Americans Must Drive a Stake Through the Heart of the NeoCalvinist Republican Party

Thom plus logo Once again, negotiations over Covid relief show the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties. That America isn't shocked and horrified by GOP behavior is a testimonial to how well corporate media obscures these differences.

Several Republican senators and their aides have gone so far as to suggest that giving working people even a single $600 check will cause them to "live high on the hog" or will bring "communism" to America.

The same Republicans are enthusiastic when the very rich, their principal donors, get trillions in tax cuts and hundreds of billions in annual subsidies. When those pieces of legislation are being negotiated, "living high on the hog" is not a phrase you will hear.

What we're watching in real time is the worldview promoted by many who share Betsy DeVos's Calvinist church's worldview that being rich is a sign that God has chosen you as a "good person" and wants you to lead the country.

As bizarre as this sounds, it's actually an ideology that has an animated the Republican Party for over 100 years. If all people, at their core, are sinners and evil, the big question for conservatives is, "How do we find 'good' people to lead us?"

Hundreds of years ago, religious leader John Calvin and his followers gave a simple answer: God tells us who should be leading our nation by showering those he favors with great wealth. Thus they should lead us.

The extension of this idea, at the core of conservative thought since the days of Edmund Burke in the era of the American Revolution, has been that poor and working class people are not worthy of leadership because they are not blessed by God with riches.

In the conservative understanding of both religion and a functional social order, only rich people should ever be allowed to rule.

Burke pointed out that while people like hairdressers and candlemakers should be allowed to make a living, they should never be able to vote or participate in government. To this day, Burke is one of the most quoted figures among American conservatives.

While Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, openly worries that giving a $600 check to people already receiving paltry unemployment payments that run out in two weeks would be a "double benefit," lines for food are stretching for miles in some parts of the country.

The conservative billionaire class and it's Republican Party say throwing bones to starving Americans is OK as long as they're tiny bones. But they want their trillions in tax breaks and subsidies to continue nonstop...and Republicans in Congress are working hard to comply.

Sadly, some Democrats are echoing their, "Oh my God, the deficits!" rhetoric. By coincidence, they're the ones whose political campaigns are mostly funded by billionaires and big industry.

This Calvinistic worldview and the massive inequality it's brought America over the last 40 years is a cancer destroying our republic. It's made far, far worse by Supreme Court decisions gutting campaign finance laws.

America once had the world's strongest middle class and widespread social stability. While it didn't extend to all Americans, we had a formula that worked and needed to be extended. Share the wealth with working people and tax the billionaires at a reasonable, above-50% rate.

40 years of Reaganism has gutted the middle class, wildly enriched the billionaire class and is now destroying the very democracy that generations of Americans fought and died for. We must drive a stake through its heart and and this poisonous ideology altogether.

-Thom

Comments

mwalkerco's picture
mwalkerco 4 weeks 18 hours ago
#1

becasue they are already high hogs!

djgilbert 4 weeks 16 hours ago
#2

Burke's view of Calvinism is more the one pitched by Max Weber in the early 1900s than solely on Calvin's predestination doctrine. It reflects certain anti-Catholic sentiments in Germany that trace back to the Reformation and the many, many struggles and wars over the centuries.

Today, the original seat of Calvinism, Geneva, would tax a CHF 200,000 income with comparable wealth at 25%. The seat of the Prussian Empire and its brand of Calvinism, Berlin, would tax the comparable amount in Euros at 36%.

For those taxes residents get world-class infrastructure, robust public education, excellent transit, and vibrant/safe cities. And, both places have universal healthcare that costs less than our insurance premiums, even those for Medicare!

Yes, let's follow those examples of Calvinism!

tonydincu's picture
tonydincu 4 weeks 16 hours ago
#3

Boy, I hate to bog down in theological disputes but I think what Thom is talking about more refers to what is called antinomianism rather than pure Calvinism. Antinomianism involves a dispute within Calvinism and other Protestant sects. In its purest form, it goes way back to the assertion humans are saved by faith (and hence possibly the necessity of prior grace) as opposed to acts of good will. However, an extreme and malevolent interpretation of this adopted by the wealthy classes (and pious perverts) is that since one requires only faith for salvation, there is no need at all to be concerned about good acts. Thus, if wealth is a sign of salvation, charity and good will to others become secondary to the rights to avarice and even licentiousness. Needless to say, the possibility of this notion has troubled more sincere Christians. See https://www.dictionary.com/browse/antinomianism and https://www.britannica.com/topic/antinomianism for simplified definitions of the very complex, multi-faceted, and heated controversies these issues have generated, which amazingly enough seep through into today's US politics - as Thom points out.

Snowflake2005's picture
Snowflake2005 4 weeks 15 hours ago
#4

Ironically, Christianiy has an anti-rich people view not found in any other world religion. It's very pronounced in some Gospel passages. I believe it's strong in Matthew's Gospel. Christianity's original heritage is being THE anti-weath religion!

rostasi 4 weeks 14 hours ago
#5

Off topic, but I found this article: "The WSJ Op-Ed Writer Slammed for Attacking Jill Biden Also Penned a Homophobic Essay Using the N-Word." [ https://tinyurl.com/ya4pnad3 ]

Pull quote: "...There is much my four sons can do in their lives that might cause me anguish, that might outrage me, that might make me ashamed of them and of myself as their father. But nothing they could ever do would make me sadder than if any of them were to become homosexual. For then I should know them condemned to a state of permanent niggerdom among men, their lives, whatever adjustment they might make to their condition, to be lived out as part of the pain of the earth..."

Willie W's picture
Willie W 4 weeks 6 hours ago
#6

The bottom line to this whole mess is that the government doesn't have any reserve funds to fix anything. Trump had three good years to start turning this around. Nothing happened. They're still trying to sell "trickle down." Apparently, raising taxes is the third rail in politics. But, that's where all the power is. We will stay in this mess untill someone gets up enough nerve to grab hold of that rail and run with it.

Legend 4 weeks 52 min ago
#7

Although these Senators and Congressmen could afford to donate that $600 to every American they will vote against this. How can you begin to understand what Covid has done to the poor or even middle class when you are super wealthy. Think of these restaurant owners that did not have a clue that something like this could destroy them.

Trump is seriously going over the edge. No telling what he might do next. A lame duck lunatic. 32 days. Russia just pulled the biggest hack in history and he retaliated by playing golf. Your Cyber security funds were used to build the wall. The Password was probably Password. He is threatening Iran by flying bombers at it. Palm Beach does not want him at Mar a Lago. Once a citizen he faces prosecution. Be prepared for the worse.

I am not a Cyber Security expert, but I do have a lot of industrial experience and question why so many industrial computers need to be connected to the internet. Intranets can be company wide, Computers that need security can have an air gap. Not be connected to the internet.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 4 weeks 9 min ago
#8

What a collection of articles to wake up to!

For the next month, we'll be facing a hurricane of even more striking headlines that will rip the bark off Thomas Jefferson's "tree of liberty" as Trump's lunatic cultists have convinced their stupid selves that now is that time to refresh it "with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” But these traitors are not the patriots and their leader is the tyrant -- one crazy-ass mthrfckr!

"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross"

Now is that time.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 3 weeks 6 days ago
#9

BREAKING NEWS: TRUMP PARDONS VLADAMIR PUTIN!!

Legend 3 weeks 6 days ago
#10

Along with Trumps other great accomplishments we can add the biggest (by far) Russian Hack of our country.

Impeached

3 miles of wall

300000+ die in a pandemic that he ignored

A growing poverty rate

Coming soon in a upcoming episode of the Lame Duck Autocrat "PARDONS" (there may be other episodes previous to that)

rostasi 3 weeks 6 days ago
#11
Legend 3 weeks 6 days ago
#12

I think that this is a training site for Russian Hackers.

insider4U's picture
insider4U 3 weeks 5 days ago
#13

Thom has interesting perspectives, but at times, he is totally wrong.

Dec 17 2020 KPFK broadcast he claimed that "billionaires" don't get Corona Virus because they remain isolated with "live-in" housekeepers, nannies, or other house helpers. This is a thought of fantasy.

I work near Elon Musk, and I know that he has no live-in housekeepers (they all commute) and that he contracted Covid a couple of weeks ago. All this is public information, and you shouldn.t need me to bring these fact about,

......though you still posed the question and answer : "do you know of any billionaires getting Covid ? No !""

You exagerate and subjectively stylize the "rich", so you can somehow slam them once again to persuede peoples' opinions.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 weeks 5 days ago
#14

You're full of shit -- anecdotal evidence doesn't prove a goddamn thing!

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The Constitution was ratified on September 17, 1787. Today, a mere 233 years later, and after four long, interminable years of Trump, an obsequious Republican Party and their Wall Street masters have put the lie to the Preamble and exposed the truth of our fake democracy to the world.

The Union is as imperfect as it could possibly be:

  • There is no Justice worth a damn for the little people -- only for the wealthy elite.
  • Domestic Tranquility is nothing but a laughable pipe dream.
  • The common defense has morphed into a ruthless worldwide military empire, defending the interests of the money mongers and power mongers, earning the hatred of the little people in occupied nations, guaranteeing endless warfare and endless profits for the defense and fossil-fuel industries and their billionaire owners.
  • General Welfare is the exclusive domain of the rentier class, as the common working people sink deeper into debt from unlivable wages, who sicken and die from unaffordable healthcare and from polluted air, water, land, and food, who remain unskilled and ignorant from unaffordable higher education, who have no hope for a worthwhile retirement, who will toil away miserably to the day they drop dead.
  • "Liberty" is a cheap, hollow slogan mindlessly hurled about by self-centered fascist followers, who don't want to pay their fair share of taxes, who don't believe in following the rules of civilized society, who don't want to help their fellow human beings in need -- because they got theirs by taking advantage of other people's taxes and sweat-of-the-brow labor by those who make society civilized in the first place.
  • Republican-caused (let's be honest) worldwide climate destruction has ensured a very dark future indeed for our Posterity.

To sum up: Fck the 74 million despicable traitors who voted for fascism! Their votes are the ones that are truly fraudulent and that should be tossed out.

These racist, ignorant fools absolutely do NOT deserve to display the American flag -- the ultimate oxymoronic insult to the Constitution they pretend to represent. These fake patriots should only hoist their beloved Trump flag and Confederate battle flag as proof of their full-throated disloyalty to our neglected principles and the mythical "American way of life." Fck em all!

So, they want a civil war? Okay, let's do it.

insider4U's picture
insider4U 3 weeks 5 days ago
#15

So instead of slamming you (Thom), I suggest that you investigate your claims, before vocalizing them. In fact, I'd offer to investigate claims..... with an open mind.... and report back to you with details.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 weeks 5 days ago
#16

FU

insider4U's picture
insider4U 3 weeks 5 days ago
#17

To sum up in a silly way:

" Fck the 74 million despicable traitors who voted for fascism! Their votes a

Sre the ones that are truly fraudulent and that should be tossed out."

....so you admit that legal votes should be tossed-out..... in order for this to be a fair election ? (huh ?)

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 weeks 5 days ago
#18

You don't get irony, do you?

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 weeks 5 days ago
#19

Trump and the Republicans want to turn losing into winning — and it might work.
Apparently it's not Trump's fault he lost. It was all those damn voters! Republicans are looking to fix that.

...

"Republicans want elections to be like wars where they get to use guns and bullets, but Democrats don't. That's why you haven't heard a single one of them denounce the death threats against governors and election officials who refuse to go along with their attempts to reverse the results of elections in Georgia and Michigan and Pennsylvania. They don't care how they win. They'll be happy to "win" the same way we "won" in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan: with alternative facts. This ain't the invasion of Grenada, folks. We're in a war for democracy itself." - Lucian K. Truscott IV

Legend 3 weeks 5 days ago
#20

Insiders were dumping Solarwinds stock for a week before it was announced that it was the cause of the Russian Hack. Thus these insiders allowed this hack to spread for a week longer. Meanwhile, Trump plays it down, says China did it. 30 days left. Republicans always leave a huge mess for the incoming Democratic Administration.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 weeks 4 days ago
#21

No, it's not "China, China, China." No, it's not a "DemocRAT hoax." No, it's not innocent and blameless on comrade Trump's part.

Sorry, all you clueless ass-wipes out there in La La Land; there is no other honest conclusion to make. There is no believable spin that RepubliCON, shit-for-brains clowns can blather on about to make it seem like anything other than what it is: Trump is a willing and witting Russian asset, a useful idiot, and a traitor to America, who should be locked up in the criminally-insane wing of the nuthouse to wither away until the day he finally, thank God, dies.

And you bunch of barely human, weak-kneed chump-panzees voted for him anyway. Do our country a huge favor and wear condoms so you can't reproduce and dilute the gene pool of the next generation.

Legend 3 weeks 3 days ago
#22

The vast majority of countries have banned travel to and from the UK except, of course, us. I mean, Trump has golf course resorts over there. 29 more exciting episodes of the Lame Duck Lunatic.

While Americans are lined up at food banks, the Republicans made sure that they got the 100% tax deduction for the 3 Martini lunch in the stimulus package. Actually that is just a name, it is any business meal.

Any bets if Fox News reports this? https://www.yahoo.com/news/heavily-armed-far-mob-descends-172323901.html

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 weeks 3 days ago
#23

Here's another in-depth reality piece that Fux News and the far-right-media won't touch (and barely by the MSM).

vetinla's picture
vetinla 3 weeks 1 day ago
#24

deepspace @ all; EFFING' DITTO!!!

The inescapable truth about rightwing billionaires and Trump

Thom plus logo Hint: It's all about the money

Some very wealthy people helped put Donald Trump in office, and have continued to subsidize the Trump presidency and those Republicans who enable it.
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