Perhaps the most heinous injustice ever perpetrated on the American people is the 40-year-long media brainwashing campaign foisted on the lower and middle classes by big business (and the monied elite) to convince the general populace that the only people who are really trying to help them are actually the real villains.
It’s positively sickening.
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. And that “he” really isn’t a “we,” and that “we” isn’t the hierarchal monied corporate elite.
Before the advent of labor unions, the Federal government never had enough power to successfully regulate big business. It was also corrupt and ensconsced so deeply in the pocket of industry that unimaginable employer indifference and inhumane work conditions were the norm. No child work laws, no minimum wage, no safety regulation, no benefits of any kind: nothing. It was laissez-faire wage slavery, take it or leave it, and the great Robber Barons used people as human cogs in the mighty machine that fueled the industrial revolution— all built atop the shoulders of the new peasantry. Gone were the ancient entitlements of fief and feudal lord, and the titles of past nobility were no longer a requirement to press the common people into drudgery. In the new age of industry, anyone with a factory could be a petty tyrant unto himself. An entire perverse philosophy was devised to excuse the brutality of the bosses: Social Darwinism, a man-made mockery of systems found in nature, reenvisioned to depict a great so-called “natural order” of bosses and workers. All men were equal, explained that philosophy— yet some were more “equal” than others, and that elite deserved— simply by nature of birth— to run the show. It was the Divine Right of Kings and the medieval Chain of Being all over again, this time retasked to bolster delusions of grandeur in the greedy hearts of nouveau riche businessmen.
As always, the bosses went too far. When desperate laborers finally organized to form labor unions, the big companies fought back with guns and clubs and fire and— although modern history books try to whitewash this— lots of people were killed by thugs on both sides, be they strike-breakers or picketers. But mass public outrage at the ferocity of anti-union violence finally gave government the moral impetus to step in and effectively regulate big business. Unionization and industrial reform turned things around, finally breaking the power of the bribes and graft of businesses and trade monopolies.
What followed was the fastest period of overall economic growth in US history as the postwar economy took off, education soared, industry thrived, and the standard of living rose exponentially.
Then the unions grew corrupt and organized crime stepped in. Unions stopped working for their members and became entrenched dues machines and gangs of bullies extorting more than their fair share from helpless business. As the unions lost their grip, industry began pushing back, sending work overseas to evade union influence and dodge laws, cutting away at organized labor. Graft crept back into government. Big Business started buying back local and national politicians, and rolling back regulations to exploit the American employee pool.
Meanwhile big business spent billions of dollars annually on non-stop anti-union propaganda and constant deregulatory lobbying. Workers rights and long-established employee protections were frozen, and began to be stripped away by the new Robber Barons of Wall Street. Unchecked corporations returned with a vengeance to assume ever-greater control while dissenting voices were bribed into silence or squelched.
The year 2001 is when corporations finally tipped the scale fully back in their favor, reducing America into a massive “money farm” to drain tax money and the collective wealth and earnings of middle class Americans into war profits and corporate subsidies, funneling it all through offshore banks into the pockets of the Corporate aristocracy, milking the economy dry.
And here we are. The unions choked on their own greed and hubris, and our government is now the lap dog of the multinationals, begging for scraps and promising anything to their big corporate sponsors come election time.
Every hundred years or so the USA finds itself in this same pickle. Last time it took the Great Depression and two World Wars to snap us out of it. What will save us from our own greed this time?