An excerpt from the conversation on Frank Moore’s Shaman’s Den, recorded March 14, 2004.
Michael Parenti: Look at it this way. If it means that you can get ten million dollars by stripping and destroying a natural forest that had certain species and had other things and had other uses and fishing … and you can walk away with ten million dollars, you’d do it. Because the gain is immediate, it’s immense. It involves billions of dollars in an oil fueled economy, for instance. Hundreds of billions of dollars. And the costs are, the dis-economies, are thrown onto the public for the most part. It’s true some of that comes back to them. It’s true Betty Ford got breast cancer, you know … and others. But that’s a small price to pay for your hundreds of billions of dollars.
I don’t think we properly understand the mentality of the aristocratic, wealthy class. Their wealth is their essence. They kill for that wealth. They will kill and destroy whole countries to maximize that wealth. Maybe you could get a sense of it if you understand the Mafia. We’re always concentrating on the Mafia. The Mafia is penny, nickel and dime stuff. But it’s exactly like the Mafia.
It now comes in and it gets its cut … it wants a cut of any human activity that’s going on. That’s why it has to be privatized, so that they can come in. The mafia made it that way. They go to a store owner and say, “you make so much a month, from now on you give me a hundred dollars a week of that money”. That’s all. They just come in, don’t do a thing, don’t provide any service, they just get a cut. And that’s what these guys are doing to this day. It’s not the peanuts, the way the mafia makes it. It’s billions of dollars. They do not want any kind of activities, any public sector going on, and pension disabilities, survivors’ insurance, which is what Social Security is … they don’t want that. They’re not making any money. It’s billions of dollars and they’re not making a penny on it. It kills them. Public housing … the landlords don’t make a penny on public housing. So, that’s what their passion is. So when you come along and say “pollution” … so, a river … who gives a god damn about a river? (Frank laughs) They’re very good at attacking things that can’t defend themselves. They’re good at attacking children, the elderly, the disabled. And they’re very good at attacking the environment, because the environment can’t defend itself. The environment is there, and seen as raw materials infinitely … that they can use indefinitely. They believe they have complete right to all the natural … whatever natural resources are left in this world … that they have a right to access all of those resources, to use as they wish. They have a right to dump their dis-economies back into that environment. That is their mentality. And the goal is to get richer, and richer and richer and richer. As Marx said … there are three words he used in Capital, Volume 1 … accumulate, accumulate, accumulate. And that’s the madness that we’re facing.
Frank Moore: What will happen when there is nothing to accumulate?
Michael Parenti: Well, they will go on doing what they do now. For instance, we hear that the Pentagon is now developing contingency plans for global warming wars. That is … this is the level of insanity that capitalism brings people to. They don’t say, “This could lead to a catastrophic disaster”. They accept the catastrophic disaster! They don’t say, “We should change our methods of production, our energy systems, our transportation systems” and all that, to reverse this. They say, “This is coming and there are going to be many people, there are going to be massive riots, there are going to be whole countries where people are going to be starving or inundated by floods or by freezing temperatures if the gulf stream gets smothered by the melting ice, fresh water from the North Pole …”, and they’re developing plans to … so those plans are simply the same pattern of response they’re doing now, for instance, against terrorism. They don’t say, “We should change our policies, because our policies are creating terrorists”. The terrorists keep saying to us, “We fight you because you are in our region, you’re destroying our countries, you’re taking over our countries, you’re destroying our cultures, you’re doing this, and you’re doing that … and so we want to bring the war home to you” and all that. They don’t see that! They say, “Oh, the terrorists fight us because we’re … as Dan Rather said, “We’re winners, and they are losers, and that’s why they hate us”. Other … these right wing media pundits who over populate the TV stations, have all said the same thing, “They hate us because we’re free, we’re prosperous, we’re democratic, and we’re secular … that’s why they hate us”. But when you read what they say, the terrorists who did the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Osama bin Laden, several of his interviews, I’ve got them all in a new book I’m doing, they don’t say that, they don’t say, “Oh, we hate you because you’re so free, and prosperous and good looking and all that stuff”. (Frank laughs) They say, “We want to get you off our backs. We want you to get out of here. We are retaliating.” They see their war as a retaliation against the things the U.S. has done. And the ruling class simply doesn’t look at it that way because they’re using the terrorism more for their own agenda, which is, higher military spending, larger permanent military bases through Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Southwest Asia. Everything the Project for the New American Century has talked about, they’re doing. And so it’s very clear that the war on terrorism, they don’t want to end the war on terrorism. They want that war on terrorism to keep going on. I mean, Bush lets it out sometimes, “This is the first war of the twenty first century. This is an era of perpetual war. There are a whole bunch of countries we’re going have to confront”. They want this to keep going on because it serves their purposes. It gives them runaway military budgets. It gives them a militarization of the whole society. It gives them license to go and attack and bomb and kill people all over the world, and to build military bases. The plan is to finally put a global lock on all the resources of the entire world. A global lock on all the populations of the entire world. To impose upon all of those populations, including the one in this country, a free market system, where there’d be no public sector, no protections, no regulations of any kind. Where the right of capital, and the powers of capital will reign supreme. It’s a very rational policy. That’s not my conspiracy theory. You can go onto your computer and just click in “Project for a New American Century” and they got it all written up there, they put it up on their website now, their plan.
Here is the video of the full interview: