A Burden on Peasants

Something I read in Jared Diamond's Collapse has stuck with me all week. "Construction of royal monuments glorifying kings was especially massive between A.D. 650 and 750. After A.D. 700, nobles other than kings also got into the act and began erecting their own palaces . . . All of those nobles and their courts would have increased the burden that the king and his own court imposed on the peasants." Diamond was talking about one of the factors that contributed to the decline and dissolution of the Mayan Empire, but he probably wouldn't object to that statement being applied to the cause of death for practically every failed empire in human history.

Near the end of the Mayan society, the elite class really found their stride. They began increasing the distance between themselves and the working class and expanding their power, wealth, and attaching even more religious significance to their self-defined superiority. When we visit the ruins of a failed empire, we marvel at the incredible structures they left, as if there is something complicated about enslaving skilled people to make monuments for the inbred spawn of our masters. Those castles of kings, palaces of priests, and fortresses of robber barons are evidence that humans are destined to funnel power and wealth into the hands of the greedy and incompetent who will reward that society with collapse, famine, and the opportunity to become another tourist curiosity for the next generation.

Humans appear to be a significantly defective species. We are desperate for "leaders"; people who tell us we are inferior, who sell us fear and foolish superstition, and who give us "something to look up to." We will toss out liberty, justice, security, and our future to make a small portion of our society supremely comfortable and powerful. We do it willingly, or not, but we have done it over and over from the beginning of human history and we'll keep doing it until our species has found a way to wipe itself (and most of life) from the planet.

The fact is the existence of an elite ruling class is a burden on all of the working classes that can not be sustained. Wealth is either fairly and justly distributed or it exhausts and corrodes the culture until it self-destructs under moderate pressure from environmental, economic, and/or outside competition or invasion. The position the Republican Party has taken regarding the protection of wealth and power for the minority ruling class is consistent with conservative politics throughout the history of humanity. It is also a consistent cause of cultural death.


Republican Freedom Fighters

I'm watching Casino Jack and the United States of Money as I write this. The Young Republicans, (K Street hucksters Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Hal Kreitman, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Grover Nordquist, Michael Scanlon, and the rest of the Republican aristocracy) loved to see themselves as "Freedom Fighters." It was a sign of how useless and illiterate our media has become that the self-dubbed term didn't come to mean exactly what it says. These boys and their inheritors, the Teabaggers, are absolutely freedom fighters. Every place democracy, justice, or freedom (for anyone who didn't inherit a fortune) begins to fight out from under the corporate elite, these vicious animals beat it down and turn back the best motives and ideals of our species.

Republicans and all conservatives are notoriously incapable of art or creativity. Abramoff's Red Scorpion series (I & II) is about as inventive as conservatives get and II wasn't even worth converting to DVD. Abramoff's stint as a writer/producer was bad enough to land him in prison, if his all-around corruption didn't do the job. Funny that this boy founded the "Committee for Traditional Jewish Values in Entertainment." While the violence, language, and disregard for facts and common sense depicted in Red Scorpion are consistent with Republican "values," only the perp's mothers would find something to enjoy in this drivel.

This pack of rats couldn't fight freedom any more effectively. They worked to set international corporations and the idle rich loose on middle class America. They created our Extreme Court and it will carry their corrupt and anti-democratic policies on for decades. Their "Contract on America" was a mob hit called on everything that the best of this country once represented. And now they are back.


Talk about Cynical

Conservatives argue that liberals think the average American is dumb. It's true, of course. But we're not alone. The elite core of "conservatives" (a vanishing breed, if there ever was one) are just as cynical toward their fellow citizens. It's pretty obvious that the least intelligent of our species is the most afraid of change; a core definition of "conservative." The rich and powerful are also inclined to protect their status quo, so they will also be conservative.

In fact, their definition of "conservative" and the working class definitions have about as much in common as their lifestyles. The rich only pretend to be religious because religion keeps the masses busy. Any country willing to carpet bomb a city (Baghdad, for example) is clearly unhampered by any sort of pro life concerns. While the children of the working poor do the bombing, the children of the rich profit from building the bombs. Why worry about an occasional abortion when you're willing to firebomb children of all ages? Don't ask me, I'm a liberal.

The ruling conservative elite class not only fails to share the religious values of the dumber aggregate of that political spectrum, they don't share social values. The children of the rich are as likely to work for a living as they are to grow wings and flap their way to the mountain tops. The rich and their offspring have promoted the academic tendency to dumb-down "higher education" to allow these inbred hillbillies a route to some kind of credential (see G.W. Bush's academic career for evidence). Without moronic programs like Business Administration, modern humanities (popular culture, ethnic and sexual self-examinations, all of the inbred academic-administrative crap), and communications (the degree athletic departments would be lost without), the idle rich would have to leave their brats in daycare until the nasty spawn graduated to wheelchairs. Probably the best part of Oliver Stone's W, was the depiction of G.W.'s disdain for work and people who do work. Little George did his class proud.

Probably the most cynical tactic the ruling conservative elite have taken is in the hand-wringing over the national debt. These folks invented the debt. They force the country into profit-making wars. They scam every public works project, every tax loophole, and corrupt the nation's political system for their own gain. They demand reimbursement when their speculations go bad.When the nation is about the be overwhelmed by their incompetence and arrogance, they pretend to want to fix it by taking away the minuscule value government provides to working people. They tear apart Social Security, Medicare, and every government program that doesn't exclusively benefit them.

The current "bipartisan" National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposal to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 by 2075. This commission managed to pretend to be putting the burden of the national debt on all classes without putting a lick of burden on the richest 10% in the country who currently control more than 80% of the nation's assets and income and pay a measly 43% of the income taxes. Anyone who believes that middle class jobs exist for working class people at the current retirement age, 65-66, is doped-up and living on a trust fund. For most of us, finding work after 55 is difficult to impossible. But that is unimportant compared to protecting the inheritance of the idle rich.

The conservative elite are as ruthless toward their fellow citizens as they are toward the 3rd world countries they claim are our enemies. The fact that at least 50% of us believe them is why liberal and conservative elites know we are stupid. The difference is that conservative elites treat the working working class like shit while they pretend to be on the same side. Liberals can not suppress their disgust in the face of overwhelming foolishness.

The Pointless Lives of the Idle Rich

Forbes recently published an idiotic story titled, "Quirky Billionaire Passions." The Forbes article tells us about:
Of the lot, it's marginally realistic to argue that Halle and Casden had something to do with their incredible wealth and power. Casden's wealth comes from southern California real estate speculation, so he's always been dependent on connections and politics. Halle is the Discount Tire guy and we fought a war to protect his industry's access to natural resources. The rest are spoiled rich kids who have spent their idle lives burning up cash on pointless pursuits and doing as much damage as possible to the culture and the country. They are poster children for why the estate (inheritance) tax should not only be revived but should be returned to its original purpose. One of that tax's greatest proponents, Teddy Roosevelt, said, "Inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals of the generation which established our Government.''

Obviously, from the evidence provided by this Forbe's article, not only is "idleness the root of mischief," but it inspires some pretty stupid personal habits, too. Reinstating the 50% top income tax bracket and at least the 15% estate tax bracket for estates over $1-2 million would go a long way toward re-balancing the nation's debt and restoring economic fairness in the country.

Call it "class warfare." I'm good with that. There is a reason these rich assholes barricade themselves in their "members only" compounds. They've been at war with working people for centuries. They fire their weapons in every election, in every tax bill, every time they close a factory, pollute a community and abandon it, and every time they take our tax money and ship it to some 3rd world country where they build factories, mines, steal natural resources, and begin the cycle again. Anyone too dumb to figure that out is too dumb to have a job.