The Middle Class
“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”. That being Shaw’s political principle, is an extremely telling and true statement. In fact, it’s the foundation on what government (and society as a whole) is based on. That became evident when the NDP won a majority in Alberta and Paul suddenly donned a new mantle. A panicked Kevin O’Leary was seen to remark: “RUN!” when he heard the outcome. The shock of the “Others” suddenly being in control of the province’s resources and capital sent waives of fear through the elite community. The flight syndrome set in immediately as the elite prepare to take their money and run to other places where it can be preserved without interference from the socialists, communist sympathizers, and pinkos.
It all boils down to the old “Us” vs. “Them” game. “Us” are the entrepreneurs, the captains of industry, the bankers and the governments. How they got to where they are is immaterial. What is important is the degree to which they covet their social stations and their wealth. O’Leary’s statement shows just how far they’ll go to protect their entitlement. Given that there is only a finite amount of wealth around, once this group of people have their hands on it, it is not that easy to get a piece of it – witness the 1919 Winnipeg strike. You could lose your life by bucking the system.
Everything has its risks of course, no less in attempting to garner an equitable share of the world’s wealth. It all depends what one is willing to sacrifice for it. That’s where the picture becomes clear. The elite community is totally focused on amassing as much wealth as possible, forsaking everything else in the process or at best, only paying lip service to those other things. Money is the glue that holds them together.
The middle and lower class has different priorities. They need a roof over their heads, groceries to feed their kids, and those kinds of basic things. Amassing wealth to them is winning the lottery rather than a way of life. And of course the diversity of needs diffuses the focus and as such there is a whole array of priorities. This week celebrates the ninety-sixth anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, giving a sense of how far we have (not) come in the intervening years. The momentary gathering of the middle and lower class has come to nothing in particular and we seem to accept the name calling of the elite of “pinkos, fascists and communist sympathizers” as our lot in life. The unions have fallen far short of their objectives or perhaps their objectives were not far reaching enough in the first place. Somehow we have never got to the point where we are united enough to form a government and force the changes we need to make society fair and equitable. Not that it can’t be done. You just have to look at Frank Stronach’s empire to see it in spades. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.