Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Articles
Democratic Underground  
SEARCH DU
Powered by FreeFind

THE DU T-SHIRT OF THE WEEK:

Click here to purchase DU Merchandise

Sweatshirts, mugs, and mousepads also available!

DONATE TO DU!
We rely on donations from our readers to run this website. If you think we're worth it, give us your money!

SUBMIT ARTICLES
Authors - we publish a wide variety of new material six days a week. If you would like us to consider your article for publication, click here.

BOOK REVIEWS
Find out what other Evil DUers are reading. And buy through our Amazon Affiliate Program.

LINKS DIRECTORY
We have over 1,000 progressive websites listed in our Links Directory.
· Democratic Party
· Forums/Communities
· Government
· Humor and Parody
· Issues and Activism
· Merchandise
· News/Commentary
· Personal Homepages
· Research and Dirt
· State and Local
· Add a link!

GET DU GEAR
Check out our fabulous range of T-shirts, mugs, baseball caps... etc.

The Shadow Dictator
September 28, 2002
By Joseph P. Firmage

We often hear these days of conspiracy theories that conjure images of a secret cabal governing the trajectory of modern society. We hear assertions that this dictatorial power has for decades guided the course of human affairs to suit its ambitions for a 'New World Order' none of us would want to live within. It is claimed that a secret strategic chessboard maps the nations and resources of Earth, where the moves of the Board correspond to wars and coups, axes and alliances, and mergers and acquisitions. This invisible dictatorial influence is alleged to lurk throughout halls of power, to control the world's news media, to infect democracies at the highest levels, and to ensure that just enough of the public are too blissfully ignorant to care.

While some may say that such rantings are paranoid nonsense, I must report that they are true. For I have met this dictator. Though I didn't know it at the time, I used to work for him, and I saw how he rules. The way he exerts his awesome yet subtle power is breathtaking to behold, for he manages to inspire in his followers a blind faith, a religious conviction beyond the devotion paid to any religion you know. And he is able to exert his influence in the light of day, with cheering crowds stoking his flames.

Let me tell you more about the ever visible, yet ever shadowy totalitarian who rules us all.

He has hundreds of millions of followers worldwide, yet few recognize his name. He commands his subjects through a simple logic, and holds them responsible to it through agents in every organization, community, and government. He lavishly rewards his most loyal subjects, turns a blind eye to those who don't share his priorities, and swiftly impoverishes those who challenge his legitimacy. He brutally imprisons those who've inherited no capacity to live within his rules, and leaves their hungry, uneducated children to shiver and whither on the street.

Like an emperor of old, he holds court each day, entertaining his inner circle with opulent spectacles and contests and feasts. Every day, he anoints heroes and strips others naked. He's always careful to attach his name to the winners of his myriad games, while he abandons the losers by assigning blame to anything but the fairness of his rules. Amazingly, he has found a way to paint his winners into icons so seductive that countless losers-to-be ignore the odds of their fate, and toil away their lives in the pursuit of his rare gold metals. And whenever he needs to lighten the mood - which is quite often these days - he calls in the court jesters.

He buys and sells elections across his vast kingdom, favoring leaders who are smart and amoral, or too ignorant of reality to understand the moral consequences of their actions. He ravages Nature and calls it profit. He takes from the poor and gives to the rich, and calls it 'good business'. His number one goal is to grow. Always. Forever.

He feeds his subjects both delicacies and poisons, but all his concoctions are sold to his subjects with a smile. He aligns the talents of millions of people to create genuinely wondrous, ever-faster machines to automate every facet of work, yet grants the freedoms thereby afforded only to those workers who can outcompete the very machines they have created - machines which are accelerating, machines which he largely owns.

He wants to educate his subjects, because he needs them to be smart enough to maintain and grow the complex infrastructure of his kingdom. But he instinctively knows that if he does too good a job in raising the wisdom of his laborers, too many of his labor camps and poisons and invasions may be seen for what they are. So he funds true wisdom-building at a trickle, throwing up his hands when such underfunded productions poll "unpopular" and "boring". He invests more in video games than in entire grade-levels of educational curricula. He secrets away the most revealing kinds of knowledge, granting it only to his most trusted aids, the most loyal of whom determine what must be kept secret to protect his interests. He builds vast militaries to secure what he wants, and grows further by profiting on sales of weapons to all sides of all conflicts.

He is the master of artful lies. He spends more time stressing the importance of the NFL than the collapse of human societies across Africa. He convinces city folk that they need SUVs to take their kids to school. He exhorts you to fill your body with ever more exotic substances, whose interactions even he reluctantly admits are often unknown. He tells you you're ugly without his cosmetics painted on your face. He sells all manner of overbuilt fabrics by wrapping them around the most seductive naked bodies most of his customers will never have. He long ago took control of our lands, forests, and energy, and recently he's started to go after water we drink. And in his most audacious ambition ever, he now proposes to drive the evolution of the genome of life on Earth, telling us that Nature needs his guiding hand to make life right.

Anyone who questions these tactics or the goodness of his prime directive - perpetual growth - is excommunicated from his kingdom.

He does all of this, almost magically, by ensuring that one simple religion is shared among all those he governs: in all affairs of life, thou shalt taketh from others more than thou giveth to others, for profit and its growth shall be the measures of thy success.

Despite all his powers and all his loyal minions, he always makes time to individually visit those new to his kingdom, to sell his vision of the grand society. And his pitch is really compelling, for most marketing agencies and television sets around the world work for him. Through them, he portrays your self-interest as his overarching goal, and your 'happiness' as his promise, if you will but join his program.

This shadow dictator is everywhere and nowhere. A true phantom.

But there is one way that thinking people can recognize this phantom, should they be clear-headed enough to do so, for he always introduces himself by the same innocuous nickname:

"I'm just the P&L" he says, short for The Almighty Profit and Loss Statement, the report of "income". He writes the Holy Book of business, penning a new chapter for each Fiscal Year. Tens of millions of people go to sleep late at night and wake up early in the morning with thoughts of his latest verses. Billions of people obey his daily dictates, for they have hitched their "net worth" to his numerology.

And so we see how most good people - regardless of intelligence - can come to measure their success in the lopsidedness of exchanges, and the growth in this pernicious, seductive asymmetry.

Of course, no ruler can be all bad, or he'd be overthrown in heartbeat. In fact, The P&L has overthrown many human dictators and their corruption-ridden states, occasionally with good cause: they were worse at running things than he is. Indeed, for all the wickedness that follows from his myopic, reckless rule, The P&L has some amazing talents. He can be used freely by any human being or group thereof on Earth. He is capable of incredible efficiency. Through his shared but distributed operation, he can equilibrate vast flows and forces automatically. At times, he can foster astonishing diversity, and provide dispassionate and objective judgment among healthily competing endeavors. He has succeeded brilliantly in cultivating the innovations that carry us over lands, seas, and skies, that warm and cool our homes, that repair our bodies, and that now connect our thoughts at the speed of light. His ambitions are most tamed when he respects the laws he does not craft himself. Which is why he is most effectively controlled by true democracy, a democracy in which money does not determine the effect of your First Amendment rights. Which explains why he constantly attempts to undercut the true democracy with his vision of a commercial republic based upon his measures.

Given the staggering, planet-wide challenges facing humanity today, perhaps the most useful capability latent in this almighty dictator is precisely the quality his greed has hijacked to threaten life itself: The P&L is integrated everywhere within the machinery of society. If we could figure out how to diversify his goals, if we could teach him how to share his wealth, if we could root compassionate ethics into the core code of his operating system... indeed, if we could but change his metrics of "success" to honor and worship and nourish life instead of subjugating it, we might just transform The P&L from systemic dictator into universal liberator. The powerful gears of civilization could move with unparalleled synchrony to restore the garden from which we spring, a rare and ancient blue-green world which The P&L will otherwise consume beyond the brink our extinction.

Indeed, redesigned to value giving to life over taking from life, the profit and loss statement could compassionately uplift and liberate every one of us - the amazing, sacred beings whose ancestors long ago conjured trade for that sole purpose.

Printer-friendly version
Tell a friend about this article Tell a friend about this article
Discuss this article
Democratic Underground Homepage

 
© 2001 - 2004 Democratic Underground, LLC
 

Important Notice: Articles published on the Democratic Underground website are the opinions of the individuals who write them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC