Monday, January 28, 2019

Americans’ Surging Contempt for Billionaires - ERIC ZUESSE

The commentary on January 2nd by Fox News host Tucker Carlson was headlined at you tube “Tucker: Leaders show no obligation to American voters" and it represents a historic turning-point in American political culture. This, from the Republican Party’s news-site, Fox, refers to America’s ruling class — the controllers of both Parties — as “mercenaries,” who care only about themselves, and it specifically attacks both libertarianism and conservatism (the two ideologies upon which the post-Abraham-Lincoln Republican Party is based). Carlson’s commentary says that money rules, and that democracy is only nominal and not real, in today’s America. 
The current 3,747 comments to it at youtube reflect the revolution that’s occurring now in America’s rapidly changing ideology. When a viewer there clicks on “Best” (the most-highly-agreed-with) as the option for displaying the comments, here is the most highly-agreed-with comment, followed by the most-highly-agreed-with response to it, and then the most-highly-agreed-with response to that (so, these comments reflect the core of that particular audience):
Colony Three
As a Bernie Sanders supporter, I’m surprised to say that I agree with 80% of what was said here. 
We don’t exist to serve markets, markets exist to serve us. Well said!
Samuel Adam
Genuinely curious — what's the 20% you disagree with?
Colony Three
Samuel Adam, I guess the only two things I disagreed with are that women making more than men is necessarily a problem. I think the main issue is men and women working a full time job and not being able to make ends meet. Plus, I think Tucker should have been more specific when he referenced “socialism”, because yeah, Venezuela type socialism is terrible. But when most of my peers say socialism, what they actually mean is social democracy, the type found in Norway, Germany, Australia, Japan, and Canada. 
But overall, I think Carlson is a great host for Fox News, he doesn’t toe the line and actually thinks for himself. 
I know a lot of my Republican friends and family feel the same way towards elites and their control of society that I do. The media likes to portray America as irreparably divided, but it isn’t the case. 
Samuel Adam
@Colony Three, Very interesting. I think despite my voting for Trump and you for Bernie, if you made a venn diagram of our positions, we'd overlap quite a bit. I agree that there isn't anything inherently wrong with a woman making more than a man, if that is the arrangement between two individuals/partners. As for socialism, I think where the Republican 'conservative' types fall off is the state being the judge and jury on moral/ethical matters such as poverty and inequality. That said, the American culture most definitely needs to get away from the selfish, hyper-individualist, libertarian stance and go back, perhaps to a pre-Founding (?) mentality of community and togetherness. I guess one could call it socialistic. I don't know, ha. Just a thought.
You have a lot more optimism than me. But I could see a revolution in which those that came out of the Trumpian populist movement like myself came together with Bernie folks to recall the good parts of our history, learn from our bad parts, and ultimately progress to a Reformed America.
Here are highlights (the core 921 words of his 2,694-words) from what Carlson said in his 15-minute monologue-commentary:
The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It’s happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They’re what our leaders should want for us, and would want if they cared.
But our leaders don’t care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They’re day traders. Substitute teachers. They’re just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can’t solve our problems. They don’t even bother to understand our problems.
One of the biggest lies our leaders tell us is that you can separate economics from everything else that matters. Economics is a topic for public debate. Family and faith and culture, meanwhile, those are personal matters. Both parties believe this.
Members of our educated upper-middle-classes are now the backbone of the Democratic Party who usually describe themselves as fiscally responsible and socially moderate. In other words, functionally libertarian. They don’t care how you live, as long as the bills are paid and the markets function. Somehow, they don’t see a connection between people’s personal lives and the health of our economy, or for that matter, the country’s ability to pay its bills. As far as they’re concerned, these are two totally separate categories. 
Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective, and yet reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you’ll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that. Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.
Both sides miss the obvious point: Culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can’t separate the two. It used to be possible to deny this. Not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. How do we know? Consider the inner cities. …
Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit.
This is striking because rural Americans wouldn’t seem to have much in common with anyone from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly. …
Here’s a big part of the answer: male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry, all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals, both traditional employers of women. In many places, women suddenly made more than men.
Now, before you applaud this as a victory for feminism, consider the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them. Maybe they should want to marry them, but they don’t. Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births, and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow — more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation.
This isn’t speculation. This is not propaganda from the evangelicals. It’s social science. We know it’s true. Rich people know it best of all. That’s why they get married before they have kids. That model works. But increasingly, marriage is a luxury only the affluent in America can afford.
And yet, and here’s the bewildering and infuriating part, those very same affluent married people, the ones making virtually all the decisions in our society, are doing pretty much nothing to help the people below them get and stay married. Rich people are happy to fight malaria in Congo. But working to raise men’s wages in Dayton or Detroit? That’s crazy.
This is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it’s still 1961, and [like] the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.
For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it’s more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.
Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandberg explained that our first duty is to shareholders, above our own children. No surprise there. Sandberg herself is one of America’s biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich.
We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They’re day traders. Substitute teachers. They’re just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows.
What’s remarkable is how the rest of us responded to it. We didn’t question why Sandberg was saying this. We didn’t laugh in her face at the pure absurdity of it. Our corporate media celebrated Sandberg as the leader of a liberation movement. Her book became a bestseller: "Lean In." As if putting a corporation first is empowerment. It is not. It is bondage. Republicans should say so. 
They should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good.
At the website of Fox News itself, the comments are virtually all from Republicans, and they’re not nearly as happy with what Carlson said, as is the case at the youtube site; their comments are more focused on the strictly intra-Republican-Party feud, than on the nation’s welfare. Carlson’s central point was missed. The Fox News web-page that presents both the video and the transcript of the segment is titled “Tucker Carlson: Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating."
The (currently) 3,359 reader-comments there lead off with, as the three “Best”:
Russia didn't make me vote for Trump.
People like Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton did.
time4achangenowLeader3 Jan
Best article by Tucker that I have read by him. The "swamp" is the problem and Mutt just adds to it. Romney, where the tail does wag the dog.
UngaBungaLeader3 Jan
Isn't this twice now that Romney has stabbed Trump in the back? That combined with him not being able to seal the deal with beating Obama, doesn't sound like a good Republican Senator to me.
However, Carlson was attacking both conservatism and libertarianism — both the pure traditionalists (who accept everything from their religion) and the pure libertarians (who accept everything from the religion-of-the-markets — i.e., from the capitalist faith). Carlson there cited “social science” findings as his authorities. To hear or read his commentary, as a Republican, and yet not to recognize that your ideology has here been demolished, is so obtuse that only the dead-head Republicans can be exposed to the commentary and remain unmoved in their existing ideology — be that either conservative or libertarian, or some mix of the two.
And yet, overwhelmingly, Republicans did not take it to be personally insulting to themselves. Only few of the comments took personal offense.
On America’s political left, most of what Carlson said in his commentary would be supported. This includes even support by many Blacks, Hispanics, and other minority groups, who long have supported the Democratic Party. On January 18th, Bill van Auken at the World Socialist Web Site, headlined “US-born anchor for Iranian TV jailed without charges” and he wrote, regarding that anchor, who is an American Black: “Marzieh Hashemi, an anchor and reporter for Press TV, the English-language station of Iran’s state-run broadcasting system, was arrested Sunday at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, transported to a Washington detention facility in manacles and chains and has been held ever since without charges or any public explanation from either the US Justice Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Hashemi was in the United States to visit her family, including a brother suffering from cancer, and was working on a documentary film on Black Lives Matter.” Four days later, Daniel Haiphong bannered at the American Herald Tribune site, “Marzieh Hashemi and the War on Independent Journalism”, and he opened:
The era of Trump has confirmed the existence of what some on the Black left such as Ajamu Baraka and Anthony Monteiro have called a crisis of legitimacy. A crisis of legitimacy haunts the ruling circle in all realms of the US empire. It extends to the capitalist economy, which has become a drag on human progress due to its impoverishment of half of the world’s population. The US military is currently mired in a forever war on the planet that is costlier and less effective in preventing the rise of large competitors such as China and Russia from expanding their global influence. Perhaps nowhere is the crisis of legitimacy clearer than in the war on independent journalism being waged by the ruling elites in the US and Europe.
That’s also similar to what Tucker Carlson was saying. He, too, was criticizing the ruling elites in the US and Europe, and for the same reasons. He, too, was saying that in America, there is a crisis of legitimacy.
Consequently, did Tucker Carlson, in his January 2nd commentary, open the way, finally, toward a New America emerging — a compassionate country, which blames no masses (such as ‘the failures’, or ‘the poor’, or ‘the Hispanics’, or ‘the Blacks’ — or any foreign country — not Russia, and not Iran, and not China, not any at all) for America’s decline, but which instead blames America’s billionaires — the people who actually control America — for the serious problems in America?
If so, he just might have delivered there the platform for a new third American political party, which could end and replace the Republican Party, just as Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans ended and replaced the then-existing Whig Party, from which they had sprung. In that case, a new third political Party replaced one of the two existing political Parties. It could happen again.
Is Tucker Carlson now running for President?