The federal government and the President of the United States (POTUS) have too much power. I am not sure most Americans are aware of some of the things our federal government has actually done, and what those activities imply for our lives today. The question is: if we know that the federal government has done these things in the past, by what preposterous stretch of our right minds would we now trust our federal government, as if it had suddenly cleaned up its act?
An excellent historical assessment of the CIA’s formative years is contained in “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” by David Talbot. This book reveals just how powerful the CIA was under Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, and Kennedy, influencing foreign policy as a sort of shadow government for large corporate interests who often felt their wealth and wisdom should not be compromised by the naive altruism of elected officials. Viewing the Cold War communists as the enemy that justified any means whatsoever, our CIA was complicit in all manner of foreign operations to overthrow democratic processes around the world, including in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Nicaragua, and even France and Italy. And it actively influenced the media (even The New York Times) to misinform, or to sway public opinion.
The CIA and other federal agencies have long experimented on American citizens: with LSD and other chemicals, radiation, infectious diseases, electroshock therapy, mind control techniques, torture, and a host of other well-documented horrors. The common element in all of them was that they were done in secret, with inter-agency collusion, and official lying was employed to cover them up for as long as possible. In the case of a serviceman exposed to LSD, our Supreme Court ruled that this was legal and that the victim had no right to compensation (United States v Stanley, 483 U.S. 669 (1987)). If our government treats our servicemen and women so poorly, how might it respect civilians?
Henry Kissinger famously declared “Control the guns, control the nations. Control the food, control the people.” Many Americans have in recent years stood up for the Second Amendment right to bear arms -- but what good is it to have a gun if the government controls our food supply? The Department of Agriculture is now subsumed under the Department of Homeland Security, because agriculture is a “national security issue.” Under the guise of protecting us, our federal government has long experimented on us. We are a very short step away from the moral impetus to exterminate millions to save the planet from overpopulation; or for the wealthy to employ the government to eradicate the burden of the poor; or for eugenics to be employed as a moral prerogative, to better the world by developing sterilizing drugs, or foods.
All it would take is one man, the POTUS, who decided to embark on a clandestine program to carry out any of these horrific ends. As we Americans embrace secularism, we invite the reduction of the human soul to that of “just another animal” or “just a material thing” or “just a machine.” We tamper with the genome, imagine nanotechnologies to help us (or at least, the very wealthy among us) to live indefinitely. We fantasize about grand cures for cancer, even as we create chemicals and technologies that spike its incidence. Wealth disparity is a consequence of the rich influencing policies that perpetuate and enhance their positions of dominance -- this will intensify, not diminish.
I submit that we humans have souls: that morality counts for us, even as our federal government proves its immorality time and again. This division -- between souls and the soul-less -- will not suddenly disappear, and our massive federal bureaucracy suddenly emerge as pure and benevolent, the caretaker nanny state that feeds us all nutritiously at the expense of corporate profiteering. No, the opposite is unfolding: government agencies charged with protecting our health and safety collude with drug-makers, chemical manufacturers, and product peddlers to assure us everything is OK when it is most assuredly not.
The way to revolution may not be what we modern, technologically-coddled consumers wish to hear, but here it is: grow local food. I can only trust what I grow, or what my neighbor grows. Chinese vegetables grown in toxins are labeled organic; foreign meats are not labeled as to origin at all. “FDA-approved” means only that a product has been approved for sale; not that it is safe for our children to ingest. Hormones and antibiotics infect our meat; heavy metals and pesticides augment our veggies -- all at “acceptable” levels, of course.
The antidote to federal domination is local agriculture. True, the government can seize your vegetable garden for “national security” under existing laws. But the greater immediate concern is that we even retain vegetable gardens to be seized. Buy local food from your neighbor farmer, not cheap, unhealthy industrial “product” shipped from who-knows-where by an international corporate distributor. Pay extra for organic, not because we know the chemicals in conventional food are dangerous, but because we don’t know. Identify the foods most important to buy organically. Employ your human brain as your Central Intelligence Agency, because the federal government has proven over and over again that it cannot be trusted. And as for my local veggies: molon labe!
Originally published with The Newport Daily Express, 6/7/2017