STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
America the Fallible
By Staff News & Analysis - August 16, 2010

The End of American Optimism … Our brief national encounter with optimism is now well and truly over. We have had the greatest fiscal and monetary stimulus in modern times. We have had a whole series of programs to pay people to buy cars, purchase homes, pay off their mortgages, weatherize their homes, and install solar paneling on their roofs. Yet the recovery remains feeble and the aftershocks of the post-bubble credit collapse are ongoing. We are at least 2.5 million jobs short of getting back to the unemployment rate of under 8% promised by the Obama administration. Concern grows that we are looking at a double-dip recession and hovering on the brink of a destructive deflation. Things are bad enough for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to have characterized the economic outlook late last month as "unusually uncertain." – Wall Street Journal/Mortimer Zuckerman

Dominant Social Theme: America's leaders must try harder.

Free-Market Analysis: Mortimer Zuckerman (left), who never apparently unearthed a mainstream meme he didn't appreciate, has written an article (excerpted above) in the Wall Street Journal proclaiming the "end of American optimism." Zuckerman is the extraordinarily successful owner/operator of the New York Daily News and US News and World Reports. He also runs a NY-based real-estate empire. The article, from our point of view, offers a textbook power elite, fear-based theme followed by an authoritarian solution. For this reason we focus on it.

We're not sure why Zuckerman chose to present his viewpoint in the Wall Street Journal since he has his own platforms available to him. Also at the beginning of the article, it is not clear if he means "optimism" has to do with the current Keynesian currency stimulation or if he means something bigger. In the middle of the article he seems to imply that he is speaking to larger issues. Thus the article buttresses one of the power elite's dominant social themes, "America's promise is fading for some reason and we have to work even harder to redeem it with all the 'tools' at our disposal."

This vague theme is repeated many times in many ways in America's media these days as if "America's fading promise" were somehow disassociated from the larger leadership that has determinedly shoved the US into the hole it now finds itself. The whole idea, so far as we can tell, is to induce endless anxiety and a feeling of powerlessness by focusing on the country's failure without ever explaining fully how the nation got into this fix.

Of course, from our point of view there is nothing remotely mysterious about. There is a Western power elite that seeks to create a kind of global government and has relentlessly attacked America (the single key element of resistance to such a political order) in order to ensure that its vision is realized without encumbrances. The Anglo-American power elite helped foment the Civil War in our opinion – one that shattered the voluntary nature of the republic – and then grafted onto the shattered nation a graduated income tax and a mercantilist central bank. The income tax hollowed out the country's industrial base and the central bank ruined its economy.

You will not read any of this in Zuckerman's piece. His take on what's gone wrong is far more rooted in current events and modern analysis, as if looking backwards constitutes some sort of navel gazing. When he does attempt to travel backwards in time, his viewpoint terminates about sixty years ago. Here's some more from the article:

Are we at the end of the post-World War II period of growth? Tons of money have been shoveled in to rescue reckless banks and fill the huge hole in the economy, but nothing is working the way it normally had in all our previous crises. Rather, we are in what a number of economists are referring to as the "new normal." This is a much slower-growing economy that, recent surveys have revealed, is causing many Americans to distance themselves from the long-held assumption that their children will have it better than they. What was thought to be normal in the context of post-World War II recoveries? One is that four quarters into the recovery, real GDP would expand at an annual rate over 6%. We are coming out of the current recession at a 2.4% growth rate.

We can see from the above excerpt that Zuckerman does seem to have something more in mind than merely analyzing current events. But as we have pointed out, this is a facile argument because it does not go back far enough. World War II almost entirely militarized American society and those who returned home had no issue with the increasingly vast corporate-cum-welfare state that was erected around them. This is what Zuckerman is referring to when he intimates that a 60-year era of "optimism" is coming to a close. It is actually an American interregnum based on a kind societal pathology led by the "Greatest Generation" which was almost entirely mobilized during World War II. The resultant "boom" was based on fiat money, a metastasizing regulatory democracy and an endless fountain of taxes.

Zuckerman doesn't see it that way of course. He glosses over the reasons why "optimism" is waning and then comes up with the following suggestion that concludes the article: "But if the economic scene these days is daunting, the political scene is downright depressing. We have a paralyzed system. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem able to find common ground to address what is clearly going to be an ongoing employment crisis. Finding that common ground is a job opportunity for real leaders."

This is what really worries elite spokespeople like Zuckerman. They were perfectly fine with the gradual and cynical destruction of the American republic. But around the end of the 20th century something unforeseen happened: the popularization of the Internet as a communication's tool. This has caused no end of upset because the advent of this powerful alternative means of communication effectively spelled the end of power elite media dominance at an especially critical time.

We believe we see clearly that the elite intended to step up its pace toward a kind of world governance. Yet at the same time that it moved aggressively to do so, its ability to effectively promote its point of view was being undercut. Articles such as the one that Zuckerman has written here would have seemed logical 15 years ago, but now merely seem either quaint or antiquated in the context of much that has appeared on the Internet about the "secret" history of the world.

What Zuckerman wants to promote is the idea that America's failure is some mysterious happenstance. Then he wants to suggest solutions, inevitably, involving better leadership and better "education." (He mentions that in the article as well.) This is classic elite disinformation in our view. By focusing on the "end of optimism" rather than the structural issues of what has gone wrong in America (central banking, taxes and regulation) Zuckerman can then suggest authoritarian solutions: more intensive public schooling and better "leadership" from the political elites.

After Thoughts

Here at the Bell we explain as well as we can that elite promotions are fear-based (America is failing and has lost her optimism) in order to suggest authoritarian alternatives as the only possible solutions (public schools and political leadership in this case). Zuckerman's article is a good example of what the Bell presents in its attempts at meaningful contextual analysis. We would submit that the composition and presentation of this article is no coincidence.

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