The less certain the route to power the more vicious is the struggle to reach it. Only a privileged class that is very well established can afford the luxury of gentility and honor in its dealings. This is not to say that such gentle players need not be ruthless once in position, but rather that they will be expected to never place their own rise above that of their polity.
All the hand-wringing about the expanding income disparities in this country blithely ignores the fact that the Great Compression of the standard of living of the 1940s and 50s was a unique anomaly in the history if economic phenomena, and was only possible because the US was the only nation capable of supplying the global demand for goods and all possible competitors either lying in ruins or locked behind the Iron Curtain.
It is only by slicing away with the laser light of awful clarity the fetters of received opinion, accepted shibboleths of decency, and social acceptability that one can reach awareness of the truths of the human condition and its development.
In the foundational times of the formation of law, the government (in the person of Hammurabi), subsumed the obligation of retribution from the family of the victim in order to end blood feuds. When — as is increasingly common in the West — governments refuse to exercise this obligation, they create a void in the body of societal justice that gets filled by criminal enterprise and vigilantism, and particularly so when self-defense is treated with greater harshness than is crime. Continue reading
Ongoing apocalypticism related to the rise of income inequality overlooks the key datum that the short-lived flowering of equality in America in the post-war years was a historical aberration unique in both time and place, just as the Great Moderation was a short-lived aberration in market volatility. Reliance on aberrations as new benchmarks has turned out, to say the least, problematic.