Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Current Ruling Class as a Corporate Commodus

Most of us have seen the movie "Gladiator" in which Joaquin Phoenix chillingly portrays the deeply disturbed Roman Emperor Commodus. The movie fictionalizes Marcus Aurelius character concerning the events surrounding who should succeed him, but what a great movie for what it says about real life.   Let's take a case in point. Here is an excerpt from the original script for the movie "Gladiator" by David Franzoni and John Logan:

  And what pays for it?  These games
  are costing a fortune and yet we
  have no new taxes.

  The future.  The future pays for

A beat.  She looks at them.

  He's started selling the grain


  That can't be true...

  He's selling Rome's reserves of
  grain.  The people will be starving
  in two years.  I hope they are
  enjoying the spectacles because soon
  enough they will be dead because of

The Senators, representatives of the Patrician class in Rome, are shocked when they hear that Commodus is selling the future just to keep the masses happy now.   As viewers watch the movie, they too are supposed to be shocked and sympathetic towards the group as they plot a coup against the madman who has taken over their government.

It is too bad that more of those same movie viewers fail to notice that what madman Commodus is doing in the movie is extremely similar to what today's ruling class in both parties is doing to us right now.   They are expanding government rapidly even though it is clear that we don't have the money to pay for the government we have now.  Like the insane Commodus, they are doing it by selling the future, in this case by using debt to pay for all the goodies they deign to dispense to the masses, after their friends take a large cut of course.

For many years Americans trusted the experts to run the country for us while we pursued the American Dream.  It turns out they ran the country for their own benefit and stole the American dream from our children.  Only the hollowed out remains of an economy shackled by debt remains.  If we don't quit out-sourcing the job of protecting our liberties to two D.C. based political clubs which have ruined our children's future to enrich their global cronies then nothing but debt-serfdom remains for our progeny.    

It is not just inefficient welfare programs at home that our government squanders money on. That money is just to bribe the lower classes into supporting the current system in which the ruling class systematically loots the middle and upper middle classes.   Do you realize that the United States has already budgeted more money, even after adjusting for inflation, to rebuilding Afghanistan than it spent rebuilding 16 European nations after WWII with the Marshall Plan?    That is because its not really about rebuilding Afghanistan.  It is about enriching the defense contractors and international construction firms who profit by our insane policy of blowing up bridges with million dollar cruse missiles and then re-building them again until the next time we blow them up.

It is shocking how much money the United States government borrows on our credit and then spends overseas.   Not only is the debt overhang hurting our economy, but the fact that those dollars leave our shores and are sucked out of our economy also hurts.  These studies of which states get back more from the federal government than they pay in never seem to account for the borrowing.   That is, a state may pay in less in taxes than it gets in federal income, but such accounting does not consider that FEDGOV is borrowing forty three cents for every dollar it spends.   

When you factor that in you will discover that we don't have a situation where half the states are better off with our current FEDGOV and half the states are worse.  Instead you will realize that almost all states in the union are worse off because of FEDGOV's mad policies of borrowing mind-boggling amounts of money on our credit from the rest of the world and then spending that money stimulating other economies overseas, after their friends make a hefty profit of course.

Like the Senators in the movie, responsible people in our nation must come to grips with the stark reality that our present ruling class is corrupt or insane or possibly both.    Asking the institutions which they control, such as the Republican or Democratic parties, to fix it, is useless as well as delusional. They are not going to fix it.  They caused it and the interests which fund them profit from it.   One of their primary functions is to weed out candidates who are sincere in their efforts to fix it, which is why any candidate who is serious about ending these abuses is attacked viciously by the opposing party as well as by the establishment of their own party, as well as by the media.  You have some good people in the state legislature, and a handful in Congress, but it is the scoundrels who will get the real party backing.

What is the solution to this predicament?   Revert to self-government.   Is that a lot of work?  Sure.  That's why we outsourced the job of protecting our interests to these D.C. based organizations in the first place.  We were trying to get out of work, so we wanted to believe that people who don't know us in a city we rarely or never visit would look out for us.   Now we see that was an unreasonable, even foolish, expectation.    

The only moral path is the difficult one of governing ourselves.  For those of us who don't know how to do that, it involves building our own decentralized means of getting candidates to the ballot without vetting them through a national party.  In other words, by practicing the precepts in the Third Pillar of Localism.  In my state we have taken the first steps toward doing this with Neighbors of Arkansas,    We are challenging ballot access laws for independents and helping the few good independent candidates where we can.  It's no way to pick a President, but its the best way to pick a legislature.  And if legislatures are selected outside the current party system, its going to matter a lot less who the President is.   A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.   I urge you to take that first step by working toward something similar where you live.

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