Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Lincoln Thing

Let’s just hold it a bit on this Lincoln thing.  If Barack Obama wants to lead the nation as Lincoln did, we’re in for a lot of trouble.

The man whose Bible he took the oath on, whose memory he regularly invokes, presided over the creation of what can only be called a nascent fascist government led by a party of industrial capitalism that ran roughshod over constitution and custom, encouraged a form of bloody warfare that defied all civilized practice to date, and was the cause of untold misery, violence, and destruction for the next half-century or more.  He was the ultimate creator of an empire that, thanks to military might in service to corporate interests, spread across the American continent, not just north to south but eventually coast to coast, and would ultimately go on to impose itself worldwide.

We have now come to the culmination of that empire, whether they know it or not, and the meltdown of the global economy is only the first signal of its collapse. Peak oil, extreme climate, unwinnable wars, social unrest, environmental decay,  and the multiple whiplashes of a failed capitalist system will hasten its demise.

We’ve got two choices.  One is the Lincolnesque way that Obama seems to promise: government subsidies for the larger corporations and banks (as Lincoln pushed in his day, especially for the railroads), refurbishing of the infrastructure (ditto), nationalization of the financial system and reckless printing of currency, increased centralization of the government and its hold on the economy, continuation and expansion of warfare and the war machine (all ditto).   That is a continuation of the past, and it is amazing that the nation largely does not recognize it as a recipe for continued collapse. It is in fact not sustainable, nor is the environment in which it is floundering.

The other way is to rejigger, to dismantle, the entire system.

Abandon the empire (which we can no longer afford anyway, of course) and the war system that was begun in 1861 and has been in effective power since 1941 (of which Eisenhower famously warned us).

Dismantle the government-sponsored and –coddled corporate system of large-scale capitalism (agribusiness, Big Oil, Big Pharm, Big Chem, Big Silicone, the lot), overprotected (to keep the lobbyists in business and overregulated (ditto the bureaucrats), and return to a modern variety of an early 19th-century economy, which means small holders, family farmers, local businesses, individual enterprise, neighborhood artisans, community-supported agriculture and power generation, low taxes, and local empowerment.

Dismember the bloated Washington system as we know it (keep it around perhaps for automated record-keeping, but not defense or diplomacy), discard Congress entirely, and return effective power to the states (or better, in time, to bioregions), keep government machinery small even at that level and amenable to true democracy, and, this time around, create prohibitions against a takeover of electoral and legislative machinery  by aristocratic interests and corporate cartelizers.

In other words, let’s try it all over again, having learned the lessons from a disastrous experiment in Romanesque empire that we might have learned long ago, had we any sense of history.  No point in trying to put bailout and stimulus fingers in these broken dikes, no point in trying to hold on to and restore an economy built on nothing but growth and consumption, and the concomitant exhaustion of resources, befouling of environments, amassment of wastes, and emiseration of masses.

Let’s try something new.  In fact we have to.

KIRKPATRICK SALE is the author of After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination and eleven other books.  He is the director of the Middlebury Institute.

 

More articles by:

Kirkpatrick Sale is the author of twelve books over fifty years and lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail