Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Class War Fundamentals

Class war makes everything different: instead of agreement on the rules serving as the foundation for common success, society is split in two camps, with at least one trying to ruin the future of the other. If you happen to be part of the “other,” you need to know that you are under attack.

Class war makes everything different. If we are all united, everyone may still spend most of their energy trying to get theirs first, but we all agree on the rules, and the game is ultimately more like a picnic with a shortage of chocolate cake than a fight to the death: everyone can win at least a little, and everyone agrees that the best society is indeed one in which everyone wins. If the rich get richer, they do so only so long as the poor and the average simultaneously gain. If wars are fought, they are fought to defend society from real threats.

A class war situation is exactly the reverse. If society is split into two camps, haves and have-nots, with each side perceiving the game as zero-sum, the rich do not get richer by floating on a rising tide but by stealing what little the poor have, and the poor respond by trying to kill the rich. Rather than trusting the rich to run the government for the good of all, the poor concentrate on trying to dethrone the rascals. Rather than sharing to create a stable, healthy, productive society, the rich do one of three things: pretend the poor do not exist (the gated community strategy), keep the poor as cannon fodder and cheap labor (the Middle Ages and Wisconsin Republican strategy), or eliminate them (the Colombian cattle baron and Israeli strategy). Wars are not last resort efforts to protect the society but eagerly awaited opportunities for the rich to accelerate the process of self-enrichment; that is, foreign wars are primarily features of the domestic civil war, with calls for “patriotism” just so much wool to be pulled over the eyes of the man in the street, who is too busy trying to survive to give any serious thought to politics.

The existence of elites appears inevitable in all large modern societies. Most people simply do not have the interest to get involved, and the minute you trust others to govern on your behalf, you create an elite. We could of course make some simple and rather obvious legal changes to minimize the production of elites, the most fundamental perhaps being limiting any individual to holding office for only one term…ever. We could also institute national recall provisions, like that currently being used to challenge Wisconsin Governor Walker. And of course we could have a tax system that encourages everyone to work hard by promoting the growth of the middle class, as the U.S. so successfully did from the end of WWII (indeed, from the New Deal) until Carter lost the tax battle to elitists in the late 1970s. But these are issues that glaze over the eyes of most of the victims, and elitists are working very hard to undermine education in order to keep things that way.

If all this seems complicated, the reason is that we are educated purposefully to make us ignorant of these issues. Public education is primarily a vehicle to instill patriotism (whose uses have already been referred to) rather than to teach the tools for maintaining vigilance over those to whom we delegate power. Our educational system serves our ruling elite, not us. It is probably true that there is no better country on earth in which to obtain a genuine education, one that will make of you a citizen armed to protect yourself from elite abuse, but that requires effort – either go to a really good college and spend years studying history, politics, and economics under unusually open-minded professors or self-educate yourself by successfully navigating the intellectual mine field of the Internet, reading things that reveal how the world works. How one either selects the professors or negotiates the Internet intellectual mine-field without already being an expert is another question.

In any case, education is key, and elitists know this. Thus, one of the clearest clues to the real intentions of politicians is their attitude toward education. Those who strive to strengthen public education and protect academic freedom are defenders of liberty; those who want dictatorship (to put it bluntly – call it “rule by your betters,” if that makes you happy) will attack public schooling, shift funds to private schools with ideological agendas, attack teachers’ unions, and do everything they can to subordinate university professors to political control (e.g., curb freedom of speech for any who criticize Israel, try to end Federal funding of Islamic studies, call anyone who speaks Russian a “commie symp”).

The first two paragraphs attempt to make the concept of class war simple, but in practice class war is the ultimate in human duplicity and subtlety. The most difficult challenge of winning a class war is figuring out that you are under attack. And solid education in the social sciences is the only microscope with sufficient resolution to reveal the initial stages of the attack.

Do not despair, however. Eventually, the class war will become so clear that only those determined to remain blind will be unable to perceive it, for elites are condemned to suffering from an appetite they cannot quench. Eventually, no matter how rich the elites become, they will bite off one bite more than they can chew. Then, the whole social sand castle in which they have the tower suites will dissolve, hurting themselves at least as much as it hurts everyone else. At that point, if not sooner, you will know it is time to fight back.

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