Thursday, March 14, 2013

Labor Nunc Nihil Vincit

Remember yesterday, how I mentioned that just looking at the news is difficult for me?

Well, here's a great example; from today's "Lawyers, Guns & Money" roundup of labor news. A neat little package of despair in six inches of tidy 11-point Arial type.

This is exactly the sort of thing I mean; this is what's so damn deadly depressing. A functioning republic depends on, well, small-r republicans. It depends on a citizenry that is engaged in the business of self-government, has the information to conduct that business intelligently and in their own best interests (and to know what those interests are), and has the confidence, means, and opportunity enough to speak up and act.

And that, in turn, depends on those citizens being well-enough-off and secure enough in their livelihoods to be all the above.

A servile wage-slave that may be canned for any excuse or no excuse at all, who is one paycheck away from genuine poverty, who has to cling to his or her boss' favor or face penury and disaster is not really a "citizen" in any real sense. While they may not be a literal slave they have little more power than one. While they may be "free" in technical terms that "freedom" means nothing more than the freedom to starve if they run afoul of the powerful people who really matter in an oligarchic United States.

So if I was an oligarch I would be all in favor of making American's jobs' less lucrative, more insecure, more difficult and dangerous, and more scarce.

The real question I can't answer is; why would anyone else be in favor of this?

And yet, that has been the great arc of our nation over the past forty years, nearly the whole of my life.

Why? Why the hell would anyone who genuinely believed in the Republic, who truly believed in We the People AS the sovereign of the Republic, sit idly by and let that happen? Are foolish and petty fulminations over silly bits of trivia like firearms, abortion, gays, burning flags, and pointless foreign wars, is the craving for cheap imported plastic crap, so fucking crucial to people's lives as to make these people - who are not likely to benefit from the destruction of the free citizenry - embrace this destruction?

I cannot come to any other conclusion, and yet that conclusion is profoundly grim.


Ael said...

Given that the great economic engine of the world is/was the American consumer, one would think that even the oligarchs would be more protective of them.

I remember my last trip to Europe. In eastern Europe, I saw a few castle museums, containing rich noble's jewels and swords obtained by exploiting dirt poor peasant labor. In Holland, I saw a *lot* of really nice old houses full of nice old stuff. It seemed pretty clear that *everyone* was better off in Holland.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I think education is key to a citizenry understanding how their system works. And Americans are never taught the differences between "freedom TO" and "Freedom FROM"....I mean, it really doesn't matter if you are "Free TO own guns if you are not free FROM hunger and illness" enough to buy them, does it?

Nobody thinks critically...and this is not taught to children; conformity is taught. Great fascist value, that one. Serfs conformed, too. Or else.

Leon said...

There's a great video on youtube:
wealth distribution in the US. Very depressing that the middle class is almost gone.

FDChief said...

I think THAT's the really depressing part; that even the oligarchs should see that narrowing the spread of wealth isn't even in THEIR best interests.

A broadly-middle-class society is a largely complacent and placid society. A society where social differences are relatively minimal and benign - a Holland, not a Poland - tends to be a relatively peaceful society, even for the rich.

Do our richies WANT to return to the wild days of the Gilded Age, with Red anarchists tossing bombs and strikers burning the factory owner's homes and fighting with the militia? Because at this rate we're going back there.

It depresses me because there seems to be no acceptance of the fragility of the social peace bought by the New Deal, on either side. There just seems to be this multiparty race to see who can cramdown and offshore and outsource and make life harder and meaner for anyone not born to the Golden Ones.

Leon said...

I strongly believe that THAT is the next incarnation of terrorism. We'll move on from religious fundies back to social class-based terrorism. Whether it's a new (old) communist-inspired, aboriginal rights, anarchists, or just anti-rich.