They knew exactly what they were doing

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I like David Michael Green’s writing.  I’m not well acquainted with a wide range of his views, but typically when I read his work on Common Dreams, I enjoy it immensely.  His post this week is a post-mortem on the Bush years and it gets at an important point that we ignore at our peril.

Most people have completely failed to perceive the magnitude of the Bush crime, because they see it as limited to ‘merely’ dumb policies, poorly implemented, by incompetent stewards of government. Would that that were so. We’d be so much better off as a country and as a world had it been only that…

This president – and indeed the entire movement of regressive politics these last three decades (which I refer to as Reaganism-Bushism) – can only be properly understood as class warfare. Its purpose was never to make America a better place. Indeed, if we define America as a country belonging to its 300 million inhabitants, then the purpose was actually precisely the opposite. The mission of this ideology was in fact to diminish if not impoverish the vast bulk of these citizens, so that the already massively wealthy among them could instead become obscenely wealthy.

Where you or I might have looked at the middle of the twentieth century and seen the moment when America finally did justice to its national promise by introducing a measure of serious economic equality for the first time, and thus vastly expanding the middle class, the plutocrats behind Reaganism-Bushism saw a filthy aberration to the natural order of master and slave that had long existed in human history. They therefore set about to overturn that aberration and return to ‘better times’ through a process of class warfare. That meant that labor unions had to go, along with workplace protections, good wages, decent benefits, government protections, and a far-too-moderate average CEO to lowest-paid worker salary ratio on the order of fifty-to-one, replaced instead by something closer to five-hundred-to-one.

And, where Washington was concerned, that meant that government was to become a vehicle to serve not the 300 million, but rather the 300 families at the top, who already owned the most but craved ever, ever more…

It’s not that there weren’t unqualified, inept bureaucrats put into positions for which they were woefully unprepared, I’m sure that there were.  But, I would also bet when there was money to be made, when the important decisions came down, they were deftly handled by expert bagmen, who took their cut and siphoned the rest off to the designated cronies.

The whole article is worth a look.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I moved back to New York from the four corners region in 1998 after teaching math at a reservation high school for two years.  One of the books I read during the six months I spent in New York substitute teaching and looking for a new job was Brave New World.  I like Aldous Huxley’s writing, although I haven’t read most of his fiction, I have worked my way through his collected essays including Brave New World Revisited.

Around this same time, ABC adapted Brave New World as a miniseries starring Peter Gallagher.  I started to watch the first night and noticed that Gallagher was playing Bernard, the main character.

This seemed a little odd to me in that one of the defining features of the book is that Bernard is physically unattractive – this is a key plot point and changing that dramatically changes the story.  The point at which I stopped watching was the point in the story when (in the book) the scene changes to a reservation in New Mexico.  I was interested to see how this would be handled having recently returned from exactly such a place.

The “reservation” in the TV adaptation looked like central California – rolling green hills, and the residents of the “reservation” were white people.  At this point I turned the show off and sat there wondering what had happened in the process of adapting this work for television.

Obviously someone thought it was a valuable work of literature that could be adapted for tv, but somewhere in the process, things had gone horribly wrong.  I wondered (somewhat naively) –

Could they really be this dense?  Could they not see how they had completely changed the entire point of the story?  And if they did understand this, why bother putting all the effort into adapting the work for television?

In any event, as I sat there I said to myself that for someone to screw this up so royally they must really not know what they’re doing.  Then I immediately realized…

It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing…

They know exactly what they’re doing.


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  1. are an interesting pair.  I don’t think that Orwell ever forgave Huxley for leaving England during the war.

    • dkmich on January 17, 2009 at 12:31

    I’m inclined to evil as well.  

    “(which I refer to as Reaganism-Bushism)”  

    I see this more as Reagan/Clinton.  One always expects Republicans to act just like they did.  It was Bill Clinton, however, that opened the barn door and set it all up for the kill shot.  People expected Bill Clinton to be a Democrat and to protect their best interests.  If he had done that instead of triangulating us out the door for his own interests, there would have been a correction that “might” have mitigated how easy it ended up being for Cheney/W to finish us off.

  2. They knew exactly what they were doing. They understand the significance of peak oil and are taking advantage of it to increase their wealth and power.

    • 1956: M King Hubbert writes a report detailing peak oil: Predicts US oil production will peak in 1970. Predicts world oil production will peak in 2000.
    • 1970: US Oil production peaks confirming the report and it’s accuracy.
    • 2000: Presidential election stolen by oilmen, the same year global peak oil was originally predicted.
    • 2003: We invaded Iraq because of 9/11, WMD , Saddam Hussein  [done, why are we still there?], bring democracy to Middle East [???], oil companies wanting access to Iraqi oil fields.

    • 2008: New Iraq oil law opens up access to Iraqi oil fields for western oil companies, however the final draft is still not approved.

    If they were benevolent, then they would try to solve the situation before us and if they were just greedy, then they should be content with their gains and profit margins. But no, their track record proves they are neither. What it shows is that they are evil: full of lust for power and control.

  3. as every area of life serviced by institutions was compromised.  Hell the institutions were remade to perpetuate destructive behaviors.  Law means nothing, finance is a bunch of scam artists, education has been transformed into compliance re-education, medicine has that Satanic HIPPA and wants me to be “on” some shit with very scary “side effects” and just try and find a job.

    • RUKind on January 20, 2009 at 00:27

    Americans have to be some of the dumbest, most docile people the planet has ever seen. Since 1980, and you could argue since 1968, the Establishment has raped this country and our treasury. And apart from Obama (anyone could have beaten GHWB) the only let-up we’ve had was two southern governors who were really just moderate to liberal Republicans.

    You get the government you deserve. Let’s pray that we don’t get fooled again.

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