen the nonsense word of 2010.
With the term "no alternative," the come-of-age citizen who did not join the political opinion of the mainstream press was incapacitated, stamped as a troublemaker and not taken seriously. This policy of cold-heartedness allowed no contradiction and led to dislocations in the social-political realm – like one-euro jobs, Hartz IV, low earners, stockers, and poverty-pensions… The hunt for the socially weak, the losers of our society, oriented only in property-thinking, was led by the press with terms like social parasites and stories about Yacht-Hans, Viagra-Kalle, Caribbean-Klaus, Mallorca-Karin and the forefather, the alleged social fraud Florida-Rolf…
In 2001, Spiegel designed a hammock in black, red and gold colors. The country was a divided republic: some work, some attend retraining courses and others complete applications. Still others sit resigned in the park, watch talk shows or spend their days in concentrated idleness. This is a divided nation – here the diligent hardworking and there the good-for-nothings who make the most of life. A climate should be created where the planned neoliberal cruelties can be carried out without great protests.
The work morality of Germans or their use of hammocks was not central. The society should be thoroughly reorganized, the power of unions broken, employees intimidated by the danger of total social collapse in unemployment and wages lowered by an enormous army of unemployed persons completely deprived of their rights who could be forced to accept a job under any conditions.
The function of the press that likes to call itself the fourth branch after the legislative, executive and the judiciary has essentially changed. All the large press organs established agencies in the capital after the move of parliament and government from Bonn to Berlin… With the move, a tremendous bubble arose in Berlin where politics and the press moved. They frequented the same pubs and restaurants and met at hair stylists, fitness studios, and cultural events. So the borders between political actors and those who should monitor the self-understanding of these actors slowly disappeared.
The fraternization of the press with the powerful could be read from the initiative "You are Germany." The media joined forces behind a campaign sparked off by a movement for more confidence and personal initiative in Germany and more self-confidence and motivation in the population…
According to the "taz" (tagesanzeiger) newspaper at that time, the campaign should make this clear to Germans. "You yourselves are responsible for your misery, not the state or the perversion of an economic system where a business makes juicy profits and as a result, a few thousand workers are dismissed. You have it in your hands to determine your life and the fate of your country – in a land where you do what the big media companies command… You must change yourself so Germany gets better. You must be positive. Then you will succeed – whether you are a bathroom attendant or a millionaire!"
The Alpha-journalists who are outfitted with a superego now regard themselves as the better politicians. Bringing little understanding for political processes in a democracy, the project of unearthing political opinions is much too long-winded for the masters of the written and broadcast word.
Editorial offices function more like military chains of command with command and obedience instead of a free expression of opinions and personal responsibility.
But the feeling of helplessness and being handed over increased enormously in the population. "Those above" and "we below" divided society. Being engaged was no longer rewarding. The superior force was too great. "They do whatever they want was the attitude of the majority. Collaboration in unions and parties declined dramatically like voter turnout. This hardly interested the decision-makers in the economy, politics and the press. They had developed a conceit that only saw an indefinable mass of Bullwinkles in people who only say yes and wave through the wise decisions of the elites.
Democracy did not go beyond the population giving absolution to the acts of the powerful every four years. The vote distribution for the parties is entirely unimportant since a nearly complete consensus prevails between them. Agreement always rules among the parties with loud support and enthusiastic applause from published opinions – whether concerning social cruelties, billions of euros in tax funds for bailing out banks, tax gifts for the rich and super-rich or deploying German soldiers to war areas.
This blend of helplessness, annoyance, and rage coupled with the feeling of being heard by no one and not being taken seriously is an ideal breeding ground for seducers and self-styled bringers of salvation. Responsible parties react again from an attitude of superiority with disdain and contemptuousness. Whoever has another opinion is excluded. Whoever doesn't play according to our rules must get out of our sandbox.
Seniors, owners of assets and vested interests voted for the Brexit and for Donald Trump. Whoever supports a peaceful coexistence with Russia is a Putin-admirer. Whoever doesn't accept reports about the war in Syria and questions the role of the West are trolls and friends of the butcher Assad. Whoever criticizes Israel's unfortunate settlement policy and human rights violations is an anti-Semite. Whoever cautiously questions the concreteness of Merkel's "We can do this" on its conversion in cities and communities and the integration efforts in language courses and education is an ignorant person and at worst a racist. Whoever champions rational wages and social justice is a person of yesterday, a social romantic and a socially envious person.
Democracy is not sought anymore in a divided country, divided between those above and those here below, not between East and West or between capitalist and socialist.
Adbusters is light in our darkened times! Adbusters is out today with its latewst "Impeachment" issue!
Trump's one-hour press conference revealed him to be a "one-man constitutional crisis" (John Oliver), a propagandist or fearmongerer with the reading ability of a four-year old (cf. Young Turks and David Packman) who calls the media "the enemy of the people" and scapegoats like Hitler. If someone would send him a CD with beauty contests going back decades, he'd have to postpone the walls and wars since even the super-rich can't create time!
Jon Stewart is coming back in March. He summarizes Trump as "purposeless, vindictive chaos." German articles usually extol the checks and balances in the American system but the dominance of corruption, pay-to-play and neoliberall trickle-down myths is depressing. To me, the media lost its credibility by throwing Trump at us and not upending or embarrassing him. Public spirit and trust between the generations will happen when the 8K cap on social security taxes is abolished and health care is recognized as a human right and not a privilege.