With cries of liberty and freedom!
Let’s build a government that serves the interest of property owners. We’ll fight on their behalf against their oppressors, for promises of trinkets, fine speeches, and honest work. One that keeps all women, all non-whites, and poor whites outside the power structure as much as possible. We’ll create laws that allow the elite to form corporations so they’re even better protected from the laws that rule the individual citizen, then we’ll wage wars (where our children die) and support dictatorships (where even more foreign children die) to open foreign markets and sell goods when the ability to manufacture goods outstrips demand for those goods, and the profits of those corporations begin to slow. And we will help for promises of trinkets, fine speeches, and honest work.
When that falters (I’d give it a century or so), with revolts and strikes threatening to put the power back into local communities and individual workers, we’ll find new tactics. We’ll build military threats to nurture nationalistic fervor, increasing taxes on the working class (excise taxes and multiple kinds of income taxes) to pay for wars and subsidies to the largest business interests to ensure profit in hard times. Keep just enough money to the lower classes to create a middle class that will fight the poor over the scraps.
Once the civil rights and demands of liberation finally gives non-whites and women a chance at the advantages of rich white men, we’ll pull funding from higher education ensuring that only the wealthy and those invested in the system are assured of a critical thinking education. The middle class and poor will have to find their own ways to pay skyrocketing tuition, whether through their family’s life savings, huge loans (to the very same banks that helped create this situation), or by taking one or more jobs that they often find demeaning and humiliating, if not physically taxing, offering no personal or spiritual rewards.
When all that’s done, we can be proud we survived the gauntlet and never miss a chance to reiterate how hard it was (good job, us!), so we’ll be incentivized to make sure those who come after us goes through that hardship too. It builds character because we have character. And if those trapped by the loans and terrible jobs start to complain, we’ll blame them for making the choice to get educated, pretending they had any other option, and be contented that all is right. And they are all right because we have our trinkets, find speeches, and honest jobs.
Except on occasion, when witnessing another person’s rudeness or selfishness or ignorance, we’ll narrow our eyes at them. Where is their morality, their self respect? We’ll wonder why they needed to cut us off and get in that lane so badly. We’ll wonder why they leave their shopping cart in the aisle, blocking the way. We’ll wonder how they let their children get so out of control in public. Or how vandals can have no respect for the place people live. We’ll wonder how someone could lower themselves to steal a car or a bike. Risk freedom for drug money and murder. How can people be so self centered and oblivious?
We’ll wonder: where did it all go wrong?