Guess what happens next

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


“ECONOMIC depression and political radicalism go hand in hand. When economic distress reaches a certain point, the individual citizen no longer uses his political power to serve the public, but only to help himself. His ideal of political liberty pales before his ideal of economic equality.

Once this sentiment has eaten its way into the hearts of the majority of a nation, any political system is doomed to failure. It is useless to tell the embittered masses that their political and economic rulers are not responsible for their misfortunes. It is equally useless to point out to them that a revolution with its attendant disorders would not improve their situation, but would hopelessly compromise it. The world is not ruled by reason, but by passion, and when a man is driven to despair he is ready to smash everything in the vague hope that a better world may arise out of the ruins.

Intelligent and orderly as [people] are… they are in danger today of falling into this reckless state of mind. It would seem that the economic crisis, the reduction of large classes of the population [out of the middle class and into the lower class], and the unemployment of nearly five million persons, cannot go on for many more years without ruining the nation as a whole. Here is a population, well-equipped from the point of view of health and intellect, which in general is forced to be satisfied with an income barely sufficient for a minimum existence. One-eighth of those who are able and eager to work are unable to find any opportunity to do so. And those who are employed see no possibility of little by little rising to positions where their abilities will have fuller scope. Above all — and this is perhaps the worst aspect of the situation — not only are great numbers of persons forced to abandon any hope of advancement themselves but they must also relinquish the idea of giving their children an adequate education and thus opening up a way for them to better their situation.

The consequence is a pronounced and inclusive dissatisfaction with the prevailing economic system. All the blame for every ill is laid on the shoulders of the capitalistic system, despite the fact that it has been hampered and weakened to a considerable degree by governmental interference….But it is certainly one of the secrets of success not to allow the feelings of self-reliance and self-help which exist in a nation not to go to waste. America has managed things better in this respect [than Europe has, where] the self-made man is no longer the ideal of the people. The number of those who are beginning to think in terms of socialism is increasing.

The [other political party] offers the advantage that one may indulge in cheap socialism, the socialism of envy, without having at the same time to forgo class-consciousness or a sense of superiority over the [lower class.]… Their “socialism” is a hatred of capitalism; their “Marxism” is a hatred of democracy. Whether this party will ever make up its mind to take the leap and try an assault upon the Republic is extremely doubtful. 

Related posts:

  1. Osama bin Laden is dead. Now what?
  2. #OccupyWallStreet, or Get a Job on Wall Street?

21 Responses to Guess what happens next

  1. JohnJ says:

    Politicians put the good of the nation ahead of their political agenda?

    Okay, that was probably not a good guess.

  2. Dan Dravot says:

    “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”

    — Tom Wolfe

    On the other hand, there’s always a first time for everything.

    Thank god our president and other wise, inclusive, thoughtful folks keep warning us about the rich banksters, greedy plutocrats, and their deranged anti-American racist right-wing extremist enablers who use divisive rhetoric to turn against our neighbors.

    • V.V. says:

      “Thank god our president and other wise, inclusive, thoughtful folks keep warning us about the rich banksters, greedy [. . .] deranged [. . .] right-wing [. . .] use divisive rhetoric to turn against our neighbors.”

      Yes, Dan Dravot, let’s thank our luckiest stars for those folks.

      About Tom Wolfe’s observation, it may well be true, and may it always be, but it doesn’t address how freedoms are nibbled away over time, liberties are taken as they arise by those in authority, numbers are fudged to the controller’s benefit, and language is turned upside down to beguile a distracted public. All that is happening here, now, and has been.

  3. operator says:

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

    Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

    The Truth About Tytler by Loren Collins

    • Guy Fox says:

      [Democracy] can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury…”

      But the mercy of the thing is the competition among different groups wanting to be the majority. If the rich want benefit A, which is in competition with benefit B desired by the poor, which is incompatible with benefit C, desired by the military, which must be weighed against parents’ claims to benefit D for their children, we might just survive our own venality. If you measure democracy as it’s actually been practiced (i.e. forget the propaganda of political theory) against the outcomes the alternatives have produced/are producing, you’ll warm up to it. Just don’t expect it to look like it does on the commercials.

      Like Camus wrote on Tarrou’s behalf, “Perhaps we can only reach approximations of sainthood. In which case, we must make shift with a mild, benevolent diabolism.”

      • JonnyVelocity says:

        I’m with you on those sentiments. Except I don’t have as much faith in people’s ability to know what is actually good for them over and above the media’s (and other self serving group’s) interference. (I feel that a lot of people are motivated by fear of the unknown, which is ‘graciously’ supplied by the 24 news networks fake urgency and spin)

        Also, in this situation, once the people have voted for the congress they want, those ‘representatives’ will represent their own interests – the needs of the multi-national’s who funded their campaign.

        I see these as the main problem with the US system

      • operator says:

        If one can convince people in a democratic society to accept the existence of a “democracy-despotism cycle”, perhaps one can stand to benefit from that despotic turn – and all the more reason to convince the American public of the veracity of this notion: engender apathetic acceptance, catalyze the extraction process, (guess what happens next) … PROFIT.

  4. JohnJ says:

    There’s a decent book, appropriately titled ‘Ordinary Men’, which talks about how the Germans could follow such a monster as Hitler. As it turns out, it’s because they’re just like us.

    • Guy Fox says:

      No way, dude! You mean Americans aren’t the master race, providentially immune to folly and cruelty?!? Well blow me down!

      JJ, although nothing changes in terms of strict logic, does your perspective change at all if you rephrase your last sentence to “As it turns out, it’s because we’re just like them”? (And who is ‘we’ anyway? Americans? Even those fresh off the boat from Ouagadougou or Naypyidaw? Does pledging allegiance before a duly accredited official change immigrants’ DNA? Protip: Never mistake one of your many Granfalloons for a karass.)

      • JohnJ says:

        No, my perspective doesn’t change, but the logical structure of my statements would take a hit.

        Oddly enough, you seem to be attacking me while agreeing with me that people are people, whoever and wherever they are. Since we don’t disagree about that, I’m wondering why you feel the need to vilify me, imply that I’m a racist (even though we agree) , and wrap yourself in the veneer of moral superiority. You simply repeated what I said, but with more grandstanding and exclamation points.

        • operator says:

          As it turns out, it’s because we’re all narcissists.

        • Guy Fox says:

          Not exactly. Your last sentence above implied that it should be a surprise that ‘they’ are just like ‘us’. It implies a premise of difference, though it comes to a conclusion of similarity. I agree with the conclusion, but I dispute the premise. ‘As it turns out’ is disguising a first principle for a revelation. And the exclamation points are an involuntary physiological response of mine to implicit attempts to naturalize ideas like American exceptionalism. It’s like a cosmopolitan Turret’s syndrome.

          @ Operator below: RDR^2

          • JohnJ says:

            I’d like to point out that you’re an idiot. I didn’t imply that it “should be” a surprise that they are just like us. I simply acknowledged that, for many people, it is a surprise.

            You’re suggesting that there aren’t lots of people who believe that Americans are inherently more virtuous than other people. You’re saying that I have no reason to expect that some people would be surprised to hear that point of view. You’re saying that my expectation that some people would be surprised to hear that somehow makes me a bad person.

            According to you, it’s immoral to expect that there would be people surprised to be told that Americans are not inherently more virtuous than other people. That is exactly what you’re attacking me for.

            And that’s why you’re an idiot.

          • Guy Fox says:

            If you were being sarcastic in your original comment, I didn’t get that, which might make me an idiot or not (it’s always so hard to judge in your own case). If you were, then we probably are in agreement, and fighting about that agreement isn’t terribly wise. But I’m not doing it alone, so you get at least a good 25% of the idiocy. If you’re already full, I’d be happy to store it for you at a family rate. :)

            That sound fair, Mr. Stinkypants-Boobyface?

  5. Minerva says:

    What about the coming war? The charts are calling for one, pretty clearly.

  6. Somebody says:

    Here is a preview:

  7. Jerboa says:

    Do you have any actionable information that doesn’t involve bunking with this guy?

  8. MikeWC says:

    That video is gone, Jerboa. Details?

  9. MikeWC says:

    @Jerboa & myself: Nevermind.

  10. sunny day says:

    I know so many people who have a bone for finding the next Hitler. So far they’ve found him in Greece/Iran/the Occupy Wall Street protests. It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo for hawkish foreign policy nerds.

    He’s never from “round here,” of course.