Thursday, June 20, 2013

On the Useful Idiocy of the 30%

Roughly thirty percent is the number most often cited in connection with birtherism, the false flaggers, the president-is-a-Kenyan-Nazi-socialist-communist-Muslim gang, and other elements of the paranoid right.  On the one hand we should be grateful that this number represents a resounding minority; on the other hand, it should make us uneasy to think that every eighth person we pass on the street is one of these feverishly deluded citizens. Still, we might take comfort from the fact that this demographic trends old and white, and is passing from its mortal coil to be replaced by a more diverse and infinitely more tolerant generation of Americans. In other words, the “culture war” in the U.S. is resolving itself nicely, through the sheer weight of shifting demographics.  One more generation, at the outside, ought to do it.

However, the paralysis of our economic and political system by the toxin of finance capitalism will endure until some kind of broad-based social movement demands systemic change. What becomes more evident every day is that the moneyed, multinational elite no longer regard themselves as a part of any civil society and are entirely unaccountable to any system of laws.  Their economic machinations have become entirely detached from any traditional form of productive activity and as a consequence have left vast swaths of destruction in their wake. 

The best model for understanding this global dynamic is colonialism. In the past, large colonial powers would insert themselves into various parts of the world where they could extract valuable natural resources for the purpose of the generation of wealth (often under the cover of “the white man’s burden”).  Though clearly exploitive and often racist, these powers would frequently leave something useful behind: a school system, an efficient system of civil servants, etc. 

But today’s colonialists are stateless and aim at the direct extraction of not only natural resources but also wealth itself in any form: school systems, the civil service, etc.—anything that could be sold or traded for a shekel.  They buy and sell anything or anybody, without even a veneer of moral justification.  They happily cannibalize their own societies and nations, insatiably.  Their loyalty extends only to their bottom line; they live only for sheer, unadorned, soulless extraction, and they will extract everything if permitted.

Any of this can be easily verified through a variety of legitimate measures; indeed, as time passes and the impudence of our masters grows stronger, the evidence sits there plain as day for all to see.  And our masters so love the 30%!  Why? Because they would much rather have the population fixated on nonexistent plots of the FBI blowing up the Boston Marathon, or government agents slaughtering first-graders at Sandy Hook, or the building of FEMA concentration camps in Montana, or the president's impending imposition of Sharia law, or whatever Beck and Jones might be raving about on any given day.  Our masters would much rather have us arguing about such inanities than focusing on what has become increasingly obvious since the late 1970s: that our government has come to represent large corporate business interests at the considerable expense of the people.  Lenin had a phrase that could easily be applied to those who belong the 30%, and their Tea Party faction: “useful idiots.”  That they are idiots has always been obvious; but let us never forget whose interests they really serve, even if obliviously.

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