By Rainer Shea
Source: Ghion Journal
The middle of the 20th century was a historical turning point in two ways. One was that this timeframe likely marked the start of a geological period in which the impact that human civilization had on the planet couldn’t be undone. Many scientists consider 1950 to be the year when, amidst the boom of industrial development after World War II, human-created species extinction and pollution produced an irrecoverable new epoch called the Anthropocene. The correlating event of 1950 was the emergence of a new way in which society was structured, one where a mentality of perpetual war created the conditions for the stripping of liberties and the domination of a powerful class over culture and politics.
This takeover didn’t involve the replacement of capitalism with total government control over life, as thinkers like George Orwell speculated would happen with the advent of whatever dictatorship would emerge in the 20th century. Instead, the bulk of the repressive measures happened in the capitalist world, and capitalism was the driving force behind that loss of freedom. The anti-communists of the mid-20th century, especially liberal supporters of capitalism like President Truman, embraced a strategy for undoing the working class gains of the New Deal. This strategy centered around associating American socialists with the demonized Soviet Union. In this new climate of anti-Russian hysteria, supporters of social and class equality were marginalized while corporations and the central government became more powerful.
As Gore Vidal wrote:
“We can date from January 1950 the strict governmental control of our economy and the gradual erosion of our liberties, all in order to benefit the economic interest of what is never, to put it tactfully, a very large group.”
The new power structure was facilitated by the network of state propagandists and secret police operatives who’d emerged with the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, and by the anti-Russian alliance between Western states that was created in 1949—which is still called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The U.S.S.R. didn’t pose any serious military danger to the West, as the Soviet bureaucracy was concerned with maintaining control over its own population and didn’t have any plans for global expansion. But to stop the spread of the communist ideology, and to maintain an atmosphere of hatred towards a foreign adversary, the American national security state had to…