Art by Gonzo Today Founder and Publisher Emeritus Clayton Luce

by Peter Burchard – Gonzo Today Contributor

Truth, Justice and the American Way.” 

That’s over. The Social Contract is dead. 

“Money talks, bullshit walks.” 

There is no more oversight. Anyone with the money, and that defines power, can do anything they want. 

The whole thing is corrupt.

Corruption: to become morally debased, to become tainted or rotten, to alter from the original or correct form. 

This is the trajectory of entropy that the institutions of our country and our world are headed in. America was once the enviable model for the world. Not so today. Along with diminishing and now shaky economic dominance has come a decline in respect and envy. If you got the money, you are valid. (See quote above).

The Social Contract (Compact): Jefferson based the structures of our American Experiment on Rousseau’s idea that the people entered into a mutual understanding that government would act in the interest of the whole, and that there would be liberty and justice for all.

In case you haven’t noticed, that’s just not happening, if it ever did.

Jefferson and Rousseau came out of a period they call the Enlightenment. The world’s not so enlightened today. “Show me da money.”

Just ask China, Afghanistan, Iran. It’s the elite, usually one person, who decides. If you don’t like it, too bad. No oversight.

Let’s take Russia and Ukraine. Let’s take sports. Let’s take the US government. Let’s take the stock market. Hell, let’s take traffic behavior. 

They’re all dependent on the mutual buy-in and emotional investment of the public, yet the way they exist today, they are constructed to exploit and deny the everyman. These ideas are sold to us as based on the Social Contract, yet they work to diminish the public, and create a wealthy and privileged elite.

If you don’t like it, just try to challenge me. There’s no oversight. It costs too much to sue. The wealthy will just pay more to out-lawyer you. Take up a gun. That’s today’s great equalizer.

Russia. Putin feels that the biggest disaster of the twentieth century was the fall and disintegration of the Soviet Union. He, by all accounts, wants to restore it. Historically, this was a place whose propaganda sold the idea of the rule of the proletariat, but it was actually controlled by a political elite, while it kept the vast population bereft and subjugated through fear and threat. (See Stalin.)

Now the singular monarchical leader, supported by the mega-rich oligarchs who owe their wealth to Putin, are sending in the proletariat military to conquer the neighboring country who once was part of the Soviet Union.

There is no oversight. The United Nations cannot control the Russians, NATO can’t or won’t do it, China will not. They get to do what they want.  

All of the pertinent players in these institutions are in the mega-rich class, or aspire to be. Of course they don’t want to cause any trouble that would threaten this “system.”

In sports, let’s just look at the Olympic “movement.” (this word is used to associate the elitist corrupt system with the political movements of the people). There’s so much money to be made(or lost), by the elite of the Olympic Committee and their subordinates, they can’t bear to enforce fair play standards, and perhaps exclude major segments of the players.

Sports competition is predicated on the idea that every participant has an equal chance at winning, given talent, ability and hard work. A competition that supposedly includes the whole world can’t exclude half of it and preserve relevance and credibility.

The Olympic ideal is just that. But objective testing has found that the Russians have a government-sponsored doping program to facilitate winning results. When individuals like Ben Johnson, Rick Demont,  Justin Gatlin, or Sha’Carri Richardson were found to have doped, they were stripped of their medals and/orsuspended. 

Not so the Russians. They still compete under the “Russian Olympic Committee” banner. They’re all still competing! Even the medal count on TV includes their results. The fifteen-year-old figure skater who was caught doping was allowed to compete, even though she was caught. 

But she was the favorite, and part of the Russian machine. Can’t keep them out.

The Olympics are corrupt! Despite the invasion of the Ukraine, despite the doping scandal, the debacle of the 1980 and 1984 Olympics will not be repeated. 

Everyone still took part in 2020 and 2022. The Olympic Committee awarded the 2022 Games to IN CHINA!! With its Uyghur minority, slave labor and earth degradation from pollution and mining. And Putin held off his invasion till after the Games at Xi’s request. 

It’s a world community of the ruling elite. All nations are complicit. We don’t matter.

Don‘t get me started on FIFA or US baseball, football or basketball.

MAIN THING: don’t lose money!! Don’t discredit the elite, politically or at the bank. CORRUPT!!

Let’s take government. I think we can all point to corrupt governments in foreign countries, but we can just look at the US government. Follow the money. 

Our system is a two party system. Really? Seems like one party to me: the rich guys’ party. You have to be rich just to run, and you need ridiculous amounts of money to mount an effective campaign with any chance of winning. 

It takes TV money, and plenty of it. If you don’t have it, and you want to win, you accept “contributions” from interested parties, read business, for private financial or political favors. In the end, no matter what policy comes down, it always benefits the mega-rich. The single party of the 2%

My favorite quote from my late stepfather: “ No matter who wins, the government always gets in.”

A quick look at the stock market shows that the notion that everyone has access, no matter how small, and that anyone can make big money is a joke. 

There’s insider trading that’s not for you (take Feinstein, Clinton or many other high-ranking politicians), or Martha Stuart. At least she had the balls and the integrity to concede she had done wrong, go to jail, and serve her time. Can’t think of anyone else. 

No oversight. The 2% skates on.

And perhaps the most immediate and accessible arena in which the disintegration of the Social Contract is apparent is in traffic. 

There is an alarming rise in incidents of road rage. A total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the United States (SafeMotorist). 

It’s scary out there. People are stressed and they take it out on their fellow motorists. The horn honking alone when the reaction time of a driver is slower than what is pleasing to the driver behind them as a traffic light changes, raises the level of incivility and anger in our car-addicted society.

I just witnessed a driver flip the bird to another driver as he passed them, roll down his window and spit on the other car.There easily could have been a gun involved, as there often is.

Yipes! No oversight. Now social conscience. No Social Contract. When two lanes come together and merge into one, “it’s a zipper.” Inevitably, there is somebody who wants to scootahead and gain the advantage of one car-length in a traffic jam. 

It’s absurd, daunting and proves the disintegration of our society.

Is it the pandemic? Is it the time in front of screens in contemporary life? The me-first attitude and the wielding of monetary, political or even physical size advantage without consequence just shreds the tacit agreement that all have equal rights and our democratic ideal is still in force. 

Might makes right. 

Wha’ happened?


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About Peter W. Burchard 2 Articles
Peter W. Burchard is a world traveler and an internationalist. He has been writing since high school and contributes opinion pieces from time to time to various publications. He is quatra-lingual, a fencing master, a drummer and a teacher.