Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Happiest Billionaires

I've said that Chris Hayes is authoritarian. Since then I've tried to be aware of his work, in case I was unfair. Then I read this.

The only way to wake the American elite establishment out of its complacency about the slow motion disaster of the great recession is for the people getting hammered by it to organize and to interrupt this ruling class idol, to remind the people in power that the crisis isn’t over and the real danger isn’t overreaction, it is the sin of forgetting, the threat of failing to use this moment to fix a dangerously broken economy.

Does he really think that they don't know they are throwing us into poverty? Does he think it was an accident, and if the elite were made aware of the consequences of their actions they would change those actions? The crises is over; it was over a long time ago. Now the consequences are working themselves out on our families and friends and neighbors, and the only concern of the elite is that their propaganda organs, that they set up so long ago and paid so much money to maintain, continue their work of deflecting blame.

The elite are too powerful to be stopped. They have beefed up the police state all across the country in the name of fighting terrorism. They have harassed, isolated and demonized any active, physical protest. They have used the economic crises that they created to push wages lower and eliminate benefits. They have not cut the military budget, although the economic crises is now so severe that they are actually talking about it. Our elite are citizens of the world, and know that life is very good for the rich no matter where you are. Who cares if America becomes a Third World country?

The only thing they don't have is numbers. The next fight will be for the soul of the masses. The elite will win this fight too, because we still don't realize that they despise us and don't care if we live or die. We still look to authorities to save us instead of turning our back on the desperate, futile grab for just a tiny amount of power from the Democratic Party. Meanwhile the power of the desperate, angry, frightened masses will be co-opted by the elite for their own use, to turn the poor against each other instead of uniting them against the elite.

If we do not empower the poor we will lose our country forever.


Downpuppy said...

Idyll, not Idol - C & L missed a good word.

I read this as "We need to scare the pants of them & fight" not "Oh, it must have slipped their minds"

Calls to organize are a good thing. Organizations can outlast the first moldy crust thrown out to appease them. I'm going with this version, because the sun is out & I'm in my happy place.

Susan of Texas said...

In her intro C&L's Heather says, "The Nation's Chris Hayes filled in for Ed Schultz and did a good job of calling for everyone who is sick to death of business as usual in Washington D.C. to be demanding better leadership from our elected officials when our country is in crisis."

Keep doing the same, only harder? Better elite? That's not going to work.

Susan of Texas said...

(I am still looking for my happy place!)

Kathy said...

These rich & powerful people who seem to want nothing more than to be richer & more powerful are not really very smart. Not perceptive, not knowledgable about Human Nature. They've -literally- gotten away with Murder by using experts at manipulation, and by scaring people.

I wonder if the situation in the Gulf was allowed to be "controlled" by BP as an experiment in just How Far the Idiot-Masters can go with their bribery of the petit-powerful, and instituting of a de facto Police State (see Mother Jones).

I don't think they are intelligent enough to succeed for very long. Their long-term plans seem to be simply to ... STAY rich and powerful.

(Spock to Trellain: "I disapprove of you... You represent intellect without discipline, Power without CONSTRUCTIVE PURPOSE...")

Allienne Goddard said...

Yes, I sympathize with your frustration and despair. Yet, wasn't the situation even more dire in 1930 or in the cyclical economic busts in the 19th century? At least we now use a fiat currency which can easily be inflated to destroy those with wealth and provide relief to those in debt. I don't know if a sufficient mass of people will become active enough to seize back some of their power, but there is, at least, an opportunity here. Perhaps the people will wake up, and discover that they are strong.
I'm not hoping, or anything. I'm just saying.

Batocchio said...

The other night at Drinking Liberally we were talking about this stuff, and I remarked that about the only thing we have left is the vote. The Social Contract has been under assault for a long time now, and it's just looking ugly right now.

Most of the Beltway gang are awfully cloistered. Many of them really don't know how bad it is. And they don't view themselves as evil. But most of that crowd wouldn't care if they did know. Meanwhile, some of them definitely do know, and are deliberately inflicting this crap, as they have for about 40 years of Reaganomics. Peter Peterson is hitting the Starve the Beast strategy hard, with some slick propaganda. He and others are absolutely evil, and it's folly to think otherwise.

I haven't read a ton of his stuff, so I dunno – I took Hayes' comment more in the spirit of Jonathan Schwarz' Sane Billionaires versus Insane Billionaires dichotomy. Yes, most of the ruling class are scumbags, but a few of them realize that tanking their own country might actually hurt themselves as well. Either way, the response is pretty much the same – badger your congresscritters, and make them fear the public wrath. Hayes is trying to publicly shame them, and that's pretty similar. I hate that we live in a plutocracy, but we can't change that overnight, especially not when most congresscritters are in the richest 1% of the population. Long-term, you can try to start a third party, take over the Democratic Party, focus on improving your immediate community, or just go survivalist, I guess. It sucks, and there's not really one answer, and certainly not one easy answer. It can be a pretty personal thing. On the left, sometimes I see the accusation: "You're na├»ve if you're not outraged by the bullshit that outrages us both in the exact same way as me!" I take what I believe is your larger point, that you've made in several posts – too many self-described Dems or liberals are too trusting of party leaders or think the ruling class has our best interests at heart. It's a legitimate issue. Still, I guess in the end, if someone's in basic agreement and also (for example) working to stop torture, I'm not as concerned if s/he has a more charitable view of the torture team's motivations or the current administration than I do. I can work with that. It becomes a problem if – and I think this is your other point – that person pulls their punches significantly as a result of their more charitable views.

I dunno. In activism, you can try to be a prophet or an advisor, and movements need both. I've mentioned it before, but activism does require a certain degree of morale, too. (I'm sympathetic to anyone who feels burnt out and needs to take a break, or perhaps even step away for good, but the sneering cynics who heckle activists who are actually trying to improve things can go fuck themselves.)

Lastly, while we political junkies may know there's a vicious class war being waged by the rich (and that there has been for decades, or hell, millennia), not everyone does, and some people – unfortunately – are turned off by such language. On the other hand, FDR named his enemies and called them out to powerful effect. To borrow from an older post, a national political discourse with one party attacking false scapegoats and the other too gutless or corrupt to call out real villainy is simply toxic. If you've seen some of the recent labor speeches, they're hitting the corporations hard, and also the notion that labor owes any party (the Dems) anything if they don't deliver.

Sorry, long comment. Anyway, I say err on the side of being boldly honest, especially when the scumbags lie as easily as they breathe. Might as well go down swinging and snarky, right?

Batocchio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan of Texas said...

If things do not get worse, most of what I say will be unnecessary. We'll never get to the point where people have to choose between being a good German and refusing to go along, no matter what it costs.

On the one hand, I think activism is a great thing and very necessary. But the goals of the group are not the same as the goals of the activist. When we elect a half-Black, half-foreign, community activist, constitutional teacher and he ends us supporting an imperial presidency, corporate governance and torture, we know we're screwed. Morally, I can't see supporting the Democratic party.

And yet, for all my gloom-and-doom, I end up laughing at it all. I actually feel like I should be taking everything more seriously, but I just have to laugh at how ridiculous it all is.

Anonymous said...

In the comments here, I find a bit of naivete.

Ascribing incompetence or idiocy to The Ruling Class (TM) is just plain naive. It is naive because it assumes TRC wish to do better, but are inept, due to intellectual deficiency.

You'd all do a whole lot better to reorient your thinking in this manner:

TRC simply DO NOT CARE about anyone but themselves. They know full well that their plans and implementation thereof are destructive to most of us Murrikens.

They simply do NOT care, because the only thing they care about is self-enrichment, which gives them authoritarian power. Perpetuating that power is their aim. They have no intention of making life better for all. None.

That's all.

Mr. Wonderful said...

They know full well that their plans and implementation thereof are destructive to most of us Murrikens.

I don't think so. They've acquired a class's lifelong scar tissue over their moral sensibility. Otherwise they'd never sleep.

They think what's good for them is, "in the end" (whatever that means), good for everyone else. To them it's the law of gravity. It's not their doing, it's the way "an economy" or "the society" works. And so they go about their guiltless business.

Larkspur said...

The whole thing reminds me of that old cartoon that shows a bewildered man emerging from his bomb shelter carrying his portable television, and looking in vain throughout the ruins for a plug outlet.

TRC depends on the rest of us - the have-lesses and the have-nots - continuing to believe that somehow we can still strike it rich, or game the system, or hit the big score. In other words, that we might somehow still become one of them. This, naturally, inhibits the assembly of massive numbers of us clutching our torches and pitchforks. So it makes us complicit, and it means we keep not acting to save ourselves.

And yet, the have-mores still need an outlet into which to plug their televisions. Sure, maybe all of the televisions are made in China. But they still have to get unloaded, then delivered to the gated communities, then installed, then serviced when the new owners get confused. And that assumes drivers, packers, road maintenance equipment, vehicle repair, sustenance and shelter to be provided so that the laboring minions don't just die in harness. It also assumes an electrical grid of some sort, or at least people who can fix the gated communities' separate generators.

The point is, they will always need both skilled and unskilled minions, however greatly reduced our numbers, and yet their policies do not seem to reflect concern about even this bleak, dystopian survival option.

Maybe they hate their grandchildren as well as the rest of us.