The Real Deal
by Bruce Patterson, March 15, 2017
“A society is rich when material goods, including Capital, are cheap, and human beings dear: indeed the word ‘riches’ has no other meaning. The interests of those who own the property used in industry is that their Capital should be dear and human beings cheap.” --R.H. Tawney, 1880
“Men might as well be imprisoned as excluded from the means of earning their bread.” --John Stuart Mill (1806-73)
If autocratic rule by America’s zillionaires proves anything, it’s that you really can succeed in life by biting the hands that feed you. In this zillionaire’s version of Las Vegas where the dice, the wheels, decks and no-armed bandits pay off every day, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer but don’t you worry none you welfare-chiseling beasts of burden. State Corporatism (National Socialism) is Jesus’ way of doing business; the Invisible Hand of Justice working its divine magic on you. Your hunger is builds character. It gets you up out of your stupor and out earning your keep. Here, have a hardboiled egg. Take your time enjoying it and then get back to work.
It wasn’t the nearly extinct labor unions that abolished the 40-hour work week and most everything else resembling worker’s rights. It wasn’t the union’s bright idea to destroy the Progressive Income Tax system, either. It wasn’t wage workers that abolished, or radically slashed, inheritance and luxury taxes. They didn’t slash capital gains taxes, corporate taxes and excise taxes. It was our elected representatives we’ve spent our lives writing blank checks to that have sold us, like uppity (or plum worn out) Border State slaves, down the river to Old Master Leans the Crawdaddy King. If Jesus wants us to have nothing but crumbs, crumbs we get. No harm, no foul. We’ll eat our pie in the sky.
My whole life I’ve watched “Middle Class Consumers” acting cheap with their time and money while pissing away both on whatever shopping basket full of “Consumer Goods” the TV says is “hot” at any given time. Not only did they buy whole heaps of stuff they don’t need and won’t ever use, they act resentful when somebody asks them to donate some more nickels to the commonweal.
Up in Bend the last election there was a proposal on the ballot to put a city tax of two cents per gallon of gasoline to be used to fill the city’s vast collection of tire-exploding, rim-bending potholes. After the voters gave the idea an enthusiastic two thumbs down, way down, I wondered: with full serve gas at $2.50 per gallon, what’s two cents as a percentage of cost? 1.25%? Driving a gas hog, the busiest Bendonian commuter/soccer mom/dad might burn up 30 gallons of gas per month. In which case, the new tax would’ve cost them—eek!—60 cents per month or a whopping $7.20 per year!
So why’d they reject the idea? They acted on Religious Principle. The Public Good is the Public Enemy because the public costs taxpayers money. Not only that, “the public” doesn’t even exist. In other words, those who produced the Preamble to the American Declaration of Independence were addressing a hallucination. In the real world, says their 19th Century Gospel of Heavenly Wealth, any and all limitations on the Free Movement of Private Capital are not just attacks on personal liberty, they’re economic sabotage seeing how, without the zillionaires going about their “businesses” unregulated, everybody else either starves to death or goes crazy in a land without jobs: the gold-digger’s Promised Land now reduced to the Land of the Famished Debtor—all through the moral turpitude and mass malfeasance of the great unwashed brutes looking for a handout. Or so they’ve convinced themselves (Rule #1 for Kleptocrats: consider yourself indispensable).
Since politics, economics and ethics all boil down to deciding who gets what, it’s useful to think of this Big Game Serengeti Safari social arrangement like one version of a computer-generated Sim City sprawling in the middle of a vast subtropical island paradise named Shangri La. Shangri La consists of well-watered agricultural bottomlands flanked by gentle mountains rich with hard and soft woods, plants and animals, minerals, jewels and semi-precious stones. Surrounded by a rich fishery in placid ocean waters that haven’t known armed conflict in centuries, Shangri La boasts 10,000 people including 2,500 children. 500 ancient old men own virtually the entire island and everything in its offshore waters, and they share numerous tribal bonds: their maleness, skin tones and parent’s listings in Social Register chief among them. Although I should mention that “500” is a somewhat misleading number since the top 1% own more net assets than the next four percentage points combined. Together, their job is to manage the island’s resources, which amounts to telling other people what to do and not do; what they’re worth and what they’re not worth.
Since real poverty means knowing what occasional hunger feels like, of the island’s 2,500 children, over 800 are poor. Of the 7,500 adults on the island, 2,500 are poor. I could go on but you see why our long-abused but now “unchained” zillionaires hate the idea of democracy. With demographics like those above, under a fair and honest system of one person/one vote, what’s to keep the poor and the not so poor from voting themselves affordable housing and universal healthcare, education and economic security? What’s to prevent the people from voting themselves an economic arrangement with a human heart? When so much needs doing and so many human needs go unmet, what kind of system refuses to provide jobs to all comers? Since “the pursuit of happiness” has certain material prerequisites, and Liberty is impossible without Justice, and Justice is impossible without the social equality made possible by Equal Justice and Equal Opportunity, what happens to a social system totally corrupted by class, gender and race privilege? What happens to a cultural system built upon the worship of the Laws of the Jungle? (America’s version of 19th Century Social Darwinism is taken as gospel by more than a few of today’s owners of Private Islands).
When everything the Lords of Shangri La offer has such steep social and environmental costs but possess neither rhyme nor reason, heart nor soul; when the Predatory Capitalism that sustains us is simultaneously killing us, what keeps our eyes nailed to the floor? Just what exactly do these zillionaires got on us anyway? When did we sign a Social Contract with the likes of them? And what do we have to lose by demanding our birthrights since their vision is just the view from the crypt?
Look how they’ve got us fighting over scraps. Look how these rank imposters are going at our Civil Services with butcher knifes. Look how they assert that the moon is made of crème cheese. Look at their vast prison gulag being run for fun and profit, their unending “wars” for fun and profit, their earth rape for profit, state executions for show and profit, military armaments, weapons exports, schools, healthcare, churches, law enforcement—everything for profit and nothing for the soul.
Today I listened to these “Republican” politicians celebrating their self-proclaimed “Victory over Obamacare” and the whole time they’re bragging about all of the money they’re going save the taxpayers by using “free market solutions” and “Free Choice” and, after following the trail of their stinking money back to its source, it made me wonder about the weight of their souls. What does a cottony dandelion seed floating on a breeze weigh in milligrams? Is there a balance scale with a weight slight enough to balance that seed? If so, such is the weight of their souls. They’re pennywise and dollar foolish when pennies are a negative economic value and their dollars are splattered with the blood of the billions of people being condemned to a future they’re busy vandalizing. We’re living under the thumbs of hungry, hungry zillionaires who have the collective moral weight of Tinkerbell.
What do I mean by a human soul? It’s knowing that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It’s knowing that for every physical object there’s a web of relationships. It’s knowing that life ends with a question and not an answer. It means seeing yourself in everybody and everybody in yourself—having empathy and mercy. It means having humane values that can be neither bought nor sold because they’re worth dying for. In our case at this moment, having a soul means taking our Consciences out of their cages so we can start thinking like we’re humans again instead of the digitalized confetti getting spat out of cash registers.
The other day our Quasimodo howling atop his bell tower accused the ex-prez of having tapped his phone. Where I grew up, if you accused somebody of doing something really nasty, seriously coldblooded or righteously illegal, you’d best be ready to prove it. But His Hunchness offers not a shred of evidence against Obama. Yet, like members of the Central Committee under Stalin, repugnant Senior Senators rise up to assure The Nation and The World that they’ll get to the bottom of the matter (when politicians wish sit on their hands, they demand an investigation). And it makes me wonder: who stole their eyes and filled their ears with molten lead? Who shrink-wrapped their memories?
Now more than ever, I think we the people need a 2nd Constitutional Convention. We need one that stands foursquare on the Bill of Rights and that proceeds according to principle of one person, one vote (with, for once, the young properly represented and the old not acting so needy/greedy). I think the convention’s first order of business should be to abolish our hideous House of our Most Hideous Lords. The very idea of these Senators representing “the Land” and not “the People” is anti-democratic and downright anti-American (it’s another bloody English import, for Christ’s sake). Since the Military Strongman is the declared enemy of Democracy, we should also abolish the Imperial Presidency and the satanically obtuse title “Commander-in-Chief.”
Hell, I’ve left behind more empty beer bottles than there are voters in The Dakotas, yet they get twice the Senate representation as all 40,000,000 Californians get. And the rules of the Senate give these frackers, crackers and coots a license to steal while talking out of their asses and their mouths simultaneously in all kinds of ways depending on the shifting breezes. And here’s what really sticks in my craw: they not only steal Californian’s money but they presume to tell Californians how to conduct their lives. So here the money boys are again biting the hands that feed them and getting away with it. Same with these raggedy-assed, self-declared Bible Belt states stealing money. Fuck Alabama. I’ve been to Alabama. Twice.
Since silence is taken as assent, I think Obama should sue His Hunchness for libel most foul. In the name of Truth, Justice and the American Way, I’d give the senile sleezebag a Double-Ought shot from his own favorite weapon. Just to prove once and for all that the rank impostor doesn’t have the kind of money he can’t stop bragging about all the time, I’d be demanding $500 million in cash if I was Obama. Threatened with having to borrow money off his son-in-law’s family, maybe his mind will finally go kaput and he’ll return to his Kraut Fatherland in the bowels of the fiery earth and thereby save us the trouble of having to impeach his doublewide ass. Come on, Obama, stick up for your reputation; stick up for we the people! Stick a toothpick in that butter bun to see if it’s done.
When the least among us demand the most of us, it’s time to wake up, stand up and refuse. “The earth for all the people,” cried Eugene V. Debs from atop his soapbox a century ago. “That is the demand.”