Hey, did you know that the proposed single payer health care bill in California is already dead? Did you know that it was a Democrat that killed it? Neither did I, but Jesus Christ is that depressing/predictable. Almost as depressing as watching the Dems cheerlead 45 when he bombed Syria. Anywho, that’s not honestly the point to this post, the point is how well Caitlin Johnstone articulated the motivations of our oligarchs in writing about the whole disaster. Are the super rich hoarding resources simply so they can keep us as their wage slaves? Read away on her Medium site.
“The word “oligarchy” gets thrown around a lot in progressive discourse, usually to highlight the problem of money in politics, but not many people seem to really settle in and grapple with the hefty implications of what that word actually means. If you say that America is an oligarchy (and it certainly is, which we’ll get to in a second), you’re not merely saying that there is too much money in US politics or that the wealthy have an unfair amount of power in America. Per definition, you are saying that a small class of elites rule over you and your nation, like a king rules over his kingdom.
You’ve studied history, in school if nowhere else. How often have you read about kings voluntarily relinquishing their thrones and handing power to their subjects out of the goodness of their hearts? Once someone makes it to the very top of a society, how often have you known them to eagerly step down from that power position in order to give the people self-rule?
This isn’t about money, this is about power. The wealthiest of the wealthy in America haven’t been doing everything they can to stave off universal healthcare and economic justice in order to save a few million dollars. They haven’t been fighting to keep you poor because they are money hoarders and they can’t bare to part with a single penny from their trove. It’s so much more sinister than that: the goal isn’t to keep you from making the plutocrats a little less wealthy, the goal is to keep you from having any wealth of your own.
Power is intrinsically relative: it only exists in relation to the amount of power that other people have or don’t have. If we all have the same amount of government power, then none of us has any power over the other. If, however, I can figure out a way to manipulate the system into giving me 25 percent more governmental power than anyone else, power has now entered into the equation, and I have an edge over everyone else that I can use to my advantage. But that edge only exists due to the fact that you’re all 25 percent less powerful than I am. If you all become five percent more powerful, my power is instantly diminished by that much, in the same way a schoolyard bully would no longer enjoy the same amount of dominance if everyone at school suddenly grew five percent bigger and stronger.
Here’s where I’m going with all this: the ruling elites have set up a system where wealth equals power. In order for them to rule, in order for them to enjoy the power of kings, they necessarily need to keep the general public from wealth. Not so that they can have a little more money for themselves in case they want to buy a few extra private jets or whatever, but because their power is built upon your lack of power. By keeping you from having a few thousand extra dollars of spending money throughout the year, they guarantee that you and your fellow citizens won’t pool that extra money toward challenging their power in the wealth-equals-power paradigm that they’ve set up for themselves.”
Here’s where I say that I think this is partially true. I also think this is just a game to them, and a game that they’re winning at that. I don’t think a lot of these people have the ability to question the legitimacy of this game, they just like the fact that they’re kicking everyone’s ass because it makes them feel important. I think there’s unquestionably a level of obsessive compulsive/addictive behavior going on with all that. This is not only what they’re trained to do but are also rewarded handily for doing, so why would they question it exactly?
It would strike me that it’d actually be easier for a poor person to discontinue behaviors that are obviously screwing them over (like having multiple kids at a young age) than it would be for a rich person to question something they keep gaining adulation for, but that’s just me. Having said that, are some of these people just power hungry assholes devoid of any sort of moral center like Caitlin is indicating? Yeah, I think some of them absolutely are.