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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Empire of Poverty

Controlling a large number of people isn't easy. The United States alone consists of 312 million people spread out across nearly 4 million square miles. Add on nearly 500 million for the population of the European Union and another nearly 4 million square miles of territory. Then pile on Canada with 34 million people and another 4 million square miles, Australia with 22 million and 3 million square miles and a few other stragglers here and there, and the postmodern rulers of the progressive empire have to cope with nearly a billion people spread out across 15 million square miles.

Large territories and large numbers of people are very difficult to govern. Structures tend to break down and people further away from the centers of power don't listen to the boys at the top. The only way to make a going proposition of it is to consolidate as much power as possible at the center and the very act of centralizing power leads to tyranny.

The most direct chokehold possible is physical. China's rulers, faced with vast territory and population, turned to the water empire. The modern West is quickly rediscovering a more sophisticated form of hydraulic despotism, cloaked in talk of saving the planet and providing for everyone's needs.

Western resources are not innately centralized, which makes seizing control of them and routing them through a central point more difficult. This has to be done legislatively and has to be justified by a universal benefit or a crisis. One example of this is FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Act which allowed the government to control wheat grown on a farm for private consumption. Another is nationalizing health care by routing the commercial activity of medicine through government organs. Both services and commodities can be controlled in this manner.

But the larger challenge is that the West is rich and a water empire depends on scarcity. Central control is much less potent if there is plenty of the commodity or service available. It's only when shortages are created in bread or health care that the system really wields power by rationing a scarce commodity or service.

If a resource is scarce, then the water empire has to distribute it efficiently. But if a resource is widely available, then the water empire has to find ways of making it scarce, until the demand vastly outstrips the supply.

The modern water empire is dependent for its power on manufactured shortages. The rise of the progressive state was closely tied to its exploitation of shortages. Its challenge has been to win the race with industrial productivity by manufacturing shortages and destroying wealth faster than it could be created. While the machine of industry created wealth, the machine of government destroyed it. Today the machine of government is very close to winning the race, creating a state of permanent shortages.

Manufactured shortages are the great project of modern governments. This manufacture is done by prohibitively increasing the cost of creating and distributing products and services, by controlling the means of production in the name of wealth redistribution and by prohibiting the production on the grounds that it is immoral or dangerous. Over the 20th century the transition was made from the first to the second and finally to the third.

The third means of manufacturing shortages is the final trump card in the race between human ingenuity and government power. It began with pollution regulation and has reached the stage where all human activity, from a bike ride to the corner to a puff of exhaled air, is a form of pollution. The carbon footprint is to the human being what the Agricultural Adjustment Act was to wheat, a mandate for total central regulation of all human activity.

While the second means of manufacturing shortages only justified redistributing wealth, the third prevents its creation. It is the final lock of the water empire. When it slides into places, shortages become permanent and the Empire of Poverty rules over all.

The Empire of Poverty is the modern incarnation of the water empire, its feigned concern for social equality disguising its hunger for total power. With the third stage, the empire of poverty is mostly putting aside its pretense of controlling production in order to maximize human benefits from the products or services and is shifting over to controlling production in order to deny use of the products and services to those who need them.

Global Warming rhetoric is still couched in the usual social justice rhetoric, aimed at the poorer kleptocracies who are eager to join the line for a handout, but its logic is poverty driven. It is not out to create wealth, but to eliminate it, on the grounds that cheaply available food or electricity is an immoral activity that damages the planet.

The Empire of Poverty is chiefly concerned with the impoverishing of the West, to maintain the manufactured scarcities of its water empire it has gone beyond taxation to entirely shutting down or crippling entire branches of human activity. This could not be justified by appeals to class or race alone. Social justice could not shut down power plants or decrease food production. Its impact was not sufficient to maintain a state of permanent poverty.

For the water empire to succeed, it is necessary to destroy any form of social mobility not dependent on the centralized system. The only way to do this is to make it nearly impossible for the working class to transition to the middle class and the middle class to the upper class through commercial activity. The only possible form of social mobility is to be through government service.

Stability is the fundamental mandate of the water empire. Free enterprise with its disruptive activity and its constantly shifting social order is a tsunami that overwhelms the water empire, flooding its canals and swamping its bureaucracies. The water empire only works when everyone knows his place and knows that this place is fundamentally unchangeable. While this attitude seems alien to most Americans, it has been cultivated assiduously in racial politics. The urban blight is a symptom.

The ideological goal of the Empire of Poverty is to convince the subjects under its rule that social mobility is either impossible or undesirable. That they need to accept their place and their dole, and bend their shoulder to the task of making a better world under its enlightened guidance. The more that this mindset is cultivated among its subjects, the less they are able to envision another world where they might be free to do what they please.

Corporate monopolies are not the enemies of the Empire of Poverty, though its functionaries and propagandists spend a great deal of time insisting that this is the case. But that is because the Empire needs enemies and scapegoats. Yet the Empire has drawn the bulk of its support from the ranks of the very organizations that it condemns. The growth of unsustainable corporations and governments have come side by side, both engaging in unworkable practices, as its officers move back and forth from boardrooms to cabinet meetings.

The Empire's goal is not to control corporations, it is to control everything. The corporation is a more efficient tool for controlling customers and employees. It is an embryo government and often an ally. The Empire does not fear dinosaurs like that, it fears change and innovation. It is not worried about GE, it is far more worried about small businesses. It is afraid of the man in the garage who might invent something that will make its latest batch of environment regulations suddenly seem foolish.

Innovation undermines the Empire's ability to tighten its grip over the distribution and manufacture of all products and services. The "crisis" of Global Warming has given it an open ended mandate, but its population is clever and able to innovate faster than it can regulate. Its educational systems controlled from the top down are aimed at indoctrinating conformity and suppressing independent thought, but like most empires it is still too slow. It controls most media channels, but innovation and individualism still keeps outpacing it.

The Empire of Poverty is already partially in control of food supplies, medicine, electricity and all commercial activity in general. It can determine in many cases and with variations across different countries, how much of a thing can be produced, at what price it can be sold and under what authority. Its task at the present is the growing consolidation and centralization of these powers in the hands of increasingly more powerful bodies until the Empire is fully formed.

The consolidation of numerous national, local, regional and international bodies into the Empire is a slow chaotic and inefficient process as nations shed the pretense of democratic elections and horse trading continues between various parts of the Empire. But the Empire of Poverty is very nearly here.

Global Warming has given the Empire a global crisis and an unlimited mandate to resolve the crisis. What the threat of war was to a united Europe and the threat of poverty was to a federalized United States, the threat of a melting planet is to the Empire of Poverty. It is an open question whether the economic collapse of any of the smaller entities will inhibit the rise of the Empire or prevent it from coming to being. Every resource crisis gives the Empire another reason to consolidate control of resources in the name of the public good, and then eliminate access to those resources in the name of the planetary good.

The Empire of Poverty is rising on the skeleton of the West, it is eating out its abundance and preparing to lock down power, food, transportation, medical services and countless other elements of the commercial life of the formerly free world. Its water empire will impose its own vision of power by controlling resources and doling them out as a means of power. By controlling access to the things we take for granted, it intends to rule over us all.



16 comments:

Lemon said...

Free nations do not have to control.
FDR began the destruction of family farms in America. We were largely agrarian at one time, farming being the greatest work one can do. Now that is ruined.
It is sad that one has a hard time being self sufficient in America anymore.

Anonymous said...

Well done; keeping our eye on the ball when the ball was never there...Wealth never created is difficult to conceive, yet it is the missing factor in public debate...No one will ever know of the businesses never created, the jobs never created, the cancer treatment drugs never created because of govt regulation and restrictions...But because something never existed does not it should be ignored...

Mr ED said...

Nice article and gets right to the point.

I think I might change the title to "Empire of Dependence", because it is that particular drug that the politician and bureaucRAT pushers use to snare their wards into helplessness and desperation.

Our false saviours have to have someone to pretend to save or they just look like the nasty, selfish and power-hungry narcissists they really are.

Anonymous said...

“We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.”

So long as the empires can work you from sunrise to sundown for your daily bread, your mind is kept busy on survival I/O politics.

The rule of the game in no different in tyrannies nor in democracies.

As long as people choose time after time the same tyrants to rule them I/O using their democratic power to oust them out of office, let them not be surprised of the consequences.

Keliata said...

"Global Warming has given the Empire a global crisis and an unlimited mandate to resolve the crisis."


That is all too true. In the 1990s my college would refuse to turn the heat on in the hallways and lecture halls until mid Novemeber as a cost saving measure. Mid-November was arbitrary. Who cared if it got really cold in late October?

Here I am sitting in my apartment with the heat on the last day in May and wondering if at some point the government will pressure National Grid to limit heat use in May just because...?

Keliata said...

Anony--you're right.

No matter how miserably a politician fails--even in his or her first term--people vote for idiot a second time.

Anonymous said...

There are groups like WRSA (western rifle shooters association) and others who consider themselves the "three percent" who are unwilling to bend to the new dictatorship.

There will be at some point an incident which shakes many of walking dead. This is a broken, sad and deplorable nation. Perhaps the 50% of the nation who still yearns for freedom will pursue whatever means they can to rectify the situation. I doubt it.
PAAC

Joan of Argghh! said...

Most folks don't understand that the Arab Spring was about bread and debt.

Which curiously, is also the crux of the Our Father.

Politics as a religion would make an atheist out of the pew warmers, and bishops and Popes out of the bureaucrats.

Edward Cline said...

I'm guessing this fine column is intended to be a companion piece to "If I Wanted America to Fail."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ-4gnNz0vc

One of the most effective and potent political videos I've seen in decades.

bubba said...

Never give them what they want. Your stuff remains yours as long as you are willing to keep it. You might experience hardship keeping your stuff. They must come and try to take it from you while you must make it expensive for them to do so. Always poke your thumb in their eye and never bend to their will.

careyrowland said...

This is not looking very good.

Dedicated_Dad said...

As always, OUT OF THE PARK!

Too bad the folks who MOST need to understand this never will!

Instead, they'll be at the next "million hoodie march" demanding the lynching of what I'm coming to understand is the sort of man we should all aspire to be.

Or worse, they'll be at the "may-day" riots scheduled nationwide, demanding the destruction of what's left of our Republic!

Looking back now, the plan was SOOOooo clear!

(1) "free trade" combined with "Union rights!" destroys all manufacturing, moves it to China
(2) Wal-mart makes it possible for people to still get their goodies even as they devalue the fiat making all wages a net minus
(3) Creeping bureaucracy + taxation forces wives to work - but without any increase in standard of living.
(4) Encourage Rampant divorce thus GUARANTEEING kids will be handed over to "public education" for suitable "training"!
(5) Create dependency. A MAJORITY must look to Unlce Sugar for his sustenance!
(6) Demonize and discourage producers!
Truth is irrelevant - they must be vilified as "not paying their fair share" - and the only way to escape punitive taxation is to FURTHER CUT PRODUCTION!
(7) Likewise, the middle-class must be discouraged from climbing higher. Ideally, all income above a certain arbitrary level would no longer benefit them at all, with it all being seized for taxes! (true story: I recently cut my gross income 50% and my NET actually WENT UP! What are the odds I'll *EVER* work like that again!

I could go on, but there's no need.

Preaching to the choir!

Edward Cline said...

Dedicated Dad:

There's nothing inherently wrong with "preaching to the choir." In a cultural and political environment hostile to reason, freedom, independence, and capitalism (or completely indifferent to them), the choir is often the only company one can keep. And remember that it was a "choir" that began and finished the American Revolution. Only about one-third of the American colonials were for freedom and did something about it. It's minorities with radical ideas who make the difference in cultures populated by people satisfied with the status quo.

Anonymous said...

This discussion brings to mind one of Solzhenitsyn's quotes: "What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?"

Anonymous said...

Wow! Have you read Atlas Shrugged lately??

oldtcs said...

This makes perfect sense. It shows why the greens would be able to shut down food production in Oregon, and later on a much larger scale in the San Joaquin valley over some ridiculous fish or snail concern. It's about creating food scarcity. Very good article, thanks.

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