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writing for godot

The Human Stockyard

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Written by Carl Peterson   
Sunday, 17 March 2019 13:36

The Human Stockyard

 

Now, the essential American struggle is over the life or death of our democracy.  Let us say that American democracy is in intensive care, at a secret location in an unidentified hospital.  Only very recently have we thought to put a 24 hour guard around the patient.  Of course, if they did come to administer the coup de grâce, we wouldn't yet be able to stop it.  Perhaps certain members of the guard would step aside and allow it...

A live and real democracy would improve the lives of 90% or more of the population, and, when seen in a certain way, for example in the light of climate change, democracy is in the best interests of nearly 100% of the population, so it is worth fighting for.

But integral to the struggle for democracy is a struggle over the truth.  The outcome of the struggle over the determination of what is true will probably decide the fate of our democracy.

In general, progressives now have a view of the truth that of all the various "truths" flying every which way in our national blizzard of lies, is the one most likely to get our democracy back on its feet and out of the hospital.

Since progressives are a minority of the population and now alone are preparing to battle the plutocracy, which includes plutocrats' footmen--that army of paid quislings employed by the plutocracy as political operatives under orders to methodically, radically change the American form of government--and--often indistinguishable from the paid footmen--professional Republicans as a category; and, alas, many professional Democrats-- progressives must be especially efficient in the struggle over the determination of the truth.  We need to be particularly sensitive to those attempts to alter our perceptions of reality in a way that leads us to accept versions of the truth that allow the plutocracy to disguise its activities.

I had been thinking of the plutocratic-libertarian attitude toward regular Americans:  The ideology that says humans owe each other nothing beyond the "fair" trade inherent in economic transactions.  The ideology that says taxation for things other than what plutocrat-libertarians approve is theft.  The ideology that says government regulation to protect the environment is an infringement of the natural human liberty to pursue economic activities unimpeded by government interference.  The ideology that says money is speech, therefore government regulation of money in politics is an infringement of first amendment protections of free speech.  I could see how this ideology might appear to plutocrats to be beneficial to themselves, since it would strip away most legal restraints on them, and this intermediate step would then allow them to use their fantastic wealth to go the rest of the way and assume unlimited political power (similar to, but somewhat beyond where we already are.)

I tried to get a better understanding of how exactly the plutocracy in its splendid reverie views the role of regular Americans in the plutocrat-libertarian Utopia, and what I keep seeing, as in a vision, is a multitude of regular Americans corralled in a stockyard--shin deep in their own manure, no healthcare, no economic security, food just enough to subsist and procreate, no political participation, no freedom, no liberty in anything but a ghastly, sardonically abstract sense--held in place by the fence and allowed to live only for the purpose of exploitation by the plutocracy, allowed to live only because without regular Americans the plutocracy could not survive, only because without regular Americans there would be no one to defend the plutocracy from the armies owned by oligarchs in other countries; only because without regular Americans to economically exploit, the plutocratic billions (or maybe, by now, even trillions) would instantly evaporate; only because without regular Americans who actually do everything, the plutocracy would instantly become what it is--a small group of helpless, mostly aging, mostly physically and mentally declining, mostly white men--alone against Nature.  (This vision, if it ever occurs to a plutocrat, late at night at the golden toilet might freeze midstream a feeble flow of urine.)  Is it possible that the reason why plutocrats resent democracy so is that it is the only extant form of national government that forces upon them an inkling that they are the most dependent human beings on the face of the earth?  Is it because democracy, even when it is as sick as ours, naggingly suggests to plutocrats that they have not done it all alone via their own superhuman qualities?  And that their amassments of superwealth are artifacts of our current American political system and not inherent, eternal, non-contingent outcomes of their superhuman abilities that somehow exist beyond the reach of time and space.

Democracy is a major party-pooper for plutocrat-libertarians.  It ruins everything, putting a disagreeable taste in plutocratic mouths that wherever they go they cannot escape.  Democracy reminds them that they are subject to lesser human beings, even if only on a reciprocal basis, and if they allow themselves to be subject to the restraints of democracy, how can plutocrats really be superhuman?  Democracy contradicts plutocrats' view of themselves as superhuman and deserving of all the wealth they have amassed.  Democracy is a contradiction to the self-image plutocrats have cultivated and must cling to if they shall continue to believe that they are superhuman and have done it all alone, and that their mountains of wealth, accumulated only in irreplaceable association with other, lesser, human beings, yet belong to plutocrats singularly, every penny.

Plutocrats see democracy as a challenge to their deepest beliefs, or, if you will--cherished fantasies.  Internal voices begin to murmur.  If you are superhuman how can you allow this tyrannical, unjust system of democracy to place restraints on your liberty?  If you are superhuman you must prove it.  You must shake off these restraints, and the only way to do it, and the only way to prove that you are superhuman and right about everything else too, is to destroy democracy in your country. The formula is this: If you are superhuman you must prove it by seizing the political power that can only be seized by the superhuman, just as only Arthur could withdraw Excalibur from the anvil.

The plutocratic sense of aggrievement is not feigned, as astonishing as that might seem, and plutocrats have been driven to it, ironically, by their inescapable need to assure themselves that their fantastic, incommensurate, superfluous accumulation of wealth is justified.

American banks are continually getting into public trouble for treating their customers not like customers but like animals in the stockyard, existing only to be exploited, fleeced in a way probably more painful than temporarily losing your wool.  The illegality of the banks' chosen methods of exploitation have so far hardly deterred them, and are unlikely to deter them in the future since the punishments meted out are too mild to have been really designed to deter, but are only intended to mollify the masses in a charade where the government pretends to be sticking up for the human animals in the stockyard, but is really assisting in their repeated exploitation.  Bank CEOs have adopted the plutocratic perspective on the human stockyard (though these CEOs are too far down the totem pole to actually be plutocrats themselves).  But it is not just banks.  It seems to be everywhere in American major corporate commerce today, and has spread into federal and various state governments mainly via the plutocracy's control of Republican operatives and politicians.  For example, the plutocracy is seeking as it gains control of state and federal governments, to ensure that the human animals in the stockyard will not be able to unionize.  And think of the plutocratic response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a modest early attempt to rein in rapacious financial exploitation of the human animals in the stockyard.  Plutocrats responded like a slug responds to salt, and soon had one of their servile footmen, Mick Mulvaney, appointed to head the agency and destroy it from within.  Since Mulvaney's departure from that agency, his successor, also probably effectively appointed by the plutocracy, has continued Mulvaney's heroic destructive work on behalf of the masters.

There are few ethical standards being followed vis-á-vis regular Americans by those who have adopted the plutocratic vision of the human stockyard.  Human ethical standards and the human stockyard are incompatible.  For example, the narrowly educated and painfully ignorant Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg, leaders at Facebook, have adopted the plutocratic view of the human stockyard and seem to have absorbed it into their unconsciousness without first processing it with the reasoning part of their brains.  That is why they have been unprepared for and still do not understand what has recently happened to Facebook and their reputations.  Unconsciously imitating the leaders of the plutocracy, they had assumed that regular Americans exist for the purpose of exploitation.  They had assumed that the personal data of Facebook users was their own for the taking, or "harvesting," as it is sometimes called.  Yet this use of the term harvesting, which may have been intended as a euphemism to imply that the harvesters were merely reaping what they had grown from seeds--and were therefore rightfully entitled to profit from--raises another grisly implication when seen in the context of the human stockyard.  Human organ harvesting, another misnomer, since those who for profit take human organs from a human body are expropriating what they did not grow.  Personal data is not exactly equivalent to the organs of a human body, yet most regular Americans recognize at least on some level that in the digital age personal data is next to the human skin.  Personal data points to the real human who "grew" the data.  How useful it will be if the plutocracy prevails and needs to ensure that none of the underclass is outside the human stockyard!

 

 

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