by Jim Hoover
Conservative America would like to keep the bulk of Americans fat, dumb and happy. That is the outgrowth of the conservative building of a proto-fascist country, dominated by large corporations.
Activity in Republican-controlled states and the House of Representatives, show the ideas of right-wing corporations like Koch Industries. If the Koch brothers have their way, private ownership, de-fanged unions, and private control of public resources will be the rule not the exception.
As for the dumb, what is the first program that Republican governors and lawmakers want to cut, even when there is no deficit and even while cutting taxes for corporations? It is education.
Now there are two ideological goals tied to this. First, do what benefits the rich, namely corporations that want to profit off of what are currently public services. First, we need charter schools run by corporations. Enriching corporations is the first thought, while educating the public with controlled but fundamental basics with a bit of censorship thrown in.
Second, education should no longer be a right, especially college or trade school. Besides, the uneducated are more malleable and easier to manipulate when they vote.
Dumbed-down citizens can be more readily pacified. Corporate-owned entertainment can accomplish this. It’s somewhat like warehousing a homogeneous audience in a controlled environment. The early Romans did it with gladiators and games.
Fox Cable News, for example, is basically a trivial and mindless pursuit, but with right-wing goals: sowing division, distorting truth, mocking progressive ideas, dispersing the inane, and celebrating the rich and famous. No thinking is required, only spectacle, angst, anger and emotion.
There is no wish among Republicans to continue public-funded education. The days of free education have come to an end. The first target has been a college education by state and federal government. Before the Republicans gained an advantage in the House of Representatives in 2010, Democrats rid us of privatized college loans carrying a double subsidy to banks, costing students more in interest with taxpayer-subsidized guarantees for banks as well. Now the Republicans are targeting Pell Grants, which have benefitted the gifted who happen to be poor.
States all over the country are raising college costs beyond the reach of even the middle class, usually rather than touching tax benefits for the rich, or outright giving large corporations tax cuts.
As for the fat, monolithic corporations have invested billions in producing high-calorie food, what you might call artificial foods, foods with a long shelf life, high sugar content, and sodium to prolong the life of the product, but certainly not the consumer. Such fare reigns supreme and produces obesity rates of greater than 20% in all states and more than 30% in 12 states.
Fat, Dumb and happy Americans can vacuously contribute to the cash registers of corporate America, taking lower and lower portions of the national income, manipulated into voting conservative, and happy with the inane entertainment provided by overpriced TV, a controlled internet and mass-produced movies. George W. Bush did his part for plutocrats by telling us after 9/11 that we should shop.
Exported jobs to low-wage countries, disappearing manufacturing, and low-price foreign goods could keep wages down and provide lower-wage Americans with cheap foreign goods which you can pay for with credit cards anyway. The debt-laden are more easily controlled too.
Certainly the Republicans continue their grand plan: polarizing the populace, sabotaging any measure of success for Democrats when Dems are in the majority, chipping away at the middle class safety net, trying to transmit blame to Democrats, and hoping ultimately to win elections through deceit and cunning.
For the Republican plan to work they need to keep the majority of voters in a state of insecurity and long hours of work, where fat, dumb and a “preoccupied happy” is our only shelter from a crumbling middle class life that Republicans continue to oversee.