Belmont Club

The Upper and Nether Millstones

Yesterday’s post about the inexorable expansion of government can be read in conjunction with Roger Simon’s current piece about how the Great Society laid the foundations for the riots in Ferguson.

Ironically, Michael Brown and the paramilitarized Ferguson Police Department are two sides of the same coin. They are the joint product of the politics of grievance and the growing expansion of government. The taxes that made the mobs dependent also armed the paramilitary police that contain them.   You have one government department handing out Obamaphones and another handing out MRAPs to the cops. HHS gives out Obamacare and the IRS enforces it.

A giant bureaucracy tasked with providing all “positive rights” rumbles on, even as progressive politics unleashes more “community organizers” while erecting a giant political machine to meet those same growing expectations.  It calls to and answers itself. The result on a community scale is Ferguson. The result on a national scale is Barack Obama.

Dependence is met with welfare; crime countered by replacing the family — after destroying it first — with state adoption and child protection agencies.  Two monstrous excrescences grow from the soil to dizzying heights. It was supposed to be a win-win: the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth (represented by the youths) would be governed and fed by the All-Seeing Eye of Agamotto. In charge of it all would be our very own Dr. Barack Strange Obama, who would preside over both the youths and their keepers.

And it continues apace. Soon Eric Holder will tell us whom to blame. And as Foxtrot Alpha explains, maybe systems like the “Wide Area Aerial Surveillance, the all-seeing eye in the sky that will change our lives forever” will tell us whom to find. Yet both, as Roger Simon notes, will utterly fail to spot the real culprit: the system that created this dynamic in the first place.

The only people who don’t belong in this tableau are people who work for a living. In Ferguson, schools have been closed, stores shuttered and businesses shut. Does anybody remember — or care — about the convenience store owner whose robbery was the proximate cause of this dust-up? No, because he was only the victim of a “prank” who has no spoken lines in this grand production.  He is no more than a bit player, a prop even,  in the inexorable drama of progressive history.

Marxism has always had a particular hatred for “shopkeepers”; the guys who cook your ham and eggs in the diner or pick up the trash in the morning. It reviles as ridiculous the people who and try and get by without being uplifted by noble thoughts of race, class warfare or the Engines of History. Yet the ordinary productive man is who actually makes the world turn; who builds the Obamaphones and who provides the cigars to steal.

The attitude “if you don’t want trouble, just hand me the cigars” is met by its fatal twin: Police Officer: “if you don’t want to get shot…just do what I tell you.”   In this universe there is no room for freedom or behavior based on shared culture.  There is no room for individual responsibility or limited government. That went out of style along with the old document called the Constitution that nobody reads anymore.  All that is left is an insistent crowd outside of a fortified distribution center.

The Great Society — that pale foreshadowing of the real thing into whose realm we are now beginning to enter — sketched out the draft of paradise. And its vision was a multitude demanding to be given things on one side and a great soulless, armored bureaucracy shoveling it out to them on the other. From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.  It is a Soviet distribution line taken to the scale of a continent. One name for this is socialism. The other name for it, people will soon discover, is fascism. Any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to shoot you dead in the street, no questions asked. The only difference between socialism and national socialism is a single word.

Many are wondering why the president remains hunkered down in Martha’s Vineyard. Well, what else should he do? The dog caught the car.  The greatest tragedy of Ferguson isn’t the bad that’s already happened there. It’s what comes after.  When the last convenience store is burned and the last business leaves town, the moral of Ferguson, we will be told by the elites, is that we failed both the mobs and the police; and it will, without any more ado, proceed to give us more of both.

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