Quotable: Matt Taibbi on the US peasant mentality


“But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.”

–Matt Taibbi, “The peasant mentality lives on in America”

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2 Responses to Quotable: Matt Taibbi on the US peasant mentality

  1. Polaris says:

    They’ve convinced more than a zillion sheeple to believe that adequate food, shelter, clothing, education and a decent quality of life is class warfare.

  2. Oh, but of course!
    BTW, I really like this piece by Thom Hartmann, too. He points out that the original Boston Tea Party had nothing to do with the usual conservative anti-tax sentiments being pushed today, but rather that it was an anti-corporate protest against the British East India Company and its attempt to flood the colonial market with untaxed tea. This blatant stab at a monopoly didn’t sit well with the local merchants, who saw themselves being driven out of business by the Company, so they dumped its tea–and no other–into Boston Harbor! The “teabaggers” of today are morons–they’re actually upholding the monopolies and big fish who are eating them alive. They haven’t learned their history lessons at all, let alone what it all meant.

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