The Super Wealthy See Pitchforks and Guillotines in Their Future

This is a short but important conversation with Rob Johnson, the president of INET, on what was and more important, not said at Davos. The super wealthy know that the governance structures around them are breaking down, but rather than take measures to shoer them up, they are be retreating into concrete bunkers.

This is the Iron Law of Institutions on a societal level: people would rather take steps to better their position with a given social order than make sacrifices that would make them better off in an absolute sense, if not in a relative one.

He’s also too kind about Obama, but Johnson is a generous-spirited sort, so he tends to hope for the best even when the evidence is otherwise. That makes his assessment of the mood among the top elite even more sobering.

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  1. The Peak Oil Poet

    the Bible tells us not to steal
    it’s there in black and white
    our laws are based upon it too
    do not do wrong – do right

    but somehow since these laws were writ
    we’ve seen the system fail
    but things will change for all the best
    when the bankers go to jail

    when the bankers go to jail my friends
    when the bankers go to jail
    we’ll finally see justice done
    when the bankers go to jail

    when the vampire squid has been deep-fried
    in the slime of Bernank’s words
    when politicians tell the truth
    and not be lying turds

    when “austerity” applies to them
    and fairness does prevail
    we’ll finally see justice done
    and the bankers go to jail

    when the bankers go to jail ee-hah
    when the bankers go to jail
    we’ll all be dancing in the streets
    when the bankers go to jail

    if all was as it ought to be
    when any business fails
    investors take a haircut
    amid their tears and wails

    but in our mean kleptocracy
    that the MSM does hail
    the working class pay all the bills
    and no banker goes to jail

    when the bankers go to jail dear God
    when the bankers go to jail
    the haircuts will be number ones
    when the bankers go to jail

    we’re predators i must admit
    it’s human nature too
    to seek a better living for
    our wives and children too

    but animals we’re not you see
    it not just fine detail
    we keep the law, control ourselves
    and the bankers go to jail

    yes you bankers go to jail you thieves
    all you bankers go to jail
    you’ll be some brother’s jail-house bitch
    when you bankers go to jail

    you may think it’s a silly dream
    to think of their demise
    they’re oh so very powerful
    and every banker lies

    but one day soon we’ll overthrow
    and have them by the tail
    we’ll tar and feather all of them
    and send them all to jail

    when the bankers go to jail for good
    when the bankers go to jail
    we’ll hear the bells of freedom ring
    when the bankers go to jail

    (maw! Dan’l done shot his self a banker wid his gun maw. Maw! I done gotta shoot a banker too maw.

    You watch yawself Brad. Dem bankers is nasty nasty things and th’ best thung yawl can do is haul off and shoot dem from a goodly distance wid yo shotgun – ya hear me boy?)

      1. winstonsmith

        I agree. It goes well to the tune of “What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor” if The Peak Oil Poet’s verses are interleaved with a chorus of the form

        What do you do with the crooked bankers?
        What do you do with the crooked bankers?
        What do you do with the crooked bankers?
        Put them all in jail!

        The exact content is better left to TPOP.

      1. hunkerdown

        But try the shower. The resonances of the space tend to fall nicely within the human vocal range. It’s not just the privacy that makes it such a popular place to sing.

        Also, even just a couple of mics, one each on the uke and the mouth, would be a profound (and relatively inexpensive) help.

  2. Paper Mac

    Are the super wealthy familiar with the effects of HESH rounds on concrete structures? They will be soon!!

  3. NoFreeWill

    The real problem is that while they are preparing, we aren’t sharpening the guillotine. The 2nd Amendment should be used against bankers and the like or else what is it for. Tree of liberty, blood, etc. it’s too bad the Right has claimed that line and not actually enforced it.

    1. jgordon

      That’s why I see the gun-grabbers as natural allies of the corrupt elites. For their respective reasons, they both have an interest in de-toothing the populace and turning everyone into passive sheep–thankfully precisely what the Second Amendment was designed to guard against, as the Supreme Court has rationally agreed.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Leaving the crock about the Supreme Court aside, if the ammosexuals were going to do anything about tyranny, they would already have done it. More proof, if proof were needed, that they don’t even conceive of their guns as weapons, but merely as consumerist fetish objects. So far, the only people who’ve been “active” have been Occupy and the Fergusonians, on the left (if we leave aside the dudes who whacked abortion providers, of course).

        1. Ben Johannson

          2nd Amendment Solution types will mysteriously fade away once a white Republican is president. They fully support tyrannical governmnet but dislike its current face.

          1. Beli Tsari

            It’s never quite worked that way, so far. Backwoods militias were always massa’s unseen hand. RealTree Camo & Ghillie suits replacing white hoods. If our, now largely multi- national benefactors can get cranked-up craven wet brains to “maintain order” with their WalMart BushMASTER, perched atop Toys-R-Us in Ferguson, or popping-away from speeding trucks, for FREE, using their own guns… well, wasn’t that the 2nd Amendment in the first place; terrorizing slaves, clearing land for developers & ensuring 1% profits.

        2. Propertius

          Occupy didn’t *do* much of anything. No organization, no media strategy worth mentioning, and no concrete goals. A nationwide temper tantrum does not a movement make.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes to possibilities, and that’s important (to Ferguson protesters, for example, in the “Tips and Tricks” category). It may be that Occupy suffered from scaling up in media, especially social media, without a proper foundation on the ground.

        3. bruno marr

          Well, the Clive Bundy Crew out in Nevada sure think of their guns as weapons. And the federal government seems to agree, since they are taking a “hands off” stance against what appears to be real opposition.

          A difference between Occupy and Bundy protests (besides the guns) is one is urban and the other is rural. (Local police plodding about the Nevada sagebrush wouldn’t be pretty; and the portal to portal pay would be humongous.) A strategy of “wait ’em out” seems to be the plan with Bundy, but that strategy was dropped with Occupy (too much TV coverage for too many days).

      2. Ron Kjellstrom

        First, the elites already have the military and law enforcement working for them, which is more firepower than all the Bushmaster Bubbas will ever be able to field. Second, the Second Amendment was intended to protect the states’ authority to field armies. The alleged rest, including the Supremes’ decision, is a fairy tale and certainly runs counter to what Washington did to the populist revolts he faced, and he may have known something about the issue given that he presided over the Constitutional Convention and was a major player in the ratification debates.

      3. jrs

        I don’t know, I think some of the gun grabbers ARE the elites, or I suspect many of the elites have vast hoards of ammunition. But then it’s probably true they always would.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Ammosexuality: What a great recipe for “Meet the new boss.” No thanks.

      UPDATE Adding, given the general level of discourse in the ammosexual community, I have zero confidence in their ability to improve the general welfare, even should the warlord-ism they seek come to pass.

      1. ambrit

        If you remove the “general welfare” part, the entire conversation becomes much more understandable. Then, of course, the principle of unintended outcomes comes into play with a vengeance. (Bullets have no ‘agency.’)

        1. Propertius

          Well, that’s the whole point isn’t it? Of course bullets have no agency – so aren’t those who automatically recoil (no pun intended) from the very mention of them the ones who are really fetishizing them by attributing moral and political values to inanimate objects?

          After all, nearly 40% of US households will apparently admit to a pollster that they own a firearm (see: – something that I’m not sure all firearm owners would do – that’s considerably larger than the membership in any organization that Lambert would stylize as “ammosexual”.

          Gun owners skew Right because Leftists have been brainwashed. I note this phenomenon in myself: I’m perfectly willing to support the 2nd Amendment in theory, but I don’t own a firearm and have no real desire to acquire one.

          1. skippy

            Agency is supplied by indoctrination association w/ the object. In the currant discussion the regional bias is Ammosexuality = Freedom = taking others with you when psychotic episodes occur.

            1. ambrit

              (All the usual caveats apply.)
              What then about mass psychotic episodes?
              (An earlier comment about “going full Tokugawa” seems to miss the point.)

      2. Northeaster

        Not sure if you have been to The Middle East, but for under $5, you can build a lot destructive devices than any gun. Most of the villages over there have smiths that can build some really nice homemade destructive devices as well as crude guns. Here at home, a simple lathe machine can make some powerful destructive works of art, guns are just a convenient tool, but not really practical for a lot of purposes.

        The finality of it comes down to two basic principles: Prison & death. If you remove the fear of both, welcome Revolution 2.0 (at least in America). We’re not there, I’d even argue we’re not even close – most still have food and a roof over their heads, while not realizing (or maybe some do) their children’s futures are being economically raped. As parents, we have let them down because we have consented to this paradigm.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Yes, I’m familiar with the concept of IEDs. They don’t seem to be an ammosexual focus, presumably because they aren’t a consumer fetish object. Also, you’ve got to actually make them, as you describe. That’s not the same thing as reading Guns and Corsets, or whatever the title is, and listening to Rush on the radio.

          1. Northeaster

            I don’t listen to Rush, and I never heard of “Guns and Corsets”. I have however been deployed over to that hellhole they call The Middle East, and it’s not just IED’s. You should go over there sometime and actually learn first hand instead of repeating whatever it is you think you know or are being told.

          2. Propertius

            The amateur gunsmithing community is fairly large, Lambert. If you don’t realize that, I suggest you broaden your reading list a bit (perhaps putting “milling receiver” into the search engine of your choice would be a good start).

            According to a story on Vice last year, backyard gunsmiths in the Phillipines are capable of churning out a wide variety of firearms (including fully automatic ones) – their American counterparts have much better tools but are generally both more law-abiding and more circumspect.

        2. armpit

          You may think we are not there yet…. most people have food and a roof????
          Well that’s because they get gov’t assistance like food stamps or whatever you call it there. 47 plus million recepients… take that away and see what happens overnight!

          1. jrs

            You have to have considered action (serious civil disobedience, no guns needed) to be afraid. I don’t think most people have even considered action very much.

          2. vidimi

            americans are afraid. they are terrified. terrified of the muslim other, the terrorist waiting in the shade. politics of fear wouldn’t be so effective if americans weren’t afraid.

      3. ArmchairRevolutionary

        Ammosexual: a useless ad hominem attack.

        While I do not own a gun, I strongly believe in the 2nd ammendment, just as I believe in the 1st ammendment. “Leaving the crock about the Supreme Court aside”: your failure to read and understand the reason for the bill of rights does not make the Supreme Court position a crock.

        1. LifelongLib

          The story I got is that it’s only recently that the 2nd Amendment was interpreted as a right to own guns for private purposes, rather than a right of citizens to possess guns for the purpose of serving in a militia. Towns in the Old West often banned guns and nobody at the time thought it was a horrible infringement on civil rights.

        2. kj1313

          Except it is a crock of shit. Ammosexuals only cares about the 2nd amendment rights being unfettered. They are doing nothing while their economic stability are being trashed and the government is allowing the air, water and food to be poisoned which threatens them and their children. They are mindless zombies who are easily led by a few strident voices and I have absolutely no faith in them or their ilk.

            1. kj1313

              So they can’t push back against their fringe? Funny how they let the radicals define them. Kind of like how many of the ammosexuals will put all Muslims together because are defined by their radicals.

              1. cwaltz

                They do pushback. How else do you think you get to those percentage without providing gun owners arguments on why regulation of something that has so much potential to cause harm is essential?


                You act as if all of the gun owners and people who enjoy guns are from the right. Actually around 40% of the left is also comfortable with the Second Amendment. The above is just one of the groups that leans liberal.

          1. Propertius


            I think this really proves my point. The 2nd Amendment “community” skews Right, not because there’s something inherently right-wing about a gun, but because the Left has been conditioned to reflexive distaste for firearms (and a bizarre obsession with legislatively imposing that distaste on everyone).

            1. kj1313

              Because they are all talk period. They deride government overreach but then cheer as police officers guns down an unarmed black man. Hypocritical asshats the lot of them.

            2. vidimi

              a reflexive distaste for firearms is merited given that, hunting rifles excepted, they are designed for the sole purpose of killing human beings.

              1. ambrit

                Actually, I must point out the obvious fact that any tool that can end any life whatsoever can be used to kill humans. Even though I cringe when I hear it deployed, the trope “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” is factually correct. (It is intellectually dishonest. The problem is far deeper than technology.)

        3. Jack

          Screw the second amendment. I know most won’t share my position, but we need to dump that destructive relic altogether. Guns have no place in private hands, period. We should go Tokugawa on this nonsense and just confiscate every firearm on sight.

        4. ambrit

          I must disagree. The pejorative “Ammosexual” is excellent propaganda, and is humorous too. What more could you want from a demonization tool?

    3. ambrit

      The “guns and guillotines” argument presupposes a complete breakdown of civil law. We must not “throw the baby out with the bathwater” yet. Remember that any major breakdown of civil law opens up the way for a complete and unapologetic rule of force. As finance has shown, the ‘natural’ tendency is for concentration of power. Apply this to force, which I contend is going on now in the “Public” sphere, and you end up with outright Autocracy. The most highly organized and concentrated ‘force’ wins. Notice that I use the word “wins.” This assumes a zero sum game; the opposite of a civil law regime. We should be very wary of what we wish for. Do not assume that those lamp post ornaments are solely members of the elites. Organize first, then trim the lamp posts.

      1. James Levy

        The current rule of money is terrible–the rule of guns would be worse. I agree with you and Lambert. Mob rule is about the worst kind of rule you can have, and vigilante justice about the worst form of justice. Julius and Augustus Caesar swept away the rule of the oligarchy with the sword only to replace it with the rule of the military dictator. It was not an even swap. Trumbo’s lines in the mouth of Graccus are telling:

        “I’d rather have Republican corruption, along with a little Republican freedom, than the dictatorship of Crassus–that’s what he wants, and that’s while he’ll be back!”.

        We need to redeem the Republic, not turn society over to the men with guns.

        1. Ulysses

          “We need to redeem the Republic, not turn society over to the men with guns.”

          Very well said! I do think at this point the system is so far gone that only the credible threat of a military coup, or some other dramatic upheaval, will push the kleptocrats into peacefully surrendering their power, and allowing people to begin governing themselves.

          Perhaps the best scenario would be something like the Carnation Revolution of 1974 in Portugal, where the fascists were forced out at gunpoint, but hardly any shots were actually fired.

        2. Jack

          Rome had suffered decades of unrest and civil war. The people were tired. Octavius offered stability; he became Emperor with broad public support. The unrest had dragged on for so long already partly because people like Cicero refused to give up political freedom. Ultimately they were on the wrong side of history.

        3. vidimi

          except both julius and augustus were very popular with the proletariat. they were a rare breed of elite who leveraged their power against the patricians and equestrians by appealing to the masses. augustus also gave rome the pax romana, a period of relative calm and wealth. it wasn’t until the death of augustus that the ugliness of the empire became fully apparent.

      2. steviefinn

        The other point is that unlike in the French revolution, where it was easy for the mob to identify the aristocracy – in these days mobs made up of the desperate poor, would probably see the middle classes as a target for looting & in any case would not even be aware of who the real elites are, or even how to get to them. Personally I don’t want to hang anyone, but we desperately need an organised settlement to control the excesses of the elites, or as in Russia the best mob leader will rise & we will end up with much worse after a massacre of the innocents, while most of the big rats escape.

        Chaos is chaos but perception is relative to one’s position.

        1. Lambert Strether

          One of the key events IMNSHO was “The Great Fear,” where the peasants (among other things) destroyed the feudal land records that kept track of the rents; feudalism was legally abolished shortly thereafter. In contemporary terms, they attacked the data centers of the day.

          Of course, our data centers aren’t conveniently located in the chateaux of the local notables, but off in the deserts of Utah, and so forth. But the key point is that the peasants saw themselves as peasants (though possibly as French peasants, but not as Bretons or Normans or whatever the identity politics of the day might have been, supposing it to be legitimate to project this modern day concept backwards).

          1. OIFVet

            I think you will be surprised how many people in Europe still identify with their native region first, and nationality second. That’s not to say that the Bretons, for example, don’t feel French, but a large number of Euros put their region on top of all else. Even in small Bulgaria regional rivalries are legion. Been that way over the ages, still the case today.

      3. ChrisPacific

        Agreed. Anybody who wants guns and guillotines should read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and be clear about what they are asking for. There are generally unintended consequences along with enormous collateral damage (look at Egypt for another example).

        If The People ever find themselves in a position where gibbets and guillotines are actually a realistic option, then I would suggest a better alternative: simply enforce the law. Ending ‘one law for the rich, another for the poor’ would go a long way to addressing the problem. I don’t think that things are so bad that it’s necessary to give up on liberal democracy.

    1. ambrit

      Greetings from the rainy South Lambert. How are you making out with the ‘Snow Days?’ Warm and comfy I hope.
      One aspect of the technocratic world view I’ve observed is that any technically feasible enterprise gets treated like a “work in progress.” The Mars Direct project is an eminently feasible enterprise. Since the fortunes of people like Musk flow from, at least in principle, technical advances in the physical sphere of human endeavour, another technically feasible program will be treated as inevitable. If it’s inevitable, why not get in on the ground floor? (Wherever that ‘ground’ might be.)
      You think the Mars Project is out there? Try the Big Rain project for Venus:

      1. Lambert Strether

        Like the only region on the planet where global weirding is making things colder. I blame something horrible happening to the ice cap.

        I think Musk’s dream is to create a private Idaho on Mars for the people who can afford his tickets (or, should I say, his tickets out). That’s probably what’s in the minds of his investors, at least.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            “It’s possible to feel genuinely sympathetic to the McElroys’ plight”It’s possible to feel genuinely sympathetic to the McElroys’ plight
            Maybe author Richard Eskow can feel sympathetic but I can’t. Schadenfreude is more like it. 54 years ago a college friend prevailed on me to read Atlas Shrugged. I made it all the way to about page 150.

            1. ex-PFC Chuck

              “It’s possible to feel genuinely sympathetic to the McElroys’

              plight”It’s possible to feel genuinely sympathetic to the McElroys’ plight
              Maybe author Richard Eskow can feel sympathetic but I can’t. Schadenfreude is more like it. 54 years ago a college friend prevailed on me to read Atlas Shrugged. I made it all the way to about page 150.

            2. jrs

              Well a lot of the left radicals I meet started on Ayn Rand too, at least the younger sort. I am not making this up.

              It maybe drives a sort of absolutism and dualism, capitalism is either the unknown ideal or must be overthrown. Of course things are in actuality bad enough to have plenty of sympathy for the getting rid of it, versus whatever a moderate is these days.

        1. Demeter

          Maine isn’t alone…Michigan is having colder winters, too. This winter is not as bad as last year’s, but still significantly worse than the previous 15. You have more snow than we, but last year was the reverse.

          Glaciers used to cover this state. I think they are trying for a comeback.

        2. susan the other

          Speaking of Elon Musk in the context of Robert Johnson’s hint (don’t worry about what they say, worry about what they don’t say) you might mistakenly think he and Richard Branson and other wild visionaries were foolish enough to believe that going to Mars was a great free market idea. Right. When Musk can’t even get Tesla on the road? Both of them know the only imperative is saving the planet. All the rich guys know it and they don’t say it because they don’t want to be overtaken by chaos and panic. Even Obama pulled his punches in the SOTU. So that his most forgettable sentence was about global warming being the greatest threat to mankind. One thing that I have noticed is kept silent is the info about geothermal energy. Hearing about things like that would be encouraging. But no. Instead squillionaires like Musk quietly go to Carson City Nevada where the heat comes out all by itself, very accessible, and there is enough water to make the steam to make the electricity, etc. It’s all about getting a head start these days.

    2. casino implosion

      In one of Alex Jones’ youtube thingies, there’s a part where the ominous voice-over narrator says that the super-wealthy are going to upload their consciousness to immortal machines and , quote unquote, “set off to explore the cosmos”. It was like a lightbulb going off as soon as I heard that! Of course! It’s poetically true even if not actually real.

        1. craazyboy

          Well, slow down a minute.

          We do have the OpenWorm project already. They have mapped a worm’s neural net and simulated it in software.

          Just a short step to OpenRichPeople?

          ‘Course the upload consciousness stuff to silicon has been done so many times already in sci-fi it’s getting almost as old as Frankenstien.

          Still one problem tho. All of Elon’s customers will die of gamma ray poisoning on the way to Mars. EMD is a similar problem for silicon enhanced rich people. Might be like having a fatal stroke, perhaps. But you should be able to steer clear of any strong EMD sources in space. Nuclear bombs on Earth would still be a problem.

          1. casino implosion

            You don’t send the rich to Mars. That’s the safety valve, you send the restless proles. Like in the ghetto in Blade Runner, “THE OFFWORLD COLONIES NEED YOU”. Getting gammarayed in steerage…indentured servitude in the helium-3 mines….40 acres and a droid…

            1. craazyboy

              In the “Red Mars” novel they used water tanks. I think in real life they need to be huge and heavy – not the kind of thing that generally gets launched into outer space.

              If you recall the Puppeteers (Ringworld, etc…) they held their homeworld planet group together with Lagrange points, and ended up powering it to escape the galaxy. Flight never ends.

              I think the real solution for rich people is to simulate them with upgraded WormBrain software.(but we need a better name for it – marketing is important) Then they can be radio transmitted to outer space. We need to only launch a small probe like Voyager (ref: Star Trek) to have a place to properly receive them. It should have a stock ticker to watch – for entertainment. :)

              1. ambrit

                I want to be Hindmost!
                There is a difference of opinion about whether the water refuges in space vehicles need to be big self contained rooms, or just bodysuits with air supplies. One is massively cheaper and easier to implement than the other. Someone wrote a story years ago about making a small asteroid a space craft and coating the outside with water ice. I’m not sure about the difference in radiation buffering between those two phases of water.

  4. Christopher D. Rogers

    Yves et alia,

    I’m a keen observer of the UK and Europe, despite the fact I’m barred from living in my own country (Wales) for being married to a foreigner and deemed to poor to have my nuclear family live with me in my own home.

    That said, and although nearly six thousand miles away, I remain in close contact and never take my eye of the ball – thank god for the internet and cheap forms of communication.

    What I find striking about your intro, and the commentary provided by Rob Johnson, is that at least in the UK it would seem the extremely wealthy and their political whores in parliament have no “bunker” mentality whatsoever – unless you are referring to the UK’s barclay twins who live on a remote island as masters of all they survey.

    Indeed, and giving the Conservative Party and their Liberal Democrat enablers credit where it is due, the UK government has taken the parring knife/scissors to everything, including massive cuts to the UK’s military capabilities and its numerous Police Forces. Indeed, a very over used work of mine I’m afraid to say, I believe this rightwing government is the first Rightwing government to cut back spending on those mean’t to keep them in power should the shit hit the ceiling fan – obviously with the exception of our security services and GCHQ. Although what someone carry a laptop can do to too stave off the horde is anyones guess!

    The fact remains, so complacent are the Tories and City of London types in their own hubris and fantasy land that they have forgotten the power of the mob and what’s necessary to control it; namely, a well rewarded police force that knows which side its bread is buttered on.

    I’m not too sure what Cameron, Osborne, Glegg et alia will happen once it goes pear shape, or who will uphold public order given even the police detest this retched administration, as do many former military personal handed P45’s and forced to claim social welfare, whilst being castigated by those very persons who made them unemployed as unwanted drains on state finances.

    Perhaps given the Uk is the 51st state of the USA that our masters believe the USA will ride to their rescue, or they believe the sheeple are so stupid they will never awake to their real economic plight – the UK opinion polls painting a different picture to this scenario.

    Whatever the case, I have not heard of any “bunker” mentality from the UK’s ruling elite and its many enablers in the City. Quite the reverse in fact given the numbers of member of the global oligarchy buying properties in London to launder their wicked financial gains at our expense.

    I’ll leave it there, but it will be interesting to hear others in the UK or other European Union nations give their opinion on this issue.

    1. Carolinian

      Well Boris did buy London those water cannon (or did he?).

      As to the rest of this discussion I agree with Lambert that gun fetishists are mostly adolescents who never grew up. Staging a populist revolution is probably the last thing we can expect from them. Undoubtedly the superwealthy are quite paranoid about popular uprisings as, being sociopaths, they assume everyone else is like them. But it’s not likely to happen until things get much much worse. When the masses begin to see their own personal survival, and not just their standard of living, under threat then things will be different.

      1. Christopher D. Rogers

        Whilst Johnson’s playthings for the Met have indeed been purchased and refitted to Met specifications, the fact remains that the UK home secretary, Theresa May, has not sanctioned their use, nor in all probability would sanction their use due to the fact that three mobile water canon are not very manoeuvrable on London streets, which are not on par with napoleon III’s boulevards in Paris shall I say.

        Indeed, unless these contraptions have been refitted with machine guns and other ordnance, they’d last about one second in a mob riot on London streets, far better to utilise Fire Engines, however, they too would come under attack from any horde, as we have witnessed in Northern Ireland, and on our streets on a regular basis as youths attack and throw objects at our emergency services – and that’s in non-riot situations. Fair to say all is not well, although you’d not think this by the numbers pouring cash into London’s most expensive properties to escape their own nations when the pitch forks become a reality.

        It would be nice to think, as in the USA, that the UK was becoming a police state – yes we have mass surveillance, but the manpower to extinguish multiple riots in numerous cities as witnessed in 1981 no longer exists, mainly due to the army being reduced to 86,000 men and the commissioning of two aircraft carriers without any aircraft (can’t make that one up I’m afraid).

        Perhaps they intend to use Trident, or its replacement, but that would be self defeating for TPTB, but a wonderful victory for all those opposed to a corrupt Westminster and rotten-to-the core City of London.

    2. RBHoughton

      Nice to hear from you Christopher. I have enjoyed some of your previous comments here and elsewhere – we seem to have similar views.

      The bunker mentality does extend further than the Barclays but apart from the remote and rich denizens of a few Scottish islands the super wealthy Brit seems to prefer the Caribbean and Aegean Seas.

      I do hope the earlier comments on this article were ‘tongue in cheek.’ We should know that violent revolution does no-one any favours. If we wish to change government policies and government ignores us we call a convention of representatives of each county (state in USA) and agree the way ahead. It seems clear to me that there are actually only two things we need to assure ourselves of a level playing field and restore joy to our lives – firstly, we need law that reflects the feelings of the heart (the entire complex code should be thrown away and replaced with a one page law that everyone knows and understands); secondly we need a new institution to preserve democracy by monitoring and controlling the representatives. I have written a brief paper on the subject if anyone is interested.

      The way ahead is not guns and guillotines – that will be a failure for us all – and it may not be Napoleon or Lenin arising out of the wreck of society this time around but some less capable and unskillful fellow whom we can hardly remove.

      1. Christopher D. Rogers

        @RB Noughton,

        Many thanks for your generous words, and yes I’d neglected the fact that many of our rich and famous have bolt holes in sunnier climes, Richard Branson being the classic example – although for all their digital wealth/gold t’is a shame they cannot eat it.

        The fact remains though that London is perceived as a safe getaway for oligarchs, tyrants and thieves, something to do with being the money laundering centre par excellence for the ruling elite and expensive housing is a damn fine washing machine. However, and despite the best efforts of London councils to ship out the poor and unwashed, London remains a melting pot, as vividly illustrated in 2011.

        The irony, and one that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that our government of the wealthy for the wealthy in the UK at least blindly ignore all the carnage they have created around and actually cutting frontline police officers, rather than purchasing loyalty with high pay and secure jobs, which is what Thatcher done with great success particularly during the miners strike – the massed police ranks being notable for not being of a local-composition.

        Again, given these facts, our own masters remind me of those fools living in the “gilded cage” of Louis XVI, oblivious to the charged atmosphere around them, happy flaunting their extreme wealth and oblivious to the carnage they themselves sponsor – obviously with the odd outpouring at Davos: Bless them.

        As for getting any change out of our masters, I think we can forget this, at least as far as our three legacy political parties goes. The Scottish vote in September nearly upset the apple cart, and if held today would result in a resounding “YES” given how fast our masters in London broke all promises, no DEVO-Max I’m afraid.

        As a member of the Green Party, I prefer democratic univalent change, however, should our Government ever decide to deploy water canon, tear gas and plastic bullets on the UK mainland I’m afraid such compassion would be thrown to the winds, for the fact remains I’d rather die fighting than cower down to these buggers, which is something I believe they don’t actually understand themselves being cowards.

        1. vidimi

          i’m not convinced that a scottish referendum today would result in a resounding yes. low oil prices as far as the eye can see would be quite demotivating in their own way.

      2. vidimi

        “We should know that violent revolution does no-one any favours.”

        i disagree with this sentiment. after painful periods of varying degrees of length, the peasants of france, russia, china, cuba, and just about anywhere there has been a violent revolution have become better off. furthermore, these revolutions made peasants considerably better off – without the bloodshed of revolutionary countries – in other countries, especially european monarchies, as the fear of contagion inspired them to concede significant reforms in working conditions and rights.

  5. Moneta

    What can we expect when a large percentage of the 1% think they are middle class? Delusion and lack of cohesion and preparedness on their part. That has been one of the rare elements that has been giving me hope.

    1. Lambert Strether

      More importantly, what can we expect when a large proportion of the working class thinks they’re middle class? This is changing, of course, with permanently high disemployment, the crapification of both jobs, goods, and services, including government services.

      I read one definition of middle class (a horribly fuzzy concept best never used) — the belief that you can make your children’s lives better than your own. Obviously, for many, that option is being rapidly and quite visibly closed off. Obama’s ludicrously inadequate and insulting offer of community college, instead of a real university education — still out there! — is just one example of this.

      1. bruno marr

        The community college in my city provides tuition/fee reduction to 60% of enrolled students (10% of student body is out-of-state and gets no such freebie). Books and housing/transportation/food costs are easily 80% of the annual sum paid per school year (60% of student body have parental residence in another County). So much for “free” community college.

        The community college in my city was awarded “Top Community College in Nation” by the Aspen Institute in 2013. The college has 60% of academic staff as Adjuncts. Yet tenured staff tout the “world class” education their students are receiving for “cheap”. It’s all fantasy.

    2. AQ

      I don’t think they’re wrong. There’s a vast gulf between the top 0.01% and the rest of the 1%. I’m with Lambert’s post on Corrente (sorry, too lazy to find last week’s link). If you are in the top 20% (minus the 0.01%) then you are middle class (and the gatekeepers my label). If you are below that, you are delusional and only think that the pundits, congress, the president, etc. are talking about you.

      I’d really like the middle class term to disappear because I think it divides the working class too much.

      1. James Levy

        Middle Class was a viable term when it represented those between the land-owning elite and the laboring masses. A doctor, a lawyer, a university professor, or an early factory owner were socially, politically, and economically in the middle between easily defined groups–those that owned the country and those that worked with their hands. It was the introduction of a salaried managerial class (and then post-WWII a unionized “labor aristocracy”) that muddied the water.

  6. Rolf

    Increasing taxation — of any kind — will not solve our problems. The government will take the money and simply throw it away on their pet projects, just as they usually do. As it stands very little money is being invested in our infrastructure: our roads, bridges, water supplies. The U.S. is falling apart, but the government’s main concern seems to be shoring up the big banks, the oil industry, and the usual crew of fat cats. Out of fear the government (not the people themselves) is passing more and more laws, criminalizing an unbelievable range of conduct and instituting punishments that truly are Draconian and primarily impact the “have-nots.” There will, of course, be a day of reckoning but it doesn’t have to be brutal or violent.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending (so the government doesn’t “take the money” and “throw it away”).

      That said, the reasons for a steeply progressive tax rate are IMNSHO (a) to prevent the development of an aristocracy of inherited wealth; (b) to prevent the 1% from buying the government with their loose cash; and (c) for the mental and spiritual health of the children of the 1%, themselves.

      1. Pokey

        Two out of three reasons are important. The third is not. Their wealth will help them overcome its handicap. Heavy tax on wealth and income might make the super wealthy stakeholders in this society rather than parasites.

        1. Park Nihrs

          It makes them sequester family wealth in foundations, so the kids have decent jobs. And some of the jobs are decent. Sure, they fund trouble in Latin America, SE Asia and other places (Ford) but they also fund malaria research and many of the US’ Schools of Public Health (Rockefeller)

  7. EoinW

    It appears to be coming together for them very nicely. The NeoCons have their bunkers ready to survive the nuclear winter after the first strike against Russia(and China?). It’s not exactly a space station but it’s still their Moonraker solution to the 99% problem. You think James Bond or Her Majesty’s Secret Service will save us?

  8. casino implosion

    There’s a worldwide, grassroots proto-fascist revival going on right now, so I can see why Soros (the INET backer) is concerned about the breakdown of neoliberalism if he has his ear to the ground. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in breakfast meetings with the types of quango jockeys, academics, journalists and Wall Street intel operatives who move in that world and it ain’t communism they’re worried about.

      1. Propertius

        I believe that’s “Fascism with a human face” (pace Dubček), for those of us who remember the Prague Spring.

      2. jrs

        Neoliberalism isn’t widely understood in an American context because it really doesn’t lend itself to being so. It has absolutely nothing to do with 20th century American liberalism, not even the kind mocked by Phil Ocs, which is basically some moderate degree of social democracy or welfare statism. While neoconservatives actually were a subset of conservatives, and while neo-fascists are … uh actually pretty irrelevant these days with so much fascism with no need for qualifiers on the rise, neoliberalism never was liberalism except in a 19th century sense.

    1. sd

      Well, there is that. Alas, another stands ready to step into place so it’s really not a viable solution.

    2. OIFVet

      Impoverish the bankers. It will hurt them a lot more. Make them do manual labor, make them live lives of subsistence. Justify it by pointing out that “austerity is shared sacrifice”. Their cries of anguish will be sweet music to your ears.

      1. inode_buddha

        Nah, I could never do that… instead, I’ll invite them to live *just like me*. And then they too can experience the full effects of their policies. You know, accepting consequences for their actions and being all responsible just like the MSM likes to talk about.

      2. ambrit

        Just like the Cultural Revolution in China. That event proved to me that not only was Mao a real revolutionary, but that he was muddling along with the Chinese experiment too. (Trying to jump straight from a Peasant Society to the Socialist Utopia in one generation was the longest of long shots.)

    3. Demeter

      Kill the banks. Make banking a National Utility and socialize the profits.

      Let the bankers retrain for something productive: changing diapers, or washing laundry by hand.

  9. James Levy

    China is extremely vulnerable to a disarming first strike and probably at a threshold below that which would induce a nuclear winter. Russia still has enough hardware spread out in enough places that knocking out their retaliatory capability would almost certainly call for more than the magic 330 megatons that seems to be the threshold for guaranteeing a nuclear winter that would destroy the Northern Hemisphere. Those at least where the best numbers I could get back when I was in grad school and wrote a paper on the subject. I’m sure US cyber-warfare capabilities would make it a bit easier to screw up Russian command, control, and communications systems, but anyone who would bank on that would be Dr. Strangelove crazy.

    1. ambrit

      If Peter Sellers did indeed base the character of Dr. Strangelove on some real people in politics at that time, then that bank is still in business.

  10. Demeter

    So, the Davos people are getting concerned….were they concerned about other people’s poverty, the sick and starving, uneducated children, the unemployed, or even the middle class? Were they concerned about Bush’s wars, Reagan’s wars, Obama’s wars, Bibi’s warmaking, Ukraine?

    No, they are only concerned with their own necks.

    The end is written already. Inheritance taxes aren’t going to fix a problem that started (its latest round) right after WWII: the abuse and neglect of the world’s 99% and the destruction of self-determination, including the rule of law and any partial democracy.

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Hasta luego, baby!

  11. Blackjack

    Ammosexuals… I love it. Best description yet. The super-wealthy needn’t worry about pitch forks in their future because they have ISIS in their present. THAT is the new Ebola. A virus with shoes (sorry Bill…). Primitive, unstoppable, lethal. We change or we die.

  12. susan the other

    We have a brief window of opportunity to save the planet. All our current infrastructure, oil based, will have to be used to build a new sustainable infrastructure. So everyone with a stake in the current economies of the world are SOL, including the 1%. If you were designing the least damaging transition what would you do first? Well, I’d get control of oil and make sure it got used to build what we will need. Then I’d get control of money and make sure it didn’t get invested in really stupid shit; that it only got used for things that we must do because we have no choice. Then I’d gradually let all the people know that we were already booming and in a new green economy and make it sound as hopeful as possible. If people get on board it will be much easier to accomplish our own salvation. Back when the west was won, in the early days of small agriculture, they used to send out extension agents to teach the small farmers best practices. We need a new set of environmental extension agents to go door to door and help us all adapt. We need the government to find the courage to tell us the truth and to create programs that will turn this mess around. And we need a little comraderie, comrads.

  13. craazyman

    What if you only have $900 million dollars?

    You won’t get much sympathy from the billionaires, who’ll smugly denigrate you with a cold shoulder. They certainly won’t give you a seat in their Mars-bound spacecraft. You probably couldn’t even get a table at the New Yawk restaurants they frequent — unless it was in the kitchen between lunch and dinner. If you called to make reservations they’d say “Who? Who?” Then after you tel them there’d be silence and they’d say “I’m sorry, we’re all booked. But you can try again in a few months.”

    You also won’t get sympathy from the 99%. They think $900 million is a lot of money. It’s almost embarrasing to you, how naive they are. But how can you explain? It’s like trying to tell your dog that their food in the bowl comes from a grocery store. They just look at you and the bowl, back and forth. It’s hopeless.

    The best thing to do, if you only have $900 million, is to rent an apartment somewhere and pretend you’re poor. You could get a 2 bedroom in Queens for $1500 a month. You’d be close to subways, busses and reasonably price ethnic restaurants. You could meet some artist types and maybe take up painting or photography. you could write poetry. Since you secretly have $900 million you don’t have to work, so you could sit in a cafe all afternoon talking with intellectuals and waitresses about guys like Doestoyevsky — then you could go home and take a nap. The next day you’d have to think of something else to talk about. You’d have to read alot just to keep up. Eventually you’d consider this a job, all by itself. There wouldn’t be any more time to worry about your money. You’d have to put it in an index fund wtih Charles Schwab and forget about it. It might even be a relief, after a while, not to worry about it. You might even reach a point where you wonder why anybody needs $900 million dollars. You’d look at the billionaires with scorn and derision, and you’d be glad as hell there wasn’t a seat for you on that Mars spaceship. You’re having too much fun at the cafe in the afternoon! Sitting there with all those billionaires for 2 months in space? no thanks. What a relief i is to find youself, even later in life. It’s better late than never.

    1. craazyboy

      Really. At only $900 million, do you know how many people are ahead of you to get on the Forbes 400 list? (I don’t – that was just a rhetorical question.)

      BTW: Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl? I can’t make up my mind. Geographically, I should go with Seattle instead of a snobby Bostonian team. Then again, it’s hard not to be a Brady fan. On the third hand, it is fun to watch Lynch drag the entire defense along with him as he goes powering down the field. Maybe I’ll just get a sixpack and cheer whenever I feel like it. That sounds like a plan.

      1. craazyman

        I’ve decided to show my solidarity with the 99% and root for the team with the lowest payroll.

        I’m just not sure which one that is. It occurred to me it might be the one with the richest owner, That seems counterproductive, so I need to be careful. I’ll root, but I’ll do it gently just in case it turns out to be the wrong team — either because the players are overpaid or because the owner has too much money.

        Maybe its best not to root for either team, and then spend a few days on research to determine which was the most root-worthy. You can be glad in hindsight if the right team won. If the wrong team won, you can be glad you did’t root too hard for them.

        1. craazyboy

          I knew I would get some careful analysis of the issue.

          BTW: I settled on Newcastle Brown Ale. Pretty good stuff, for store bought.

          1. craazyboy

            Wow! It’s halftime in AZ. What a game!!!

            The only thing taking a serious pounding is my sixpack.

  14. MartyH

    Good to see Lambert so engaged.

    The problem is that to cede violence to the extremist right and adopt the non-violence (anti-violence) stance is to promote an alliance between the naturally reactionary forces of power (government and the large private institutions) and those extremists. Cliven Bundy’s irregulars were given respect by the government and the police, unlike non-violent, unarmed Occupy. With the NYPD arming a unit with military-grade automatic weapons, who should we call AmmoSexuals?

    I am afraid the real lesson of Germany in the 1930s has been lost on those who value human dignity, democracy, and the greater good. UltraNationalism is a very real problem here as in other countries.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’m a pragmatist. I promote strategic (not Ghandian) non-violence, in current circumstances, because I think the odds of winning are better. I also don’t see a reason to promote what amounts to warlord-ism, even by “the good guys” (“Of all the works of Sauron, the only fair.”)

        I don’t see any point in relitigating the rise of the Nazis. Presumably, the people on the ground at that time made the best judgment they could, in appalling circumstances. If your argument is that’s not so — that there was a victory to be had against the Nazis, and their backers, using violence — then the onus is on you to provide a plausible scenario. That wasn’t the case in 1919, when the Social Democrats combined with ex-military to slaughter the Spartacists. Is there a reason to think that victory was there to be had in the 30s?

        As for Bundy, so what? That Occupy required a 17-city paramilitary crackdown shows that the powers that be regarded Occupy as a real threat, and the Bundyists as a minor distraction.

        So I guess I’d like to see violence advocates explain: (1) how they plan to sort out the agent provocateurs, who often advocate violence and supply the means for it, (2) how they plan to deal with the PR disasters when the black-clad wankers (for example) smash Whole Foods doors to quaff champagne, or (for that matter) local coffee shops, but most importantly (3) how they plan to deal with the “same as the old boss” problem, where those who are most adept at violence rise to the top of a movement optimized for violence, as we would expect them to do, and you end up with a new Czar in the form Lenin or Stalin. While they’re at it, they might explain what the heck happened with the Weathermen, back in the day, who were also hapless violent romantics and whose model poisoned the left for at least a generation.

        1. vidimi

          sure, strategic non-violence is better than ad-hoc violence, or violence aimed at targets selected by state agents provocateurs, but strategic violence has been effective in the past. e.g. separating louis 16 from his head.

          1. hunkerdown

            Also, the attacks against the domiciles of the rich and arrogant in the 1910s in the US might qualify (and the poor widdle babies in high-tickee Atherton are scared of a tagger). They were so effective that Wilson had to drag the nation into a war to counter the momentum… oh.

  15. craazyman

    All this reminds me of the black revolutionary poet Tyrone Green from a few decades back.

    He made some “spoken word” videos, which were banned by The Society for the Protection of White People (SPWP). Very few white people even know of Tyrone Green.

    But here he is, alive on Youtube, for now anyway — unless the SPWP takes these videos down that is.

  16. Roland

    Just because you want to be armed doesn’t mean you want to start a civil war.

    Take a look at Syria. Civil war sucks. You’d have to be an idiot to want to start one.

    So I just don’t understand why Lambert mocks gun owners for not having started a civil war yet.

    It’s a real dilemma: is the situation so bad that US gun owners should start a civil war? On the other hand, if they wait for things to get that bad, at that point will they still be able to start a civil war when they need to?

    But if you’re not armed, it won’t matter whether you want a civil war or not. That choice gets left to the people who are armed. The unarmed are just refugees or collateral damage.

    1. Propertius

      You can’t really choose nonviolence unless you have the capacity for violence in the first place. If you don’t, you’re not “nonviolent”, you’re “a victim”.

      1. James Levy

        Gee, Gandhi and King would be really surprised by that assertion. Perhaps you might rethink it.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I agree with those sentiments, but times are different now. We have elites that have conditioned the public to think that torture and violence against their own citizens is OK. Look at the movies AND TV.

          Gandhi and King did not face police that had paramilitary toys and are perfectly willing to use nasties like sound cannons and tanks to disperse crowds. Now many marchers in smaller groups suffered beatings, but even the the police then were cowed by a big enough turnout. No longer.

          The NYPD police now are getting machine guns to use at peaceful protests:

          And they also have flashbang grenades:

          Plus police are now much more aggressive about not allowing people to assemble at all. In NYC, the protests against the Iraq war were to be held at the UN Plaza. There’s no subway access anywhere near. The police erected barricades at Second Avenue, and had dogs and horses as well as men. They simply shunted the crowd, which I was told was 100,000 people (I suspect the estimate is high but even 20,000 would be a big turnout on a bitterly cold winter day) into Harlem.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I think the elite want violence. I think they’re aching for it. They’re good at it, and they think it’s fun. I don’t see a reason to fall in with their desires out of the romantic notions I often see on this topic.

            * * *

            I think there is a powerful picture that holds us captive: That one day the people of Paris took the Bastille, and put some heads on pikes, and boom! Violence carries the day, let us go and do likewise.

            In fact, a generation’s worth of dysfunction by the ancien regime, efforts at reform, politics just as complex and churning as our own, Bourbon incompetence, chance, and many other factors all combined.

            We picture the important part of “The Great Fear” was breaking into some chateaux and smashing the chandeliers and ripping the brocade; the Wikipedia entry actually presents the idea that ergot was to blame; only hallucinating peasants would do such things!

            I’d argue that given the givens, the Great Fear was actually pretty cold-blooded, and that what really slammed the door on the ancien regime was the destruction of the land records, something probably not inspired by ergot. There was no way to extract the rents when there were no records!

            1. ambrit

              Interesting point about the records. However, today, with MERS, something similar is going on, but the elites are finessing it into another rent extraction method. How? By assuming the right to possess, ex nihilo. Create new “documents” and carry on as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Then, convince the ‘civil authorities’ to go along and enforce the “new” rights. Voila! A Neo Nouvelle Regime!
              The other powerful picture keeping us captive is the one of the State Security aggressively breaking up the Occupy protest sites, and suffering no repercussions for their unnecessarily brutal manner of doing so.
              All of my reading of history doesn’t give much hope. The patterns are there, the variations alone are different. Too many would be revolutionaries forget that Napoleon was a direct outgrowth of the French Revolution.

        2. Ned Ludd

          Black rallies in the county were often protected by armed guards sometimes affiliated with the Louisiana-based Deacons for Defense and Justice” […]

          Nearly all the black organizers working in the deep South were armed. […]

          In 1965, James Farmer, the director of CORE, a truly dedicated pacifist, told a group of us at a mass meeting, “I am completely non-violent but I want to thank our brothers from the Deacons for Defense (who were both standing guard and yes, getting a standing ovation from the organizers) whose arms allow me to be non-violent.”

          At the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr., himself, was not an adherent of non-violence.

          When white harassment and violence was targeted against the [Montgomery] protest leaders and their homes, King and his closest colleague, Ralph Abernathy, decided to take up side arms… Accompanied by a third minister, King and Abernathy visited the county sheriff’s office to request pistol permits, but the applications were denied… “What we would like to have, is to have you issue a permit to keep a gun in my car.” The governor responded that he would have to discuss that with the Montgomery County sheriff, and King’s group departed. […]

          Several weeks later, as representatives of several pacifist political organizations arrived in Montgomery to speak with King and other boycott leaders, one of the representatives, Bayard Rustin, along with a journalist friend, William Worthy, visited King’s home. Rustin took a seat on a couch and Worthy started to sit in an armchair. Rustin looked over and saw a pistol on the seat. “Watch out, Bill, there’s a gun in that chair.” Worthy put the pistol aside, and when King came in, Rustin queried him about the presence of the gun. The movement intended to harm no one unless violently attacked, King explained. – The Intellectual Development of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Influences and Commentaries by David J. Garrow, pages 10-11

          Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dedication to non-violence grew under the influence of Glenn Smiley, a Fellowship of Reconciliation staff member, and Bayard Rustin.

          Ultimately, he never embraced the complete pacifism of A.J. Muste; later, in the Black Power years, King made a distinction between people using guns to defend themselves in the home and the question of “whether it was tactically wise to use a gun while participating in an organized protest.” But, for himself, King claimed nonviolence as a “way of life,” and he maintained his resolve under conditions that would make many others falter.

          King, despite his commitment to nonviolence as a way of life, was later assassinated by an adversary (or adversaries) who had no such principles. King and Gandhi, both nonviolent, were both murdered.

          1. Lambert Strether

            King made a courageous and IMNSHO correct strategic decision. Sadly, it didn’t save his life. I don’t know why violence advocates can’t see the distinction between strategic decisions and personal safety.

            1. ambrit

              Probably because they are afraid to die. Visionaries like King and Gandhi seem to have some internal ability to accept the vagaries of Fate without flinching.

          2. James Levy

            You are not at this time, or any time I can foresee, going to win a contest of armed strength with the State. The last thing you want to do is turn the cops and the army against you. It is winning them over that wins the revolution, or their dissolution because there is no money to pay them or they no longer have the will to turn their guns on the people. If you take a cold, hard look at the cops today, they do not suffer from either condition. They are ready, willing, and very able to enforce the status quo

  17. Blurtman

    When an entity lends Greece money, how does it happen? Keystrokes at the lender turn into digital credits in Greece? It is all make believe, isn’t it?

  18. Cpt Obvious

    Why are these people rushing to their own destruction???? Do they really think doing “God’s work” is a good excuse?

    Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
    Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
    If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
    There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
    [Take a look around ya boy, it’s bound to scare ya boy]

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again, my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve
    of destruction.

    Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
    I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
    I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
    Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
    And marches alone can’t bring integration
    When human respect is disintegratin’
    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again, my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve
    of destruction.

  19. Oregoncharles

    Plutocrats’ fear has been driving public policy for some time now, especially under obama. It’s the reason for the militarization and increasing impunity of the police and for the various attacks on civil liberties, such as jailing journalists (Barrett Brown), to say nothing of Obama’s claim to the power to assassinate people at will from the sky. The elite are in a good position to know how they’re ripping everybody off, so they expect resistance; Johnson is saying they don’t know how to stop. That would have made a good topic at Davos, wouldn’t it?

    I wish they were right about that resistance, but I see no sign of it. I’m very much afraid we’ll shoot right past the possibility of political resistance – the Greeks are a model to us all – into “pitchforks and guillotines,” and wind up like Syria or Libya. The best thing we can say for politics is that they’re an alternative to violence.

    Judging by the long discussion about weapons in the comments, I’m not the only one thinking about this. We live in a heavily armed population, but the Left is mostly dis-armed. Personally, I learned to shoot in college but haven’t touched a firearm since. One strong argument against “revolution” is that the Right has most of the guns, to say nothing of the army.

    When do we see ELECTORAL resistance? I wish I knew. Probably when things get bad enough. If we get the chance then. Remember, the plutocrats have a lot to lose.

  20. Oneaboveall

    I stole this from another site, but I think it applies here:

    Rich guy builds house, hires armed guard for $50,000 p.a. SHTF, rich guy flies to doomstead, settles into a life of Dom Pérignon. Armed guard shoots rich guy in head and settles into a life of Dom Pérignon.
    So as long as society is stable this works and is unnecessary. If the social order breaks down the preparation becomes worthwhile but then you have to do it all yourself. How good a shot is Rex Tillerson? Can the Waltons stay on 24 hour rotating watches?
    I really can’t see how this would work.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I would just give them useful work to do. For a Master of the Universe, that would be the most terrible violation imaginable, worse than jail. And some useful work might be done. Heck, some of them might even become reformed characters.

  21. Jack

    The guns they own are just another form of security blanket or currency, just like the rich and their coffers full of money. Only now the currency of the rich has value because of what we call a “civil” state exists. The gun lovers fantasize about “revolution” because then their currency would have value and the rich folks’ currency would not. It’s simple basic human need for security and a reflex against marginalization and irrelevance. Of course they don’t really want revolution because they on some level know that would be worse. However, it gives them something to think about and foment with their friends about. It’s about tribalism as much as it is about inequality. Unfortunately neither the 1% or the gun lovers are taking things to the logical conclusion. They’ve separated the idea and their ideals from reality.

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