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Paul Ryan & Company: radical pacifists

September 21, 2011

Paul Ryan and company are turning out to be radical pacifists in their hatred of war.  Of course there are good wars and bad wars.  The good wars are the traditional kind with guns, soldiers, and bombs –  ventures like World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, etc.  They’re patriotic, noble, fun, and downright profitable.  Their pacifism is in no way directed against these; it’s directed solely against the really bad wars – the Class Wars.

These radical opponents of Class Warfare seem to have no fear of returning us to the wars of the traditional kind and they consistently support military buildups and aggressive postures throughout the world, from the middle east to China to everywhere else.  What they fear is a return to the horrible Class War that began in the 1930’s and ran through much of the 1970’s.  That period, while providing the biggest gains in widespread living standards ever witnessed, led to dramatic reductions in power for the ownership class and incremental tax rates in the United States as high as 91%.  All of the important bedrock safety net programs in the US were instituted during this dark horrible time of Class Warfare while social democracy flourished in Europe and beyond.  It was perhaps the highest summit of democracy yet achieved in human history.

The ownership class largely defeated these forces of Class Warfare beginning in the late 1970’s and has regained most of its pre-1930 power, income, and wealth.  Like past empires, they now seek to maintain and institutionalize their hegemonic hold on power and want a Class Peace based on their terms.

I think it’s useful to bring back a chart from a previous post to highlight not only the dramatic strength and power of the ownership class but to illustrate why they live in such fear of Class Warfare.  A picture’s worth a thousand words, as they say.

(Data obtained from this highly recommended site but presented differently.)

From → Population, Risks

One Comment
  1. Clonal Antibody permalink

    You might also like some of Dan Ariely’s work on inequality, actual, perceived, and ideal

    Perform the following thought experiment. Remove yourself for a moment from your present socioeconomic circumstances and imagine that you are to be replaced randomly into society at any class level.

    Now, before you know your particular place in society you are told that it is within your powers to redistribute the wealth of that society in any way that you choose. What distribution would you choose? This famous thought experiment is the basis of political philosopher John Rawls, as outlined in his highly influential 1971 work, “A Theory Of Justice,” in which he argues that the lowest class should be made as well off as possible. But this of course assumes that we all come to the same conclusion when we perform the thought experiment ourselves. To test this, Mike Norton and I recently conducted a study in which we asked Americans to first guess at the distribution of wealth in the United States, and then we asked them to perform the thought experiment and lay out what they think would be the ideal distribution of wealth if they were to enter society and be placed randomly in a class.

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