Tag Archives: middle class

Decline And Fall: Twilight In America

Decline-and-fall

The historical similarities of Rome’s Decline and Fall with current America are astounding.  You are witness to a collapse of an entire society into ruin.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

So we are repeating the fall of Rome, Greece, Pre-Revolutionary France while giving rise to Mussolini’s Italy, Stalin’s Soviet and Hitler’s Reich, all rolled together into one massive beast.

The following essay by Dr. Clyde Wilson who notes the historical parallels we are living at an exponential level, is truly sobering given the implications.

tatteredglory

Decline and Fall

Clyde Wilson

I am very far from original in noticing similarities in the histories of Rome and America—republics that became empires.  The decline and fall of the former has often been thought to foretell the fate of the latter.  A Frenchman some years ago wrote a fairly convincing book called The Coming Caesars.  Such analogies are interesting and suggestive but should not be put forward too dogmatically.  History does repeat itself because human nature remains the same and because civilized people build institutions that then perpetuate themselves for their own sake rather than for the purpose for which they were established.  Power-seeking, luxury, debauchery, irresponsibility, and sloth are ever present and are held in check only for brief and extraordinary periods by Christianity or patriotism.  Still, the recurrences of past patterns are never exactly the same.  The more intimately one knows a past time, the more cautious one becomes in sweeping generalizations.  All large events, like the fall of Rome or the American war of 1861-65, have multiple “causes”—some deep, and some circumstantial.  Indeed, sweeping generalizations about history by people who don’t know what they are talking about are a major blight on American discourse.

The decline and fall of Rome has been blamed on enervating luxury, moral debauchery, imperial overreach, dilution of the founding stock, multiculturalism, bad economic policy, replacement of citizen soldiers by foreign mercenaries, lead poisoning, and, if you believe Gibbon, Christianity.  Such weaknesses left the empire prey to our “barbaric” ancestors.  Dr. Thomas Fleming is my infallible authority on all things classical, and I defer to and welcome his correction.  But as I read it, one of the observable phenomena in the decline of Rome is that republican institutions were maintained in name when they had been entirely transformed in substance.  The senate continued long after it had lost all power.  It no longer represented the interests of a real society but, like the American Congress today, was an appendage of the emperor.  The fiction was maintained that the emperor was only the first among equals.  And yet, like the American president, he was ranked by many among the gods.

Doesn’t that describe the state that the American government has reached today?  The U.S. Constitution continues to receive lip service, when it has all but ceased to exist.  The Framers and ratifiers of the Constitution would not recognize today’s federal government as having any relation to the instrument they created.  All three branches of the federal government have committed violations of fundamental law that are as bad as Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon.  Obama and his predecessor have ruled essentially as elected emperors who may do anything without any effective opposition.  The Congress has become a rubber stamp of the executive, and the Supreme Court the maker of far-reaching laws.

All that remains is for the emperor to rule for life.  Third World dictators do so, and the widespread adulation of Obama definitely has aspects of Third World leader-worship.  Why can’t Obama be elected again and again?  All it would take is for the Supreme Court to suspend or overrule the constitutional amendment limiting presidents to two terms.  Such a ruling would be no more extreme in reasoning and usurpation than many rulings already made and enforced.  A large majority of Congress would fall down and worship rather than put up an opposition that might make them unpopular or threaten their power and perks.

America today bears many of the characteristics that have been checked off as causes of the decline and fall of Rome.  Bread and circuses (multiple forms of welfare, television, sports), imperial overreach, replacement of the founding population with foreigners, concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands.  Surely, one of the observable clues to Roman decline was the proletarianization of the population.  Indeed, the term prole originates with Rome as a description of the propertyless.  The sturdy yeoman class—attached to land and hearth, household gods, and republican virtue—departed or disappeared into the impoverished, multicultural, and dependent urban mob or imperial wars.  At the same time the wealthy and well placed became ever more wealthy and more lacking in civic character.  You can certainly see here analog to present American reality.  The proletarianization of the upper-middle, middle, and working classes is the most important major trend of our time.  For the first time in American history the promise of the “land of opportunity” has become a bad joke.

One thing about this has puzzled and troubled me.  How could the traditionally wealthy and powerful ruling class of Rome so readily exploit and discard the general mass of their fellow citizens, not in the least regretting their disappearance or understanding the social costs?  Wouldn’t the wealthy and powerful naturally have some fellow feeling, some allegiance to their countrymen of the middle classes with whom they long shared a civic, religious, and military tradition?

I was, as usual, too idealistic and too attached to a dead tradition of a responsible Southern aristocracy of Washington, Jefferson, and Lee.  Observing America today has cured me of such foolishness.  I understand how it happened because I see it happening now.  Our wealthy and powerful class is no less ruthless, selfish, and shortsighted than the Roman.  Wealth is becoming more and more concentrated into fewer hands, and the wealthy are becoming ever less responsible and patriotic and attached to their fellow citizens.  This is decline and fall without a doubt, and nobody even notices or gives a damn.

Please take note, Mr. Lincoln.  Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is indeed perishing from the earth.

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Just One Week In The Unimaginable Destruction By Obama

Obama'sDestruction

The overthrow of American society by the lawless Obama regime is accelerating – and there appears none who can stop it.

With his pen and phone in hand, His Heinous lord Obama is accelerating his MarxoFascist plans to collapse the American Republic into total ruin.  The rise of brutal tyranny is taking place at such a fast pace now, few of us are able to keep up with the DAILY and even HOURLY affronts to the rule of the law and the Constitution by the host of the overlords in Washington.

The federal courts are busy overturning the will of the people and forcing the homosexual agenda on states.  There’s Obama’s FCC about to “police” newsrooms across the country.  There’s Obama’s EPA shutting down electricity plants and and turning off the water in drought-ridden California to save a fish.  There’s the use of the IRS punish Conservative groups and prohibit them from being involved in politics.   There’s the push to give amnesty to illegal Mexican insurgents and then immediately grant them citizenship and voting rights.  The list grows, daily, hourly and it seems will accelerate.

Daniel 7:25 prophesies that a false messiah will wear down the Saints and overcome God’s people for a time.  Truly those standing watch over what His Heinous is doing are getting worn out and tired – because it seems no one cares.

Even the Republican party ADMITS Obama is violating the Constitution – and they say there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

Washington Republicans on Sunday restated their argument that President Obama has violated the Constitution by using executive orders to alter the Affordable Care Act, but acknowledged they likely have no recourse or ability to stop another incident.

There is no civil recourse left us.  For when taking these violations to court, the judiciary asserts that neither The People or Congress “have standing” to challenge Obama’s deliberate violation of law and the Constitution.

Impeachment is an impossibility, so get it out of your mind.  There are myriad egregious violations and crimes that Obama can be impeached and removed from office for if we had representatives with a shred of honor to their oaths.  But alas we have but a few, who are routinely demonized and attacked by their own leadership.   There is no willpower by the Republicans in the House to hold Obama accountable for his violations of office, neither will John Boehner allow such proceedings to take place.   Forget the notion of a conviction in the senate.   The iron fist the Harry Reid would never allow proceedings to make it to his floor.  A snowball stands a better chance surviving on the surface of the sun than an impeachment of Obama.

Meanwhile Americas total collapse and subjugation by MarxoFascists who have perpetrated a coup right under our noses is accelerating.

When tyrants become aware that there is nothing to stop them and their plans can come out of disguise, subjugation becomes an inevitability – history teaches what you are living right now.

To give you a sense of how quickly we are being destroyed, just read this article by Wayne Allen Root who catalogs JUST ONE WEEK of the chaos and destruction Obama has visited upon what remains of the republic.

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One Week Of Unimaginable Destruction By Obama

Have you paid attention to the Obama news of the past week? It’s amazing. It’s mind-boggling. It was a week of unimaginable destruction.

Most people are so busy trying to survive the failing Obama economy, that they have no time to pay attention to the news. That is exactly the plan. Obama and his socialist cabal want you overwhelmed, mentally exhausted and distracted from the truth.

Well if you see it all put down in writing, in one place, it’s frightening and shocking. It’s also clear as day that the cloak is off. Obama is no longer hiding his plans to destroy America. For anyone who isn’t blind, deaf or very dumb, it’s now all out in the open.

The news of this past week proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Obama is accelerating the destruction of America.

Let’s look at the facts:

This week the non-partisan CBO finally reported the truth – Obamacare is the perfect job-killing machine. Millions have already been downsized from full-time to part-time work and now we know from the CBO that an additional 2.3 million jobs will be eliminated. As I predicted from day one, this is exactly what Obamacare was intended to do- destroy the middle class and make us all dependent on government checks to survive.

Obama’s Kool-Aid drinking supporters are so far in the tank that when the CBO courageously pointed out that Obamacare makes it less likely millions of Americans will want to work, they called it “choice.” Obama’s propagandists painted it a wonderful development. But letting middle class wage earners and small businesses pay for all those who want to be freed from the need to work, so they can enjoy their free time and pursue their hobbies isn’t “choice.” It’s theft.

Folks, it is time to stop treading lightly and being politically correct. Let’s call it what it is. This is communism, pure and simple. Anyone who thinks “the American Dream” is to choose to stay home, not work, and collect a government check is reading directly from Karl Marx. Anyone who thinks some people (who vote 100% Democrat) should have a “choice” not to work, by stealing the money of others, is reading directly from “the Communist Manifesto.”

Personally, I think “choice” is great. You can choose to not work anytime you want. But if you need to steal my money to do it, that’s called theft, not choice. Middle class wage earners are being ripped off to pay for free-loaders. That means middle class people are having their “choices” taken away from them. I guess in Obama’s playbook one man’s choice is another man’s slavery.

But, that was only the start of the week. Next Obama illegally re-wrote his own Obamacare law- again.

Mimicking the traits of communist dictators and tin pot tyrants, Obama obviously believes he can change any law he wants, at any given hour, of any given day. One of the main chapters of my book was titled: “America the Banana Republic.” Just this week Charles Krauthammer said what’s happening under Obama “is the stuff you do in a banana republic.” Welcome to the club Charles. It’s nice to see D.C. establishment Republicans are finally seeing the light.

In America it’s a violation of the Constitution for the President to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and decide to make, arbitrarily change, or break laws. This is the behavior of Fidel Castro, or the late tyrant Hugo Chavez.

But wait, it gets far worse. As part of the new illegal Obamacare directive to postpone the law for businesses with 50 to 99 employees, Obama put the IRS in direct control of critical U.S. business decisions. He demanded that businesses must “justify” hiring and firing decisions to the IRS to qualify for the exemption.

Plain and simple, putting government in charge of the decisions of a private business is the very foundation of communism. It is how communist economies like North Korea, Cuba, the old Soviet Union, and East Germany have always been run.

Still, Obama wasn’t done. To show his total disdain for Congress and the American people he unilaterally loosened the rules for citizenship to allow foreigners with only a “minor” connection to terrorism to become citizens. Dennis Miller once said on Monday Night Football, “there is no such thing as a minor groin injury.” Well there is no such thing as a “minor” terrorist either.

Why is our President desperate to open the borders and let in “minor” terrorists? It’s not like we have a surplus of jobs. What is the pressing need in a country with 92 million unemployed working-age Americans? Has corporate America put out an emergency request for “minor” terrorist employees? Or is this how Obama creates instant Democratic voters?

Much along the same lines, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week how “unjust” it is to not allow felons to vote.

No Mr. Attorney General, the only thing “unjust” was the crimes these felons committed. What’s the emergency here? Is there a shortage of Democratic voters? Obama’s game plan is clearly to combine felons with radical Muslim terrorists in order to guarantee Democrat dominance for years to come.

This was just one week in Obama’s America. The evil and terrible news is coming in waves. And it’s all coming from one man. A man no longer hiding the fact that he is a tyrant, dictator, radical Marxist, and hater of America, capitalism and Judeo Christian values.

Why the sudden rush? My educated guess is Obama and his Marxist cabal see the writing on the wall. The disastrous effects of Obamacare are hitting home. Obama can spew all the fancy talk and propaganda he wants, but this time the people are experiencing the devastating effects of Obama’s policies- health insurance policy cancellations, huge price increases, trusted doctors no longer in the network, prescriptions no longer covered, deductibles raised by thousands, and jobs being killed by the millions.

Obama faces a middle class revolt. A GOP landslide like 2010. His internal polls show a disaster headed his way. Knowing Democrats can no longer get elected, or re-elected, Obama has decided to go it alone. Without regard for the law, the Constitution, or the American people, he has obviously decided to do the most damage possible to America during his final three years. He’s finally taken off the mask and shown himself to be the true communist tyrant he is.

Obama no longer cares to hide his radical Marxist ideology. It’s now clear it’s “pedal to the metal” towards the destruction of America.

But folks, this was only one week of damage. We have 3 more years to go. If someone doesn’t stand up to Obama, we aren’t going to make it.

And that is exactly what Obama is betting.

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The Diabolical Success Of ObamaCare

ObamaCareGiggles

Healthcare.gov is no failure when you understand that the ACA was never about health care or providing affordable health insurance.  It is a means to an end. A diabolical end.

The majority of Americans who are rightly disgusted with Obamacare, and point to the millions who have lost their insurance plans and the ridiculous repeated failures of the ObamaCare website, are pointing at what the designers of ObamaCare intended them to see: failure.  To declare ObamaCare a failure is to miss the diabolical success that ObamaCare’s real intent has already accomplished and will accomplish in the very near future.

Already those whom shoved ObamaCare down our throats and promoted it, are now declaring that the reason for it’s “failures” is because it did not go far enough.  They suggest that Obamacare was doomed because government working within a market-system is impossible, and that total government nationalization of the entire health care market was and is the only ‘solution’.

The following essay rant is from a few months ago – but in context of what the goose-stepping MarxoFascists are parroting like trained seals about the need for Single Payer – it is as salient now as ever.

Why Obamacare is a Fantastic Success

By Wayne Allyn Root

There are 2 major political parties in America. I’m a member of the naïve, stupid, and cowardly one. I’m a Republican. How stupid is the GOP? They still don’t get it. I told them 5 years ago, 2 books ago, a national bestseller ago (“The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide”), and in hundreds of articles and commentaries, that Obamacare was never meant to help America, or heal the sick, or lower healthcare costs, or lower the debt, or expand the economy.

The GOP needs to stop calling Obamacare a “trainwreck.” That means it’s a mistake, or accident. That means it’s a gigantic flop, or failure. It’s NOT. This is a brilliant, cynical, and purposeful attempt to damage the U.S. economy, kill jobs, and bring down capitalism. It’s not a failure, it’s Obama’s grand success. It’s not a “trainwreck,” Obamacare is a suicide attack. He wants to hurt us, to bring us to our knees, to capitulate- so we agree under duress to accept big government.

Obama’s hero and mentor was Saul Alinsky- a radical Marxist intent on destroying capitalism. Alinksky’s stated advice was to call the other guy “a terrorist” to hide your own intensions. To scream that the other guy is “ruining America,” while you are the one actually plotting the destruction of America. To claim again and again…in every sentence of every speech…that you are “saving the middle class,” while you are busy wiping out the middle class.

The GOP is so stupid they can’t see it. There are no mistakes here. This is a planned purposeful attack. The tell-tale sign isn’t the disastrous start to Obamacare. Or the devastating effect the new taxes are having on the economy. Or the death of full-time jobs. Or the overwhelming debt. Or the dramatic increases in health insurance rates. Or the 70% of doctors now thinking of retiring- bringing on a healthcare crisis of unimaginable proportions. Forget all that. 

The real sign that this is a purposeful attack upon capitalism is how many Obama administration members and Democratic Congressmen are openly calling Tea Party Republicans and anyone who wants to stop Obamacare “terrorists.” There’s the clue. Even the clueless GOP should be able to see that. They are calling the reasonable people…the patriots…the people who believe in the Constitution…the people who believe exactly what the Founding Fathers believed…the people who want to take power away from corrupt politicians who have put America $17 trillion in debt…terrorists? 

That’s because they are Saul Alinsky-ing the GOP. The people trying to purposely hurt America, capitalism and the middle class…are calling the patriots by a terrible name to fool, confuse and distract the public.

Obamacare is a raving, rollicking, fantastic success. Stop calling it a failure. Here is what it was created to do. It is succeeding on all counts.

#1) Obamacare was intended to bring about the Marxist dream- redistribution of wealth. Rich people, small business owners, and the middle class are being robbed, so that the money can be redistributed to poor people (who vote Democrat). Think about it. If you’re rich or middle class, you now have to pay for your own healthcare costs (at much higher rates) AND 40 million other people’s costs too (through massive tax increases). So you’re stuck paying for both bills. You are left broke. Brilliant.

#2) Obamacare was intended to wipe out the middle class and make them dependent on government. Think about it. Even Obama’s IRS predicts that health insurance for a typical American family by 2016 will be $20,000 per year. But how would middle class Americans pay that bill and have anything left for food or housing or living? People that make $40K, or $50K, or $60K can’t possibly hope to spend $20K on health insurance without becoming homeless. Bingo. That’s how you make middle class people dependent on government. That’s how you make everyone addicted to government checks. Brilliant.

#3) As a bonus, Obamacare is intended to kill every decent paying job in the economy, creating only crummy, crappy part-time jobs. Why? Just to make sure the middle class is trapped, with no way out. Just to make sure no one has the $20,000 per year to pay for health insurance, thereby guaranteeing they become wards of the state. Brilliant.

#4) Obamacare is intended to bankrupt small business, and therefore starve donations to the GOP. Think about it. Do you know a small business owner? I know hundreds of them. Their rates are being doubled, tripled and quadrupled by Obamacare. Guess who writes 75% of the checks to Republican candidates and conservative causes? Small business. Even if a small business owner manages to survive, he or she certainly can’t write a big check to the GOP anymore. Money is the “mother’s milk” of politics. Without donations, a political party ceases to exist. Bingo. That’s the point of Obamacare. Obama is bankrupting his political opposition and drying up donations to the GOP. Brilliant.

#5) Obamacare is intended to make the IRS all-powerful. It adds thousands of new IRS agents. It puts the IRS in charge of overseeing 15% of the U.S. economy. The IRS has the right because of Obamacare to snoop into every aspect of your life, to go into your bank accounts, to fine you, to frighten you, to intimidate you. And Obama and his socialist cabal have access to your deepest medical secrets. By law your doctor has to ask your sexual history. That information is now in the hands of Obama and the IRS to blackmail GOP candidates into either not running, or supporting bigger government, or leaking the info and ruining your campaign. Or have you forgotten the IRS harassed, intimidated and persecuted critics of Obama and conservative groups? Now Obama hands the IRS even more power. Big Brother rules our lives. Brilliant.

#6) Obamacare is intended to unionize 15 million healthcare workers. That produces $15 billion in new union dues. That money goes to fund Democratic candidates and socialist causes- thereby guaranteeing Obama’s friends never lose another election, and Obama’s policies keep ruining capitalism and bankrupting business owners long after he’s out of office.

Message to the GOP: This isn’t a game. This isn’t tiddly-winks. This is a serious, purposeful attempt to highjack America and destroy capitalism. This isn’t a trainwreck. It’s purposeful suicide. It’s not failing, it’s working exactly according to plan. Obama knows what he’s doing. Stop apologizing and start fighting.

Oh and one more thing…Conservatives aren’t “terrorists.” We are patriots and saviors. We represent the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. We are the heroes and good guys. Unless you get all this through your thick skulls, America is lost…forever.

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The Revolution Is At Our Door

ODuce-War

As the American experiment with liberty collapses into tyranny, a very real bloodbath stands in wait

The American War of Independence and the French Revolution.  Two revolutions against state authority and tyranny.  Two completely different outcomes.

Why?

In attempting to answer the question of where his native nation of France went wrong, Alexis DeToqueville summed up in Democracy in America, that America’s greatness could be found in our churches, and that the day America ceased to be good (and moral), she would cease to be great.  He was stating what John Adams himself had declared when he wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other (people)”.

It is not lost on any right-thinking American that our nation has ceased to be a moral or religious nation and has ceased to be good.  MarxoFascists and Leftists have been busy redefining morality and what is good for the better part of five decades, and their cultural revolution has paved the way for their hoped-for Marxist revolution against Capitalism and individual liberty.  Running on the induced self-loathing of America that has been soaked into the minds of public school and college students since the 1960′s, the culture war has been lost to Leftists.  Coupled with a complete brainwashing of Communist/Socialist propaganda by Leftist Teachers and their Communist Unions being taught as the only true morality and fairness, Obama’s army of disgruntled welfare class dependents and media stooges, are openly calling for the deaths of Americans they hate.

At the other end of the spectrum, lovers of our liberty and Constitution see this as a direct threat to freedom.  The actions of the Obama regime and Democrat MarxoFascists in Congress; the impending nullification of the Second Amendment is spurning the exponentially accelerated talk of revolution against the counter-revolutionaries of the Obama-Left.

War it appears, is on our doorstep.

Revolution may sound romantic – but it is anything but.  It often descends into a bloodbath of horrors and terror that end up being waged by those not grounded in religious principles.  It would do us all well to read the following essay by Daniel Greenfield and contemplate what is being stoked among us, and is standing upon our doorsteps.

And This Is Revolution

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

There are a few things worth knowing about revolutions. Most people don’t participate in them, even if the history books often make it seem otherwise. Revolutions are thought up by small groups of people who then make it everyone’s business. Or alternately they don’t. And those are the revolutions that never happen.

Most people, at any given time and place, are dissatisfied with the government and believe, rightly, that whoever is in charge is guilty of stealing from them, oppressing them and making it impossible for them to live their lives in peace. And they also believe that things are not likely to get any better. Hope is a vanishing emotion that dissipates easily in the drudgery of ordinary everyday work. It may be taken out for a spin on historical occasions, but then it goes back into the barn where it sits for a while gathering dust until it is needed again.

There are however some known crossroads of revolution. A successful revolution usually doesn’t happen among the thoroughly repressed. Those people tend to lack the motivation and skills to face down a modern army. When the peasants revolt, they can often be tricked into going home with some false promises and free beer. It worked more often with the serfs in European history than you would think. It’s the middle class that you really have to watch out for.

People are not at their most dangerous when they’re eating bread crusts and hoping that they won’t die tomorrow. By then they’re often broken, perhaps not individually, but as a society. It wasn’t the people on the collective farms who challenged Soviet tanks in Moscow. Nor was it the Chinese farmers, now being bulldozed off their land, sometimes literally, who stood up to the tanks in Tienanmen Square.

The most dangerous people are the ones who have tasted enough freedom and prosperity to want to keep it. They don’t think their leaders are godlike and they have enough education and competence to think the heretical thought that just about anybody could do the same job as the king, the emperor, the czar or the president. They have experience enough upward mobility to understand that a man’s place in the world isn’t fixed. It can and should be changed. And that is what distinguishes them from the serf. That is what makes them so dangerous.

Authority works best when it isn’t challenged. Ceremony, whether it is that of an emperor or any lesser rank, invests authority with mystical force. Peer pressure and social conformity employ horizontal pressures to keep everyone in their place. Secret police and ranks of informers allow the regime to project an illusion of omnipotent force that seems to be everywhere at once. Reigns of terror create examples to intimidate anyone who might think of challenging the regime.

Revolutions strip away these illusions. The secret police run for cover or comically march out with clubs and guns against mobs, and get beaten to a pulp. The neighbor who rats on everyone sits home and stews in front of the television. And then the regime has no choice but to call on the army and hope that it still retains enough control over the officers and that the officers still have enough control over their men to do the bloody work of winning a civil war.

The army test is the acid test of a regime because it exposes the actual level of power of the regime, which relies entirely on its officer corps and its grunts to be willing to shoot people in the street. In Russia, the army proved unwilling to kill a bunch of civilians to protect a coup by their own superiors leading to the end of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communism.

After generations of worldwide terror, the great red beast was reduced to relying on the willingness of a handful of Russian kids in tanks to run over protesters. The kids, who had grown up on Western rock and roll, listening to old men preach about a coming revolution that was already older than the oldest man they had ever seen, while the echoes of capitalist dreams leaked through the Iron Curtain, chose to sit this one out. And Communism died in the streets of Moscow.

But where the Soviet Union fell, the Chinese Communist Party succeeded because they had men who were willing to run over other men with tanks. After all the great debates and posturing, the fate of hundreds of millions of people came down to the same things that all revolutions come down to, not cogent arguments or complex theories, but the willingness of some men to kill other men for a cause.

Communism also died in China. It had to. But the leadership class remained in power and their princes made it into a hereditary dynasty. In Iran, protests were pitted against the guns of the Revolutionary Guard. The regime won, but at the cost of shifting power to the Revolutionary Guard. In Syria, each side escalated, found foreign backers and is fighting a war in which the most ruthless bastards are winning. That is how the Communists ended up winning in Russia, but not after a long bout of murderous warfare in which all sides did horrible things and painted the land red. Any Russian naval officers with a sense of history watching the whole thing happen from a portside cafe are probably remembering how the same thing went down in the land of red snow.

It’s the aspiring middle class that begins revolutions, but when they turn bloody enough, then they usually aren’t the ones who inherit them. An ascending middle class begins revolutions to protect its privileges, only to see those revolutions hijacked by the fanatics, who to be fair, often began them, the lawyers who want to be executioners, the demagogues who fail at everything but street corner tirades and the psychopaths who drift in and then take over.

The American Revolution avoided being overtaken by these types of lunatics, though at times it was a closer thing than anyone realizes. If history had gone a little differently, Aaron Burr could very well have been our Robespierre. And General Lafayette could have been France’s George Washington. Instead the American Revolution stayed in the hands of the people who wanted peace and prosperity, rather than radical social change, and France descended into blood and chaos at the hands of those who thought that revolution was worthless unless it allowed them to completely transform society.

The other kind of revolution, the Bastille kind, has managed to catch up with us. A vast territory and technological revolutions held it at bay for the longest time, but it was the aspiring middle class that eventually allowed itself to be seduced into mortgaging its political power, national integrity and economic freedom to gain an illusory peace and security in the form of a powerful government. And if there to be another revolution against it, it will once again come from the ranks of the middle class.

The American middle class can feel itself sinking. Its prosperity has been stagnating and the jobs are drying up. The educational revolution isn’t doing what it was supposed to, for most, instead it saddled much of the country with even more debt. Debt is the watchword of the present, as it was of France before the Revolution. Everything is in debt and mortgaged to the hilt for everything else. International financial systems have made it possible to spread the pain and bury it in complicated financial transactions and speculation, but that just means the debt is bigger and badder than ever.

The pre-revolutionary middle class can choose between two sets of villains, big government and big business. Both are big, and thus meet the criteria for being worth revolting against, but the choice of villains often comes down to a choice of professions.

The college student who owes insane amounts of money to a complex network of financial institutions for a degree of dubious worth and a credit card whose interest rates are more complicated than the subject she was studying, is likely to sympathize with Occupy Wall Street’s bank baiting. The small businessman who feels like he spends all day filling out forms in order to get other forms to fill out, while seeking his profits being sucked up by the government and its institutions, feels a tug toward the Tea Party.

It’s the anarchist who is closest to the mark when he notes that there really isn’t that much of a distinction between the two. The government bails out the banks with bad money and the banks bail out the government with fake money. Governments and corporations, are run by the same people with the same phony mantra of social justice, that really means showy philanthropy and profitable regs. But then the cynics usually tend to be closer to the mark because faults are easy to find.

The American middle class is caught between two rebellions. One by an urban middle class elite that would like a more closed and regulated society and another by a rural middle class that would like a more open and less regulated society, with the suburbs split in the middle.

Having the cities is not absolutely mandatory for a revolution. The modern American city is a drain that produces very little except bureaucracy and culture. And while the power of those two should not be underestimated, if every major American city were to vanish tomorrow, some of the sciences would be hard hit and the bureaucracy would become decentralized, but most other things would continue on as before.

During the American Revolution holding on to the cities proved next to impossible, because of British naval power and the large concentrations of Loyalists. Even during the Civil War, most Northern cities leaned rather close to the anti-war side. Urban Democrats may lionize Lincoln now, but many of them thought of him, the way that their descendants thought of George W. Bush, as a war criminal with the brain of a monkey who was obsessed with oppressing the common man. Even some liberal Republicans thought of him that way.

But underestimating culture is dangerous. The sort of culture that we have is mostly worthless, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. There is a great distance between Beethoven’s Eroica and Katy Perry singing for Obama, but unlike Beethoven, few modern liberal writers and artists would have the integrity to rip up the title page on learning that their messiah had feet of muck. The Soviet Union fell in part because it lost that sense of cultural momentum, clinging to the Western Canon, while being overwhelmed by the pop trash that now rules Russia. And though it may be trash, cultural innovation creates a sense that we are moving forward. Those on the side of the newest trend seem like they have the answers to the future. Those who aren’t, end up looking like Brezhnev.

Revolutions can be won without that cultural momentum, but it’s harder than ever because culture carries with it that tang of prosperity, that sense that the good times are out there for those who want them. And revolutions tend to fall on the side of prosperity, on the side of an aspiring middle class looking to the future. Culture can be beaten, but it is best beaten with culture. Successful revolutions make their ideas compelling and appealing, not just in words, but in attitudes, in music, in literature and in art. France had Marat and America had the Death of Jane McCrea,

A revolution is part anger and outrage. It is that sense that you are being unfairly treated and that the life you had or could have had is slipping away from you. It is that breath of freedom that you once took and the belief that life on the other side of the wall must be better. It is a narrative, a story that rejects the authority of those in power on moral grounds and on practical ones.

Revolution works best when the authorities are weakened by a transition period, when they were once oppressive, but have been liberalizing, or where they are asserting a new level of authority that the people are not used to. It is in these transition points that revolutions are most effective because the authorities are not ready to cope with them and the people are made bold and desperate by the uncertainty.

Revolutions are not easy, until they begin rolling, and then it seems in retrospect as if they were always inevitable, the way that big things are. It is that explosion of kinetic energy born out of the potential energy of large numbers of people discovering their strength that fills the air with energy. That ionization is what most people associate with freedom, with the inevitable collapse of an old order and the rise of a new order.

At first a few people begin to push against the wall, and then more and more, their numbers growing as wall-pushing suddenly becomes the thing to do, and suddenly the sober men and women who never held with it, who put their faith in protests and petitions, join in. The wall shakes and then it falls.

This is revolution.

 

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