two links of a political nature

I’m hardly the only person to post this one, but it deserves as wide a readership as it can get: Imagine If the Tea Party Was Black.”

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic?

One of many examples, flipping the colors on Tea Party activity to expose the racism and white privilege that runs throughout the movement. This isn’t just about the hideously offensive signs some protesters have proudly waved; take those away, and race would still be a major element, however much they like to deny it.

And, on the class-warfare front: Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths-people who don’t have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there’s probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there’s an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Thus there is such a shortage of people who can run modern monopolistic, destructive corporations that stockholders have to pay millions to get them to work. And being sociopaths, they gladly take the money without any thought to its social consequences.

I can’t say for sure how strong the logic is; I wouldn’t be surprised if there are also social reasons, linking CEOs to shareholders such that the latter don’t mind paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to their friends. But at the very least, it offers an argument for why there isn’t enough competition to drive CEO pay down.

0 Responses to “two links of a political nature”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    There was an interesting survey here some years ago which discovered that there was a higher % than average of psychopathic/sociopathic tendencies amongst very senior business types. It was a side result of a test that was been trialed for other reasons, but it’s caused a lot of contemplation ever after.

  2. pentane

    Without doubting the existance of white priviledge, I’ll just say that I’ve read through the imagine article and don’t have to do a lot of imagining. I mean, I do own a copy of “cop killer” (before it was censored). Then again, reading Colton Simpson’s biography (a friend of IceT) made me really understand the whole black rage thing too.

    I’ve seen a study that shows there’s a correlation between being mildly sociopathic and advancing in the business world. Just judging from the quotes, I think the author is “solving the wrong problem”. By that, I mean that since they dislike corporations, people who are successful there must be bad people.

    Just as you could argue that Wal*Mart is a soul sucking evil corporation, they could argue they give 1.4 million Americans jobs. You could argue that unions wrecked American manufacturing capabilities by distorting the cost of labor or that they supplied a middle class lifestyle to the average American.

    All 4 cases are true from a certain point of view. It is a gross over simplification to assume CEOs are sociopaths because you don’t like large corporations. They see themselves as reaping the rewards of making profit and (coincidentally?) supplying a lot of people with jobs.

    • Marie Brennan

      To the extent that there are comparable instances going in the other direction (which varies on which instance you’re pointing at), the black agitator doesn’t get a free pass from the media. That’s the privilege I’m talking about: to get hailed by (a substantial portion of) the establishment as a patriot for actions and speech that would have a minority individual branded as a dangerous radical.

      On the sociopathy thing: yes, I think it’s fairly well-established at this point that having that personality type (at least to a small degree) is beneficial in the upper levels of the corporate environment. But I don’t think the author of the article leaps from that point to “people who are successful there must be bad people;” he’s trying to explain why certain people at the top level get paid salaries and bonuses that are grotesquely out of proportion to, well, everything else. There has to be some factor — or more likely a combination of factors — that make it so you can’t find someone else to do the same job for half the money, the way you can in other fields. Me, I think it’s probably a mix of several thing, including the psychological (the article’s argument), the social (the American version of aristocracy), and so on.

      But it does hinge on whether or not you agree with the base premise that CEO compensation is grotesquely out of proportion. Which I do; I’ve forgotten the exact figure, but the scale of difference between money paid to top executives and money paid to the people in the companies they run has escalated by a huge factor in the last few decades. (Like, it’s gone from 50 times as much to 500. Something along those lines.) Or let’s take the current financial industry: what exactly have the people at Goldman Sachs done lately to deserve a collective $5 billion in bonuses? Making profit and supplying a lot of people with jobs? Not so much.

      • pentane

        In the media I’m reading the Tea Party isn’t getting a free pass. I guess I feel it’s more ethnocentricism (in a political sense), but it nets out the same as white priviledge. Still, I can’t get enough of watching the levy’s Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

        Reading the article on CEO pay failed to impress me as well. The amounts are as tbey are because IMO economies of scale only apply at the top and companies are bigger now than before. I think, though, they are in a deadly embrace with the government and neither can release power for fear the other will not. I weep for humanity.

      • pentane

        Sorry to carry on. Goldman Sachs now makes money from proprietary trading, so their incentives are out of wack, yes. The “highly compensated” thing bugged me, so I checked myself.

        Highly compensated means over 110k a year (401k thing). Over 110k a year is top 10% of adjusted gross income which is 40% of the income earned (and 70% of the taxes). A third of the AGI is earned by people being paid 160k and above which is 1 in 20 earners.

  3. malsperanza

    Have you seen the movie “The Corporation”? It starts from the bizarre fact that, under US law, corporations are persons, and then it identifies corporations as fitting the DSM-4 definition of a sociopath. Very funny, in between being horrifying.

    Not sure the Tea Partiers can fairly be described as exercising white privilege, since they are (for the most part) a demographic that represents pretty much the *only* whites in the US who have been denied access to white privilege; hence their outrage. Hell, if even black people can be more privileged than them, like, go to Harvard and become president, then how completely screwed does that make them? Veryveryscrewed.

    But the exercise is a fun one. Couple hundred black people–preferably with period afros–descend on DC waving loaded weapons? You mean like this? Yeah, bloodbath.

    • mojave_wolf

      Interestingly, from most of the surveys I’ve seen, the actual people showing up at these “tea party” rallies are NOT poor working class whites; most of them of them tend to be more well off than average.

      & while agreed w/the original post that there is an an element of racism among some of them, and others are genuinely aggrieved about their individual economic circumstances, let’s not forget these are for the most part the same nutjobs who accused the Clintons of murder, rape, and drug dealing while trying to impeach Bill over a complete and total misunderstanding (a clearly deliberate misunderstanding on the part of the legal types involved) of what is perjury and what sort of lies count.

      They just hate anyone who’s a democrat and has some power. They don’t even care if the democrat advances the same policies as the republicans were espousing when they were in power.

      They accused Bill of socialism when he was, while otherwise liberal, very much a free market guy on the economy (by sane standards, not by Republican standards), accused Hillary of being a really really really socialist socialist because she was a genuine liberal, and when Bill did do a few conservative things, still accused him of liberalism.

      Now they are accusing Obama of socialism when he is very much a pro-corporate, pro big business guy who is, essentially, what used to be called a “country club Republican” back in the day, pushing polices that are, for the most part, not that different from what Bush was doing.

      There really is an undercurrent of rage out there, but the people organizing. the tea party rallies are just hate filled wackjobs.

      (well, unless you buy into the whole kabuki theater idea, in which both parties are actually deliberately and knowingly advancing more or less the same agenda on economic issues while throwing the other stuff, which they don’t really care that strongly about, out there just to keep the masses distracted, in which case the people orgianzing the tea parties are just manipulative sociopaths).

      Fully agreed on the corporate CEO stuff, and it makes sense, when you think about it–assuming otherwise equal brainpower, people w/minimal emotions and *especially* people who don’t really care that much about anything but their own self advancement, are going to be devoting a vastly greater % of their mental and physical energy to climbing the ladder and making money, while at the same time having far more options open to them as to how to climb said ladder.

      And last but not least, I’m the total opposite of this article. Their sexism and *some* of their tactics aside, I have a lot of sympathy for the Black Panther movement from the sixties; they did a lot of good things and seemed genuinely interested in helping the downtrodden, and had a lot of very good reasons for wanting to strike back against mainstream society. I have no such sympathy for most of the tea party types (the few who are genuinely misled and genuinely in economic distress aside). My only issue with the general mockery of them is that it can come across as mockery of the people the tea partiers pretend to be, and mockery of the poor and understandably, reasonably frustrated w/the economy types. At some point, if things continue as they have, that is going to be a real problem, and liberals really would be better served not being on the wrong side of it (esp since traditionally, they are and should be the party of the underprivileged).

      • mojave_wolf

        oh, I left out

        Obama has been about as conciliatory w/Republicans as it is possible to be and not change his party affiliation, yet he is still accused of “obstructionism” by these folk. It’s a huge mistake to take anything they say at face value; on the part of their leaders, it’s deliberate manipulation, and on the part of the followers, well, we should be careful of mocking them for the ease w/which they are manipulated. As the 95% plus approval ratings for GWB following 9/11 and the two thirds majority who thought we really needed to invade Iraq cause they were a real threat way back when show, most Americans are really, really easy to manipulate. (probably most people, for that matter)

      • malsperanza

        Preaching to the choir ;-). Back in the 1960s, the same folks were warning against the dangers of fluoride in the water and the UN’s World Government agenda. But I don’t underestimate the degree to which, in America, even nutjobbery is a way of masking pure, simple, old-fashioned racism.

        That said, I’m willing to accept the idea that the majority of those teapartiers who are *not* raving John Birch/Father Coughlin wackjobs are out on the streets because they feel (and perhaps are) deeply disenfranchised. And they’re bringing their guns because, like the BPP of yore, they feel they have no other means of being heard.

        To judge by the quality of their signage (and their inarticulateness in general, both on the streets and on talk radio), they are not college graduates, which means they don’t stand a chance of accessing today’s American dream. In the all-white part of PA where I canvassed for Obama 18 months ago, 1 out of 5 houses was abandoned or in foreclosure, the median household income was $30k, and the only jobs were in the military: people sent their kids to Iraq–and that was before the autumn crash. One success of the civil rights movement is that 50 years on, the dividing line in the US is finally shifting from race to class, which IMO is a genuine improvement.

        I think Swan Tower’s original point was close to yours, but expressed in reverse: the American mainstream either laughs at or tolerates the teapartiers on the grounds that even dingbats with guns have the right to their opinions, however seditious. But the American mainstream would neither laugh at nor tolerate the right of dingbats with guns to express seditious opinions if those dingbats happened to be black. From that, the argument follows that this particular bunch of seditious dingbats shelters behind white privilege–the privilege of expressing horrible opinions because no matter how treasonous they may sound, they are still white and therefore American. Whereas black people are always citizens-on-sufferance. Which is why Obama’s election is so profound.

        While I agree with that argument (and also had some sympathy with the BPP, at least for a few years), I also think it’s a mistake to view the teapartiers (the nondelusional ones) as comfy middle-class suburban assholes who want to preserve their privileges. It’s a backhanded kind of success, but one outcome of the civil rights struggle is that disenfranchisement is no longer the exclusive province of people of color.

        Right now the fringe right is tasting the possibility of Pwning the conservative party. It’s a fantasy, but I’m not laughing, because a 2-party system needs 2 legitimate, responsible parties, and right now we don’t have that. So we’d better take the dingbats seriously, and that starts with accepting that they are sincere, not mere opportunists. Barring that thing about Roswell, of course.

        • mojave_wolf

          Here ya on the signage, lol.

          The survey was in a bunch of my political e-mail feeds recently, somewhere between 3 and 14 days ago, I’d say. I know Digby had it and I think Media Matters.

          Otherwise, I have a ton of work to do tonite so long wonky reply will have to wait, if you or swan-tower don’t mind one showing up tomorrow.

  4. Anonymous

    Well, I’ll just hide that yellow armband (by descent, not by family practice or belief). Under the law of Arizona (and, for that matter, the former CSA) I’m not “white” either, despite my pasty complexion.

  5. d_c_m

    In case I haven’t told you late: I love you. Your LJ makes me happy. 🙂

Comments are closed.