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Are the Rich Getting Denser, Or Just More Brazen?

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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A Confederacy of Dunces by

Nomination for OMG of the month, or season: did you know that Herman Cain wrote a book?   Nah, not that: of course he reads, at least pizza recipes.   Drum roll, please.   The title of Cain's impassioned plea, penned (or ghostwritten) after his failed "04 GA senate run, is: "They Think You're Stupid: Why Democrats Lost Your Vote and What Republicans Must Do to Keep It." "They"? "It"?   "Who the hell is they?" as a great movie asked.   What pizza putz came up with that brand name?

First off, Herman, rousing, self-serving entreaties don't start with the vague, "They," then proceed to the vaguer vacuity of "stupid."   Do you mean 1) uneducated and ill-informed (item: Tea Party) or 2) dense, incapable of learning (as in dumbo estupido).   This bonehead lead qualifies as titular malfeasance, whether to start an essay, a hallowed proclamation, or a note to your plumber.   But it's telling.

Now competing hard for the Palin-Bachmann-Perry Prize for Dumbed-down Demagoguery, Cain just reinforced his contempt for education with this jaw-dropper: "We need leaders, not readers."   Okay, you missed the ten Libya memos, sounding like an ass, but what about our 50 year, 50 state "Reading is Fundamental" crusade, plus the billions of universal support (a.k.a. education funding) you now shred.   Write off every teacher in America, cringing your motto fits a bullying street gang better than any class room.  Only losers read, apparently.

You just can't keep a good ignoramus down.   The unquestioned linkage between reading and leadership, or knowledge with vision, escaped this can't-idate, covering up foreign policy bluffs with another howler, "I'm not supposed to know anything about foreign policy."   War in Libya, after all, was in all the papers -- along with that notorious Kadafi family   -- oh, never mind.   With Palinesque obtuseness, Cain shows he also missed those lessons about deflecting questions for which he has not a clue, instead blurting out, "I got all this stuff twirling around in my head."

Fetishizing Ignorance

Now, boys and girls, doesn't "stuff swirling" in an empty head capture the Cain, Bachmann, Perry display to a tee.   My obvious retort, beyond incredulity, answers Cain's irony-laden title: "They (the world) no longer think you're stupid.   We who dare read know, repeatedly confirmed by multiple cringe-worthy gaffes.   Like Perry, Cain is so overwhelmingly under-informed he fetishizes not knowing, using this same tack to ward off sexual allegations: "I remember nothing so four women must be lying."   True, Palin didn't know anything either, but she boasted about perusing books, newspapers and journals. That's the ticket, Herman, sure to make you our second black president -- rail against reading and equate leadership with illiteracy.    

Study his '05 opus, and the irony mounts, for Cain assaults the "politics of politics" by which officials advance their "campaign war chest and his or her political career," rather than "find solutions to the biggest issues that confront us."   Oh my, like your idiotic 9-9-9 tax delusion, a total non-solution rife with grandstanding?   How about electrified immigration fences?   Further, Cain declares that "businessmen place results ahead of politics.   Politicians place politics ahead of results."   If real-world results dictated your action, you'd be gone, finally getting that ignorance about governance + lying about sexual assault = disaster. Bye, bye.

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A Confederacy of Dunces

Remember the old taunt, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"   Fringe glorification of ignorance -- "we don't know anything and we're proud of it" -- makes me reverse the terms: "how did you get rich, considering how dumb you are?" How could wealthy, non-reading Rethugs support, then abandon, a pageant of know-nothings because you can't stand Mitt -- Trump to Bachmann to Perry to Cain?   Dumb candidates for dumb Tea Partiers.

Perhaps fat cat fat heads imbued with rightwing malarkey invite a new mental disease, with unintended consequences?   First, you must narrow your tunnel vision, shunning evidence, reading, science and history, glued only to FOX Noise.   NOT reading solidifies your conviction that our greatest scientific achievements, from evolution to climate research, are not just wrong but downright hoaxes, laden with hidden (liberal) agendas.   Then, you must ignore the first Christian's elevation of charity and compassion, especially to the poor, sick and helpless.   Let them eat junk food.

Led by Trump and Cain, and the Koch Bros. ilk, the right is reinventing a theory akin to the divine right of kings -- but oddly with government as the enemy.   The ruling class is the worldly elect, ascending naturally upward by getting rich and powerful.   That election was managed: 1) all by themselves, though divinely-ordained; 2) oblivious to the earth's incapacity to support unlimited kings; and 3) unconscious that winning tribes (and empires) crash by hoarding treasures (thus alienating followers, inciting rebellion et al).  

Certainly, illiterate robber barons will fight to prove John Kennedy's advice wrong, "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."   Or understand Muhammad Ali's guidance, "to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich."   And banish entirely Plutarch's ancient but relevant advice, that the   "imbalance between rich and poor" is the "oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics."   Really, we readers uncover this stuff.

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Money, Root of Stupidity?

In fact, Herman Cain's moneyed Rethugs are as ignorant of American history as the moral-legal-social contract that binds us.   How else to take Cain's harsh, unchristian, undemocratic indictment, "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!"   There's the holy-roller sting: not only are the righteous rich elevated but the jobless or the poor are losers -- just lazy, wicked sinners.  After all, Cain's ideal capitalism supplies a perfect, permanent, level playing field and, if failure thus makes you a double loser, with no one else blame.   Yuck.

My God, what country long survives such woeful leadership?   Does not our destiny in a competitive, hostile world depend wholly on the quality of leadership, in government, universities, churches, etc.   Do the super-rich miss the direct link between their wealth and a healthy democracy, with government to train the workers who build and man their fancy yachts?   As I.F. Stone quipped, relevant to OWS, the "rich people march on Washington every day."   Likewise, the novelist Evelyn Waugh wrote, "He was gifted with the sly, sharp instinct for self-preservation that passes for wisdom among the rich."

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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