One of the corporate establishment’s favorite tricks for countering dissent is fake populism — dismissing as “class warfare” any critique of genuine privilege while misdirecting the working class’s resentment toward the underclass.
It’s sometimes called “producerism”: An attempt to manufacture a sense of class solidarity between wage workers and their alleged fellow “producers” in the plutocracy, against the parasitic lower orders. See, the banksters, billionaires and cowboy CEOs aren’t to blame for the average person’s economic pain. They’re “producers,” just like us! The culprits are the 47% who “don’t pay any taxes,” an unholy alliance of ACORN, SEIU and single moms on food stamps.
The latest example of this astroturf right-wing populism is the so-called “53%” movement, created by RedState.org founder Erick Erickson, with the help of Josh Trevino of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Their website, the53.tumblr.com, features photos of contributors holding up handwritten statements on the general pattern of Mr. Erickson’s own inaugural post: “I work 3 jobs. I have a house I can’t sell. My family insurance costs are outrageous. But I don’t blame Wall Street. Suck it up, you whiners.”
One contributor, a Marine veteran, writes: “I don’t blame Wall Street because it doesn’t matter what Wall Street or anyone else does. I am responsible for my own destiny. I will succeed or fail because of me and me ALONE.”
This sort of sycophancy is just painful to read. Here are people with multiple jobs and underwater mortgages, struggling to survive while falling all over themselves trying to outdo each other in absolving the Mr. Moneypennys and Daddy Warbuckses of any responsibility for their plight. It’s like watching a dog that keeps crawling back on its belly to lick the boot of the man who’s kicking it.
The worst part of this pathetic movement is that, intellectually speaking, it’s completely incoherent. It’s not derived from any consistent principle that bears looking into. Its participants can’t claim, as a matter of principle, that it’s wrong to resent other people or to blame them for their problems. After all, their very name suggests it’s entirely appropriate to condemn parasitism — namely, that of which the 47% is allegedly guilty. And most of its contributors are the same people who’ve been loudly cheering on the likes of Joe the Plumber who complained the country was going to hell in a handbasket. So it’s OK to blame your problems on THEM — just so long as THEM is the Kenyan Marxist and not the billionaires.
“Know when to bark and when to lick,” as the saying goes. Resentment and moral outrage are entirely righteous when directed downward, but shameful and impious when directed upward against one’s betters. It’s perfectly OK to express resentment against economic injustice — just so long as you blame the poor instead of the rich. It’s like a slave blaming his troubles, not on the master, but on another slave picking cotton too slowly. Utterly contemptible.
You folks in the 53% movement are being played.
You don’t like parasitism? The billionaire banksters and corporate welfare queens who fund your astroturf movement are the biggest parasites in human history. They loot wealth from the genuine producers with a front end loader, while you worry about people scraping up welfare with a teaspoon.
You say you don’t like big government? The corporations are the government. Count the number of people from Goldman-Sachs in the Treasury, from Cargill in the USDA, and from Pfizer in the FDA. Now count the number of welfare moms. Yeah, that’s some “Marxist” in the White House, all right. Schmuck.
The statism involved in food stamps and TANF is barely a rounding error on the statism involved in the privilege of the super-rich. The central function of the state is to enforce the artificial property rights, artificial scarcities, entry barriers, regulatory cartels, and other monopolies from which the privileged rich extract rents. Welfare is just a way of giving back a miniscule fraction of this stolen loot to the poorest of the poor, to prevent politically destabilizing levels of starvation and homelessness. Ever hear the phrase “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel?”
So here’s a message for those of you out there who pride yourselves on licking the spittle of the rich and powerful while you kick those who are down. You think you’ll get a gold star or a pat on the head if you suck up to them enough? If you work hard enough building their pyramids, maybe they’ll make you Pharaoh someday? You really think the folks on Wall Street whose apples you’re polishing admire you as fellow “producers?”
They’re laughing at you.