It’s cleansing when it floods someone else’s house

It’s an old, old saying I know but it has a lot of truth to it: “minor” surgery means they operate on someone else. Likewise, floods are cleansing when they flood someone else’s house.

When elites talk about the beauty of pain and sacrifice, they mean someone else’s pain and sacrifice. They may think they mean their own, but no non-sociopath thinks that a 5% marginal rate increase on a 500K salary (and I’m probably underestimating the salary and overestimating the rate increase) constitutes pain or sacrifice.

I know we say this over and over and over again here, but one of the central truths of contemporary American politics it that media and political elites view the rest of us as pawns or worse in some insane morality play that goes on in their beautiful minds. Unfortunately when they start wars or cut spending in (very serious) jest, the rest of the country dies and loses jobs in earnest.

When they talk about humiliating and impoverishing millions of Americans, that’s serious and civil. But if one of us suggests that it would be better if Mike Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon were scared about the repercussions of shoving the peasants’ nose in the dirt too long, we are unserious nihilists.

33 replies
  1. 1
    Mike in NC says:

    I know we say this over and over and over again here, but one of the central truths of contemporary American politics it that media and political elites view the rest of us as pawns or worse in some insane morality play that goes on in their beautiful minds.

    To the Masters of the Universe, and their many apologists, we are merely pond scum. Right, Newt?

  2. 2
    Jenny says:

    Shorter Kapò Bobo: “Arbeit Macht Frei”

  3. 3
    DonkeyKong says:

    We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!

  4. 4
    Step2 says:

    We are definitely worse than pawns. Pawns at least have the limited ability to capture bigger pieces. That can never happen in Galtcraft: mercenary edition.

  5. 5
    sfinny says:

    But what gets me is that my boss, my co-workers, are completely pro-republican and anti-Obama. It is not that they can’t do the math, they deny the math. Doesn’t exist. Doesn’t matter. And I am the strange one for even entertaining liberal or democratic policies.

  6. 6
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    Fundamentally, people like Brooks and his ilk despise most Americans. He doesn’t want us to suffer because it will make us stronger or any such bullshit. He wants us to suffer because it puts a smile on his face.

    If the lower classes aren’t suffering, if they aren’t deprived, if they aren’t shuffling about in rags, then what makes Brooks better than them? If the middle and working classes are comfortable, then what’s the point of being rich?

    I’m convinced that this is what motivates the MoU. They can’t really get richer or more powerful, but they can sure make us poorer and weaker.

  7. 7
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Step2: Pawns can also become Queens with hard work, a bit of help, and some luck.

    That will not do.

  8. 8
    4jkb4ia says:

    The link is to Reason but David Brooks supported TARP, or at least was willing to say that the House was nihilistic for voting it down. This doesn’t mean so much “He supported giving our money to bankers” but rather that he was not in favor of a great liquidating financial flood at the time.

  9. 9
    Suffern ACE says:

    Geez. It’s bad enough when the FPers stamp on each other’s thread with the same topic. But their own thread?

  10. 10
    AA+ Bonds says:

    What fascinates me is that once upon a time these people had serious economists behind them but now they’ve floated free from the entire economic discipline and off into the current to a magical island where deficit spending destroys jobs instead of creating them.

    David Brooks, Mike Bloomberg, and the rest are now far to the right of Greg Mankiw. They’re white shamans, wealthy witch doctors, unable to reason and without the will to do so, and their prescription for our ailments is to kill ourselves and hope reincarnation works out in our favor.

  11. 11
    gnomedad says:

    Getting housecleaning ads on this thread.

  12. 12
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    All of this is 100% correct and I thank you for posting it.

  13. 13
    Bill H. says:

    It’s an old, old saying I know but it has a lot of truth to it: “minor” surgery means they operate someone else.

    Or, of course, if you are the surgeon.

  14. 14
    AA+ Bonds says:

    It’s a sad day when we all become nostalgic for the sort of rich white New Yorkers who thought, Good Heavens, we must do something to help all these starving ignorants and coloreds and so on

  15. 15
    mclaren says:

    The way things are going, if you keep putting tags like “We are all Bader-Meinhoff now” on your posts, pretty soon you’re going to vanish with a black bag over your head and wake up on an unregistered Lear jet flight to a black prison where American soldiers will introduce you to the joys of electrical equipment.

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    @sfinny:

    I sympathize. “There is none more deaf that he who will not hear.” And conservatives are rich material for that kind of stupid. Education doesn’t help in the least either.

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    If the lower classes aren’t suffering, if they aren’t deprived, if they aren’t shuffling about in rags, then what makes Brooks better than them? If the middle and working classes are comfortable, then what’s the point of being rich?

    I think this nails it.

    Especially since even a cursory glance at the 1950s reveals that they’d still be incredibly rich and powerful in a progressive economic system. But in their twisted worldview, comfort isn’t really worth having if everyone else can have it too.

  17. 17
    4jkb4ia says:

    a) Where Brooks was going, the “cleansing flood” was meant to make the voters disgusted with all of them and their stale dogmas and kick them all out. So it did affect people in power.

    b) Brooks is trying to be bipartisan and failing. The average Republican voter may not believe in Norquist and his pledge. But the average Democratic voter would like to see Social Security and Medicare preserved.

    c) A great disaster of that sort will get people to swallow their pride and ask government to help them. It is not the kind of Hamiltonian policy Brooks likes to talk up because there would appear to be no future. IIRC Brooks has never talked about HAMP and how it has failed–a program where people expected government to help them.

  18. 18
    slag says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    A great disaster of that sort will get people to swallow their pride and ask government to help them.

    Are you suggesting that Brooks ask Katrina victims what they think of brutal, cleansing floods?

  19. 19
    4jkb4ia says:

    @slag:

    No, I was thinking of the Depression. Katrina isn’t big enough–the victims essentially want to have homes again. Another financial crisis would stun or destroy a great portion of the whole economy.

  20. 20
    AA+ Bonds says:

    BROOKS TO COUNTRY: DROP DEAD

  21. 21
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @4jkb4ia: I think the technical term for that in economics is A Real Rain.

  22. 22
    Kristine says:

    @sfinny: Some of my co-workers are the same way. Show them the data–doesn’t matter. Like pounding sand down a rathole.

  23. 23
    Luthe says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    BROOKS TO COUNTRY: DROP DEAD

    COUNTRY TO BROOKS: YOU FIRST

  24. 24
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Luthe:

    LOL.

  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    Executing Brooks is just like pulling weeds. Only more enjoyable from our perspective.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    What fascinates me is that once upon a time these people had serious economists behind them but now they’ve floated free from the entire economic discipline and off into the current to a magical island where deficit spending destroys jobs instead of creating them.

    Once upon a time they tended to realize that they would be first on the chopping block if things got out of hand.
    Now like all lessons of history, the only way they’ll understand is to experience it firsthand.

  27. 27
    JoeShabadoo says:

    Poor man wanna be rich,
    rich man wanna be king
    and the king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything
    -Bruce Springsteen

    Truer words have never been sung.

    The only thing I’m trying to figure out is if these assholes are rich men or if they are already kings.

  28. 28
    JoeShabadoo says:

    @JoeShabadoo: Key point that a lot of people don’t seem to get: Money is only the first part. After that it is all gaining power and control. After someone makes a certain amount the only real reason to continue is for the power.

    When you see administrators and mayors sick the cops on people it is because their power is threatened. They enjoy the power they wield. When a tent is set up on her campus the administrator looks like she doesn’t have control anymore. When citizens set up tents in your public park you need to get them out. It’s not good enough to wait for winter, what kind of message would it show if you didn’t have the power to do anything? Bloomberg is a billionaire who managed get out of term limit laws. How dare a bunch of hippies make him look like he can’t do anything.

  29. 29
    Linda says:

    Brook’s supposition that “the people” don’t back either position is based on how they self-identify as “liberals” or “conservatives.” In truth, if you ask people about specific policies–should we raise taxes on the rich, or cut entitlements–they back Democratic Party policy. So the people who are digging in their heels the hardest, the Republican Party, do so with the backing of a tiny minority, whereas the Democrats are trying to keep the majority from having their viewpoint entirely shut out of government policy. So, everybody is equally at fault.

    I wake up every day and wish somebody would pay me six figures a year to be such a major dumbass. Then, I have to put on my shoes and be competent anyway.

  30. 30
    RSA says:

    Brooks likes the idea of a brutal, cleansing flood because he thinks he’s already got a stateroom reserved on the ark.

  31. 31

    […] emphasis. I’ll leave the flood imagery to others to analyze. […]

  32. 32
    Roy G. says:

    Brooks is to American Society what the Banksters are to Free Market Capitalism: they preen and wave the flag and spout the rhetoric, but the reality is that they are Welfare Kings, who are kept afloat by artificial means.

  33. 33
    Nathanael says:

    @JoeShabadoo: Already kings, but here’s the thing: they’re incompetent kings.

    I spent enough time studying history to understand that for competent kings, it’s all about maintaining and nurturing your powerbase, which includes keeping the proles happy. Emperor Augustus bragged about how many people he gave welfare rations to. You can abuse minorities or foreigners, but start failing to feed and employ large numbers of the locals, and your power is not stable any more.

    Kings who openly brag about hurting their people don’t last very long. That’s what makes this particular period so extraordinary; we have kleptocrats who want MORE AND MORE AND MORE power to the point where they have lost any realization that their power depends on the consent of the people. They actually seem to think their power is God-given and will never go away. That *never* works out well.

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