Tuesday, October 8, 2013

4/4 The GOP Billionaires: Dr. Freud Will See You Now

"So, we been a little crazy... have we? Well, Dr. Freud is not available, 
but MeanMesa can see you."

The Types and Character of Republican Billionaires

Having "set to flight" all these unexamined misperceptions about the players afoot in this grisly game, we can enjoy much more clarity when we seek out the "kernel" of those concocting this anti-democracy mischief.  Further, before we indict ourselves as "negligently inattentive" or out rightly naive, we might find mitigating comfort from remembering that the deception was designed by experts, sold out psychologists, with a formidable "expertise" at manipulation far more sophisticated than their lesser peers charged with selling us new cars or more expensive tooth paste.

So, let's look squarely at the billionaires.

We can quite comfortably divide the denizens of this remarkably small, moneyed demography into four, more or less, specifically defined groups.  Because this post targets primarily only the last three, we can dispatch the remaining category as a population of plutocrats which has little to do with the "present problems,"  that is, as plutocrats retaining the fundamentals of more or less "normal" human values in spite of their great wealth and accustomed privilege.

We can easily cite examples of this relatively rational, philanthropic and occasionally progressive group: John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, [Republican] Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Andrew Carnegie and so on.

However, this "values" business is relevant mainly because of an interesting commonality which runs through all the categories we will mention.  The "commonality?"

In modern cases almost all of these fortunes were inherited by their current owners.  This means that the billionaires in this discussion essentially lack the human experience of ever worked a single shift for an actual wage.

Of course, there are exceptions.  A few have "clawed" their way to top as inventors or entrepreneurs [i.e. Gates, Tesla or Zuckerberg], manipulators of public money  [i.e. Cheney], bankruptcy vultures [i.e. Romney -- although he emerged from a very wealthy family], hedge fund magnates [too numerous for examples] or simply opportunistic corporate CEO's who "never quit" after penetrating the "economic force field" of the Country Club class.  More than a few of the current crop accumulated the "seed money" of their fortune by marrying it [without a pre-nuptial divestiture contract...].

On the other hand the modern economic "genetic nobility" such as the Koch brothers inherited billions of "old money" and pursued every opportunity attached to that good fortune since then.  Politically active billionaires such as the Walton family, while only one generation removed from a modest poverty, apparently developed the characteristic avarice in childhood.

MeanMesa presumes to attribute a general definition to the dream to these "starters" of the now massive, oligarchic dynasties.  Those sturdy, "all work, no play" capitalists at the historical roots of these fortunes dreamed of creating wealth so great that:

1. it would be perpetually self-expanding, permanently dynastic;
2. it would be largely immune from even the most disruptive economic "turns of events;"
3. it would elevate generations of future progeny to such a rich state as to embellish the family name; and,
4. it would create influence through which the "ideology of the founder" could continue to shape and direct social history.

Naturally, the "ideologies of the founders" of these financial "megaliths" of "free enterprise" -- at least when compared to the ideologies of their modern trust fund idiot progeny -- leaves something to be desired.  Ideas which may or may not have actually driven these suspiciously successful ancestors have long ago succumbed to the pathological avarice of their off spring now stalking among us.

The choices of applicable cultural fantasies is, actually, as limited as the dryly ossified social values of these "billionaires by birth."  The model of the brutal, pre-civil war Southern plantation owners clearly has an enduring appeal, but the violent largess of the viciously pragmatic robber barons of America's monopolistic era is a strong competitor

We see a disturbing allocation of habits corresponding to the psychology of the three remaining types of billionaires presently financing the remnants of a failed Republican Party.  MeanMesa will attempt to "rough out" this picture with a few [3] carefully chosen, general profiles.

Type One:  Traditional "Orthodox" GOP "Success Stories"

This group follows the general model of "businessmen" who have prospered in some Congressional region sufficiently to be seen as a "can do" bunch with at least the widely held image of having a possible expertise in operating the business affairs of the government.  Once in office, they can be identified by their absolute lack of any legislative interest in topics other than those which would interest a shop owner.  There will be no involvement in social or justice programs beyond cutting expenses.

Because of this mind set valuing every possible opportunity to increase profits -- first, of course, for themselves and their friends, but also, more expansively for other businessmen with similar values -- we see them legislating to "promote business" while reducing costs.

The particular "cost cutting" which infatuates their "profit is everything" personalities will inevitably find its way to the destruction of organized labor, exporting manufacturing to places with lower wages, the desolation of expensive benefits and the demolishing of expensive regulations on every business activity from banking to burning coal.

Because they abhor being forced into any type of social responsibility, lowering taxes is, naturally, at the center of all their machinations.  The automatic -- and inevitable -- paradox in their political motivation is their almost hypnotic avoidance of the demand side of economies.  They typically cannot see beyond "increasing profits + lowering costs = more profit."  When their economic policies constantly degrade demand, they see only diminished profit.

Historically, this type resembles a benign parasite.  There is never any deviation from the hackneyed myth of the exclusively "supply side" economy.  Interestingly, this type is -- among the three -- the most "bothered" by the "cost impact" of something like the government shut down.

Type Two: Ideological Republican Sociopaths

A dictionary definition of the sociopath sets the stage:

a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

MeanMesa will expand the definition slightly to more adequately encompass the nature of this type of Republican billionaire.  This type of sociopathy leads to a state where "lesser people," their difficulties, their frustration, cannot even be seen by the sociopath.  The cruelty found in the behavior of such billionaires is seldom based on malice or is even the result of a conscious decision.  Instead, it is simply callous.  They are systemically unaware of the existence of lives so economically disparate from their own.

When applying inherent values as they produce thought products, these sociopaths work in a mental field hosting a world exclusively similar to their own.  Often, during the formative years of their childhoods, they listened to adults who routinely denigrated all those less fortunate, attaching classicist explanations for the lower states of their existence.

The "explanations," once the child reaches adulthood, have become axiomatic, that is, "mistaken certainties."  Consequently, thoughts constructed on such aberrant platforms elude the automatic condemnation of a more or less properly functioning conscience such as might be found in more normal people.

They are sociopaths.  They have no functioning conscience -- only the fear of exceeding the limits of tolerance of their victims.

When their detachment from their victims reaches a certain completeness, the limiting rationality of this fear buckles, but when these sociopaths segregate themselves from the surrounding reality even further, this fear of a retributive reaction also slips.  For sociopaths the desirability of a government shut down relies solely on its impact on their interests They are prone of "over reaching," but they are never apologetic for it.

Type Three: Fully "Detached From Reality" Republican Megalomaniacs

We can begin again with a standard definition of "megalomaniac:"

1. A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.  A condition or mental illness that causes people to think that they have great or unlimited power or importance.

This class of billionaires has a "supra-transactional" bent to their already questionably stable personalities. Healthier people portray a transactional nature, that is, healthier people derive happiness or satisfaction from transactions in which some compensation is gained.  Of course as such transactions unfold, these healthier folk exchange, trade or expend some strength or resource they have for some other strength or resource they find more desirable in comparison.

The megalomaniacal billionaire never quite completes such a transaction.

When more normal folks observe their normal peers in such transactional processes, the purpose of the transaction is clear, or, at least, comprehensible.  This is not the case with this class of billionaires.

Instead of more common destiny of encountering challenges and occasionally overcoming them, receiving the relief or reward which accompanies victory, the megalomaniac values the position of being able to express power, influence and wealth more than such a tangible reward which would hold so much value normally.

For them resources and power exhibited in their megalomaniacal process need not yield some exchanged value at all in order to satisfy them.  For them simply exercising that power is what yields and produces that satisfaction.  In most cases such individuals already own so much -- so many things and such great wealth -- that there is no real possibility of further enhancing pleasure with the addition of yet something else.

In the economic sense, while extremely powerful and influential and while bathed in almost unimaginable wealth and luxury, they are "anhedonistic." [No longer capable of experiencing pleasure.]  They lack the capacity to feel enjoyment by the addition of still more assets to their fortunes.  This frequently occurs when the scale of wealth becomes so great that even its casual neglect comes to be considered an indulgent luxury.

They have so much money that changes in wealth, that is, having more or less money, no longer matters.  The day after the market collapses, the asteroid hits the planet or a violent war suddenly begins unexpectedly, they will still be thousands of times richer than almost anyone else.

The definition speaks to the "delusion" of immense power, but for these megalomaniacs. this is not delusion -- they have immense power.  For them the delusion concerns the meaning of that immense power, and they suspect that it doesn't mean being an "immense," that is perhaps "a widely respected" or "a widely envied" person, but only a rich one.

All this could easily be a statement about being rich, but set that aside in favor of speculating about the inner psychology such a position would foster.  Think about a tragically skewed world view and a bizarrely twisted identity for one's self.  Think of the self-suspicion and the hollow pain.

This, rather than the accumulated "prizes" of the power and privilege, explains much of this otherwise incomprehensible behavior.

The Strange, Uncommon Dreams 
That Come With Having Endless Money

Just as the alcoholic who, already inebriated to utter stupefaction, finds himself  driven blindly to seek another drink, there is an equivalent obsession with the billionaire.  In the financial sense the plutocrat's obsession with the prospect of accumulating even more wealth strangely parallels the drunken alcoholic's obsession for even more alcohol.  Once inebriated with what has already been drunk or owned, the prospect that another addition will provide another increment of pleasure is the narcotic deception inflicted on both.

Nightmares are personal. (artwork source)
Remember, with these boys it's not about what could be done with more wealth.  Their joy comes from extracting it -- not somehow enjoying it later.  If that "extraction process" reaffirms the fundamentals they learned in their unusual childhoods, their glee is correspondingly greater.

So, what blind ambitious shadows can fill such dark and empty dreams?

This is not a mystery.  In fact this part of the story is brazenly obvious.

Naturally, anything which will divert money otherwise spent in the benefit of those they consider so far beneath themselves back into well disguised corporate coffers attracts their attention immediately.  However, even beyond the lower taxes, subsidies and the rest, non-union factories assembling parts made in their low wage, off shore plants are appealing only partly due to the savings in costs, but also because they represent an opportunity to elevate themselves even higher above those they leave in the bottom rungs of their dynastic ladders.

The larcenous avarice doesn't end there.  The full, three act dream includes the conversion of the nation into a "plantation-like" subservience, that is, into a state of economic, dynastic "war-lord-ism" where the mere mention of their family name elicits the same rapt attention and obedience as that of a Senator or President does now.

Absolutely any legislative act the billionaires can coerce or bribe their Congressional [state or federal] minions into providing for them is welcome so long as it adds even one grain of sand to this mountain they dream of building.

In their accounts today we see that this tiny minority of a few thousand billionaires own more of the United States than the 150 million Americans in the bottom class.  Their wealth has increased 300% in the last four decades while middle class wealth plummeted 40% in a few days in September of 2008.

It's a mistake to presume that these billionaires are personally infatuated with their highly visible, destructive penchants for war making, union busting, abortion, deregulation, gun ownership or twisted propagandistic abstractions such as "freedom and liberty."  They are consumed with a blind appetite for wealth and dominance -- increases leading to even more wealth and even more power -- at any cost and through any means necessary.

Domination of the vast population around them represents as much or more of an incentive as increased wealth.

[MeanMesa note:  This discussion could have been "packed to bursting" with specific examples in every one of these cases, but we're looking for the "big picture" here.]

While often providing a fixation for unexamined envy, these oligarchs behave hatefully.  For those of us with "enough years under our belt" to fully acknowledge this, the next conclusions emerge at once. 

Obsessions are tormenting.  Obsessions which knowingly injure the lives of others find no respite.  They are torture, and the misery which accompanies even successes among their execution is constant.

Perhaps enthralled with the prospect of an increased interest payment or cruelly excited by a further elevation of their comparatively elite positions, these GOP billionaires are, most likely, quite comfortable not only with the government shut down, but also with the even graver consequences of default.

After all,when the US and global economies have plummeted into the abyss, these oligarchs will still be richer, will still own more, will still be more secure than all those they see suffering around them -- if they even see them.

Is is an exaggeration?  Some easily repeated "talking point" that MeanMesa has found attractive?


Current economic estimates of the cost of the "first tier" defaults set the damage at 23 times to total damage of the Lehman bankruptcy in 2008.  That Chapter 11 dissolution racked up an estimated $1, 400 Bn in losses if the Wiki article is accurate, but -- more importantly -- visitors to this blog know first hand the scope of the catastrophe, the Great Republican Recession of 2008, which followed.

Years later the planetary economy is still "punch drink" from the hit, so:

1. think about what a $30,000 Bn hit might inflict, and,

2. try to imagine being a GOP billionaire, knowing that this would be the effect of your Congressional influence racket, and then, still doing it anyway.

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