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The Ryans and McConnells and their "conservative" ilk always remind me of those medieval clerics who were so focused on the souls of the smelly rabble of laity that they were utterly indifferent to the suffering of their physical bodies.

God wanted you to be pure, and if being "pure" meant that you had to die in some sort of spectacularly horrible way, well...thems was the breaks. You see that from Arnaud Amalric's "Kill them all; God will recognize his own" to the torture instruments of the Inquisition. If saving the soul from heresy or apostacy or whatever meant breaking the body? The soul was what mattered.

For these jokers it's the "purity" of their radical reactionary fantasyland, where men are Men, women are...well, mostly a life-support system for a womb, and all those smelly poor are either worthless except as makeweight or noble strugglers pulling themselves up by their bootstraps...

All this is insane, of course, as mad as the God-maddened cleric hewing off heads for Jesus.

But that doesn't seem to matter to many people who seem just fine so long as the RIGHT heads are lopped.

Keith B

For some reason your post reminded me of a very old (2003) blog post by John Holbo, which I find, surprisingly, is still online:

It's extremely long winded, but here's what I think is the key paragraph:

The thing that makes capitalism good, apparently, is not that it generates wealth more efficiently than other known economic engines. No, the thing that makes capitalism good is that, by forcing people to live precarious lives, it causes them to live in fear of losing everything and therefore to adopt – as fearful people will – a cowed and subservient posture: in a word, they behave ‘conservatively’. Of course, crouching to protect themselves and their loved ones from the eternal lash of risk precisely won’t preserve these workers from risk. But the point isn’t to induce a society-wide conformist crouch by way of making the workers safe and happy. The point is to induce a society-wide conformist crouch. Period. A solid foundation is hereby laid for a desirable social order.

I wonder if you've read it?


Don't forget that Ryan got his wealth just like the hero in a Horatio Alger story -- he married a rich woman!

Lance Mannion

H-Bob, A fact I think should be included in every news story about him.

Keith, I might very well have. I used to read John and Belle's blog regularly. I'm glad it's still there. Thanks for the reminder and the quote.

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