"The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor
is the mind of the oppressed..." 

                                                              -Steven Biko

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Philosopher John McMurtry

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The Shadow Subject of History


John McMurtry PhD, FRSC

“The system works”
- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Decoding the Compulsion to Disconnect

In May 2004, leading Americans and the international community were indignant at the tortures of Iraqui prisoners by U.S. occupying forces when undeniable pictures were published. Yet no-one in the media of record or anyone else in a position of public trust scrupled to observe what had started it all - the lawless U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, “the supreme crime ” under international law, the crime which the judges at Nuremberg described as “only differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”.2 The torture was, as the judges at Nuremberg had foreseen, a predictable consequence of “the supreme crime”. Yet all in official culture remained disconnected from the cause.

It was reassuring to life consciousness that the international media finally broadcast crimes against humanity instead of ignoring them. But manichean slogans of “the Free World” versus “the Terrorists” remained delinked from the criminality of the occupation itself. That the U.S. focus of concern was “damage to America’s image” indicated the nature of the problem. Although the Red Cross had reported that 70-90% of the torture victims were ordinary citizens picked up at random, this did not diminish cries for redirecting attention back to “the real danger, the terrorists endangering America”. That the official Taguba Report itself was not permitted to question anyone above a part-time reserve-army woman officer (who was kept out of the interrogation room by U.S. Defense Intelligence), was nowhere reported as evidence of top-down control.3 That the far worse crimes of maiming and killing defenseless Iraqui women and children by bombs were delinked from the torture regime inside the prisons indicated that the murderous blind eye was still closed.

In fact, documented reports of criminal abuse of prisoners by U.S. forces had been coming in to high command since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 with no decision to stop the routines.4 “Stress positions”, “humiliation”, “use of [attack] dogs”, “sleep deprivation”, “subjection to noise”, “prolonged isolation”, “food and water deprivation”, “restriction of toilet facilities”, and “diet denial” were the generic orders.5 Yet ever since November 13, 2001 shortly after 9-11, Presidential decree had unilaterally overridden the U.S.-signed Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Treatment of Prisoners for the first time in its history. Anyone who objected was deemed to be “lending support to terrorists”. The TV public itself daily watched prisoners - never charged or tried under any due process of law - hooded, shackled and limb-trussed, there were no visible asked questions about the brutality of the abuse, nor about the colonial occupation of the Cuban territory to perpetrate the crimes. What was central was “the torture scandal” and opinions on how to manage perception of it. Accordingly, “communist Cuba” was subjected to new and crippling sanctions for its “human rights abuses” as the state of siege by illegal U.S. embargo and destabilizations was stepped up. The Orwellian set-points of meaning did not arouse media or expert questions.

What could explain the systematic disconnect from reality with no consciousness of it? It was not confined to the U.S. Right or even the U.S. As the torture regime was exposed, the omnipresent liberal intellectual, Michael Ignatieff, urged fellow Canadians on public television to build up their military to join the U.S. in enforcing “human rights” across the globe.6 The disclosure of the videotaped Iraq tortures after years of lawless prescription was itself revealing of the selective mind-set at work. In fact, the story of U.S. torture on 60 Minutes in late April 2004 was a broadcast that had been held back for weeks because its pictures of torture by Americans were “not very patriotic” to show.7 Only when “CBS heard that Seymour Hersh, working for the New Yorker” was planning to publish fresh photographs - - and a damning report [by the army itself] - - did the network decide to go ahead”.8 Until the reports came out elsewhere first, the facts could not be seen. In consensual closing of the doors of perception, the documented evidence was blocked out as non-existent.

Throughout, U.S. concern remained narcissistic. “America is suffering a blow to its international image”, the elite and the many regretted with indifference to the fate of the victims about whom there was no further interest. The fatal pattern was overlooked that tells all - that the U.S. security state repudiates any law if it protects the lives of people outside itself. Since “America’s defence of its interests and investments” abroad entails the right to reject whatever is deemed inconsistent, it follows that its right is to act above the law. In the words of the U.S. September 2002 National Security Strategy document: “We will take the actions necessary to ensure that our efforts to meet our global security commitments are not impaired by the potential for investigations, inquiry, or prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jursidiction does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept”. 9

Not only immunity from international criminal law was thus assumed. Unilateral American repudiations of the Convention for the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, the Kyoto Protocol, the Rights of Children, the Landmines Treaty, the Convention Against Racial Discrimination, the Comprehensive [Nuclear Bomb] Test Ban Treaty, the monitoring and testing requirements of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Treaties, the Covenant for Economic, Political and Cultural Rights of Nations, and the proposed Treaty on the Limitation of the Military Use of Outer Space all continued with no joining of the dots by expert commentary. What repels the pattern from view? Something deeper than class and faction is at work. A regime of meaning operates across classes and scientific disciplines themselves to disconnect the elements so that the whole cannot be seen. To be above the law - including laws applied by the U.S. to prosecute others - was assumed by all as “America’s leadership of the Free World”. Silently, the impunity that once only God-Kings pretended was internalized by other states and the UN itself as the regulating freedom of globalization.10

Exposure of the U.S. torture regime in Afghanistan and Iraq left the impunity intact. The pictures made plausible denial impossible, but the criminal occupation of Iraq continued with renewed UN support on June 8, 2004. Only disconnected pieces were perceived. The “War on Terrorism vindicated all. That the same justification was used decades earlier by the Third Reich was not observed, least of all by those invoking “appeasement of Hitler” as a justification to invade poor non-industrialized countries.11 The comparison was unthinkable through America’s lenses of self-conception which assumed itself as “the society of human rights”.

Behind one corporation-friendly state was the precipitating Reichstag Fire of February 27, 1933 to declare war on all who stood in the way. Behind the successor war state was the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9-11 to allow the same in different degree. Both industrial super states were supported by familiar transnational corporations working both sides.12 Both claimed “terrorism” by shadowy others as the ground of “self-defence” by emergency legislation and wars of invasion. But unlike the Reichstag Fire, 9-11 was advised as desirable before the event - by the Bush regime’s own Project For A New American Century . To be exact, PNAC planned a “process of transformation” to achieve “full spectrum U.S. dominance” across the world which was made contingent on “some catastrophic and catalysing event - like a new Pearl Harbour” if the process was not to be a “long one”.13

The wish of the men positioned to enable its fulfilment was duly granted within a year of Bush Jr’s inauguration, on September 11, 2001. Well known former allies monitored around the clock fulfilled their long known declaration of intention to attack the World Trade Center.14 One former U.S.-financed agent, Omar Abdel Rahman, was specially experienced at the job, having masterminded the first attack on the WTC in 1993 before warning at his trial of another to come15. Another formerly assisted agent in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, who was U.S. armed and supported to attack the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan, was better known for the plan. When 9-11 happened, CIA Director, George Tenet, immediately attributed the attack to him, and named the U.S. flight-trained Zacarias Moussaoui.16 Still, any foreknowledge was ruled out as “conspiracy theory”, and so the ruling mind-set stayed closed as “realistic” and “patriotic”.

The facts of 9-11 which are disconnected from are now copiously documented.17 But why and how these facts are ruled out by the masses and elites at the same time is not explained. The argument has been at the first-order level of the facts, not the lawlike operations on the facts by the collective thought-system that selects, ignores and reconnects them in new form - what I call the “regulating group-mind” (RGM).18 Only when we understand this meta-level of constructing the facts and their meaning in accordance with their conformity to and expression of a pre-existing structure of understanding can we know what is going on or, more specifically, can we find our way out of the anomalies and disconnects of our era.

The Regulating Group-Mind: A Paradigm Example

Understanding of the RGM in the first instance proceeds by three basic principles of explanation:

(1) there is a “regulating group-mind” or socially regulating syntax of thought and judgement which

(2) blocks out all evidence against its assumptions; and

(3) blinkers out the destructive effects which reveal its delusions.

Response to 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars are my central paradigm example of the operations of the RGM across classes and borders. Yet the RGM operates on every level, and explains also the paralysis of nations in responding effectively to planetary ecosystem collapse. The RGM may lie behind every systematic social pathology of our era. In each case, it blocks out facts and connections of life-and-death significance, and in each instance, its exclusion is a variation on one life-blind thought regime, the “shadow subject” of our era.

Received understanding of 9-11 is a turning-point instance of the operations of the ruling group-mind, but is selected for forefront attention because of its taboo hold against so much uncontested evidence and reason. Primary connections which are preempted on the most general plane are: (1) the policy declaration in 2000 by PNAC of U.S. national security planners which expressed the commitment to “full-spectrum dominance” by the U.S. state across the world; (2) its expressed desire for a fast-track to this dominance rather than “a prolonged one”; and (3) the perfect consistency between this policy, what happened on 9-11, and what happened afterwards through the 9-11 Wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.

An acute example of blocking out the defining elements of this evident continuity of fact and meaning is that all U.S. air defences at the most central level were coincidentally down on September 11, 2001 in precise accord with (1), (2) and (3). This connection is as important and demonstrable as any could be for history, but it is nevertheless consistently excluded from the contents of consciousness in all public commentary, and Left discourse itself - the tip of the deeper disorder of the RGM that we do not yet suspect..19 In fact, there was no attempt to achieve any U.S. air-defense intervention with the rogue 9-11 planes until after two jumbo jets had hit different buildings of the World Trade Center in leisurely succession and a third plane or missile had hit a just-vacated wing of the Pentagon - all of this long after the four known and separately hijacked planes had rerouted and flown around unimpeded within the most heavily defended airspace in the world for well over an hour altogether with none disturbed by any sign of defense reaction until after all three buildings had been hit.20

That the U.S. war state which then went into motion showed signs of long planning in each case was not perceived as significant,21 nor was connection to the past statements proclaiming the purpose these plans sought to fulfil. All conformed to the taboo against joined meaning. There were many levels of the disconnect. Singly and together, they ruled out of view the evident through-line of events from the policy record prior to 9-11, to 9-11 itself, and then to “America at War” continuously since in enactment of the original policy plan. Disconnect also ruled on the question of “terrorism” itself. Even as young Americans were killed in rising numbers in Iraq, while non-American families were terrorized across entire countries by the U.S. invasions in violation of the most solemn law of nations, “terrorism” was perceived in all received discussion as solely the Other’s affliction on the Free World and its allies. That in fact, on the contrary, virtually all the terrorization proceeded from the war-crimes, carpet bombings of societies, and systematic torturing of the legally innocent by the U.S. in its “war against terror” was elided from consciousness. The legal definition of terrorism itself was excluded from expert discussion of it.22 That “the central issue facing America and the world”was in these ways reversed in its meaning across cultures and classes was inexplicable when the majority had no interest in reproducing the inverted story as their own meaning. No received theory can explain such a phenomenon, yet there was an explanation. All the facts and connections were unthinkable within the a priori set-points of the reigning thought-system.

The connections across plan and fulfilment, cause and effect are not seen by the RGM to the extent that they conflict with its deciding assumptions. When one recognises that each and all are consistent in expression of one regulating syntax of meaning, anomalies of 9-11 or ecological blindness are no longer anomalous. Since this “way of life” is presupposed by all its creatures as their own framework of cognition,23 the problem is always with what does not conform to it, which is therefore perceived as subversive, irrational or the enemy. Variations on the terminology of abuse of those whose thought does not conform is the media commentator’s principal poetic license and flair. Since the ruling group-mind always operates a priori, facts cannot dislodge what its categorial structure perceives and knows already. Thus no-one in the international media noticed 33 months later in the most dramatic exposure of U.S. defense intelligence cover-up and criminality in a generation - the “Iraq torture scandal” - that the clear connections between the master strategy minted before 9-11 and everything that had occurred since held intact with no movement to modification even after the exposures of the most brutal moral and political crimes.

The lead idea of a “catastrophic and catalyzing event” to expedite desired geostrategic control over vast regions of formerly public-owned oilfields which were no longer within or protected by the Soviet Union was simply not discussed. No-one appeared to notice how amidst all the disasters of the Iraq occupation that the master strategy had strikingly achieved all of its declared pre-9-11 objectives. The through-line of meaning - seizure, control and restructuring of the routes and sources of the vast and publicly owned oil resources of Central Asia (“the Afghanistan War”) and the Middle East (“the Iraq War”) - remained unseeable as the reason for 9-11. The RGM perceived, instead, “another historic step forward for freedom” and “a better world without Saddam’s brutal regime”. Diversion of thought to the designated enemy of the group is certainly an RGM operation of the greatest importance, perpetually disconnecting consciousness from unthinkable objects of attention. It precedes any conspiratorial concealment or ruling class manipulation because it is a preempting block by a collective regime of understanding. Since it vindicates the knowing group and its members in a manner on which all can agree whatever facts contradict their perceptions of self and other, its perception remains secure and consensual.

Not even “the international community” up in arms about the tortures seemed, therefore, to notice the dramatic reversals of fact and meaning. Rather, the tortures themselves were disconnected from their cause as strange anomalies. In return to consensual security, the assistance of the international community” itself was increasingly called for by both contesting U.S. political parties to sustain the criminally illegal occupations. Even former foes of the Iraq invasion, France and Russia included, did not publicly perceive the fact that it was “the supreme crime under international law”, although that was the ultimate law governing the Security Council they sat on. Instead, the illegal war occupation was provided unanimous approval of the U.N. Security Council on October 16, 2003, and again on June 8, 2004, with congratulations around the world for “the emerging consensus on Iraq”.24 The group-mind disconnect was now global.

Financial, logistical and moral assistance for the now UN-approved occupation was accordingly demanded from “those concerned about the people of Iraq”. “The full and free independence of Iraq” proclaimed for June 30, 2004 allowed, in fact none.25 No assured say or veto by U.S.-appointed governors over the armed forces occupying the country was granted, and the agreed-upon choice by the U.N. envoy (Lakhdar Brahimi) of the Prime Minister (the anti-Saddam scientist, Hussein Shahristrani) was reversed. In his place, with none in the U.N. remembering the fact, a former killer for Saddam and then C.I.A.-backed emigré (Iyad Allawi) - was installed representing an organisation created by the CIA and Britain’s M-16.26 The ruling group-mind was a closed box with moving sides, but none within its consensus across parties and cultures publicly doubted or raised questions of the continuing war criminal occupation. It was now called “rebuilding free Iraq”. The long promise of the White House of “complete and full handover of power” was perceived as discharged with no evident notice of the compounding disconnect from reality. The “new consensus on Iraq” left all armed force, control of the economy, privatization and financial planning in U.S. control or that of its dependent appointees. Full approval by the UN Security Council was then duly granted “after disagreements were resolved by U.S. flexibility”.

A narrow epistemology variously rules across the new world order. The dominant conversation transpires within life-delinked co-ordinates, and the truth is what sells - with academic theories as all else.27 It follows that problems are resolved by changing words and perceptions so that people buy into the story for sale. “Terrorists”, for example, can only be those that resist occupation by “nations of the Free World”, whether in Baghdad or the West Bank of Palestine. Even when the armed forces of Israel and the U.S. murder resistance leaders at pleasure, blow up village houses and families, and continuously enforce a scene from Hell on civilian populations, none of this can qualify as “terrorist” to the ruling group-mind because this category admits only non-Free World others into it. Even inversion of the meaning of the term on whose behalf a “war without end” is fought cannot appear as an issue. For its consensual operations are prior to the reality it selects and excludes to understand. If the historical referent of “terrorism” is state attacks on civilians, this meaning too is blocked out of view prior to denial or affirmation. Consequently, laws for “counter-terrorism”are made across the world to meet “the international community’s greatest threat”. The problems which daily determine peoples’ life or death are, accordingly, blinkered out a priori.

Life Consciousness versus the Shadow Subject

“Not for oil” was a wide public sentiment against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, an historic uprising against the hold of the ruling group-mind by that opening of life consciousness which always leads the human condition. But not just Middle East oil was involved. Everything the people lived from was involved. In Iraq, the expropriation was planned, sudden and total, but only seen in glimpses. Publicly controlled banks, industrial infrastructures, electricity and water supplies, food production and delivery systems were all time-scheduled for dismantling, control and marketization by U.S. led and subsidized corporations.28 The full-spectrum confiscation was called the Comprehensive Privatization Plan, a history-turning document not commented upon in the media or parliaments. The Comprehensive Privatization Plan - itself a war crime not possible without 9-11 to realign global perception - was to be complemented by “forgiveness of Iraq’s debt”. Market liberation was not to be burdened with costs that public subsidies could pay. The system-deciding logic was consistent throughout, but its throughline of meaning was unthinkable to the acceptable parameters of discussion. Under terms to be specified by the International Monetary Fund, permanent debt service payments were set into motion, with publicly stripped conditions of existence for the Iraqui people to be specified by the usual IMF conditions of “economic stability and development”. The latest market miracle was, in accordance with the ruling paradigm, expected with no economic planning required. Texas bank-owning James Baker III, the Bush Jr. point man for the stolen 2000 U.S. election, was the same person selected to counsel agreement from European and Russian banks and officials for Iraq’s “debt forgiveness”.29

In market theory, the stage was set for what the September 25, 2003 Economist affirmed as “a capitalist dream”. The pattern was familiar in outer fact, but its regulating logic was not. The pattern was as pure-type as it gets, and was proclaimed as “freedom” and “future prosperity”. On the ground unseen through the ruling market prism, there was no limit to the market double take from the non-market world and confiscations of public wealth - first from American taxpayers to pay for the over $1-billion-a-day armed forces supplied and serviced by U.S. multinational corporations in semi-monopoly or no-bid conditions which guaranteed super profits to be paid by the present and future common wealth of the public realm; and secondly, at a much higher rate, there was the systematic dispossession of the Iraqui and Central Asian peoples whose natural and built resources were systematically privatized by armed force for control by U.S.-selected transnational corporations. Meanwhile the media daily limmed denunciations of the “lawless violence” of armed resisters in approximately exact reproduction of the perceptions of the Palestinians by Israel, the ANC by South Africa, and the Kenyans by Britain half a century earlier. The ruling market group-mind reproduces through time with different names for its expressions. “Freedom”, “development” and “civilization” are the known continuous advances, but always a more total corporate market on the ground is the systematic effect.

In fact, not even the opposing U.S. presidential candidate, nor formerly opposed governments, nor the international press and academics once deviated from affirmation of Iraq’s “liberation”. It was a given of Free World discourse. The unanimity on the issue was not explainable by coercion, private profit, or conspiracy. A deeper order of determination governed throughout. The genocide of a socialist society was unspeakable to name, although what happened to Iraq, as the U.N. Co-ordinator of Humanitarian Aid, Denis Halliday, observed was “in keeping with the definition of genocide in the U.N. convention”.30 Instead, the group-mind knew that “Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who had to be replaced”, and that his “invasion of Kuwait” in 1991, and then “Islamic terrorists’ attack on America” in 2001, were the background causes of “Iraq’s difficulties”. That Saddam himself was paid, armed and directed by the U.S. from obscurity into war against Iran and afterward until his 1991 invasion of Kuwait which was not opposed by the U.S. until after it started, were facts that did not register through the chinks of the RGM; nor, more deeply, did the deaths of over 1,000,000 Iraquis since 1991 by U.S.led bombings, depleted uranium contamination, and sanctions against repairs of free public water and electricity systems paid for by still publicly owned oil.31 All this was blocked out apriori by the market thought-system which ruled. And so clashing opinions, perpetual news, and academic detail work all moved within the reference points and coordinates of the one consensual program of perception and judgement. Isolated facts of mass death were reported from life-conscious medical witness at work behind the scenes, but they appeared and disappeared with no effect on the iron cage of understanding. What the group-mind knew, as it does in stadiums, squares and coliseums across millennia, was that the designated enemy must be overcome. All remain excited and united in group meaning that sees only itself, while reproduction of the group battles as the spectacles of history is perceived as higher meaning.

September 11 2001 fed perfectly into RGM escalation in place of historical learning.32 It first made the invasion of Afghanistan an act of “necessary self-defense” against “terrorist training camps attacking the U.S.” - terrorist camps which were, like Saddam Hussein, financed, armed and directed by U.S. intelligence forces from their inception.33 Within two years, “America’s New War” to invade and occupy Iraq by armed-force in place of UN inspections was propelled by a new perception of “weapons of mass destruction threatening the world”. No-one in official culture connected the wars to the stated Project of America that preceded them, nor to the market epistemology for which the only truth is what sells. Least of all were the wars connected to global market growth - although all that occurred realised these directing principles on long and short-term planes of time. The shadow subject selected for and approved the new reality as necessary and good without the genocide of a people being seen.

In this way, Iraq was now “liberated by America” with an “absolutely convinced” Tony Blair and Bush leading history from their “cojones meeting” - “to do what I think is right”.34 Many critics read these leaders as merely self-serving liars. But there is a deeper order to their lies. The function of leadership of a group-mind is to exemplify its prejudices as militant certitudes. Thus even when the WMD’s that justified the invasion of Iraq were nowhere to be found, the closed circle remained firm across parties and nations. The invasion that was illegal and failed as occupation had to continue if Iraq was to remain liberated. “We must hold the course”, “win the peace”, “not turn our backs’, all agreed through the regulating lenses. New leadership would replace old, but the set-points of meaning and purpose were fixed. What is not recognised by the self-interest theory of motivation is that the regulating group-mind may override even the self-serving calculus of opportunistic state leaders. They go as sacrifices, or not, but the meta-program rules on. It is the shadow level of determination behind the eyes. The Iraq genocide is a symptom of the larger world crisis it propels. Until the deciding base is mutual life and life conditions, the vicious deciding circle remains closed.

The line between the group-mind and life consciousness is clear once seen. The RGM is disconnected from life co-ordinates of perception and decision by a self-referential value system. Life consciousness is oppositely regulated. It is aware of life requirements around it as its body of reference, with no a priori edge to identification. Its common life-ground is ultimately all the conditions required to take our next breath. The group-mind, in contrast, is enclosed within itself as on automatic pilot. It has many variations within our time and others, but always refers attention back to its own regulating categories of meaning instead of the conditions of enabling life. It may proclaim “the free market and democracy”and “the enemies of freedom”, or “Allah’s faithful” and “the unbelievers”. No problem of life destruction can, in any case, register to a group-mind calculus because nothing of value exists beyond it. Externalities to its framework of judgement do not compute to it, and so its ruling metric becomes more formally fixed and life-blind the longer and wider it rules. Eventually, it blocks out any refutive feedback loop even at the level of breath itself - as the absurdly named “pro-life movement” of U.S. market culture expresses in microcosm. From the standpoint of market set-points of mind, only atomic selves and pieces can be seen in reified abstractions from wider organic needs and interconnections.

At its most fateful, the ruling group-mind reproduces itself as the same even in the midst of the life-system collapse which its closure finally leads to - as with the Easter islanders, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican empires, the god-king Khmers - - and the global market system today. The rigid reference body of decision and meaning fails to recognise or respond to the stripping and draw-down of life conditions which its command assumptions entail - much the same as a failed immune system at the cellular level.35.

But who disagrees with the ruling frame of perception and understanding of the global corporate market? Who across the public platforms of the Free World imagines a life-coordinated economy? Who in U.S. political life, or even in world governments or scholarly analyses, dissents from universal market supremacy with no alternative? The consequences of this preconscious absolutism may be to destroy whole societies or social infrastructures upon which hundreds of millions depend for their existence. Yet all proceeds in accordance with a set of ruling presuppositions which are closed to question. The systematic genocide of a region-leading economic order and its looted cradle of civilisation as “liberation”is only a bounded exemplar of the thought system. From early geostrategic plan to destroyed health records, the life coordinates of the people being brought to market never counted. The decisions for their deliverance to “new freedom”were not an issue except for the marginalized.36 The spectre of the ruling subject behind was not exposed by anyone.

When the pictures of systematic hands-on torture emerged as public counter-evidence to the set-points of understanding Iraq’s “liberation”, the war-crime cause which “accumulates in itself all war crimes” remained unmentioned - as blocked out as the throughline of meaning of 9-11 preceding it. Deeper than the presidential cabal’s operations lay the ruling meta-program in command across the ruler-ruled division. The group-mind that blinkers out whatever does not fit its organising frame of meaning is strange to theory because it is housed across classes, countries and cultures by a cognitive regime which is not rooted in locale, practice, or productive prestige.37 It structures the mind itself beneath professional and cultural variation from Rio de Janeiro to New York to Shanghai.38 Not even psychiatry yet penetrates its disorder because it cannot speak from a couch. Marx, in turn, has reified its basic regulating principles as external economic “laws of motion” which cannot explain why people both identify with and reject them.

A micro example of what Blake called “the mind-forged manacles” occurred immediately prior to the invasion of Iraq in clinical conditions. Their grip within and across societies and selves far from the theatre of war disclosed the transcendental set-points across borders. The public broadcasting producers of my own country, Canada - who are in the pay of no U.S. multinational and accept orders from no-one outside - continuously produced their stories prior to March 20 2003 within the ruling line of “Saddam’s dictatorship”and “the war against terror and weapons of mass destruction” - even as the supreme crime of U.S. military invasion remained unnamed, but proclaimed as “inevitably” unfolding. A silent clamp-down invisibly awaited anyone who called the assumed meaning into question. To test the hold of the ruling group-mind, I accepted an invitation onto CBC Sunday News to debate a well-known U.S. geostrategic planner and co-manager of the Project for A New American Century, Thomas Donnelly, the Sunday before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I did not remain within the assumed parameters of discussion. I explained that the U.S. was engaged in launching a criminal war against the Iraqui people, and continuing its genocidal destruction of the people’s socialised infrastructures of water supplies, electricity, food distribution, and public healthcare and education. To the predictable group-mind reflex of “what about Saddam’s brutal dictatorship” and “use of biological weapons against his own people”, I observed U.S. arming and support of Saddam and his regime in these actions from the beginning. I said Mr. Donnelly ought to be arrested under the relevant Canadian Criminal Code section, the Crimes Against Humanity Act, for counselling war crimes and crimes against humanity with no justification of self-defence, and in sabotage of ongoing and accurate UN weapons inspections. He responded with grimaces and slogans of praise for America’s love of freedom since the “U.S. liberation of Europe”.

CBC management did not approve. The “arrest” phrase was deleted from the 30-minute delayed broadcast. The research reporter who had arranged the debate would not return my inquiries on the debate’s feedback, but would only refer to other matters, and was soon no longer on CBC Television’s major public affairs program. The experimental as well as control conditions yielded a consistent result. Reality was blocked out a priori. Neither fact nor argument was relevant to or accommodated by the prior regulating framework of understanding. Far from the Washington political center and across an international border in a time of life-groundswell rising against the coming U.S. invasion, the deep lines of disconnect were at work - the omnipresent on-off switches of the ruling group-mind. They work only so far as they are not seen. Their invisible lines of force are what make us “not know what is going on” even when the evidence shows mass murder and is known.

Understanding The 9-11 Wars

Long-time U.S. National Security Committee adviser to the President, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote four years before 9-11 what inside U.S. geostrategists were already thinking across Republican-Democrat divisions after the collapse of the Soviet Union: "[The United States needs] unhindered financial and economic access [to] Central Asia's natural resources,” he advised, “[especially] the enormous economic prize of the natural oil and gas located in the region” But, he continued, it will be “difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."39 That “truly massive and widely perceived threat” was provided by 9-11. What the former Democrat National Security Adviser to the President advocated in 1999, and what the Bush Presidency’s Republican Project For A New American Century called for in 2000, thus formed across party divisions as a vector of the ruling market group-mind.

At the epicenter of this global market construction is the public and elite response to it - why such facts in clear through-line of purpose and effect have been silenced in public and media discussion. The consensus has crossed the poles of Left-Right division, with even Left institutions like Z-Net gatekeeping against the connected meaning.40 The taboo against knowing the facts was encoded into the identity structure across ideological partitions. Any fact exposing the official story was a “conspiracy theory”or, to Z-Net, a “distraction”. Given the known pre-9-11 search by U.S. geostrategic planning for a publicly salable reason to invade central Asia and Iraq, 9-11's convenient occurrence was disconnected from what it provided the ideal pretext for - administration legitimation and militarily imposed new control over the world’s main supplies of oil. Each war for seizure of oil source was, in turn, disconnected from the known plan to achieve it, and all was disconnected from the ecogenocidal pattern now in military motion as well. Why when the very major invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure this control occurred right after 9-11, the sole context within which these wars could be sold as defensive, did no U.S. public figure, even the heroic Noam Chomsky, join the dots of the unfolding strategic plan? The answer is given by the evidence. A regime of consensual disconnect had formed with the overwhelming consensus blocking challenge to it. Even the most painstaking case for administration complicity in 9-11 featured an exonerating title.41

Political history since 9-11 deepened the mystery of the mind-lock whose wider meaning we investigate here. Despite a subsequent record of years of spectacular lying about Iraq by the Bush administration, still the mass media, foreign affairs respondents and opposition critics blinkered out the accumulating further evidence for a strategically constructed 9-11 attack - for documented example, the anonymously blocked F.B.I. investigations before 9-11, the ignored intelligence warnings from many foreign state agencies beforehand, and the immediately prior visit to Washington of the CIA-advised Pakistani intelligence (I.S.I) paymaster of one of the lead hijackers.42 Even the fixed reference points of physical science were ignored in understanding the steering event - most evidently, the massive steel infrastructure collapses whose instant fall from plane impacts alone, or none at all, contradicts the laws of engineering physics.43 Here more paradigmatically than the unrecognised war crime itself, a structure of denial and projection somehow decoupled elite and public consciousness from the evidence. We know Church authorities would not look through Galileo’s telescope to examine the astronomical facts, but in this case the ruling group-mind embraced entire societies, while the this-worldly evidence which it blacked out was against the interests of almost all of its community of thought. The consensual refusal to see beneath any known calculus of advantage or exchange was anomalous. Only group-mind operation provided an explanation.44

Given the Bush Jr. regime’s non-stop blocking or attack-dog treatment of those suspicious of top-level inaction before 9-11 - including the FBI Director of Anti-Terrorism, John O’Neill (who resigned in protest and then died in the World Trade Center as its chief of security), and later the Bush administration’s own official chief adviser on counter-terrorism, Richard Clarke - what more evidence was required for thought to suspect a reason? How could the long prepared plans for invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, which 9-11 alone justified, not be connected to the stand-down of defences before it? What could explain why even the elites of America could accept that the “most crooked, lying group I’ve ever seen” - John Kerry’s overheard aside about the string-pullers of the Bush Jr. administration - were somehow not in on what “all the buzz in Washington” was increasingly warned about prior to 9-11? 45If , moreover, a number of prominent Americans followed the warnings not to be in the buildings or on the relevant flights on that day, and Bush himself was kept isolated by agenda and security managers from all commander response before and after the attack until after all the buildings had been hit, how could the U.S. secret security command not be coordinated with the sustained failure of response? How, in overview, could such a long chain of coincidences possibly occur by continuous chance?

Everyone now has probably heard that known Al-Qaeda members were long left free to operate inside the U.S. with even FBI investigations blocked by orders from above as they learned to fly, and that four American jumbo-jets were somehow successfully hijacked all at the same time with no security system successful against any member all the way through to the crashes. Once every one of the alleged 19 hijackers was safely through the many gates of prevention and now untouched and in control of four commercial jumbo-jets at once, the story goes, their hijacked airplane buses then flew around inside normally full U.S. air-grids without any interruption for 75 minutes - the Air Force advertises a two-and-a-half-minute time from ground wheel to full throttle through the skies - free-winging about the most heavily watched and protected airspace in the world with military airports all around, and then, presto and telegenically, they skillfully crashed one hijacked jumbo-jet after another into central symbolic buildings of the U.S. - while conveniently hitting the recently de-occupied portion of the Pentagon. “Bring ‘em on!” can almost be heard through the smoke of the blown-up buildings. The increasingly despised Bush administration whose Inauguration Parade had been unprecedentedly egg-pelted and chased off the central streets of Washington had good reason to want the change of enemy that would entirely reverse their fortunes. Consider the notorious secret command coordination which is everywhere at work in the U.S. national security state. Then think through the multi-level and inconceivable failures of preventative procedures on every level and at every gate from immigration to flight control to Defense Intelligence and the CIA - all “coincidentally” coming together to permit the total throughline past all stops to a simultaneously filmed, released and broadcast “Attack on America!”- with all the names of the guilty dead hijackers immediately known, although there was no evidence from the burnt-out wreckage. It was sold and exported across oceans where it could not be checked.

The many close relatives and associates of the man accused, Osama bin Laden, were then immediately exempted by White House fiat from any standard questions of their knowledge of the accused mastermind, escorted in security-cleared planes when no-one else in America was allowed to fly, and deposited in safe houses in the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia where no investigative questions were permitted. The documented details will not be repeated here, but they are impressively massive in confirming, and none disconfirming, the long open pathway to the attacks and a continuing consistent stand-down of investigation since. When all of this faultless sequence of coincidence working continuously in one direction and in favour of one vast payoff matrix was followed, in turn, by a stonewalling of questions by everyone at the top on whose watch 9-11 occurred, still no public questions arose. Everything before 9-11 and after it that bridged the forbidden meaning across it was disconnected from the event. When such a chain of coinciding actions and reactions all consistent with one explanation alone is so systematically blocked out by all around and delinked at every joint, there has been a shut-down of reason that needs to be explained. That is our purpose here - to analyse 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars as a paradigm illustration of the ruling group-mind at work, and to explain how these phenomena connect as unthinkable expressions of one regulating meta-program - the “shadow subject” of the global market thought-system.

If one remembers the record of sacrifices of countless thousands of people to covert geopolitical strategies of which the U.S. corporate security state is long known to approve, sometimes millions of people at a time on false pretexts - as in Indonesia and Vietnam - what could block the meaning here after 9-11? Why would everyday and elite perception assume that the Bush Jr. strategic cabal - who arranged the usurpation of the U.S presidency and then waged a mass-murderous war by false pretext led by many of the very same leading officials who presided over death-squads and criminal secret deals destroying countless lives in prior Republican administrations - would be above allowing 9-11 when it gave them and U.S. corporate empire unprecedented new domestic and foreign powers? What would have been done differently any step of the way had all been strategically planned? The real difficulty here is to find compelling evidence against this hypothesis - for example, some loss or harm to any of the Bush executives who reaped such vast rewards by the show attack. There is no such exculpating evidence.

In place of contra-indicative evidence, the ruling assumption is that “they could never do such a thing” - an expression of the wider religion of America analysed ahead. In the background of history, the motivations for murderous crimes by state leaders against their own citizens are familiar enough, the warp and woof of supreme power. Making others terrified is the logic of control within the framing game of the regulating group-mind across its variations. All Henry II required to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury was a question in front of those who served him. So why would distinctively power-corrupted men facing the biggest early presidential popularity slide in polling history and enmeshment in the greatest electoral and business frauds in all U.S. history, and a sliding market recession after the stockmarket meltdown which their criminally fraudulent chief financer led - just turn away from letting a planned option scenario which would save them go ahead? Would there not have to be a group delusion, perhaps operating across the individuals themselves, to make all the normal questions unthinkable even as their accumulating collapse on all fronts was reversed overnight into public adulation and near absolute power?

Just such a structure of delusion may be provided by the deification of the President bearing America’s “manifest destiny to save the fallen world by her God-given power”.46 Certainly, implication of “the President of the United States of America” in the terrorist attack would unbearably contradict ruling assumption. A murderous complicity to gain cabal and nation-state world command would hardly fit the ruling religion of America’s self-conception as God-blessed and inspired in her “shining city on the hill”. So which goes - the faith in America’s greatness and goodness in the world, or the facts which disclose the opposite at the very top? At some point, the systematic block against reality discloses to us the demonstrable zone of the unthinkable - the defining limit of the group-mind.47

“Conspiracy theory” is the stigma term to fence off the taboo zone, just as “communist” once was to alternatives to the American way. Few ask, “Do you prefer coincidence theory?” If they did, the term of abuse would change - perhaps to “anti-American” or “terrorist”. By one invalidating predicate or another, the unthinkable is blocked out a priori. But would it not be perfectly rational in the market logic of calculated risk for this regime’s top-secret planners and their principals to exploit the greatest opportunity of history to establish their planned “full spectrum dominance” if they were positioned to allow it on fast track? Would not the managed risk of being able to control investigations for the next four years and to denounce any accuser as a “unpatriotic” and “betraying America at war”not be worth the chance in the ruling market calculus? Why would this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not have been considered as an option when mass-kill nuclear-attack options have long been a daily fare of U.S. national security analysis? Would it not, in fact, be irrational from the strategic war-gaming standpoint to forfeit an unprecedentedly great payoff matrix to save fewer lives than three months of U.S. traffic accidents?

These were chief executives trained to seize every opportunity for self and corporate gain managing at the geostrategic level in which the most ruthless decision scenarios are produced by which millions die. Was there anything in the known record to indicate any aversion of any of them to self-maximizing rationality at these levels? Bear in mind more U.S. soldiers were killed or maimed within months by the Iraq occupation itself than American civilians on 9-11. Recall as well Rumsfeld’s response to innocent women and children slaughtered by American bombs - “Stuff happens”.48 Even outside the realpolitik of world empire, the corporate market calculus is seldom deterred by “externalities”of others’ deaths, and these were all corporate CEO’s of the most aggressive kind. Why, then, would they be so “soft” as to fear taking far bigger pay-offs for their own group and U.S. global empire? The regulating group-mind of the global corporate market selects towards allowing 9-11, not against it. So why would this known calculus in U.S. security as well as CEO circles be ruled out as unthinkable in understanding 9-11?

There is a deeper general operation at work here than “the catalyzing event” of 9-11 itself . This is the regulating market structure of consciousness that selects what facts are seen and not seen in accordance with whether it pays off to risk-takers and “feels good” to consumers. This calculus operates altogether independently of whether the object of desire is “true” or not, or life-serving rather than deadly - these concepts being foreign to the market paradigm. The deciding question is: “Can we sell it? Will they buy it?” Fear is the undertow hook - do I look right? am I safe? - but desire is its expression. Both moments join in the one episteme that all assume. Buying and selling is “market freedom”, “our way of life”. “Finding new wealth and markets” is the necessity of growth. Understanding the market value system and epistemology is how we come to understand the fear and aggression of 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars.

Certainly all prefer the pleasant certitudes that “America leads the Free World”, and that its President or secret intelligence apparatus “could not possibly” exploit the planning and execution of such a crime as occurred on America’s soil on 9-11 and afterwards. Yet the Bush administration’s chief executives counseled or endorsed prior Republican President Reagan’s presiding over the smuggling of cocaine into the U.S. to addict inner city Americans so as to illegally finance war crimes against Nicaragua, and before that the arming of the mullah dictatorship of Iran so that it held onto American hostages long enough for the election to be lost by “the human rights presidency of Jimmy Carter” - to, revealingly, the “anti-terrorist” Reagan regime. The reason why such connections to past practices are lost to view is that they are ruled out a priori by the ruling group-mind. So long as there is no operational failure, there is no problem to see.

When Ronald Reagan was provided with the pomp of national sainthood after he fortuitously expired in May 2004 at the height of disquiet about the U.S. torture regime in Iraq, we may remember his ultimate legacy. “He made us feel good again”. “Feeling good” is the folksy correlative of “utility function” and “welfare” in the neo-classical market calculus. It is what the Constitution’s “pursuit of happiness” has come to mean through the market prism. That is why the public identification with Ronald Reagan was so deep whatever his falsehoods and war crimes were in fact. Behind him was the same group-mind as behind Bush junior 20 years later. In the continuity of history, corporate CEO’s like Baker, Cheney, Rumsfeld and trans-administration bureaucrats like Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz bridged the generational turn to market and military absolutism as America’s post-Vietnam triumph. “We will make America great again”.

Yet life consciousness exceeds the bounds of the prison within. The marginalized ask questions. They do not block out the facts that administration people stole the 2000 presidential election by overriding legal voting procedures, rode on Enron jets and its criminal financing to get there, and were on the watch on 9-11. They know that this cabal succeeded in blocking Congressional access to even official records of national energy policy secretly advised by the same Enron executives. If they succeeded in cover-up there, why not here? So those not constrained within the ruling thought-system ask, why would anyone believe this group is above permitting 9-11 to gain vast powers? “You are the Haves, and the Have Mores. You are my base”, is Bush Junior’s known salute to those who take the most. Why, then, has the most elementary query after any crime - cui bono? (who benefits?) - been suspended from question about 9-11? When the most self-evident line of thought has been blinkered out across a people, only an a priori thought system can account for it. As with other great problems of our era, the group-mind disconnects by stopping thought before it arises.

That is why in all the public fixation on 9-11, the interests served by its occurrence were, otherwise inexplicably, not related to explanation of it. These payoffs, unprecedented in any presidency in the history of the Republic, provide guidance in the taboo zone of the unthinkable. Since their preemption from public discussion in North America discloses critical tension at the heart of America between its patriotic identity and its market presuppositions, these interests of private capital, military empire and cabal power secured by 9-11 need to be identified. They include open access to the world’s formerly untouchable and greatest wealth resources, new command position over public financing for subordinate militaries and police apparatuses not only in the U.S. but across the globe, privatization of the world’s richest publicly owned and state-controlled oilfields and the social infrastructures they support, new declared right to suspend the historical basis of rule by law, habeus corpus, to protect the reigning order against subversion, legitimation of a president who lost the election until illegal mass invalidation of votes by Bush state officials and a stacked supreme court illegally confiscated votes in the thousands in Florida and overturned the state’s vote-recount laws, public diversion from the regime’s known corrupt support and energy policy determination by the most criminally fraudulent corporate leadership in American history, unprecedented new powers for price leveraging of oil supplies and military services for a “war without end”, new police powers across borders to imprison without right of legal defense any one deemed to obstruct an international trade and investment meeting, and - at the crest of glory instead of ignominy - unlimited new rights of men with draft-dodging pasts to command everyone else with fawning media attention.49

The problem of the collectively unthinkable runs deep into the psyche.“I can’t believe - - ” is the sign pointing back to the mind-block behind it. Even media consumers’ insatiable desire to know the dark secrets of the famous is here quieted. The sentiment shared among all who acquiesce that “the President could not possibly have been involved in 9-11" was, by its own description, disconnected from the issues of fact or truth. Throughout, one defining operation of the ruling group-mind in all its forms prevailed. The reference points of meaning were pegged beneath consciousness by determining presuppositions which organize understanding to conform to them, and to screen out all that does not. These on-off switches of the group-mind are not natural drives or conscious instincts of survival, but ruling assumptions which structure the heart and senses as well as thought-system which selects, organises, and reinforces the felt sides of being. Once these set-points of consciousness are fixed by dividing lines of war, a fateful consequence follows. Their closure of prejudice-set absolutely disconnects feeling and awareness from facts and relations which conflict with the anchoring assumptions. In response to the extreme pressures of forcing reality to conform to manufactured delusions, the group and its members become increasingly submerged within a pre-conscious field of hysteria, denials and projections. In the case of 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars, the shadow subject of the ruling group-mind and its executive vector propelled two war criminal invasions of other societies and police-state laws across the world in under three years.

We can see, if we do not turn away, the monstrous pattern across pretexts and wars - the global market group-mind harnessed to the American military juggernaut and a bottomless consumer maw that only desires more.50 All serve one transnational regime - the globalizing, U.S-led corporate market that occupies within and without with no limit of growth or barrier of life need. Its system-deciding program is based in a presupposed economic paradigm centuries old that has become hardened into perceived laws of nature. With no limit of rule and war fever as the mega-machine’s moving passion across borders, the regulating program becomes mechanically homicidal. The atomized masses of America and global corporate market expansion are made one in a salvational fantasy of triumphing over the Enemy. At the same time, disconnection of all attention from the failing conditions of human existence follows by displacement. Market “externalities” become “collateral damages” by war as well.

At the regulating centre rules the group-mind’s meta-program, by which individual experience and perception themselves are preconsciously organised. It is “the moral compass” that Republican operators invoke, in terms of which coherence and meaning are found in whatever is selected by the lead vector of the ruling group-mind to war upon next. Here the system-decider is consistent across aggressions, but not acknowledged because of its inhuman meaning. What is selected to remove or destroy always advances the global corporate market over formerly independent and self-organising forms of life, however false the justifications or defenceless the victims in the way might be. This too is a testable empirical generalisation. The goal is proclaimed as “freedom” and “prosperity” through group-mind lenses, but the process is structured throughout by command assumptions beneath negotiation. In reality, one form of Other to the Free World is selected for attack and appropriation - any autonomous, public or civil commons sector that can be privatized for profit, and any individuals, movements or societies obstructing the conversion. When the moving line of global marketization is by “peaceful means”, it is by strategic electoral marketing. When the appropriation is by armed force, it must be preceded by a casus belli - which was 9-11's function.

The Regulating Principles of Market War and Peace

Since all within the mind frame of the ruling group-mind agree by assumption on what “freedom”, “growth” and “future prosperity” mean, the only question left is how to get there. Constructed pretext and the doomsday bombing of innocent poor peoples are the extremist recourse through the twentieth century. 9-11 fits with a larger tradition, but for the first time promises “a market war everywhere and without end”. Beneath the surface logic of “conspiracy to rule the world” - revealingly projected onto “World Communism” in the previous period - lies a core mode of aggression. It too is unthinkable within the RGM, but its deepest line of advance is to negate all life limits as they arise - the shadow meaning of “global market freedom”.

What can never be recognised by the regulating market group-mind is the systemically life-destructive effects of its limitless expansion - which must be continuous and maximal by its own internal logic. That is why the ultimately carcinogenic nature of this process is never penetrated even by those who - like the Club of Rome - sense a cancer at work.51 They cannot connect it back to the logic of the global market because this would contradict the ultimate assumption of the ruling thought-system - that market growth is permanently necessary and good. Only “growth” without mention of capitalism or the market can be bad - thus, the growth of the populations of the non-consuming poor must be the problem. “Anti-growth” perspective thus becomes another variation on the ruling mind-set. Social scientists in general express another variation on the same underlying meta-program of thought - assuming or reifying market growth as akin to natural laws. What increasingly follows from this ruling thought structure - the system-decider of the whole - is evident for the world to see - extinction spasms, climate destabilisation, forest and fishstock drawdowns, polluted waters, and unbreathable urban air in cumulative escalation. But here too, the coherent connection of structural cause to structural effect is unthinkable to the set-points of the regulating group-mind.

What then, more exactly, is this “ruling thought-system” - or, more elliptically, “dominant paradigm” - which structures perception, understanding and decision across the global market? It is the ruling algorithm formalised by Command Assumptions 1-15 ahead. These decisive assumptions are generic and assumed rather than demonstrated, and together they regulate - consciously or preconsciously - the social perception, understanding and judgement of the market RGM across individuals and cultures at both cognitive and affective levels. The foundational thought-system of (1) to (15) operates more or less automatically, and thus forms the shadow identity structure of the peoples of the Free World in the “era of globalization”.52

While these commanding presuppositions are entirely human in construction, they appear as the external structure of necessity to which “all must adapt to survive”. It is not an exaggeration to say that all of planetary existence is now included as an actual or potential object of these “laws of motion of the economy”- from the genes of first people’s seeds to the ocean floors and the skies above. America’s military supremacy across the borders of the world is the high-tech investment vector and enforcement arm of the ever expanding “global market process”. By its limitless “growth” and “globalization” - concepts which unwittingly disclose the totalitarian nature of the system - all conditions of life are progressively converted into its subservient functions as the meaning of “development”, “progress”and “civilization”. The 9-11 Wars are the militant forward edge of this global corporate-market march, and its meta-program moves mechanically on all fronts. But every step expresses a system-deciding logic which is the ultimately deciding order of determination.

Trade, investment and political-legal treaties have been the system’s mode of transnational advance since 1988, with thousands of articles of prescription codified in such administrative instruments as NAFTA and the WTO which are armoured against any elected legislature debate by their international treaty form. Media and infotainment programs of every kind are its communications relations for the public and legislators, with only a very few ever reading their contents. But behind and governing all levels of the global system is the invisibly regulating market syntax of judgement which silently selects and excludes what elites and populations think, decide and expect throughout.53 Its format crosses divisions of persons and cultures as the intersubjective “internal” order of the global meta-program, and can be tested for its hold by any state-level policy or decision in “the Free World”. Although it exerts its own lines of force as the bounds and rules of social and especially elite consciousness, it is presupposed beneath debate as the non-negotiable givens of it. Since few in the market sciences or philosophies penetrate their own parameters of discussion, and since each’s atomic methods block out any group-mind a priori, they remain oblivious to this deeper level of meaning and determination. When it is exposed even in part by ground-breaking conception, its meaning is ignored or attacked - including, revealingly, by the famous originator of the concept of “paradigm revolution”itself.54 In such ways, it has become silently obligatory in economic and related sciences to deny or foreclose any social reality but self-maximizing individuals in aggregates connected by social science statistics or paradigm models, but never a “regulating group-mind”or “collective thought-system”. The first rule of any RGM is that it cannot examine itself. Methodological preemption is the ultimate level of closure against self-recognition.

The on-off switches of the regulating group-mind ramify up and down the hierarchy of power and across social issues. Thus just as “more government” or “socialism” are standard group-mind labels to block out reason on public-sector formations,55 so in the 9-11 turn, one stigma phrase, “conspiracy theory”, hypnotized populations into a set-point of compliance. Complex systems do not continue intact unless all their sub-systems collaborate. With the media as the speech and sign system of the regulating group-mind, the “9-11 attack on America” permitted what was impossible before it. It allowed an illegitimate administration to transmute into America’s patriotic champion at war - above accountability and the rule of law. “Defending America from another terrorist attack” became a political blank cheque for corporate corruption of government expenditures with impunity, war criminal acts and threats across the Islamic and alternative third world, and attacks on civil rights and commons at home. Nothing was fated, but all was undertaken as if it was. “Necessity” prefaced every turn to an ever more totalitarian rule of the unchallenged meta-program.

“Counter-Terrorism” and “the theater of war” were assumed to be “national security” while social organisation to protect and enable citizen life from threats on it could not compute through the regulating categories of meaning. What could also not be seen from the ruling group standpoint was that the shadowy terrorists used the same homicidal methods in dispossessed microcosm as the U.S.armed forces did in billion-dollar-a-day macrocosm. What neither side’s standpoint could see was that each required the other as demonic Enemy for every step of the“war” strengthening the terror capacities and performances of each in different degrees. That is why, at the preconscious level, the war was declared to have no end. The logic was catastrophic and self-propelling at escalating levels, but inaccessible to comprehension by the mechanisms of the RGM, a derangement of many variations. Thus every escalation predictably increased the terror on the ground in proportion to the war against it which justified, in turn, ever more vigilance and funds ahead of all else as “the only way to eliminate the scourge of terrorism”. The group-mind by definition compulsively blinkers out its effects the more they are the opposite of declared objectives - as with “more global market growth” war on nature to “enable better environmental protection”. Leaders and followers continue in the same spirals in accordance with the same command assumptions, and the only general constant of outcome once its natural limits have been reached is more life and life condition destruction by the meta-program. The movement from ruling group-mind to cultural insanity is thus travelled with ever more certitude of conviction and unthinkability of alternative.

In fact, terrorist-transfixed consciousness crossed elite and party divisions from 9-11 to the next election, with the opposing 2004 Democratic platform emerging to frame humanity’s condition amidst increasing ecological and majority-world meltdown as “The Post-9-11 World” in which the anti-terrorist measures, technologies, inspections, controls and laws already in place were “not nearly enough”.56 The costs for America and the world were far deeper and wider than the narcissism of small differences on the stage. All joined in round-the-clock proclamations of the “war against terror” while, hardly seen, the devastating pollution and destruction of the planet’s conditions of life proceeded at ever higher levels. “Higher growth” and “more market spending” remained assumed as the natural condition of survival, and more of both were generated by the war without end. That life growth and well-being were, in fact, being confiscated for more peoples and ecosystems was “out of touch with reality” through the lenses of the ruling group-mind. Reversal operations by consensual assumptions are the RGM’s reproductive cycle. The shadow on the wall grew all the while greater. The alternative super-power looming on the horizon, China, multiplied the U.S.’s monetized growth rates and escalated destructions of nature and rural livelihoods as a “new market miracle” - now presided over by the Communist Party.

In this way, the world’s increasingly deadly environmental and social problems were resolved by being both compounded and blinkered out. The global-market crusades led the dimly known and ancient path of collective insanity, but at a world level of destruction - blocking the systemic causes from view by methodological avoidance and repudiation of “negative thinking”, while stepping up the life-world devastation as “necessary market growth”. The public sectors whose collective actions could alone meet the problems of the failing global market paradigm were, at the same time, drained by the military costs of over a billion-dollars-a-day on U.S-led market wars and simultaneous multi-hundred-billions of tax-cuts to the wealthy. All proceeded in accordance with the regulating market principles, but the deadly effects could not be seen through its categories of judgement. Instead, market panaceas were now proposed for the war-devastated Middle East which lacked even intact public water systems. The United Nations Development Program itself - the leader in promoting a Human Development Index with basic life coordinates - switched into line and stepped to the same drum-beat as the world market crusades. It co-sponsored a U.S.-circulated plan for “G-8-Greater-Middle-East Partnership” to prescribe the universal market solution - “an economic transformation similar in magnitude to that undertaken by the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe”. Improved life means or livelihoods were not included in this “market transformation”, nor any address of their decline in “the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe” by reduced nutrition of the majority, defunding of free education and health-care provision, and radically new insecurity of livelihood for workers and pensioners. These were unseen or accepted as “natural consequences of market reforms”. Attention focused instead on the new market miracle of “micro-finance” at hand. “A mere $100 million a year for five years will lift 1.2 million entrepreneurs (750,000 of them women) out of poverty through $400 loans to each”.57 As elsewhere, there was no relationship between problem and solution, nor any connection of understanding to the life-system problems involved. Disconnect was again consensual.

In accordance with the locked-in assumptions, nations competed against nations in producing market commodities at low cost for the prosperity of all - thus privatizing, defunding and deregulating public sectors, life-protective standards, and civil commons evolved over generations so as to “achieve market efficiencies and growth”. The One Panacea was assumed by all as Economic Law - from the British Labour government to Putin Russia to the post-apartheid African National Congress. It followed that the panacea be applied to the bombed-out Middle East as well. That it had failed everywhere else on life measures was of no moment to the regulating structure of understanding. Resistance arose at the margins in many forms, but no “security measure” was taken that did not project the terror onto resisters as justification for more of the same. U.S. government “bioterrorist initiatives” exemplified in microcosm the “public health in reverse”.58 That the “terrorist threat” which spread terror everywhere was global market totalization itself was inconceivable to the group-mind. Even as “the greatest armed forces in history” invaded, bombed and tortured across the heartlands of the ancient Middle East and Central Asia, all terrorism was necessarily by the Other from which the armed resistance still came.

Many thinking people penetrated to the geostrategic pattern at work, but not to the regulating group-mind prejudices behind it that crossed continents and selected for every decision. The final system-decider was not perceived any more than a computer program is conscious of itself. “Terrorism” instead of “communism” was the changing designator of system Enemy, but what was, in fact, attacked everywhere was any social formation blocking access to the last great frontiers for global market pricing, exploitation and control - far beyond Islamic societies to the commons of space and the thinking mind itself.59 Conversely, what was selected with no limit of funding for its feeding cycles were the U.S. armed and “security” forces and its allied ancillary operations in other nations, along with free infrastructures, tax holidays and increasing automatic subsidies for successful transnational corporations “attracted to more cost-effective investment conditions”.

In the historical background, David Rockefeller long ago expressed in simple terms the lead vectors of the world system in the post-national future. “A supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers’, he advised in a leak from the June 1991 Bildersberg annual meeting,” is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries”. The steering mechanism of mind-and-money that Rockefeller and the Bildersberg meeting shared was also borne by the directing centers of the main political parties, careerist and entrepreneur academics, the corporate press, and leading-brand political classes across the world. The ideal was largely in place so far as all nations had accepted International Monetary Fund conditions as their financial frameworks for privatization, de-regulation, defunding of public sectors, homogenous-export economies, and open borders to transnational corporate commodities. These were the heady realms of “neo-classical theory” and “financialization”. In the more enthusiastic foreground of market worship, tens of millions of poorer and working-class devotees paid to pray for the profit returns of God’s grace, and the most devout awaited Armageddon and the Rapture to come. The group-mind only prevails by having many levels of certitude and devotion.

For market science itself, the magic of the invisible hand infallibly transfigured the limitless desires of market selves into “the public welfare” - the meaning of the First Theorem of Welfare Economics, the mathematical ideal of market theory which deduces that purely self-seeking market agents will necessarily produce a providential outcome of “the public welfare”.60
But a ruling group-mind requires the zeal of the private imaginary too. This was the American Dream which moved its creatures as the shining light of the market soul, the dream that “anyone can get rich” - as Ronald Reagan’s put it in the language of everyman. The 9-11 turn to war across the Middle East, Baghdad and Mongol Asia was thus launched in a moral universe in which the intersection of divine plan and history was already set. America, God’s contemporary chosen nation with all the world as its Canaan, moved rapidly on the ground to fulfil its grand mission - to liberate peoples everywhere to the promised land of “market freedom and democracy”. The material meaning - full spectrum U.S. military and corporate dominance of every asset perceived necessary with no outer or inner perimeter to the right of invasion by financial or armed means to secure it - was “the last best hope of humankind”. As the intellectual elite agreed, only a Leviathan can keep order, and only money provides a medium of value that allows commensurable objects to measure.61

The conversion of all life organisation and conditions into commodities to mediate money sequences in perpetual increase was not a problem that was seen by neo-classical economics or political science because it was already known to be the nature of the real world. Thus ever more of earth existence was converted into variations of “market growth” - from privatized water systems across the world to the engineered chemicals and genes of future frankenfoods and obesity, from the oilfields of poor countries to virgin air and cyberspace”.62 Peoples variously rebelled against the instances - in Cochabamba, the Niger Delta, the European food market, and the anti-Star Wars movement - but the ruling shadow subject, the deciding market group-mind, was not conscious of any meaning beyond itself. “Grow or die” was the motto of reproduction and increase, the new evolutionary mechanism on earth - with money demand, not life need, as the finally regulating value command. Accordingly, only more market money transactions for priced commodities computed as “development” or “well-being”. Since life itself did not count in the ruling metric, its degradation and destruction did not register in National Accounts.

The problem of corporate market corruption of the social order was evident in its germinal state to Abraham Lincoln over a century ago. Lincoln privately warned of a problem whose name is unspoken in economics texts. “As a result of the war”, Lincoln warned, “corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed”.63 Lincoln was duly assassinated within a few months - by the “lone assassin” central to American mythology. U.S. corporate rule has since been instituted across the world and triumphalist over all alternatives, destabilizes and invades wherever there is room for more “freedom” and “development” for money-sequencing operations which all peoples compete to enlarge. The 9-11 Wars have been a turning-point symptom in this meta-pattern of modern history, but the rigid set-points of the regulating thought system command from behind throughout. Corporate oligopoly that overrides all life limits follows deductively from the market thought regime.64 As long as no public authority recognises the bearings of shared life coordinates, and charters its “corporate citizens” accordingly, there is only more systematic life destruction by the imperatives of the system whose metric disregards life-despoiling effects as “externalities”.65

The “soulless mega-machine”, in Lewis Mumford’s phrase, is not dependent on this or that U.S. administration, but each helps to determine the extent to which its prescriptions rapaciously invade and transmute life-systems. The Bush Jr. administration has wherever possible bypassed or repudiated limiting domestic and international laws as expression of “our freedom”. Academic report of his own convictions confirm an exemplary creature of the ruling group-mind.66 Regulating the larger global market before and after his regime, however, are command assumptions in terms of which all decisions are made by its bearers - the thought infrastructure of “the Free World”. These regulating principles are, in turn, preconsciously life-blind. That is, they are not altered by nor sensitive to any facts of life loss, however systemic. Only price signals can register to the ruling calculus, which is indifferent to life requirements unless controlled by non-market values. This life-blind calculus is perceived, however, as “scientific rigour” which is much prized. From the Thatcher-Reagan turn on, its command prescriptions escalated as the One True Faith of our era. As in former times, the assumptions of an Invisible Hand rule steer the group-mind. But the providence of the Market is not doubted even by Science.

Understood within the larger reference body of history, the meta program which regulates the perception and understanding of our epoch was formally born in 1776, the year of Adam Smith’s first testament, An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth of Nations and the year of the American Revolution across the Atlantic Ocean. Its ruling presuppositions form the framing metaphysic of market monotheism and, ultimately, the 9-11 Wars which are its New Crusades where armed invasion is again the corporate market’s moving line of world expansion. Since the end of the opposing superpower system in1991, its global paradigm has been internalised as the consensual structure of acceptable perception. It has become the “no-alternative” determiner of social meaning to which all official cultures across the world - except the “Axis of Evil” - tacitly conform; and to which every ruling political party defers as the silent first condition of contesting national elections. Elections themselves, in turn, have morphed into marketing competitions between advertised brand products, yet are assumed as the only kind of democracy and freedom that exists.

The fall of the Soviet state, we might say, was the rebirth of the market group-mind as not only having “no alternative” anywhere, but “the end of history”. 9-11 marked a second and less visible turning-point towards universal corporate-market rule. That is, it legitimated as “self-defense” pre-emptive armed attack on any movement or force that was opposed - whether unarmed “violence-threatening protestors” in domestic public spaces, or “suspected terrorists” in civilian populations of the militarily occupied world. Behind all the variations of times and conditions, one unexamined reference body of thought ruled as the set-points of human freedom and well-being. Its inner logic determined every step of the post-1988 global market crusades, first by transnational trade and investment treaty-fiats inalterable by elected legislatures, and secondly by the machinery of war since September 11, 2001. What before 9-11 was a world becoming aware of the life-despoiling mechanics of the global corporate system and its one-sided decrees binding societies to its agenda was, after 9-11, a monoculture of “the war against terrorism”. Disconnection from every real problem which humanity faces of collapsing life-support systems was in this way licensed as a global as well as patriotic necessity.

We need to keep in mind here a forgotten fact - that it was one month before 9-11 in Genoa, Italy that the greatest international demonstration ever (over 500,000 people) mobilized against the global market’s rule by treaty edicts and binding prescriptions on societies which recognised only corporate investor rights. In harbinger of the post-9-11 days to come, warplanes flew overhead to intimidate the demonstrators, and police beat hundreds while they slept as “terrorists”.67 9-11 stopped the citizen tide of growing protests overnight, and set in motion legal changes across nations to imprison as “terrorists” anyone who “obstructed” by labour strike, demonstration or body infringement of vehicles any “international meeting” - such as the “anti-globalization protests” which had been increasingly arising prior to 9-11.68
In short, 9-11 served an unspoken function of world-historical importance. It war-drummed off the world stage all protests against the globalizing corporate market, and liberated corporate states to proceed without “obstacles to trade and investment” presented by people and societies.69 The Iraq invasion was a demonstration to the larger global community of the U.S. supreme power ready to override borders by force of arms as it willed after 9-11 - its “credibility to the world”. Behind the universal demand of “free markets and democracy”, the right to make war on whatever did not concede to the prescribed formulae was asserted. The subject which ultimately ruled within and across elites and peoples was not led by, but led the possessing classes, the armies and state executives. The regulating sovereign was a meta-program, and all official culture conformed to its command assumptions as revealed laws of nature. Beneath learned awareness, it was a total metaphysical, epistemological and moral system, more absolutist in social prescription than the Universal Church Militant preceding it. All was perceived, understood and prescribed through a prism of assumptions and received truths. We can unpack the layers of this “regime within” by a 15-step algorithm of principle-sets interlocked as one organising, generic thought-system. Its inner logic of command is what we refer to as “the regulating market group-mind”:

(1) Pursuit of maximal monetary assets and commodities for oneself is:
i: natural for humans, however this natural fact may be denied,
ii: rational in all places and times, and
iii: necessary for all social progress and development;

(2) There is no rightful limit on capital and commodity accumulation or inequality, nor any social or human right to redistribution, by natural laws of property right and economic development;

(3) Freedom to buy and sell in self-maximizing transactions of money and priced commodities is the proven basis of all economic efficiency, and there is no outer limit to this system’s rightful globalization;

(4) The market’s money-price system always optimally allocates resources and distributes goods and services in every society to ensure the best of all possible worlds in that society as well as globally;

(5) Competitive money-profit maximization by investors is the engine of all economic and social advance, and must be liberated from state regulation or “monopoly” public ownership to preserve and advance social and economic progress;

(6) Government intervention in self-regulating market competition is only justified if required for market security and growth, but is “dictatorial” by any violation of “free market flows of commodities and capital”;

(7) Individual consumer desires are permanently increasing and unlimited, and everyone everywhere wants more commodities to satisfy them as their primary choice and freedom in the world;

(8) Every consumer good people need or want must be produced and distributed by the market in proportion to the “effective demand” for it, that is, the possession of sufficient money to pay as the economy’s selector of fitness to survive;
(9) The public interest and human welfare can only be achieved and developed by market competition of producers and sellers because it alone provides incentives for labour, cost efficiencies and technological innovations which are the bases of the wealth of nations, freedom and human well-being:

(10) Market growth is therefore always beneficial with no limit to its conversion of planetary and human life-organization into more market activities, more commodities for consumers, and more investment profits for successful firms in the limitless expansion of “development”, “progress” and “civilisation”;

(11) Protection of domestic production is the disastrous policy of “protectionism”, although subsidization of leading transnational enterprises is sometimes necessary in the “new competitive reality” of the global market;

(12) Whatever facts of life disaster (such as mass loss of livelihood and environmental pollution) may seem to contradict the necessity and validity of market principles (1) through (11), they are only correctable by more rigorous understanding and application of market principles;

(13) If the “creative destruction” by global capitalism destroys ancient settings and ways of life, these are unavoidable costs of development and progress which the market necessitates, and can only be properly solved by “substitute technologies” and “market price mechanisms” as distinguished from “dictatorial state prohibitions” and “socialist slavery”;

(14) Individuals, groups or governments which doubt or criticize: i: the supremacy of the market system, ii: the inherent efficiency of its production and distribution of goods, or iii: the freedom of its agents thereby reject “the free market and democracy”;

(15) Any and all societies, parties or governments which cling to or seek any alternative of economic organization are necessarily “irrational” or “despotic”, and must be overcome to defend the Free World, including by armed force wherever necessary.

These covert commands of world rule form the “regulating market group-mind” to which published thought and speech in the global market normally conforms, and to which governments defer to survive in “the new reality”. Together they constitute a system-deciding algorithm of how to live for “free peoples”. Since “the overwhelming majority of people agree”, whether by tacit agreement or militant prescription, the universally binding system is not perceived as binding or prescriptive, but as “natural” and “necessary”. In theory and representation, the words “corporation”, “transnational corporations” and “corporate power” - which denote the actually ruling mechanisms of power - are unspoken in all official and economic literature because they signify the earthly reality that the ruling group-mind is structured to block out. On the ground, the ruling thought-system is increasingly expressed by the competitively expanding rule of the global corporate market restructuring all fields of human and natural being as “market growth” which all agree is necessary and good.

A simple question tests the hold of this regulating group-mind as an absolutist and universal thought regime. What government, mass medium or neo-classical economist does not conform to each and all of (1) to (15) in speech and judgement? Some U.S. administrations may be described as more extreme than others in the use of armed force against non-market uprisings and societies, but which if any of these principles is overtly violated by any government or even opposition in “the Free World”? Who in public life acknowledges that any society may hold to or pursue any other path? The debate is preconsciously limited to narrow parameters within which the market’s tolerance is normally confined. The limits of debate and criticism are set by the assumption that any alternative system is inherently inferior or evil, with any socialist formation, in particular, requiring “economic restructuring” to “join the community of free nations”. Beneath observation, no market principle rules out the armed invasion of any non-market society or development that does not conform. All market precepts have selected for “market expansion” as desirable and inevitable since its genocides of the first peoples began over five centuries ago. That “tolerance” is universally supposed by intellectuals as the lead virtue of the “free market” discloses the preconscious hold of its prejudice-set. The command principles of social life reproduction have become as inviolable as their own prescriptions once were to the former Universal Church.

The Market Rationality of the 9-11 Attack on America

To understand our problem at the site of a current taboo zone of thought, we may ask: how would the U.S. executive construction of 9-11 itself violate any market principle? Or, more directly, what in market logic or value-set does not affirm its consequences of market growth and globalization? The answer may be that the sacrifice of 2700 lives on 9-11 was too great to be countenanced by any sane mind. Yet this answer fails to recognise that the only cost recognised by the market calculus is a cost to business. All other costs are, accordingly, classified as “(negative) externalities”. Human or natural life loss therefore do not compute in any market theorem. Only the incomes of market agents count to its metric of value. This is not polemic. It is the defining meta-principle of the market thought system, but unthinkable insofar as it conflicts with deeper intuitions of life value in itself.70

The money costs of an act of terrorism are also excluded under rules of insurance exemption, and so are borne by victims and the public purse. In further fact relevant to market gains and losses, the U.S. market was in a deep slide prior to September 11, 2001 - largely due to the burst speculative bubble which Bush Jr.’s own chief electoral financier, Ken Lay of Enron, helped to lead. 9-11 then stimulated massive new state spending on construction, military purchases, and a war that alone added an estimated $100 billion a year to a billion-dollar-a-day military budget. This infusion of public wealth into “the war against terrorism” - after a short stockmarket dip - propelled a U.S. market recovery within two months. All along, the pre-9-11 recession was perceived as “another terrible blow for America by the 9-11 terrorist attack”. This reversal of facts followed from regulating market lenses. That is to say, and the claim can be tested, any facts which do not fit market presuppositions are adjusted so that they do. This is a continuous process of adapting facts to the ruling paradigm, as opposed to adjusting the ruling paradigm to accommodate the facts. It is another indicator of the dominant paradigm’s cumulative collapse as a coherent thought system.71

The market meta-program also favours 9-11 by seeking its market-growth consequences as primary imperative - not just market growth out of recession by an infusion of investment and demand by military and related spending, but more deeply, by the destruction of a non-market society and consequent access to its assets (which in this case may have exceeded in value all energy assets held in the industrial Free World). Such an outcome is the maximum good conceivable through market sets-points of valuation, and accordingly steers geopolitical strategy of market states as a given of payoff options.72 On the level of theory, only necessary and beneficent effects can be seen. On the level of liberal democratic sentiment, “removing a brutal dictator for a free market economy and democratic process”is an a priori good of the highest order. Understanding from this multi-level calculus of the market thought regime, even 2700 people killed in the World Trade Centre is not an issue to detain the tough-minded. In principle, as we know, deaths do not compute to market yardsticks of value except as lost incomes. On the geo-strategic plane of the world’s super state, the issue is clearer still. Decision here, the record shows, is perfectly indifferent to loss of life so far as it directly or indirectly advances U.S. investment interests and military control to defend them.73

If overthrow of a non-market dictatorship blocking access to the global market’s most precious and increasingly scarce wealth is maximally good to the ruling value-set, then nothing that goes wrong can countervail these asset gains from its standpoint. Optimal states of expectation - as subsequent history confirms - thus predictably followed in train after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Liberty and economic development were invariably perceived through the prism of market judgement - extension of more efficient market relations of production and distribution to the locked-in resources and peoples involved, new private capital formations and freedoms, opportunities for spectacular market growth where before there was none, relief of consumers from inefficient Arab monopoly of oil, a competitive price system to properly deploy and allocate resources instead of an “Islamic or socialist prison” keeping the people in “backward dependency on handouts and subsidies”, and “historic new vistas for foreign capital and local entrepreneurs to lead both Afghanistani and Iraqui societies out of the dark ages to development and freedom”. Annunciations of “the first Islamic market miracle”were on the lips of market believers before the electricity was back on.

In short, market magic-thinking prevailed in accord with the principles of the regulating market group-mind even in the face of mass homicidal consequences. Expected “optimums” and “miracles” were known to follow from society’s conversion to market laws. The invasion itself was understood in terms of these expectations from starting plan on through successive disasters of occupation. Yet no-one appeared to connect back to the set-points of the market paradigm which generated the illusions. Why would this be? The market prejudice-set explains what nothing else can - that there was no U.S. post-invasion plan to rebuild an economy shattered by two U.S. saturation bombings and 12 years of U.S.-enforced sanctions, no plan - as distinguished from non-bid contracts to favoured corporations - to rebuild the destroyed life infrastructure that had killed over 500,000 children. There was, in fact, no social plan at all because this was not in accord with the ruling assumptions of the market thought-system.

In ascendant market logic - as F.A. Hayek and his disciple, Margaret Thatcher proclaimed from before the beginning of the neo-classical revival - “economic planning is serfdom”, or, more metaphysically, “there is no such thing as society - there are only consumers and firms”. Market-state “liberation” was, in Iraq or elsewhere, thus certain to bring new freedom and prosperity to a “long-shackled command economy”. If 9-11 would lead to such beneficent consequences once the opportunity was seized, and this optimal expectation followed from the ruling principles, then why would it be wrong for a risk-taking leadership to “allow its great challenge and incomparable opportunities”? New freedoms for foreign investment and for individuals to produce, to exchange and to compete were known beforehand to ensure economic well-being for all - even after Moscow and Kabul had quickly became unlivable by the same formulae, and even after Iraq’s infrastructures had also been bombed and embargoed into genocidal devastation. If all that could be seen through the market prism was good news, why not here? “Shock and awe”on the geopolitical front, “shock treatment” on the domestic front. Each was “necessary for market restructuring”and “society’s freedom and development”. The invasion of Iraq was the reproduction in macrocosm of what was an already known in national microcosm - privatization of a “failing state enterprise”, with the “necessary sacrifices” of people’s livelihoods on a corresponding scale.

The metaphysical assumptions at work disclose a systematic disconnect from life reality. When Assistant Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, expected flowers of welcome thrown in the streets in a Paris-like welcome of the liberators, he was expressing the ruling market group-mind of which he was a lead creature. He was not alone in his structure of thinking. Almost no-one in the official world has proposed another path than “necessary sacrifices” for redemption by “market structural adjustments and society-wide reforms” over 20 years. Thus the complete incapacity of the market-state invaders of Iraq to provide even collective security from attack, or the most basic infrastructures of water and electricity, let alone food and employment or healthcare or education - was not anywhere related to the ruling economic paradigm in terms of whose magical thinking one disaster after another had happened across borders and continents for 20 years - from Argentina to Russia to Indonesia.74 The promised land was built a priori into the ruling model, but even after decades of disaster the transition was assumed as “inevitable”and with “no alternative”. No-one imagined to ask: Could any mumming of slogans and life destruction from the Dark Ages rival this mass-sacrifice regime as deliverance?
No-one on stage, including even Left commentators, seemed to question the fact that “we liberated Iraq”.75 The hold of the regulating market group-mind across factions and disagreements remained fixed - the unseen common ground of the “stay in Iraq” imperative intractably assumed across competing U.S. party establishments through every disaster of support and policy. The fact that Iraqui society had long led the region in health indicators prior to the U.S. invasions, and was now, in looted ruins, chorally proclaimed “liberated” disclosed the collective mental disorder. But none connected the effects back to their causal structure.

The market value-set, in fact, selected towards every step from 9-11 on. “Selling the goods” has many meanings. The deepest prejudice of the market meta-program underneath its apparently scientific mathematical notations is that it conceives all that exists in terms of money inputs, throughputs and outputs in ratios of minimum cost and maximum revenue/commodities for private business/consumers. For the regulating thought-system, these money sequences are laws of nature and reality, and societies either “adapt” to them or do not survive. There is nothing in its calculus, therefore, to deter rather than to favour any life destruction that yields awesome market opportunities, including a once-off terrorist spectacle. To track the program here is unthinkable, but advisable. It reveals the warp of the regulating paradigm itself. The concept of “necessary sacrifices” for tradeoffs between increased market returns and lost livelihoods and lives is known well, but is suspended along with other questions, in understanding 9-11. If the market calculus does not compute life lost or gained but only priceable assets and gains, while its national-security calculus does not recognise law as binding on actions “to protect U.S. interests and investments abroad”, then why not let the attack come to secure both? If the most systemic and global life destructions of our time, including ecological collapse and the obesity-malnutrition outcome, can continue to escalate even after the consequences are known with only denials or fig-leaves in response, then why not 9-11 and a far bigger pay-off matrix? The truth is that no market principle rules out any of these horrific consequences, and all select towards them.

The U.S. geopolitical calculus is based on defence of U.S. corporate market interests, present and future, and there are, as we know, few or no U.S.-recognised constraints of law on “national security” matters and reasons. If 9-11 was planned by a former lead ally of U.S. national security planners, Osama bin Laden, and then enacted by the “moral equivalents of the founding fathers”, as sanctified U.S. President Reagan called the Taliban and their allies in their U.S.-armed war against yet another secular socialist government, why would it not have been also game-planned in the normal way as an option scenario? We need to bear in mind here that all economic and armed-force strategic planning pivots around the “payoff matrix” of decisions. This is the meaning of “rationality” for all of the interlocked market thought-systems, including major areas of moral and political philosophy (eg., the self-maximizing contractarian model in both of these fields). We need also to understand that the strategy frameworks of this “rationality” are military in prototype and development, the logical core of economic theory as well as military strategy since 1950.76 We need then to recognise that the unthinkable is the standardly desired zone of effective strategy in both military and market thought-systems.

Since the very conceptual frameworks of market and military sciences have been increasingly coextensive at the U.S. leading edge since the Second Great War, why would we expect them to be suspended only here?77
Why would this scenario already repeatedly anticipated not have been gamed when long-term market treasure and U.S. military rights across the Middle East and Central Asia were at stake? The payoff matrix to the principals and financers of the Bush Jr. administration of the 9-11 turn has been explained above, along with the wider payoffs to U.S. global market empire and its most precious resource. This pay-off set also grows greater the more “the war on terror” appropriates public resources and attention to enrich and empower the same military, oil and corporate-state interests. At the same time, the military-industrial complex of the U.S., NATO, Middle East and world markets become more interlocked and mutually profitable across continents the more this system is positioned for new pathways of expansion. The peerlessly lucrative exchange corridors of Saudi oil money for U.S. arms and world oil price-setting itself are just two key elements. 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars, in short, enable favourable payoff options on all fronts at the maximizing margins. In light of these history-determining pathways of decision, we may see how the regulating market thought-system increasingly articulates itself through human actors as the “shadow subject” behind every preference, policy and self-maximizing choice.

To lose the golden opportunity to achieve fast-track U.S. “full-spectrum dominance”and maximal self-profit at the same time would, therefore, not make sense within the parameters of the ruling order of rationality and value. It would forfeit vast increase in domestic and world right to command, the unpopular Bush regime’s gain of legitimacy as a war presidency, and new control over the greatest regional resource of global market assets in U.S. history. Cost-benefit analysis beforehand, then, would rationally expect asset gains of unprecedented magnitude, with minimal prospective losses. In strategic terms, the decision path and outcomes were irresistibly attractive. In historical terms, 9-11 spurred the 9-11 Wars which, in fact, expanded U.S.-led market control over former great obstacles of alien borders, Islamic culture, and barriers to control of the world’s greatest natural riches on the basis of completely predictable military dominance. From the standpoint of the market and military calculus, in sum, 9-11 propelled every step of a process culminating in a super-maximizing pay-off matrix. It would be irrational to think that such calculations were inaccessible to those whose motive, purpose and training is to deduce them.78 Conversely, nothing else but 9-11 (or its like) could have enabled any one of these priority objectives to be achieved in this time frame- as prior strategic policy formation was clear in recognising. The hidden system decider throughout, the market-military calculus, forms a consistent explanatory through-line to the present that explains what is otherwise multiply anomalous.

Yet there is another plane of “moral compass” which needs to fix on 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars to “capture hearts and minds” for the mass support within America which would be required to sustain such a revolutionary strategic path in the face of predictable domestic and foreign opposition to the lack of demonstrated cause - “the religious-moral factor” to be analysed ahead. Technically, the background variables are all favourable for execution of the strategic option that yields maximum payoffs to U.S. domination. Global market operations prevent no obstacles for whoever plans the hijack logistics, and assist every step required. Effectively anonymous bank-laundered money accounts are daily and profitably processed by market agents in accordance with the instructions of principals - for example, by delegating functions unconnected with each other and through proxies of instruction. As well, the rule of international and national criminal law does not bind al Qaeda and has been publicly repudiated by the Bush Jr. administration as inapplicable to Americans, while U.S. national law has never led to impeachment of a “President at War”. The family of bin Laden was not even questioned. Desired delivery of market goods with payment in cash on time can always be fast-track and secretive by at least Swiss bank conduits, and so market money demand and mutually profitable exchanges can traverse most of the necessary conditions - including paying for services to well-placed positions for turning the other way at undetectable moments of the exactly timed sequencing. It is a matter of record that market transactions allow for anything that conforms to the relations of price, profit and exchange - slavery, mass murder, buying of politicians and warlords, trafficking in deadly commodities in mass volumes, payoffs of government and military functionaries. There is no limit even within scholastic market axioms.

As is well known, there were even escalated put options on airline stock before 9-11 in evident foreknowledge of the fall of airlines stocks from the hijacks, and no arrests were made. I will not try to repeat here all the evidences of foreknowledge which are already documented. But covert operations at the political level were needed to execute the transnational through-line of strategic war actions after 9-11 with public support. The mistake - which Ground Zero institutionalises - is to disconnect 9-11 from what preceded and followed it. But if we consider the historical continuum as it in fact occurred, the connections are restored. One level of explanation remains, however, to understand the logic of the public political passion that could have embraced the official story of 9-11 and 9-11 Wars with no kickback of de-legitimization. Here as well, a life-blind thought system regulated beneath the actors’ consciousness of it, the ruling group-mind at the level of patriotic identity.

The Religion and Group-Mind of America Behind the U.S. War State

Nothing else but a profound wellspring of ready emotional identification could have motivated a collective mind-block in America against the most elementary forensic questions on this administration’s official story of 9-11, and then overwhelming approval of war criminal invasion of two other societies en route to or on vast oil reserves, the second society with no remotely demonstrated connection to the 9-11 attack. For ordinary people as well as elected legislators to remain silent or enthusiastically support such an historical sequence of events, something more than market motivation is required to explain the phenomenon. Here explanation must move to another plane - the plane of what may be called “the religion of America”. On this plane of verstehen, understanding from the inside, the ruling group-mind is transparent. It centers on “the President of the United States” as one and identical with “America” and its “divinely ordained mission to liberate humankind”.79 In fact, operationally, “the President” means the U.S. national security apparatus and its infotainment feeding system to the U.S. and world media. From this hallowed pulpit of both sacred and secular power, a currently dominant faction, the rulers of the party in office, propagates the good news of the collective faith and supreme power of which the U.S. presidency is “the highest office on earth”. On the everyday level, the instant culture of endless market miracles and wonders holds all classes in a mesmerism of the expectant present moment.80 The ultimate moment of the religion of America is the “clear and present danger”of the Enemy, in struggle against which American heroes are made. It is in such clarion moments that the quintessential operations of the group-mind of America are most clearly evident.

To put the matter in wider terms, the religion of America propels and legitimates the wider global market crusade with America as the world’s saviour state - “the leader of the Free World”, serving “a higher destiny” to liberate all peoples. This is the spiritual point d’honneur of the ruling group-mind across borders, and it is what appeals directly to the hearts and minds of Americans, their “loyal allies”, and free market believers in general. One sees and hears this collective self-worship proclaimed around the clock even in other countries thousands of miles away. “This great country of ours”, “the greatest country in the world”, “the leader of freedom-loving peoples everywhere”, “the last best hope of humankind” are choral epithets of America’s self-description widely carried by others as political and economic fact. “The idea of America”, echoes the subdued John Kerry at the height of his campaign to dislodge a “polar opposite” George Bush as President, “is, I think proudly and chauvinistically, the best idea we’ve developed in this world”.81 The concept of America as an “idea” with no base or qualifier discloses the nature of the reference body which the ruling group-mind adopts as its ultimate value and meaning. It is by definition delinked from the life-ground.

The self-conception of America as supreme on earth in matters of significance is obligatory in public policy formation and expression of acceptable opinion in America. Famous “anti-foundationalist”, Richard Rorty, for example, propagates the meaning of “American democracy” and “the human rights society” as given without any thought of contrary fact to his assumptions occurring once throughout an indefatigable corpus of cynicism about truth.82 There are many variations of expression on the American group-mind. It rules outside America in the dominant idea that the U.S. is “the undisputed leader of the Free World”, “the leader of democracy and freedom”, and “the world’s overwhelmingly supreme power”, standard givens of Western press discussion. The contradictory meanings of these epithets are not seen, in predictable conformity to the ruling group-mind. When demonstrators do call these meanings into public question on the streets in foreign nations, they are typically surrounded and attacked by their own countrymen in riot gear as “anti-American”. No-one I know within America or even outside it yet observes this phenomenon as indicative of an absolutist world religion backed by armed might. Yet America’s certitudes of higher being, supreme power and benevolence of will are daily incanted as articles of public faith. None may be doubted without accusations of treason.83

Such a religion is idolatrous in principle, but this meaning is not possible to recognise from its standpoint. If it is at the same time propelled by a conviction of overriding natural right, and has mass-homicidal weapons to execute its convictions, then no limit appears to exist to inhibit the destruction of what opposes it. Indeed, natural limits of world ecosystems themselves are overridden freely and the most extreme inequality is assumed as a title of America’s greatness.84 In this way, the Invisible Hand comes to work on both economic and political planes as “globalization” and “freedom”. America’s market God is at the same time a fiercely jealous God that tolerates no alternative. That a “competitive” and “tolerant” order simultaneously prohibits any opposition to itself is not perceived as contradictory for it follows predictably from the first principles of the RGM. A fateful set of historical consequences proceeds from this closure to critical feedback. If the religion of America legitimates limitless money-sequence growth from the U.S. corporate centre to marketize all that exists as the meaning of “America’s leadership of the Free World”, then it follows that U.S. market assumptions are converted into acts of war against all opposition or obstacles to its higher mission.
“In God we trust” is appropriately the sustaining certitude of a money-sequence economy reorganising and conquering the world as “our freedom”.85 At the center, the chosen feel and see inside the ruling circle as US - “our own group”, in the words of the academic guru of the U.S. national security cabal, Leo Strauss.86 This invisibly deciding group, us as US, has an invisible center like the market’s invisible hand, but rules the chaos of competing national selves at the global political level. Yet it too is a corporate negotiation and price system - pressuring and buying others in voluntary exchanges at a self-advantage, with armed threat for non-compliance with the given corporate market order.87 The logic of the market group-mind rules all the way up and down. “The value of a person is his price”, says Hobbes. The will to stand against this equation is revolution, suggests Marx. There is no in-between for the religion of America.88

Any alternative is known a priori as an act of enmity to the faith. Within this regulating mind-frame, the meaning of “democracy” is not, as Lincoln or Jefferson thought, self-government by the people. It is a process of locating group-mind preferences that the ruling group shares with a dominant voting bloc of America by continuous polls of opinion to select and market brand products which can best sell. This is the political process that crystallizes the group-mind as a ruling force. Elections test the competing products, what is meant by “democracy” in this thought system, but the material condition of success is always corporate financial and media support (with unusual exceptions destabilized and overthrown by the same instruments combined with U.S. state covert actions).89 Here as well, there are two planes of the ruling order of meaning and decision - the economic and the political. Both are regulated across party oppositions by an interlocked set of absolutes which favour or exclude this or that candidate or policy in a continuous winnowing process. The regulating absolutes are pre-reflective, non-negotiable, and together constitute the ruling group-mind as a structure of understanding and judgement across parties - including Command Assumptions 1-15 above as the generic market frame of mind. Yet the “room between” their poles of possibility may be of momentous importance - not only because a corporate market order may be fascist as well as quasi-social-democratic, but because the latter possibility may raise givens of the group-mind to consciousness, question and modification. This progressive social option was chosen in response to structural market unemployment - now called “natural unemployment” - to which the “Keynesian” public-investment solution responded until the Thatcher-Reagan counter-revolution against the welfare state and Vietnam defeat.

In all, the group-mind religion of America has remained relatively constant over generations with a more extremist fundamentalism coming increasingly to rule since this post-Vietnam counter-revolution. The ultimate command assumptions at work comprise the patriotic level of the ruling market group-mind which motivate its lead national vector. They are never systematically stated, but are more a primitive grammar of belief that is uncodified. Nevertheless, we can formulate their ultimately governing presuppositions as a regulating set of principles operating “on top of” the general market principles defined by (1) to (15) above. Each and all of these deciding presuppositions of the collective faith of the world’s market leader can, as our previous principles, be tested by seeking to find exception - for example, one national political leader in the U.S. who transgresses or challenges any of them. Here we find the political completion of “the ruling group-mind of America” as the global market’s supreme power - the shadow subject of America behind its media, military and financial selectors on the ground, and what enforces market principles as universal across the world. These command assumptions of the nation constitute the bare subject-predicate system of “the world’s sole superpower”, or the inner identity of the US which leads the market meta-program as its supreme ruler on earth. The silently regulating givens of (1) to (6) determine all acceptable public thought in America, including by state-secret policy formation:
(1) America is the moving line of goodness and freedom in the world; therefore

(2) All who oppose America are the enemy and evil; therefore

(3) The free and the good of America must triumph over the evil enemy to protect the world; therefore

(4) America’s armed forces abroad must be supreme to prevail over threats to itself and humanity; therefore

(5) America is its Commander-in-Chief and Armed Forces abroad, which must achieve what (1)-(4) requires by force of arms as necessary; therefore, by transitivity,

(6) America cannot in principle commit crimes or wrongs against others in defending itself and the Free World.

These regulating givens of the group-mind of America form the inner algorithm of its own distinctive religion and morality, as well as of its politics and geostrategic planning. Through their internalisation by acculturation, the governing elite and the masses become one and arrive together at the narcissist center for everything - America itself. U.S. culture is, accordingly, always Americans beholding themselves in one or other mode, the religion of self-adoration which crosses parties and factions and whose criterion of goodness is aggregate sales. Anything which challenges this common ground challenges US and, consequently, the identity structure of each within the circle of “our own group”- an elastic line which may include Bandar Bush, but citizens are its normal outer bound. If sales and group-mind assumptions conflict, as with Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 9-11, which calls into question the identification of America with its war President, then it is predictable from the ruling group-mind of America that the sales venues of the offending market product will be blocked at every level so far as possible within the limits of the American market itself. When the religions of the Market and of America are in conflict instead of, as normal, two aspects of the One, a new dynamic of self-recognition becomes possible.

Yet normally while more and more others who are not believers in the religion of America may be enraged at lawless U.S.-led destruction of people’s life conditions or planetary life-organisation itself, a reverse operation occurs within the American group-mind to invalidate all opposition and opposing facts as “anti-American” or “hatred of America”. This emergent correlative of anti-Semitism joins the ideologies of the Chosen People of past and present.90
Yet once unmarginizable criticisms come from within America at the same time - as with the Vietnam and Iraq wars - then a space for public thought opens beyond the closed limits of the ruling group-mind. Here as well, progressive possibilities for change in the group-mind itself - for example, de-identification of the war President with America or, more deeply, distinction between “loving America” and acquiescence in the group-mind assumptions above. Within the closure of the religion of America, however, it is predictably unthinkable within its thought-system to accept connections and facts that indicate that the Presidency of the United States of America would permit a mass-homicidal attack to occur on America - an unbearable contradiction within the binding faith for most.91 Yet here too, though with more difficulty since there are no pictures to register the facts in the American mind, one can never rule out movement beyond the command assumptions by evolved social intelligence. It is also possible, on the other hand, that the “rational” perspective analysed in the previous section finds no contradiction between the ruling assumptions above and selection of an option scenario that maximizes America’s payoff matrix by allowing 9-11 to occur. Here it would simply be a matter of having to dissemble the plan to the masses and “soft” politicians - as Leo Strauss and the strategic thinking community in general recommend - so as to “achieve great objectives” that others’ limited understanding cannot rise to.

The group-mind admits of many possibilities, but only holds so far as its assumptions are not laid bare and opened to question. There are many intelligent dissenters from the religion of America, but they can be easily recognised and are accordingly marginalized - for example, the many Americans who think their president led a war criminal invasion or had foreknowledge of the 9-11 plan. They are thus predictably attacked for betrayal of America and/or lunacy by those who are creatures of the ruling group-mind. This is a time-honoured operation. Nothing is fixed, but so long as its assumed absolutes rule a priori, they are law-like in their hold - especially in the face of the evil Other which defines the Self-Group. Without acceptance of the primary Enemy as the defining Other of the US, there is a crisis of group-mind identity. America requires this determination by negation to sustain its closure to reality.

Such a crisis in the religion of America - the problem of no Other to define US after the fall of “the evil empire” - was resolved by 9-11. The secular world which expected an age of peace with no evil superpower left did not recognise the necessity of a diabolic Other to justify America’s command leadership of the Free World. A “war without end” against the “enemy of international terrorism”sustained this ruling identity. Without it, America’s society of market selves was without evangelical solidarity in armed force, and without legitimacy of its vast post-Cold War military expenditures. The group-mind and its Other unite different levels of the working whole as their system-decider at all levels of confrontation.

Yet the religion of America does not, revealingly, require a transcendental God ruling above it. With or without invocation of a traditional God, the narcissist self-center can only go one place - back to itself as good and triumphant, and those who oppose it as evil. This metaphysic does not require a religious dualism in the normal sense. Leo Strauss and Ayn Rand, for example, are not believers, but are more absolutist prophets of the market gospel and the religion of America than native Americans. The duality of God (Self) and Devil (Other) only requires the Market and the Nation as Supreme to provide group worship with its armed incarnation in this world. Reverence for pure selfishness of the individual or group - which Strauss and Rand respectively advocate - is more militant with nothing above the self or group.

Clinically, psychiatry knows the disorder of narcissism well. It observes the defining propensities of autosuggestive hysteria and disconnection from reality - apt descriptors for daily television on “America at war against terrorism”. But the unifying disorder is writ within and across the group-mind so it cannot be apprehended from outside its own field of meaning. When psychopathic, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders explains, further and more disturbing properties of mental disorder are revealed. The self lies glibly, manipulates others, is parasitic, and denies all responsibility for destructive actions. The clinical definitions of the narcissistic psychopath and the market religion of America correlate too perfectly to ignore. They are as microcosm to macrocosm, ego to group-mind, but the shadow subject is not seen. For the first rule of any group-mind is that it cannot adopt itself as an object of critical reflection. This is the distinguishing nature of its self-referential circle, and its consequent life-blindness.

This syntax of the American group-mind has been the propelling center of the global market religion since 1991, and more unilaterally since September 11, 2001. The invisible hand’s chosen nation is America, and the U.S. President is the Market God’s Supreme CEO on earth. All the principles of one monotheist construction overlap in one global subject bearing them, “the Free World”, of which America is the centre, the leader and the supreme power. The regulating logic is evident once seen, but as psychiatry has long observed, the unconscious may be fanatically compulsive when not seen. The meta-theme is old. An all-powerful, all-knowing and jealous Supreme Power rules the world to realise the group’s worldly desires in accordance with an invisible design. “The Almighty’s gift of freedom to the world which America has the obligation to spread” is a current positive mode of expression of this regulating article of faith. “You are either with us or for the terrorists” is its meaning as a life-and-death ultimatum.

We know of the pre-Reformation Islam that is the current Other of the market thought-system, but we do not know the self-worship of the Market and America which is its Western mirror image. The intelligent certainly sense the fanatic logic in U.S. witch-hunts of Un-Americans, vast prisons of the poor doing no offense to any person, tens of millions malnourished and without healthcare in the world’s wealthiest market, and - most fatefully for the rest of the world - endless U.S. threats and wars against societies not following the ruling corporate-market order. But we do not yet penetrate the market religion of America behind the symptoms. Again, the regulating logic is evident across phenomena once seen. Yet since the market’s invisible laws and commands are infallible and above reproach, the transcendental set-points of Providence on earth, it is apostasy to penetrate the veil. Few thinkers dare to. Thus America bears this ruling group-mind into unending war against whatever-is-not-it with “the support of the Free World”.92 The Religion of the Market and of America are thus one - the Invisible Hand and the World Superpower united in leading the world to perpetual and universal growth and triumph over the Enemy to Progress and Freedom. 9-11 and the 9-11 Wars are the global market’s new Sword, but none read the crystallizing shadow subject behind the transient events and actors.

From the standpoint of the market religion of America, 9-11 was a clarion call. America’s universal mission of freedom on earth and its natural right to rule the world as “defense” became luminously clear through the regulating prism. The underlying metaphysic of supreme identity was consistently confirmed by U.S. leaders’ political speeches and policies across Party oppositions, with the Kerry candidacy of the Democrats in 2004 providing further evidence of the shared ruling assumptions beneath attack ads. The same logic of U.S. supremacy and global market rule was the shadow script for contending opponents throughout.93 No ally disagreed either with the commanding presuppositions. No line was drawn on America’s claim to world leadership, freedom’s representation on earth, or right to root out all other societies’ weapons which might deter the U.S. from invading it - and certainly no-one questioned the transnational corporate market order. It was heretical, as France saw, even to disagree at the U.N. about the U.S. right to invade another sovereign society even in the midst of U.N. inspections.

Yet a puzzle arises as to how the collectivity of the market religion of America can arise among economic self-maximisers for whom only more money for oneself counts as real value. In the words of America’s most famous contemporary legal intelligence, lawyer Johnny Cochrane. “the colour of justice is green”.94 How can such a nation come together as “the leader off the Free World”, “America one and undivided”? What joins the members of the unifying religion at the centre of their being to unleash them into willing attack on whatever does not conform. Here we move to a deeper, primeval assumption propelling the U.S. war state. The inner meaning of this will can be found as a general principle in Hobbes’ Leviathan and in the canonical contractarian political philosophies after him such as John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government - “the right of nature” to kill another to secure self and property before this authority is transferred to a sovereign state.95 Yet something more primitive forms the shadow subject of America as a people from its comparatively recent beginnings in other nations’ wilderness continent which was already occupied by tens of millions of people - something ready to strike as self-definition against the great powers of the unknown land, against the “red tribes and savages” attacking over centuries, against foreign king rule from an island its people left to be free, against “European empires meddling in the Americas”, and - on a century later through America’s technological miracles in conquering a vast nature indifferent to its goals, beyond the Great Depression and War in which “America saved Europe and humanity from the Nazis” - down to the Cold War triumph over “Soviet enslavement and communism” to, finally, America’s last great test and vindication as “history’s greatest nation”. “The Attack on America on 9-11" was, we might say, a third-millennium call to America’s known mission in the moral universe. “America’s moral compass” and the “Almighty’s destiny” pointed clearly to the launch of the “American Century” - to unleash the one and only superpower to a climactic world crusade across the former Babylonian empire to Central Asia and the borders of India “bringing liberty to the world”. Let the dark forces come. We and God shall prevail in the empire of the good and the free.96

The identity that binds a great nation operates on many levels - the religio-millennarian vision as well as the market’s price system. But the differentia specifica that distinguishes American culture at both micro and macro levels is what all must have and be willing to use to have liberty in and out of America - money and the gun. Money is the medium of all the market’s gains and losses, and no more needs to be said of it here. But the power to kill - symbolised by the gun in all its multiplicity of forms and extensions in America and as America abroad - is more distinctive of the U.S. as a nation, and more revealing of the character structure behind the 9-11 Wars. Deep in the American psyche, the fear turning back to conquer the Other which is always perceived to threaten it, lies the self’s final definer in a world of dark forces waiting to attack. At bottom, it may be said to be the deciding will of the group-mind of America - “I can kill, therefore I am.”

Where is this equation not the propelling determiner of America’s historic identity across races and ethnic identities, past and present, and in the 9-11 era operations across the world? The power to kill the other bridges self-assertion across image and reality, law-abiding patriots and gangsters, the good and the bad alike. It is all, in the end, that the market self unmoored from the larger community can ultimately count on in the Hobbesian world of each against all where “the restless desire for power after power ceaseth only in death”. It is, we might say, the beast at the core of the group-mind of America, the fascinator and repeller of hearts and minds, the abyss across which the U.S. Leviathan stretches in a world without a covenant

“I can kill therefore I am” is a logic that goes back to before Hegel’s master-slave dialectic glorified it as the transcendental source of self and philosophy. Before and after, it haunts the modern Anglo-American projection of the barbarous “State of Nature” prior to its civilisation by Social Contracts (which express the market thought system at another level, in just-so pure theories of justice and morality). After the 9-11 attack on the U.S., the meaning of “we can kill, therefore we are” was reborn as the patriotic will. Yet even after 9-11, the heroic stature of America calls itself into question when the killing of the Other is by industrial bombs falling eyeless from the sky on poor populations and their basic means of continuing life without disease and death. Although all that may matter to this moral universe is to show “We are Number 1 in the world" and “only the free market can provide freedom and democracy” - still the saturation bombing of a defenceless and impoverished people provokes uprising beneath the group-mind regulators of meaning. The life of humanity refuses the offer that can’t be refused. Even although there is almost no popular form of American culture that does not bear the undertow meaning of the master longing - from hunting other creatures to kill them, to the mock murders of wrestle-mania and video-games of shooting others in droves, to the kill-‘em language of America’s favorite sports and the pervasive violence entertainments on living-room screens, to the government of the most populous state by a movie robo-killer - still, something snaps out of the field of group-mind submersion. It may take a generation to unfold - but the end is already written on the mind-lock that cannot tell the difference between the life and death of others.97

At bottom lies the unseen equation of U.S. armed force to America itself. If America is at war in “a war without end”, then the equation rules out its life modes of peace. No received economic metric can see this problem, let alone measure it. Market growth is the only metric of social health visible through the regulating market prism. With no social life but consuming market selves against the Enemy, “we can kill therefore we are” becomes the American collectivity which is nowhere else allowed to exist. The armed force of US is in unobserved fact the only collectivity willingly funded by taxpayers since tax-cut government began. All other pooled resources for nation-state action are “socialism” to the group-mind. In the only national collectivity supported, the esprit de corps of America becomes beneath understanding the boot-camp and the killing fields of others. “We can kill, therefore we are” joins market selves in a thousand points of light. The sky-lighting bombings are “our credibility in the world”.98

This is why the Democratic Party, otherwise unaccountably, abdicated from its responsibility to oppose once the parameters of the “war against terrorism” began - affirming with “no daylight between us” the criminal invasions of other societies, the emptying of the U.S. Treasury, the systematic abridgement of legal rights, and the waiving of environmental laws for the military.99 Society-staggering increases of public expenditure on weapons of mass destruction displaced vital life needs on every level. Disconnect ruled from the heart and mind. It was Un-American to oppose.100 When a people are incarcerated within their group-mind, more paralysed than 1930 Germans in their dread of being named “unpatriotic”, the war cannot stop. That is why it was essential that the war began - to render armed seizure and control of other societies’ lands and wealth as America’s natural right. It was not by accident that Hobbesian theory was dominant in America’s intellectual elite. Underneath detection, a moving spring of self-defence as armed invasion was accepted as given.101

No other cause than the 9-11 attack could have incited American legislators to sacrifice their constituents’ tax-dollars in the long-term trillions, the lives of other Americans, and the reputation of America in the world - as U.S. security geostrategists from both parties recognised beforehand. Without an attack on America, unilateral armed-force invasions of distant societies were wars that could not be sold “after Vietnam”. 9-11 reversed the tide of a generation. Beneath all the surface phenomena of party politics and competing media and opinions ruled the Market Religion of America for which the globe was its resource basin and labour pool, its land of milk and honey of the Promised Land of three millennia later. The historical subject now was the ruling market group-mind, and its commanding assumptions were the set-points for every decision. That the accumulating effects in the larger world of global market expansion beyond all barriers were the ozone layer shredding, oceans rising, and environmental indicators in precipitous decline could not register through the regulating framework of meaning.102 All that was externality to the ruling calculus. Conflicting interests of party, class and ethnos merged as the propelling consensus of the life-blind.

At the middle and working class levels, “we love America” was the shared self-image of citizens. Since “patriotic Americans” all loved America, and America was “our men and women serving in our armed forces abroad”, they could no longer distinguish their beloved country from the crimes of the national security state. The deployments of armed terror, mass disinformation, secret narco-links and political bribery and coercion at every level were denied, necessary, anomalous, or exceptions.103 The monstrous equations were assumed as America which “must be defended against her enemies”. Those who oppose America are “anti-American”. The victims are the enemy. War crimes are “collateral damages”. One absurd equation builds onto another as a paranoid mass cult called “patriotism”- but all proceeds in accordance with the shadow subject of the ruling group-mind.

It is certainly true that there are market-class biases to the effects. The resources of the poor are expropriated for transnational market profit and consumption, while the U.S. Treasury itself is structurally adjusted to a wide-mouth siphon to the rich for “market investment and growth”. But the class bias of the payoffs do not explain the all-class affirmation of the silently deciding assumptions that select and exclude towards every decision, trend and outcome. Only what fights back is perceived by the U.S. and the Free World as a problem to be overcome, and only military and market plans are selected for resolved collective action. Global trade edicts, IMF market-restructuring and - after 9-11 - direct military invasions follow from the global market meta-program - the sole meanings of “development”, “defence” and “security” which make sense to the regulating thought regime. The geostrategic hinge on which all turns is 9-11 - both the karmic blow-back and the launching site of “the war without end”. It is the unseen synecdoche of implosion of a life-disconnected empire. Beyond its group-mind rule opens the horizon of the life economy alternative.

This paper was originally presented to the International Citizens’s Inquiry into 9-11
Convocation Hall, University of Toronto, May 30, 2004, and has undergone major development for publication.

(John McMurtry PhD is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, Canada. His most recent books are The Cancer Stage of Capitalism (London and Tokyo: Pluto Press and Springer-Verlag, 1999) and Value Wars: The Global Market versus the Life Economy (London and Sterling Va: Pluto Press,2002). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.



updated Jun 2003