“Do you remember ’36, we went our separate ways
You fought for Stalin, I fought for freedom
You believe in authority, I believe in myself
I’m a molotov cocktail, you’re Dom Perignon”
How did the cat get so fat?
When I was a public schoolboy, bright-eyed, we sang the anthem every day.
I believed there was some entity, some unseen guardian angel, that made the literal and figurative trains run on time. I really believed there was some incorruptible backstop to prevent the bottom from falling out.
It’s taken years of watching upper-crust decadence and depravity – in the vein of Caligula — to realize the truth: there is no bottom to the barrel. The elites just do what they want and if they decide they want to hurt you, either through malice or indifference or graft, they will.
This is when “defenders of democracy” – increasingly, from the ostensible, self-positioned “left” — will jump in with the well-trodden refrain: “We choose our leaders to represent us – we have a choice!”
You have no meaningful choice. As George Carlin, patron saint of calling out neoliberal bullshit, RIP, put it:
“Americans are led to feel free through the exercise of meaningless choices. There are only two political parties. There is a reduction of the number of media companies. Banking has been reduced to only a handful of banks. Oil companies. These are important, and you’re given very little choice…. You know what your freedom of choice in America is? Paper or plastic.”
High society is “a big club – and you ain’t in it.”
Alas, if only such a bleak outlook were just one man’s opinion. Princeton Review performed an extensive quantitative, rigorously data-driven study to determine the essential, answer to the empirical question: does what you and your family want matter when it comes to policy?
“When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it… average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence [over US policy].”
–Princeton study, 2014
Bureaucratic palace intrigues aside, the reality is indeed so. The petty managers in each party are permitted to squabble over the trivial but their leash is short. The ruling class allows them leeway only to the extent that they never violate the golden rule: the servicing of power.
In 2021 in the US, the primary role of national-level elected leaders is to service power for the crumbs the ruling classes drops from the table. Other professions operate on the same model.
Nancy Pelosi, Slay Queen and aspiring ‘Pretty Woman’ – always eager to please her ruling-class masters.
The truth diverges from the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington model of self-governance that we (victims of public education) are indoctrinated to accept as an immutable principle of American nature.
The government lays it on thick in its “Civics Test” for immigrants seeking citizenship:
“In the United States, the government gets its power to govern from the people. We have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Citizens in the United States shape their government and its policies, so they must learn about important public issues and get involved in their communities.”
Some people – even moral, decent ones — believe this tripe, even at this late date. Reflexive parroting of the company line is the end-product of public school indoctrination, the war on consciousness waged against our psyches, neurotoxic chemicals in the water and food, and an endless discharge of propaganda via the corporate press.
The ruling class maintains its perverted mythology to – in the words of Chris Hedges in his seminal essay Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction – buttress the subservience of the subjugated masses through careful propagandization intended to lure the target (you and your family) into a false sense of agency:
“The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment.”
The vestige of authority that the ruling class maintains is a façade predicated on the submission of the subjects it presides over; compliance implies consent.
The oligarchs have no contingency that could overcome an iron resistance in a large enough swathe of the population – and, likely, the size of that insurgent swathe may not need be very immense. The exact figures vary, but roughly only 1/3 of the 18th-century American colonists actively challenged the tyrannical British Empire’s claims on the North American continent.
No institutional norms are likely to constrain the march to despotism currently underway. As long as they control the military and police, kinetic warfare will not succeed. If ongoing trends of tech censorship continue, organizing resistance is a tall order.
The only solution is mass-scale grassroots refusal. Reform is a foregone possibility. The only viable solution is a total global reset – just not the type envisioned by the technocrats at the World Economic Forum.
When it’s practical, refuse dehumanizing mask mandates. Take every traffic ticket you get to trial (your Constitutional right to due process). Make your oppression as expensive and burdensome as possible to your masters. Throw monkey wrenches in the machinery. Break unlawful curfews and quarantines.
In short, do not comply (DNC). Kill your masters.
Ben Bartee is a Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs. Contact him via his portfolio or on LinkedIn.