THE BOILED FROG analogy of politics – the notion we the people are being gradually but deliberately subjugated, so that like a frog in water warmed ever-so-slowly to a boil, we will not be aware of the danger until it is too late to escape – is seemingly anathema to the U.S. Left.
Not once in all the years I have written about politics, roughly from late 1963 until the present, have I heard even one Leftist spokesperson use the boiled-frog comparison to explain the tactical and strategic significance of the ever-increasing restrictions imposed on our political and economic freedom – especially the latter.
Nor is there any widespread recognition the recent culture-war victories – marriage equality and legalized marijuana – are entirely illusory. Neither costs the One Percent a penny. Hence neither does a thing to alter the wage-slavery dynamic that defines capitalism.
Though I support marriage equality, I am equally aware the freedom to marry is meaningless if you can aspire to nothing better than a grueling minimum-wage job, a miserable lifetime of debt slavery and an early death imposed by the lack of adequate health care – the sure fate, regardless of their sexual preferences, that already awaits at least half the families in the United States.
Legalized marijuana in this context becomes merely another opiate by which to numb ourselves against our abject wretchedness, thereby ensuring our masters we are that less likely to rebel.
And yes, the One Percent is indeed that cunning.
But rejection of the boiled-frog analogy leaves the Left without any effective means to describe the gradual imposition of tyranny that has followed, “as the night the day,” the now-undeniable coup of 22 November 1963.
As of now, the most blatant of these tyrannies is the Hobby Lobby decision, which already was becoming the women's equivalent of the Dred Scott decision, as I argued last week. (Scroll down to “Outside Agitation Elsewhere.”)
But now it looks as if Hobby Lobby may be the Dred Scott equivalent for the entire 99 Percent.
“By declaring that “closely held” corporations may hold religious beliefs, the court may have provided businesses with a new tool for crushing workplace unionization drives,” an MSNBC analyst wrote on 15 July. “In addition to declaring themselves exempt from contraception mandates and non-discrimination laws, religious employers may soon be able to argue for an exemption from collective bargaining laws.”
If so, any boss will be able to make such a claim. Not only will it be a giant step toward the One Percent's goal of reducing the U.S. to an officially Christian theocracy. It will also be a huge stride toward fulfillment of what seems to President Barack Obama's primary domestic goal: reducing the entire U.S. Working Class to the inescapable socioeconomic wretchedness that formerly defined only the nation's racial and/or geographic minorities.
What the frog analogy would show us is how these restrictions on our freedom are parts of a relentless, multi-generational, multi-faceted war of subjugation waged against us by the One Percent.
Though traceable to the 19th Century, the war's present form took shape at least as early as 1934 with the so-called Bankers Plot. (Scroll down for my addition of historical facts to the comment thread.) According to the era's Communist Party sources, this was a joint Wall-Street/Nazi-German effort to impose fascism on the United States and make it part of the greater fascist New Order proposed by Hitler.
Had the plotters succeeded, this nation with its vast natural and industrial resources would have become the chief financier and primary supply source for what would have been the Rome/Berlin/Tokyo/Washington D.C. Axis and der Führer's plan for global conquest.
The U.S. plotters, placed above the law by their status as members of the uppermost ranks of the (unacknowledged) capitalist aristocracy, were never punished.
And their descendents are to this day continuing the One Percent effort to impose fascism. This is manifest in the violent suppression of dissent (as in the crushing of the Occupy Movement) and in the wars against organized labor and against the rights of women and minorities. The power of the One Percent – now defined as the right of corporate “personhood” – is used to abolish the rights of all the rest of us. That's why the struggle has now (predictably) morphed into a war against every civil right we the people ever imagined we might have.
But the Left seemingly dare not use the one English phrase that would make all those connections obvious.
The same lack of language – or, more accurately, avoidance of language – illustrates vividly how the One Percent uses wedge issues to perpetuate the powerlessness of the 99 Percent. It also demonstrates how the U.S. Left, weakened by its signature rejection of formal ideology and thus by its lack of analytical ability, often unwittingly serves the very oppressor it seeks to topple.
What then actually prompts the Left to reject the boiled-frog analogy?
I strongly suspect it is misguided political correctness. In my lifetime, the frog likeness was first applied to U.S. politics by the Second Amendment community. That happened at least 38 years ago, even before the membership of the National Rifle Association – in furious and embittered response to the de facto national gun registration imposed by the Gun Control Act of 1968 – elected a revolution-minded board of directors who radically transformed the organization into what it is today.
Founded in 1871, the NRA had been, until the enactment of GCA '68, an avowedly apolitical group of target shooters and firearms experts with close connections to the War Department and its successor the Department of Defense. The academic credibility of its journal, The American Rifleman, had elevated it to the world standard as the definitive source for historical and technical material about firearms.
NRA's primary purpose in those pre-GCA-'68 years was the promotion of rifle marksmanship – a realm in which, until the previously widespread familiarization of youth with firearms was abolished by the ongoing escalation of cleverly fostered anti-gun hysteria – the U.S. led the entire world. But now, in response to the often subtle but nevertheless undeniable Ruling Class effort to impose forcible civilian disarmament – that is, to reduce the 99 Percent to mandatory defenselessness and compulsory pacifism – the NRA has become one of the most powerful advocacy groups in the nation.
It has also, of necessity, become one of the nation's most outspokenly anti-government organizations, in the course of which it has (unfortunately) allowed itself to not only be captured by the Hard Right, but to become a front organization for the Republican Party, also known as the “Grand Old Party” or simply the GOP.
Though the GOP is one of the two U.S. Ruling Class parties, it is the only one that dares speak openly for the racist, sexist, imperialist (and thus definitively fascist) One Percent.
The NRA – though it actively courts women and minorities as members and participants in marksmanship training and shooting sports – has nevertheless by its association with the most reactionary elements in the Republican Party become the favorite hate-object of a huge majority within the U.S. Left.
But this so-called “Left” is actually a pseudo-Left. It is proven so by its anti-intellectuality and rejection of ideology (and the resultant lack of ideological discipline) that fosters its reflexive identification with the oppressor – its petit-bourgeois arrogance and its carefully closeted Ayn-Rand-conditioned selfishness.
Thus it fears an armed Working Class far more than it fears the ever-escalating depredations of the One Percent.
Never mind how the One Percent's coterie of politicians, judges, generals, academics, executives, bureaucrats and police commanders have destroyed the American Dream and are now methodically nullifying the last remnants of the U.S. experiment in representative democracy. The U.S. Left will not use the best phrase in the English language to describe what is being done to us all merely because those words were first uttered in a political context by the people it most despises.
Moreover – and uniquely – the present-day U.S. Left has little or nothing to do with Working-Class consciousness.
Therefore its most intense hatred is not directed at the One Percenters, nor at their obscenely well-recompensed servants in the upper echelons of government and industry, but rather at the (mostly blue-collar) men and women of the 99 Percent who yet own firearms and hold to the right of personal self-defense.
This particularly vicious twist in the class war is amongst the lingering legacies of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In its immediate aftermath, newly inaugurated President Lyndon Baines Johnson – as faithful a servant of the One Percent in 1964 as President Barack Hussein Obama is today – reversed the policies of the murdered President Kennedy and so ballooned a shrinking U.S. involvement in a Vietnamese civil war into a World-War-Two-sized windfall to military-industrial profiteers.
But that wasn't all LBJ gave his masters. The war's biggest bonus to the One Percent was its destruction, forever, of the New Deal coalition, a united front of white-collar and blue-collar interests – revolutionaries and reformists alike – brought together by their demands for socioeconomic relief from the malevolence of capitalism.
The New Deal coalition had (sort of) kept the more obvious forms of institutional fascism out of (most of) the U.S. homeland since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's economic reforms saved U.S. capitalism from the revolution its savagery had nearly provoked. Not only did the New Deal co-opt a looming Communist rebellion – an uprising that, given the aid of the Soviet Union, would undoubtedly have succeeded. It also prevented the civil war – including a second secession by the South – that would have inevitably followed such a revolution.
But only three decades later, the domestic conflict inherent in the Vietnam War – the schism within the 99 Percent between the white-collar and blue-collar classes (and the breathtaking hatred and contempt with which the draft-exempt children of the white-collar elite viewed those of us whose poverty and lack of influence left us no choice but prison or service in the imperial war machine) – killed the New Deal coalition just as surely as the assassins' bullets slew President Kennedy.
Soon afterward, the smirkingly draft-exempt white-collar elite became the snarlingly anti-gun elite, which redefined us no-choice-but-to-soldier blue-collar folk accordingly. We who had been “baby killers” and “war criminals” were now “gun-crazed thugs” instead.
Thus, by the diabolical cunning of the One Percent, was any sort of 99 Percent solidarity rendered forever impossible.
From then on, the Boiled Frog Protocol was the One Percenters' primary method.
It would take the One Percenters a few more decades – and even then they could not be sure of victory until the Soviet Union was destroyed – but the end result would be a USian Empire as thoroughly fascist, inside and out, at home and abroad, as anything the aristocrats' Bankers Plot ancestors might have imagined.
Yet the alleged Left – robbed of appropriate language by its fanatical hatred of firearms owners and all the craven fears and intimations of inadequacy that fuel its loathing – never dares speak of the Boiled Frog.
Meanwhile, as the One Percent slowly turns up the heat, we flounder about ever deeper in ever-hotter water.
* * * * * *
Outside Agitation Elsewhere (In Case You Missed It)
When the Bill Gates division of the New World Order hurled an unprecedented number of workers under the unemployment bus, it seemed a perfect example of capitalism in action, complete with a vicious lesson for those 99 Percenters who reject the historical truth of class warfare and mistakenly assume they and the One Percenters have common interests. Hence my less-than-sympathetic remarks on the comment thread of “Microsoft Announces Largest Layoffs in History, Stocks Rise”:
Nurds and techies are amongst the most fanatical fans of Ayn Rand, whose fictionalizations of Mein Kampf ("My Struggle") formalized capitalism's philosophy of infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue – the emphatic rejection of every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth.
But now so many of these women and men and have been flung out of work – at least 18,000 human beings cast off by Microshaft as if they were nothing more than obsolete software.
Given the relentless savagery of the economy so many of these newly jobless persons hitherto celebrated and served, most likely they will soon discover they have been permanently condemned to minimum-wage slavery.
I wonder if they will then finally begin to recognize the true nature of capitalism – that it is not just moral imbecility, but moral imbecility run amok – and that they who were previously its prideful facilitators are now its abject victims, utterly defenseless against the smirking malevolence of their creditors.
The only sure beneficiaries of these layoffs are the secret police. There is no person on this planet more dangerous than an angry Nurd turned revolutionary – which means the government agents assigned to spy on these newcomers to the Golden Arches slave-pens will soon be collecting unprecedented hours of overtime pay.
* * * * * *
Reader Supported News, which along with Consortium News are my favorite sources for uncensored reporting, uncharacteristically posted a curiously anti-Russian story on the latest Ukraine crisis, a dispatch all the more perplexing for its usually reliable Guardian UK origin. My addition to the comment thread of “Recording Strongly Suggests Russian Separatist Shot Down Malaysian Jet” was therefore notably skeptical:
With the CIA and its neo-Nazi militias running the Ukraine government, this tragedy could have been scripted well in advance, much as the Gulf of Tonkin incident was scripted by President Johnson to justify massive U.S. intervention to support the fascists in Vietnam's civil war.
Therefore what we should fear most is capitalist media turning the shooting down of the airliner into an episode equivalent to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and/or the sinking of the Lusitania – that is, a pretext for escalating the Ukrainian Civil War into an all-out war against Russia – with the U.S. commanding the action exactly as in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the truly pivotal question – why was a civilian airliner flying in the midst of a war zone – remains not just unanswered, but shamefully unasked.
Such is capitalist media, of which Josef Goebbels would be justifiably proud.
* * * * * *
Late last night, in one of those geriatric moments of brutally honest self-evaluation, I was thinking about why I persist in political activism despite the fact my knowledge of human history tells me it is almost certainly pointless – that barring a genuine miracle (an event in which I cannot believe) – conditions in the United States will continue to worsen until this nation is no more.
Not only have the capitalists made themselves as powerful as the sadistic Abrahamic god they so obviously emulate; they have perpetuated their omnipotence by mastery of the most malevolent technologies of oppression. And now they are deliberately herding us into a new Dark Age from which – because their depredations are also killing our planet – our species will most likely never emerge.
That's why, when I discovered the dreadful detail that dooms Vermont's brave effort to declare health care a human right (and thereby overturn Obamacare's deliberate reinforcement of the capitalist mandate that health care is to remain forever a privilege of wealth), I became quite angry at Tara Culp-Ressler for burying this pivotal fact and otherwise writing as if the Vermont plan were fait accompli. Hence my antagonistic words on the comment thread of her well-written but nevertheless deceptively optimistic “Beyond Obamacare: Health Care as a Human Right”:
I am sick unto death of these “there's a better tomorrow” stories, which are secular versions of the Santa Claus or Jesus myths and are thus actually nothing more than propaganda cunningly designed to stave off rebellion by perpetuating false hopes.
The key sentence in this report, which contains the fact that should have been its lead, is “Vermont plans to apply for a waiver to sidestep the Affordable Care Act beginning in 2017 so it can implement its own single-payer system.”
What this means is Vermont's plan is doomed without federal approval, which in turn means it is nothing more than pie-in-the-sky. Indeed to hope for such approval under present conditions is as absurd as hoping for Congressional relief from the Hobby Lobby decision.
Neither recognition of health insurance as a human right nor restoration of female sexual freedom will ever be allowed under the present system. The U.S. experiment in representative democracy, like the so-called “American Dream,” is dead beyond any hope of resurrection.
The hideous truth is that government at every level in this savagely oppressed nation has been reduced to a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street. Until we the people recognize that without economic democracy there is no democracy at all, we will continue to suffer beneath the truncheons of capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent, total subjugation for all the rest of us.
Why then do I persist in humanitarian activism, as for example my ongoing involvement with 15 Now Tacoma and its quest for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour? Why, for that matter, do I even bother to write this blog?
Because when I was a child age 11 or so and a Boy Scout on my first camping trip, I rather joyfully embraced the notion of leaving the campsite in better condition than I found it. Later, as a young adult, I realized that precept was amongst the rules by which I governed my life – that in fact it was an apt metaphor for one of the instincts that led me into journalism. And though I now know such improvement is no longer possible – that our campsite, which is our planet, is trashed beyond repair – I cannot live with myself unless I keep trying, in my own small way, to clean up the mess.
LB/20 July 2014