Crossposted from Axis of Logic
Religion and money have always been the sacred pillars of American civilization, ever since the time when it was a British colony, ever since the Puritans in New England branded the philosophy of the new country as a god-fearing and materialistic new world. Thus it was and thus it still is. Today's merciless invasions and bombings of various foreign countries is simply a continuation of the century-old U.S. expansionist strategy that has from the very beginning been the trade mark of the self-righteous and the most powerful country in the New World.
Expansionism is part of their religion
Long before Hollywood, television and Disney World surfaced on the horizon of the entertainment-hungry masses, the worship of money and the mostly innocent belief that the one and only God created the world in seven days were the solid corner stones of their society. From there came the convenient belief that the colonists and later the Unites States government had the moral right to decimate the native Americans, to wipe out their culture and to take over their healthy lands in exchange for barren desert land where their souls were stifled, even in those whose bodies survived.
The endless 'Westering' was later followed by cruel wars of conquest and the moral rights of the governments seemed never to be questioned by the people. After the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, which added vast new territories west of the Mississippi in what is now the enormous center of the country, the appetite for new lands was only whetted for further forays in the surrounding areas. The remaining areas of what is today the United States of America were added in various wars during the course of the 19th century, mainly the Mexican-American war and later the Spanish-American war. The U.S. governments grabbed huge new territories from Mexico and from the Spanish conquistadores to add to their own country as if it were their god-given right to kill and rob and plunder.
Greed, religion and patriotism
Human beings have always looked for approval from their fellowmen. We all need to feel that we belong somewhere, to some group or community. Religion and wealth both serve the purpose of making us feel accepted and, at the same time, making us escape from the barrenness and the drudgery of our everyday existence. There is hardly any escape more powerful than religion, but in the United States it is also a way of gaining a high standing in our communities
On the other hand, crass profiteering serves both as a goal in itself and as a way of getting accepted in society. It's the sure path to power. There is hardly any country in the world where greed and religion have combined in such perfect harmony as in the United States of America.
'Greed is good' has become the national anthem. God rewards those who work hard and thus it is a mark of honor to be among the wealthy few who are chosen to govern the communities and the nation. It is the old Puritan way of seeing wealth as the proof that God is with you. The arms manufacturers and the corporate chieftains are the Elect who will be saved on the day of the Rapture and we, the poor sinners, are doomed to a life in hell.
If it had not been for the worship of money which underlies all other values in the United States of America, it would have been impossible for Wall Street to act with such total impunity in their shameless scheme to con the U.S. citizens out of their savings and modest wealth.
Add to this poisonous brew of intolerant, fundamentalist religion and the puritan worship of money, the unrestricted faith in the country's superiority over all other countries, that is their unquestioning patriotism, their second religion, the die-hard belief that their country can do no wrong, and you get to where the country is today.
Deregulation and the silencing of the opposition
The superficiality of the U.S. citizens in accepting a man like George W. Bush as the President of the country seems perfectly unbelievable to most people outside the U.S. We know now how this was brought about, however, and it was not achieved from the superficial image of Bush as a man you'd like to have a beer with, the man with the friendly smirk, the popular appeal. No, it was much more carefully planned. And the sine qua non was to get a harmless president 'elected', that is get him parachuted into the White House so speedily that people wouldn't have time to react. We know how the neo-conservatives were all maneuvering to grab total power ever since the 1980s. The two essential preconditions for getting their scheme to succeed were the complete submission of the media and the buying up of the Congress via the lobbies. They succeeded in both enterprises beyond belief.
The deregulation movement got started under Ronald Reagan who instigated laws in favor of Big Business, which made it possible for this psychopathic set of neocons to scheme their way to power. This continuous trend in economic policies towards the Milton Friedmanesque  free market as the gospel for 'progress' killed off all the humanitarian laws that had been instituted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the New Deal after the Great Depression. Now we are regressing towards tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation of the savings and loan industry. Opening the floodgates for increased media consolidation and the war on Labor were also some of the major features pointing towards the radical take-over of the wealthy elite during the Reagan presidency. These deregulating trends were followed up faithfully by the succeeding administrations. This very much includes Bill Clinton who signed the horrendous NAFTA agreement declaring that "NAFTA means jobs, American jobs, and good-paying American jobs." (It is also pure nonsense that Reagan should be in any way credited with bringing down the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War, but that is the subject for another essay.)
The neocon gospel