American Psycho: An Elite Exposed in an Exit Speech
Friday, 08 February 2008—If you would like to see just how sick the American elite really is – how morally depraved, how intellectually diseased, how addicted to the taste of human flesh, the scent of human blood, and the sight of human suffering – then you need go no further than the speech given by Mitt Romney to the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 7, 2008.
This is moral psychosis on a monumental scale. It is the complete and utter repudiation of every civilized ideal. Yet it passes for normality in our political discourse.
Now you might say that Mitt Romney is old news. After all, this was the very speech where he declared he was quitting the presidential race. He's toast, he's over, the fork has been stuck into his well-roasted hide; who cares what he says? This is of course the witless "horse-race" view that dominates political discourse in America: who's up, who's down, who's getting the column inches, who's on TV? But in reality, the American elite – or the Establishment, or the power structure, call it what you will (as long as you don't call it what it really is: the ruling class) – is like an iceberg: most of its vast bulk exists unseen, it plows on beneath the surface, unperturbed by the media storms that rage around the small bit of exposed material at the summit.
Mitt Romney is an immensely wealthy, well-connected man, a former governor of the state of Massachusetts, born and bred in an extensive web of privilege and power. His defeat in a presidential campaign changes none of that. He will simply submerge – for a time – back into those depths where the real business of the elite is largely done. Thus his words to the conservative activists remain a highly relevant indication of the mindset that holds sway over the world's most powerful nation. They show the barbarism, hatemongering and bloodlust that are considered perfectly acceptable in the polite company of our rulers and their sycophants.
Indeed, the most remarkable thing about Romney's speech is that there is nothing remarkable about it; it is entirely typical of the kind of red meat that many leading lights of American society routinely throw to the slavering rightwing faithful. It takes a strong effort to wrench your mind free from the media-besotted mentality that regards such a speech as "normal" (even if you disagree with it), and see it for the debased, bestial raving that it really is.
The smoldering core of Romney's vomitous offering can perhaps be found in his passing remarks on Europe. Again, in one sense, this was just a crowd-pleasing throwaway: a good Eurobash always gets the CPAC froth flowing. But in a deeper sense, it cuts right to the corroded heart of the matter, right down to the vicious, primitive, genocidal racism that has shaped and driven so many of the policies of Western elites for centuries. In the midst of a long diatribe about liberal "attacks" on "American culture," Romney pauses for a glance across the Atlantic, to evoke a hideous nightmare that could soon be America's future:
By "demographic disaster," Romney simply means that there are more non-white people in Europe than there used to be. To Romney and his fellow elites, this fact in itself constitutes a genuine "disaster." Although the population of Europe is still overwhelmingly white (much more so than the population of the United States), even the smallest dilution of racial purity across the continent is to be lamented, decried – and rolled back. Here of course Romney is channeling fearmongers like Martin Amis, Mark Steyn, and Christopher Hitchens, whose trembly sexual panic in the face of hot-blooded, fast-breeding darkies would be comical, if it were not so sinister – and so useful to the warmakers and global dominationists in the ruling elite.
Romney makes the sexual and racial subtext abundantly clear in his remarks about Europe's loss of religious faith, eroded morality, etc. The Euros are plainly too busy having abortions and watching porn to do their duty by the race and breed bigger families kept under strict religious discipline. And thus the shabby denizens of an alien faith are breeding like rats in the cellarage of Western Civilization, gnawing away at the foundations and conquering it from within. The fact that "Muslims" are substituted for "Jews" in these formulations and implications of Hitchens, Amis, Romney, et al, does not lessen the precision with which their diatribes mirror those that saturated Germany (and many other nations) in the first four decades of the 20th century. For the elites, there is always a dark, sexually potent "other" out there, whose overwhelming threat to white supremacy can only be overcome by....giving the elites more and more power.
Oddly enough, there has been a demographic disaster in Europe -- but it has nothing to do with virile Muslim men and their fertile females. It is never mentioned by Romney and his elitist ilk -- because it is the result of their own philosophy, their own policies, and their own desires. We speak of course of the demographic collapse in Russia, where the population is dwindling while death rates remain almost twice as high as in the United States and Western Europe. The Russian people are still reeling from the catastrophic "shock therapy" inflicted on them by Boris Yeltsin's "Chicago School" market fundamentalists. (The harrowing story is well-told in Naomi Klein's study of "disaster capitalism,"
The Western elites were very glad to watch the Russian people sink to their knees, die off in droves and suffer in poverty, chaos and fear -- as long as a juicy slice of Russia's oil, mineral and industrial wealth was in the offing. The West's sudden distaste for Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin has nothing to do with his egregious crackdowns on civil freedoms. Putin's depredations are hardly less egregious than those of Yeltin, who actually sent in troops and tanks to destroy the democratically elected parliament 1993, then ran roughshod over every vestige of law in harnessing the entire power of the state -- and the private sector as well - to ensure a victory in his re-election bid in 1996. After that, he laid open the entire economy to the rapacious looting of his corporate cronies and their Western allies. It is the fact that Putin has taken much of this loot off the table for Westerners -- and given it to his own cronies -- that has provoked the West's new-found concern for the rights and well-being of the Russian people.
In his swan song, Romney makes it clear that he and his elites want to continue pressing their "shock therapy" on the American people as well, rolling back the very mild attempts in the past to ameliorate, slightly, some of the worst excesses and inequities of unhinged corporate greed. In fact, Romney identifies these tepid measures as dire threats to "American culture" itself:
The ignorance -- and inhumanity - of this statement is breathtaking. Think of it: there was no poverty in the United States until "liberals" came along in the 1960s and "created" it with their welfare programs. (Before this "culture of poverty" was created, apparently, the few poor people in America just died off discreetly, like Russians, instead of hanging around a bit longer on government handouts, the way they do now, the shiftless, no-good wretches. Oh yeah, and they breed a lot too, more than white folks.) And even though Bill Clinton (uncredited here, of course, but the elite are well aware of his sterling services) finally drove the stake through the welfare program, these evildoers will still not rest. Just look at what they want to do: "put more people on Medicaid," and "remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever." (Wait a minute; I thought red-meat-chomping CPACkers were in favor of people paying no taxes. I guess that only applies to the right sort of people.)
All of this -- especially the stuff about "risk-taking" and "dependency" on government largess -- is pretty rich coming from an avatar of a ruling class that is glutted with pampered heirs of wealth and power who, like Romney, begin their totally risk-free careers at the very top of the ladder, and who are continually fattened with no-bid contracts, kickbacks, tax breaks, subsidies, war profits and myriad other forms of "government largess." But beyond the transparent hypocrisy – and the ludicrous pretense that the "liberals" in today's Democratic Party pose some kind of genuine threat to this cornucopia – Romney's blast is a perfect encapsulation of the elite's hatred for the rabble they use as cannon fodder and cash cows. Let them get sick, let them die, let them languish in poverty, let them lose their homes, let them work three jobs to make ends meet – but by God don't you ever do anything, anything at all, to change the system that produces these chronic inequities and keeps the pampered elite in clover. That's evil. That's "poison." And it won't be allowed.
The speech goes on and on in this way; reading it is like wading through the sewage pipe of an abattoir. China and India and other Asian nations pose a challenge that must be confronted and beaten down. Why? Because they may "pass us by as the economic superpower, just as we passed England and France during the last century." And we must stop the yellow devils, because "the prosperity and security of our children and grandchildren depend on us." Apparently, it is not possible for Asian nations and the United States to be secure and prosperous at the same time; "our children" can only prosper at the expense of others. This too is transparently ludicrous, even nonsensical, if taken literally. Of course, ordinary Asians and Americans could be prosperous at the same time. What Romney really means is that the American elite cannot exert dominance and gorge itself in the manner to which it has become accustomed if other nations are secure and prosperous in their own right.
And that is where the "War on Terror" – the linchpin of Romney's speech, and the justification he offers for folding his campaign – comes in. The Terror War is simply an extension of the long-held goal of the American elite (and their British "junior partners") to maintain and extend their dominion over the world's natural resources and political arrangements – and the exorbitant profits this dominion produces. There is ample evidence in the historical record of the Anglo-American elite's abiding – and quite open – anxieties on this score, going back for generations. Literally millions of people all over the world have been sacrificed to these ambitions and anxieties, which have not abated but grow more frantic and acute with each passing year.
And thus the climax of Romney's peroration: a frantic blithering about "evil and radical jihad" and "the inevitable military ambitions of China" and the burning need to "raise military spending to 4 percent of our GDP" and overriding imperative to keep the Terror War raging, particularly on its central front in Iraq. None of this is remotely connected to the actual wellbeing, security and prosperity of the American people; quite the opposite. It is, however, absolutely vital to the preservation of the elite's power, privilege, self-image and status. And as they demonstrate day after day, they don't care how many people must die or suffer for this.
This is moral psychosis on a monumental scale. It is the complete and utter repudiation of every civilized ideal, of every fragment of enlightenment wrenched from the blood-drenched slagheap of human history. Yet it passes for normality in our political discourse.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on February 9, 2008.