Meanness

Hob Nail Boots
Fascism is colonialism aimed inward.

Colonialism always was an obscenity with high ideals. Still is. Following principles which insisted that trade would necessarily benefit all parties, the more powerful parties enforced this theory to the eventual ruin of their trading partners. The United States, once a group of separate colonies itself, long resisted the urge to international dominion championed by their former overseers, though it seemed less squeamish when inflicting the same barbarism upon its own inhabitants, particularly those who were steadfastly denied citizenship regardless of their obvious presence. The South, in particular, was never the gentile society it imagined rural Britain to have been, but a brutal kleptocracy that would have shamed King Herod, though Herod never published Presbyterian tracts touting slavery as being responsible for introducing Africans to Christ and therefore salvation. The North also created slave classes under the guise of free labor, which was only allowed to be as free as those in power preferred it to be.

The excesses of those times eventually undermined their own viability, opening space for more modern, by which I mean, more compassionate, compacts between The People and their society, though the powerful would persist in characterizing the more compassionate as the more barbaric.
I do not mean to imply that the inherent conflicts ended, for those in power continued to tout the by-then age-old fable of beneficent dominion and those under that thumb continued to complain with their fists as well as with their courts. Battle lines shifted from conflict to conflict with neither constituency gaining permanent advantage. Some reformers pushed so hard that they seemed to encourage reactionary, apparently paradoxical, responses, with laborers siding with their overseers, though rarely the other way around. We ask "What's the matter with Kansas?" for good reason, but like the majority of American colonists who supported the Crown during the revolution, history only later blesses those who contradict those who presently hold the power. Liberation exists first as an aspiration, only later as a birthright.

We have in our history, mostly elected the already powerful, hoping that they might bring a benevolent and generous spirit to their responsibilities. This has not always been the case. I might even suggest that this has only rarely been the case, with Presidents in my lifetime unevenly split between the two, the thumb favoring the fascist side of the scale. Most of the worst, though, managed to benefit almost everyone in some small way, though the worst wildly inflated their beneficence while the best usually underplayed theirs. The great Presidents, though, have more often channeled Washington's widely-reviled stance, that the chief purpose of Presidential power was to willingly forfeit it to the next duly-elected aspirant. Napoleon and all other potentates of his time thought Washington insane, for to them, power was a possession to be jealously guarded and viciously defended. Those who did not possess it were worthy perhaps of pity, but not charity. Charity remained the inheritance of losers. Communion of the sort championed by the world's major religions, fundamentally anti-capitalist. The powerful learned to retain power by mass manufacturing losers; wide-scale disenfranchisement.

Meanness has always accompanied dominion, for one cannot maintain dominion over another without resorting to an iron fist. Even should one manage to hypnotize an unsuspecting populace into believing that they deserve to be dominated, the propaganda stands as a form of violence, deeply disrespecting individual liberty and self-determinism. The thuggish boot need not have hobnail soles, or even be a physical boot, it merely needs to exhibit the ability to sanguinely disqualify individual preference, rendering moot even the aspiration toward self-determinism.

One of the more effective forms of dominion encourages the pursuit of self-defeating ends. Like culturing a baby to prefer candy over more nutritious fare, this tactic engages the baby in championing its own demise. Mindlessly cut taxes. Shamelessly demean someone. Promote self-destructive gun ownership. Encourage that nascent mob lurking within every community. Model shamelessness. Tout your personal wealth as the model of morality. Lie, cheat, and steal as if these were the new standard of ethical engagement. Encourage lesser angels by dangling permission to pervert along with the promise of salvation for those who agree to fall. Smirk in the direction of those you help make less powerful than you.

This sort of meanness seeps into the soul of a society. Some of the inmates become capos, volunteering to perform work not even a self-respecting commandant would agree to perform but nonetheless depends upon. Reward the base, debase them into self-revulsive support. They will not have lost their moral compass, but disabled its ability to inform them by standing in your magnetic field. True North loses its meaning. Personal trajectory itself might become unthinkable, as identity shifts from self-powered to other-driven. The trains will run on time. Perverse symbols of well-being will blossom. Attend to how much more your house it worth, not how much more indebted you are. Revel in how much more status you enjoy, not in how much less your neighbor now has.

Most of all, revile the losers, the ones you insisted upon losing as an extension of your own will to power. The more losers you can create, the more powerful you become and the less powerful you render your only viable opposition. Convince them that you hold their best interests at heart, that trade inevitably benefits everyone involved, that their union is robbing them of their independent livelihood, that those who stand on your neck hold your best interests at heart. The meanness, though, persists, like the beatings continue until morale improves. No, it's not about you. You honestly expected to simply live your life while others insisted that you live for their aggrandizement. From time to time, these excesses undermine their own viability and some space opens for a more modern, by which I mean a more compassionate, society to emerge. We're not there yet, but always trending in that direction.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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