Escaping the Matrix: INTRODUCTION

2005-03-01

Richard Moore

Friends,

Here's my first attempt at an Introduction to the book. The question 
here is not whether it's "correct", but rather: Is it appropriate? 
Does it answer the questions a reader might have before digging 
into the book itself? If someone were to peruse the Introduction
in a bookstore, would it encourage them to buy the book?

best regards,
rkm

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draft version 3.17

INTRODUCTION


I grew up in the lily-white suburbs of Los Angeles the 1950s.
We had good schools, virtually no crime, and you could
comfortably leave your house unlocked and the keys in your car
in the driveway. I always walked to school, even in first
grade, as did all the other children, and we never had any
fear, or even notion, of being abducted. After school we might
tarry for hours, either on the school grounds or riding our
bikes around the neighborhood, and our parents never worried
about us as long as we got home in time for supper. Such a
different world it was then!

My favorite hero was Superman, and I believed in his credo:
"Truth, Justice, and the American Way." We all knew that
America was the best country in the world and that our
benevolent leaders were doing their best to spread democracy
and to help other countries to advance and become just like
us. I believed that America was a beacon of freedom to the
world and that, like Superman, Uncle Sam came to the rescue of
oppressed peoples everywhere, never asking anything in return.

I went to church (generic Protestant) every week and to the
church youth group Sunday evenings. It never occurred to me to
doubt what they told us in church, or that I lived in the
world's greatest democracy. I believed in the efficacy of
progress: the world was getting better all the time. I assumed
that nuclear power would supply all the energy we would ever
need, and never suspected that disposing of nuclear wastes
could be much of a problem.

In other words, I grew up as a standard, rather conservative,
red-blooded American boy. The only sign that I might
eventually have problems with the system I lived under was the
fact that I was always getting in trouble with my teachers at
school. I was bored to death sitting in a classroom all day
and was frequently "disruptive." Today they would say I had
Attention Deficit Syndrome and undoubtedly they would have put
me on a prescription of Ritalin. At the time I was ashamed of
my behavior; today I'm proud that I didn't submit to the
dreary regimentation of the classroom. My spirit survived! Woe
to those poor innocent children that are now forced to endure
drugs so that the oppressive regimentation can continue.

I suppose the first time I began to wake up to the realities
of the world was when I happened to pick up a copy of William
Lederer's, A Nation of Sheep. Before that I hadn't suspected
that the media or the government was capable of lying to us.
But like many others, I didn't really begin to question the
general benevolence of "the system" until the mid-sixties came
along, with the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement.

I joined the peace marches, cursed at the Southern "rednecks"
on TV, and hated Lyndon Johnson with a passion. But I still
believed in the system. The problem, I thought, was that we
had drifted from our traditional American values. We had
forgotten what the Founding Fathers had stood for. Corrupt
politicians, a compliant media, and over-powerful corporations
were ruining our wonderful American system. I thought the
radicals of the sixties were crazies: they wanted to throw out
the baby with the bath water.

It was in the seventies that I began thinking seriously about
how the system could be reformed. My friends got annoyed with
me for always bringing up political topics. I began to read
what passes for left-wing magazines in America, and donated
regularly to dozens of activist and environmentalist groups. I
started developing ideas about media reform, election reform,
restraints on corporations, the creation of third parties, and
all the standard reform approaches. I even made a few awkward
attempts to write articles.

In the eighties I began to try to educate myself at a deeper
level. I started listening to books on tape during the daily
commute, mainly histories and biographies: Alexander the
Great, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, the American
Revolution, the Roman Empire and Hannibal, the American Civil
War, Elizabeth I, the Russian Revolution, J. Pierpont Morgan,
American Indians,  John D. Rockefeller, the Krupp dynasty, the
Franco-Prussian War, NapoleonŠeverything I could check out by
mail from the wonderful collection of the L.A. library.
Believe me, I learned a lot more that way than if I had
majored in history in my university days. I'm not usually good
at doing two things at once (being male), but driving and
listening turned out to be a great combination. I began to
love traffic jams and red lights: "Please don't turn green
yet; I want to finish this chapter!"

The turning point in my life came with the first Gulf War. I
could see that the invasions of Grenada and Panama had been
warm-up exercises, preparing the American mind to get over the
"Vietnam syndrome." I was appalled at the way Washington
manipulated the UN, and disgusted at the way we saw only
"surgical strikes" on TV while most of the actual bombing was
being carried out by B-52s: carpet bombing from 50,000 feet. I
knew that Saddam had been set up when he was given the
go-ahead by the State Department to invade Kuwait, and was
then betrayed by those whom he thought were his American
allies. I hadn't forgotten that he had been "our man" in the
Arab world all through the decade-long war with Iran, and we
had supplied him with technology, chemical weapons, and
intelligence information. Why would he suspect that things had
changed with Kuwait? (Don't get me wrong: I don't like Saddam,
but I like even less betrayals by my government.)

The straw that broke the camel's back was the announcement by
Bush I at the end of Desert Storm that a "new world order" was
now in effect. It was clear to me that Bush was talking about
a new era of American unilateralism, an imperialist agenda
running under the cover of benevolent interventionism. I
couldn't stand it anymore. I began thinking seriously about
quitting my job and becoming a writer. I didn't know of anyone
else who was adequately understanding the big picture.

In 1994 I finally got up my courage and left my high-paying
software job in Silicon Valley. I moved to a small town in
Ireland and began devoting full time to writing and developing
my ideas. The Internet was just beginning to go mainstream and
that proved to be an ideal forum for my pursuits. I created an
email list, gathered some subscribers, and began publishing
essays online. I also joined other email lists, and entered
into debates and dialogs with all sorts of experts in
political science, history, economics, and many other fields.
It was like being in a world-wide university that was always
open for business. I was learning more and faster than at any
other time in my life.

I began receiving invitations from editors to write articles
for magazines and journals, and ended up publishing dozens of
articles in a variety of publications, ranging from leftist
journals to militia newsletters to youth 'zines. In 1998 I was
invited to speak to an NGO group at the UN building in Geneva,
on the topic of globalization. I had made the transition from
Silicon Valley nerd to being a writer and thinker who was
beginning to find an appreciative audience.

This book is the culmination of my ten year investigation into
how the system works and what can we do about it. I consider
this to be a collaborative work, as my ideas have evolved
through dialog with people all over the world, from all walks
of life, and from many fields of expertise.


* Terminology

I've tried to use everyday language and avoid academic jargon.
There are a few terms, however, that may be unfamiliar to some
readers. To many Americans, 'neoliberalism' may be one such
term. Neoliberalism has nothing to do with the American term
'liberalism', which Europeans would associate with 'social
democrats', but refers rather to the absurd economic doctrine
behind globalization, as introduced by  Ronald Reagan and
Margaret Thatcher. Neoliberalism is the doctrine proclaiming
that "market forces" are always benevolent, and is really the
same thing that in the 1800s was called 'laissez-faire
economics'.

The term 'neocon', short for neoconservative, refers to the
Rumsfeld-Cheney clique that currently dominates the White
House. Neocon turns out to be essentially a synonym for
'fascist'.

-- 

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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

"Escaping The Matrix - 
Global Transformation: 
WHY WE NEED IT, AND HOW WE CAN ACHIEVE IT ", somewhat current draft:
    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/rkmGlblTrans.html
_____________________________
    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
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Informative links:
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    http://www.globalresearch.ca/
    http://www.MiddleEast.org
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    http://www.truthout.org
    http://www.williambowles.info/monthly_index/
    http://www.zmag.org
    http://www.co-intelligence.org
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