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You've Been Scammed! (On Going for Broke in Ponzi Scheme America)


You've Been Scammed! (On Going for Broke in Ponzi Scheme America)

Tom Engelhardt

It couldn’t be a sunnier, more beautiful day to exit your lives -- or enter them -- depending on how you care to look at it. After all, here you are four years later in your graduation togs with your parents looking on, waiting to celebrate. The question is: Celebrate what exactly?


I for one hesitate not at all to describe the sort of governance we enjoy as subjects of the corporate state as entirely illegitimate. No country needs regime change more than our own.


Remind me to never invite this guy to a party. Debbie Downer just doesnt quite cut it…


"As that system, awash in plutocratic contributions to politics and taxpayer contributions to the military-industrial-homeland-security complex, morphs into something else, so will you, whether you realize it or not. UH…FASCISM?


Complex issues. Think about what we did. The US shipped out a massive number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s. We have far more people desperate for a job than we have jobs. As college costs soared, we have made a degree necessary to get any sort of job. This locked a chunk of the population out of the job market entirely. Those who are able to qualify for college loans can often get jobs that pay more than minimum wage, but end up with massive debts. You lose either way, and the US maintains its downhill slide.

Realistically, I don’t see what we can do about it. The more advanced nations provide free higher education to all those who have the ability to do the course work – and a modest means of survival while going to college. They do this, not because they are focused on “handouts to the poor,” but because legitimate poverty relief serves the best interests of their country. When middle classers are outraged at the very thought of, say, providing food and shelter to the jobless poor, there is no chance of expanding the number of people who have the education/skills necessary to ensure America’s future.


By definition, we’re already well on our way toward establishing a fascist state. We’ve been implementing fascism slowly, from the bottom up.


The best things in life are free.


What A shame Tom wasn’t invited to Yale or Harvard to give this sobering commencement speech-
But, of course, it wouldn’t apply to A Yale or Harvard Grad, now would it…



Your party of Robber Barons would get indigestion the minute a truth-teller like Tom walked into the room!


Thanks Chris. The earthquake is near. One can feel it in the air.


Quit voting; at least quit voting for anyone running as a dem or repub; yes Bernie run as an independent. A government which is not supported by the people is not a gov’t of the people; we then go from there.


I’m reading that Russia and China intend to make it at least a bipolar world.


I like the fact that he reminds us that the crooks who have managed to lie, manipulate, embezzle and murder their way to the top are just human beings who put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us…and that we don’t have to comply with their agenda if we don’t want to. granted that entails a host of trials and tribulations…but freedom is worth the sacrifice.


Does the truth really bother you that much, or would you prefer to continue on the path of delusion…
Thank you Tom Engelhardt for your as usual prolific coverage by exposing how we are unwittingly sliding into the abyss of the 1%'s false reality and tyranny brought about by the insidiously evil $200+ billion dollar perception management industry-


Very nicely done Mr. Engelhardt! A shame indeed that so few who graduate will hear anything remotely as honest or useful as this.

But each of us can practice speaking the blunt truth in our own lives, with the people in our families, in our workplaces, in our communities. We ourselves can ‘graduate’ into the brave risky service that Tom promotes.


Does anyone else have a problem with Tom’s call for the ‘youth of America’ to rise up in rebellion against the corruption he so persuasively (if ultimately somewhat superficially and topically) diagnoses and describes? How fit, really, are these ‘demobilized,’ marginalized, scammed recent college graduates to seize the helm and turn things around for the better? I know and frequently talk with such young scam victims—these understandably disgruntled and politically impotent young persons.

And while they are for the most part pleasant and inoffensive—and occasionally quite bright and well-intentioned—they do not strike me as capable rivals, let alone able REPLACEMENTS, for the deceitful, utterly self-serving, corrupt ruling elites that have sold them down the river. In saying this, I am certainly not advocating political inaction or passive acceptance of the despicable status quo. I’m just trying to picture what life in this country would be like IF such a ‘regime change’ were to occur.

My legitimate fear is that the ‘education’ these young persons have so dearly paid for (and will continue to pay for, for a long time to come) has all but crippled their minds and spirits when it comes to genuine moral-political FITNESS. With the glaring exception of technical-professional training (in arenas of practical, systemic, and economic importance), their educations have, generally speaking, taught them next to nothing about history, philosophical thought, ethical reasoning, or political THEORY (as distinct from ‘poli sci,’ a very different beast). In other words, with all the best will in the world, the coordinated efforts of an entire generation of tech-savvy, information stuffed, pleasure-stalking, outer-directed semi-barbarians are not likely to usher in a salutary alternative to the dismal state of affairs in which we are presently embedded.

And when I refer to the majority of twenty- and thirty-something ‘educated’ Americans as ‘barbarians’ I certainly intend no malice or scorn. I am merely pointing to the lamentable shallowness and thinness of their Western CULTURAL endowment. And it is not even fair to direct most of the blame at THEM for their cultural deficiencies. Even the best wheat and barley seeds will fare poorly in toxic soil or in an unsuitable climate. Their practically unavoidable barbarism is more properly attributable to the deplorable norms and standards that are firmly enthroned here in America. These pathetic norms and standards (in political, ethical, intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual arenas) allow mediocrities and even energetic KNAVES to capture the applause and the endorsement of millions of ‘know-nothings’ who simply do not know any better—or any different!

Moreover, these same norms and standards practically force genuinely developed and ripened individuals ‘underground’—or way out to the remote margins of ‘public discourse.’ Why is this? Well, to begin with, in order to acquire the knowledge—and to access the higher models—necessary for THEIR educations, these exceptional individuals have to venture far beyond the well-lit highway of merely ‘modern’ knowledge (which usually amounts to INFORMATION and TECHNIQUES), where such neglected or forgotten wisdom is to be rediscovered. Then, once they have found the crucial texts and teachings that can provide them with the ideas and the critical distance (from philosophically blinkered modernity) that they require for ripening, they are obliged for years to swim ‘against the current’ in order to internalize and stabilize their very different (and unavoidably un-popular) wisdom. Adaptation to current norms for such ‘untimely’ souls is always merely provisional and apparent—never genuine or deep—since, in their depths, such maturing individuals are fiercely at odds with the flaccid, degenerate, ‘vulgar’ norms and standards that virtually everyone else either energetically embraces or passively accepts as AUTHORITATIVE.

Obviously, the will and determination required to reject pretty much everything that prevails in one’s sick and decomposing ‘culture’ are not COMMONLY met with. And, of course, all of this inner work of vomiting up and purging one’s mind and feelings of the ceaseless flood of poppycock, pollution, and poison must be done privately and inconspicuously so as to draw as little negative attention to one’s work as possible. What I’ve just said should suffice to indicate the almost incommunicable loneliness that necessarily attends such purgative work. It should also put to rout Tom Engelhardt’s misplaced hope in the next wave of American barbarians. With their present endowment, they certainly cannot inaugurate a cultural-moral enlightenment. That’s not the way these things happen—and when they do happen, life pretty much goes along without much significant alteration for the vast majority of men, women, and children in this world.

If the way is to be cleared for a period of moral-spiritual-cultural regeneration, the first thing that must happen is a collapse or breakdown of the current system. Our left-wing dissenters and our ardent political activists love to blame the ‘one percent’ and the ‘diabolical’ corporations—but such criticisms turn out to be superficial and grossly deficient, even if there is just enough truth in them to rile up and piss off a lot of shallow, if well-meaning, minds.

The system that is ‘in play’ will remain in play unless and until one of two momentous events occur: 1) We simply run out of resources and/or destroy our ecosystem, or 2) there is a radical, COLLECTIVE change of values, so that the present ‘culture of consumption’ is thoroughly undermined from within. We love to forget that the diabolical corporations and corrupt government officials are, when you get right down to it, implementing the collective will to consume, consume, consume. Sure, they steal the ‘lion’s share’ for themselves, but in the ‘developed’ nations, the mass populations are very much in the game—and, with few exceptions, not seriously opposing it in a politically significant way. In fact, it is the active collaboration and complicity of most ‘educated’ and trained persons that enable the doomed and destructive system to continue its relentless work of devastation! And the poor, uneducated masses have seldom been a serious match for organized, crafty greed and power structures. Anyone who has not thoroughly renounced the essentially materialistic-hedonistic way of life that MOTORIZES this barbarous and destructive system is a blatant hypocrite and their criticisms and rants are no more than empty noise.