The Dive into Tyranny
by James L. Secor &
Minna vander Pfaltz with
柳不是 (Liu Bushi)
While everybody, especially the newscasters, are busy fact checking Trump and going on about his language, his verbiage and his mental faculties, no one is bothering to look at just what is happening to the US. All are to blame for what’s coming, for they did not hinder the inevitable–because even with Trump gone, his replacement is of the same mind. No. It will not be Pence; he’s far too involved, if only because of his lying. Better that he be a ventriloquist’s dummy, for then the lies would be someone else’s. But they are his and he’s raising money for his legal defense.
So. . .who’s next in line? Seriously, folks? You don’t know?
Well. . .it’s Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, an ideologue who sees no responsibility for his actions other than the money he begets on his handlers, the already-rich and über-saving. What is over-saving? This is superfluous wealth belonging to the permanently idle that sits still and produces nothing at all. “The owners of superfluous capital. . .want profits without fulfilling some real social function. . . .” (Hannah Arendt, On The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 150; also p. 149, for more discussion–the entire chapter, though, is about imperialism, which is applicable to the present situation as much as it was 2-300 years ago: money making money overseas.) Arendt considers these people menaces to society. Why? They take their money and send it overseas thus denying their own country the benefits of their wealth. In today’s world, they take their money and put it in off-shore tax havens and then spend it elsewhere: money making money and nothing else for nobody but “me.” At the same time, they use the country’s resources and don’t pay for them. The general run of the people and especially the middle class pay their way. With fewer and fewer jobs and less and less taxable income, there is nothing else to happen but collapse, destruction. Ergo, the superfluous money holders, the über-savings people, are menaces.
Falling in line with this ultimate destruction is the tunnel-visioned ideologue Paul Ryan who is no better than Mao who, despite his rhetoric, was government for government’s sake. Everyone works for the government–everyone has to work for the government. AKA slavery. Mao’s idealism killed about 45 million people to begin with (another 30 million or so later on). He destroyed his country. For present-day America, that would be around 7.5% of the population. Children are not excluded in the death toll. He will begin this march to despair later this year by slicing and dicing Medicare (want to bet he’s not going to want to support his parents and grandparents?) and Medicaid (he has a Malthusian belief that the bodies of the poor pave the way to success for the upper crust) and Social Security.
Obama made it possible for Social Security to be hacked at. Oh, no, no! Not such a good man! When you people whined about the mandated 14% FICA tax that fed Social Security and kept it in its own bag, if you will, he cut your payment by 2%. Y’all cheered. Ya-aaay? But. . .the 14% is mandated. That means the government has to make up the 2% you didn’t pay and that money is a government expenditure and that puts part of Social Security in the budget and, therefore, it can be manipulated, snip-snip, to help balance the horror the Republicans passed under the rubric of “tax cut.”
Tell me, were you looking forward to retirement? Don’t. And don’t gamble with the market, as Wall Street wants you to. Wall Street and “financial services” benefit from your gambling your savings, your Social Security, away. Las Vegas ain’t got nothin’ on the Wall Street fixers!
Y’all are responsible, whining aside. Y’all are responsible because you didn’t bother to pay attention to your government, your life, your well-being and just let some elected officials do. . .whatever. That is, fuck you for their benefit.
Surely you understand simple math: put less in, get less back.
Wasn’t it some time in the 1960s that high school social studies became passé? Of course, any such course was taught by uninterested, uninteresting teachers so you got 50 minutes of boredom and, in some cases, incorrect information. (Jimsecor didn’t take such a course but his social activism and disability work carried him over; Minna has dual citizenship and was in Holland during high school; Bushi is Chinese–she it was who saw the incorrect information, e.g. all good and all change comes from the government, which she says is Communist doctrine.)
Communist doctrine? Here in the US? Look. . .the Republicans call “their” America–they say this is “your” America–Red State America. The only other Red States in the world are the USSR/Russia and China. (There are other Communist countries but only these two call themselves Red State.) Uncanny, no? But there’s more!
When it comes to Paul Ryan, it is known that in 2012 when he was involved in aiding Republicans in winning elections in Florida, he became involved with the early Russian invasion. It is an open question as to whether he is the mole, the insider feeding information on our electoral system to the Russians, for it is impossible that they could have such an intimate and nuanced understanding by remaining on the outside. That is to say, is Paul Ryan the engineer? Here is where you can wonder about Trump’s intellectual abilities: he has no idea he’s being played.
Once the population is won over or subjugated, the people are of little interest to the government. Which raises a question Marx was never able to answer. He didn’t have the highest regard for people but people had to rule the land. How do you get better people than people? (Cf. Norman Geras, Marx and Human Nature.)
But the world, the country Ryan and Trump are trying to establish, is of a different sort. It is a dictatorship, perhaps a tyranny. It is the end product of Marx’s utopia. To get there, as H.G. Wells and George Orwell wrote, it doesn’t matter what is said. It’s not important that it’s not the truth. What’s important is that it’s out there in public and people are paying attention to it. What’s important is that no one is countering his verbiage, his lies and truth-bending because they are too involved in proving him wrong and making fun of him. People are too invested with proving him demented–and Wolf, a sleazy slimy man if ever there were one, only muddies the water with gamey rumor mongering that not even Hedda Hopper would engage in, in order to deflect the public and the media from the issue itself.
Trump’s mind is unimportant. It’s what he’s doing when he says what he says, often enough doing without any relation to what he says. He lets his minions, his lesser helpers, the people we already hate, do things. They take responsibility, not him, and then he fires them if their actions don’t turn out right. Damn incompetent people!
While the news reporters and the pundits and political historians cash in on just how many Secretarial posts are not filled, no one at all is looking at what this means. If there is no appointee, then Trump is the decider. He is the boss. He is, in effect, the dictator. Who’s to stand in his way? That’s right. Trump owns the running–or not–of the country. No Justice Department? No problem. Trump makes the law whatever he wants it to be.
Trump keeps firing people who get in his way. He replaces them with ass lickers. . .if he replaces them. In either case, he owns the country. Nobody can stand up to him, especially with the media telling him what to do; e.g., if he wants to fire Mueller, says the news media, he must get rid of Rod Rosenstein because Rod Rosenstein is Mueller’s boss. Guess what? Next thing you know, Rod Rosenstein is under pressure.
Obstruction of justice? Yes, you bet. How many more times can he engage in obstruction? Will it out? Nah. Like Lady Macbeth’s bloody hands, it’s a permanent spreading stain. The House of Representatives is ideologically Republican, come hell or high water. Any call for Impeachment goes before the House of Representatives. What are the chances, eh?
These secret phone calls to Putin. . .are they instructions to Trump? How long do you think Trump will last when he comes out on top of the same heap God gave Job? For Putin, Trump is an incompetent, a fall guy. Will Putin come here? Not a chance in hell. He doesn’t need to. His agents know better than to fuck up. Cold as it is in Siberia, it’s colder still in the grave.
But we’ll be living in a dictatorship nonetheless, Trump or not. And we are responsible, for we saw it happening, beginning with massive round-ups before even ICE became involved. We saw it with the new racism (victimization–you have to have someone to play scapegoat). We saw this in the violence and brutality of policing protests. We saw this in the caging of the First Amendment. We saw this with the targeted assassination program put into law by Obama, including of US citizens (none in the US yet); and allowing the CIA to spy on its citizens in violation of its mandate, again given us by Obama.
The many non-Trumpians who are leaving office are only hastening the process as, being gone, they cannot stand in the way of Trump’s destruction of the country. Every little bump in the Trumpian road is a success. But these deserters are more interested in themselves than the country, as Karl Jaspers noted in his The Question of German Guilt. He includes himself and all others who ran for their lives as guilty. Not everyone can be a hero, it is true, but even fewer reach the status of martyr, as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Fewer still are any people who have a belief they’d be willing to stand up for. For Christians, it’s God’s will for whatever the hell happens. For Muslims, Allah be praised. For Jews, I told you the world was a shit place. For Buddhists, it’s your karma (read “your fault”). Actually, it’s just not paying attention. It’s not reading and knowing your history. It’s not acting. It’s delegating your responsibility to narcissists. But we should be able to trust these people; we’re paying them increasingly exorbitant salaries, yeah? Machiavelli, the ultimate cynical, practical politician, would say “should” has no place in the discussion.
So, what are we going to do about it? Might I suggest Chalmers Johnson’s Revolution and the Social System (first edition) followed by action?
In the meantime, Minna has a second home, she’ll probably go there for awhile; Jimsecor is over 70, he’ll probably go elsewhere to finish out his days; Liu Bushi is in a bind, being an immigrant and not wanting to return to Xi’s China. She has, though, pushed for all of us going to some isolated island to live and die in peace. We, none of us, are heroes.
But, then, with all the recent volcanic activity and Yellowstone’s blowing steam when it oughtn’t maybe there will be a major world catastrophe that will change the course of history. Nah! Can’t count on that.