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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Pity not the fallen..."

The media push is on for Tom Friedman's third party, Americans Elect. Friedman wouldn't get this kind of coverage unless he had big money behind him. The big laugh here is the contention that a party put together by the libertarian CATO Institute represents some kind of new approach.
Of course, there's one big problem for the supporters of a third party bid in 2012. They don't have a candidate.
Steve Forbes. That's my guess.

Is it possible that the Libertarians would prefer to forego the Republican brand and start their own? Perhaps. The Republicans still have among their number a few "old school" conservatives who intend to keep the country going, and who actually have some residual belief in democracy. Libertarian thinkers such as Patri Friedman (see below) have explicitly denounced the very idea of democracy, and they don't care about this country's future. I think that they see America pretty much the same way any hyena views any carcass.

Once the CATO-ites have completely destroyed this country -- and Europe -- where do they plan to go? Patri Friedman (grandson of Milton) and Peter Thiel (the bizarre founder of PayPal) have an answer: Seastedding. It's...
...a new fleet of castles that float in the oceans. The super-wealthy are already building their first floating castle, a billion-dollar-plus luxury liner that offers permanent multimillion-dollar housing with the best protection of all: moats made of oceans, keeping the land-based Americans they've plundered at a safe distance.

The first such floating castle has been christened the "Utopia"--the South Korean firm Samsung has been contracted to build the $1.1 billion ship, due to be launched in 2013. Already orders are coming in to buy one of the Utopia's 200 or so mansions for sale--which range in price from about $4 million for the smallest condos to over $26 million for 6,600 square-foot "estates." The largest mansion is a whopping 40,000 square feet, and sells for $160 million.

It's the first of its kind to offer permanent housing units to buyers, and there'll be plenty on board the Utopia for the global elite inhabitants to keep themselves entertained: an outdoor movie theater, casino, miniature golf course, nightclubs, restaurants, shops, and a water park for the elites' heirs (featuring a "Lazy River," rock-climbing wall and water slides). At nearly 1,000 feet, the Utopia is almost as long as a nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
If people feel "island fever" in Hawaii, what will the seastedders experience? At any rate, it may be advantageous to put all the world's "problem children" on a few ships. These guys have been screaming MINE! MINE! MINE! for years. And now that word gains a new resonance. Mine. Mine. Mine.

Have you noticed that even low-level capitalists have been turning into bigger assholes lately? When I was young, successful people tended to consider themselves lucky bastards. If they saw a homeless person, they might mutter "There, but for the grace of God..."

Now they think: "I AM God."

They are a race of unloving, unmerciful gods, striding the earth and laughing at the miseries of the unworthy. They are the Superior Beings; all others must be treated ruthlessly.

In their minds, neither luck nor birth had anything to do with their success. In honest moments, they even forego the pretense that they earned their millions through hard work (because they know that no-one works harder than the working class). They got what they got through a greater capacity for ruthlessness. And they're damned proud of it, fuck you very much.

Libertarian propaganda -- all of that "death to altruism; selfishness is the only true virtue" crap -- has been directed primarily toward this class. And it has worked.

Those who fancy themselves the princes of this world have become far more obdurate, far more impenetrable, far more inhuman than they were even in the Gilded Age. At least back then many of them felt socially compelled to attend Christian services where they might occasionally get an unwelcome earful of that blessed-are-the-meek crap. Think of the hymn-singing scene in Titanic.

Now, CATO-brand propaganda has converted our Ruling Class to a new religion. But it's not really new. In fact, it seems rather familiar.

Perhaps this is the same religion that one A. Crowley foresaw when he sat in a darkened Egyptian hotel room in 1904 and (allegedly) transcribed the words of a mystical being called Aiwass. Here are some excerpts:
We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit; let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings; stamp down the wretched and the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world.
Love one another with burning hearts; on the low men trample in the fierce lust of your pride, in the day of your wrath. … Pity not the fallen! I never knew them. I am not for them. I console not; I hate the consoled and the consoler.
I am unique and conqueror. I am not of the slaves that perish. Be they damned and dead. Amen.
With my Hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din. Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds.
But the keen and the proud, the royal and the lofty; ye are brothers! As brothers fight ye!
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
Any of that sound familiar? No, Ayn Rand didn't write it, although it sure as hell sounds like her. It's from the Book of the Law, a "revealed" text which Crowley considered holy.

I doubt that Aiwass was real; I'm not inclined toward supernaturalism. More than likely, what Crowley considered a profound mystical experience was really a drug-induced hallucination, during which time his inner George Flashman scribbled down a self-serving philosophical tirade. Nevertheless, A.C.'s unholy scripture sounds like it could be the foundation text for libertarianism.

Then again: Maybe Aiwass was real. And maybe he later whispered into the ear of a chain-smoking, mannish-looking, sexually-frustrated hag named Ayn...
Sounds like the US Navy will have to invest in some serious new vessels -- destroyers and warships -- to escort our billionaires around the world in their sea castles. National security comes at a cost.
One of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog so much is that we both harbor a great hatred for the Libertarian ideology. It is repugnant in the extreme and that particular book you were citing sounds like something you would see written by Satan and not by free thinking human beings.

It most certainly bears no resemblance to the alleged teachings of Jesus which so many right wing lunatics seem to think they follow. I think many of these folks are confusing wealth and privilege for strength and ability and this society seems to suffer from extreme apathy, narcissism and the winner takes all mentality.

Personally, I find greed and callousness to be weak and small and something to be reviled. I find the teachings of Buddha and Jesus to be uplifting and strong. Nothing better than empowering the powerless, feeding the hungry, or teaching the young or illiterate.
I wonder how they'll recruit their serfs to serve on these floating castle fortresses - those who will attend to their every need and wish? Would any normal person take such a job voluntarily?

The vision of a scene from Ben Hur flashed across my mind as I read this - Charlton Heston on the oars and Jack Hawkins drumming out the pulse beat. ;-)
"..and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous 'cash payment'. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation."
I found this post very amusing. But I dont have a comment on it. However I was very curious about your take on the truth out story about the 2004 Ohio elections. Im sure this breaks a rule, and do feel free to ignore. No reason why you would have a take. But just in case.

Harry, I wrote about it daily. I had a rep for writing about that subject. Huge readership numbers, too. Check out the archives.
Actually I did have a comment. I have noticed that rich people have become even bigger assholes of late. I have definitely noticed that trend. I think its caused by sublimated guilt. They are getting increasingly aggressive in stating that they have earned their wealth, and have done nothing wrong, as it has become increasingly obvious that there are some very bad trends afoot and that there will soon be substantial suffering..

For what little its worth.

Speaking of Ohio erections you think if Robert Mecklenborg's surname was Mecklevitra, or Meckbangastrippa there'd be more than 55k hits when one google's his name (as opposed to wiener's 34M)

PS: "screaming MINE! MINE! MINE! for years. And now that word gains a new resonance. Mine. Mine. Mine." (The harbours?)
What Jotman @ 11:16 said. Who is going to pay for the uberwealthy's protection?

Or will some corrupt congress member allow the private security force to have tactical nukes to ward off the poor flotilla?

I wouldn't be at all surprised were that the case. I mean, here in PA the republicans can be bought off with a pair of Superbowl tickets by the gas drilling industry.

OT: How is this for a bumper sticker?

Friends don't let friends watch cable news.
"Have you noticed that even low-level capitalists have been turning into bigger assholes lately? When I was young, successful people tended to consider themselves lucky bastards. If they saw a homeless person, they might mutter "There, but for the grace of God..."

Watch their behavior in restaurants and you will see what is in store for cops, firemen, teachers, and everyone who is not one of them.
Excellent Flashman shout-out. The boffo Crowley circa 1904 was awash in the proto-fascist ravings (fight like brothers, lots of sadisto gore, etc) beginning to surface all about Europe and the Czar's Russia (and a little in the dying embers of US populism). That's probably the flip-side of crass Randism -- a little Mussolini modern?
Is it possible that the Libertarians would prefer to forego the Republican brand and start their own?

They're just trying to take up a much shelf space as possible in the Great Electoral Supermarket. Think "New Coke".
They've already got the Demoliberpublicans.

Steve Forbes. That's my guess.

Or Bloomberg. Surely he's bored with the Duchy of New York City by now.
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