Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dec. 28: forgive me for getting annoyed.

This isn't the usual blog. I hate writing this. I've been staring at my computer to decide how to tackle it. It's about the greatest crisis of our time. It's partly what Trump is about - though it predates him in western economies. It's about the destructiveness of unlimited greed. It's about the compulsive mass murder that arises from that greed. It's about indifference to human suffering and human need. And it's all done by the very best sort of people.
It's about the website that appears above this. It's a book review by a man who is, I think, the best writer The Guardian has. That makes him one of the best commentators in the world.

Let's start with a human frailty.
The Dieppe Raid of World War 2 was a disaster that killed, wounded or imprisoned some 60% of the Canadian troops who took part in it. Much of the reason it was a disaster was that it was planned by a man who had no competence to lead such an attack. So why was he chosen to lead?
Because he was an aristocrat. Lord Mountbatten was of the class born to lead. His rise in the navy had been spectacular, and his later rise to supreme British commander in Asia even more so. This rise was not because of any noticeable qualities in him. It wasn't due to education. It wasn't due to successes of any sort. He was a lord, and a lord well-connected to Buckingham Palace. (Prince Phillip is his nephew.) That's all it took for him to be able to claim the highest positions in the land.
The British had, for centuries, been conditioned to regard their aristocracy as being superior in intellect and in rights to ordinary people. They had a right to govern without getting elected. They still do - in the House of Lords. They regarded all other people as being beneath them.
Aside from birth, they had no qualification whatever for doing anything. (A few had brains - but no more so than in the general population.) And, since the common people were beneath them, they felt little interest in seeing to whatever needs they had. But this aristocracy was the class that exercised enormous power in Britain. British armies fought wars around the world for the aristocracy which returned their work with dismissal and contempt. "I've got sixpence.' went the song. In fact, with fines and with fees for the colonel (many were expected to buy their muskets and other equipment from the colonel), the soldier was often lucky to see any pence. And soldiers and sailors, crippled, aged, sick, were simply discarded.
Such was contempt for the common people that women of the poor often served in the ships of the Royal Navy and general cleaners and prostitutes. They usually lived, mixed with the crew, just below the main deck on what was called a gun deck. Inevitably, babies were born, usually to unknown fathers. And so the Captain would write, "Male child born. Father unknown. Son of a gun."
We have an aristocracy today. We  have people born into wealth, who believe that they are superior because of that, and see the rest of us simply as existing  to serve them.
How brutal are they? How contemptuous of us lesser breeds? Think back to the Iraq war. American and British forces murdered one and a half million, mostly civilians. They created ten million refugees.
There was no legal reason for that war. Iraq did not threaten the U.S. Who benefitted from that war? Only one group - those 'aristocrats' in the American oil industry. They killed one and a half million people to get richer. There was no other reason.
Some 4300 American military died, too. They get remembered every remembrance day as official "Heroes" for helping to kill one and a half million Iraqis.
As I write this, I wonder how the hell we can accept this butchery all for the benefit of our aristocracy. These are the same people have pushed us into war and increasing chaos in Syria, with the dead in at least the hundreds of thousands. And we kill for their mining and factory-farm brethren who need killing done all over Latin America, Pakistan, Africa...
As I read our local newspapers, I see these killers described as wise, efficient, generous. They are none of those. They are greedy, malicious, murderous, callous.... They sum up all that is worst of the human species.
Forgive this writing of what must seem like childish rage. It is enormously frustrating to watch 99% or our population either applauding these human disasters - or just hiding.
Recently, they have introduced a new term to justify their vileness. It's called neo-liberalism. It's a belief that the wealthy need to be free from any government regulation or restraint, that humans are by nature competitive, and that by giving complete freedom to that competitiveness we will all become rich.
That is pure nonsense. There's nothing new about neo-liberalism. It was neo-liberalism that was used by the old aristocracy to plunder the world. Neo-liberalism made possible the slaughter of native peoples in the U.S. and Latin America - and in Canada. The only people it ever made rich were the neo-liberals. Even now, as neoliberalism gathers speed in the west, the very wealthy are getting richer while the rest of us get poorer. It can end only in a general crash. But our new aristocrats are too stupid with greed to think that far ahead.
(For samples of neoliberal thought, check out columns by Atlantic Institute of Market Studies or The Fraser Institute. - or any other corporation-funded "think-tank".
As if that weren't a big enough crisis, we have an added one. Those who tried to deal with the great depression of the 1930s used the theories of Keynes who advised government spending when private spending slowed down.
But that may not work this time. It may not work because we're already making demands on our resources - like oil, mines, food - that cannot be sustained. Somehow, we need less growth, not more - but we still have to meet human needs.
But, with the present power of the corporation world there is no chance of concentrating on human needs. The starvation of millions means nothing to them. The evidence of climate change means nothing to them. Like the old aristocrats, these believe themselves to be born superior beings to the rest of us. And, like the old aristocrats, they are self-absorbed - and not very bright.
Sorry. This is a long and confused rant. It also falls far, far short of describing what a threat our corporate leaders are to human survival. How can one describe the killing, the suffering, the economic and social disaster they are taking us to?
And how can we just sit here and watch?
Oh. And where does Trump stand on this? The same as Clinton would stand. The same as Obama, pretty much, did. The same as Bush did. And do not trust Trudeau on this one.

1 comment:

  1. Not at all looking to defend the Iraq war, but I'm wondering how you came up with 1.5 million? This website mentions 264 000 (which is still 264 000 too many).