If you browse through your email's spam folder, the chances are good that you will come upon a missive from a Nigerian prince offering you the opportunity to help him cart away his fortune in exchange for a sharp cut of the profits. These scams date back to the dinosaur years of the internet, and though there are occasional elaborations on the theme, the African scammers stick to the tried and true, even though the tried and true has become a cliche that anyone should be able to see through.
Because the Nigerian Prince scam is a self-selecting group. Anyone who still falls for it after all these years is dumber than your average sucker. The scammers know this and they don't want to waste their valuable time hooking a difficult fish with a plausible scam. They go for easy marks for the same reason that some men fish with dynamite. Because it's easier.
America has its own Nigerian Prince. I think you know his name by now. His campaign sent out nearly as many emails as his Nigerian colleagues do, promising fame and fortune to those suckers who would help him transfer some wealth from the 1 percent to the 99 percent. And now that his second term is here, the check is in the mail. And if the government check doesn't clear, well that's what happens when you put your faith in Nigerian Princes.
A scam like the Democratic Party needs suckers. It needs millions and millions of the dumbest people that can be found outside of specially supervised group homes. And then it needs to appoint people to watch over them, give them the occasional food and minor check, and drive them in vans to the polls after two or four years so that the con artists can keep their manicured paws on the local treasury.
These people have to be stupid, yes, but like all marks, they have to be greedy. They have to be the kind of people who relish taking someone else's money without working for it. The kind who grin at the idea of putting something over someone else. The kind who think that they are smart because they decided that the world owes them a living. They think that they're smart, but they're only the marks in a con. And when the con is done, like the guy depositing a check from Nigeria's Prince Uscamo, they are going to be the ones left holding the bag.
A con plays on the greed of the mark. And on his stupidity. And in a democracy, you can take over a country if you organize enough motivated suckers to vote for trillions in government money that they will never see, but that they are on the hook for. And if you don't have enough native suckers, then you import more, taking care that your immigration policies favor the greedy sucker demographic. But unfortunately in a democracy where half the population doesn't bother to vote and a quarter votes for the scammers, we are all on the hook for the scam.
We have just gone through two lovely elections that were won on the carnival principle. Put up a lot of bright lights, some unusual things for the crowds to gawp at, a few scantily clad ladies of the evening, and a lot of smooth patter, and forget taking any of the issues seriously. Tell jokes, juggle balls and deliver applause lines. And most of all promise the sky while taking the suckers for all they have and will ever have.
It nearly didn't work, but the extra effort was put in and the vans delivered their cargo loads of moral depravity to the polls, where the poll workers showed them how to vote, and then the vans took them to do some food stamp shopping to remind them of how good life is under the scam. And many other people, the ones who don't return emails from Nigerian princes, didn't bother to vote, because they don't believe in any element of the scam. And that just means the chief scammers have an open field.
Carnivals have to end sooner or later. And the scam doesn't look nearly as good in the light of day as it does at night, when everyone has had a few drinks and life seems good and magic can happen. A few of us hopefully thought that daybreak had come, but no it was only the light of the carnival and the drunken laughter of fools spending their last dime to hear their Nigerian prince crack a joke, hum a tune and pledge his undying love to them.
"The fool walks in darkness," said the Chief Executive of a nation called Israel some 3,000 years ago. And for the fools of Carny Nation, who, as he observed, fold their hands and eat their own flesh, rather than work for a living, it is always the midnight hour, always time for another drink, another laugh, another novelty and another spin of the wheel that goes round and round and never stops until sunlight touches it and it turns to dust.
The fools of Carny Nation fancy themselves wise men. After all they eat without paying for it. They get money without working for it. Every baby they pop out buys them another pair of shoes. When they vote Democrat, the President of Carny Nation sends them a check. And so they put another vote in the machine, get back a few quarters, put another one in the mission, and wait for the day that the redistribution jackpot will give them everything.
Last year in Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, the price of three eggs ran to 100 billion dollars. A beer cost 150 billion dollars and a roll of toilet paper, well it was just cheaper to use million dollar bills. We are talking about Zimbabwean dollars here, not American dollars, but eventually there will be no difference. Zimbabwe yesterday. America tomorrow. Money isn't magic and there comes a point when no amount of words can increase its value. Eventually it becomes cheaper to print out presidential speeches on the bright economic future and use them as toilet paper.
When food stamps start coming in billion dollar quantities, then the sucker bet on Obama, Prince of Kenya, Indonesia and Chicago, may start looking bad. But suckers never realize when a bet is going bad. They double down and begin yammering some more about raising taxes. And why not. We're sixteen trillion in debt. Why not raise taxes by a few trillion? You have to break a few billion dollar eggs to make a thirty-trillion dollar omelet. And that beer summit, it will cover the entire defense budget.
Fools come in all shapes and sizes, in all races, religions and bank account sizes. Dumb isn't measured by degrees or IQ points. Dumb people can absorb a lot of knowledge and spit it back. They can even discuss it incessantly in their best Word-a-Day language skills. The difference between dumb and smart does not come down to literacy or being able to juggle isosceles triangles/ Memory is a skill and most people can learn something if they really want to and have the proper background for it. The difference between smart and dumb is the difference between knowing what's real and what isn't.
Intelligence is a bunch of brain cells packed by a few lines of DNA into a cranium. Those are mental skills and they come in handy when tackling Algebra or studying the history of the Mayans. King Solomon, that ancient chief executive of a kingdom despised by Carny Nation, wasn't talking about learning as intelligence, but as wisdom. Wisdom isn't just knowledge, it's understanding that knowledge by drawing the right conclusions. The search for wisdom is the search for those right conclusions.
Fools are often very clever. Some have enormously high IQs and office walls packed with so many degrees that there is no room for a window. And they are still fools because they have no ability to draw the right conclusions. Knowledge is cheap. Your computer has access to more of it than all the wise men of history put together could ever dream of. Intelligence is a genetic gift. Wisdom is what you acquire with both or without either. It is the right conclusions that we draw about life from living it.
Intelligent fools are a Zimbabwean dollar a dozen and the Zimbabwean dollar doesn't buy a whole lot. Carny Nation 2012 Forward to the America of the Super Future on horses and bayonets of irony and binders full of memes was powered by clever, intelligent, technocratic and even cunning fools. And above them all was our own King Fool, our Scammer-in-Chief, our Nigerian Prince, who like all scammers is passing the time scamming us while unable to realize that he is the one being scammed and the time will come, when he will fall beneath the bus under whose wheels he has hurled so many.
"There is no future for those who slander the Prophet of Islam," our Nigerian Prince proclaimed, as part of his coverup of the murder of four Americans, left to die by his government. A coverup that has resulted in the first political prisoner in generations sitting in a cell. But there is a future for those who disdain Mohammed, that primal scammer who told his followers that they would have an endless supply of virgin girls to rape in paradise if they killed enough of his enemies and stole their stuff in the here-and-now. There is however no future for fools. There is no future for Carny Nation.
Popular culture, the media and politics becomes one. A great white noise machine of light and sound, carnival lights, smells and sounds, men throwing flaming torches in the air, shouts and cries, rap stars, memes, ladies of the evening, stars, banners, slogans, cheers and anything else that will keep the fools from realizing that the time is five minutes after five and the time is coming for the scammers to slink away into the night with their ill gotten loot and for the suckers who thought they were scammers and the marks who thought they were cons to clutch their carbon offsets and food stamps and raise their eyes dazedly as the sunrise exposes the tawdriness of the carnival, the false front stalls, the empty baskets and the last drabs of greasepaint on their hands.
And then Carny Nation will end.