by Paul B. Farrell
“Got your “Evil Plan” yet? You really need one. For self-defense, attacks, plain old survival. Why? Things are bad folks. And they’re going to get much worse. Trust no one. Believe nothing you hear. Nothing.
While reading Hugh MacLeod’s best-seller “Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination” over Memorial Day I ran across a Newsweek feature, “Mad As Hell,” an ominous warning screaming: “The anger that fueled the Arab Spring is now boiling over in Europe. Could club-wielding protesters be in America’s future too?” Answer? You bet. The Tea Party is just the tip of the spear in the upcoming American Winter that could explode any time into a full-blown “club-wielding” revolution, against Wall Street, Washington, Corporate America and the Super Rich now running our government.
What’s an “Evil Plan?” For MacLeod it started as personal, years ago when he broke free of corporate life, became an entrepreneur, made “a good living, doing what you love, without being accountable to some larger company.” That triggered a revolution. At first MacLeod jokingly called his decision an “Evil Plan:” Declaring independence, he was no longer controlled by soulless companies, trapped like most Americans in jobs he hated, working to make the rich richer. But the real reason “Evil Plan” fit became clear years later: Some old friends still resent that he “pulled it off,” believe he’s “doing something morally reprehensible.” In their minds, his independence is an “Evil Plan.”
That got me thinking about Mubarak, Kadhafi, Assad and other Arab dictators. They resent the Arab masses for not “staying in their place,” hate them for demonstrating, demanding, rebelling against their dictator’s iron-fisted “rightful” rule. Yes, when the masses rise up, leaders see anyone who wants freedom as a traitor, anyone resisting authority is guided by an “Evil Plan.” And from Libya to Syria, leaders who believe they rule by a divine right also have the right to shoot anyone resisting their authority.
Greatest ‘Evil Plan’ ever was delivered to King George III in 1776: King George III must have seen our Declaration of Independence as an “Evil Plan,” right from the opening lines about: “All men are created equal” and “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another ...” Yes, “Evil Plans” can be treasonous, punishable by death.
MacLeod’s reference to “Black Swan” author Nassim Taleb’s warning is the perfect answer to Newsweek’s question: “Could club-wielding protesters be in America’s future too?” Ironically, the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy has suddenly reemerged, shifting into high gear from an Arab Spring to European Summer and next to an American Winter. The question is rhetorical. The answer is yes. It happened before, in 1776.
But can we pinpoint the timing of a revolution? No. No one saw the Arab Spring coming. Taleb offers a simple reason: “The bigger the historical event, the more random and unpredictable the consequences. Nobody saw 9/11, Pearl Harbor.” Nor predicted the JFK assassination, Hiroshima, Rome’s collapse, Black Plague or Microsoft and Apple’s beating IBM. Nor the 1929 Crash, 2000 dot-com crash, 2008 subprime meltdown. All game changers. But our leaders ignored warning signs. “Everything just happened when it did, everybody was caught with their pants down, and everybody just had to deal with the massive unpredictable consequences afterward.”
The Inequality Gap keeps growing, just like in 1929: But is an America Winter really next on some cosmic list of future Black Swans? Yes, and also quite predictable. Why? Because the same economic forces that drove the Arab Spring and today’s European Summer are setting up a hot American Winter. The Inequality Gap is that force. The gap divides the Super Rich 1% from the rest of America. In “The American Interest” a few months ago Francis Fukuyama, a leading neoconservative, wrote: “A study by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez shows that between 1978 and 2007 the share of U.S. income accruing to the top one percent of American families jumped from 9% to 23.5 % of the total. These data point clearly to the stagnation of working-class incomes in the United States: Real incomes for male workers peaked sometime back in the 1970s and have not recovered since.”
Warning: The last time this Inequality Gap was this big was just before the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression. Trickle-up capitalism: The rich get richer, the masses get poorer. It happened with Arab dictators, in Europe, and it’s coming to a head in America.
Capitalism is class warfare: Today, a generation of Reaganomics missteps has created relentless trickle-up gains, the top 1% got richer. But real income for the have-nots, the bottom 99% has stagnated. Capitalism is destroying the economy, negating the “will of the people” and fueling the coming Second America Revolution. Except this time our George III is a conspiracy of Wall Street, Washington, Corporate America and the Forbes 400 Super Rich.
Imagine “club-wielding protestors” sacking Washington strongholds next. Yes, we had previews of coming attractions in Wisconsin. The governor’s war against public unions. Yes, the American public is “Mad as Hell” concludes Tony Dokoupil in his Newsweek: feature: The “Days of Rage already seen overseas. In Spain last week protesters clashed with police, a violent demonstration against economic woes and austerity measures — much like those under review in Washington.” Our angry masses are a ticking time bomb.
Unfortunately, after the early broadcasts about Eqypt and Libya, cable news shifted back to the bizarre “reality TV” world of Trump, Palin and Romney. But off camera, the “Days of Rage” continued sweeping the Arab world, “exploding out of a volatile mix of high unemployment and large numbers of educated, ambitious people who feel their dreams have been denied — something with which an alarming number of Americans can identify.”
Also back home, the Jamie Dimons of Wall Street, corporate CEOs and the Super Rich continue getting richer, unemployment remains high, food and gasoline prices keep inflating, real estate is in a double-dip recession and the “vast majorities think the country is on the wrong track” inflaming a “rage more profound than the sign-waving political fury documented during the elections last fall. Two thirds of Americans even harbor anger toward God,” warns a Newsweek poll. And “three out of four people believe the economy is stagnant or getting worse.” For most of us, the American dream — a belief that we can leave a better life for the next generation — has died.
The ultimate ‘Evil Plan:’ When leaders betray the people’s trust: Toward the end of “Evil Plans,” MacLeod reveals a secret: “Evil Plans are gifts: You were given a gift by the Creator, God, the Universe …Whatever. Until you have returned the favor, life will have a certain, feckless emptiness to it.” Yes, even leaders answer to the same higher authority as you and me. So here’s the big message: When leaders — whether Arab, European or American — rebel against that higher authority at that very moment their “Evil Plans” become “evil” in the classical sense. They are violating the sacred compact between that higher authority, the leader and his people. They lose their right to rule, as did Mubarak, Assad and Kadhafi. And a revolution is ignited.
So today, our world is witnessing a battle of “Evil Plans,” between rulers in Arabia, Europe and America, and the masses they have betrayed. That same breach must have been much on the mind of Jonathan Chait, a senior editor of th New Republic, when he wrote his damning indictment of the “Ryan Plan” in a Newsweek article. The headline: “War on the Weak: How the GOP came to view the poor as parasites — and the rich as our rightful rulers.” The same could be said of Arab dictators; here, the GOP’s “rightful rulers” see the public as “parasites.” The goal of the “Ryan Plan” was to destroy Medicare as we know it by converting it into a voucher system favoring GOP’s donors. The public revolted.
Reaganomics, Ayn Rand, the rise of America’s conservative dictators: In brilliantly simple language, Chait captures the meaning of competing “Evil Plans:” Clearly our leaders have disregard the trust vested in them. Since Reaganomics became the GOP’s iron-fisted dogma a generation ago, leaders like Paul Ryan have been feeding on the extreme catechism of Ayn Rand, the patron saint of Reaganomics. Chait says Ryan is a “Rand nut” for admitting that “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
But whatever your party affiliation, this gives us deeper insight into the definition of an “Evil Plan” that has dominated the American political scene for a generation, listen: "Writing decades before today’s out-of-control CEO bonuses, Rand could be talking about one of the Arab dictators: “The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains.” What a dark, evil view of the average man. Unfortunately, that extreme demagoguery has become self-destructive for Ryan, the GOP and, sadly, for all America.
Bottom line: You really do need an “Evil Plan.” Now. For self-defense, for counter-attacks, for survival. Things are bad out there. And they are going to get worse. Trust no one. Believe nothing you hear. Nothing.
Why? The collective mind-set of America’s leaders, in both parties, in banking, everywhere, is in cover-up mode, hiding behind hype, lies and happy talk. Lacking discipline, they are out-of-control money addicts, self-destructive, unable to stop themselves. And like our early warnings of the 2000 dot-com crash and the 2008 meltdown, the coming collapse is so predictable. But as before they cannot hear. But you must, you need an “Evil Plan.” Start now, before it’s too late.”