Saturday, January 28, 2017

Who's surprised?

It's been a while.  So much has been going on, so much has happened, so much of it positively depressing and angering at the same time, that it has been hard if not impossible to focus the anger.
And frustration.  But what I wonder about is why anyone is even surprised that our country is descending into fascism.

There are a couple of different threads to this story, feeding into each other, reinforcing each other.  Perhaps the most immediate is our (US) national obsession with "business," and "businessmen" (face it, it's mostly men, and the women involved are honorary men).  Success in "business" is the Holy Quest of our land and has been pretty much since the beginning.  It almost seems not to matter whether the "business" succeeds or fails, the Quest is the thing.  And the people (mostly men) are the priest/leaders of this quest. They are the Holy Ones, successful or not, because they went on the Quest.  Trump is one.  Holy, untouchable, simply for having made the Pilgrimage.  Even as a failure most of the time, still able to command others to value his opinions, perverted and destructive as they might be for the rest of us.

There is another thread, and that has to do with the nature of "business" as it has developed over the last few centuries.  "Business" as we mostly know it grew out of the incomprehensibly vast profits created by the European imposition of predatory capitalism on both the New World and Africa beginning (roughly) in the 16th century.  West Africans were transported to the parts of the New World (the West Indies, Brazil and other parts of South America, parts of Middle America, and southern portions of North America) to labor without pay in the service of this predatory capitalism.  They worked mostly on plantations, growing and harvesting sugar cane (itself brought from the Old World) and processing it into sugar, rum, and molasses.  They grew other things too (tobacco, rice, indigo, cotton, etc.) but it was the immense wealth built by Sugar that fueled both the growth of global capitalism and the Industrial Revolution.

And as this happened, the plantation, and especially the slave-based plantations, among the earliest large-scale factories, became the working model for the "business corporation."  Power and authority flow from the top down, and all below serve the Masters.  Everything in the societies based on this system is subordinate to this essentially fascist structure, and many "third-world" problems remain in the places where it flourished.  The social structure of the southern US, the Old Confederacy, is still riddled with the rotting remnants of this system.

So, is it surprising, really, that a "businessman" who grew up comfortable with this type of predatory, fascist way of making a living would display the pro-fascist leanings our new president displays?  Couple this with his severe personality disorders, which apparently may include something called "malignant narcissism," and we are in trouble.  If there are any adults left in Washington I hope they can get rid of him very soon.