Friday, February 21, 2020

The suffix is ocracy

The meaning of Meritocracy is in the suffix of -ocrasy - which means government by the people with the most ability.  I think it goes well with Plutocracy which is the current state of our government; A government or society run by the wealthy.

To be an agent of the people you must not be of the people for it is impossible to wage a campaign without resources and those are hold by those in the power of wealth and money.  They are the Plutocrats, the Oligarchs who control and manage and own much of what they sell or distribute to the not so wealthy.  A small minority of individuals in the United States possess such wealth and if Peter Theil, AGL or closet Republican, would desire a country run by chaos and in turn enable the wealthy to possess ultimate control as he has often believed.  Funny how he backed Trump but then again politics and bedfellows.
In a 2009 essay called The Education of a Libertarian, Thiel declared that capitalism and democracy had become incompatible. Since 1920, he argued, the creation of the welfare state and “the extension of the franchise to women” had made the American political system more responsive to more people – and therefore more hostile to capitalism. 
Capitalism is not “popular with the crowd”, Thiel observed, and this means that as democracy expands, the masses demand greater concessions from capitalists in the form of redistribution and regulation. 
The solution was obvious: less democracy. But in 2009, Thiel despaired of achieving this goal within the realm of politics. How could you possibly build a successful political movement for less democracy? 
Fast forward two years, when the country was still slowly digging its way out of the financial crisis. In 2011, Thiel told George Packer that the mood of emergency made him “weirdly hopeful”. The “failure of the establishment” had become too obvious to ignore, and this created an opportunity for something radically new, “something outside the establishment”, to take root. 

Theil is batshit that much we agree. And his backing of Trump was the idea that he would create the kind of chaos necessary to defeat democracy and we are worried about Russians, really?

 For Thiel, a smaller, more easily manipulated mob is preferable to a bigger one. If democracy can’t be eliminated, at least it can be shrunk through authoritarianism. A strongman like Trump, by exploiting the racial hatred and economic rage of one group of Americans, would work to delegitimize and disempower other groups of Americans. He would discipline what Thiel calls “the unthinking demos”: the democratic public that constrains capitalism.hiel’s preferred political future isn’t hard to picture.
 Thiel recognizes that only the state can provide the public goods on which private profit-making depends and what’s needed is a state that bankrolls scientific research at midcentury cold war levels – without the comparatively high tax rates and social spending that accompanied it. Corporations would mine this research for profitable inventions. The public would foot the bill and ask for nothing in return. 
The government shoulders the research costs for capitalists but makes no demands and sets no conditions. An authoritarian leader uses racial anger to set one portion of the population against another, and cracks down on those he sees as alien or illegitimate. The state becomes even more responsive to the needs of capitalists and even less responsive to the needs of workers and citizens. What Thiel calls the “oxymoron” of “capitalist democracy” is resolved – by jettisoning democracy. 

I took this from a Guardian piece on Thiel but there is another in New York Magazine that again reiterates what a fucking lunatic this rich fuck is.  He makes Trump look like a garden variety nutfuck in comparison.

Now we have mass exodus of the few sane people left in the Trump Administration with him surrounding himself with the yes men and women who pander to his version of leadership and his definition of Democracy.  This is why whoever the Democrats at this point nominate we get out the vote to vote.  Anyone at this point would be an improvement.

But the reality is that it will not be the woman who I respect the most, Warren, although her fighting words on Wednesday demonstrated she can tackle Trump and let's face it Bernie can as well he has the speech on him down pat and all of true; However, he is also the single most similar in style like Trump which I find equally disturbing but then again I at this point am open to even Mayor Pete. Although secretly a Warren/Buttigeg ticket might be a winner on many levels.

That said the one thing they share is the concept of Meritocracy that you can earn your way up the ladder socially and economically and they come from two generations that have seen that trickle down economics is not the rising tide but in fact the piss you step in on your way to schools and education that is funded by this thing Theil wants to end - the government.   Without access and availability we would not have the Bloombergs, the Warren's, the Klobuchar's the Harris'and the Yang's that stood on that stage to take America back alright to at least the belief that we are better than this.

I have long said that Meritocracy is a myth and while there are amazing stories of Immigrants and other Americans succeeding in spite of it that belief is tied up in the myth of Paul Bunyan and those bootstraps.  Again more bullshit and lies that remind me of the Bible no less colorful and of course blame laying and finger pointing.   Where do your think they got it from in the first place?

Nicholas Kristof's column the other day finally resonated with me and I share that now as the truth be told we are all in the water together and some are stronger swimmers, some can float along and others manage to get on board the right Yacht and sail off to drier better shores.  But few if any born into lesser more troubled waters will ever rise to the top of the water and be plucked from it and taken to a life on a golden beach.  That is the biggest bullshit being peddled right now along with some of the other tech crap that includes flying to the moon and life ever after.  Man those fuckers are really delusional and Theil is just one of many.  Sink or swim and it appears the life rafts are leaking and let's put these assholes on the Titanic and throw in some Coronavirus with a touch of Legionaires and see what or who floats to the top.

Pull Yourself Up by Bootstraps? Go Ahead, Try It

It’s impossible, and yet the bootstraps narrative drives out good policy.

By Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times
Opinion Columnist
Feb. 19, 2020

Back in the 1800s, the expression “pull oneself up by the bootstraps” meant the opposite of what it does now. Then it was used mockingly to describe an impossible act.

An 1834 publication ridiculed a claim to have built a perpetual-motion machine by saying that the inventor might next heave himself over a river “by the straps of his boots.” An 1840 citation scoffs that something is “as gross an absurdity as he who attempts to raise himself over a fence by the straps of his boots.”

Yet this phrase has become part of America’s mythology and the centerpiece of our approach to help those left behind: We harangue them to lift themselves up by the bootstraps. When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez this month dismissed bootstrapping at a congressional hearing as “physically impossible,” outrage reverberated across the conservative media world.

Sean Hannity’s blog said that her assertion “left millions of television viewers scratching their heads.” Another Fox News commentator said that Ocasio-Cortez was “completely clueless.”

So let’s think this through.

It’s true that upward mobility has always resonated deeply in the United States. My father, a refugee from Romania and Ukraine, came to the United States because to him it symbolized opportunity (and, sure enough, it provided him rich opportunities).

Some people do manage heroic journeys to the top. Ben Carson grew up as an impoverished black child of a single mother in Detroit and became a pediatric neurosurgeon and secretary of housing and urban development. Bravo to him.

The problem is that this bootstraps narrative drives out good policy in three ways.

First, it suggests that historically Americans rose purely through rugged individualism — think of the pioneers!

Ah, but why did the pioneers go west? Because of government benefit programs that granted them homesteads! Ten percent of America’s land was given out as homesteads, and perhaps one-quarter of Americans (almost all of them white) owe part of their family wealth to the homestead acts.

Then there was the American investment in free high schools and in state colleges and universities, plus gigantic programs like rural electrification and the G.I. Bill of Rights. In short, even when we were a much poorer nation, we were able to afford huge national investments to help disadvantaged (white) Americans, because they were a priority.

Second, the bootstraps narrative often suggests that benefits programs are counterproductive because they foster “dependency.” That may have been a plausible argument a generation ago, but the evidence now indicates that it is incorrect.

Europe and Canada have much more robust social welfare systems than the United States, but Americans in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are more likely to drop out of the labor force than Europeans and Canadians in those years. Americans drop out of the labor force primarily because we do worse than other countries of investing in workers’ education, health care, addiction treatment and job training.

Third, the bootstraps narrative implies that everyone can pull a Ben Carson (Carson himself falls for this fallacy). This is like arguing that because some people can run a four-minute mile, everyone can.

Yes, some Americans soar from humble beginnings; more often, the top is occupied by those who, say, were earning $200,000 a year at age 3, in today’s money, as President Trump was. Some research finds that upward mobility has tumbled in the United States over the last half-century and is now lower than in Europe.

It’s particularly hard for people to scramble up when they come from violent homes, poor schools or foster care, or face impediments of race or class. These can be challenges, but they can be addressed to some extent — but not by sermons about bootstraps.

I received a note the other day from a carpenter in Washington State, Mike Stimac, about these issues. He grew up in a small town and describes himself as “more conservative than liberal,” but he had read a new book that my wife and I wrote about Americans left behind, and he responded: “I had two parents who gave me a home, no alcohol or physical abuse. I always felt like we were just making it. My parents were blue collar (machinist, sawmill operator, seamstress, cafeteria cook). I never felt like I was privileged, but I see now that I was. …

“Being a carpenter and general contractor, here again I felt I ‘pulled myself up by my bootstraps.’ My wife and I made a living with hard work and family help and now have a fairly strong financial standing. But now I realize it is more than hard work and family help. I was privileged to have two parents who valued education (though they never went to college), I am white, and there was no abuse.”

Stimac says he now favors substantial federal programs to provide opportunity and address addiction, mental illness and education, adding, “This is a real change of heart for me.”

That change of heart is what we need for our country as a whole. American children need fewer wagging fingers or homilies about bootstraps, and more helping hands.

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