The New American Royalty
I have a confession to make.
This piece didn’t come from me. Technically, I put fingers to keys and made the words show up on the screen, but I had a lot of help from a lot of people: namely, most of America.
It’s nearly 2013, and as I write this the following things are happening:
- Corporations are declaring ever-greater profits while average Americans struggle to maintain, much less improve the general American standard of living.
- Class warfare on both sides continues to create canyons between the haves and have-nots.
- The have-nots continue to dream, live and (sadly) act as though they are the haves, taking pride in their material possessions and irresponsibility
- My dirty commie hippie friends are self-sufficient, happy and truly free, while my capitalist friends sink ever deeper into the mires of depression, indignation and outright rage.
As they say on Sesame Street: one of these things is not like the others.
Years ago, when the world wasn’t blowing itself up in the names of ideology and eschatology, I was a true Boortzian libertarian capitalist. I saw the neo-liberty movement as the new pioneering spirit of America, a revival of some ancient and lost instinct for freedom and self-determination whose tales civilization had forgotten, but history had not. And I looked at it and saw that it was good — and I use that particular phrase because at the time, I had come to believe that every man was his own God, his own Destiner of Fate.
And like all good members of a tribe, I became filled with the fire of their spirit. I wailed at the anti-capitalist movements of the troops of that heinous institutional army called “The Left”; I gnashed teeth at the Judgment Day of corporatism and consumerism; I longed to live as my crucified brethren who signed those Bibles called the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America lived. In short, I (thought I had been) blind, but then I (thought I opened my eyes and) saw.
Glory, glory … holy shit, yeah. The truth was marching on … without me.
“All I’ve got at home is one pony and two dogs and four cats and six bunny rabbits and two parakeets and three canaries and a green parrot and a turtle, and a silly old hamster! I WANT a SQUIRREL!” —Veruca Salt
Now it’s nearly Christmastime over a decade later, and the country hasn’t changed a bit. I’ve just been fortunate enough for mine eyes to see the glory of the hoard. And I finally realized not long ago that America is now no better than the masters the founding fathers, mothers, sons and daughters escaped from: greedy, self-important royalty. In a sick and perverse distortion of the old adage, we have become our fathers.
America thrives on indulgences. We are creatures blessed of the utmost comfort, able to flick a switch, click a mouse or tap a tablet and generate light, heat, music and movies whenever we want. We thrive on meaningless drama — a dollar for every casual social or economic “injustice” white Americans posted about on Facebook could pay off our national debt. And we view our “enemies” through blood-tinted glasses, condemning without consideration every threat that imposes upon our castles, whether real or imagined.
This is the “new royalty” nation: a class of people who feel entitled to all that the world puts in front of them, and a striking lack of willingness to confront any challenge to the luxuries they hold so dear, like freedom. They express righteous indignation at every minor affront to their precious way of life, yet feel no sense of duty to defend it. And this unfounded elitism radiates from every economic class. Being poor used to require frugality and diligence, and a desire fostered from a culture-wide sense of shame to never take charity or welfare, and struggling with small resources often turned them into great people. Now, people take whatever they can get from wherever they can get it, and don’t give a damn about responsibility as long as they look good and have toys to play with.
“Children began to be the tyrants, not the slaves, of their households” —Kenneth Freeman
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them ”—James Baldwin
Corporations that seek nothing but their own continued fruition hire psychologists to figure out marketing strategies to woo us, the comfortable, entitled lazy masses with our televisions and our YouTube videos of cats and musicians, and the pages we “like” on Facebook. They spend millions on those avenues, yet they “can’t afford” to pay American workers a decent wage, or even hire them at all. And we gobble up the lies like the candy in a Halloween basket left on the front door.
We enabled this; we go to Wal-Mart to get low prices, or to Target for their status of “not being Wal-Mart”, we all have to have smartphones and cars because the TV told us so, and we have truly insane things like yoga for dogs. And we don’t take the time to consider that the crap we supported by buying all of this was damaging to our well-being and ultimately meaningless in the grander scheme of our needs. We are enticed with low-cost luxury and repeatedly take the bait. And in doing so, we prostrated ourselves before the real Kings of Money and Power while thinking we were both.
America is filled with a class of people that emulates the worst of the overlords we once fled from. We are selfish, short-sighted, uncaring modern royalty. We expect someone else to deal with our problems so we can go back to the trappings of neo-aristocracy we feel we deserve, because God dammit, we’re AMERICANS. And in the midst all our blustering about freedoms and ways of life, my evil dirty commie hippie friends grow their own food, mend their own clothes, set not one foot inside any corporate establishment, and make their own independence from the shackles of our own greatness.
They are the peasants who yearn to live free and rose up against the same corporate tyranny and oppression their national brethren willingly submit to — and yet, they are the bad guys.
And sadly, in an America that worships and hates all the wrong things, that makes perfect sense to me — and no sense at all.
Maybe it’s time I joined their dark side. They have gardens and liberty.