Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Feudalism

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

104248208I’ve long contended that I believe the end game of those Corporatists that run our world is a feudalistic state of affairs where they represent the “Nobility” of the Middle Ages. This theory of mine originally came about when I began to think about the mystifying rise of celebrities as cultural icons. The Kardashians, whatever it is that they do, certainly are among the most famous of today’s celebrities. Many of these celebrities are notable not for their talent, but for their ability to manipulate public relations and the media. The Kardashians were not the first intimation that came to me about what I see is a trend to use subtle propaganda techniques to pave the way for full blown Medieval Feudalism. One of the first indications that came to mind was the TV program “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” The show’s host was Englishman Robin Leach. With his upper crust sounding English voice, actually a worked over Cockney dialect, he would breathlessly show the viewers sumptuous estates and introduce them to the wealthy celebrity wannabe’s who owned this monuments to poor taste. Around that time Donald Trump, the scion of a real estate empire married his middle European wife Ivanna, who taught this twit how to get publicity to publicize the Trump brand of over the top extravagance, coupled with a taste for gilt everywhere. Ivanna aged and outlived her usefulness to “The Donald” and he cast her aside for a much younger woman to grace his arm and broadcast his “potency.” The man has filed for bankruptcy many times, ran his Casinos into the ground and is far from the Billionaire Entrepreneur image he projects. Yet he runs seminars on how to get rich (easy to do when your father is a real estate baron) and has a well-rated program where he acts as a Judge as to how people are skilled in management. He has even had the temerity to play at running for President. The Trump name is more recognizable to the public than the name of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The recent birth of the Royal baby in England and the round the clock coverage by CNN illustrates my point. Our news shows give us more “news” on the box office from this week’s movies, than it does about deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. The “Cult of Celebrity” in my opinion is propaganda to pave the way for a feudal system where we the citizens spend our time thinking about the doings of our “betters”, rather than our responsibilities as citizens. When there is this absorption about the wealthy class and their lives, the fact that many escape their duplicitous deeds by being so wealthy, becomes and accepted reality. There is much evidence and little doubt that the recession of 2008 was brought about by illegal activity on the part of the financial community. Yet almost all of that community has escaped real criminal punishment for their deeds and when light prison sentences have been imposed, they spend their time is minimum security federal prison camps, with many of the comforts of home.  Yes Bernie Madoff is in jail for life, but Bernie ripped off other rich people mainly and so had to be punished. Martha Stewart, though not to the manor born, acted like she was an arbiter of society. She was sent to jail for a minor violation because of fame and as an example to those who would rise above their station. This trend towards developing a “new nobility” to entrance us peasants is a difficult one to deal with since so many of us “low born” are fascinated by it. In truth “celebrity watching” has always been a human passion going back at least 5,000 years to ancient Sumer and Egypt.

We and many of the industrialized nations are supposed to be Republics, not Monarchies and to my mind we are fast elevating our “entrepreneurial and entertainment” class into our new nobility. The reality is that there is little any of us can do about this except to try to expose it and hope people wake up. I think though that having won the “celebrity war” there is coming an expansion by our “elite” into making ones status in society’s hierarchy, into ones’ privilege under the law and I’ll explain further the signs of this that I see occurring right now.One of the first signs of this change I perceive comes from the privatization of many of the Nation’s highways, making them high priced toll roads. The ostensible reason behind this is to defray the cost of maintaining these roads to the users rather than the taxpayers. Since the rise of the anti-tax movement led by Grover Norquist, our politicians are afraid to raise taxes overtly and so develop schemes to raise the money need to govern from hidden taxation, which  regressively gives the greatest burden to those least able to pay the fare. Since the country as a whole has a poor public transportation system citizens are forced to rely on vehicles in order to work and do the other needed business of living life. Tolls mean nothing to the wealthy and in essence road privatization becomes a further step towards inequality of the classes.

This step has been exceeded in recent years by an even further stratification of the “privilege” of driving. In many cities around the country “rush hour” is the most difficult times of the day for drivers. We now have paid “Express Lanes” in many Cities. These lanes, for a fee, allow those who can afford it to move more quickly to and from their City destinations. Route I-95 going to and from Miami has one such system. Since my impending heart transplant caused me to begin the long trip into Miami during rush hours perhaps two to three times a week I became quite familiar with these paid express lanes about 3 ½ years ago. The difference in travel time was quite significant and yet living on a fixed income my necessary use of these lanes was somewhat of a hardship. As my wife would drive me in and back all those times I watched the stalled. Slow moving traffic in the non-express lanes and mused about the difference it made to those drivers. My contention is what we see in this phenomenon is merely the beginning of further “legalized” division of this country by economic/social class, which is fast bringing on all the characteristics of feudal society to our former republic.  While I could give you further examples to prove my point I don’t have the space to make it replete with instances, nor complete with facts in this guest blog. I am expressing my viewpoint based on trends I perceive, the reader can agree or disagree with my suppositions.

If you disagree with my surmises, the following story may convince you to think again:

“Some prisoners at one California jail will now have the option to pay their way into a more comfortable stay, community news source the Argus reports.

The Fremont Police Department is now offering its inmates a “pay to stay” option. For a one-time fee of $45 plus $155 a night, prisoners serving short sentences on lesser charges can stay in a smaller facility while avoiding county jails.

“It’s still a jail; there’s no special treatment,” Lt. Mark Devine, a Fremont police official who oversees the program, told Chris De Benedetti of the Argus. “They get the same cot, blanket and food as anybody in the county jail, except that our jail is smaller, quieter and away from the county jail population.” .

Let’s be honest here who is this “Jail” being designed for. Let’s say that someone is to be jailed for a week the cost would be $1,130. How many people who are jailed would be able to afford that amount plus any legal fees that they would incur? What is a short sentence? I think people would see 30 days as a short sentence. Your jail stay for 30 days would be $4,695. How many among us could afford that amount? What does “away from the county jail population” mean. My guess is it means Blacks, Hispanics and White “riffraff”. Please watch the short video from the Warden that is embedded in this article and you will see that my surmise is not incorrect.

My question is how long before this “reform” spreads countrywide and what does it mean for us as a society when it does? The rationale for this is to lower the costs to government of the prison systems. What other rationales, for other government services, will be made? My title in this piece refers to the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, where Dorothy and her cohorts follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Wizard and discover that he is a sham, learning that they must think and do for themselves. I believe we are being led down the same sort of road, but at destination’s end rather than the Wizard confessing his powerlessness, he will proclaim his omnipotence. Perhaps I am merely a paranoid old alarmist with my musings that this is one of many dangerous trends that are sweeping this country and creating a feudalist state, where once a republic existed? I don’t think so, but what do you think?

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger.

54 thoughts on “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Feudalism”

  1. Joy 1, August 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    MS, This is a direct result of crony capitalism, the corporatization of the State …
    My research indicates that feudalism of the ancient sort was germinated by warfare:

    Warfare was endemic in the feudal period, but feudalism did not cause warfare; warfare caused feudalism.

    (American Feudalism, quoting UCSB). War is a modern concept and practiced, as I am very sure you have noticed, so it can generate modern feudalism.

    Mike S is definitely on to something real.

  2. Mike,

    I didn’t think that you were referring to me, although I think that the way to avoid what you are talking about is by being aware of it and planning how to stay out of its clutches in the beginning. Corruption is a slippery slope and the first steps can be very reasonable.

    Let me give you an example: a consultant I’m working with sent me an email for a webinar regarding available funding from the DoD and asked me if I’d ever considered them as a funding source. Well, I may not be desperate, but I can see it from here, so I considered it… It turned out that I didn’t attend the webinar for other reasons, but it seemed like it would have been a good thing to look into. Later, I was talking about it with my shoulder angel (who doubles as the devil’s advocate sometimes… 😉 ) and he said it was worth thinking about (he can see desperate from where he is, too), but that I should consider that anything the DoD funds would be weaponized. Well, I had considered that regarding another project I had worked on (you know, the thing with the thing*), but what I’m currently looking at is a whole different kettle of fish. One of the uses of the technology that I’ve been developing is to identify the synergistic effects of drugs on cellular subsystems. While this could be used to, for instance, tailor chemotherapeutic agents that were deadly to an individual’s cancerous cells while harmless (or at least survivable) to normal cells, it could also, in a worst-case extreme scenario**, be used to develop chemical agents which targeted specific genotypes or phenotypes. [Insert horrific sci-fi short story here] That doesn’t seem like the kind of legacy I want to have. That’s the thing about science: all you get to do is let the genie out of the bottle. Once he’s out, you don’t have any control over him.

    That was last week, though… this week I’m going to be plotting how to get in bed with the pharmaceutical industry.

    Much better. 😉

    * I got some stuff to say about that if I can find a round towitt.

    ** At least that’s the worst case that I could think of, there may be something more horrible, but it’s an unknown unknown, as Donald Rumsfeld would say.

  3. ”Clinton did a lousy job”
    Loosing how much? trying to develop a trailer park. Meanwhile the bush family buys up the defense industry for pennies on the dollar, then starts WW3. Pretty industrious if you ask me. I often use the term ”SLOUCHING Toward Feudalism” to sum things up… My 1 shot solution… reinstating a sense of Noblesse oblige in our lizard overlords

  4. I know nations that want to be “world powers” always strive for Guns and Butter. But, I wonder how many of our ideologues on the political left and right would go along with LESS guns & Less butter?

    It seems incredibly absurd to me that the end of the Cold War, and with it the prospect of facing the Soviet forces on the N. German plain, did not result in a drastic decrease in defence spending. Clearly, looking around the world on January 1, 1990, were had no immediate prospect of fighting the “last war”. We did not need so many tanks, artillery pieces, air superiority fighters, strategic capable bombers, nuclear tipped missiles, etc, etc. The U.S. had provided 90% of Europe’s defence since (1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 or 1950, pick a date and make your argument), and no longer needed to do so.

    I’m not going to go into Clintonesque platitudes about remaking the military, other than to say Clinton did a lousy job. His discomfort for personal reasons at being criticised over any military cut turned out to be a major problem. But whatever should have been done to address the big numbers largely wasn’t pursued.

    But, simultaneously, I can’t believe the U.S. didn’t cut wasteful programmes on the “Butter” side. If the country has economic problems programmes need to be cut. Sort of like the flat tax language. Maybe start with 5% cuts across the board. Everything outside of defence spending should have been Cut. Everything. A flat tax reduction of everything outside of defence spending (that would be cutting on its own).

    Instead, no one will ever let go of power. Every Congressional District has its favourite program’s. Every ethnic special interest and varying lobbying group refuses a 5% cut. It’s always some story about how the ________Community is underserved. A 5% cut? Ha! Not even 1%, with all the usual reasons.

    Until the ideologues and lobbyists who pass themselves off as “leaders” or “elected officials” start acting in the best interests of America, things are hopeless.

  5. MS, This is a direct result of crony capitalism, the corporatization of the State. Huge corporations write the “laws” for the House to submit while the politicians receive huge money and perks as rewards for being a good dog. Those laws create a monopoly for the already huge conglomerates and destroys their competition. Most all congresspersons become very wealthy after they’ve entered congress (see dianne feinstein, nancy pelosi, rick perry (TX gov), ad nauseum), not to mention the extremely acitivist Supreme Court and potus. The corporate heads have no fear of being incarcerated ever, so their lawlessness is legend. The whole thing is predicated on the criminal banking cartel, which for some reason, you seem to elevate to “highness,” whose Federal Reserve is headed, for now, by Ben Bernanke. The Fed was created in secrecy by the powerful bankers in 1913, on a secret train to Jekyll Island, Ga. One of the most successful conspiracies in history. Read “The Creature from Jekyll Island.” The control of our paper money is through this banking cartel, which destroys the middle class to the benefit of the banks and the huge industrial monopolies granted by the government of thieves. The govt hands over our tax funds to huge industrial complexes to commit crimes against humanity (prison and military industries) as a reward for supporting their re-elections and all the perks and freebies enjoyed by the political class. This is why we will never stop waging invasions against foreign nations until the entire US economy collapses; when all the roaches will scurry away with all the wealth created by the working class. We have a ROGUE GOVERNMENT, enabling rogue megacorps. Please wake up to this reality.

  6. Bob 1, August 11, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Dredd, you make an equally critical distinction of the role of the military in the establishment and maintenance of Empire. If you’re interested, Hudson’s first great work with a mass audience was his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972).

    I’m reminded also of John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:

    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    So many layers of decoration hiding something so . . . different than what it’s made out to be by TPTB.

    It looks like we’ve reached the Bread and Circuses stage that Mike describes so well for the masses; climate change is gonna do very bad things to the bread supply, imo.

    Bad times ahead on every front, it seems to me.
    Good points and thanks.

    We have to take a look at these issues if we want to master them and move out of sophisticated, modern feudalism.

    Identifying its parameters is the first step.

  7. Mike, thanks for posting the Hudson excerpt–I’m sure you’ll find the 30 pages worth the time. In spite of the effort (though it is not what would ordinarily be considered “technical” in economics, it is richly dense because so much is covered in so very few words.

    It’s the single best thing (brevity properly valued) I’ve ever come across in Econ, during or since my undergrad degree in same. He nails the whole enchilada to the wall.

    Hudson was the first econ/finance guy to predict the housing meltdown from a national platform, in his extremely accessible (much in cartoon format) and still informative piece in Harpers in April, 2006. He saw it all as a carefully planned and executed strategy that had a clearly foreseeable end . . .

    Even men who were engaged in organizing debt-serf cultivation and debt-serf industrialism in the American cotton districts, in the old rubber plantations, and in the factories of India, China, and South Italy, appeared as generous supporters of and subscribers to the sacred cause of individual liberty.
    —H. G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come

    Dredd, you make an equally critical distinction of the role of the military in the establishment and maintenance of Empire. If you’re interested, Hudson’s first great work with a mass audience was his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972).

    I’m reminded also of John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:

    So many layers of decoration hiding something so . . . different than what it’s made out to be by TPTB.

    It looks like we’ve reached the Bread and Circuses stage that Mike describes so well for the masses; climate change is gonna do very bad things to the bread supply, imo.

    Bad times ahead on every front, it seems to me.

  8. david

    musical silos, don’t be the one holding the empty silo when the music stops.

    eventually, the music will stop.

    when all the talking heads agree that now is the time to own a silo, don’t.

  9. OS:

    while I disagree on a national sales tax, I do agree with:

    “One of the things that could be done right now is cut back on defense spending that sends money overseas, to line the pockets of the ungrateful and the crooked.”

    Amen to that. Many African and other third world potentates have Swiss accounts courtesy of the American taxpayer.

  10. Mike Spindell, I am re-posting two earlier comments of mine, from some time ago, the last one and this one. I think your article is spot on. I don’t consider your view to be a “Conspiracy theory” I believe we most definitely are headed in the direction you posit.

    A farmer with 100 silos filled with corn is a happy successful farmer. He can trade all types of things backed up by his full bountiful silos.
    Today Banksters have a 100 silos of money. Each one (on paper) claims to have a full value. …… But to look into these silos one finds derivatives, default swaps, futures trades, projected incomes, etc. all leveraged up to 40X earnings.
    Political “science” Economic “science” theorists can easily explain why a silo 1/40th full is as valuable and equal to a silo that is full.
    I am blue collar, High Falutin Finance is not my ken, so I am sincere when I call BS on this madness of 40X piles of phony money.
    These silos are modern day financial towers of Babel. The Banksters keep building them higher, the walls thinner, the shingles more opaque.
    Monuments of unfettered Capitalism, (symbols similar to the spam comment Mike mentioned clogging word press) LOL. More Bigger Better. In other words a “fantasy” false as a flying pig, wisps of smoke shaped to fulfill our hubricidal ignorance, a palliative for the masses, cocaine for the UberWealthLords, teetering in mild winds, soon to crash in a steady breeze.
    Get ready Peeples of the world, we will soon be buying the farm again.

    … Old Mother Milo / Went to the Silo
    To get her poor middle class a Bone
    But when she got there / the Silo was AIR
    And She and Her middle class HAD NONE

  11. Necessary income for today, comes from resources and focused labor.
    Wealth is an accumulation of things, not necessary today.
    Great wealth accumulates things, not necessary at all.
    But for even greater accumulation, to no purpose at all
    That drains the pool of Wealth, Necessary for the incomes of Today.

    There are many closed loops here. Great wealth brings great power. Power
    can be used in many ways. Great Power used to protect Great Wealth is
    evident today and historically.
    The wealthy few hire from the minions of poor, to protect the Wealthy few,
    that are withholding the resources, necessary for the poor to rise!!

    It is a reality [to me] that the conversati­on of wealth disparity, boils
    down to power disparity. Democracy gives each citizen a vote to choose our
    leaders. I can’t think of a fairer way. I am so frustrated to see, working
    class people continuall­y voting against their own interest. The minions of
    the poor seem hypnotized by the wealthy conspirato­rs, The wealthy put “NO
    SWIMMING ALLOWED” signs on Half of the wealth POND. The wanna bees eagerly
    paint and upkeep the signs and borders.

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