History of the World Part III

A Guest Lecture

By Greg Moses

As you see from your readings this week, Alexander Cockburn demands a President who’s not some kind of war criminal. Manning Marable preaches one more eulogy for the death of civil rights. And Donald Trump entrepreneurs (yes, I’ll make that a verb) a television series that is huge, if not spectacular, for giving out one good job. Baghdad, are you ready for this?

Our briefing today centers around an image:

It’s the internet map of AOR CENTCOM, otherwise known as Central Command’s Area of responsibility. As you can see, there are 27 countries numbered under the headings of four regions and we’ll take them from the top of the list: Horn of Africa; South Asia; Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and Northern Red Sea; and finally, Central Asia.

It could be Western Pennsylvania in 1680, or Texas in 1830, the Philippines in 1890, or Africa and South America in 1950. And let’s not forget Germany or Japan 1940. As you can see from the map here, we’re talking about the macro view.

Bush, Kerry, Nader. Imagine any of them posing for photos in front of a wall full of Presidential oil paintings. And stick with me here, I’m going to get to the point.

Here’s how it happens. Big business grabs up the money and power while millions sweat to make it happen. Then, at the end of the day, everyone is exhausted, but big business always has extra money to rent out great talents and hired guns who can go to work on the fortunes of tomorrow. During the 1990s, for example, you couldn’t get too rich too quick or drop too many bombs.

Now this surplus of power and money forms a capacity for which something has to be found to do. For instance, we could spend this power equalizing our citizenship and fulfilling the dream of civil rights at home. That would be like pure democracy. But no. In the end, and over someone’s dead body, the money always finds something else to do.

Please, you’re not going to make me write the numbers the board? Inequalities increase, elites consolidate power, and military spending exceeds every known contingency of self-defense. You can see on your syllabus that I recommend reading any almanac. Okay then, yes, I guess so. The numbers will definitely be on the final exam. So make sure you do the reading.

Effective business, ineffective civil rights. These are the twin, um, conditions that produce the crops of war criminals from which we, um, our Presidents choose. Am I making myself clear about this? Name me the Presidential campaign that was hard fought between human rights heroes? Well, think about it.

Everyone sweats, but only a few fortunes get made, and this is the only formula that anyone respects. You got another formula in mind, you keep it quiet, because we do have some work for would-be war criminals at home, too. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.

So we have this fabulously powerful system that produces these gigantic concentrations of wealth and power, owing largely to the fact that the not all the people who sweat get their fair slice of the pie.

Affirmative action. Silliest thing you ever saw, yapping about fair shares at a pie gobbling contest. What does Marable say about reparations? Be sure you highlight that.

Which brings us back to the map on the wall. AOR CENTCOM. And why it is labeled Area of responsibility? What does Cockburn say about war drums and candidates for President? Well look at the size of that map. No President is going to be big enough to say no to that map. That’s why civil rights will starve another generation at home. And why inequalities will increase owing to surplus accumulations of value.

And why some of us prefer to go to bed with Socrates, who argued, “my poverty is my proof.” Yeah, tell that to the jury, Friedrich.

Well, sorry, I didn’t mean to let my personal feelings get in the way of objective analysis. I’ll be sure to put some Ayn Rand readings on the syllabus next fall. She was Russian, you know.

In the meantime, think about which of these 27 countries you’ll want to write on. It’s your area of responsibility, too.

Be sure to keep up with the readings: almanac, Cockburn, Marable, and Trump. And remember lite beer, fewer carbs, less filling. See you Thursday.

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