“Sire, the peasants are revolting!” “Yes, they are, aren’t they?”
It’s an old joke, but, in truth, the ferocity of Anglo-Saxon plutocracy, under the guise of British humor, was second to none. It has long propagated to the USA. So it is no wonder that white middle and working class people are voting for Trump in droves.
In Eighteenth Century England, admirals and lesser officers were shot for losing battles to the French: “Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres” (Voltaire: in this country it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, to encourage the others).
Pitt, the notoriously French hating Prime Minister (who was to be succeeded by his even more French-hating PM son) told the King: “the House of Commons, Sir, is inclined to mercy”, to which King George responded: “You have taught me to look for the sense of my people elsewhere than in the House of Commons.”
This ferocity explains why English plutocracy took the ultimate measures to prevent the spread of the French Revolution: namely the British forces invaded Provence (yes, that’s far from England), a world coalition was organized by Britain mobilizing all of Europe against the French Constitutional (but Revolutionary) monarchy headed by Louis XVI, and 23 years of war ensued. Hating and fighting the French was an excellent distraction for the lower classes (just as rage against the EU distracts the Brits away from the true cause of their problem, namely world plutocracy headquartered in London). Ferocity, within Britain, also explains why the English did not revolt. Ferocity can be deployed not just against Indians, Blacks, and the French, but against all lower classes, including White Middle Class commoners.
[FRA = France, GER = Germany, USH = US Hispanics, Then UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden. This shows US Hispanics have it better than the whites, by the way]…
Krugman in what he should have called “Plutocratic Elite Reign Of Disdain”:
“….social collapse in the white working class is a deadly serious issue. Literally. Last fall, the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton attracted widespread attention with a paper showing that mortality among middle-aged white Americans, which had been declining for generations, started rising again circa 2000. This rising death rate mainly reflected suicide, alcohol and overdoses of drugs, notably prescription opioids. (Marx declared that religion was the opium of the people. But in 21st-century America, it appears that opioids are the opium of the people.)
And other signs of social unraveling, from deteriorating health to growing isolation, are also on the rise among American whites. Something is going seriously wrong in the heartland.
Furthermore, the writers at National Review are right to link these social ills to the Trump phenomenon. Call it death and The Donald: Analysis of primary election results so far shows that counties with high white mortality rates are also likely to vote Trump.
The question, however, is why this is happening.”
As if we did not know! I stopped Krugman just where he was going to feed his readership their own opiate, (so-called) Republican bashing.
Please notice that mortality augmented from 1999 to 2013. The timing is important. The change, not just the inflection point, but the peak of healthy life, happened before “G. W. Bush’s reign” (to use Donald Trump’ expression).
So life expectancy started to go down, after seven years of Bill Clinton’s reign. Indeed, after 1992, under a democratic president presided over the dismantlement of President Roosevelt’s Banking Act of 1933. Why? Technically Clinton was given orders (literally) by Robert Rubin, a Goldman Sachs chairman, even before he started his rule.
Repulsing the Banking Act of 1933 (“Glass-Steagall”) gave banks enormous powers and the financiers all sorts of prerogatives, including lower taxes. It drove enormous inequality. Roosevelt’s idea had been to prevent banks to invest in the financial markets. Indeed banks are in charge of creating most of the money (under the guise of credit). So banks have a fiduciary duty in the modern state, and should not enrich themselves too much (at least so FDR thought).
So the present social disarray is not only the work of so-called Republicans.
It also means that a really democratic program should be more like Sanders’ and roll back the obscene prerogatives bankers and financiers acquire in the 1990s. And let’s not forget that, after Obama got to power, he lowered tax rates on the richest by 20% (as the New York Times recently showed). The idea was to apply some sort of trickle-down maneuver. Also bankers and shadow financiers were put back in shape, through TARP and then Quantitative Easing (Hillary Clinton never mentions Quantitative Easing, trillions of dollars given to bankers, supposedly so that they would multiply and redistribute them).
Evidence from the despair of the white middle and working class, is that this did not work.
Obama’s reign was more of the same devolution into plutocracy, engaged ever since plutocrat Kaiser, the industrialist, persuaded Richard Nixon to set-up the HMO system, on the public purse.
So now, here is Trump. Trump says he knows the system very well, he was in the system, he was part of the establishment, he profited from it, “but the system is wrong”. Weirdly, a leftist fringe has reacted by sending protesters to disrupt Trump rallies. It’s weird, because Trump is more on the record against the financiers’ special tax status, and for some sort of “socialist” or “single payer” health care system (which Clinton disingenuously claims the richest country in the world, with the most inefficient and costly health plutocracy in the world cannot afford.
Some hysterical would-be anti-racists explained to me that Trump would make minorities wear a yellow star. The last person I saw wearing a yellow star was the ex-president of Brazil, who claims he is prosecuted for corruption for political reason (the Brazilian president then nominated her friend Lula to her cabinet to escape prosecution; a judge blocked that).
That Violent Trump Trumped Us Forever:
8 million people under judicial supervision in the USA, tens of thousands of murder a year, the police not even counting how many it kills a year, gigantic income inequality, tuition at “public’ universities equal to median family income, Obama lowering taxes on the richest by 20% in 2009, financiers taxed at a lower rate than janitors, no public health plan: obviously all the fault of Trump!
Didn’t a white supporter punch a colored protester? (He was criminally charged.) The problem of violence in the USA is deep in the hearts and (lack of) mind of the people, including those who protest the loudest against Trump now, but stayed silent and uninformed, for many decades.
Trump is the red herring of those incapable of thoughtful critique. Trump was not in power, twenty years ago, when the president of the USA outlawed the Banking Act of 1933. Somebody was, and he is running again.
When The American Dream Becomes A Nightmare:
One of the author of the white mortality study, Deaton, thinks middle-aged white Americans have “lost the narrative of their lives”
This demographic group has faced a rise in economic insecurity over the last two decades decade, driven by things like the financial crisis, collapse of manufacturing.(from “free trade”), the exponentiating costs of education and health care.
Vox does not get it: “Still, it’s difficult to put together a full story of what’s going on. After all, if the recession or decline of manufacturing was the only factor, we might expect to see a similar uptick in mortality rates among middle-aged people in places such as Europe. But America seems to be unique in this regard.”
I tell you what, Vox, you should travel more: One can still get free universal, excellent health care in all of Europe, so the drift into disease will be blocked. In power houses such as France or Germany (the two largest economies in Europe), quality education is free, all the way to the highest degrees, such as PhD. Moreover, the social safety system is elaborate. Minimum wage in France and Germany is 15 Euros an hour (more than $15).
Nobel Winner Deaton: “An anthropologist friend here says that [white, middle-age Americans] have lost the narrative of their lives — meaning something like a loss of hope, a loss of expectations of progress,” he explained.”
Deaton added that minority Americans as a group are still worse off overall. Yet, their quality of life has improved over the past several decades. “… when Hispanics look back, they may look back to where they came from, or what their parents or grandparents had”. he continued.
So Deaton says middle-aged white Americans have had higher expectations than others when it comes to steady employment and a bright future. Losing that could well be driving their deadly behaviors.
Or then they don’t know how to think anymore, and, instead of raging against the system, they rage against themselves, just as those protesters who rage against Trump should rather rage against said system.
But it’s tiring to rage against the system, because one has to get informed outside of the box propaganda has put one’s brain in. So, to fight the system, for real, one has to fight oneself a bit, too, at least in the beginning.