What mainstream media pundits to coffee shop prophets globally call “populism,” is a con, flimflam, the BIG LIE.
Populism is defined as a political philosophy or movement that advocates the rights and power of the people struggling against a privileged elite.
So, if privileged elites like alt-right funder Robert Mercer, the Koch Brothers, and even Putin’s oligarch pals spend billions to create and support movements opposing them, are they really “populism?”
The Founding Fathers taught us to be humanists, steeped in the worth of all people as individuals.
To the 1%, you are tools. Means to an end. Cogs in the wheel. Worker, consumer, investor in whatever schemes they cook up.
Do these movements appeal to intellectuals, leaders in various communities or civic groups?
Far-right “populist” campaigns sell fear by the bucketful to the fearful ― make-believe to people who detach from reality by putting belief ahead of fact.
Their brand of “freedom” has millions wading into the soothing waters of denial, where these crocodiles on the banks smile.
What are the über rich up to?
For the rest of us, so much of it doesn’t make any sense. Why would the wealthy back the insanity of:
- Global warming/climate denial;
- Gutting social safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid for the poor and elderly;
- Slashing the poverty-reduction programs?
- Spending billions more on an already bloated military-industrial complex?
- Cozying up to long-hated Communists like Vladimir Putin.
We just write it off as robbing from the poor to give to the rich. It is more than that. For the 1%, it is survival of the fattest.
Social Darwinism, Not Populism
“Civilization has a simple choice,” wrote William Graham Sumner, a political and social science professor at Yale University at the end of the 19th century. He was a leading thinker embraced by the 1% of that day for his bastardization of Darwin’s theories on evolution. The rich were rich and powerful because they were genetically superior humans.
“It’s either “liberty, inequality, survival of the fittest,” or “not-liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest,” he wrote. “The former carries society forward and favors all its best members; the latter carries society downwards and favors all its worst members.”
The world is unfair by design. Nature is designed to weed those less perfect out.
Equality, social safety nets, better health care for all, are egalitarian ideals of humanist “losers,” enablers of the weak and infirm.
Looking at the big picture, there are too many of us, too few resources, and, whom do you think is going to make sure, if the world is hurtling towards massive changes, that they are going to stay on top?
Republican policy is all about the “chosen” thinning the herd.
You Are (Almost) Unnecessary
Capitalism is all about efficiencies of scale and production. It’s not enough for a company to do well year-after-year. Success is defined as steady improvement in earnings.
Humans are an impediment to productivity:
- They are inefficient;
- They make mistakes;
- They need holidays, maternity leave, bereavement leave;
- They get sick;
- They move on, or take their training to competitors;
- They get old and die and their invested skillsets are lost;
- They are difficult to educate, retrain, put into customs and habits, or convince them to end them when “upgrades” or changes are necessary.
Which is why the 1% makes more getting rid of us.
Escalating Executive Earnings Empowers Elitist Public Policy
CEO pay skyrocketed. Top bosses were getting almost 400% of what workers were making by the start of the 21st century, up from 20-30% before Ronald Reagan ushered in the Right Wing Era.
These big paydays, it’s been claimed, fund secret meetings of the 1% where their wealth is applied to political solutions to long-range problems. A top topic, perhaps?
There are far too many people on the planet.
We, the People, have gone from necessary workers and consumers to threats to the survival of the fittest, those billionaires.
Human populations will mushroom from 7.21 billion currently to 9 billion by 2050, faster if cures for major diseases are found. One forecast suggests it will hit 11 billion in 2100, with a prediction that there could be a 70% rise again into the next century.
That’s 18 billion people, potentially, on the planet.
You would think that would be great for business. In the short term, it has been. Workers consuming create demand. Demand fuels sales. Sales line pockets.
Until, of course, we deplete the resources of the planet.
The Dark Side of Population
Population and prosperity drive global warming. Make more? Consume more. The average American eats, and wastes, literally, a ton of food.
Far-right think tanks do this math: If only a third of the world lives at the “American” standard by 2050:
- 3.3 billion people will consume 6.65T tons of food;
- Use 1.1 trillion vehicles;
- At 19 Metric tons per person per year of greenhouse gasses, 63.27 tons
Over consumption is unsustainable.
The 1% solution, though, is more of a final solution.
Machines, not Migrants
Populist propaganda pegs job loss on immigrants, and cheap labor markets abroad. The billionaires don’t want you revolting against the real culprit:
“My father was fired,” says Woody Allen in his 1960’s standup routine. “He was technologically unemployed... They fired him. They replaced him with a tiny gadget, this big, that does everything my father does, only it does it much better. The depressing thing is... My mother ran out and bought one.”
People around the world are discovering that their skill sets are being replaced. Even in labor-rich places like China, algorithms, robotics, and, soon, artificial intelligence (AI) are replacing humans.
Robotics and AIs:
- Are highly efficient and productive, 24/7.
- Make far fewer mistakes;
- Need no holidays, maternity leave, bereavement leave;
- Can be easily repaired or replaced;
- Are owned, and cannot take skills to competitors;
- Have a longer maximum lifetime value than comparable humans;
- Allow a wealthy few to produce a ton of work-product for a fraction of the cost.
- Can lead to amazing standards of living... for a lot fewer people.
What Will Become of the Majority of Us?
Low unemployment in the U.S. is a lie. The “jobs number” only looks at those actively seeking work. Today, a staggering 45% of U.S. working-age adults are permanently unemployed.
“[I]mpressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years,” says Professor Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee at MIT.
Technology will further unemploy 70% to 80% of the world’s population within the next decade or two.
Machines will do the heavy lifting, brick laying, construction, farming, even day-to-day cooking, sewing, and surgery.
Artificial Intelligence can game the stock market, and write legal contracts.
Robotics and AI check drug interactions and drop pills into containers, answer phones, and will do diagnostics in every field.
By 2050, adjusting for the addition for new jobs that don’t exist now, up to 5.3 billion people, out of 9 billion, may become permanently unemployed globally.
Humanists say we must forge solutions that respect all of us, and provide new opportunities.
Conservative policy is more like deer population control.
Method to the Right’s Madness
The one consistent thing about U.S. conservative policy is that it has been an effort to reduce America’s population.
Cut out social supports, and the primary outcome is that more of the “wrong” people die, and fewer “wrong” people are born here.
The middle class, a bastion of common-sense democracy? It’s an impediment to progress. If you have the skills to serve the 1% and/or its equipment, you are relevant. If not, nature, not nurture, will deal with you.
That’s still not doing in enough people globally. So to “adjust” the world’s populations, the 1% oligarchs:
- Stoke regional conflict profitably. Arming one or more sides of a conflict is good for arms makers and lets Social Darwinian-seen “inferiors” to kill themselves off;
- Cut or attempt to cut funding for major disease outbreaks like AIDS or Ebola until they threaten home populations;
- Unpopular even in GOP circles, the funders will keep pushing for cuts to foreign aid and the State Department to reduce humanitarian outreach and legal immigration by those seeking asylum or refuge.
Why They’re Winning? Fake Populism
The wall around the uber rich’s ambition? Government.
Believe in the populist lie, turn on government, and turn to strong, charismatic leaders making big, empty promises, and we are doomed.
Make [Your Country] great again.
Make-believe, “alternative facts?” They are your enemy.
There are two ways to take over even the greatest nation on Earth without firing a shot:
- Control the vote of the most manipulatable by controlling what they choose to believe;
- Discriminate against those with the least power to keep them away from the polls.
Technology isn’t evil. It can transform our lives in positive ways. It all depends on who controls and programs it. Machines don’t have an agenda, but people with the money to afford them do.
So why are we in the weeds of emails and the daily crazy crap emanating from our 1%-bought political system and not demanding more public policy on employment, automation, the environment, population management?
Don’t be distracted.