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Friends and enemies. The military. And what might a “good billionaire” do?

 

Best-selling author and scientist David Brin suggests how billionaires could do some good with their money. Now's the time.

How can we win the 8th phase of America’s 250 year civil war? If you haven't already, read the first, second and final chapters of David's book, Polemical Judo at Contrary Brin Blog, and excerpts from chapter 5, "The War on All Fact People" and chapter 10, "We are Different, Different is Difficult, for some ideas. 

 

Friends and enemies. The military. And what might a "good billionaire" do?

Two powerful groups could make a difference in this crisis… one of them by staying aloof and professional but making their loyalty clear. The other can take decisive and bold action individually, even out of whim!

I've said for years the greater part of the U.S. Military Officer Corps is inherently on our side, for many reasons, though they desperately hope they'll never be asked to step in explicitly, as Praetorian protectors of the Republic vs. internal enemies.  I'll get to that, in a minute.

But first, what could a billionaire, or sub-billionaire, who is loyal to Western Civilization, do that could be decisive at this critical time?

There are many rich folks who feel loyalty to this Great Experiment that gave them everything. They're grateful especially for vast numbers of nerdy creative types who made all their successes and toys and interests possible.  For every mafiosi, KGB-oligarch, gambling lord or inheritance brat, there is some tech-mogul who does not want this unique experiment to dissolve into just another boring feudalism — especially given feudalism's dismal record of bad governance. And so, many of these folks are donating large sums to PACs aimed at slashing the puppet strings used by Putin, MBS and others to revive treason and confederacy.

But there are better ways a good zillionaire could spend this money. Some of them, like Nicolas Berggruen, Bill Gates and Mark Cuban seek their own paths to enhance democracy… and I offer over a dozen potentially original methods in Polemical Judo.

But down below, in this posting, I'll summarize just one. One that might make the biggest difference.  In fact, it cannot help but make a difference… and possibly save the American Republic.

The military may be our friend. Get used to it

First though, take the time. Read this short letter from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley to all American forces, that was all in the news a few weeks ago.

The US military officer corps isn't just deeply committed to civilian rule and law. They are also the third-best educated clade in American life and the most dedicated to fact-centered, pragmatic problem-solving. George Marshall and Harry Truman desegregated the military knowing it was the one move creating momentum against prejudice, from which there'd be no turning back. 

Yes, they are imperfect, as are we all. But if we spurn these skilled and principled and loyal men and women, we are doing Putin's work for him.

demographic profile of the U.S. military verifies the officer corps is much better educated than the average public and at higher ranks they equal college professors, which many become, after retirement. Enlisted personnel are also demographically above average. And while I am disturbed that Fox News blares out of the TVs in many noncom ready rooms, the proliferation of racial minorities and women in important jobs helps me feel pretty confident we’ll see loyalty, if the Putinists try to trigger civil war. (Though national guard units in some southern states might be iffy.)

And I wrote the above before news broke of strong intel that Russian agencies offer bounties on American lives in Afghanistan.  At which point, I stopped worrying about a possibly lethal split between officers and noncoms, if 'the balloon goes up.' And I welcome reports from any of you, whether the channels are changing on those nocom lounge TVs.

ADDENDUM: Another respected republican comes out against Trump… Former defense secretary William Cohen, a veteran Republican senator, says a second Trump administration would mean the end of American democracy.   See also: “How Trump Lost the Military.” And for some related polemic -- See the Court Martial of Donald Trump. Surely Putin/Murdoch are as surprised as liberals seem to be, by the fierce loyalty to the constitution of our officer corps.

The coming wave of cheating

Okay, we need one more clue. Alas, this alarming list of currently perfected and plausibly-prepared Republican electoral cheats is all-too realistic! The only way to prevent it is by making this a tsunami election, so overwhelming that they don't dare. And even in that case, the cheating will simply shift from the lost presidential race to preserving obscure State Assembly and State Senate positions, where America's real power lies. We need maps showing which LOCAL precincts might be pivotal, if "isolated cases" of fraud disenfranchise a few thousand. 

And Stacey Abrams's voter registration drive must have a second phase. Now ask everyone you know if they are registered. Then ask "Have you checked?"  And yes, many of these aspects are in Polemical Judo.

Okay, let's go back to where we started and put these pieces together.

Zillionaires who want to save enlightenment… and themselves

Abigail Disney helped establish Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy Americans concerned about rising income inequality, who favor higher taxes on the wealthy. “In the U.S., executive compensation has increased by 940% since 1978; during the same period, worker pay has risen twelve per cent. Income inequality hasn’t been this extreme since the nineteen-twenties. Under the 2017 G.O.P. tax bill, the 400 richest Americans pay a lower over-all tax rate than any other group.”

An important article… that leaves out the biggest reasons why the smarter zillionaires – including many of the tech guys – are supporting Democrats. First, competitive market enterprise simply does better under democrats. Period. Almost always, and its most fecund/productive era was during the aftermath of FDR, until the supply side experiments that started our decline in all metrics, beginning with Reagan.  See: economic outcomes vs. rhetoric.

Second, we mentioned how those tech guys owe their fortunes to working side-by-side with middles class engineers who were trained at magnificent public universities. Some still remember who helped them thrive.

Third, while returning to feudalism may sound good to overprivileged male inheritance brats, in fact, our science-loving, educated, transparent and middle class society has out produced the total of all other nations and societies, summed across all of the last 6000 years.

Fourth – patriotism… the blatant association of the Republican Party with the made-over KGB, with Salafist fanatics, Earth-wreckers and others who have systematically torn down American sciences, alliances and the very rule of law that has made it the safest time to be rich.

Which leads us to the biggest reason that many rich folks are veering away from today’s mad oligarchic putsch. The same reason the ruthless depression era bootlegging millionaire Joseph Kennedy supported FDR… “because I’d rather lose half my wealth to help the middle class than lose it all to angry mobs.”  The imbecile ‘preppers’ who think they can fund wars against all fact-professions and crush all the smartypants ‘boffin’ castes actually think we don’t know where their survivalist hidey-holes are. We who know nuclear science, geneticism cyber and all the rest.

The smartest zillionaires know it’s time for a reset for one reason. Because they can spell the word “tumbrels.”

And finally… that one thing a zillionaire could do to save the day

This was a long posting, but our foundation is laid, now – the coming wave of cheating, the fact that some of the rich realize their time to act has arrived. And so…

The one thing would be to offer whistleblower prizes. Big ones. For any henchman or contractor or aide who knows about a coming cheat. Some scheme now in-motion to purge voter rolls, or to "accidentally shutter polling stations, or lose or invalidate mail-in ballots, or to pervert voting machines, to stir violence… or even to bypass the clear will of the people.

Think about it. Plots and schemes need henchmen! The almost-universally corrupt Republican Secretaries of State in red states cannot do it alone. They have helpers, co-conspirators, foot-soldiers and bribed programmers… any of whom might record a skulking, Bond-villain meeting or copy documents or simply come out in the open. And thus spoil the whole scheme.

This is the greatest fear of the Cabal. It is why their desperate efforts for four years have been to prevent light and transparency from pouring across the land. They know their servants in DC and state capitals and boardrooms are fickle, and so they use more than mere money… tools like blackmail and other threats…

…but a liberal zillionaire needn't erect anything complex, just a prize! And offer to pay legal bills. And heck, throw in some personal security protection, why not? In exchange for an evidence-backed denunciation of plots against Americans' civil rights. 

Dig it: just the announcement of such prizes might terrify some plotters into shutting down!

If you can think of a simpler way for a sub-billionaire to make a crucial difference in our current crisis, you are welcome to offer it below, in comments. But that's my number one. I've been pushing is since the last century. 

And this may be our last chance to see someone step up. Step up to save us all.

Image: La_dernière_charrette_de_Thermidor.jpg, by Auguste Raffet / Public domain

 


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