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If they're so dumb -- why are they rich?

By Owen Paine on Wednesday February 3, 2010 10:30 PM

I give thanx for a link, to a piece by Chris FLoyd, embedded in a generously brief post by my own personal rabbi of marx-sizzle-ism, the cranberry muffin king among list-masters, Lou Proyectile. 'Cause here is the ultimo locus-loco of the "Uncle's Borg cubes sap our humanity" riff. Title: "The Limited Minds of the American Elite":

1) Project and prospect:

"We could easily dismantle the empire -- carefully, safely, with deliberation -- over the next ten years. It is a reasonable, moderate, serious option. It would not require violent revolution or vast social upheaval...Such an alternative is entirely achievable, by ordinary humans; it would require no divine miracles, no god-like heroes to bring it about."
Vision of the chance to make America anew:
"Dismantling of America's global military empire -- and its global gulag -- would save trillions of dollars in the coming years. Not only from direct military spending, but also from the vastly reduced need for "Homeland security" funding in a world where the United States was no longer invading foreign lands, killing their people, supporting their tyrants -- and inciting revenge and resistance.

This would release a flood of money for any number of "new domestic initiatives," while also giving scope for deep tax cuts across the board. Working people would thrive, the poor, the sick and the vulnerable would be bettered, businesses would grow, opportunity would expand, the care and education of our children would be greatly enhanced [but] those who have feasted so gluttonously for so long on blood money would not be quite as rich as they are now."

2) The jinxers:
"Such a society is precisely what our elites cannot -- or, to be more accurate, will not -- imagine. Because, yes, it would "erode" their "influence" around the world to some extent. Although they would still be comfortable, coddled and privileged, they could no longer merge their individual psyches with the larger entity of a globe-spanning, death-dealing empire -- a connection which, although itself a projection of their own brains, gives them a forever-inflated sense of worth and importance... our elites.. can no longer fathom life without the exercise -- and worship -- of unrestricted power that empire entails. They will not accept -- or even contemplate -- any alternative to it."
3) The challenge:
"Empire -- the imposition of dominion by violence and threat of violence, and the financial and moral corruption this breeds, the malevolent example it sets at every level of society -- is the canker in the body politic. Until it is dealt with, there will be no healing, no hope, no change -- just more degradation and disaster all down the line."
No doubt it would be a great thing if Uncle took the Chalmers Johnson opt-out route. But there is no discussion of how the rest of the globe might reconfigure itself after Uncle walks away from his empire role -- apparently in ten annual steps.

Say we accept this Gedanken Swedenizing of Norte America for a moment. Uncle Sven's neat new inward-looking gig would not spell an end to global empiring, would it? Peripheral national liberators would still find their task unchanged -- they would in the end succeeed only by playing off the contradictions between the successor "great powers".

Now to the pious reform of the metropole named America itself. Goo-goo strugglers, prepare yourself: we can at best only impede the borg machines. We cannot choose to dismantle the borgs by means of majority rule. It's against the laws of Clio.

If it looks to some of us hopeful sorts like it might happen anyway, bet on this: Clio will soon enough show us otherwise through her faithful agents, our guardian class. They are a global sort now, unlike their great- great- grandfathers. They are not narrow nationalists and the love of global "influence" -- let alone the joys of a psychic "merge" or "projection" -- has nothing fundemental to do with it.

Their global perspective is an operational necessity; their corporate imperial state a global sine qua non. To them, the loss of the borgs would mean a loss of unimpeded corporate empire, a loss of freedom to span the globe in search of higher returns.

In the end, obviously, this means a loss of wealth, and what's more, given their Faustian spirits, a loss of the potential for even greater wealth. They will see to it we don't vote this away, and if necessary, kill lots of us in the process. That is one civil war the bad guys would win under today's conditions.

The end of Uncle's primo earthwide status would directly and seriously dwarficate our the wealth prospects of our home-grown hegemons, our very own guardian class. One has only to look at Spain and Britain to see that.

Besides, the cost to us residents here, us weebles along for the imperial ride, is prolly minimal, looked at systemically after all the adjustments are taken into account. The cost of maintaining the borg cubes is shared throughout the world market's interconnected parts of the globe. And these world markets were and are Uncle-rigged affairs from Day One, created modified and maintained to yield advantages that way way more than pay back Mr Hegemon for his blitz machines.

Final big point: the domestic welfare of substantial hunks of the the primo nation's toiling oppressed and exploited masses can be lifted up, goo-goo style, as part of an opportunistic package deal, like the one struck in the early 50's between the soon to be moiged CIO and the corporate industrial sector; or in the 70's between law-abiding Southern black communities and new-South whitey.

Where are we now in the reform/reaction cycle? The Reagan revival has lead by means oblique to its opposite, praise Clio. Now whether this means we're headed into maybe something big like a New Deal II, or just a very old oft-told and retold story called "muddling through"...

We'll just have to go out there into the thick of it, and see what we can make of the opportunity -- eh, strugglebugs?

Comments (23)


Hot off the net for you.

Lunch, not bagging on you here, but... to me that Chomsky essay sucks donkey testicles. I would file it under Chomsky's topic heading "I'm a pro-Donkey gatekeeper."

That particular topic heading isn't nearly as good as Chomsky's "I'm analyzing America in a non-partisan manner" topic heading.



i don't follow u
if chomsky
then who isn't a two party gate keeper ??

where is the line of demarcation ??

What sucks in that essay, Ox?

op and Michael --

I want to give the info y'all want, but I have to go work for several hours now. I'll come back to explain. Probably with a link to an entry at my little banana republic/blorgistan.

Seems like a long way to go to say: Why would greedy bastards wanna share?

1) High turnouts in the wealthy suburbs, and low ones in largely Democratic urban areas, helped elect Brown. “Fifty-five percent of Republican voters said they were `very interested’ in the election,” The Wall St. Journal/NBC poll reported, “compared with 38 percent of Democrats.”

Irrelevant to the impact and meaning of Citizens United. Just a way to poke the rattlesnake of the GOP.

2) So the results were indeed an uprising against President Obama’s policies: For the wealthy, he was not doing enough to enrich them further, while for the poorer sectors, he was doing too much to achieve that end.

Case in point: Chomsky loves Donkeys and hates Elephants. There's other ways to assess this development, but Chomsky chooses the paradigm of Elephant BAD, Donkey GOOD. Reason? Is there a reason? Chomsky doesn't say. Therefore we conclude... or I conclude... that the reason is inherent in his overall essay's argument, which focuses on EVIL RETHUGLICAN bad guys and NOBLE DEMOCRAT good guys.


Lunch Resumé:


Lesser evilism with wide open eyes is the most Chomsky has advised and somewhere (where did I put that link?) rationalized.

No one reading Chomsky for any extensive period could believe that he perceives the Democrats as noble.

Lunch Resumé:

Chomsky endorses Obama without illusion (e.t. about 11:20).

No one reading Chomsky for any extensive period could believe that he perceives the Democrats as noble.

That's humorous. And wrong.

Remind me, please, of Chomsky's take on the response to 9/11/2001.

Thanks bubba!

Lunch Resumé:

"Remind me, please, of Chomsky's take on the response to 9/11/2001."

Not sure I know what your getting at.

I think he wrote a book about it, but I didn't read it. You may be able to find his 'take' on the 'response' there.

Am reminded of Dr. Johnson's bon mot: "Madame, I can provide you with an argument. But an understanding? No." (a paraphrase, alas)

Lunch Resumé:

"your getting at."


"you're getting at."

Lunch Resumé:

Mr. Oxtrot,

If you go to www.chomsky.info and google search '9-11' you will find plenty of 'takes' (more than 100 hits) maybe even the one you want to be reminded of.

In a number of Chomsky books various Democratic Party presidents have come under Chomsky's severe criticism, including FDR, JFK, LBJ, Truman, Clinton, Carter, and Wilson. Senator Moynihan (D-NY) as Ford's UN Representative gets frequent baths of Chomsky's sarcasm for his actions on behalf of the Indonesian occupation of and genocide in East Timor. What Chomsky may think of unsuccessful Democratic candidates such as Dukakis, Mondale, and Gore, I don't know. Kerry got a kind of lesser evil endorsement like the one that Obama gets in the linked video mentioned above (12:23AM).

Maybe Chomsky thinks Ed Markey is noble. I don't know.

How you come up with your perception of Chomsky as a pony- expecting Democratic Party rooter is a mystery. He calls himself an anarchist sometimes and sometimes a libertarian socialist. Frankly he seems to me a little too optimistic about a lot of issues. But then he has been more active and involved in the issues than have I ... you know, optimism of the will and all that.

Best wishes, Lunch


"Seems like a long way to go to say: Why would greedy bastards wanna share?"

well it certainly was a long way to go
....to not be understood

the points are easy ones

the borg cubes are not in a zero sum struggle with america's prosperity

its not a struggle
between security state and welfare state

despite agitprop to the contrary

it is however
about limiting total domestic effective demand and thus total job and household usury supply

limiting it in fact
to a level compatible with long run
sustained corporate hegemony

the global system allows uncle to use
world reseve currency seigniorage
and an over valued dollar to "distribute"
the burden of the borg cubes

ndeed a chunk remains to be paid by domestic joblings here
but so long as the system operates with production slack
the choice is being made to "hold down"
welfare enhancing programs
for reserve army "optimization" reasons
as suggested above

how the seigniorage works
and how the tilt works and is maintained
might make good posts

i hope we can move off
the gratifying but rather generalized
and subjectivized
ordinary mind philosophy paradigm

"don't theese greedy bloody fucks all deserve to get inferno-ed "
type judgements
advance us back to the rear mostly


i must say
chomsky on voting hardly looks like an obstacle
until we have a boycott movement
he obviously would support a progressive anti corporate party alternative
and he has in the past

calling him objectively pro donkey
because he suggests there is a difference
worth casting a vote to effect
seems to me a position that needs to be struggled with not against so to speak

if you have a very clear critique of chomsky's
call in 04 for a vote trading scheme
that maxed green votes while not forida izing
the election
ie sophisticated kindly thanx ralphism
lay it out here in comments

I am amused at Lurch Presumptuous saying I do not understand Chomsky. Lurch, share for us all how it is you have divined my levels of understanding of ANY subject, would you please?

I understand The Noam as well as one can understand him without being him. Don't let me piss on your altar established in worship of him, please. Sometimes I forget he's a god. It's easy to do. He looks awfully like a human being to me.


op, your logy take on life and utter acceptance of all the shit that rolls down onto you is both what I like about you, and what frustrates me about you.

I'm not prepared to accept Chomsky's flaws. You are. We differ there. I get along fine without any Chomsky in my life. He's never shown me something I didn't know already. Your mileage obviously varies from mine. My truck won't start on a tank of Chomsky.

You ask me to criticize Chomsky's '04 vote trading scheme, yet I don't see the point of even considering the scheme. I don't engage in criticism of something I don't find worthwhile.

I'm not with you on this one Ox, not at all. I don't see anything apologetic about noticing that Donk voters stayed home in Massachusetts last month. Quite the contrary. Seems to me he's observing that Donk voters are voting with their feet against the Donks.

As to the importance of voting in the Chomskean landscape, I think you're way over-stating it. He always insists it's all about organizing and agitating and self-educating.

Meanwhile, FWIW, while you are busy knowing everything Chomsky writes before he writes it, I myself find pretty much every syllable he publishes to be of massive help.


Mr. Oxtrot,

You appear to read things that aren't there. I provided you with a superficial argument based on published material that Chomsky was not "a pro-Donkey gatekeeper." Understand that however you like.

You may have inside knowledge about what Chomsky is REALLY doing with all his books and speeches, etc. A lot of people have this kind of info.

Chomsky's work has had the effect of reassuring me that I wasn't the only person noticing that much of what was in the MSM was propaganda and, indeed, often poor quality propaganda.

An acquaintance told me that he knew enough about Chomsky to know that Chomsky was dishonest what with all that left wing stuff he was always spouting. Later it turned out that what he knew was a profile in the "New Yorker" and a feature in the "NY Times." I hope that you, most esteemed animator, are not similarly informed.

Best wishes, Lunch


I'm sure this post is profoundly informative but since it's written in the excruciatingly cryptic, overeducated, "look, I know how to torture language to death so it must be good writing", SMBIVA style I'm unable to discern clarity.

As always, I'll implore in vain that you folks write with prose intended to share information rather than disguise it.

Regardless, it is relatively easy to infer that SMBIVA generally appears to believe that modern, Western, human life is not wholly dependent on Earth (which is the perverse, delusional mindset of your average infinite-growth-on-a-finite-planet economist).

Unfortunately, reality knows better.

In short: We're not going to grow, consume and indebt our way out of the problems of growth, consumption and debt.

theautomaticearth.blogspot.com is doing a much better job of analyzing--and most important, communicating in clear and simple language--economic reality.


if you find insight in the finite earth model
god's speed

mountain's of debt have no resource content at all eh ??

we borrowing toilers
consuming our way anywhere
is likely burdened and slowed
by the exactions of job class household aimed usury

it's my prose that gets briary
not father smiffs

pay a little attention here
monkey marbles
i'll look into your limkenstein's monster however

automatcearth is a ssplendid site name



glimpse this for gnomic nattering


What Chomsky does for you -- reassurance -- I have no quarrel with. I don't think it's your place, nor anyone else's save my own, to determine what value Chomsky holds for me.

I guess a person is expected to have heroes, and I guess when a person doesn't have them, he is subjected to snark. Forgive me for not considering Chomsky a personal hero. I happen to prefer William Gaddis, or Erich Fromm, or Alice Miller. Chomsky? Nifty sort of Beefeater at 10 Downing. TO ME. Good on you and on Chomsky too if he's doing the magic for you.


I think you are still reading too much into the fact that I linked a Chomsky essay to this comment thread.

Just because I disputed your assertion that Chomsky was a 'pro-Donkey gatekeeper', you imagine that I am enthralled with Chomsky. There is no evidence of that in my comments.

To give the man his due, as I see it, I acknowledged subsequently that I took reassurance from Chomsky's analysis of mainstream media (neglecting however to credit Edward S. Hermann for his role in that).

That is it, on the record here, at least so far. I started reading Chomsky about 25 years ago before electronic communication was available to the general public. And media criticism where encountered was not much beyond the ombud stage. Chomsky's analysis opened a window for me. My last word on this.

I leave the field to you.

Best wishes, Lunch

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