DANIEL GREENFIELD: THE EMPIRE OF POVERTY
Controlling a large number of people isn’t easy. The United States alone consists of 312 million people spread out across nearly 4 million square miles. Add on nearly 500 million for the population of the European Union and another nearly 4 million square miles of territory. Then pile on Canada with 34 million people and another 4 million square miles, Australia with 22 million and 3 million square miles and a few other stragglers here and there, and the postmodern rulers of the progressive empire have to cope with nearly a billion people spread out across 15 million square miles.
Large territories and large numbers of people are very difficult to govern. Structures tend to break down and people further away from the centers of power don’t listen to the boys at the top. The only way to make a going proposition of it is to consolidate as much power as possible at the center and the very act of centralizing power leads to tyranny.
The most direct chokehold possible is physical. China’s rulers, faced with vast territory and population, turned to the water empire. The modern West is quickly rediscovering a more sophisticated form of hydraulic despotism, cloaked in talk of saving the planet and providing for everyone’s needs.
Western resources are not innately centralized, which makes seizing control of them and routing them through a central point more difficult. This has to be done legislatively and has to be justified by a universal benefit or a crisis. One example of this is FDR’s Agricultural Adjustment Act which allowed the government to control wheat grown on a farm for private consumption. Another is nationalizing health care by routing the commercial activity of medicine through government organs. Both services and commodities can be controlled in this manner.
But the larger challenge is that the West is rich and a water empire depends on scarcity. Central control is much less potent if there is plenty of the commodity or service available. It’s only when shortages are created in bread or health care that the system really wields power by rationing a scarce commodity or service.
If a resource is scarce, then the water empire has to distribute it efficiently. But if a resource is widely available, then the water empire has to find ways of making it scarce, until the demand vastly outstrips the supply.
The modern water empire is dependent for its power on manufactured shortages. The rise of the progressive state was closely tied to its exploitation of shortages. Its challenge has been to win the race with industrial productivity by manufacturing shortages and destroying wealth faster than it could be created. While the machine of industry created wealth, the machine of government destroyed it. Today the machine of government is very close to winning the race, creating a state of permanent shortages.
Manufactured shortages are the great project of modern governments. This manufacture is done by prohibitively increasing the cost of creating and distributing products and services, by controlling the means of production in the name of wealth redistribution and by prohibiting the production on the grounds that it is immoral or dangerous. Over the 20th century the transition was made from the first to the second and finally to the third.
The third means of manufacturing shortages is the final trump card in the race between human ingenuity and government power. It began with pollution regulation and has reached the stage where all human activity, from a bike ride to the corner to a puff of exhaled air, is a form of pollution. The carbon footprint is to the human being what the Agricultural Adjustment Act was to wheat, a mandate for total central regulation of all human activity.
While the second means of manufacturing shortages only justified redistributing wealth, the third prevents its creation. It is the final lock of the water empire. When it slides into places, shortages become permanent and the Empire of Poverty rules over all.
The Empire of Poverty is the modern incarnation of the water empire, its feigned concern for social equality disguising its hunger for total power. With the third stage, the empire of poverty is mostly putting aside its pretense of controlling production in order to maximize human benefits from the products or services and is shifting over to controlling production in order to deny use of the products and services to those who need them.
Global Warming rhetoric is still couched in the usual social justice rhetoric, aimed at the poorer kleptocracies who are eager to join the line for a handout, but its logic is poverty driven. It is not out to create wealth, but to eliminate it, on the grounds that cheaply available food or electricity is an immoral activity that damages the planet.
The Empire of Poverty is chiefly concerned with the impoverishing of the West, to maintain the manufactured scarcities of its water empire it has gone beyond taxation to entirely shutting down or crippling entire branches of human activity. This could not be justified by appeals to class or race alone. Social justice could not shut down power plants or decrease food production. Its impact was not sufficient to maintain a state of permanent poverty.
For the water empire to succeed, it is necessary to destroy any form of social mobility not dependent on the centralized system. The only way to do this is to make it nearly impossible for the working class to transition to the middle class and the middle class to the upper class through commercial activity. The only possible form of social mobility is to be through government service.
Stability is the fundamental mandate of the water empire. Free enterprise with its disruptive activity and its constantly shifting social order is a tsunami that overwhelms the water empire, flooding its canals and swamping its bureaucracies. The water empire only works when everyone knows his place and knows that this place is fundamentally unchangeable. While this attitude seems alien to most Americans, it has been cultivated assiduously in racial politics. The urban blight is a symptom.
The ideological goal of the Empire of Poverty is to convince the subjects under its rule that social mobility is either impossible or undesirable. That they need to accept their place and their dole, and bend their shoulder to the task of making a better world under its enlightened guidance. The more that this mindset is cultivated among its subjects, the less they are able to envision another world where they might be free to do what they please.
Corporate monopolies are not the enemies of the Empire of Poverty, though its functionaries and propagandists spend a great deal of time insisting that this is the case. But that is because the Empire needs enemies and scapegoats. Yet the Empire has drawn the bulk of its support from the ranks of the very organizations that it condemns. The growth of unsustainable corporations and governments have come side by side, both engaging in unworkable practices, as its officers move back and forth from boardrooms to cabinet meetings.
The Empire’s goal is not to control corporations, it is to control everything. The corporation is a more efficient tool for controlling customers and employees. It is an embryo government and often an ally. The Empire does not fear dinosaurs like that, it fears change and innovation. It is not worried about GE, it is far more worried about small businesses. It is afraid of the man in the garage who might invent something that will make its latest batch of environment regulations suddenly seem foolish.
Innovation undermines the Empire’s ability to tighten its grip over the distribution and manufacture of all products and services. The “crisis” of Global Warming has given it an open ended mandate, but its population is clever and able to innovate faster than it can regulate. Its educational systems controlled from the top down are aimed at indoctrinating conformity and suppressing independent thought, but like most empires it is still too slow. It controls most media channels, but innovation and individualism still keeps outpacing it.
The Empire of Poverty is already partially in control of food supplies, medicine, electricity and all commercial activity in general. It can determine in many cases and with variations across different countries, how much of a thing can be produced, at what price it can be sold and under what authority. Its task at the present is the growing consolidation and centralization of these powers in the hands of increasingly more powerful bodies until the Empire is fully formed.
The consolidation of numerous national, local, regional and international bodies into the Empire is a slow chaotic and inefficient process as nations shed the pretense of democratic elections and horse trading continues between various parts of the Empire. But the Empire of Poverty is very nearly here.
Global Warming has given the Empire a global crisis and an unlimited mandate to resolve the crisis. What the threat of war was to a united Europe and the threat of poverty was to a federalized United States, the threat of a melting planet is to the Empire of Poverty. It is an open question whether the economic collapse of any of the smaller entities will inhibit the rise of the Empire or prevent it from coming to being. Every resource crisis gives the Empire another reason to consolidate control of resources in the name of the public good, and then eliminate access to those resources in the name of the planetary good.
The Empire of Poverty is rising on the skeleton of the West, it is eating out its abundance and preparing to lock down power, food, transportation, medical services and countless other elements of the commercial life of the formerly free world. Its water empire will impose its own vision of power by controlling resources and doling them out as a means of power. By controlling access to the things we take for granted, it intends to rule over us all.
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