Thursday, October 09, 2008

Banana Republicanism

Actually National Socialists might be a better label for these Bush era kleptocrats who turned their publicly elected Republican government into a grinning, winking whore for big business. That was the National Socialist model.

Big Business with an army attached. Privatized warfare.

Big business that has specially lowered its own taxes to make its life easier while it runs small business out of business. Big business that transcends national boundaries. Big business that has looted America of its middle class jobs with the eager assistance of Republican laissez-faire policy-wonks and faux-conservative economic philosophers. Why employ American breadwinners when foreign children are so much easier to boss around, and so much cheaper?

Conservative? What have they conserved? They threw away everything that had worked during the best half century in American history. They raped the environment and overcooked the climate. They replaced practical systems with pie-in-the-sky, lowered wages and greedily inflated executive bonuses, traded practical regulation for cronyism carried on with winks and closed eyes; they replaced verifiable certainties with empty promises and magical marketplaces complete with fairies and elves. They privatized the profits and socialized the risks. They get, we pay. They eat, we receive the bill. Socialism for the rich; that's what National Socialism was after all.

And what was National Socialism's other name? Oh, yeah: Nazism. Fascism, just like the angry hippies warned us. It was war run for profit and plunder. It was a bandit system, a system run by thieves and bully-boys. (Why is it all the worst crooks have that heavy five-o'clock shadow: Himmler, Speer, Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Nixon, Abramoff. How do we always fail to recognize the crooks?)

Banana Republics were our own pet dictatorships run for American corporations in tropical countries. But this new American Republicanism was foisted on us by the party of Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower and Lincoln. I'm sure they'd never believe it. Neither can I.

Sinclair Lewis was right. ""When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Some patriots. Some Christians.

This present crisis was caused by goons who paid themselves too much for profits squeezed out of workers and customers, and paid themselves still more when the profits turned into losses. Their schemes were backed by promises they had no intention of keeping, secured by assets they didn't own, and funded by debts they didn't plan to pay.

It will be interesting to see whether America has the stomach to place blame, to investigate and prosecute, or whether, as has happened after other recent Republican regimes, crimes are buried, witnesses eliminated, records are burned, tapes erased, memories fogged and winnings quietly invested in overseas banks. Will the culprits be forgiven again? Where would we imprison them all? Maybe we could make cell space available by releasing the political prisoners of the 1960s. These new criminals committed worse crimes than throwing rocks and getting stoned; they lied, invaded, wasted, polluted, killed, spied, defrauded, kidnapped, tortured, disgraced our reputation, stole our national nest egg and mortgaged our children's future. We ought to be a angry about that, and patient enough to see justice done properly this time.


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