Guest Post: The Mindfuck

Via Notes From Disgracedland’s Bjarne Knausgaard

The mindfuck

Where there is inequality of estates, there must be inequality of power. (James Harrington)

Oligarchy rests on the concentration of material power, democracy on the dispersion of non-material power. The American political economy is both an oligarchy and a democracy — a distinctive fusion of equality and inequality. Civil oligarchies represent the most significant political innovation, never seen in history before the creation of the modern state. As a characterization of the Western (predominantly American) political system, civil oligarchy is the result of a shotgun marriage of two contradictory concepts, brokered by an interesting play of numbers: The vast majority of citizens exert very little concerted material power in politics, but a small number of individuals each have at their disposal the resources it would take tens of thousands of their fellow citizens acting in sustained coordination to match. The two groups stand in constant opposition — their conflict never disappears, but defines the driving force behind the underlying sociopolitical dynamics. It pushes all other themes out and becomes the main axiom of the political economy. This disparity of numbers forces a continuation of underlying antagonisms until one side declares victory. As a result, the political process loses its connection with democracy.

The reconciliation of oligarchy and democracy requires a Hegelian Aufhebung, a non-linear logical maneuver whereby the resolution of the inner contradiction is suspended until the concept is completed during synthesis — abolition of the Real to realize the Idea.

Oligarchs represent individuals endowed with enormous wealth which both empowers and exposes them to threats. In America, they constitute only a fraction of one percent of the population and have at their disposal material “voting” power that is hundreds, and in some cases tens of thousands, of times that of the average citizen. To understand the power multiplier, which reflects the underlying wealth differential, one should think of wealth as an instrument that enhances the persuasive power and influence of an individual. For example, being able to convince poor people to vote against their direct interests and in favor of the oligarchs, and to convert these things into laws and tax codes – the essence of the Republican Southern Strategy program as outlined by Lee Atwater — requires considerable resources and access to media, religious and secular institutions, lobbyist and a variety of political consultants that only money can bring. Mind-fuck is an essential ingredient for the functioning of civil oligarchies; without it, they could not persist.

The Material Power Index (MPI) is a way of quantifying the disparity of democratic participation. MPI assigns a base value of one to the average material power position of Americans across the bottom 90 percent of the population. The weakest American oligarchs have between 125 and 200 times the material power of an average citizen. Oligarchs at the very top of American society have an MPI just over 10,000, which happen to approximate the MPI of Roman senators relative to their society of slaves and farmers. This has gone even more extreme after the 2010 Citizens United ruling. In this way oligarchs can legitimate their position with all of their power and influence, without resorting to force – which time and again has proven to be an expensive and fragile tool of stability.

It is not very difficult to see haw a handful of super rich oligarchs can tip the scales of any election. According to 2007 data, the 400 richest Americans have an MPI in excess of 10,000; these 400 top oligarchs have the “voting power” of four million people. Outside of this group, the average MPI of the 1/100th of a percent of the top earning taxpayers (who own about 2% of all American wealth), about 15,000 people, is around 1000. This means that 1/100th percent of the population had the “voting power” of 20 million. This is a significant fraction of the voting population (about 130 million in the 2016 US elections). Normally, elections are most often won within 1-2 million margin. Therefore, a victory can be achieved by attracting 100-200 top oligarchs.

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4 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Mindfuck

    • I feel that Hillary’s people fell into one of three groups. One, they love her and they went out and voted for her. Two, well, she was the better choice of two evils. Three, and here lies the loss – those that felt 100% confident that trump was such a buffoon and so horrible, that she was absolutely gonna run away with the win, so they did not bother to go vote.

      So, now the mindfuck comes into play. All the negative gossip and ranting from trump and even FBI Comey impacted the daily news! Group One, most of them stuck by her, but were shaken and worried….and the other part of that group decided she could not be trusted, especially since the FBI was now investigating! Holy Crap. Group Two, now decided both candidates were horrible and some backed off her team; those that stuck with her really were more interested in a woman president finally but became worried a first female president who fell from grace would sully the future female candidates. Group three grew in size, from group one that got scared off and from group two, those who more or less just tossed a coin.

      Even with those substantial changes in her supporters she still won the MAJORITY of the votes. Can you imagine if those changes had not taken the toll it did? And thanks to probable outside manipulation, trump was awarded the Electoral College Votes, even though those people could have changed the end result drastically and would have been right to do so, just based on the MAJORITY of POPULAR votes! That would have been easily explained and would have been in keeping with the MAJORITY OF AMERICAN VOTERS.

      So, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

      – Murphy

  1. When the populace comes to the conclusion that they can vote themselves the treasury democracy is dead. Thomas Jefferson

    • FC – huh? You throw out some convoluted quote from a president who left office way over 200 years ago? You and Jefferson fail to consider technology advancements (!!) that have tilted the scales so that a true democracy is hard to measure, especially in this most recent election. A FACT is that more than 3 million more people voted, pulled the lever, FOR Hillary than for trump. 3 million more people recognized the idiocy of making that man president. Those people voted against trump. Seems they were right.

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