It’s obvious now that we made a mistake here in coming up with our “War on the Poor” tag to describe the rapacious and ruinous policies of the Bush Regime, and the brutal corporate ethos it represents. For it’s not just a war on the poor, of course. That war was won long ago; Bush and the boys grind the poor beneath their heels just for the hell of it these days, just for kicks, a sadistic thrill. No, it’s also a war against working people, against the middle class, against the very idea that there is a common good beyond the raw bottom line, that individual human lives and human communities have any intrinsic value or meaning whatsoever, except as raw material to be squeezed for blood money and chump changIt is a war that is destroying, very deliberately, a way of life that brought an unprecedented measure of security and stability and prosperity to millions of Americans across generations. It’s being systematically destroyed because the business elite can reap even higher, more obscene profits than they already command by gutting America and “outsourcing” its jobs (and not just in the auto industry, of course) to places that pay slave wages to unprotected, unorganized workers and kick back secret sweeteners to keep the corporate lords fat and happy. And it’s being systematically destroyed because the political elite prefer an atomized, terrorized, polarized rabble — scrambling for survival, worn out with worry, broken down with untreated illness or bankrupted by medical costs, fighting each other for a dwindling number of ill-paid, going-nowhere jobs — to a secure and confident citizenry that stands up for its rights.
So it’s not just a war against the poor, although the poor are its greatest victims. It’s a war against civilization itself, if we define civilization as the struggle to overcome the worst instincts of our human nature, as free people coming together in search of betterment and enlightenment — “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in other words. The War on Civilization being waged by Bush and the elite has been far more destructive of the “American way of life” than the not-dissimilar war on civilization being pursued by the pockets of violent religious extremists could ever hope to be.
Both forces seek to destroy the idea of compassion, tolerance and inclusion that is the hallmark of true civilization, and instead impose a harsh, narrow vision of life, a society dominated by the arbitrary will of a privileged few. The “War on Terror” is not a “clash of civilizations;” it is in many respects a civil war between the enemies of civilization, fighting it out to see which of their barbaric, degenerate views of human society will prevail.