I’m doing a longer piece on “First Principles” which every patriot-American instinctively knows, and which are immediately tripped when someone offends us about our Country. I won’t finish it until after Nov 3 because of all the things I have on my plate between now and then. It’s what one of my friends call a “thinking piece”, (anything over 1200 words) which she dreads reading, but does as an act of kindness. There are just some things ideas that have to be explained one they are ripe and relevant, and at my age, when I no longer even buy green bananas, I’m impelled to write them into print.
It’s not that any of these are original thoughts…no more than the depraved events we are witnessing on the streets today are crimes of first instance. And being followed by a generation who generally doesn’t read anything over 500 words, and often can’t understand anything that involves thoughts that require logic skills that connect more than two dots, you might ask, “What’s the use?”.
For instance, today every 17-year old thru 30-year old knows that
“Money = Stuff”. Simple logic.
But add a second “=” to make it look like this, “Work = Money = Stuff” and the young moderns’ understanding is no longer on such firm ground, especially compared to a mere 50 years ago.
When I was in college there was an epigram going around: “At both ends of the economic spectrum there is a leisure class.” It was attributed to Edward Abbey, an environmental-writer and hero of mine. Eliot Porter, the National Geographic photographer of the Canyonlands, had done a classic photo essay on Glen Canyon, which was being flooded to create Lake Powell in Arizona in the early 60s. His photo studies by themselves were a key element in the growth of the early “romantic” environmental movement, before Lenin’s national birthday celebration in America, er…Earth Day…April 20, 1970…marked the rise of the current one. Well, one of Porter’s photos showed where a hiker had stopped and taken a dump. Somewhere I read later that Abbey claimed that was his mess. Instant philosopher-back-country hero for a 23 year-old trekker.
Everybody understands the leisure class at the top, going back centuries, whose excesses, as I recently wrote, were the principal cause of the French Revolution, which began just as ours ended, in 1787. My topic for that article was “madness”, not Revolution, for while it began as a war against the “divine right” of the ancient royals to be so leisurely indolent, it caused the young, intellectual radicals to rise in anger and protest, only based on their own vanities and sense of entitlement, not to end it, mind you, but grab a piece of it. And since they had no army, they used the wretched and poor as a canard you still see employed today…interestingly by the same political class this bunch of Frenchmen arose from in 1790. (Food for thought.)
But instead of a republic, they turned France into the “radical-chic” basket case she still is today, 200 years later…not to mention giving a man such as Napoleon Bonaparte a prominent place in history simply because the power he gained from it drove him to his own depravity, when he might just as easily have made France a paradigm for democracy instead of one of self-indulgence and excess. (I discuss Napoleon’s flip from military democrat to emperor in the next piece.)
“America was different” I also wrote, and still is, I wrote, but the French Revolution’s principal heirs in America, who Ayn Rand called “Children of the Damned” (mentioned here often), in the 1970s, and their children we see today, still rioting and burning, are from that same smarter-than-thou “entitled-but-not yet realized leisure class” pool who tried to replace the French aristocracy. They are not royals, though they’d very much like to be, but rather are the beneficiaries of someone in their family-tree having done very well in the “Work=Money=Stuff” formula of acquiring wealth so that these children, or grand-children, or perhaps even great- and great-great grandchildren, wouldn’t actually have to work again. Maybe a bright grandchild could afford to study to become a second violin in the city orchestra (first violin was always held by a Jewish prodigy whose father owned a jewelry store), and or become an expert on predator sharks (Jaws!) or any number of other excellent academic pursuits. University teaching among them. Mere sinecures as far as money goes.
If you begin with the joining of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald clans in the 1870s, up to JFK’s day, no Kennedy has ever had to work in order to have money to buy “stuff” and only now seem to be running out of name-recognition steam to run for public office. But by 2000 politics seems to have become the easiest million “dollar grab” in America, reaching way, way down the class ladder from JFK to being the son of an average middle class politician, in just one generation, with no singular skills or aptitude, but can sit on the board of a Ukrainian power company, which was still a communist state property while he was still in college. Earning paychecks entirely through family connections, without really having to apprentice or train for anything, like thousands more in America, today, he had nothing better to do that snort cocaine, knock-up strippers and diddle 14-year old girls.
What has been redefined here is “work”, where the principal skill today is in acquiring connections.
Even in 1900 it was a shock to the world, not just America, that such wealth could accrue to so few so fast, especially without benefit of divinely-endowment, which the royal families of Europe would continue to claim until 1918. A treatise by Thorsten Veblen, “The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions” was published. (If you think I’m hard to read….the title tells you all need to know, namely that a 42-year old economist and sociologist wrote a book that shook the world of everyone, over 1000, who could actually read and understand it.)
What none of the sociologists in 1900 could ever foresee would be that the working side of income-production in America could grow so large and widespread, so that today there are 1000 times more idle rich kids out there who have to do no work in order to rent an apartment, fly off to Cancun for a week, or keep themselves stocked up in all sorts of stimulants that can keep them awake for 72 hours running, pissed off at the drop of a MAGA cap or a botched order of fries at Arby’s.
Yes, a few do become expert animal biologists. All sorts of worthy endeavors. One Supreme Court justice (from Wilson to FDR), Louis Brandeis, the son of a wealthy Kentucky merchant, even said it was the duty of the well-educated man to gain his fortune early and “give over the rest of his life to public service.” A very noble ideal, indeed a centerpiece of what was then called “classical liberalism”, a badge I proudly wore until I discovered William F Buckley on the one hand, and LBJ and what they did to Martin Luther King’s dream, on the other. I also watched environmentalism debauched in 1970, then saw communism up close, as in “Asia-up-close”, and finally watched the “classical” aspects of liberalism totally cast overboard by the “evolving” Democrat Party, although they clung to the term as a shibboleth for many more years.
Somewhere between Jack Kennedy and his little brother Ted, Justice Brandeis’ ideal of “public service” morphed into public theft by an institution Mark Twain had already dubbed in the 19th Century, “America’s only native-born criminal class”.
Twain nailed it. All that’s changed over those years since 1900 has been the size and breadth of their haul.
But that’s about the income production at the top, a problem we also have to fix soon.
To finish Abbey’s quote, the leisure class at the other end of his equation in the 60’s was limited to punk kids in Brooklyn who started out as pickpockets and grifters, then graduated to all sorts of jobs with mobsters once the WCTU got Prohibition passed in 1919. Gangs. They might have called that “work” but not like mill workers. They kept their own hours, and paid no taxes. Leisure.
Then, in the 60s, the Democrat’s, for purely cynical purposes decided to add a few million new souls to the number of people at the lowest end of the economic spectrum, simply by sending them a free check every month, beginning with LBJ’s Great Society. Most were black. And most were in big cities. (But my hillbillies got those checks, too.) The government even built ghettos for them, which made crime more local, which also provided a steady income stream for both local and national politicians.
This was among the earliest examples of seed-capital for expanding the wealth of politicians.
Modern self-indulged, entitled kids, now in their second-third generation have become so numerous, and also so indolent and over-indulged, that even having to take a shower every morning, or show up at the same place every day, (a job), at the same time each day (always too early, around 8AM), was just too much theft of their precious day even if all they had to do was sit at desk, stare at the screen, and play Mahjong Tiles for eight hours.
They think that burning a building is cool. Or jumping on a cop’s car. Or even his head, if they can get a clear shot at it. Drugs help, but I’m not sure what kind. So does alcohol. But mostly their drug is just in being able to feed of the frenzy of the mob. A kind of insanity.
I’ve talked about “insanity” and next I need to discuss a little about “depravity” for one is the kinsman of the other.
These are people, they are not mad dogs, which we’d shoot without a second thought, never requiring an expert analysis of just what ailed that dog. We don’t need to be told by a vet that that poor little snarling, foaming-at-the-mouth terrier was bitten by a rabid raccoon. We’d just shoot him, confident in our judgment.
From videos I’ve seen from around the country, I know that urge has crossed many of your minds. But no, we’d have to call a human-vet.
I stand by my original argument that these tens of thousands of “children of the damned” who still do no “work” today need to be institutionalized for a few days, not to be re-educated as Stalin, but simply be spanked. I’m not sure who said “it’s not the severity of a punishment that deters bad behavior, but the absolute certainty of it.” But he was right.
But in the short haul, we can damned sure vote against insanity and depravity.