Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sleep

More Random Barking

We read stuff, and we learn things.

You yearn, you hunger, for Daddy to take care of you, to give you candy, and an occasional afternoon off. And, to beat you whenever it pleases them you deserve it.

And -- admit it, now -- you do deserve it. You know that you do lots of stupid stuff. You have to be watched carefully, all the time, so that you don't lie, or slack off, or 'borrow' things that don't belong to you. Or touch each other in places where you shouldn't. Or ask questions like Why do Mom and Dad and their friends have it so soft, with treats? How come the police open our emails and listen to our mobile calls? How come boys get fifty cents an hour and girls only get thirty? Will there be another war? Why do the brown people next door get taken away by the police? How come they shoot black people? What's that little helicopter thing flying over our neighborhood?

See, the world is really big. You just don't know enough to figure it all out. It's all so confusing! And tell the truth, now -- who wants to rubberfy their little heads with all that? But Daddy, and Mommy, Do know. Jared Kushner knows. And they Care; they really do. They'll take care of everything.

So, sleep now. Sleep. There's candy for you, tomorrow, after all your work is done. If you're good.
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If you followed the link (be advised, you may have to take a Google test; that's what you get for accessing sites that know better than you and went to an Oxbridge college, too), the article is "Angry Voters Are Nostalgic For Powerful Elites", by Janan Ganesh in the online Financial Times.

Similar themes were being discussed by Very Serious people out on the Intertubes, even before the U.S. election. In Austria, it was "Faced With Angry Voters, The Elites Sour On Democracy." Glenn Greenwald noted that the Brexit was just one more proof "Of The Insularity And Failure Of Western Establishment Institutions." And Jeff Bezos' Washington Post quipped that "Everyone Hates The Elites. Even The Elites."

Ganesh is, outwardly, a member of the Labor Party in Britain who once declined to attend local Party meetings because they were "too dominated by Trots". Ganesh describes himself as essentially liberal on social affairs, center-right on economics; he co-authored a book in 2006 with a dyed-in-the-wool Tory, entitled Compassionate Conservatism.

That was all before The Crash, however, when conservatives could afford to ignore The Peasantry, which was besotted on ARM loans and cheap refinancing to turn their homes into ATMs. After the Crash, governments were unable to pay for their whining (or much else), and as a result turned the failure of private banks into public debt the Peasants would have to pay. And there would be Austerity for at least 99% of everyone. Yay!

Ganesh's thesis is simple: So long as Elites actively use their power for the material betterment of the people, "voters do not mind elites."
[They] do not want a putsch against elitism. If anything, they want its restoration. They want the ordered world they grew up in, when a measure of central direction kept jobs secure and neighborhoods familiar... The West is not in revolt against elites. The people who voted Britain out of the EU and Donald Trump into the White House ... are nostalgic for a time when elites were more, not less, powerful.
...To read about the architects of [that era] is to bathe in shameless, seigneurial elitism. ...They were extreme in their isolation from normal people. Some had beliefs that touched on the pre-democratic. But that was the point: it was their expert imposition of order on chaos that was so prized, and so missed when that order turned to flux in the 1980s and beyond.

...The trouble is that “oligarchy” is a serviceable description of the social system that angry voters miss. A system of large companies with implicit political duties to maintain jobs onshore, of government as a screen between worker and market, of the armed forces as a large employer and source of cultural mores, of immigration levels set by tight diktat rather the interplay of supply and demand, of free exchange as a curbed and conditional thing.
The masses deferred to elites as long as the elites managed the masses’ exposure to the brute realities of the market. The fraying of that contract led to the bitterness of today. ... In 2016, voters did not ask elites to abdicate their power. They punished elites for [abdicating it].
This assumes that the world, so complicated a place, filled with human folly, can only be tamed and controlled by the Barons and Dukes of Capital which literally and figuratively litter the planet. Genesh's perspective is a love letter to the world Our global HNWIs want -- a New Feudalism, one more financial Crash away.

This perspective also assumes that 'voters' (read: human beings) are children, or chattel, who need to be managed -- sometimes sternly -- rather than addressed and enabled as equals. That government is not a compact between citizens and the representatives they elect; that it is supposed to elevate only the interests of a few over the rest of the population; and that government holds property to be sacred over persons. It's a perspective which seems to suggest that the 'voters' don't have to be considered as human beings at all.
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