Thursday, February 21, 2008

Divide and Conquer

© MMVIII v1.0.0

A South politician preaches to the poor white man,
"You got more than the blacks,
don't complain.
You're better than them,
you been born with white skin,"
they explain.
And the Negro's name
Is used it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

- Bob Dylan (Only a Pawn in Their Game)

We got the idea that the majority rules from eighteenth century political philosophers, like Smith and Locke. How could it be otherwise? There are more of us than them. But, sadly, that has never been the case and it is not the case today. Tiny élites rule the mass of humanity. They use various devices, including the cultivation of the notion that they possess superior knowledge. They often have managed to get people to believe that they alone speak to God, Himself. They have sometimes managed to get the mass to believe that they, themselves, are gods.

Elites typically turn elements of the mass against each other. That keeps them fighting each other so they don't unite to throw off their oppressor. Today the invaders of Iraq (that's us) continue to foment strife between Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds. The British and Americans played this game throughout the 20th century in Iraq.

In colonial America, laws were passed making it mandatory for planters to carry guns to church on Sunday. Planters lived in mortal fear that their black slaves would unite with their white slaves to get rid of the planters. Yes, there were white slaves. They were expected to do this on a Sunday when everyone was in church. The equation didn't change after whites became free: whites became "hillbillies" and "white trash" and "whitey" and "honky" and "cracker". They were despised by blacks whom whites could continue to hate. Whites longed to be as respectable as the élite which despised them more than the blacks despised them. Ironically both whites and blacks joined the élite to fight the Union when The South was invaded during the Civil War. Then they went back to hating each other, which helped the Union occupation called "Reconstruction".

Hate is handy. Divide and conquer. It's an old game.

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