How Democracy Dies Part III

“Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.” — Thomas Jefferson

The first thing I invite you to do is read the first two installments of this series. Ultimately, this won’t be the last, but we are closer to the end than we are to the beginning. I am sure that some will read some of these planks and think to themselves, “that doesn’t sound so bad” or “I actually kind of agree with that one.” Ultimately, the question will come whether that makes you a fascist.

The answer ultimately comes in what your target is. What is the end game? This being independence day is kind of a good barometer. I’m sure the British never saw themselves as tyrants. They could take each of those things that they did and provide a justification for them. They all made sense when taken in isolation. When added together they created an environment that became unbearable.

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

This one admittedly cuts both ways. When loyalty becomes the number one job skill then cronyism and corruption cannot be far behind. It starts innocently enough. We all would rather work with people we agree with it. It only makes sense at the end of the day. We’d rather work with people you get along with. I share an office (during the school year) with six other people. It would be miserable if we didn’t get along and laugh at the world on occasion.

However, people have to be qualified to do their job. At some point, all jobs have to have basic qualifications that need to be met. Otherwise, we will have chaos. Let’s say someone is in charge of the Department of Education that has never taken a step in a public school or a neurosurgeon is put in charge of Housing and Urban Development. Maybe the Energy Secretary didn’t even know the job description when he took the job.

When those same people utilize government to line their own pockets then you have cronyism, corruption, and incompetence. The wheels of bureaucracy kind of spin on their own, so nothing literally grinds to a halt, but it certainly slows down and becomes horribly inefficient.

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Humanity is a story. When that story is studied against the animals we will ultimately find very few actual differences. Animals communicate. Animals travel in groups. Animals migrate for food or better living conditions. Humans do all of these things. They may do it with a level of sophistication that animals do not, but we are ultimately the same.

What ultimately makes us different is the specialization. We each either become an expert of sorts. Market economies are based on the relative value of that expertise. If our expertise involves putting together a burger quickly then we may get minimum wage. If our expertise is in healing the sick or inventing new technology then we earn considerably more.

All economies are inefficient in their purest form. We have a whole class of people that have expertise that is questionable in its value. They don’t create anything and yet make billions. It makes little sense. Even with those inefficiencies, society as a whole can make it as long as we recognize expertise when we need it. However, when those same forces that create wealth without expertise convince us that we don’t need it then society begins to break down. We begin to become disgusted by intelligence.

An intelligent society perpetuates itself because children ultimately look up to intelligent experts in that society. They want to emulate those experts. They want to become that expert some day. Societies break down when we actively dismiss those experts. When “do your own research” becomes the order of the day we all lose. We lose because when we aren’t an expert we really don’t know what that research entails. Being an expert means knowing where to find the best information about what you are an expert in. Conversely, idiots will find the “sage” advice of other idiots and that will be their research.

Corporate Power Protected/Labor Power Suppressed

These are actually two different ones, but they are so intertwined that we have to put them together. If one were to look at models in Germany from World War II and the current situation in Russia, one would find that Hitler and Putin have used corporate barons for their own purposes as a way to spread their power. So, this cannot be simply a corporation bad/labors good outlook. It isn’t that simple.

You ultimately, notice that some corporations have stood up for the rights of the oppressed as a part of their business model. Look at what has happened with Disney in Florida. They have done nothing but celebrate the LGTBQ+ community by giving them their own day to celebrate. The government response to this is telling. Florida went from protecting Disney to exerting its power over Disney. See, Disney was going against their wishes by simply adopting an inclusive business model.

What fascists do is highlight those businesses that buy into their world view. Maybe they don’t want their employees to have reproductive rights or they actively encourage discrimination against certain groups. Those corporations get favorable treatment. It is a tacit message that you too can get favorable treatment if you fall in line.

We all have been conditioned since the 1980s to hate labor unions. Think about how they are portrayed. They are lazy. They are overpaid. They stifle innovation. Companies make more when they don’t have to follow all of those stupid rules. They protect bad employees. There are certainly isolated cases where all of these things may be true, but the end results is undeniable. Wages have stagnated and wealth has somehow concentrated in the hands of a few. It’s almost as if that was the whole idea all along.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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