Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Social Distortion

With a mere sixteen months(!) before the next election, the tedious strategy circus on both "sides" will start picking up speed. The wingnuts on the right will start making goofier and looser assertions, secure in the knowledge that their crowd has no use for "facts" or "logic", much less intellectual honesty. Hell, Newt Gingrich is their idea of an intellectual, so clearly they have gone around a turn that even Hofstadter would have had trouble imagining. Their strategy will consist of continuing to obstruct any and all moves Obama might attempt toward righting an increasingly moribund economy -- one which is as likely as not to worsen than improve.

But that is the sort of guff we've been long accustomed to from that crowd. The real shenanigans will take place across the aisle, as "liberals" and "moderates" alike will outdo each other in informing why we should -- no, must -- grant Obama another term with which to play Lucy with their political football. Particularly galling about this strategy, such as it is, is that it invariably revolves around the prospect of losing on social issues which, sorry to say, are secondary at this point.

Polls consistently show a majority of the public being pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc. It is understandable that people would be distressed, concerned at the notion of losing (or being rendered unable to gain) fundamental rights because of the leverage of a small but politically motivated minority. It absolutely sucks rhino dong that terminally regressive, knuckle-dragging troglodytes can hamstring the political and social progress of a post-modern technocracy, just for the sheer glee of doing so (that, and the proprietary reading of a carefully selected, multiply translated Bronze Age transcripts of Levantine tribesmen).

But I submit that a darker corner lurks, deserves our additional attention. I submit that terminal fuckwits such as this guy, boundlessly greedy bastards and their awful dogsbodies, are the bigger threat. Day after day, year after year, these fuckers keep their boot across your neck, not because they create more actual value or wealth, or work hundreds of times harder than their minions, but because they can. Because it's a game, and they make the rules.

More importantly, they buy the refs ahead of time, and ensure their own success (not to mention the failure of everyone else not in the game). And the booga-booga currency to keep restive libs from realizing that the guy thye voted for is almost indistinguishable in economic terms from the last guy is the deathless specter of Roe v. Wade. Never mind that many states already have managed to circumvent or eviscerate RvW anyway, and where's yer fuckin' Supreme Court been for all of that?

This idea that we maintain or achieve success, fairness, justice, anything resembling economic parity or sanity, by remaining vigilant on one intellectually corrupt institution (a SCOTUS which has rendered its share of dismal decisions in the first place, from Kelo to Citizens United, and has done fuck-all in the arena of social justice anyway) and attempting to engage with righteous change an irredeemable instituion (a corporate-owned political party with center- and far-right wings, both of which have many, if not most, of the very same corporate sponsors) is perhaps the very definition of insanity. It's Stockholm Syndrome at its worst, the garbled cry of "go ahead and screw me out of every vestige of economic mobility, and trap me in the cage of debt and stratification, but fergodsake don't take my right to get an abortion away!".

By using this strategy against outliers on both "sides" (and make no mistake, Dubya was every bit as savvy about floating the phantom prospects of repealing Roe or amending the Constitution), they've managed to distract people with actual common ground -- the burgeoning underclass of economically disenfranchised.

I hate to sound like a revanchist Clintonista, but there is really only one issue worth voting on anymore. It really is the economy, stupid, specifically the widening gap of wealth and income disparity, a mathematical by-product of productivity gains accruing to owners only, rather than among the actual pool of producers. Nothing else matters, nothing else counts, if for no other reason than that an economically healthy society doesn't have those social issues to contend with in the first place.


Brian M said...

Nope. The real issue is "converging disasters". Our economy is based on idnustrial era mythologies which will be irrelevant in the near to mid-term.
Note that this is Daily KOS, not some far out site. The convergence of ecological disasters is...scary. Scarier than the question of whether a college educated middle manager wuill be able to afford a suburban home 45 miles from his or her job.

Brian M said...

Gosh my typing sucks!

The point is...the "economy" cannot be "fixed" in any fundamental sense. Just like, pace Chalmers Johnston, the American political edifice cannot be "reformed" in any meaningful way.

Heywood J. said...

Thanks for the link, Brian, very interesting post.

During one of the late-'80s African famines, I recall Chomsky making the comment that (wrt food) production was not the problem, but rather distribution was the source of starvation.

Not that envirnmental catastrophes aren't looming if we (and China and India) don't get our shit together in a major, major way, like yesterday.

But the single greatest problem with the American economy is that it is so concentrated in such a small portion of the population now, I think it has reached (or will soon) a point of equilibrium where a sufficient amount of wealth and capital will have been captured by a small enough segment that they can simply trade with each other, and not suffer any major ill effects.

For some reason I'm thinking I may have read it in Pareto or Mosca many moons ago (I could be wrong), but the economy of scale, which normally aggregates to a large mass with an average amount of capital, can in fact revert to a feudal, serfdom-type of system if the economy of scale shifts b/c of capital concentration in a gilded minority.

Bad enough that the planet is indeed being raped by the second, but with America specifically the main economic problem is that these Scrooge McDuck motherfuckers think they can -- and more importantly, should -- take it with them.

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