It’s been most unsettling, over the last month or so, watching as the ship of state powers straight towards the reefs of financial meltdown, while the Dems and Pubs – establishment ruling class, with just about every one of them grubbing snout deep in the trough – do nothing much but squabble over the arrangement of the deck chairs, and figure out how to be the first one into the purser’s office to loot the safe. And if that wasn’t bad enough to put a dent in my enjoyment of the season: the Newton massacre of school children, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the murders in my own neighborhood, the fact that a basically decent and widely experienced candidate could be defeated in a national election by a legislatively untalented and inexperienced machine hack … all of this was depressing in itself. And don’t get me started on the State Department and the Mysteries of Benghazi. But when a credentialed spawn of academia is given op-ed space in the so-called paper of record to call for deep-sixing the Constitution as an outdated and discredited piece of paper, network television personalities can hector and abuse interviewees with regard to the Second Amendment of same, and an editorialist in a mid-western newspaper (who may be exaggerating for humorous effect, not that he would have a micro-speck slack cut for him if he were a conservative ripping on progressives by name) can call for the torture and execution of those not in agreement on a particular matter, and some fairly senior military commanders can be abruptly side-lined and discredited for playing hide-the-salami (or being assumed to have been playing hide the salami) with a woman not their spouse … well, really, one has to wonder what has been happening here. The ‘othering’ proceeds at a perfectly dismaying rate of speed, with mainstream media and assorted celebs cheerleading from front and center.

Frankly, I don’t know all the ins and outs of all of these matters. All I know is what I read on the internet in fairly centrist and non-gibbering news aggregators like this one. But these incidents give me cause for worry, and just the other day I hit on a simile which helped me make sense of it, after a fashion. It’s as if a fairly large nation-wide corporation was suddenly taken over by organized crime; the mission and purpose of the company and all of its resources were suddenly diverted by a small number of corporate managers and division chiefs at the top and directed instead towards criminal enterprises. Suddenly, all the old rules and understandings – even the same old trust between employees and the management cadre – are no longer to be relied upon.

Oh, there had always been small peculations here and there; local purchases and contracts going towards friends and family of management, pencils, envelopes and notepads diverted towards private use, company car used for personal errands, and the occasional incompetent employee tolerated because he or she is related to a major shareholder. All of this relatively minor misconduct has had a blind eye turned towards it for decades … but suddenly there is something new and malign stalking the corridors of company headquarters. The top management cadre openly flouts the rules, promotes to corner offices those with little experience, but who seem to get off on going over the top, reveling in openly breaking long-standing rules – and even civil laws of the land – and flaunting their authority. Long-time managers who won’t get with the new program are browbeaten and humiliated into retiring; lower-ranking employees are merely browbeaten and silently hate their bosses and what they are made to do for a paycheck. Those who can afford to change jobs or cash in their 401K do so with quiet regret. They don’t like what’s going on and don’t want to be a part of it, the company stockholders are as distraught as they are powerless. The rot seeps gradually through every division, every regional department. Customers are ignored where they are not abused outright. Trust is gone, suspicion is everywhere; clients and employees of the company are fleeing in droves since now the mission of the company is the aggrandizement of the executive branch rather than service to customers and profit/benefit to the shareholders.
And that’s how it all stands. Discuss.

19 thoughts on “Metropolis”

  1. Good analogy, but I think it’s worse than that. To make it closer…the clique running the corporation all graduated from a particularly nasty business school, in which they learned (1) a highly theoretical approach to business, and (b) a strong feeling of contempt for the non-graduates who are working for them.

    Both these attributes are of course not totally unknown among certain graduates of real business schools. But another feature of OUR ruling clique is the strong feeling of bitterness and resentment they have, which cannot be mollified regardless of how much wealth and power they accumulate.

  2. “When the leaders are corrupt, the people become restless”- Lao Tze or Chuang Tzu. I can’t remember who. I think this started with the Clintons, or perhaps I just started to see things differently as I was in my 40s.
    Anyway, the landslide of selfish disregard for others has yet to hit the village at the bottom of the hill. As was remarked a few years ago about our coming economic woes, “It’s gonna be a rough one.”

  3. And I could have gone on for another paragraph how naked and unashamed the scummy behavior on display is – and yet the supposed free press just looks away. Too busy down on their knees licking the boots, I guess.

    I feel so sorry now for current federal employees who are ethical and patriotic – especially the military. What can they do, against a tide of criminality? Not everyone can afford to quit outright, but what would be asked of you as a price for keeping your job?

    Now I think we are beginning to know exctly how anti-Hitler Germans felt, during the early 1930s.

  4. At the least, a lot of people are learning how many Chicago municipal employees feel.

    I knew someone in the ’90s, a lawyer, who worked for a while for the City of Chicago’s law department. She quit because her superiors and coworkers repeatedly pressed her to do things that were partisan, unethical or both. She was fortunate to have other employment options. Many people in that kind of situation don’t.

  5. Jonathon-Your friend may take solace in the under-funded government pension crisis. All those flunkies and their unions put the liars in office who have shorted them through the years, and are stiffing them now. They didn’t care when everyone else was getting screwed, but whine and moan because the crooks they supported are now screwing them. “What goes around comes around.”-Meher Baba or Baba O’Riley, I can’t remember who.

  6. Quite a bit of straw but really what you are missing is that you are the ‘others’ now. Most Americans who vote do not hold your views, you are the minority now.

  7. Our government: Because they can’t fix it. The prevailing political realities of the United States do not allow for any meaningful course correction. And, without meaningful course correction, the government has no future. America is a different matter.

  8. @SGT Mom,

    “Now I think we are beginning to know exctly how anti-Hitler Germans felt, during the early 1930s.”

    Why Madam where is your martial spirit? I would counter that no, we know how Der Volk felt during Weimar. I also think that’s much more accurate.

    I am hearing this a lot lately and am going to term it Desperationem Reduci ad Nazium. or perhaps Reducere omnia ad Denethor.

    You should be careful comparing this bunch of bankrupt Meregovians to the Nazis – also evil but in every way their betters. An actual Nazi might hear it and take umbrage.

    America will survive and I predict intact in some form. You are merely watching the collapse of the USSR redux here..but buck up. It’s not just that they’re bankrupt and manifestly corrupt. They’re also incompetent. They are arrogant not because of achievement or riding high on conquest. It’s because they’re cocky punks who’ve never been punched in the face. And this [cough] man is perfectly representative of his class.

    You see in the struggle and trial they are thoughtlessly hurling us into men have to have experience and reserves to draw on. They have none.

    As to shyster Seidman who professes mere parchment – I feel confident in saying he’d better get his own Army. The one they have takes oaths rather seriously.

  9. It’s actually rather like watching the cast of Glee pretend to be the Pre-War South. The Confederacy *they are not*. They can and do and will provoke. They have no way to face what they are setting in motion.

  10. Oh Dear. Pengun millions of voters staying home because they have no representation is not ultimately a good thing for “your” side. Not in the United States. You see a coalition of the desperate, the bribed, the degenerate and those animated by racial animus towards the *70%* – all of them bought with inflated script is rather a shaky foundation to build on.

    In the United States you see when people know their vote is meaningless it’s usually not the end of the matter. Rather the beginning of another matter entirely.

    Do by the way continue to taunt and provoke us. It’s profitless to you even if you were correct, but useful to our side.

  11. }}} Too busy down on their knees licking the boots, I guess.

    Hrm. On their knees, yes… but I don’t think it’s boots they’re licking.

    Jus’ Sayin’…

  12. }}} Quite the beta, aren’t you, Pengun.

    I think more like a flat out Zed.

  13. }}} In the United States you see when people know their vote is meaningless it’s usually not the end of the matter. Rather the beginning of another matter entirely.

    Yeah, he still doesn’t grasp the significance of HIS side not having any guns.

  14. Not a bad analogy at all. Somewhat complicated by the fact that what passes for an “Opposition” party today is not exactly that. Their cupidity is only surpassed by their greed and venality. Old orders are breaking down pretty thoroughly. My family changed voter registration to unaffiliated on the 2nd in response to the Speaker of the House passing Democrat bills over the objection of the mass of the Republicans. In my small town, and with literally decades of partisan activity, it caused no small stir in the County Clerk’s Office.

    Hard times are coming. We have talked about some of the cautionary measures you are taking. It would be a good thing to accelerate them. I would also recommend that if you hear that the latest scheme, the “Trillion Dollar Coin” is being seriously pursued, that conversion of all available dollar or credit assets into tangible goods be considered. Hyperinflation will be kicking down the door soon.

    Since you live in an urban area [San Antonio area I understand], I would recommend that if your personal space is not defensible, and if you do not have like minds around you, that you consider finding a fallback position with a lower population density.

    As far as

    VSSC Says:
    January 4th, 2013 at 5:30 pm :

    In the United States you see when people know their vote is meaningless it’s usually not the end of the matter. Rather the beginning of another matter entirely.

    He speaks the truth. “Beware the wrath of a patient man.”

    A whole bunch of people have sworn the same Oath you have. I never heard of an expiration date on it.

    Subotai Bahadur

  15. Sadly, there’s nothing surprising in what you observe, Sgt. Mom, and certainly no “suddenly” about it.

    We are experiencing the tipping point that occurs in all societies if and when citizens allow it to. Anything that isn’t constantly repaired and improved eventually falls apart on its own, often catastrophically. The only thing unique about our current predicament is the enormous amount of cultural and political momentum that the United States had that has allowed us to keep coasting for so long.

    Now that we’re finally coming to a stop, I fear we’re going to discover that a lot of things are even more broken than we thought. It may take a long time to get moving again. A lot of parts that could have been kept serviceable with a timely oil change will now need to be discarded and replaced. A lot of the self-trained “mechanics” who helped get us into this mess may try to insert themselves into the repair process.

    And those of us who want to get anywhere in the meantime are going to have to get out and push.

    (I still hope that Lex is right and I’m wrong, however.)

  16. I hope Lex is right, too, Setbit. But you know what they say; “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
    VSSC, perhaps the current administration are like Glee-sters pretending to be something more dangerous than they can possibly comprehend, and when stuff starts shaking loose they will collapse like a souffle, but until then, they can do a lot of damage, and that is something that I am dreading. But despair is also a sin, and sometimes I think of a certain Old Testament verse, from 1 Kings.

    “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

  17. What has happened is that the USA now has a Ruling Class. People in this class make the rules everyone else must live by.

    Both Democrat and Republican office-holders can be members of this class. Also most bureaucrats are members. So are most law enforcement people. Membership means that the member makes the rules that non-members must live by. Members of the Ruling Class are exempt from the rules. Former office holders snd government employees might retain their membership either through family ties or as lobbyists.

    Every member of the press feels they should be members of the ruling class and they all try to protect the Ruling Class from bad publicity. But only a few members of the press are exempt from the rules that governs the rest of us.

    Besides the Ruling class (whose name must never be spoken out louud) there are 2 other classes. One is the Middle Class which is below the Ruling Class. I don’t know what the third class is – but there must be a third otherwise how can there be a Middle Class.

    This is what Obama the Terrible has wrought.

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