Anger, what can I say about you, my old friend? You are one upsetting, blood pressure raising, world-distorting, bad motherfucker. Hard, you are one hard bastard. With you blowing stinking wind into the sails of people’s worst impulses, every atrocity ever committed appears righteous at the time. The fucking Jews? Fuck! Hack them, gas ’em! Armenians? Drive them to drown in rivers! Tutsis in Rwanda? You know what to do! Blacks all over America? Dangerous criminals who need to be kept in their place by any means necessary! Migrants fleeing horrors, seeking asylum in the USA? Rip their kids away, put ’em in stinking, privatized for-profit concentration camps! On down the list … Rohingya, let one of the poorest countries on earth take care of those raping refugees!
Every one of these “policies” and countless others like them — and they are actual policies pursued by governments of one kind or another — is insane on the face of it. Unless — and this is the golden, yea, platinum, “unless” that animates our bloody “wise ape” history — you are enraged. If you are enraged it makes perfect sense to vilify people (en masse, you know, screw ’em, they all suck) humiliate them, beat them, confine them, torture them, kill them. Fuck ’em, you know what I’m sayin’?
For the most part most of us get no say in these and other brutal policy decisions made in our names, even in a great experiment in representative democracy like ours. When the time comes we can surge forward with the enraged mob, stand aside or run from the mob, as the case may be. How does this unthinkable thing happen, over and over and over?
People arise, with a certain charisma, and a titanic Will to Power (in the sense of a need to control others), and act as lightning rods for the inchoate anger most people have within them. We all have things that make us angry and often these things involve “the way things are”, a manifestly unfair system that consistently rewards the super-wealthy (often the randomly well-born dynastic inheritors of their fortunes) and more or less screws virtually everyone else, and then we die.
A telegenic, otherwise mediocre person speaking as a “genius” directly to the bitterness in the hearts of his rightfully screwed countrymen takes the national stage. These front men are poets of rage. Their words galvanize the anger and sense of betrayal in their audience, they inspire bold action. Soon armies are marching under their banners, supported by the super-wealthy beneficiaries of the cathartic distraction these organized campaigns of hatred provide. We all know how this works.
It was generations of armed men on horseback riding in to “take care of” the Jews, responsible for every evil, in one eastern European shit-hole after another (for the benefit of the aristocratic landowners who were keeping the serfs and everyone else in misery). White “knights” on horseback here in America, coming at night to burn down the houses of blacks who voiced discontent with the injustices they were forced to endure, torturing and killing the most vocal of them (the wealthiest county in the USA before the Civil War was in slaveholding Mississippi– most of the Klan, and all other whites, were disenfranchised “white trash”, sometimes called, to their fury “white niggers”, some things never change).
I am in a kind of rage right now, in the aftermath of thinking hard about a longtime friend’s wasted life of unexamined rage and my long campaign of trying to be better than I am capable of being. His deeply repressed rage led him to an uncontrollable desire to dominate others. It made him feel no better to be the boss, but it was something he had to do. Men like him, acting on selfish compulsions to control that they have little clue into, make the policies the rest of us live and die by .
I’m thinking about the climate catastrophe “debate” in this great nation, a prime example of the triumph of the rage to prevail over the natural needs of human beings. You wouldn’t think this looming crisis would be the subject of much debate. We all need clean water, air to breathe that’s not poisonous, food that’s non-toxic, shelter that’s not threatened with destruction by increasingly common killer storms.
It’s not that hard to make the connection between the massive amounts of carbon pumped into the air by a century of accelerating extraction, refining and burning of fossil fuels and the massive increase of carbon in our atmosphere — and the rapidly and unnaturally warming of our planet, to disastrous effect. Why haven’t earthlings organized across the globe to stop the rapid destruction of our habitat? Our division is largely the work of organized, determined American Climate Change Skeptics. Huh?
Enter the vampire motherfuckers and their eternal corporate avatars. Making billions in their government subsidized industries of death there is no more determined group of individuals on earth. The Tobacco Industry fought the families of lung cancer victims to a standstill for years, as they did what they needed to do, finding other markets and new products, diversifying, to preserve their handsome profit margin. Until very recently Big Pharma successfully fought off all responsibility for the plague of desperate overdose deaths from the overprescription of highly addictive drugs they profited from. The fossil fuel industry, same deal, merchants of death and deniers of death, aided by generous government policies toward them and represented by an army of talking heads posing as think tank backed scholars.
You do what you need to keep the toxic shit pumping until every last drop in the earth and under the seas is monetized, damn the torpedos. Charles Koch is just one of the most successful of these self-worshipping earth raping fossil fuel extracting parasites. In every case of a corporate psychopath who places profit and domination above all else, you have a personal story of rage, as far as I can tell. Charles is a vivid case study and, thanks to the great Jane Mayer and others, we have the materials of his hideous case close at hand.
You can read the details of how the rage to prevail was instilled in Charles Koch, the unscrupulous son of a determined man who fought the government of the US, and the combined might of the other American petrol companies, to profit handsomely from the dirtiest fossil fuel refinement process ever known and who made his initial fortune working for Stalin and Hitler, men, in Randy Newman’s immortal line, “who need no introduction.” Here’s a quick tour, with the author of the definitive book on Charles and David Koch (the Koch Brothers — the other two brothers were bought off after massive, protracted, ugly litigation) and the highly successful Koch-funded public influence machine.
You have a wealthy and ruthless father, who only wants to prevail. In the case of little Charles this father was Fred Koch. Fred Koch was not a hands on dad, though he was a demanding father who expected hard work and great things from his heirs. When they were young Fred, who had made profitable deals with Stalin in the Soviet Union was over in Nazi Germany, building an important refinery for Mr. Hitler.
The boys were raised by a nanny, a German woman, a Nazi, in fact. Fred left the initial disciplining and toilet training to her. She required them to defecate every morning on a strict schedule or face severe and humiliating consequences. When France fell to Mr. Hitler, she returned to Germany to celebrate her beloved Fuhrer’s triumph. The Koch boys grew up as best they could, I suppose, with a significant amount of rivalry and bullying. The brilliant Charles, the Alpha Koch brother, is known to be an unchallengeable autocrat, as all the great captains of industry style themselves.
Fred Koch was one of the founders of the John Birch Society, a group of wealthy right wing lunatics who organized in 1958 to save the country from Communism following the Brown v. Board of Education decision that held, to everyone’s shock, that American institutionalized racism was a bad thing that needed to be changed. The John Birch Society called for the impeachment of Earl Warren, the Supreme Court justice they felt was most responsible for the reprehensible activism of striking down the “Separate But Equal” doctrine that kept everything kosher between the races.
Charles may well have hated his overbearing, unloving, demanding father, I have no sense of that. He hewed to his politics while the old man was alive, as a member of the John Birch Society (he quit after the old man croaked). After the old man died he fought two of his brothers in court for years for control, along with pliable younger brother David, of the father’s vast fortune and business empire. The institutions Charles Koch and his network of fellow liberty lovers set up advanced the old man’s extreme notions about liberty above all else. This liberty includes the unfettered right of heavily polluting industrialists to continue to profit from the extraction and refinement of fossil fuel unencumbered by any regulation or other interference from an “elected” government of liberty-hating tree hugging Negro embracing Jew bastard liberal elite social justice jackasses.
Count me among those hateful absolute liberty-hating jackasses.
Have a very nice day. I’m going to go play the guitar, try to calm myself down a little bit.