Mass looting is democracy in action. In its bureaucratic form, the looting is formalized, with a careful cultivation of attitudes on the citizens to make them acquiesce to the looting.
In primitive cultures, this is done through potlatch exchanges, in which tribes exchange symbolic and real gifts to ward off war between tribes. In democracy, we have bureaucratic redistribution programs between population groups, calcified by moral language into seemingly permanent political fixtures.
When potlatch breaks down, war must usually follow, because when exchanges of gifts are needed to prevent warfare, it’s a sign of mutual antipathy between groups rather than real fellow-feeling. In a more modern context, we have the maxim “if goods don’t cross borders, armies will,” used to illustrate the point that trade provides incentives to both parties to avoid conflict with one another. Democratic systems like the one in the United States lessens these incentives, in part because the temporary rulers of the government are only tenant caretakers of the system as a whole, rather than owners with a long term interest.
Indeed, their material interest is to loot the polity as much as they can for their party and their personal retinue while in power. When their destructive actions turn the mob against their party, the next party steps in on a wave of popular acclaim. Afterwards, they get to taking everything that’s not nailed down, also, until another wave of revulsion sets in.
In democracy, property rarely remains secure, and moral principles around absolute property rights tend to be untenable. If the will of the mob is to be respected, then if it’s the will of the mob to eat the members of the smaller mob that opposes it, then it must be done, damn whatever squalling about abstract rights that there might be.
When the state creates classes of dependents, those dependents fall out of the market system except as consumers. They are not usually producers, and are only occasionally market intermediaries. These intermediaries have no direct incentive to preserve the capital infrastructure of society that they rely on — in fact, the only way for them to retain their positions in that democratic society is to be able to stand in as a threat, and as a pitiful justification for those same dependency-generating programs.
The masses of dependents provide occasion for expressions of public piety and pity — the rich, especially, love to preen over how much they are doing to ‘help’ the masses, through the instrument of the state. That those masses are mostly predating on the middle class is little remarked on, especially because the better sorts of middle class people in a democracy do their best to mimic the moral performance art of their betters.
Because the doctrine of equality prevents people from seeing that the poor are often morally dissolute as well as destitute, the project of moral improvement is abandoned, and higher classes turn to imitating the worse ones, and the whole of society descends into the mire, becoming more equal in turpitude if not in wealth.
Reading Dampier it’s easy to forget one is not living through the fall of Rome…
“Indeed, their material interest is to loot the polity as much as they can for their party and their personal retinue while in power. ”
As opposed to exactly what other form of government? Only one where one party checks the other. Which is why we were a Republic that merely extended the Franchise until the 20th Century, and as far as the moral turpitude and looting that began merely 50 years ago, or 80 if you want to start with the new deal as far as looting.
And again where are the leaders of the People to show them a better way? They show them pornography and idiocy and make a rather nice, elite living doing so.
The People didn’t choose to be drowned in filth, and were quite overruled by the Courts when they objected. Porn/Trash Media=Courts=Elites.
One shouldn’t turn up one’s nose so high at one’s prey, or paycheck. Simply because one’s eating them.
Reactionary Expat says
What a great summary of the situation.
A couple of stories about democracy in action here in the Other China. Today there were local elections. My wife went to vote. There was a retarded guy there trying to vote, but he couldn’t remember how. He was trying to get his mother involved, but the officials wouldn’t let her actually go in and help him, so the guy and his mother had some sort of back and forth, round about conversation that culminated with her telling him to just vote for the guy she had told him to vote for. I wish I’d been there. It seemed like democracy distilled down to its purest form: a retard trying to remember who he was meant to vote for but not quite getting it right.
Someone we know/do business with was running for local mayor (and he won). I have absolutely no idea what his platform was, or even to what extent (if any) it would affect us. Plus, of course, I can’t vote and wouldn’t even if I could. Regardless, it was interesting to go and observe his various campaign events purely from a sociological point of view. They also had lion dancing and drummers. I love that stuff.
A few weeks ago, there was a huge show of people coming and giving gifts (usually very elaborate floral arrangements, including one from us). Those people were generally close family friends and/or middle class, often businessmen. Likewise, there were large numbers of poor people there basically for the free food. At the time, I had been reading a lot of John Michael Greer and his prognostications on the re-emergence of feudalism. So, the entire spectacle reminded me of that. It’s partly a difference in national culture, but also because of the where we live and the fact that it’s rural and still a little rough around the edges/undeveloped. So it all seemed much more out in the open. It really did seem like a feudal arrangement, including the local lord redistributing welfare to the peasants.
This evening, when we went to see how the election had turned out, there was a similar feeling. There were a lot of more important people (at the local level) obviously turning up to remind the new lord that they’d backed him. Likewise, there were a lot of people there who were probably getting their best meal all week and also calling in what was owed to them.
I keep joking to my wife that we’d either better get some more business out of this or the new mayor had better run our competitors out of town.
>He was trying to get his mother involved, but the officials wouldn’t let her actually go in and help him, so the guy and his mother had some sort of back and forth, round about conversation that culminated with her telling him to just vote for the guy she had told him to vote for.
Heartbeats over brains. If it can pull a lever, it can vote. Why not let dogs vote?
“moral performance art”
This is fantastic.