Atlantis Alumni

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Photo: a shop in Naples

Paul Krugman sums up the modern Republican Party ideology:

...the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

It's not just the Republicans who feel that the government has no appropriate role in helping the poor, it's ingrained in the American psyche. This notion of everyone for themselves stems way back to the "rugged individualism" ethic of the pioneers, settlers, and the social Darwinists of the nineteenth century. It's nothing new.

What we've seen in the past 100 or so years were attempts to have government address the abuses, inequalities and horrors thrust upon children, the poor, and the sick that were the black side of the industrial revolution, and the ascendancy of the American ultra wealthy aristocracy on the backs of working people. Laws passed as a result of the the Progressive movement and the rise of trade unionism, the institution of the income tax, and FDR's New Deal, particularly Social Security, mark an expanded role of government. It is this expansion in the role of government that the American wealthy aristocracy and their Republican Party champions hate and which they seek to destroy. Ronald Reagan is their great patron saint. Cut taxes, cut services to the most needy, and let the chips fall where they may. This is modern day Social Darwinism.

Yet where are the voices of those who know better, who know their history, those who favor social justice? It seems as though most politicians are climbing on the same bandwagon. Rumor has it that Obama will propose cutting Social Security in his 2011 State of the Union address, his way of continuing to "work with Republicans" as he did when he agreed to their demands to extend the Bush era tax cuts to the ultra wealthy.

We're eating our own. It's end of empire time. Let them eat cake.

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