As our imperial stature declines the worst aspects of consumption culture show more hazardous and contradictory qualities. Our programmed fascination for new goods to replace old commodities has long been a social pathology in a system that breeds mental divisions among individuals to deny the existence of social structure. This, while it simultaneously rots the material foundation of that structure. We are now consuming more garbage then ever even as we attempt to stop the flow of sewage into our life support systems. We haven’t yet realized that the production and distribution of waste is essential to a political economy we need to transform before we are destroyed by its attempted maintenance.
We’ve long consumed useless goods we didn’t really want and worthless services we didn’t really need under mind management that convinced us we’d lack something vital without that necessary product. And the failure of each purchase to bring the bottom line of whatever it promised to create always meant the need for another newer, more stylish or healthy purchase. That conditioning has kept a majority shopping while a minority prospers from our search for survival through market warfare disguised as happy consumers seeking personal fulfillment or whatever else a particular sales item and promotion campaign promised.
Obeying the dictatorship of political economic advertisements for endless uncritical consumption has us performing as fabled lemmings, but we are rushing towards an all too real social extinction.
The Schlock (merchandise of very low quality or value) doctrine teaches us to accept bargain outlet stores selling cigarettes long after they’ve been proved deadly to individual health and the social environment, usurious rates charged to the working poor in order to get cash advances on paychecks which are too little to meet expenses anyway, and higher costs for health care and insurance with less means for people to afford them. Previously reliable auto producers have to recall hundreds of thousands of unsafe vehicles, food supplies are regularly found tainted by contaminants and hospitals are killing more people than the nation’s traffic wars which take an average of almost one hundred lives a day. As fossil fuels become a greater environmental problem , public transit services are cut forcing more into their cars and furthering the use of fossil fuels .
And all this while we spend trillions for war, a stock market “recovers”, millions are newly unemployed and bank executives receive bonus checks which are paid for with massive loans from the working population.
An individual experiencing such contradictory behavior would be diagnosed as clinically insane and placed under protective control. In our political economic anarchy, no such power exists except for the most antidemocratic and totalitarian minority force of corporate capital.
We’re not only being victimized by shoddy material goods but even more by the Schlock Doctrine’s invasions of our collective consciousness. The propaganda machine that works to keep us fearing imaginary menaces outside while camouflaging the malfunctions of our internal system is working overtime to get us into a new war. The death profiteers who no longer have Soviet Communism to use as demonized source of evil switched to terrorism after 9/11, and none more so than the American protectors of israel who guided us into the Iraqi bloodbath and are now working more feverishly to destroy Iran. The mental garbage we have consumed about that nation and its leader would manifest as the largest dump of decomposed excrement imaginable if it assumed material form. Its putrid stench would make the world’s six billion people gag , yet this nation allows its fanatically perverse creators to continue running foreign policy. That could lead to a horror beyond anything yet experienced, and not only for the nation and people of Iran.
Whether we consider the impact on raw nature or in its reshaped form under human hands, it should be clear that continued total reliance on the private market mechanism could lead to total oblivion of the human social organism. That’s if we’re able to analyze and understand the evidence. Under the reign of the Schlock Doctrine it can seem that dumb conservatives, wimpy liberals, killer terrorists or evil spirits are mucking things up and as soon as we can produce more green garbage without interference from market molesters and do so in a diverse, multi cultural way, everything will be just fine.
Under present circumstances of a growing sense of social breakdown with little understanding of why it is happening, the least damaging outcome may be for a procession of millions of Americans openly carrying guns while angrily marching to city hall to marry their gay dogs. Or cats.
The state of emergency established by Bush neoconservatives has been extended by Obama neoliberals to help the market create more schlock for everyone else to consume. More than 700 foreign bases with more than a quarter million troops employed by taxpayers to maintain an imperial order that threatens to crumble on our heads, and we are urged to continue shopping for success that insures failure. Even in our confusion we’re becoming aware that serious changes must be made not only for the survival of our nation, but of our world. Other national groups are ahead of us in realizing that systemic change is needed, but if our general sense of unease and physical failure are understood in time, we may still catch up and even overtake the rest of the world in moving towards salvation through material transformation. We can only hope that further forms of shock therapy are not needed to bring about real change in the Schlock Doctrine by which we are presently controlled. How much more war and recession can we tolerate? Don’t ask, just rebel.