Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Anger Meme Percolates

I think Matt Taibbi is on to something here in describing the initial expressions of this massive wave of negative mood as "peasant thinking." I also think it is worth noting that, on occasion, the peasants got a little of their own back, when anger or famine reached a sufficient point.

The peasant mentality lives on in America
by Matt Taibbi
...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.

I doubt we see a Wat Tyler (personal FutureJacked hero for many reasons) any time soon, but I strongly believe that as the delusions get ripped away later this year when the finance markets re-enter their Death Spiral in a Wave 3 downturn, many will be left stunned into inaction and drooling, mindless whining about the "way things used to be" - like many a Southern Man for decades after Appomattox - unable to digest this radically new world we are entering. Others will be left angry, motivated and with nothing to lose.

Many will "drop out" of this corrupt kleptocracy that has overtaken the Republic, as many did in the corrupt, decayed days of Rome. Other will channel their anger and motivation elsewhere.

You do the math on that one.

h/t Fabius Maximus

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