Dark Ages Redux : Trickle Down Feudalism

Doge Enrico Dandolo preaching the Crusade. Gustave Doré (1832-1883) / Wikimedia Commons.

The reincarnation of the Dark Ages:
White evangelicals are the new Crusaders

In place of mote-defended castles surrounded by thatched-roof shanties will be ‘gated communities’ (sporting high-tech surveillance to keep the homeless and servant class out)…

By Loren Adams / December 27, 2009

The king taxed the peasants to poverty while the royals were exempt from paying any. Reason? Unjust tax codes were a design of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. That was the “targeted tax-cut” which invariably became law. “He who hath the gold maketh the rules.”

The Dark Ages were the birthplace of “Trickle-Down Economics.” The caste system was embraced, the church was simply a ruling arm of the monarch, and slavery was legitimatized by the religious righteous.

Republicans constantly decry labor’s “class warfare,” but this is the real war being waged across America. The cultural war is basically a derivative of class warfare — where the ruling class has employed white evangelicals to do their bidding: divide and conquer.

During the Dark Ages, wealth was exclusively inherited, not earned. The legal system was purchased like a commodity resulting in jury-less trials, military tribunals, pronouncements by a king acknowledged as sovereign and commissioned by God to rule as if the voice of Providence Himself, executive orders usurping representation, taxation without representation, etc.

Anyone disputing the monarch’s sovereignty was designated a traitor and summarily executed, tortured or banished to dungeon. These were the markings of the Dark Ages. Are they not similar to contemporary Republicanism so glaringly demonstrated during the Bush years?

America’s founders rejected the monarchical system where its legitimacy hinged on approval by the religious supremes. The “separation of church and state” concept of the new republic was established for that reason. Now we are sliding back into the realm where the head of state rides to power on a religious beast, where any successful candidate must be approved by the predominant religious system to win. Even our beloved Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign felt he must do pilgrimage to Saddleback Church and later pay homage to Pastor Rick Warren at Inaugural.

The Dark Ages were not only dark from plagues, they were darkened from ignorance, superstition and greed. The religious right denied the world was round; anyone disputing this “God-derived” doctrine was executed or imprisoned. Science was equated with Satanism. Thus, discovery, invention, innovation, and commercialism could not flourish, and the West plunged into poverty.

Does America not see the similarity? A religious system that wages war on science, denies climate change, rejects evolution, and edits Texas texts for school children to include praise for Limbaugh, Beck and Palin is a system geared toward destroying not only scientific and environmental thought, but the foundation of economy.

The religious system was USED to gain power for monarchs similar to the way current political operatives USE the religious to further their own aims. In the Middle Ages, the doctrine of the “divine right of kings” precluded civil liberties; the king/queen equaled “divinity.” Potentates (royals) were considered surrogates of God. Power was passed down from father to son — Dynasties divinely ordained by entitlement.

So, when we hear of world leaders or presidents bequeathed the title “Man of God,” watch out. It may not be long before civil liberties and human rights become casualties in the name of national unity and security — and with popular support — the masses duped by superstition. Remember the Bush theocratic dynasty.

History has witnessed its booms and busts (some massage as “cyclical market adjustments”). History repeats itself. We were at the core of an unparalleled economic boom at the close of the Clinton years — measured by purchases, low unemployment and budget surpluses. There were more jobs than people to fill them; illegals streamed across the border. Now we’re in a deep recession as a consequence of buying into Republican Dark-Age mentality.

What caused history’s busts? When capital is concentrated among the wealthiest, history warns of ominous collapse. The bubble bursts. It happened in 1837, 1857, 1884, 1893, 1907 and 1929. In all depressions there was glaring disparity of income: The poor — poorer, the rich — richer.

Prosperity is the result of healthy circulation of currency where the vast majority have robust purchasing power. When wealth fails to circulate but is dammed up by a concentration at the top, the economy falls and results in depression or severe recession. When the rich accumulate an overwhelming portion of the wealth, their house of cards comes tumbling down because there remain few to buy the goods sold by the wealthy to sustain the lifestyle.

Sure, other factors — such as over-speculation, Wall Street insider trading, anti-labor trade agreements, deregulation, and tax policies determined by greedy special interests — drive the economy into the ditch. But are not these all related? The world is loaded down with the cancers of Bernie Madoffs and Kenny Lays before downturn metastasizes itself into poverty, crime and collapse.

Consider this ominous fact: The average American’s income has remained flat since 1977 — 33 years ago, while the income of the richest 1% has more than tripled — 228% (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). CEO (corporate executive officer) incomes rose 400% in the 1990s to $10.6 million annual income per capita, while take-home pay for the average American, the 80%, rose zero percent.

Real life experience bears it out. Most Americans don’t enjoy the purchasing power they once did when a one-income family could raise children, purchase a home, car, and college education for their kids. Now both parents work (if lucky enough to have a job) and still can’t keep up, resulting in less quality education, poor family relations, rising crime, and an eroding moral foundation.

Some in this country never learn from history. The greedy are blinded to the fact that refusing to care for others less fortunate ultimately leads to their own demise. The underlying truth may be that these tightfisted characters are not so much concerned about accumulating wealth as widening the gap. Yes, they delight in seeing the difference. Class consciousness means more to them than money in the bank. Thus, the motive defines the power struggle.

Thom Hartmann’s depiction of America’s economic and educational decline is accurate.

The political will of the radical right is more stubborn than ever. Not only do they want to defeat health care reform, they want to rid the country of any safety-net, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and any other “socialist” program. It’s all “socialism” or “communism” to them. . . “un-American.”

They hide their greed behind such noble causes as “individualism,” “patriotism,” “character and family values” and “national security,” but all the while their ultimate aim is the same. Proudly they wave the flag and claim to be the lead standard bearers for patriotism; all the while we recall they’re missing in action when it really counts; wealthy family ties shield them from risk. Only the rich initiate wars, mostly the poor fight them. The double standard of justice comes from obscene wealth. Principles can be compromised at a price. And so can religion, their primary weapon of choice.

In similar manner, they buy off religious organizations and congressmen, hire the best lobbyists, and manipulate enough voters through the religious system to change laws for their benefit. Their aim? To further concentrate the wealth and leave the rest of the country destitute if need be. Their “compassionate conservatism” is hypocrisy cloaked in a sound bite.

In future years it will be written that the real enemy of our times was not communism or socialism (as many Tea-Baggers scream), but rather the re-emergence of a form of feudalism in alliance with theocracy, or what The Family (“C-Street”) calls “Dominionism.” The Handmaid’s Tale was not too far off.

In place of mote-defended castles surrounded by thatched-roof shanties will be “gated communities” (sporting high-tech surveillance to keep the homeless and servant class out) surrounded by metal trailer shanties housing 21st Century serfs. Recall “Hoovervilles”? The new shanty-towns should be aptly named “Bushvilles.” We’ve come a long way in 1,200 years or so.

Source / TPJ Magazine

Thanks to Roger Baker / The Rag Blog

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9 Responses to Dark Ages Redux : Trickle Down Feudalism

  1. Anonymous says:

    And with the dark ages will come an erasing of the memory of what democracy once was; of the freedoms lost. We will forget how to grow our own food, forge our own implements; lose our literature,our music, our vision. Dark indeed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We took our place astride the Earth, took the place for all its worth, impoverishing the world free-traded, cause feudalism was underrated, and not nearly as well-remunerated as guzzling belching satiated American Incorporated.

  3. Gedaliya says:

    When did we have this democracy? When did it disappear?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Provocative question, Gedaliya, if not merely a rhetorical one. Not sure there’s a really good or accurate answer possible, other than one based on relativity – of an earlier relatively democratic government power versus the outright anti-democratic oligarchic corporatocracy’s super-enhanced power preceding even the advent of the Cold War.

    Yet this does not mean that greater and more effective democratic institutions cannot be built, rebuilt, and reengineered. The relevance of past relative democracy, and even current democracy’s back-seat status, to future governance is the lessons that are learned and actions taken from those lessons to improve what was and is.

    Nihilism and futility are never the answer. Resistance is not futile. The only thing futile is to think that nothing good can come from efforts at democratization. The tear-it-all-down formula has never worked, nor can it. Only chaos results, which is always worse than present stasis.

    An intelligent patience and determined hard work – and their persistence – are the answer.

  5. The author is either clueless or intentionally misleading. Both perhaps.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Clueless.” “Intentionally misleading.” “Both perhaps”.

    Very astute and perceptive. Comment must’ve been written while looking directly into a mirror.

    Someone should inform the projectionist.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “The Family” by Jeff Sharlet is a must read. It addresses this very issue, where the elite are courted and told they were chosen by God, Hitler and Mao are praised by told that they erred because they should have made absolute power about Jesus not themselves. And the kicker, the social teachings of Jesus are shunned and the poor can just pray for salvation.

    Sounds like dark ages to me. I also wonder if CEO of Goldman Sachs who told a gathering in London that he was doing “gods work” is a member of The Family?

  8. While feudal lords may have been exempt from taxes, today’s wealthy are in the exact opposite position. The wealthiest 1% pay 40% of all federal individual income taxes. That is a 10% growth since 2004 in taxes paid by this group. The top 5% paid 61%. A full 47% of US workers pay NO income tax at all. Hardly sounds like the fairy tale “Trickle-Down Economics” the author is pitching.

    The vast religious conspiracy that the author refers to is nothing more than preservation of historical norms. Like it or not, America is a center right country and the vast majority of Americans are people of faith in God, primarily Christians. When politicians run, especially for high office, Americans expect to examine their faith and beliefs. This is hardly a conspiracy. Any political candidate who holds beliefs far outside the norm of their constituents runs the risk of being rejected.

    As far as religion waging war on climate change. You must be kidding. Climate change happens, no one disputes that. Mans effect on the climate is up for debate, and the fact that so called climate experts have been playing fast and loose with the facts only serves to create even more doubt about AGW.

    You guys go on back to your parents basement, hold hands in a circle and channel some more dark conspiracies to get all worked up about.

  9. Glycotech says:

    The Rag on paper had a great story on the Dark Ages, and the burning of the witches, or Wise Women, who objected to this concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
    The results were the plagues, as cats were burned along with the women, and rats flourished.
    Also lost was the knowledge of healing held by the Wise Women in trust from the knowledge of thousands of years. Leaving us to try to recreate it from chemicals and capital, the FDA, representing the ruling class not allowing any natural herb to be compared to its beloved chemicals.

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