Propaganda & Poverty Go Together Well: No Isegoria, Plenty of Propaganda.
Athenians, as they built up their superlative direct democracy, starting with Solon, attached extreme importance to isegoria (or isogeria), the equality of every citizen in addressing the National Assembly. That ought to have been daunting: Athens did not have the Internet.
Imprinting the weak and meek to do their job, with enthusiasm, without any whining, and go around the mighty, eyes down, praising the great, is how plutocrats want them. In the USA, it’s a total success. Who would have thought, in a country that used to be rebellious, and where the event of May 1, long ago, started the workers’ May First tradition, worldwide… except where it originated. What better symbol of the subjugation of the citizens of the USA?
Here is what taxes are used for:
[These are the highest paid state employee in every state.] Sport apes are paid fortunes. The brother of Michelle Obama is paid about 20 times the family income, just to coach ball to youngsters.
More than 41 of the 50 states’ highest paid public employees are sport trainers. Either state university’s football (27), state basketball (13) or state hockey (1) programs. The remaining 10 hyper wealthy public paid propagandists are either college presidents, medical school/law school deans or a plastic surgeon in the medical school (Nevada).
Tapping a ball for a college can earn more than 4 million dollar a year in salary in the USA. But then, 50 million USA citizens go without health care. (Obama will change that by fining the poor he can catch, thanks to the IRS, CIA, NSA, or whatever secret organization at his disposal, and the money will go directly to his gorilla of a hyper wealthy, ball jerking brother in law. All Americans respect this very much, and I just made 100 millions dedicated enemies, writing this, and it will be called “racist”. Well, I welcome their hatred, as FDR said.)
This indifference to isegoria is why and how Obamacare was, and could be, planned in secret, behind closed doors. That indifference has been imprinted too.
This indifference to public debate is also how and why the minimum salary, in the USA, over the last few decades, went down, from $22 an hour to around $8. (I am using constant 2014 dollars.)
That’s a diminution of two-thirds. Much had to do with the Progressives being unwilling to progress (and focusing instead on not calling greedy apes… greedy apes).
Paul Krugman in the “War Over Poverty”, observes that “Suddenly, or so it seems, progressives have stopped apologizing for their efforts on behalf of the poor, and have started trumpeting them instead. And conservatives find themselves on the defensive.”
Let’s hope that sticks. It would represent a change of mood. One of the reason that the holocaust of the Jews happened was the weak, meek, pleading, reasonable, subservient attitude of Jews, when Hitler rolled around.
Compare with France during the Dreyfus Affair: a full intellectual civil war was conducted with unrelenting ferocity on the part of intellectual progressives, against the “Jew” haters. Zola made it so that he went to jail, for about a year. And came out as a winner (although he died of carbon monoxide poisoning soon after, in an accident).
Progressive intellectuals fight for truth. French intellectuals, during the Dreyfus Affair, knew all too well that, if they did not fight for innocent Jews, their friends, acquaintances, and fellow citizens, and if they did not fight for veracity, equity and justice, other innocents would soon be attacked.
So how come the situation of the poor has evolved the way it did in the USA? It was done insensibly, just as the inception of slavery, after 1620, in violation of European and English law, was done insensibly.
Surely the powerful, supposedly “liberal” media in the USA could have denounced the increasing push towards making the poor, poorer? Governor Brown in California, thanks to new taxes on the rich, sees the coffers of the state filling up 20% higher than expected, and the highest budget ever (109 billion dollars). Surely he will reverse the school cuts? No word on that yet.
One of the causes of the increasing inequality in the USA is simply that those who control public opinion in the USA, are, in general, very wealthy, or sympathetic to wealth.
Thus is carefully nurtured a strong pro-plutocratic bias in the media.
Thanks to all these media owners, managers, pundits, and celebrities. All of them extravagantly rich.
This is why the likes of Oprah Winfrey make billions: it’s not about the market working its wonders. After all, Ms. Big Chest’s career was decided by higher ups, just as higher ups bought the plutophile Huffington Post to make it more than way, earning Ms. Huffington one cool billion in the process…
These avalanches of wealth bring to the fore preachers of the grandeur of whatever it is that has nothing to do with the war on poverty. Those who interface with the Public are made hyper rich so that they will have solidarity with the hyper rich who paid them, or pay them, or endow them with power. Hyper rich media talking heads are like living adverts for the plutocracy and all the Dark values it stands on.
This is why Oprah Winfrey knows how to make the USA cry about that fact she could not buy in Zurich that 45,000 dollar bag, or the entire store, instantaneously, as she wanted, or not.
Or this is why Oprah Winfrey made the world cry because the employees of Hermes Paris insulted her by opening the store after hour, just for her, at her strident request, with a je ne sais quoi of intolerable Gallic insolence.
The Oprah opera is carefully tuned to make all Americans feel the pain of plutocrats. Especially when the plutocrats are confronted to the lowest salaried employees they can find, as Oprah was in Zurich and Paris.
That same effect, the total molding of public opinion by the owners of a country, is characteristic of all and any banana republics. It makes it unlikely that a civilized debate will get society out of the plutocratic comfort zone. Thus, insensibly, inequality and poverty augment.
That is, as long as the poor do not use the only remedy that works in a case like that: violence. That is why the French Revolution of 1789 had to use violence (and so did the American Revolution, a bit earlier: the only way to release Pennsylvania from Lord Penn’s grip, was the hard way, he was not going to be talked into it).
Pay attention to this: plutocracy can buy the People. The case of Rome show an alarming point: welfare programs can comfort plutocratization.
We The People get paid, just like prostitutes get paid. With a difference: prostitutes, generally, have a choice, but We The People seized at the throat by plutocracy, do not.
In Rome, the method of paying the People with panem, circenses et alimenti (bread, entertainment, food stamps) was inaugurated. Even the wondrous public baths could be accessed with one of the lowest domination coins, and distributions of money by potentates occurred.
To be elected, a would-be politician organized games (Cicero spurned the method, and could not afford it anyway, but he was Rome’s most gifted orator).
In the USA, something similar is already going on. Consider the link provided by John Rogers, a commenter on this site. Public money is used to organize the games, and the management is paid directly from the public purse, when not indirectly through the plutocratic university system.
Robinson, the elder brother of Michelle Obama, got a six-year contract with a base salary of $750,000 at Oregon State, the Oregonian reported in 2008. By sheer coincidence Obama, his brother in law, was elected president.
The same wonderful sort of coincidence had made Michelle Obama a director of companies, and a highly paid hospital administrator, in charge of community outreach (same as Oprah Winfrey!), just when her husband became USA senator.
Oregon State is a public university. This is just about guys playing with a ball instead of studying. It works well: Robinson himself, a 6 foot six basket ball player, went to Princeton University to play ball. After he had done that, he was given a MBA, and became a big time investment banker.
The prime qualifications for that is to be a unknowing brute with no wisdom or ethics whatsoever. Throwing balls through hoops in a way of education helps that way. Probably one’s brain is all messed up from all the shocks. Next, one can smoke pot for years, like Obama’s Choom Gang, and one is dumb enough to spend one’s life being obeying orders from the white masters.
So Robinson made ten million dollars a year or so, following a career similar, but much more modest than Paulson ( a football player, who, once his brain got scrambled enough, became head of Goldman Sachs, and later, as Secretary of the Treasury under Bush, established the economic policy of Barack Obama, namely the rescue of banks, no strings attached!)
Paulson bought for himself an island, with seven villages on it. Somewhere in the USA. Obscene maniacs such as these would now have to pay 75% tax in France. Under President Eisenhower, it was 93%. Now, thanks to Obama’s 90,000 pages tax codes, they pay around nothing.
In general, all over the USA, the public purse is used to pay extravagantly for sport figures, and thus make children understand that being a brute is what pays. It works. At least, for plutocrats. For the poor too: they are getting poorer every year, and have been imprinted to be happy that way.
Conclusion: Nearly all of the USA’s culture, the media, and all what people obsess about, has been organized to create a society that is inimical to the poor, and thus, increasingly, to itself.
It’s going to take more than fighting the Republican party to get out of this circus.
nWhat is needed is a radical change of philosophy.