PART THREE: REACTION AND CONSEQUENCE
Chapter 30: Ignoble self serving with nary a whit of caring for the common good
Historical experience shows that such immense inequalities of wealth have little to do with the entrepreneurial spirit and are of no use in promoting growth. Nor are they of any “common utility,” to borrow the nice expression from the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
The only substantive difference between a person who “invests” in stocks and a parasitic gambler who speculates in the stock market with intent to buy low and sell high, whereby to get rich quick without working for it, is the frequency at which stocks are bought and sold. Of course the gambling done by fulltime stock market speculators is only one among the very many ways of gambling. Against all advice, the most hard-core gamblers and fools bet on business as usual, wagering against the uncontrollable climate of the mighty earth itself, thus in their vast ignorance placing their own lives at risk. Among these, the most irredeemably avaricious place all our lives at risk, and they don’t care.
A Major Digression
CaFMaC unimagined and déluge: The years 2075 to 2215
The third option was scuttled. After CaFMaC had been adopted and its beneficial impacts were just becoming significant, came the coup. Unseen in U.S. history since the aristocracy-led wave of southern secessions immediately after Lincoln’s election, the gigantic high finance, stock trading, hedge fund and mega-insurance establishments, openly abetted by the big pharmaceuticals, arms manufacturers and megacorporate-military-industrial complex, the oil, gas and coal giants, multinational retail giants and other institutionalized disciples of pervasive predatory behavior, all kneeling to Mammon before the national interests of any nation much less the best common interests of their own nation’s People – they focused all their immense wealth and the political power it could buy on unprecedented spending in guise of Court-sanctioned “free speech.”
Their constant ads were bogus, of course, great lies, but gullible minds nevertheless were led, as always, for such minds had by then become so very many, so semi-conscious of the realities within which they swam, so focused on digital gadgets and games and twits and tweets, so unschooled in How To Think. Valuing so unquestioningly the superficial consumerism in which they’d been steeped since birth, they were easily led, and misled, by the ads which constituted the doctrines and dogma of the new religion called Corporate Consumerism. These little voters had also been trained to despise their own government, which they did not understand to be themselves. “Big government is the problem” intoned the big corporations in their daily propaganda – and the little voters’ attention was well distracted from the very bigness of the corporations themselves and the ubiquity of their propaganda. And so the gullible minds were misled, again as always.
The slow motion overthrow of the government of the United States had been steady since 1980. Its perpetrators were the ideological direct decendants of the con-federalists of 1861. They fundamentally disliked a federalized government because – in the name of All The People – it inhibited their freedom to do whatever they pleased with their big powerful corporations. It inhibited their freedom to buy and exploit, at will, anything or anybody. It inhibited their God-Given Right to sell, sell, sell, to the faceless little masses and thereby further enrich their staggering wealth and add to their awful power, just as in an earlier century the damn federals had inhibited their God-Given Right to deprive their black slaves of their alleged rights.
Closed mindset: a fixed or binary way of thinking that is closed to alternatives and oblivious to third options; the origin of trouble where there was no trouble.
William D. Coffey
Like Jefferson and Lee before them, their living actions speaking louder than their words, defending and insisting on the inherent right of wealthy aristocracy to own, command and control slaves and poor white trash for whom rights are irrelevant, these modern manor lords defended their inherent right of unimpeded freedom to exercise pseudo-governmental corporate power, superseding the pitiful unimportant little rights of modern lower- and middle-class “consumers” – human resources – as they called The People:
The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate.
By asserting their right to control both natural resource and human resource “inputs” to their exploitive corporate system, these descendants of the old imperialists invented a new thing: domestic imperialism. And this domestic innovation they overlaid on the voracious modern version of international imperialism, imposed nowadays through overwhelming monetary power, much preferred over expensive armed force which was resorted to only when native peoples’ rebellious objections turned violent.
They defended their inherent right to exploit the people through endless cost cutting, where the “costs” they cut were the very jobs and wages their employees needed simply to buy food, clothing and shelter – the basic minimum needs of staying alive. They insisted on their historical God-Given right to exploit the common wealth of all the nation’s people through a thousand devices for avoiding their own fair share of taxes, shifting ever more tax burden onto the lesser, the smaller, people, simultaneously starving the government which was intended to protect All The People from such powermongers.
We, claimed arrogant corporate lords, have the right, because We Alone create the jobs that keep these little people alive. They actually believed this, like willful pre-adolescent over-fat bad boys playing Lord of the Flies, oblivious to ethical limits on their own behavior. Every year they installed more of their kind into Congress by luring proudly independent resentfully pissed-off uninformed voters to issues of distraction – abortion, immigrant xenophobia, gun “rights,” gay marriage, “big government,” welfare cheats (never mentioning corporate cheats), “millions of dollars of waste” in the four-trillion-dollar federal budget – whatever – any hot button pseudo-issue would do if it diverted voter attention away from their only true objective: unfettered acquisition of economic wealth and the political power it confers.
Compounding their distorted unreality of mind, these modern robber barons believed that silly and circular economic theory – popularized by arch-conservative economists and believed as gospel among the very rich – that continuing to reduce federal revenue by cutting taxes on their own wealth would defy gravity and constantly create new jobs and stimulate economic growth which would in turn – guess what! – increase federal revenue. With evangelical fervor they truly believed this. From 1980 on, despite long decades of this looneytune fantasy failing to accomplish anything but dragging down the great United States economy, pushing the national debt ever higher and making things worse for everybody but themselves, they still fervently believed in this stupid theory, mainly because it centered on reducing their tax obligation to the nation.
Born again self serving tent evangelists displaced to Wall Street in Brooks Brothers suits – along with their twice-ignorant minions who mis-voted as they were told – these fools together persisted in dragging toward ruin the greatest democratically self governing federated republic and bastion of freedom in the history of the world.
Now, in reaction to CaFMaC, their reactionary covert overthrow became overt – a relentless, extended, massive media blitz, the constant slick ads focused on mass impeachments and recalls, of Congressional Representatives and Senators and a President, Governors, state leaders – any elected person whose votes revealed compassion rather than selfishness – month after month, year into next year – with certainty that those little voters who still held a majority vote would be sufficiently distracted, misled, swayed by their unceasing massive propaganda – until the thing was done.
The necessary number of ill-informed and duped voters voting again and yet again against their own best interests, the necessary number of impeachments and recalls accomplished, the essential number of Congressional votes assured, a political tipping point was irretrievably crossed. A drastically revised U.S. leadership, beyond reactionary and arch-conservative, repealed CaFMaC and quickly reversed its gains.
And, using its new greater-than-ever power, proceeded immediately to implement its longstanding reactionary agenda of political, economic and religious “reforms.” Church and state were un-separated, and the one nation was decidedly under God, and that one God was the god of the Christians and the Christian god only. Whether God was Methodist, Presbyterian or Baptist became new and heated issues. New and hateful discriminations were felt by Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, other non-Christians, Unitarians, Asians in general, Christians of any off-white color, anyone else who looked vaguely middle-eastern or Hispanic, and, for good measure, not a few Catholics. Political liberty was redefined downward, then much farther down. Voting rights were diminished, voter qualifications more exclusive. Actual voting diminished precipitously. The corporations were the economy; dissent over the many price increases was not tolerated, not at all.
Protests arose, grew in outrage, soon turned violent. Then, overnight, martial law controlled most major cities and whole states. Riots and news media were thoroughly suppressed. Many American lives were forfeit, many citizens disappeared. Soldiers objecting to their murderous orders were quickly dispatched to new prison camps; deserters were summarily shot. Then anyone who objected to any order was shot. Assassinations became widespread, went unreported. One entire state legislature took a stand, and disappeared overnight. An event remarkably similar to kristallnacht surged across the nation leaving many dead and imprisoned. Many others, who had for so long blindly voted as they were misled, were left in possession of newly stolen property.
The coup of Julius Caesar over that old Roman Senate, overthrowing that vaguely democratic old republic, was on many lips. Traumatic shock and incredulity reigned across the United States of America. Witnesses attested that Liberty on her great Statue in New York Harbor and the great Lincoln seated in his columned memorial at Washington were both seen to be weeping. The world mourned an incomprehensible loss of the shining hope of the world that had been everywhere aspired to, regardless what else they said against those crazy Americans and their foibles.
Capitalism triumphant. Government of, by and for the very rich – in full control at last.
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Democracy finally depends on and is defined by the ability of political power to control strictly economic forces. Otherwise you’re talking about a nationwide corporation, not a country. “Behind the myriad of specific reforms [in the early 20th century] was a common recognition – a collective revulsion against the privileges of great wealth allied with great power.”
Paul Starr paraphrased and quoted by
James Fallows in The Atlantic, March 2016
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We know even now about those terrible things, yes, because the community of our people even yet possesses still those old writings of the prescient Elmore Bland and his credulous friend who so seemingly believed Bland’s ideas would prevail. It is thought to have been he who, after Bland’s murder, so carefully preserved that old piece of our ancestral history, written in the peculiar idiom of its time, who so carefully wrapped it in some strange enduring type of cloth, securely packaged in its solid metal box, the lid sealed and screwed waterproof tight. As if he wanted some unknown future people to know the truth. And because he did, so we do.
Yes, we have that box and its precious contents because our community’s archeological hobbyists, like such hobbyists in communities everywhere, were out puttering around with their shovels, as they ceaselessly do. All else that we know passes down to us from our history keepers, and from so many other preserved finds like the metal box. We know of the tense buildup to repeal of CaFMaC by that old Congress – and of the aftermath.
Yes we know, and better even than did they living at the time. The members of its old House and its Senate holding stolid two-option mindsets, they grew only ever more extreme, ever more intent only on totally excluding “the other side” – that is, their fellow patriots. The entire whole of those old extinct Congresspeople continued moving steadily rightward, more and more right, ever more certain of their rightness, which they called Conserve’-a’tive, the Will of God, The Market. Certain they were of their rightness, yes, though naught they cared for was conserved. Nothing survived their right’eous zeal.
In retrospect see we how easily did they create the pre-conditions, and teach it we to our children as lesson of folly realized. They had but do nothing. Refuse to compromise. Simply vote no on every bill that did not advance their pernicious ratchet. Simply ensure that they made government look bad, speak badly of government loudly and often, and presently many of the people would widely complain about how bad was the government. Refuse to adequately fund the budgets of government agencies, and many of the people presently would complain of how poorly government carried out its responsibilities. Cause trouble where there was no trouble, shut down the whole government over contrived spending issues, blame it all on fellow patriots of the opposing party, and before long many of the people – ignorant and undiscriminating between Legislative and Executive, between cause and effect – would display widespread disgust of government-that-got-nothing-done.
Such a simple effective formula. Simply do nothing. Force government to perform poorly. Then bestir the citizens’ outrage by self righteously pointing out how poorly government performs these days, see, see! – see how much better things would be if we just privatized it all to corporations that get things done! Vote for candidates who will shrink government, shrink it down, down, until it can be drowned in the bathtub, and then give the tax dollars to nice dependable corporations, they said. Again and again did they say it, and yet again, how bad was government, how noble and good were God-Fearing Corporations Who Brought Good Living to (almost) all peoples now enjoying better living through pesticides and Big Pharma and monoculture. And the people believed.
They surrounded – deluged – The People in advertisements bought with their money-speech, drowning The People in half truths and near-lies designed to destroy the People’s ability to trust a candidate or officeholder who cared for the human values embodied in the CaFMaC Act. They did not even try to prove wrongdoing, all they had to do was raise endless suspicious questions, hold hearings that implied wrongdoing, and constantly undermine trust. These angry, hating people, insidious they were, like old silent movie villains, all dressed in black with thin moustaches, who threw out mothers and children who couldn’t pay the rent – ever festering, causing others to fester, not unlike brownish-green scum of out-of-control algae bubbling on a small pond on a hot summer’s day.
And with untold wealth to buy elections, the anti-government free-market unregulated-corporation perpetual-growth global-warming-denier political-economic globalization fundamentalist reactionary phony-religious ideologues moved right faster than did the others, and used money-speech to elect still more of their always-angry unhappy kind. One bipolar end milling, stirring, pushing furiously (oh, how furious) to further solidify their ill-conceived interests – the other end flaccid, ever acceding, ever giving ground against their own best interests – and those of everyone else, of course.
These things they did, and the “elected representatives,” most now fully assured of reelection by simply doing the bidding of their super-wealthy sponsor-masters, abolished the good law and its compassionate works. The only people they still represented were those corporate sponsor-masters – those few who at length, super powered by their megawealth, controlled all the global corporations, and controlled all of the corporations’ enormous wealth, and controlled all the government makers of rules and regulations who might otherwise have protected the poor and powerless, and they controlled all the earth’s natural resources – and increasingly now they controlled all the human capital, the peoples of the earth, all nine billions of them and (then) still growing. All. Everywhere upon the earth.
Control. All wealth and peoples on the earth fell under corporate control.
Nonetheless, it was not according to God’s plan which we people call The Godly Algorithm. And this control was a bigger kind of control, much bigger indeed.
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