John Reimann's personal blog

The Cult of the Individual

I was asked on Facebook why there is no general revolt as a result of the government shutdown. Why does the majority appear unconcerned with the fact that the poorest are the hardest hit? For instance, those receiving food stamps or those on the Women Infancts Children (WIC) program. Here’s my answer:

We have been subjected to the most unrelenting propaganda campaign of any industrialized nation in the world. It could be called “the cult of the individual,” and it really got underway in the 1980s. That campaign was a mopping up exercise after the partial defeat and partial cooptation of the rebellions of the ’60s and ’70s and it went far beyond just the politicians and the “news” media. One of the most important parts of that campaign was what Hollywood put out in the form of movies and music. The education system as well as most of organized religion also participated. The message was: “Go for yourself and leave the next person lying in the gutter. It’s not your problem.”

Even the unions were part of this. Although they were built on the basis of solidarity, the union leaders participated in this, in part simply by their example. But I remember when I first was a carpenter apprentice back in 1970, being told in apprentice class that I should strive to become a superintendent and, if I really was skilled, why, I could even become a contractor. That is what I should strive for.

Historically, mass workers’ parties have served as the collective memory of the working class. But we have never had such a party here. This leaves the US population especially vulnerable to such propaganda. Look at these two signs – one a lapel button – what are they saying?

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Finally, I agree that we cannot discount the effects of all the chemicals we are ingesting nowadays. Who knows how they affect our consciousness?

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