Hardly a Whimper of Resistance by Richard Sale

Richard Sale headshot (2)

A new study proclaims that America is no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy whose needs are to be met at every turn at the expense of the general welfare.   There was hardly a whimper of protest as the mass media reported the contents of the study. I guess everybody was busy with their cell phones and Twitter and other milestones in our organized drive for national triviality to stop and think about what the study’s conclusions might mean to the bulk of our people.

Apparently wealth and power are the grim idols that the world adores. The rich feel that they are not a product of their environment, but their environment is a product of them. Today America is governed by the rich, the study says, and we add that the rich think themselves superior not only in money but also in spiritual value. It is their money that has built America’s prosperity, its military and its economic power, its standing in the world, and its ability to steer events in their favor. Monetary success clearly bestows greatness.


Unfortunately, to be governed by the rich is to be governed by people whose main power resides chiefly in wealth and possessions that claim for them political and economic privileges whose aim is to gain more advantage over others who are less fortunate. The poor are losers, and if they had more talents and determination they would not be poor. People with a drive to be rich cannot part with the essence or principle of hostility to anyone but themselves. They waged war with each other before they ever noticed the poor. But the makeup of some of them seems to be made of antipathies: without something to look down on they appear to fear that the very spring of thought and action would be missing.  Life would turn into a stagnant pool were “it not ruffled by jarring interests,” said Hazlitt.  Like him, I think rulers take a perverse delight in the mischief inflicted on rivals and the less fortunate, a never failing source of satisfaction.

“Behind every fortune stands a crime,” Balzac said. And it should be remembered that the founders of the Greek nation were outright pirates just like our Robber Barons.  King Menelaus freely admitted that he had acquired his treasures largely by pillage. I am a big fan of the Odyssey, but Odysseus was above all things, mighty in piracy. He was just like John D. Rockefeller. It never occurred to such the Greeks and the Robber Barons to ask what suffering was caused by seized those treasures and enslaving the defeated. But is an established generality of ancient history that the vanquished and their goods became property of the victor. Burckhardt somewhere notes somewhere that the small Greek states were animated the sweeping egotism of doing not only what was essential for their survival but what in a wider sense seemed desirable and convenient. Does this not describe the U.S. rich of today? These Greeks and Robber Barons committed shocking inequities, not in the heat of unbridled passion but deliberately, not only against enemies but also against friends who were too weak to resist and therefore easy to victimize. Think of the Stock Market and the Crash of 2008. (It is also interesting that as the wealth of the Greeks waned, so did their appetite for vicious conquests.)  

One has to ask, at what point the 1% in America will feel sated by what it owns and influences, and what it continues to bend to its will. We know that many rich are ungenerous, and we ask what gives rise to such greedy animosities that drive many of the rich? Is their war on the less fortunate designed to awe, to cow, to humiliate, to parade colossal achievements of the rich in front of those who have much less to boast of? Is it really competition that lies at the roof of their natures or is it something else, some streak of incessant aggression?

Americans think of themselves as the “jewel box” of the world, a phrase from Burckhardt’s masterpiece on the Renaissance in Italy. What he says of tyrannical princes then applies to tyrannical economic lords of our day. “They shrink from no measures that will damage their weaker competitors and hold them in a condition of helpless dependence. They labor from the misconception that they can get on without any assistance from the rest, paving the way for a new despotism.” Many of the rich of today are mercenaries who sell their support to the highest bidder. And we, the lesser breeds, whose accomplishment in art, thought, culture, the creation of literature, we are valued only to the degree that our work is popular and becomes expensive.

Who Are The Rich?

Unfortunately, the rich are very often not people with a wide array of interests, any depth of sympathy, or a detailed and accurate knowledge of other civilizations, and most lack the knowledge of how we came to be what we are. To them, the fittest have survived. Yet how refined are their tastes? How delicate in the fabric of their inner spirituality? How humble is their worship of life and to what degree do they respect the aspirations of those who are not like themselves? When an opinion springs to their mind, do they ever ask if they had any extensive exposure and knowledge of the matter? Have they explored as much as possible the books and studies that treat of it? Or do they simply judge as a matter of unthinking reflex. Or do they hire others to read for them, trusting to the judgments of underpaid people who crave to be found pleasing by their employers? What is the value of such their opinions? In my experience, the rich are very often ignorant people who are half educated and possess very little of general culture. What is Michelangelo’s work? An ornament. (The real men of the day were the Medicis with a cast of mind like their own.)  What was the value of “The Prince?” It never made the author any money. What was opera? A trifle. Literature regarded by the rich as a bauble done by those who lacked an appetite for steady productive work instead of thinking of it an extreme expression of the human spirit.

The divide between the poor, middle class and the rich reminds one of the divide between the Greeks and barbarians. In Greek and Roman history the humanity of the barbarians is entirely dismissed — it was a humanity of a lower grade. And it would seem that in the rich and their doctrines of self-worship, we see in the rich a range of incessant spite directed against the poor and the less well-off at least in the policies of the Republicans and Democrats. We see in the rich and their policies, the desire to hold things down and make their lives of ordinary people more miserable than they already are  — this desire to parade your superiority and privilege  while being  utterly insensitive to what others are striving people are  attempting and taking prideful satisfaction in their always coming up short. 

Yet the people who come up short in life never arouse sympathy or any effort to help on the part of the rich. (I except people like Bill Gates and others.) Their shortcomings of the ordinary only seem to glorify the advantages of being wealthy and ruthlessly wielding power because of it. It is a pitiless business being rich, and one has to ask, what is this streak that has to belittle and crush in order to feel capable?  What is this mean streak that acts as if it has such weight in the world it can pushes people’s faces into the mud? It is my view that the people who make American rich and powerful shrank from no measure, however extreme that might damage their competitors or hold them in a condition of helpless dependence, as I said. Think of the development and triumph of Standard Oil, and its utterly selfish concerns in the Middle East in World War I, especially in Palestine, recklessly buying up huge concessions at the expense of the Arab owners.  Each robber baron thought he could succeed without the assistance of the rest, and so they stooped to any device to advance themselves, as I said. They thought of every situation in terms of self-interest. Embracing your little petty path of success as the only path that anyone worthy would want to take, they think.  This stuff makes me sick.  It is so selfish shortsighted, so lacking any moral worth, displays such beady conniving recklessness against the rise of others whose rise may threaten your own.

I am not writing in a spirit of envy.  My grandfather was extremely wealthy, and my father, who didn’t graduate from college earned $1.5 million in 1959 and $3milion two or three years later from a tawdry TV series. He twice disinherited me because I stood up for my step mother, a vulgar, noisy self-willed woman I did not like. My point is that money should not be a license for misconduct and from what I saw of the rich, they were people of vast carelessness. Wealth should not grant a license for indecent behavior.

Judge Grosscup’s Question

In our national culture, the individual American life was supposed to succeed because the economic and political structure of the country were not supposed to be an obstacle to the rise of the ordinary man or woman as it has become.

It seems to me that serious questions about the ownership of America still stand unanswered, even at this late date.

In the early twentieth century, the idea of the “common proprietorship of the country” governed by its majority included the faith in small people being able to big things over time – an idea that has been seriously weakened. In 1905, an article in McClure’s by Judge Peter Grosscup, who was a very conservative in his views, said that in our national culture, the individual American life was supposed to succeed because of an individual’s merits were employed and triumphed in the face of difficult obstacles. The economic life of the country was not to be such an obstacle. Success was earned by the personal virtues of energy, frugality, ambition, discipline, insight, and perseverance. Grosscup was concerned by the loss of the instincts of drive and creativity among ordinary people that had made us an unusual and prosperous nation.

Grosscup argued that while America was more prosperous than ever before, it was losing its soul. To his mind, what was being jeopardized was the loss of the ordinary individual’s hope of any widening of his economic prospects and succeeding in his endeavors. He feared that the soul of independent American was in jeopardy because the Trusts and huge corporations, and feared that the acquisition of property by the individuals who make up the bulk of the people “will cease to be one of the opening and controlling purposes of their lives.” He feared corporate paternalism or state socialism, both of which, he felt, were fatal to individual liberty. He never foresaw a threat like the sub-prime mortgage crisis. He never investigated into the mechanics of gaming the system.

The dream of Lincoln’s “an equal start in the race of life” stated that the ordinary man, by means of his virtues, his own unique qualities – his grit, determination, his ignoring of hardship, his determined energy  — would help him arrive at the station in life where his unassisted efforts had brought him. Grosscup doubted this. He said that that Lincoln’s dream had been lost. He pointed out that the American corporation “was putting an unbearable strain on the institution of private property.”

Grosscup also maintained that the “road to proprietorship” had to be opened to the wage-earners of the country. Such a thing, if achieved, would regenerate America. This is the “race for life” that Lincoln talked of, but that was no longer being run. It was Woodrow Wilson who built on Grosscup’s misgivings, believing that human beings should not labor under any limitations other than their own personal ones, their own limitations of character and minds in the race of life. Wilson wanted to see a society regenerated from “the bottom” rather than from the top.  He saw the middle class as continually been “squeezed out” by what he called, “the processes of prosperity”   — by the trusts and large corporations.  Because of the structure of organized capital, the American people had gone from a nation of achievers to a nation of poorly paid employees. The corporations had “fitted the American people for a strait jacket while they were left to do as they pleased.”

Wilson ended with a thrilling declaration – “…anything that depresses, anything that blocks, discourages, dismays the humble man, is against the principles of progress.” Unfortunately, his declaration appears to have changed nothing

So how do we resist? What powers can we ordinary people command? I don’t see any of any true effect.  The media are a commercial venture. Their corporate owners make their employees toe the line, and reporters are people of party.  The people most likely to get a hearing in the media are among the most ignorant and bigoted or else they are the pimps of established power.

Protests against Wall Street only inspire contempt for their complete uselessness. Can the poor arm themselves? That would be suicide. Would the middle class rebel? No. It has TV and Blu Ray and video games. Can the rest of us mount protest that may influence the course of events and help curb the capricious rich? In this, I am completely baffled about what to do.

Every year, America’s school children read less and less and no little about history and America’s place in it. Their minds are benumbed with Twitter, Facebook, cell phone and YouTube who spread widespread mediocrity. Entertainment is the opium of the people. What puts heart into me, what maintains my own idea of as self-sufficient individual is an incident in Napoleon’s early life. When he was nine or ten, in a military school, a seminarian punished him by ordering him to wear dunce’s clothes and eat his dinner kneeling down. The teacher shouted, “Down on your knees,” and hearing this, Napoleaon was seized by a fit of vomiting and a violent attack of nerves. Stamping his foot, he shouted, “I’ll eat my dinner standing up, not on my knees, in my family, we kneel only to God.” The teacher tried to force him, but Napoleon rolled over on the floor sobbing and shouting, “Is that right, Maman? Only to God! Only to God!” Finally, the headmaster intervened, and cancelled the punishment.

It is a very moving incident. “Only to God!”

Where does that courage lead us in today’s life? I have no idea. But I also remember the last words Napoleon’s mother said to him as he left home: “Courage.”

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34 Responses to Hardly a Whimper of Resistance by Richard Sale

  1. NancyK says:

    Wonderful, accurate and horribly sad article. The rich should fear that one day Americans may put down their cell phones, turn off their TV, get off of Facebook and begin looking at what has happened to their country and to their lives. I imagine the rich in France in 1789 were not too worried either. Thank you for this article, and thank you colonel Lang for posting it.
    Not that I think the guillotine should ever come back nor do I agree with the mindless chatter of the tea party, that seems to have monetary backing from the rich. But I hope for a time when we take back our country, when a corporation is not considered a person, and when a few rich individuals can not buy elections in every state. It embarrasses me that many if not most of our elected politicians, on both sides, are whores, and in saying this I feel I must apologize to whores.

  2. walrus says:

    Bravo! Well done Mr. Sale.

  3. oofda says:

    Sen Elizabeth Warren could have written that. Or Judge Luuis Brandeis.
    Warren speaks Brandeis’s language. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” Warren said at a campaign stop in 2011, in remarks that defined her candidacy. “Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.” You used other people’s money. “You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea—God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” It’s the Brandeis in Warren that got her elected.

  4. blue says:

    “Sic semper tyrannis”. Amen

  5. Dr. K says:

    I agree. When God told Lot he would spare Sodom and Gemmorah if there was one honorable person he could find none. Leaders like Elizabeth Warren may help spare us.

  6. Fred says:

    At least Harvard knows what to do:

  7. Nightsticker says:

    Well said.
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  8. Anonymous says:

    The only thing certain about the 1% is that there are 99% that would take their place anyday and would make them look like nuns if they got there.
    Isn’t America the country where someone who benefited from affirmative action, a form of cheating, became president? Doesn’t that mean that a majority of the electorate believes that it is fine for someone to make use of artificial advantages to put himself in the very top? But if that has become your social contract there is absolutely no need for the 1% to have any obligation to the 99%, because cheating is accepted, and if there is in this world anything open to all that is the choice of cheating, which, when properly exercised, turns the humblest of man into a lord.
    What you can be proud at least is that nobody in your country has to cheat alone anymore.
    Now don’t go telling the newer generations that they should have virtues, qualities, determination, grit or wathever to succeed. Tell them instead that they should rather find the form of cheating that suits most their personal color, gender, tribe…
    This is the legacy. Your country took the wrong turn and into the embrace of the bear. “Yup, sometimes you eat the bear,” but when the bear eats you it is once and for all.

  9. Highlander says:

    Well done Richard.
    I had a version of this post just this morning,over coffee with the former CEO of a major agricultural conglomerate, you would all recognize its brand name. The former CEO pretty much agrees with you Richard..
    We are not talking the top 1% here, we are talking the top1/10 of a percent of the 1 per cent. The other .9 0f a per cent of the top one per cent think, they are also in the club. But in reality they aren’t. Like the rest of us, they are just useful idiots for the time being.
    The elites in Washington are also useful bit players on a temporary basis.The two major political parties are shams. As for the MSM, any rational analysis of their actions, says they are now totally under control of elements, who could care less about their being successes as economic enterprises. In reality the MSM now only serves a short to medium term purpose of producing a contrived narrative for the masses, which helps keep the lid on for the time being. While we are all being slowly impoverished.( in more ways than just materialism).
    My observation of the younger generation, is they have now been successfully dumbed down by the educational system to the point, where they can not even begin to analyze what their own long term economic and social self interest are.
    Strap in tightly folks, it’s going to be a rough ride.
    Pretty grim little scenario isn’t it?

  10. Fred says:

    “Doesn’t that mean that a majority of the electorate believes that it is fine for someone to make use of artificial advantages to put himself in the very top?”
    No, it simply means he was a better choice than the other guy, who was born to money rather than bought by it. I wouldn’t gloat too much. The bears may be feasting but there are still 10,000 or so nuclear weapons here that are rather hard for even the a 1% to sell off and still live long enough to enjoy the “profit”.

  11. WILL says:

    it is this way to some degree in all countries: capitalist, socialist, communist, monarchies, dictatorships, democracies, etc.
    “The original observation was in connection with population and wealth. Pareto noticed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population.[4] He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied.
    A chart that gave the inequality a very visible and comprehensible form, the so-called ‘champagne glass’ effect,[5] was contained in the 1992 United Nations Development Program Report, which showed the distribution of global income to be very uneven, with the richest 20% of the world’s population controlling 82.7% of the world’s income.”
    Of course, the 1%:99% is an extreme Pareto distribution.
    A democracy is dependent on a strong middle class. Without an equitable distribution, the middle class dies out.
    “According to Polybius, who has the most fully developed version of the cycle, it rotates through the three basic forms of government, democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy and the three degenerate forms of each of these governments ochlocracy, oligarchy, and tyranny.”
    we are used to cycle with a soft c, b/ in the original Greek it’s Kyklos.
    i like the following analysis
    “The diffusion of political power tends to follow the diffusion of wealth. Throughout history, people have generally needed to obtain some wealth before attaining much influence. The emergence of a middle class thus precedes the emergence of democracy in the natural sequence of human events. In antiquity, the first middle classes were mainly agrarian. They can be found in the qualifications of Greek and Roman military service. Today the middle classes are generally not farmers, although the English and American yeomanry attests to an ancient agrarian strain.Whatever their occupations, as time passed both the middle classes and the needs of government expanded. The contributions made by the middle classes to their communities became indispensable. This gave justification and force to the claims of greater numbers of people to participate in the governance of those communities. Gradually, enough people attained enough political rights that democracy emerged. This pattern is found in varying degrees of clarity in history. The development of a middle class anticipates the establishment of democracy.”
    Now what happens when the 20% or 1% is a different religion, color, or race, then the majority population?

  12. David says:

    I saw advertisement on a New York City train for a storage company that caught my attention. It said “The French Aristocracy Never Saw It Coming Either”. Since advertising people want a lot of time figuring out what people are thinking, it suggests that they are finding that there is more anger amongst the public than generally realized so maybe people may “put down their cell phones” sooner rather than later.
    Thank you Mr Sale.

  13. Bill H says:

    I think the likes of BHO are happy to have the focus kept on the evils of the 1% at least until “after the next election.” It keeps the attention of the voters directed away from what they themselves have been doing against the interest of the voters and helps assure their reelection or, in the case of those termed out, the maintenance of their party in power.
    As long as we are talking about how badly we are being screwed by the 1% we are not talking about how badly we are being screwed by our own elected legislators. We will, therefor, reelect 85% of them come November. The 1% are not up for reelection, so they don’t care how much we hate them.
    We are playing their game, and we are losing.

  14. nick b says:

    Just a little clarification on scripture here: God told Abraham, not Lot, he would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were 10, down from 50, righteous people dwelling there, not just one. See Genesis 18:16-33

  15. NancyK says:

    Bill, the 1% may not be up for reelection, but you can bet they are giving huge amounts of money to those politicians up for reelection and those same politicians when elected because of the massive influx of monies, will be beholden to the 1% not you the voter.
    Do you really believe that President Obama is not also controlled? How many bankers, who nearly brought our country to ruin are in jail?
    Our legislators are not representing us, they are doing the bidding of those who can finance their campaigns.

  16. Dr. K says:

    I appreciate your fat-checking. Are there 10 in Washington DC?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Apologies, Fred, I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t thinking about the russians or any other military threat to americans. The bear I was thinking about was any wrong choice made or embraced by a people that results in an unrecoverable failure. Being a third worlder I have seen my share of such choices, and the wasted generations they produce.

  18. Bill H says:

    Yes, that is all true. And the question remains, why do we keep reelecting them? Because we are not paying attention to what they are doing. We are too busy complaining about the 1% and the misbehavior of the media. If we paid attention to what they were doing to us, and talked about what they were doing to us, we would not be reelecting them.

  19. confusedponderer says:

    I just started Brezinski’s Grand Chessboard, and very early he mentioned that, as of 1997, he saw US straegy as one of America co-opting Russia and thus making it a subordinate unit of the American empire.
    This co-optation functions through making political and economic alliances with a country’s economic and political elites.
    At home, American oligarchs go through the motions of a democratic process, which, in light of a presidential capaign costing approx a billion dollars, produces results with a tad more decorum and deniability.
    But the simple truth is that anyone with political ambitions either has to be rich in America and use his own money, or needs donors.
    The more overt, or rather blatant, scenario is taking place in Ukraine, where Oligarch Rinat Akhmetov – Ukraine’s richest man, and owner of Metinvest and DTEK – has sent out his employees, 20.000 steel workers to seize the city of Mariopol and drive out the separatists.
    In Russia, Putin ended stuff like that. By jailing Chodorkovsky and responding to his most excesses, Putin ended the practice of Oligarchs directly using their financial leverage in politics. Putin also ended US attempts to ‘co-opt’ i.e. subordinate Russia to the US.
    Ukraine never asserted its state power in any comparable way. Ukrainian elites simply consisted of a cotery of Russian-leaning or west-Ukrainian Oligarchs who competed for power and the related privilege to loot Ukraine.
    Alas, considering the spectacle of Republican candidates groveling before Sheldon Adelson, cravenly begging for campaign contributions. With Citizens United, the US finally got there.
    It’s the dawn of another Gilded Age.

  20. Laura Wilson says:

    Isn’s America the country where a “legacy” admission sent soldiers into Iraq because of (poorly researched) certainty of WMD’s???

  21. YT says:

    “Do you hear the people sing?
    Singing a song of angry men…?”

  22. YT says:

    RE: “I am not writing in a spirit of envy. My grandfather was extremely wealthy, and my father, who didn’t graduate from college earned $1.5 million in 1959”
    I salute you, Mr. Sale.

  23. fanto says:

    strange that President Obama’ name is coming up here. Thoughts about significance of racial preferences, or ‘legacies’, seem off topic in context of Mr. Sale’s article, IMHO. President Obama is a very smart man, he speaks well and so far has been maneuvering between the sharks without being assassinated. Mr. Sale is talking about the super-rich oligarchs, and African originated (Blacks, Negroes, African Americans) minorities are not responsible for the troubles the native US oligarchs have created. I appreciate Mr. Sale’s article and the comments.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Laura Wilson, you mention another face of the same coin. In the upper crust, legacy becomes the lucky path when merit is put aside, otherwise, for example, there wouldn’t be even a fifth of the number of jewish undergraduate students there are now in the Ivy League.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Fanto, Mr. Sale’s brilliant post carries ideals of a healthy society incompatible with the society where Frank Ricci had to fight till the supreme court to secure his promotion. It is that simple.
    Besides, Obama only escapes the voracity of the sharks because he is meatless thin.

  26. RetiredPatriot says:

    Bravo Mr. Sale. Bravo!

  27. All,
    I am not a great admirer of Peter Beinart, but some recent observations of his on Adelson seem worth quoting:
    ‘The ignorance is painful. At times, Adelson seems to suggest that Palestinians are a religion. (“They don’t want the Jews or any other religion to be alive.”) His claim that “all the terrorists are Islamists” reveals a lack of familiarity with, among others, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, the Klu Klux Klan, the Irish Republican Army, the Tamil Tigers, the Basque National Liberation Movement, the FARC, and the Jewish Defense League. Adelson is on record as admitting that “I don’t know the difference between the Shia and the Sunnis.”
    ‘This is what American democracy has come to. Because billionaires can now spend unlimited sums on political campaigns, a primitive old man, who knows almost nothing about Palestinians and Muslims except that they are all murderous savages, can summon the leading Republican presidential candidates to his casino and make them grovel for his affections.’
    (See http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.583402 .)

  28. seydlitz89 says:

    Nice essay Mr. Sale-
    And of course thanks to Col. Lang for posting this.
    I’ve been thinking about what you’re written and have a couple points I wish to share:
    First, there seems to be a bit of conflation with “the rich” as a historical entity in the US and the 1% of today. How do they actually compare? A hundred years ago, “the rich” were all for serving in the military, that’s what the “Plattsburg” movement was all about. They saw it as their “responsibility”. Of course there were exceptions, but as a group . . . Compare that with today. Also the US rich of a century ago represented tangible assets: steel mills, steamship lines, factories, railroads, oil fields, all integrated in social networks. There was of course finance, but that was only part of a larger whole and of course finance had a very different function. Today, how much of the 1% are actually involved in scams of various sorts: either Wall Street, milking the government, real estate bubbles . . . ? My point is that the difference is not the existence of an economic/political elite, but their attitude and where their wealth comes from, and how it is generated in relation to the mass of the population . . .
    So there’s the economic side, but what of the political? Why is there no reaction? I think people have been conditioned to see government as a “problem”, not as a means to deal with problems. They feel no connection and thus are encouraged to vote according to values issues, essentially “making a statement” which is required once every two/four years. Albert Borgmann wrote “Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life” in 1984, where he introduced his concept of the “device paradigm” which sees “freedom” and “rights” in technological/consumerist terms.

  29. Excellent discourse again from Richard! In the last six weeks recovery from viral attacks on my computer from either Russia or Ukraine or both and attack by herpes Zoster virus [shingles] I was forced to have spare time to reflect so able to read some books including a survey of Western Civilization. These writings seem supportive of Richard’s conclusions.
    Thanks again Richard. You and others here [especially Pat]are a treasure.

  30. fanto says:

    Anonymous, thanks for your reply.
    I made the effort to look up the Wikipedia about the case you cite and the review shows me that 8 of 20 plaintiffs in the test have Italian names. For sake of argument, I propose to say that Italian men have the highest acumen to become firefighters in USA. Or else there is some kind of bias for them; if there is bias for any group, one must assume the possibility of a negative bias for another ethnic group, so one has to think about how “level” was the playing field, starting with the basic educatione and ‘closeness to education’ (a term the German author Sarrazin is using in his book “Deutschland schafft sich ab”). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricci_v._DeStefano )
    I still think that Mr Sale is not talking about racial biases, but about the ‘level playing field’ many defenders of capitalism believe in. For understanding of wider philosophical/sociological issues the Capitalism presents I recommend the short essay by Bruce R. Scott “The Concept of Capitalism”, he tears the ‘level playing field’ theory in pieces. I do not remember if someone in Col. Lang’ commenters recommended it, or I picked it up elsewhere.

  31. Alba Etie says:

    We are beginning to see perhaps an outline of an national movement to address the income inequality issues that Senator Warren is campaigning for, and legislating to ‘fix’ . The First Monday movement in North Carolina is starting to spread into conservative parts of the state. I think we starting to see the Populist Right & Populist Left find common ground on the economic disparity issues. And is some very unexpected ways – the conservative Kansas State Representative has been battling the Koch Brothers money locally . It seems the Koch Brothers want to kill the wind energy & solar electricity initiatives there. The Koch Brothers & Shel Adelsen have spent a ton of money last two election cycles with little effect on the outcomes . Another indicator of push back against the American Oligarches is we are seeing a national movement to raise the minimum wage to $ 10.10 per hour . We shall see.

  32. Congress has made it very difficult for even interested citizens to find out what they are doing. This is a deliberate strategy.

  33. Agree with this superb comment!

  34. Richard Sale says:

    Excellent comment. Thank you.

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