Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Peasant Mentality

I had been searching for a name for what appears to me to be some sort of psychiatric disorder: the aggressively siding with, the championing the cause of, groups or individuals who are blatantly screwing you, your family, your people over. In the past, I subscribed to the theory that these middle and lower class dreamers saw themselves as potential lottery winners, or brilliant inventors who would one day, one day in the distant future, become rich as Croesus themselves.

I might have been wrong. I do believe that these people who see themselves rolling around in a bed of cash, and are simply preparing for that day by shielding the ultra-rich exist. I just now see them as a minority compared to these folks: the Peasants.

Matt Taibbi, discussing the ridiculous Teabag mini-movement, gave me this lightbulb moment.

" But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated."

Hear this, Teabagging Peasants and Reagan Democrat sympathizers: the richest 1% of society does not give a flying fuck about you. Does not mingle with you, does not share any of your concerns, in fact, does not even notice you unless your strikes shut down their factories, or you come banging at their chateau gates with battering rams, while holding torches. These are people whose ancestors saw slavery and child labor as good business. Anyone recall what Scrooge had to say about workhouses? Know what they were?

Stupidest protests ever.

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