Saturday, April 23, 2011


The New York Crank thinks this is America's future. I wish I could say for certain that he's wrong:

Some years ago when The Crank's Beautiful Girlfriend was still alive, the two of us went down to Ecuador....

It turned out that we needed our own guide because the experience was not pleasant. As we soon discovered, Quito is a dangerous place. Even in downtown Quito, we were advised that it was unsafe to cross the street at night. I mean that literally. One night, just as the sun had set, we stepped through the front door of our luxury hotel.

"Where are you going?" the doorman asked.

We pointed to another luxury hotel just across the street, where there was a restaurant we had been told was pretty good.

"I'll call a taxi for you," said the doorman.

"But it's only across the street!"

"It is not safe," insisted the doorman....

Then, during a ride through one of Quito's"nicest" neighborhood, we found ourselves getting driven among the hills above town, past nice-looking but not extraordinary suburban-style houses. Most of the houses had a uniformed armed guard with an automatic rifle standing at the front door. A few houses had
two armed guards with automatic weapons.

I asked why a smattering of the houses had two armed guards instead of one,

"Oh," said are guide, "those are the homes of the
super rich."

...No, there will be no revolution against them in this country. No chance of the masses rising up and taking control as they did in Egypt and Tunisia.

... Instead, what will destroy the quality of life of the super rich will be the cost of attempting to defend themselves from gangs of ambitious thugs who form little fiefdoms led by ruthless and ambitious criminals who kidnap, torture, rob, and kill in order to survive and amass wealth outside of the power structure.

In short, the thugs who are robbing America of our Social Security and Medicare and product safety and education today will live in fear of even bigger thugs tomorrow.

This is how it is these days in most of Mexico, most of Nicaragua, much of El Salvador -- in fact in every one of the impoverished Latin American nations where the top few have all the money and power while the people at the bottom struggle desperately to survive....

I think the Crank is probably right when he says that we'll never rise up the way Egyptians and Tunisians have. And I think that's what it will take, because I don't think we're going to stop the relentless dismantling of the social contract that makes a middle class possible.

Is this our future? Are those who can't be the office drones for the super-rich going to be subsisting on garbage heaps or living in a state of permanent war with society, starting practically from birth? I wish I were certain the answer was no.

Go read the whole thing.

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