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“I pity the poor in bondage that have none to help them: that is why I am here”

[ 79 ] July 13, 2012 |

I was sitting in a Juneau bar last night when Loomis messaged me about this absurdity by Arthur Herman, who currently appears to be packing away the silver cutlery in anticipation of the nation’s “Coming Civil War,” an irrepressible conflict to be staged between the “Makers” and Mudsills “Takers.” (And you, dear reader, are probably a Taker.) Herman’s article is for the most part a boneyard of conservative grievances about unions, welfare, and the mistreatment of the job creators, whose staggering wealth just barely compensates for the love and appreciation we cruelly withhold from them. He also goes to the predictable trouble of goofing up his numbers, insisting that 48 percent of Americans “are now on some form of government handout” when in fact the data actually show that half of all households have one or more individuals receiving cash payments, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security.

But so far as the Civil War analogies go, Herman really distinguishes himself from the field of contemporary Republican lamentations. He’s no Paul LePage, but he does conclude, after wise and patient study of 20th and 21st century economic and sociological data, that “we’re a house divided again and another civil war is coming, with the 2012 election as its Gettysburg.” Which apparently means that while the war is “coming” — as in “not yet started” — we’re about to wage one of its decisive battles. So if I follow him properly, either the Makers or the Takers are about to invade (probably figuratively) the other’s territory, organize a poorly-conceived (and also likely figurative) charge up a vital hill, and get mowed down enormously before they’re allowed to withdraw and continue the fight for another two years. (That last part is probably literal. People really want their food stamps and subsidized student loans.)

Since I can’t imagine that Herman envisions the Makers losing or abandoning the struggle — and since he approvingly quotes (and misquotes) Abraham Lincoln — I’m supposing he sees the Makers carrying on the spirit of the Union. You know, like raising income taxes on the wealthy, subsidizing massive railroad and other public works projects, and essentially giving away hundreds of millions of acres to ranchers, miners, farmers, and . . . well, just read the Ryan Budget, and you’ll see that it’s pretty much the same thing. And since Republicans are constantly accusing liberals of keeping (blah) people enslaved rather than setting them loose into the splendor of the Northern textile mills, stockyards and iron foundries, we’re obviously wearing Confederate grey in this scenario, destined to lose the war of attrition the 53 Percenters have in store for us. (Don’t despair, though. In fifty years, the history books will be telling our side of the story. Long march through the institutions, motherfuckers!)

And yet Herman also wants the Makers to identify with the terror endured, circa 1859, by the Southern master class in the face of dangerous liberty fanatics and their Big Government abettors. “Like John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry,” Herman warns, “Obamacare has been a wakeup call to what’s at stake — just as the turbulent events in Wisconsin showed how far Democrats are willing to go to win.” Indeed. If you can’t spy the similarities between (a) early 1990s Republican health care policy suggestions, (b) perfectly legal, if rare, procedures to unseat elected officials, and (c) messianic plots to foment servile insurrection and carry out a protracted Appalachian guerrilla war, then you’re clearly not paying attention to the signs of the times. Much as Jefferson Davis decried the Brown escapade as “the invasion of a state by a murderous gang of abolitionists bent on inciting slaves to murder helpless women and children,” Republican governors like Jindal, Perry and Scott are answering the call of history and making sure helpless women and children aren’t violated by preventive checkups, tuberculosis vaccinations, or prenatal testing. Or maybe it’s more like George Wallace a century later, only with primary care clinics instead of Foster Auditorium. I don’t know. History is hard.

Nevertheless, Herman assures us that the “angels of our better nature [sic]” might yet prevail. “We’re not Greece yet — or on the brink of Bull Run.” (Um. Aren’t we about to fight Gettysburg?) But we can apparently “make a house divided whole once more” by electing the States’ Rights guy instead of the Free Stuff guy. What a relief.

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  • The link to the absurdity is broken.

  • Njorl

    “We’re not Greece yet — or on the brink of Bull Run.”

    He’s just a poser, otherwise hed call it Manassas.

  • Alan Tomlinson

    Somebody stupid, wrote something stupid. Why am I not outraged?

    Cheers,

    Alan Tomlinson

    • rea

      I don’t know why you’re not outraged, since (1)today’s unrebutted absurdity is tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, and (2) this guy is square in the mainstream of today’s Republican party.

      • The Washington Generals

        It’ll NEVER become conventional wisdom now! WE STRANGLED THAT SHIT IN THE CRIB!

    • This post isn’t meant to evoke outrage. It’s mockery. Grade A, super-awesome sauce mockery.

      Consider the intertubes won for the day.

      • Njorl

        “Mockery is the sincerest form of mockery.” – T. Kornheiser.

      • Indeed. I did sorely miss the Noon humor and sarcastic takedowns. Glad to see them back.

        • Woodrowfan

          Indeed, welcome back Dr. Noon!

      • Rob Patterson

        I was going to say, I’m getting pretty tired of Pure Snark, but this post is wonderful in every way. The “helpless women and children” line is genius.

  • Cody

    Why do conservatives always insist on putting everything into terms of war? Must be some kind of unhealthy obsession.

    Progressives are trying to win elections and force change through politics, while conservatives claim they’re declaring war. Which side do you think is going to organize class-based violence first? Or already has…

    • Alan Tomlinson

      Because conservative rhetoric is primarily based on fear. They’re very scared.

      Cheers,

      Alan Tomlinson

      • Bas-O-Matic

        Any relation to Chuck Pelto?

    • Davis X. Machina

      Do you want to live a life of quiet desperation, an endless cycle of getting and gaining, an American Metro-boulot-dodo? Or do you want to be a foot-soldier playing a small, but crucial part in the War on Ultimate Evil — carrying a Ring, perhaps?

      That’s an easy call to make.

      • Malaclypse

        “Do you like what you doth see…?” said the voluptuous elf-maiden as she provocatively parted the folds of her robe to reveal the rounded, shadowy glories within. Frito’s throat was dry, though his head reeled with desire and ale.

        She slipped off the flimsy garment and strode toward the fascinated boggie unashamed of her nakedness. She ran a perfect hand along his hairy toes, and he helplessly watched them curl with the fierce insistent wanting of her.

        “Let me make thee more comfortable,” she whispered hoarsely, fiddling with the clasps of his jerkin, loosening his sword belt with a laugh. “Touch me, oh touch me,” she crooned.

        Frito’s hand, as though of its own will, reached out and traced the delicate swelling of her elf-breast, while the other slowly crept around her tiny, flawless waist, crushing her to his barrel chest.

        “Toes, I love hairy toes,” she moaned, forcing him down on the silvered carpet. Her tiny pink toes caressed the luxuriant fur of his instep while Frito’s nose sought out the warmth of her precious elf-navel.

        “But I’m so small and hairy, and…and you’re so beautiful,” Frito whimpered, slipping clumsily out of his crossed garters.

        The elf-maiden said nothing, but only sighed deep in her throat and held him more firmly to her faunlike body. “There is one thing you must do for me first,” she whispered into one tufted ear.

        “Anything,” sobbed Frito, growing frantic with his need. “Anything!”

        She closed her eyes and then opened them to the ceiling. “The Ring,” she said. “I must have your Ring.”

        Frito’s whole body tensed. “Oh no,” he cried, “not that! Anything but…that.”

        “I must have it,” she said both tenderly and fiercely. “I must have the Ring!”

        Frito’s eyes blurred with tears and confusion. “I can’t,” he said. “I musn’t!”

        But he knew resolve was no longer strong in him. Slowly, the elf-maiden’s hand inched toward the chain in his vest pocket, closer and closer it came to the Ring Frito had guarded so faithfully…

        • Bored of the rings…. Oh Mal, I like you more each day…

        • Holden Pattern

          BoTR is on the bookshelf, but I haven’t read it in years. Really should crack that open one weekend afternoon, with a nice big glass of something close at hand.

      • Hogan

        “Do you want to be the sniveling voice of decadent reaction or the brave trumpet of a new era?”

        “The brave trumpet of a new era,” I said promptly.

        • Njorl

          I like the brave trumpet part, but there’s something to be said for decadence. Actually, “brave” implies some undesirable possibilities. How about a “bold trumpet”, or better yet, “a bold saxaphone!” What I’m asking is, do you think I could be a jazz musician?

          • rea

            Maybe a sniveling trumpet . . .

            • stickler

              There’s a “strumpet” joke in there, but my sun-baked brain can’t seem to articulate it.

              Bold Strumpet? Ehh.

  • Malaclypse

    an irrepressible conflict to be staged between the “Makers” and Mudsills “Takers.”

    I used to live just over the Delaware from Trenton. As you crossed the bridge, to your right was a railroad bridge, the wall of which had big block letters reading TRENTON MAKES, THE WORLD TAKES.

    That sign was far less delusional that your typical Randroid.

    • Sargon

      That sign is still there, at least as of this April when I went past it in a train. I think someone in Trenton is bitter about something…

      • Malaclypse

        It is at least 43 years old, so it is, sadly, a memory of a time when Trenton was an actual manufacturing center.

        • elm

          Yeah, the sign ain’t delusional, it’s merely nostalgic. Trenton made most of the steel wire used in suspension bridges once upon time, for instance.

  • Karate Bearfighter

    “Like John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry,” Herman warns, “Obamacare has been a wakeup call to what’s at stake — just as the turbulent events in Wisconsin showed how far Democrats are willing to go to win.”

    Okay:

    a) not getting out of the boat, and
    b) probably putting too much thought into this,

    but doesn’t this analogy make us (Democrats, lefties, etc.) the radiacal abolitionists?

    • rea

      [Singing]: John Brown’s body lies a mouderin’ in his grave
      His truth goes marching on.

      • DrDick

        Something is “mouderin’ in his grave”, but I think it is whatever passes for a brain in this pampered and over privileged twit.

    • Jamie

      We are both, depending on the analogy in the applicable paragraph. Kind of similar to the state-dependent “libertarian” Glennolds railing against transfer payments to his home state.

    • Njorl

      Everyone knows that if it weren’t for the radical abolitionists that slavery probably would have come to a peaceful and economically fruitful end in … oh, about 1862.

    • dan

      I have another objection; and that is, it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case)–had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends–either father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class–and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

      This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.” I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done–as I have always freely admitted I have done–in behalf of His despised poor was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments–I submit; so let it be done!

      — John Brown

      • Craigo

        That speech would make a pretty fine denouement to the John Brown movie that nobody seems to want to make.

        • dan

          I’ve always seen it more as the opening scene, actually, with the rest of his life, up until the start of the raid, being told in flashback.

        • firefall

          a musical, obviously

          • cpinva

            rice & webber

          • Bas-O-Matic

            Glee’s John brown

  • TT

    It’s not surprising that conservatives want to fight another Civil War. A central tenet of their ideology for the last 40 to 50 years is that the wrong side won the first one.

  • Socraticsilence

    Given the income level of the average enlisted man and the fact that food stamp usage among the families of low level enlisted personnel is relatively common, how long exactly does Herman expect this war to last? I mean PMCs were booming and all but the number with Americans in major roles isn’t huge (and using cheaper foriegn mercs would be moronic unless you wanted even some sections of the right to turn on you) what exactly are the Kochs and the Waltons going to do when angry peasants with shotguns storm the gates?

    • elm

      Drones.

  • Craigo

    While we’re discussing makers, takers, and the Civil War:

    Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

    – Abraham Lincoln, December 1861

    • Cody

      Careful. Next you’re going to quote Reagan and Progressive things he did. You’ll be blacklisted by the whole right side!

      • firefall

        promise?

    • James E. Powell

      Is there a source for that? I mean no disrespect, but I am leery of quotes attributed to famous people without sources, particularly those attributed to Lincoln, Franklin, or Napoleon.

      • Hogan
        • Woodrowfan

          thanks. I’m also leery of famous people’s quote son the interwebs. Nice to see this one is real..

          • davenoon

            There are, in fact, bogus quotations from Lincoln re: labor that circulated during the Gilded Age — one of them even made it into a Lincoln encyclopedia published during the 1930s (if memory serves). If I weren’t so lazy, I’d go dig it up from Merrill Peterson’s book, but it’s a whole three feet away from me at the moment…

            • Craigo

              Was it the one about corporations being enthroned during the war? I nearly fell for that one once.

        • Craigo

          Stepped away from my desk for a minute, thanks for sourcing for me.

          Earlier versions of the this theme appear in previous Lincoln speeches during the late 1850s, but the Dec. 1861 version is the most well written.

      • Rob Patterson
      • Karate Bearfighter

        “The problems with quotes on the internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity.”

        – Abraham Lincoln

        • Hogan

          Isn’t he also the one who said 37% of all statistics are made up?

          • Malaclypse

            That was Twain. Or Churchill.

        • Craigo

          Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

          – Abraham Lincoln

          (Not really, as this one really is fake. The first is not, as ten seconds with something called “google” could have shown.)

          • elm

            I always thought that was Coolidge, companion to the “I have never been hurt by the things I did not say” quote.

        • Obviously a fake quote. Lincoln never had time to visit the Internet; he was too busy freeing slaves and killing vampires.

          • Hogan

            His secretary Mr. Kennedy took the real quote and substituted “labor” for “werewolves” and “capital” for “vampires.”

  • Matthew Stevens

    “We’re not Greece yet — or on the brink of Bull Run.”

    No, we’re Spartans and we’re gonna take the Alamo. Yeee-ha!

    • David W.

      WOLVERINES!!!

      • rea

        As Custer said at gettysburg . . .

        • Bill Murray

          well at least Custer did play a fairly important role at Gettysburg — repulsing the Confederate cavalry’s attack on July 3rd, and he was something of a Michigander, so

          Harrumphhhh

    • No, we’re Spartans and we’re gonna take the Alamo.

      And when we do, we’re going to end slavery once and for all.

      • Anonymous

        Especially in Messina.

  • Halloween Jack

    So someone who collects Social Security or Medicare benefits after helping to pay into them their entire adult life is also a “taker”? Christ, what an asshole.

    • Craigo

      At least for Medicare, the majority of beneficiaries will receive more than they put in. Which pretty much shatters the standard wingnut rejoinder when they’re questioned about their entitlements.

  • DrDick

    This is the general level of incoherent counterfactual rant I have come to expect from today’s more intelligent and thoughtful conservatives. Poor baby needs an appointment with Mme. Guiilotine.

    • BigHank53

      Well, these clowns do seem intent on finding out what life is like in a country filled with heavily armed individuals with nothing to lose.

      Interesting times!

  • Socraticsilence

    I’m so, so scared about the possibility of I Bankers and Hedge Fund managers revolting, whatever shall we do when the job creators stop whining and start fighting physically.

    • I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna get pretty tired of feasting on the livers of plutocrats, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

      14 hrs a day screwing the taxpayer at an investment bank is not nearly as good a preparation for combat as twisting 2″ threaded steel with 36″ pipe wrenches. I bet I could twist their heads clean off their pencil necks, and save us buying a guillotine.

  • joe from Lowell

    the mistreatment of the job creators, whose staggering wealth just barely compensates for the love and appreciation we cruelly withhold from them.

    Outstanding, davenoon. A+.

  • This post is like 5000 times better than what I would have written.

  • sven

    Dave, you left out two vital details from your post.

    1) Which bar was it?

    and

    2) What were you drinking?

    If it was Squires Rest, I owe my friend a dollar. I guessed downtown but in July it is a crap shoot.

    • davenoon

      No, it was The Alaskan. I’m a downtowner, so I rarely hang out at Squire’s.

      And I was drinking Alaskan IPA and Alaska Outlaw, a whiskey distilled in Wasilla.

  • T Friedman

    “we’re a house divided again and another civil war is coming, with the 2012 election as its Gettysburg.” Which apparently means that while the war is “coming” — as in “not yet started” — we’re about to wage one of its decisive battles. So if I follow him properly, either the Makers or the Takers are about to invade (probably figuratively) the other’s territory, organize a poorly-conceived (and also likely figurative) charge up a vital hill

    I was recently covering events in Damascus. After I arrived at my hotel, I reflected on the trip from the airport: The driver had been telling me how flat the world is now.

    A truer word was never spoken by a transparent literary device. The flattening of the world means that when the South launches the new Pickett’s charge it will no longer be uphill and has a real chance of sweeping the Union forces from Cemetary Ridge.

    This is a lesson that the Democratic Party must take to heart or risk losing the Presidency in 2012.

  • Manta1976

    By the way, have you seen the photo of the 53% linked in the post?
    The one with the woman writing on the same page “I paid for college with loans” a “I, and I alone, own my mistakes my failures and my successes”

    • davenoon

      Yeah, it was precisely that lack of reflection that made this blog so awesome…

      • Manta1976

        Cruel, but fair.

  • the conspiratist

    They really don’t understand how easy it’s been to implant control chips in their guns do they?

  • cpinva

    i wonder if he’s related to the teabagger lady, photographed holding a sign saying “keep the government out of my medicare!”? if he isn’t he should be.

    last time i checked, i am entitled to social security and medicare/medicaid because, well, i paid for them. same reason i’m entitled to the car i own, i paid for it. i guess, in his mind, that makes me a “taker”, because i had the nerve to actually “take” the car from the dealer, after having paid for it. the nerve of me!

  • cpinva

    yeah,

    Republican governors like Jindal, Perry and Scott are answering the call of history and making sure helpless women and children aren’t violated by preventive checkups, tuberculosis vaccinations, or prenatal testing.

    but forced transvaginal probes are patriotic.