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Lynn Parramore: Orcs v. Goblins: Crazed Republicans Turn on Each Other in Ugly Fiscal Cliff Battle

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By Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet. Cross posted from Alternet

Fear gripped Middle Earth. The little people looked nervously toward the horizon, wondering if their few remaining possessions would be snatched away by marauding bands of goblins and orcs. For years the simple, honest folk had suffered as the twin forces of greed and hatred darkened the land. But this time, maybe there was hope; maybe the goblins and the orcs would turn their fury upon each other as they battled on the edge of a cliff over which both might fall….

And so things appear as Americans watch the fiscal cliff deadline draw near. There’s just a week to go for lawmakers to make a deal to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts. Last week, negotiations broke down as Speaker Boehner failed to get enough votes to pass a bill that would have required the wealthy to pay a minuscule increase in taxes at a time when income inequality is crippling the nation’s future. With the House gridlocked, attention turns to the Senate, where some Republicans appear to be in favor of Obama’s call for a partial deal that insulates most Americans from the tax increases but defers a resolution on spending. A deal may yet pass, but it’s getting very ugly in the GOP.

Goblins v. Orcs

The Republican Party, particularly in the House of Representatives, is so blinded by greed and stupidity that factions are turning on each other.

One group, let’s call them the goblins, is just plain greedy, but not completely crazy. These are the folks who favored Mitt Romney for president and simply want to continue shovelling money toward the one percent as they have been doing very successfully for the past three decades. They are willing to make a deal because they know that any deal, particularly one that will shred the social safety net with cuts like those Obama has proposed to make to Social Security (the widely condemned chained CPI adjustment), will work out very nicely to their advantage. They are thrilled that instead of focusing on the jobs crisis, the country has been railroaded into premature deficit-reduction deals that serve as a cover for conservative wealth redistribution schemes. They also know that many Americans are catching on to their scam, and so they tend to rely on subterfuge and the appearance of moderation or “centrism” to get what they want, which is, in essence, more of your money.

President Obama is comfortable with goblins, and is often secretly thought to be one of them, as Bruce Barlett recently explained in the Fiscal Times. They like him okay, too.

Then there are the orcs. These are the lunatics who favored your Santorums, Gingrichs, Bachmanns, Herman Cains and so on — the assorted nuts in the GOP who are willing to fight ideological warfare with the battle cry “no taxes” and the battering rams of bad math and Ayn Rand-style social theory to send the land into total chaos. It's not enough for them to cut Social Security at a time when the retirement of hard-working Americans has not been so vulnerable since before the Great Depression. These monstrous right-wingers would rather see every American’s taxes rise than increase taxes on a single millionaire by a nickel. The orcs have got the upper hand in the House and it is they who have blocked a deal on the fiscal cliff. They were last seen dancing around a bonfire made from Econ 101 textbooks and an effigy of John Boehner.

The Money Wizards

Part of the problem is that the goblins and the orcs are acting on behalf of different money wizards.

The orcs are associated with the Club for Growth, which has a large PAC; Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks; Heritage Action for America; and contributors to ex-Senator DeMint's PAC. These orc-friendly elements want no deal, and their battle philosophy is summed up in Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller’s recent comments: “We are pleased that the Republicans did not vote to raise taxes. We need to get real about our problems and stop playing political games.”

The orcs are for all-out war.

The goblins, on the other hand, dance to the tune of different money wizards. They are painfully aware, as Rep. Steve LaTourette (R., Ohio) explained, that failure to make a deal "weakens the entire Republican Party” and makes it appear to be a "bunch of extremists that can’t even get a majority of our own party to support policies we’re putting forward." The goblins are close to the Business Roundtable, many of America’s largest corporations, and a fair number of Wall Streeters. Haley Barbour and Karl Rove are on the goblins' side. Even Grover Norquist, the anti-tax man himself, seems to fear the price of a take-no-prisoners goblin/orc war; he recently signaled peace with the goblin faction in his endorsement of Boehner’s “Plan B.” It was all to no avail. The orcs are battle-crazed and eager to attack the goblins again.

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson succinctly put it: "Inside the GOP, all the little piggies go to market. Just not the same market. That's the party's problem."

The spectacle of the Republican Party diminishing itself with nasty internal battles is certainly a welcome sight for the little people. But there are still plenty of ways they can get squashed. The goblin-backed theft of their retirement money appears to have the president's support, a great victory for the Dark Side. Coming debt ceiling negotiations will offer goblins and orcs another chance to rob the honest folk and enrich themselves. But maybe, just maybe, the goblins and the orcs will exhaust themselves enough fighting each other that the little people can mount a counter-offensive. Hope springs eternal. At least in the movies.

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91 comments

      1. Jessica

        Well, Obama is Saruman, so I guess that makes the Democrats Uruk Kai. Or maybe those men from the hills that Saruman incites to attack Rohan.

        1. TK421

          We might as well admit it: Obama is Sauron. John Cole, Tbogg, Kos and their kind are Saruman. “We can not defeat Sauron, so we might as well join him!”

          1. Heretic

            Actually, I would say that Obama is Saruman, he is powerful but still a puppet. Sauron is an unknown entity, (or group of entities); very powerful and he shapes history, he has any servants who do his bidding(Wallstreet and Congress) and he occasionally adapts an exterior form, but no one has seen the essence of Sauron. If we knew who is Sauron or hat Cabal forms Sauron, we could stop him.

        2. Larry Barber

          I would think Obama is more like Denethor. One who seeing no way to resist the enemy, capitulated to him.

    1. from Mexico

      Yep. It looks like the only type of economy known to all Republicans and most Democrats is a plunder economy, and that’s plunder spelled with a capital ‘P’.

  1. scraping_by

    The next act in the Kubuki is the grand coalition of ‘moderates’ of both parties.

    The Wall Street payroll includes items of both labels. They’ll get the word and act.

  2. psychohistorian

    So let me get this straight.

    This posting about our congress here on NC tries to get us to believe that the goblins are better than the orcs and that since the Dems are not mentioned they must be even a more better version of Middle Earth denzins.

    How about another cut at this which has the orcs described above but adding to them the Dem Blue dogs. Then lets take the goblins described above and add to that group most of the rest of the Dems.

    Lets call the handful that doesn’t fit as orcs and goblins in congress humans.

    These are the groups that are about to undercut SS while others have us watching the original goblin and orc kabuki that this posting described.

    The poor humans don’t stand a chance.

    1. nonclassical

      …bushbama knows=shows what he wants by those he appoints to study “commissions”…as was the case with insurance co $ubsidies decided long prior to “debate” of…(no “public option” discussion allowed)…

      BUT, on ending bushit tax breaks “commission” he “allowed” good Washington State Senator Murray participation…knowing full well she wouldn’t sell out…(prior to election-when he couldn’t afford to devolve Social Security)…

      …notice there is NO “commission” now, to “study” bushit tax cuts bushbama promised prior to 2008 election to end…Malcolm is rolling…bushbama trolling..

    2. from Mexico

      It kind of reminds me of an essay Martin Luther King wrote where he says something to the effect that he found it easier to deal with the overt white Southern racist than with the Northeatern liberal or moderate, whether black or white. At least with the overt white Southern racist, there was no confusion as to who the enemy was.

    3. from Mexico

      It sort of reminds me of the essay Martin Luther King wrote where he said he found it easier to deal with the overt white Southern racist than with the Northeastern liberal or moderate, whether black or white. At least with the overt white Southern racist, there was no confusion as to who the enemy was.

    4. Ron

      Media always paints issues into good vs bad choices and now long after the election we have the good guys/gals vs the bad guy/gals story line. Social conservative agenda has been a strong factor in American politics for years but suddenly the
      MSM is calling them nuts, monsters and pointing them out as the bad guy/gal of American politics. Corporate money is unhappy with the social conservative political movement so we can expect the MSM to paint the Tea Party as extreme or worse for America and see this meme become the new MSM story line.

      1. from Mexico

        As George Orwell pointed out in both “England Your England” and “Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War,” one should never underestimate the stupidity of the Goblins.

        They always think they can control the monster they have created, that is the Orcs. But of course they never can.

      2. diptherio

        Blanket marginalization of the TEA Party also serves to ensure that there will not be bridges built between that faction and groups like Occupy, with whom they actually share a fair number of grievances (i.e. bailouts, gov’t corruption, etc.).

    5. diptherio

      She does, at least, call-out Obama, which implicates the Dems. But you’re right, any political analysis that continues to insist on pretending that the two parties are different in kind, as opposed to being two branches of one corporate party, at this late date in our political history, is contributing to one of the great, damaging myths of our time. Good call.

  3. Mary Bess

    Let’s be grateful for the crazies this time. Their intransigence will forestall a bad deal for the 99%. Once a more 99% friendly Congress is installed, maybe the Great Deceiver in the White House can be pressured to retain the safety net, despite his ardent wish to please his Wall Street handlers.

    Now we just need to supply the pressure. Get off your assets, America.

    1. psychohistorian

      You be smoking some strong stuff there Mary Bess. The kabuki has got you snowed completely.

      Being grateful for crazies sounds like a last gasp of “civilization”…..but I’m sure our salvation is just around the next corner………NOT.

      Why do folks continue to have HOPE? After the first 4 years of our dear Trojan Horse president, how much morally and physically bankrupt can our country be?

      America just killed a gaggle of civilians in Yemen to keep our tin pot dictator in charge there so we can protect our position in the Straights of Hormuz…and these are only the errant killings we are hearing about today. Our national horror with guns pales in comparison with the international horror we force on the world on an ongoing basis to support Empire of the rich and for the rich. We are not just killers at home but perhaps the sickness is coming home to roost so we can see more clearly why the world hates us.

      1. Andrew not the Saint

        Indeed… the Matrix is strong in that one. In fact, the Matrix is strong in everyone believing that there are 2 separate parties with different agendas – there’s only one big party with mainly evil scumbags some crazy douchebags and a handful of honest and clueless people.

      2. Mary Bess

        Doesn’t it makes sense to exploit whatever internecine splits exist in the Ruling Party, teams R and D.

        1. from Mexico

          The great danger is what happened in Nazi Germany, where the Goblins threw thier lot in with the Orcs.

          Then the Orcs not only destroyed the humans, but the Goblins as well.

          1. from Mexico

            Even though depravity is not the raison d’être of the Goblin, one should never underestimate the depravity the Goblins’ greed can make him stoop to.

          2. from Mexico

            The nonviolent method entails using the Orcs as poster children to show just how depraved and bat-shit crazy the entire lot, Orcs and Goblins alike, is.

            However, as Nazi Germany illustrates, the method is not foolproof.

          3. Lambert Strether

            @from Mexico I don’t think a non-violent campaign was ever tried in Germany. See Richard Evan’s wonderful The Coming of the Third Reich, where he shows how all the parties adopted Nazi iconography. Of course, if you want a Nazi, you might as well vote for a real one. The interesting thing is that the Nazi vote had peaked and they were in financial trouble in the last election, but the right wing (Goblins) let Hitler (an orc) into the government on the theory that they could outmaneuver him. What could go wrong!

        2. diptherio

          Sadly, no…and here’s why.

          There exists a simple dynamic in all games, including electoral politics. The dynamic is this: any player who seeks to win according to the rules of the game will be at a competitive dis-advantage to any player who seeks only to win, without regard for the rules.

          Take steroid use in professional sports. Anyone who takes illegal steroids will have an advantage (so long as s/he doesn’t get caught) over anyone who doesn’t, all else being equal. So, over time, players who abide by the rules get weeded out as they are inevitably out-performed by the cheaters.

          So too in politics. Politicians who take a stand on, and do, what they consider to be morally right will inevitably be at a disadvantage to “wafflers” and demagogues who are willing to say one thing and do another, to change political positions according to polling data, to “go negative early,” to use push-polling, etc. This dynamic did not change one iota in the last election. We got more progressive sounding candidates because that is what the polls said people wanted; but sounding progressive and being progressive are two very different things. Politicians still have to fund massively expensive campaigns and they still have to go to the same people in order to do that. Therefore, the chance of real positive change must be considered slim-to-none.

          The proof, as ever, will be found in the pudding of this new Congress. Maybe we’ll get lucky and a fair number of them will be actual humans who somehow managed to sneak past the gate-keepers, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

          When it comes to high-level politicians, one should always assume guilty until proven innocent (repeatedly), that way you won’t have to spend as much time feeling disappointed.

          Cheers :)

    2. different clue

      If this Rparty disunity buys a few more weeks for Dem basevoters to terrify their Dem Reps and Sens into putting SS/Mcare/Mcaide first and Obama second . . . then it is worth it.

      Can we generate that pressure over the next few weeks? Can we shove the Cat Food Obamacrats’ hands down the “garbage disposal” where they belong?

    3. Richard Kline

      The greedy vs. the grotty; now _there’s_ a characterization to applaud.

      I, too, am grateful for the madness of the grotty, as not only will they forestall the steal, ahh deal, that was meant to be, they will destroy the standing of their party with the public down to a huddle of rubble not seen in a generation. (Not that the other party is other than leprous itself, but one Tweedledee tipped over at a time.)

      My message to the grotty and the greedy both amongst the Repugnicants: “[Your] God will give wings to the righteous; leap, LEAP from the cliff for all to see how rightest-rightist you are. _JUMP!!_”

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      Agreed, one side fighting with the other is the only game left no matter how insane and tenuous. If we had elected Romney (or simply let him win), one: we would have sent a message that betrayal has consequences (not just even in high places but particularly in high places) and there are lines we won’t cross, and two: there would have been complete chaos now with the outcome that the social safety net would have probably been safe or at least safer. It would have been near impossible for Democrats to piss on their own brand with the “opposition” holding the fort.

      As it stands, the nuts are buying us a few weeks, maybe even a month or so, but it’s better than nothing.

      However, under either scenario, Obama or Romney, the ending of this chapter would almost certainly be tragic. There is simply too much steam built up. The Pete Petersons can taste it and nothing, particularly not something as insignificant as a bunch of “retards” are going to get in their way. It took them three plus decades and billions of dollars, but they have done it; they have fooled enough of the people, and at this point they are so close they can no longer be bothered by such trivia as getting caught with their arms up to their elbows in the cookie jar.

      It’s incredible how long they had to wait to introduce an Obama onto the scene. It’s also incredible they could find someone at once low enough and slick enough to do the filth work as Obama. Finally it’s simply incredible how insanely well they fooled a country.

    5. Susan the other

      I agree with you Mary Bess. And one step further – our budget hysteria has become total farce. I don’t even think a tax on the rich is meaningful beyond tokenism. If I were Obama I just say screw it. Keep taxes in check for another year or two, don’t bother to grandstand like a populist, and in exchange keep sufficient unemployment paychecks coming until somebody wakes up and pours enough new money into the system to jump start jobs. This fiscal cliff is total bullshit.

  4. Gerard Pierce

    But where are the trolls? Orcs and Goblins are fine if all you want is common sense.
    But aren’t trolls absolutely necessary for a real political discussion?

  5. Bill

    How immature this whole article, I wonder to whom it was aimed? Rich versus poor, smart versus dumb etc where does it end? What have we become? Both parties support the illegal activites of the banks. We have lost the moral compass, doing what is right when no one is watching appears to be a thing of the past.United we stand divided we fall, unless someone steps up to the plate with cogent ideas and actions, this act will continue. All the name calling and acrimony adds nothing to the discussion!

  6. LAS

    Yet the real story is among the overlooked little hobbits, trying against all hope to destroy the ring of power and feared dead in the waste land between dueling forces of evil. The King of Men (Aragorn) turns to Gandalf the wizard and asks what his heart tells him about the hobbit quest. Gandalf says, “There never was much hope.” Aragorn persits by asking, “But what does your heart tell you?” Gandalf pauses before finally whispering, “That Frodo lives. Frodo lives.”

  7. Schofield

    from Mexico says:
    December 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

    “Yep. It looks like the only type of economy known to all Republicans and most Democrats is a plunder economy, and that’s plunder spelled with a capital ‘P’.”

    Hmmm…. I really like the phrase “Plunder World” to describe the current imbalanced state humanity is living in. Which leads to “And what did you do Mommy and Daddy to help us escape from Plunder World?”

  8. Dan Kervick

    They are thrilled that instead of focusing on the jobs crisis, the country has been railroaded into premature deficit-reduction deals that serve as a cover for conservative wealth redistribution schemes.

    Haven’t you heard? The smart kids say we don’t have to worry about full employment anymore, because the robots are taking over production of the national output and we’re all going to get everything for free.

      1. JTFaraday

        Well Susan, as the person who is interested in the “low productivity jobs of high social value,” you might logically consider what happens when you live in a society that makes work mandatory in order to even scrape out the barest existence and simultaneously and demonstrably doesn’t value what you value, (I’ll assume).

        This might be a more productive exercise than “plus tenning” the local small minded overseer (with the pretentious by-line) who apparently does value what the current US regime values since it never gives him even a moment’s pause– just so long as no one is sitting on the couch eating bonbons instead realizing the aims of the state.

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    President Obama is comfortable with goblins, and is often secretly thought to be one of them, as Bruce Barlett recently explained in the Fiscal Times. They like him okay, too.

    Secretly????

      1. knowbuddhau

        Obama as goblin — that’s interesting. I often wonder what kind of help from hidden hands Obama got on his meteoric rise to the White House.

        Does anyone know any more about Obama and his work for Business International Corporation? John Pilger discusses it here:

        Obama’s very presence in the White House appears to reaffirm the moral nation. He’s a marketing dream. But like Calvin Klein or Benetton, he is a brand that promises something special, something exciting, almost risqué, as if he might be radical, as if he might enact change. He makes people feel good. He’s a post-modern man with no political baggage. And all that’s fake.

        In his book, Dreams from My Father, Obama refers to the job he took after he graduated from Columbia in 1983. He describes his employer as, and I quote, “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” For some reason, he doesn’t say who his employer was or what he did there. The employer was Business International Corporation, which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA with covert action, and infiltrating unions on the Left. I know this because it was especially active in my own country, Australia. Obama doesn’t say what he did at Business International and there may be absolutely nothing sinister, but it seems worthy of inquiry, and debate, as a clue to, perhaps, who the man is.

        During his brief period in the Senate, Obama voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He voted for the Patriot Act. He refused to support a bill for single payer healthcare. He supported the death penalty. As a presidential candidate, he received more corporate backing than John McCain. He promised to close Guantanamo as a priority, but instead he’s excused torture, reinstated military commissions, kept the Bush gulag intact, and opposed habeas corpus.

        Daniel Ellsberg, the great whistleblower, was right, I believe, when he said that under Bush a military coup had taken place in the United States, giving the Pentagon unprecedented powers. These powers have been reinforced by the presence of Robert Gates, a Bush family crony and George W. Bush’s powerful Secretary of Defense, and by all the Bush Pentagon officials and generals who have kept their jobs under Obama.

        In the middle of a recession with millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes, Obama has increased the military budget. In Colombia, he is planning to spend $46 million on a new military base that will support a regime backed by death squads and further the tragic history of Washington’s intervention in that region.

        In a pseudo-event in Prague, Obama promised a world without nuclear weapons to a global audience mostly unaware that America is building new tactical nuclear weapons designed to blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war. Like George Bush, he used the absurdity of Europe threatened by Iran to justify building a missile system aimed at Russia and China.

        In another pseudo-event, at the Annapolis Naval Academy – decked with flags and uniforms – Obama lied that America had gone to Iraq to bring freedom to that country. He announced that the troops were coming home. This was another deception. The head of the army, General George Casey says, with some authority, that America will be in Iraq for up to a decade. Other generals say 15 years.

        Chris Hedges, a very fine author of Empire of Illusion, puts it very well:

        “President Obama,” he wrote, “does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they make you feel.”

        And so you are kept in a perpetual state of childishness. He calls this junk politics. [John Pilger: Empire, Obama and America’s Last Taboo, Speech given July 5, 2009 At Socialism 2009, San Francisco.]

        Of course, at this point we can add many more betrayals to that list. So is Obama simply the worst negotiator in the history of the world, as some apologists seem to think, or is there more to it than that?

        One reason I so love Pilger’s work is his excellent grasp of the political power of myth.

        I’m really enjoying this exercise in changing our perceptions by changing the metaphors we use.

        1. JTFaraday

          “And so you are kept in a perpetual state of childishness. He calls this junk politics.”

          This assessment makes me think of nothing so much as BO’s 2008 acceptance speech, which I called the “American Dream speech,” and which was completely inappropriate given the prior 8 years of neoconservative destructiveness. This babytalk was briefly punctuated only by the discordant accusation that Bush was too frightened to take the fight against OBL to “the cave where he lives.”

          Obama talks down to the public, whom he depoliticizes and infantilizes. This “American Dream” yaya that he in 2008 and now Republicans like Paul Ryan and Chris Christie in 2012 are spoon feeding the American public is not discourse fit for the responsibilities of citizenship.

          Their conception of us is one of permanent teenagers, perpetually applying for our first job at McDonalds while they have a free hand turning the country into God only knows what.

  10. Moneta

    The US was built on hard work and self-reliance.

    But those values are long gone as today’s consumerism is sustained by exploiting other countries.

    I don’t see any good coming to your country as long as this model is in play.

    1. from Mexico

      Conquest and plunder have always played a significant role in the US economy, what with slavery and Manifest Destiny and all that stuff. If you don’t believe it, just ask the Indians or the Mexicans.

      However, with the inexorability of the boomerang effect, it was inevitable that the Americans themselves would end up being the last and final subject race.

        1. diptherio

          Self-reliant while conquering and plundering??? Uh…no. Actually there was the whole force of the US gov’t and military behind that effort. Even the “self-reliant” settlers depended on the cavalry et al to drive the “heathens” from their territory and make sure they didn’t try to come back.

          A little historical perspective please.

          1. Moneta

            My point was that most Americans were actually working hard and producing most of their stuff.

            Unlike today where a lot of the Americans’ lifestyle is being provided by foreigners.

            Here in Canada, my grandmother, used to get hand-me-downs so worn out that she would unstitch them and sew them back up inside out. She is part of the generation that went to war, lived in bungalows and had enough children to pay for an ok retirement.

            Boomers today want their kids, a baby bust, to finance their retirement lifestyle, usually larger than that of the greater generation…. in an environment where jobs have been exported, and the rest of the world is producing for them. If you ask me, they’re in a pickle.

            If you want to be all technical by saying that the US was never self-reliant… whatever!

      1. Moneta

        That is why I think the US has bitten off more than I can chew…. and when I read the comments in NC it is evident that they are an entitled people.

        How can you expect to get 40 years of funded retirement when your energy is imported and your stuff is coming from emerging markets?

        World peace is definitely not an option.

        1. diptherio

          HAHAHA!!! 40 years of funded retirement?!? WTF are you even talking about? Gotta link for that?

          Yeah, bro, the economic system is broken and unsustainable and needs to be radically altered…that’s kinda the whole point of this blog, methinks.

          1. Moneta

            Are you talking to me? I don’t believe the pension system will survive but many on this blog do.

            I think the system is broken and to get some kind of fix, there will need to be some generational sacrifice. However, I don’t believe there will be a fix. The problems that we are encountering are global and no simple solution can be found. Just like England deforested its entire country in the 1700-1800s, I believe we will destroy our entire planet over the next few decades in the name of profits.

            Some will have good lives and many will suffer, just like it has been forever.

      2. JustJokes

        Yeah, ask the Mexicans what they stole from te Aztecs, and ask the Aztecs what they stole from the Mayans, and ask he Persians what the stole from the Babilonians and ask the Romans what the stole from the Greeks and ask the Israelis what they stole from the Canaanites, and ask the Germans what they stole from the Romans, and ask the British what they stole from the Scott’s and ask the Indians what they stole from the Persians, and ask them all what years they freed their slaves. Get some perspective about theft, history, and progress. Nothing is free and we had to struggle every step of the way for the few rights, liberties, protections, and decency in the face of defeatism, corruption, hatred and wars.

        1. from Mexico

          JustJokes says:

          Get some perspective about theft, history, and progress. Nothing is free and we had to struggle every step of the way for the few rights, liberties, protections, and decency in the face of defeatism, corruption, hatred and wars.

          Ah ha! There pops up that word “progress.”

          You seem to be quite the true-believer in Progressivism, along with its built-in theory of history, probably without even realizing you’ve drunk the Progressivist Kool Aid.

          There’s been a great deal written about the ideology of ‘progress,’ so exactly what does the Progressivist faith entail? The most perfunctory definition is this: If we can use science to conquer and dominate physical nature, then the need and desire to conquer and dominate each other will disappear.

          However, Progressivism in practice has worked out very different than Progressivism in theory. As man has conquered and dominated physical nature (another progressivist assumption whose veracity is rapidly being called into question by resource depletion and global warming), his desire to conquer and dominate each other has not diminished. Quite the contrary, it seems to have grown, as no level of prosperity or opulence seems to satisfy man’s desires.

          Granted, beginning about 3000 B.C. mankind began to organize himself in what we call ‘advanced’ civiliazations. The areal extent of states began to slowly increase, breaking through the 1 million square km barrier in about 1200 B.C. Highly egalitarian forms of social organization, which had evolved and allowed humanoids to survive over millions of years, were replaced by highly stratified and hierarchical forms of social orgainization. Then during the Axial Age (800 to 200 B.C.) the aereal extent of the largest states grew exponentially, breaking through the 10 million square km barrier in around 600 B.C. Since then it’s been ever upwards and onwards, with the United States now having achieved the neoempire of greatest reach ever known to humankind. Adherents of the Progressivist faith call this “progress.”

          And it is probably true that, with the ‘conquest and domination’ of physical nature, the American empire has provided the fairest and most equitable distribution of the rewards of society, both physical and political, of any empire that came before it. But that has only been true for those who live within the empire.

          For to argue that the fairness and equitable distribution extends to those outside the empire requires a leap into national mythology, into historical fiction. For the reality is that the American empire is like an octupus, its tenacles Hoovering up the natural resourses from of every remote corner of the earth. And this is achieved by the use of sheer violence and intimidation, by the conquest and domination of other human beings. According to the Progressivist faith, this isn’t supposed to happen. So as typically occurs when factuality meets sure truth, it is factuality that is sacrificed.

          However, the progressivist faith and its litany of fictions seem to be failing most Americans. As the plunder of nature and the rest of the world becomes increasingly difficult, the American neoimperialists are now looking to plunder those closer to home, that is those within the empire. And in this, even though the American empire is the greatest and most Progressivist ever known to humankind, it is meeting a fate similar to all those which came before it.

        2. Moneta

          All great countries have plundered but when the plunder gets too big and unsustainable, the empire falls apart… Rome, England… the US is next.

      1. Moneta

        All great nations devolve into theft… the question is how long can the gig last? What is the tipping point?

        At 300M people, I don’t see how America cleans up its act without a huge drop in material comfort. Too many people, especially when one considers that the lifestyle is propped up by the emerging countries who surely want a piece of the pie.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          All great nations devolve into theft

          Who told you that, American Indians? Blacks in the South?

          We were stealing big time for over a hundred years before even becoming a nation and neither the Bill of Rights nor the Constitution made the classes of wealth miss a pocket picking beat until the 1930′s.

          Hard work and self reliance my ass. I know one can’t avoid all propaganda, but taking it neat in five gallon buckets?

    2. different clue

      The only way to restore those values would be to abolish Free Trade and restore Protectionism. That would require America to abrogate all the Free Trade Agreements and withdraw from all the Free Trade Organizations. If a commanding majority of the American people were able to reconquer their government and force it to restore Protectionism, America would immediately be attacked at multiple levels by the International Free Trade Conspiracy and all its captive Free Trade Governments. It would be a version of the Big Powers’ attacks against the embryonic Bolshevik Government in Russia right after World War One.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      O-Betrayal has completely forgotten the grand betrayal for a day. He’s too busy gnashing his teeth that he can’t get away with that kind of treatment in this country. Oh well, at least he has torture by rendition and drone murder of children to fall back on. Enough for his ego to limp through the Christmas season on till the New Year when he can really stick it to the old and helpless.

  11. p78

    The Hobbit movie – I loved it, especially the little people, dwarves. There will be two more installments, coming out in 2013 “The Desolation of Smaug” and 2014 “There and Back Again”.
    “A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.” ;) Now who is Smaug?

  12. charles sereno

    “Divide and Conquer”
    Still a useful frame. The “conquer” part is pretty straightforward. However, one can count the many ways to “divide.” One way is to dumb down the masses while allowing an opportunistic, controllable, bought elite (preferably not rigidly inheritable) to achieve stasis. A tall order but one that has been realized most successfully in the US.

    At another extreme, when large groups of people are energized by beliefs (eg, Islam), the strategy of division works by supporting and managing opposing factions. The aftermath of the “Arab Spring” is a textbook example. Can anyone with eyes not see that Egypt, and now Syria, once the dust settles, will be as manageable or even more so than the unstable Mubarak and Assad regimes?
    The “pivot” to East Asia is the last formidable challenge to the Great American Dream Machine.

  13. craazyman

    Ms. Parramore is trotting out her communist invective once again. Comparing Republican public servants to evil fictional characters in a child’s tale is irresponsible rhetoric at best and deceptive analysis certainly. How many more dollars can America afford to print and spend before we all fall over the cliff together? I will conclude my correspondence with that question for each honest man and woman to consider privately.

    Sincerely yours, Cyrus Simple, Sioux Plains, South Dakota

    1. different clue

      Well . . . if the AmeriGov prints or emits twice as many dollars as their is wealth or work to be exchanged for those dollars, every unit of wealth or work will cost “twice as many” of the “half-size” dollars. Modern Munnytary Theory at endstage?

      1. craazyman

        It doesn’t matter to me if she’s a communist. I may have met her once at a New York party and if I recall she was pretty damn hot. These women have nothing to do anyway except sit around and worry and then talk about it, so they make up all sorts of things and write them down. Then they call it a day. Can you imagine? LOL

        Nobody knows what money is anyway. It’s amazing to me the world hasn’t blown itself up years ago. There must be some reason for that.

  14. Mary Bess

    Our Dear Leader seems genuinely desperate to reach a deal before year’s end. Perhaps he fears the opportunity to slash the safety net will slip away, should the deadline pass. If the Tea Bags remain intransigent, he might just cut entitlements without the tax hike for the rich quid pro quo. That would be consistent with his negotiating style of giving more concessions than the other side is asking for. (Why can’t the Tea Bags learn their lines?) He’s not reading biographies of FDR or LBJ. He’s studying Reagan.

    Wouldn’t it be deliciously ironic if his attempts to undo what’s left of the New Deal backfired and created a real political opposition? The US is creating insurgencies across the globe. Why not here?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      [perhaps Obama fears] the opportunity to slash the safety net will slip away,[...]

      Exactly! The longer we hold off on austerity the lower the unemployment, the better the economy and the faster we pay down the defecit. There quickly comes a point when even the MSM can’t hype a non existent emergency (though granted, they arn’t exactly ashamed to try).

  15. Rob Kane

    Truly ghastly writing. It was obvious that the first graph was a waste of time, so I skipped it. Then the subsequent ones were too awful to read in their entirety so I went looking for the good parts. But there weren’t enough good parts to justify the time it took. Very cute, very, very cute, but nothing beyond that.

  16. Ep3

    First, the orcs saved social security this time around.
    And second, why can’t the democrat party have infighting like this? All the weak liberals just bend over for whatever Obama wants.

    1. psychohistorian

      I think you might be a bit premature about saying that SS has been saved this time around….try holding your breath until the end of the year.

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