I will make no bones for, or apologies about, this: I quite enjoy reading the work of the late Steve Kangas, one of the first and best people to ask a question that the ruling elite seem to be very uncomfortable with. Specifically, why our world has turned into such a rotten, stinking mess over the past thirty years (or nineteen to twenty-four at the time he was murdered).
I also make no apologies for the fact that whilst I am a varacious reader of online articles and reviews, my choices of subject tend to be a bit narrow. But one statement made on the above-linked site that has always stuck with me. I cannot remember or track down exactly where it occurs, but the statement is one that occurs very regularly in numerous websites around the ‘net. Specifically, when an empire’s middle class is in decline, so too will be that empire. Oh wait, I have found one such reference on the site here. The wording basically states that whether an empire is growing, at a zenith, or in decline coincides quite strongly with where the middle class is at in those terms.
Irrespective of whether you believe that the strength of the middle class in your society is important, I think that we decent people can agree that when a society’s ruling elite condemns near to half a million children to increased levels of poverty (one commentary on the subject), that ruling elite no longer contributes to the cycle of life in that society. In fact, let us look at it in evidentiary terms. We have other organisms that latch themselves onto hosts and suck all of the resources out of the host until said host gets sick and dies. Most of those organisms are colloquially known by names with “worm” in them. Hookworm, tapeworm, and so forth. But regardless of what name they are called by, these organisms are termed by scientists as parasites. These parasites generally attach themselves to the digestive systems of the host animal (the small intestine being common) and drain nutrients out of the host, taking a greater and greater portion of the host’s nutrient intake as they grow. Whilst Humans who have starved to the point of severe ill health as a result of being ridden by these parasitic organisms, what a lot of folks do not know is that a society can get parasites, too.
Oh, and of course, the conservative shitheads will blow smoke until water comes out of everyone’s eyes that the people being paid what they refer to as welfare are all parasites who just do not want to work. If only it were that simple. You see, one of the biggest points of hypocrisy in this position is that the employment market does not operate by the usual laws of supply and demand. For reasons that are beneficial to business, a small reserve pool of unemployed is maintained in a healthy economy. Yes, you read that right. Let me tell it to you again. A healthy economy keeps a certain percentage of the populace unemployed for reasons that are beneficial to business. What is that reason? Well, you see, just as there being too little money in an economy causes a slowdown in economic activity that, as anyone who lived during the 1920s and 1930s can tell you is fukking disastrous, a situation where there is too much money means that inflation ramps up with the overabundance of money. So the number of jobs available in the market is kept at about six percent less than the number of people who actually need a job. That means that at any one time, six percent of the people are going to be unemployed. Should they just be left to starve and die? It seems the conservative shithead brigade thinks the answer is yes, but another sad reality is that just as death is economically disruptive to the people surrounding the deceased, deaths on a scale that six percent of the population every so often would entail would put a drain upon all economies the like of which cannot presently be imagined.
You might fail to see what I am getting at here. Let us narrow the pool down to just Australia’s population, since it is the smallest of the English-speaking nations that anyone gives a shit about. Estimates very of its population, but I will go with twenty-one million since I was told twenty whilst I was still kidding myself that my hair loss was not all that bad. Six percent of twenty-one million equates to 1.26 million. Whilst allowing this many people to die every time the conservatives get enraged that tax money is going into pockets other than theirs would do much to alleviate the major overpopulation problem Australia, like the rest of the world, faces, the fact that someone else would have to replace that six percent in the unemployment pool in order to maintain the so-called economic equilibrium we presently have makes this a non-solution. Oh, and for those who are curious, six percent of the world’s present estimated populace equates to four hundred and twenty million.
Ever tried to bury, cremate, or otherwise dispose of four hundred million people at once? It is not easy. In fact, a significant part of Germany’s loss in World War II can be traced back to the logistics involved in interring, executing, and disposing of an estimated eleven million people. Had the German government, or rather the man who had placed himself as sole arbiter of German governmental decision, not devoted a substantial portion of his armed forces to guarding, and supervising the extermination of, so many people, they likely would have been able to put up a much better fight than ended up being the case by the time the death camps became common knowledge among the Allied soldiers.
That is kind of the point here. A conservative often thinks, or believes, or deludes himself, that simply cutting the floor out from the middle or lower classes will somehow encourage society to grow stronger. But both the historical record and the present state of the world show otherwise. The nations of Europe all have far more generous social welfare programs than is the case in America, England, or Australia. Australia is the highest-ranked of those three nations, and in terms of economic performance, it is only just barely able to touch the soles of the feet of the lowest-ranked social democracy in Europe. The headline of that article is misleading, though. States that tax the rich harder and distribute more wealth toward the lower two echelons of society do not perform well in spite of that. They perform well because of it. One of the most oft-repeated sayings that conservative shitheads love to put their fingers in their ears at the sound of is that a society can only be as strong as its weakest link. Why it is any surprise to anyone that a nation that promotes big business at the expense of small outlets, raises regressive payroll taxes on the working class in order to excuse the richest one percent from paying anything, and guts programs that were explicitly designed to keep the most vulnerable portion of society out of the deepest depths of poverty is performing poorly in economic terms has got me beat.
Of course, a conservative shithead will argue until their face turns purple that today’s youth are just whinging and are in reality better off than their parents were at a similar age. But this argument, like every conservative shithead argument, simply does not hold water. Families that grew up in the 1950s were able to afford a mortgaged household, a car, and much more besides, all on a singular income. That is where that old imagery revolving around an aproned mother figure with a huge grin on her face whilst two tykes run around her in a mutual game of waiting until the husband gets home comes from. It was not a myth, and although the gender discriminating inherent in the stereotypical imagery might have been bad, the actual implications of the imagery were not. Families other than those in the highest twenty percent income bracket were able to live comfortably, and only those headed by drunks or abusers really ever had to worry about where they would get what they needed in future. This is a stark contrast to how things are in 2012, with financial chicanery on the part of a rich elite condemning entire families to lives of poverty, of homelessness, and despair in general. Another popular image put out in the media has it that the children of the poorest families eventually grew up to be the best musicians, authors, or what have you. This is bollocks. Scientific studies have even determined that children who grow up in poverty, and continue to live in poverty until their fifteenth or so birthdays, tend to have significantly lower scores in IQ tests than do their peers who could grow up to similar ages without want for food or intellectual stimulation. This is not rocket science. For the past thirty years, all but the smallest fingernail parings of our resources have been diverted up to the richest fragment of our world, and each subsequent generation’s conditions have deteriorated as a direct result.
I wish I had any kind of answer concerning what we can do about this situation. Other than the deceptively simple statements that we restore regulations concerning who is allowed to own what, and how they are allowed to use it, on top of restoring a progressive taxation system, I have few ideas. I would love to be able to tell you that social welfare investments would make a difference, but unfortunately my impressions of one attempt to get an expansion of national health insurance off the ground lead me to believe that the tyrant mentality has invaded such movements, too. Every Australian Counts (unless they are autistic) is an excellent example of an organisation where the One Size Fits All mentality has set in so badly that I am disinclined to even speak to their people anymore. Can you hear me, Julia? Tim? et al? I have raised concerns to these people repeated times and told them that the first person who comes to my door offering a cure for what makes me me will be the first person to get chopped into so many pieces that you will need a microscope and a dusting brush to pick them up into a pile. And yet they still continue to (un)acknowledge the autistic in a fashion that demonstrates that even if the NDIS survives all the stupidity presently going on, it will all be children, children, children and cure, cure, cure. Let me tell you the truth about these positions: Your failure to acknowledge that I am different from my peers for a reason I cannot help robbed me of my childhood and youth. And if you think reprogramming me to accept that will make it acceptable, you are sorely mistaken. And you wonder why I wish I could raise my grandfather from the dead to walk up to you and say “I regret ever having served in the armed forces of this shithouse country”, then take me back to where we both belong. Up yours, Every Australian Counts, in other words. (Remember boys and girls, killing a curebie is not murder; it’s fun!)
Unfortunately, our media was so one-directional and one-sided before the explosion of the Internet into mass usage, so it is difficult to say that people would not be writing and posting things like this where everyone can see them in the 1950s. But considering that the income inequality ratios of the English-speaking nations have exploded since the 1950s (and much of that jump occurred during the Reagan era, I might add), I would also contend that people living in the 1950s did not have the incentive to post such things. And that is the difference. As has been expounded upon in films like They Live, the prevalent level of anger and distrust in society would be quite a lot less if a small elite were not allowed to simply bathe themselves in riches at the expense of everyone else.
That is also why I have no wish to spawn a child to take my place in the Feed Whomever Succeeds James Packer troph, LiberalInNameOnly party. I do not want to come back in another twenty years time and find out that my child hates my guts because I sat with my whole fist up my own arse whilst he was thrown into a situation where he is terrified to fall asleep, but desiring of it because it means that his real world goes away for a while.
I want it etched on my tombstone. Just because a society allows you the “privilege” of voting and kids you that it makes a difference to who is appointed to run the show does not mean your society is democratic. In fact, if the last thirty-two years have taught me anything at all, the exact opposite is true.