Watching the enemy within

Dear son,

We've heard absolute power corrupts absolutely so many times that we're sick of hearing it; and like all the other truths we've heard so much that we ignore them, Republicans are terrible at applying it.  They believe that somewhere or some time on this planet a man held absolute power and because he was all-powerful he was all-rotten; and that when we find a man who has absolute power again we'll find another one like him -- a ruthless emperor, or maybe a Machiavellian pope.  In fact we don't need to look so hard, and what we find is that if absolute power corrupts absolutely, moderate degrees of power are capable of corrupting moderately.  The fact that we're now uncovering a massive conspiracy of perverts and rapists in Hollywood is proof that unlike what Republicans believed, social and economic power are nearly as dangerous to women as any sultanate.

Republicans of course are geared to ignore this.  What Republicans place their faith in many times more than God Himself is the market; and if capitalism means anything, it's the idea that the wealth and greatness of a nation is due not only to just laws and a good culture, but to some of us getting a lot richer than others.  Inequality to us isn't the scourge but the blessing of society.  The idea of modern society getting along without immense and private concentrations of capital is as ridiculous as it getting along without power lines or good roads.  Rich men amass wealth and they use the wealth to dig things out of the earth and make cars.  The communists even said they'd get rid of capitalists and they didn't.  All they could do was to change capital's hands from talented producers to professional pirates -- and we're all aware of how that turned out*.

This of course puts us in a difficult position.  On the one hand we believe that an excess of power turns men into monsters.  On the other hand we believe that an excess of wealth got us out of the dung hill.  The solution is easy to say and difficult to follow.  We have to allow talented men to amass wealth until we believe it's a danger to our safety and ruining the republic**; and on the other hand we have to allow them to not only build this excess wealth, but believe they can build more, while trying to keep them accountable to law***.

But what Democrats prove about Hollywood is that even the people who are against rich people are bad at watching rich people.  Whenever a man does us a benefit we're more likely to ignore his faults; and the bigger the benefit he gives us the more things we're likely to forgive.   And we weigh his pros and cons and we find that we're willing pass over the most egregious offenses if we think we can get something out of it.  And so the Democrats, believing with their whole hearts that these Hollywood elitists and their Hollywood values were building a better America, were quick to turn the other way when women and children were getting molested.  Private tragedies were permitted for private gains.  Private people were ruined for the sake of the public's advancement.

It seems barbaric but this is humanity.  What the Democrats prove about power is that, unless you're being invaded by a foreign power, the powerful man you have to worry about is probably your man.  He's the man everyone on your side agrees with on some cause and needs something from, and thus whom it is difficult and dangerous to challenge.  The Democrats are easy for us to expose because we get nothing out of them.  We can criticize them for cowardice and laugh at their actresses for wanting a job more than their own dignity or the safety of other actresses.  But the truth is that none of us were in their shoes and none of us had anything to expect from Weinstein.  But we had less to expect from our priests and we can see where that got us.  To our shame the liberals had to out our priests for us.  The reason that wolf was dressed like a sheep is because if he was dressed like a Hollywood producer the Catholics would have seen him coming.

The Democrats do see some people coming and that's why we need Democrats.  An enemy sees things you won't because he wants to see what you dread.  He may not always be honest.  He may not always be rational or fair.  But the fact that he's watching for bad Republicans and constantly trying to out them makes him in certain cases more useful than Republicans.  Christians and Republicans for years had been saying that Hollywood was infested with perverts and the Democrats didn't believe it, and those who believed it wouldn't admit it.  Thus the question for us isn't whether Democrats have any dirt on us.  We know that some Republicans have to be lechers and swindlers and traitors and sellouts.  The question is that if they found dirt, would we believe it?  And if we believed it and the guilty man was somebody we relied on, would we be interested in doing anything about it?

Your father,

*Orlando Figes notes in A People's Tragedy that shortly after taking power, the Bolshevik leaders took over the most lavish hotels and filled them with caviar and champagne and all the best prostitutes.  Outside these hotels, of course, the public was starving to death; and the death squads roamed the countryside looking for loot, and the loot was concentrated in the hands of the few.  The idea was simple: keep the base happy and you keep the country.  Everyone else, the people who could be prodded into obedience and production, were kept in line at the end of a bayonet.  The party officials and lemmings were swimming in luxury and directing production.  They became the new capitalists in the midst of their "communism."  Everyone else was on the verge of extinction.

One thing that's missed about the Revolution is that the factory workers threw their lot in with the Bolsheviks because of bad factory conditions; but what they found in the end was that these factory conditions, miserable as they were, only existed because they were bad.  About 40% of all their factories were owned by the Germans and such; and while the workers were clamoring for better wages and conditions, the leaders of Czarist Russia were terrified that improvements would drive the investors out.  So they didn't do anything to improve anything, and the Bolsheviks came in and nationalized the factories, and the means of production was taken from men who were good at masterminding production and put into the hands of men who were good at stealing it.  The end of all this is obvious to a twelve-year-old.  The workers voted themselves ridiculous wages and benefits.  The production fell to pieces.  The workers who seized the factories starved and the Bolsheviks became rich; capital wasn't defeated but transferred to men more terrible than the Germans; and Russia fell into an era of madness and murder.

**While the concept of anyone legitimately acquiring too much wealth is difficult for Americans to imagine, they will believe it as soon as a man owns all of our land, or has all of us in debt, or flaunts the law too obviously.  Ancient history is rife with men who ended up owning men through usury and a monopoly on land; and the idea that any of us can amass wealth infinitely is backed only by the patience of the proletariat.

***The Apostle James asks Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?  Democratic capitalism, at its core, happened the moment we really realized this, turned our guns on our rich men, and made them work instead of fleecing us for nothing.  The beauty of capitalism is that you can only stay rich if you have something to offer.  It means that rich people who were really good at robbing poor people had to start thinking of things to be selling us.

The purpose of money is to exchange hands.  In a world without forceful redistribution, if you don't have a talent for making it you have a talent for losing it.  You either make something yourself or fund someone who can.  Meritocracy, the idea that you can earn something and be worth something to somebody other than yourself, is the foundation of all liberty.  The men who are against meritocracy want something for nothing; and regardless of their poverty, mimic the worst aspects of our dead and buried aristocracy.

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