God or golem?


A quarter of a millennium ago, the invisible hand of the free marketplace was thought to be an antidote to the tyranny of powerful monarchies and entrenched religions. Money would rule wisely, the intellectuals said, it would be a just god.

Representative democracy was another attempt to get us out from under oppressive regimes of monarchies and religions. Monarchies did fall and became would-be democracies; but those democracies, if they were ever that, quickly became marketplaces, where while the myth of one man, one voter is still advertised; one dollar, one vote was practiced. What about religions? They, too, once as powerful as nations—more so, even—were subsumed into the marketplace. Citizens and souls are nothing but consumers, or worse, employees.

Shown here is Uncle Sam, the icon of representative democracy, his devotional image reinforcing a myth that that form of government is still with us. Uncle Sam is the Santa Claus of our nation’s summer holidays, and no less a fantasy. Like Santa, Sam knows whether you are naughty or nice, so you better watch out. He’s the faux PR dude for an incorporeal deities as dead as Nietzsche’s—those of the aforementioned representative democracy.

But in our embalmed democracy, which is actually a growing “plutonomy” where, to the 1%ers who rule, Sam i.e. the government, is a cash cow not a sacred one they require the “precariat” worship. (Thank you, Noam and Alternet for showing me those lovely words. The first is a nation beyond plutocracy where money rules, but is ruled by only the very few who have almost all of the wealth and the second—a confab of precarious and proletariat—is the majority of rest of us.)

And as a cash cow, Sam “launders” the plutocrats’ wealth more efficiently than the ever-more precarious proletariat ever did. So that’s what the “Plutes” have taken to doing of late. Rather than paying the precariats a living wage and convincing them to give it all back in purchases; even, rather than loaning them more money—with interest, of course—to buy what they can’t afford. The “Plutes” now just feed their cash to their golem of muck and money, hidden behind the red, white and blue camouflage, then later in the cycle collect it again, with better interest!