On Jeff Jacoby’s “A Sinful ‘Occupation’”
in The Boston Globe, November 2, 2011
As a former longtime subscriber to The Boston Globe—which ended when it became a self-styled “family newspaper,” and forfeited whatever teeth and backbone it ever had—I learned early-on to stop reading the opinion-pieces by Mr. Jeff Jacoby.
They were sure to do nothing but darken my day in response to Jacoby’s usual half-baked amalgam of right-wing boilerplate and Bible-based claptrap. In America, that of course is the basis for a distinguished career in “journalism,” which is also why I avoid our “mainstream” media the way I walk around fetid puddles of standing water.
This is a guy who once argued that America owes no “reparations” to either Native Americans or the children of African slaves because, while one group can be safely ignored by the American juggernaut, the other group already got their reparations when the American Civil War set them free. Astonishing—If I hurt you, and then stop hurting you (more or less), we’re even, and no harm done. That’s what The Bible’s “landmark morality” has done for Jeff Jacoby and the American Empire.
Well, I stepped in it today—I just had to read Jacoby’s latest (November 2, 2011) in The Boastin’ Glob, because of its astonishing title—“A Sinful ‘Occupation.’” Oh, shit, I thought. Oh, no. Jeff, like a deacon out of Puritan (fascist) Boston, is going to show us why the worldwide “Occupy” movement is an offense against his fondest fictions—something called “God” and “His Commandments.” Both of which for Jacoby dovetail neatly, of course (as they did in Boston), with wonder-working American capitalism and its noble plans for you and our planet.
For Jacoby, as for the sterling lover of democracy we knew in George H.W. “Poppy” Bush, the “sin” at the heart of the Occupy Movement is nothing less than—yep—“class envy.” Isn’t it clear that if these millions of pauperized working people went out and (somewhere, somehow) got themselves “real lives”—meaning lucrative business-careers which, like those of our rightful masters, raked in profits at any cost—they’d all be peacefully at home watching TV and reading The Bible, like most good docile Americans?
“Class envy is not benign,” writeth Jeff. “At its most extreme…it unleashed the bloodiest genocides of the 20th century.” So the Occupy movement is well on its way toward “Lenin and Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.”
Got that? If we let Occupy continue, it’s only a matter of time before they open extermination-camps for the rich. They’re going to keep instigating bad, bad things as well against those politically-neutral, friendly Finest of our communities’ protectors and servants, the police. According to Jacoby (and the highly professional New York Post), “from Boston to Berkeley, Occupy encampments have coincided with surges in vandalism, assault and theft,” not to mention sexual assault and rape—or at least this is “allegedly” so, according to Jacoby’s idea of an authority in the Post.
Does Jeff happen to mention that in New York, for example, it’s the police who are deliberately “dumping” homeless persons, drunks and mentally-disturbed people into the Occupy crowds? (The answer is no—which shows how much his Glob editors with their “family values” care about Jeff’s own fairness in getting his facts right.)
“All-night drumming”! “Public urination”! And, genocide! That’s what you get when people who actually want to be millionaires gather together and whine that they’re not fellow heirs to the fortunes of The Bush Crime Family. For Jacoby, they’re acting in defiance of the mighty 10th Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” And you know from your wonderful, uplifting Old Testament what happens to people who do that, and to nations who allow it.
And yet, I thought George Carlin had clarified that America thrives on breaking the mighty 10th—for where is consumerism without covetousness and envy?
You betcha! Why, for righteous comparison, Jacoby suggests, just look at those deeply dignified and articulate Tea Party rallies, whose goals were “limited government, personal responsibility, lower taxes, and economic freedom.” Nevermind the Jehovan fits of imbecilic rage. Nevermind the assault-rifles, the swastikas and “socialist!” screams aimed at people who couldn’t qualify as “commies” if their lives depended on it.
Nevermind those bankers destroying the working world’s economy with their bundles of shaky sharky loans and mortgages, their easy-credit paths to slavery (as in Greece), their outright corruption of every democratic government and problem-solving public initiative. They handed out candy-credit with a promise of growth in jobs to pay for it and then moved every job into slave-labor countries.
Every meeting that matters now is held behind more closed doors and burly boys with bludgeons than ever before. Spinoza observed that when the people’s business is carried on that way, you can be sure it is not the people’s business getting done. And here’s what’s wrong for trusting Jeff: “What the Occupiers appear to want above all is to punish the wealthy, to demonize corporations, and to wallow in their own victimhood and sense of entitlement.”
After all, “limited government” means clearing the way for our job-creators and world-builders, who suffer so much “uncertainty” and needless interference from entities such as the EPA and OSHA—to name only two real reasons that America remains livable at all. “Uncertainty” is no longer tolerable to the addict called Profit inside business. Neither are wages, for that matter. “Personal responsibility” means that you, you peasant, will answer for your debts and crimes while banks, corporations and executives (those vanguards of anti-socialism except when they’re collecting bailouts or bonuses) operate with wholesale impunity.
“Lower taxes” means the high ideal of giving back as little as you can possibly get away with, for all your own gains based in the exploitation of public infrastructure, wealth and labor. And “economic freedom” means of course what Orwell rephrased as “the right to exploit others for profit.” It is absurd to pretend that our lives are truly decided by anything else. And that is the sickness against which we Occupy The World.
Jeff didn’t read my analysis and plan-proposal in WOOP. Hey, Jeff. Let’s make a list of the Top World Catastrophes during just the last 30 years, and see if the entity at fault in each was mainly Business or Government. When you consider also that the Public Relations industry and business-press have been explicitly inciting anti-government rage through all that time, you can see why Americans are so turned-around on the subject of what’s eating them alive. As Noam Chomsky has remarked, “The problem with government is that it’s potentially democratic.”
If you argue that a naïve fantasy called “the free market” and business (meaning, Profit) should decide all things in human life, you need to say openly that you’re in favor of being governed, from your workplace to your bedroom, by a self-sanctified private elite, who account to nobody (or what’s money for?). Them is ya choices. Poppy can’t save us anymore by waving the flag in bold psychosis and shouting “I don’t care what the facts are!”
So for cozy, pious Jeff, if you call the wealthy on their documented behavior—those who’ve done worse than nothing for America for decades as a means of enriching themselves—you want to “punish” them. After all they’ve done for you! You just forget about Jesus whipping the shit out of money-changers in the temple, you sinner there!
If you, your community and economy identify the parasite of Profit as the cause of your real and increasing suffering, you are “demonizing.” And if you say or try to do anything about the increasingly hopeless pit into which ever-wealthier and more powerful corporations are casting the vast majority of working people, you simply need to “get over it” and stop wallowing.
After all, speaketh Jacoby, nobody owes you anything—except the (unmentioned) bill that must come due for needless but profitable wars, for more tax-breaks at the high end, and for every hare-brained destructive cast of the dice in the planetary elite casino called capitalism.
Elite contempt for the very working people who feed their wealth is not, for Jeff, “class hostility.” For Jeff, a common-sense analysis of how we all get rich through each other’s contributions can come only from “class war fanatics” such as Elizabeth Warren. Jeff must have missed the Wall Street heels who took time to sip some champagne through their glib smirks as they gazed down from their balcony-eyrie over the New York Occupiers’ march.
Check me out on these documents. When I began working in the 1970s, the IRS tax-table said that if you made less than $1,050 in a year, you owed zero taxes. Since the “Reagan Revolution” de-regulated and downsized every living thing, you may notice that the IRS tax table has been quietly expanded downward to mine more wealth out of the poorest end and hand it directly to the elite.
For now, if you make five dollars in a year, you owe tax on it. There’s a real touch of national class. No “class hostility” there, no “radical redistribution of wealth”! Heavens, no! To Jacoby, the more you work and the poorer you get for it, the more you should feel inspired to work even more and thereby (somehow, someday) make America even greater!
The Occupy movement, for Jacoby, stands in plain and doomed defiance of The Tenth Commandment’s “moral and social hygiene.” It protects us, that is, like a political and economic condom, from “innumerable other evils”—whilst in the midst of a “norm” called fucking our neighbors for a buck.
“It shouldn’t be surprising,” quoth Jacoby, “when a movement that obsesses with what rich capitalists earn, rather than with what they produce, starts treating other people’s property and persons with contempt.”
See? The man can’t help but get it backwards: after all, he follows and prays to a model of the world that’s uniquely backwards too. The Occupy movement is precisely concerned with what rich capitalists “earn and produce”—the answers being Much For Very Little, and Worse Than Nothing. Where is Jeff’s troubled spiritual conscience about that other Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal?”
Get backwards behind me, Satan! You should be “obsessed” with celebrating all that rich capitalists “produce” for everybody’s benefit. If those businessmen didn’t organize our world for us, where would we be! Answer honestly now, for Jeff’s sake: Ask yourself, Have they treated your “property and persons with contempt”?
If not, stay low. They just haven’t gotten to you yet.
Jeff say, You should be grateful, and learn from the fates of many peoples who were not—for example those unhygienic Canaanites and Philistines, who failed to recognize God’s people and his mighty-mysterious hand when good ol’ Israel came down from the Near East’s highlands to somehow, in miraculously peaceful fashion, become the lords of their already-inhabited coastal country.
No cultural or literal “genocide” about that—even if scientific archaeology is still thrashing to otherwise explain this extraordinarily-sudden transformation of that landscape. The Old Testament itself spells out what happened in copious blood. Now we’re told that while The Bible is all true, this part somehow isn’t—or, it’s like, sort of kind of, symbolical-allegorical, like. Even by that so-called argument, the “conquest of the Promised Land” is at the very least one of the ugliest wishes ever written out.
Be grateful, saith Jeff, to your masters—whose ethics, honor and industry “God” has clearly rewarded with dominion over all the Earth, and over your never-sufficient and ever-more-fruitless work-day and future. This, you understand, is a “spiritual” and “moral” argument that just happens to line a few elite pockets with cash, and your conscience with blinders, sound-proofing, and a numb-numb drug of choice.
If you can’t be grateful, at least be quiet, and invisible! For Jeff Jacoby, in his preposterous wisdom, has a Biblical dream for you. And if you don’t appreciate that, the blood-caked jowls of his Lord of Ethical History will soon be teaching you a sore lesson.
Go home, Occupiers, before you destroy us all! “With the help of God and a few policemen,” as James Joyce’s father might have said to Jeff, there’s still time to save American Profit from the wages of sin.
“If ye do not well, sin lieth at the door,” quoth Ye Scripture. You’ve got to realize that you saw Virtue itself sipping that champagne and gazing down on you, with the pleasure of a heavenly Saint Thomas Aquinas gazing into Hell.
Go home, Occupiers, be normal! Above all, watch TV! Who wants to be a millionaire? You do, if you’d just be honest with yourself. You can trust Jeff, he knows, it’s in The Bible! If you don’t know how to be normal anymore, read more Jeff Jacoby, and absorb the moral methodology by which he shamelessly shills for good ol’ American greed. You’ll find it as rigorous and uplifting as that of the Boston Puritans—whose “city on a hill” divided its time between exterminating “savages” and banishing anybody without the proper, docile, hard-working, never-covetous JudeoChristian attitude.
As a matter of fact, within a generation of those first Puritan church-communities in America, the vast majority of the population found itself “outside of the communion”—which most of all enabled your getting any share of the (colonial) wealth surrounding everybody.
Thanks, Jeff! Good job, Boastin’ Glob! And God, I hope I’ve learned my lesson.