Evil Geniuses Of Corporate America And The Oh So Greedy Among Us
If you are curious to know precisely how average Americans became ever poorer over the last forty plus years, you need look no farther than Kurt Anderson’s latest book, Evil Geniuses — The unmasking of America: A recent History.
So impressed was former conservative Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, who, having once represented northwest Florida, that he featured Mr. Anderson elaborating upon his latest literary endeavor during the entire week of 1–11–21 on Scarborough’s popular MSNBC show, Morning Joe.
One of the quotes that the author displays prior to the contents page of Evil Geniuses is by associate Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “We make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentration in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
That assessment pretty much summarizes the gist of Mr. Anderson’s book: as wealth becomes concentrated democracy dies, along with the living standard of average citizens. Mr. Anderson’s read kind of plays off that 1951 little gem of a book, The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer. In it Hoffer unfolds the psychology behind political and religious mass movements.
While being lite on the psychological aspects of the American democracy movement, in his book Anderson focuses more on the ups and downs of America’s societal and economic machinations.
The combination of Corporate America and the greedy political right, with lots of help from a naïve political left, commenced a long-haul campaign for unlimited wealth and power of a well positioned few during the 1970s and exploded with the election in 1980 of folksy, happy-go-lucky Ronald Regan, a seemingly harmless dude.
But from hindsight it is clear that GOP patron saint, Regan, was actually a dagger in the heart of democracy and the nation’s once vibrantly expanding middleclass. Working in conjunction with a fist full of business financed think-tank’s and K-Street lobbyists, the way was paved during the Reagan administration for corporate interests to run wild. Hundreds of regulations, being unknown by most, guarding the common man’s interest were felled by the wayside. This average citizen’s demise was something akin to the story of the frog slowly heated in a vat of water. Suddenly one not so very fine day the average working Joe and Jill realized that they were in really hot water — pensions were either watered down or gone and healthcare was disappearing,
As is so often the case, when the rich and powerful undercut the government, which is what President Regan did when he said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English languish are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” This started a loss of faith in both our national government and democracy itself, and when, alas, democracy atrophies the rich become the super rich and everyone else becomes economically strangled.
Moreover, when the super rich engaged their GOP shills to blame minorities for the economic decline of White working class prosperity they may have gone too far in covering their own tracks with that meme. Inadvertently they set the table for the political ascension of power hungry Donald J. Trump.
Although Trump gave wealthy Republicans and the “religious” right much of what they desired in the way of tax cuts and conservative judges, it may have caused the GOP and corporate America to fly too close to the sun. Trump came within an inch of fatally singeing the wings of the goose that lays the golden eggs — over 240 years of American style democracy, which even the rich depend upon to some degree, unless, of course, the wealthiest among us want to take their chances on becoming a Putin kind of oligarch.
In any even, by the GOP exploiting lower middleclass Whites on behalf of their wealthy patrons, America ended up flirting with a fascistic minded president pushing dystopian themes of American carnage that actuated hundreds of thousands of unnecessary pandemic deaths and a deadly coup attempt upon the physical symbol of America, the US Capitol building, as those inside were engaged in carrying out a critical Constructional duty.
Kurt’s book may not be a fun read but it’s certainly an important one, one making plain the reasons behind America’s possible death spiral.