Language In Our Evolving Society
As we move firmly into the 21st. century, Webster's Dictionary has had to update and re-publish their volumes on an evermore frequent schedule. This is due to new and creative words such as "twitter", Blogger", "Google", Skype and other similar words that define or adequately describe the ever changing world we live in.
As yet one new word that's being used more and more frequently remains without official definition. No, it's not "refudiate" that's circulating across the internet like a ping-pong ball on meth-amphetamine. The word is Corporatocracy. More and more of us find this word in our vocabulary. There's even a definition or two of this word found on the "Urban Dictionary" web site. Here they are:
1. "A social and economic class of rulers, defined by their involvement in the ownership and management of large corporations. 2. The social and economic structures that empower and protect such rulers. 3. The political culture that serves such rulers.
2. "Rule by an oligarchy of corporate elites through the manipulation of a formal democracy.
3. "A type of government in which huge corporations, through bribes, gifts, and the funding of ad campaigns that oppose candidates they don't like, become the driving force behind the executive, judicial and legislative branches."
Corporatocracy is an important word for our generation and the social environment we find ourselves in here at the close of the first decade of this century. We already have oligarchy and fascism and both words evoke denials and sometimes nervous laughter when mentioned in the same sentence with America or United States. Individuals who research such things as language tell me there are subtle differences between these three words, but those differences are narrowing as we approach 2011.
One might ask what is the real meaning of "Fascism" in the 21st Century? Are corporatocracy and fascism similar in meaning or definition? Again, we must look to the Urban Dictionary for the current "Version" of fascism. Here it is - all 14 points:
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism:
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights:
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause:
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
Supremacy of the Military:
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
Controlled Mass Media:
Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
Obsession with National Security:
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
Religion and Government are Intertwined:
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
Corporate Power is Protected:
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
Labor Power is Suppressed:
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .
Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts:
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
Obsession with Crime and Punishment:
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
Rampant Cronyism and Corruption:
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
"14 identifying characteristics of Fascism by Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt. ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20)."
I'm college educated but not a scholar by any stretch of imagination or definition. But as I look around me I've begun to notice that there are changes that have been taking place for the past 25 years. These changes have always been subtle, hardly noticeable and cause no immediate concern or sound an alarm. At 62 I find myself yearning for the "good 'ol days" as most of us do as we approach our "golden years". This has allowed me to relive some experiences and compare today's way of life, government, relationships to the years of my youth.
Suddenly I am concerned and several alarms have begun sounding between my ears; klaxons, sirens, bells and whistles. Tomorrow I'll continue these thoughts and demonstrate why concern is sometimes not a strong enough word - or emotion