"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Oct 14, 2011

Fifty three multiplied by zero equals zero...

When I suggested, mostly to myself, that the self-styled "53%" might be worth some attention, it was neither to promote their claim to be the authentic America, nor to disparage their perceptions of actual suffering. Since then, others have broached the subject, more or less in keeping with ticks and temperament.

It is this assumption of authenticity - and it is not confined only to bootstrap believers - which I personally find most interesting, predicated as it upon a cultural hegemony and a political superstructure which exists precisely for the so-called 53%.

Typing very broadly, they rightly perceive the end of their order, because demographics are in fact a kind of political fate.

Ruling factions need governed populations. They need people who serve as extraction points, who are roughly equivalent to raw materials in an unprocessed state. Historically, the form varies: slaves, the corvee, peasants, proletarians, the permanently indebted; their chief function is the production of labor. In our own age, that is labor sold, and excess labor consumed, or distracted. The factions of the ruling class contend with each other for control of these laboring populations, seeking them out wherever conditions provide for the cheapest purchase and the most flexible interface. The factions compete for control of divisions in memory: cultural, tribal, religious, ethnic and national boundaries which are drawn and redrawn in order to lay claim to labor. These laboring populations have a relationship to the states which claim possession of them, one which takes shape according to the needs of state and the strengths of competitors: they are bound by a rough and one-way rule of custom, tradition, religion, crude history and the threat of force - whatever it takes to produce a minimum fealty to those who own and rule.

The ruling class, and its factions, need to possess them. Which means, management.

States have an interest in producing client populations who buffer and manage the pool of labor and its extraction of resources. Who absorb discontent. Who are vested in their own separation from it. States encourage their existence with investment in the infrastructure and institutions which produce them, and to which these technicians and professionals will later on profess considerable devotion.

These technicians don't only serve as the ruling class support staff. They are equally its clients. They are the protected.

The point of running a protection racket is to have someone to protect. And to have enemies against which they must be protected.  The ruling class needs clients who also double as consumers of excess, as buffers against disorder and decay, and as absorbers of discontent. Most actual and historical states preserve this client population more or less with predictability. The state and its ruling factions don't need the buffer, exactly, but it makes the business of being wealthy and powerful a whole lot easier. It is from this client pool that the ruling class and its various factions draw their technicians, their management, their support staff, their caregivers, professionals, systems operators - and their officers. Client populations derive some benefit from the relationship. They are not merely human resources. And these client groups vest themselves in response. They buy in. They belong. They are not possessed. They serve, and this requires a less immediate, less visceral and less visible set of bindings: a tradition and mythos of self-reliance, self-creation and voluntary existence. This might explain the long-standing project to develop, shield and promote the nuclear family. Nuclear families are protected by the state. This kind of family produces isolates and managerial personalities; and they are governed by an urge to succeed, to merit, to deserve, to keep faith with the expectations of those who rule. It demands the repeatable formation of a specific self, a narrow and truncated type conceived and formed to treat with itself first as an independent ego ensconced in purpose and convinced of its own self-causation, and secondly as a truth unto itself.It is a type which places a high value on faith and loyalty: in marriage, in law, in custom, in deed, in debt. Its gods are debt-managers. Its heroes pay their dues, pay off the loan, pay the ultimate sacrifice. Its villains are oathbreakers, layabouts, cheaters, scoundrels, vagrants and the corrupt.

The recurring theme of corruption crosses political, moral and religious divisions - for the technicians and professionals. It animates their righteousness. It is perhaps the defining characteristic of this type - a deep rooted, material, mnemonic fascination with and recoiling from corruption. It is their awe; it is what they desire and shun, in identical alternating moments. Their politics and their morality reflect this fact. Corruption is, for them, the antithesis of the good faith to which they been bred. It is sickness, a contagion. It is failure. It is, in short, the failure to deserve.

It is no surprise that they see in the Other a source of corruption. For liberals, for the good fight progressives, that corruption wears the face of wanton power. It is power which negates the liberal noblesse oblige. Raw power. Power which does not improve. The Other is a man on a mythical horse who should have known better, a potential knight, but one who corrupted himself instead in the base pleasures of brigandage and rapine. For conservatives, that Other bears the sins of Eve, and the traditional mark of Cain - she is an outcast before she is ever born. The Other's depravity is its natural condition. God, nature, fate, history, breding, evolution* are vehicles for the confirmation of this depravity. The poor are moral failures. Suffering is self-created, it is a falling away from the hegemony of the norm, a norm which peers out from under its limitations and withdraws back inward if it does not see itself looking back in upon it.

This is the historical moment in which we find ourselves: that norm no longer functions. The built in limitations, the constraints, the self-disciplining customs are all less useful. The faces have changed. Lifestyles have taken hold of a media saturated culture, and permissible conduct has expanded in response. The ruling class has adapted to demographic fate. It has co-opted some of its former excluded identities. It has become, in a word, tolerant - to the degree that these tolerances preserve its power, and aid in the contest between its factions.

For liberals, this is no real problem. Their Other is the other half of the managerial sub-class. They are in conflict at their own level. It is a horizontal dispute. It is a political fight, between class equals. They are fighting corruption in their own ranks.

For conservatives and nativists, this ruling class tolerance is far more troublesome. It is a corruption from above and below. Their relation to new lifestyles, populations and pressures is reaction. They imagine themselves as conservators; against corruption, they see themselves as both the protectors of order and as clients of its protection, struggling with an Other that not only threatens to end the cultural hegemony to which they belong, but which is in a devil's compact with corrupt leaders who are shockingly willing to reward laziness, sloth, racial inadequacy, sexual deviancy, gender disloyalty, role and rule breaking, and a host of other sins, all in trade for unjust and unearned power.

It is a threat to their authenticity, to their rightful, faithful, loyal claim to the nation and its culture. But it does not bring them, as a rule, to a breaking point, to severance. They retreat backwards. They take refuge in their myths. They double down on loyalty to the very people who not only rule them but who will gladly slot them down into poverty for a cheaper client and a campaign ad with brown faces in it.

I kid you not. This is no jest:

"...I totally DON'T hate wealthy Americans. No wealthy American stood up and embarrassed me at an event I thought was supposed to be fun for all. No wealthy American insulted my then toddler daughter and refused to give me any strategies to try with her instead. No wealthy American imposed language barriers on me except when they had such unconstructive criticism. Even those I would think would identify with the wealthy, like unionized public sector employees, and those with science educations who could easily qualify for any number of technical jobs, hate them. One has a two income one grown child household and has the most hateful things to say about them.I don't get it. Some of the nicest people I've met have been wealthy medical, dental, legal professionals. The medical director at our lab in another state was the most down to earth person who treated everyone the same, entry level, admint, technical, white, black, Indian whatever.These people donate as a rule much more to private charity than the less wealthy. They tend to have jobs to give people in need.I babysat for wealthy divorced parents in my college years. These folks had older kids and typically just needed someone to give their kids rides home, either see 'em safely in the front door, or even sit with 'em for a few hours in one instance until dad got home. A girlfriend, having a student only visa and thinking she'd be waiting until retirement for her Green Card, noted "These people aren't looking for a green card. They're looking for someone with patience to sit with their six and three year old for 3 hours in the afternoon." She...and this is someone from a well to do family, but she wanted money of her own...had a part time babysitting job from these supposedly evil people.Why the hatred of the wealthy? Do some really want to see charitable contributions to private charity dry up, or employment opportunities go down further in the event of increased personal or corporate taxes? I simply don't understand this mindset." 

You know the reason....Some people have a lot, some don't.The idiot left sees this imbalance as 'unfair' and therefore must re-distribute some of that wealth to those poor unfortunate souls who aren't 'winners of life's lottery.'" 

"because the politicians know that the people they appeal to cannot work out that without the so called rich none of them would be employed if they are, none of them would get entitlements if that is how they live with no rich to tax to acquire the moneys to fund those entitlements, nor would they have any modern luxury or convenience because it is the rich that produce them. without the rich these people would be eating grass to survive just like the north koreans. but the political hacks that play this class warfare thing is safe because enough of the masses are not only ignorant of these facts but are incapable of comprehending it even if given a picture book laying these facts out in simple form. it is amplified intentionally by politicians who view it as their ticket to perpetual office and power. they have not the ethics to ever correct the ignorant nor resolve not to take advantage of it.however this is a dangerous game as many other regimes have learned to their sorrow. when the revolution does inevitably come it is always beyond the control of the political class that fomented it and it always executes them in the end."

"Wealthy people get in the way of total government control of the people. It will be a truly classless society with no one having more than the least ambitious among us. That's what the liberals are telling me and what I hear here and from those practicing their religion down in Wall Street parks."

"The wealthy, many of whom have built their riches through hard work and blood and sweat of their brow show that it can be done. They are jealous and also angry that someone lights up their drab lives of non-achievement and shows how their lack of effort is the only thing keeping them from achieving the same thing. They are afraid to take a chance and risk other than the weekly $250 purchase of lottery tickets to get rich."

 "Animosity and Jealousy. I'm not rich, far from it. But I don't dislike the rich, in fact, I respect them, and use them as examples of where I want to be. Instead of sitting around all day feeling sorry for myself and wishing I could get lucky, I went after what I wanted. I did the things it takes to have a comfortable life. Could I have been rich? I doubt it, not really that smart and I have a bit of an attitude problem, especially with dumb asses. But I'm smart enough to know that I need to be responsible for myself and my family, and not rely on someone else, because every time I did I got screwed. Even simple things like relying on someone to pick you up if your car is broke down. Forget it. Easier to just rent a car or walk."

"just look at Greece. Young people throwing a hissy fit because they might have to wait to 55 to retire (on the g'mint dole) instead of 50. Really? Sadly it reminds me of the OWS people. You know what is sad and encouraging at the same time? We have a country that for the past 200+ years encouraged FREEDOM with RESPONSIBILITY. We've had people from all around the world literally DIE to get here. These folks, whether from Ireland, Asia, South America, Central America, Poland, etc etc, came here to be free.....to either be 'safe' or have a chance at becoming 'rich'...........Many of these same people are shouting from the rooftops as to where we are heading. They escaped tyranny and now find themselves in a similar position.....but we don't hear from them (at least on the MSM).......I cautiously await legal immigrants (especially the hispanics) to wake up to the the fallacy of what the D party is selling. Just like I'm cautiously awaiting the blacks to wake up to the same fallacy. From my personal experience, blacks and hispanics have roots in Christianity.....yet their 'party of choice' has made a pointed effort to kill their religion, all the while sucking them into thinking only the federal g'mint can take care of them...............if/when they wake up, we will see a true revival of this country.Rights aren't granted by government.........we are born with them...... (until the fed g'mint grew and infested the schools, we all knew that). Sadly, the progressives have mal-educated people from all over the world that their 'rights' come from a big-bloated-government"

"I am puzzled by this sudden phenomenon that makes it fashionable to hate rich people. I thought in America everyone aspired to be rich. I think if given the choice of who to hate, it is much easier to hate poor people. They are society's losers, and I was always taught that America loves a winner and hates losers. My take on the Wall Street occupiers is that they are mostly either college drop outs or college graduates with degrees in meaningless subjects that have given them no job skills. For example, International Relations. Now there is a real know nothing subject. "

"greed is wanting what you have not labored for... the desire to take that which one has NOT EARNED.. greed can also be the desire to not give from what you labored for..... it is not the governments job to determine what the level is or what i must be forced to give.."

"Pure, unadultered envy "

That, strangers and friends, is the 53%. That's the Tea Party, right there. Them's the fiscal and social conservatives. The values voters. The glibertarians.

Sure, they aren't merit liberals and institutionalists who will bomb Yemenis into dust in the name of a forward progress and the responsibility to protect.

They'll bomb them in the name of Jesus and his Parable of the Holy Job Creator, instead.

(quotations compressed by Google, damn it)

* - the mechanism has become irrelevant; the message is its medium...


Devin Lenda said...

"But it does not bring them, as a rule, to a breaking point, to severance. They retreat backwards. They take refuge in their myths. They double down on loyalty to the very people who not only rule them but who will gladly slot them down into poverty for a cheaper client and a campaign ad with brown faces in it."

In agreement, gonna try to Alice Millerize this one.

from the OT: God and Job --> unconditional submission;

awareness that being owned, "made someone's bitch" in a certain parlance, is humiliation, annihilation of self (lack of awareness of the problem of humiliation is not the problem);

the reality --> face in mud, master's boot on back of neck, the image too painful to be allowed into consciousness;

a reversal?: it's not me in the mud, it's the ungrateful ones, and I'm standing up, alongside master; it's categorically impossible for God/master/mommy/daddy to betray me--that would be death; I feel the humiliation in my bones, but how to make sense of it when the obvious explanation is impossible? STOP WHINING!, shouted in master's voice, escalating as the boot digs in.

Well, whatever the explanation, it smells like Job to me.

Jack Crow said...

Aye - the lucifer principle, Devin.