Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
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.

May 24, 2018
Jeff Warner – Victor Rothman
Why the Emerging Apartheid State in Israel-Palestine is Not Sustainable
Kenn Orphan
Life, the Sea and Big Oil
James Luchte
Europe Stares Into the Abys, Confronting the American Occupant in the Room
Richard Hardigan
Palestinians’ Great March of Return: What You Need to Know
Howard Lisnoff
So Far: Fascism Lite
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein on Bernie Sanders, Gaza, and the Mainstream Treatment
Daniel Warner
J’accuse All Baby Boomers
Alfred W. McCoy
Beyond Golden Shower Diplomacy
Jonah Raskin
Rachel Kushner, Foe of Prisons, and Her New Novel, “The Mars Room”
George Wuerthner
Myths About Wildfires, Logging and Forests
Binoy Kampmark
Tom Wolfe the Parajournalist
Dean Baker
The Marx Ratio: Not Clear Karl Would be Happy
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail