We’re Primed for a Spark

by | Sep 7, 2023

We’re Primed for a Spark

by | Sep 7, 2023

flaming matchstick

Macro shot of a flaming matchstick on blue

In the final Monday pre-dawn moments of every city, you can see the work vans and work trucks turn noisily onto the highway on-ramp of the city’s suburbs and exurbs, ladders rattling over every bump. They’re city-bound, heading toward work in wealthy people’s homes within the suburbs, city businesses and crane-adorned high-rises. If you listen carefully, you can hear the drone of sports radio, country music, or―in full cabins―the compromise “classic rock” music on the construction tradesmen’s radio.

And except for the scent of second-hand marijuana smoke unashamedly lingering along the highway, you would not be remiss in thinking that it’s the same scene as the 1980s or 1990s. But this is a generation of tradesmen who have already undergone a revolution that everyone missed. This is a generation that has been unplugged from the captive media.

And it’s ready to blow.

They don’t subscribe to daily newspapers like their parents did, and they don’t watch network or cable news. Make no mistake, they’re not interested in either because they’re not interested in politics. If they consume any news at all, they get their short-term news from social media because it’s faster and more convenient than broadcast news. And any more in-depth analysis comes from a long-form podcast like the Joe Rogan Experience, not a legacy media newspaper or print magazine.

Let’s face it, just as print home newspaper delivery today is rare, in a decade from now a cable television subscriber will be as rare as government inventing a product people actually want to buy. Sure, some people still watch the network news programs today. The military-industrial complex and Big Pharma strong-arms the content of their captive media, appropriately named “programming” through its heavy advertising subsidy. But those advertisements are mostly limited to Medicare supplement plans, erectile dysfunction pills, and Jacuzzi “safety” step-in showers for people too old and infirm to climb stairs. They expose an advertising regimen designed for a small niche audience that’s already literally dying off.

The Deep State Hydra consists of executive branch careerists in a revolving door with selected, politically-favored giant corporations (like the military-industrial-surveillance complex and Big Pharma), the leadership of the two “major” political parties, and their captive media (which includes the big five legacy media companies and Big Tech). And while the Hydra has reduced legislative oversight to revolving-door aides shouting “Just vote ‘Aye!’” to senile nonagenarian senators in order to rubber-stamp a massive military spending bill, it has lost all hold over the working man in America.

And it’s not just the white, male construction worker who voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016 as a protest against the Republican-Democrat establishment. Trump’s political vitality, to the extent it ever existed and still exists today, is not in loyalty to Republican Party leadership, but instead in defiance of it. The leakage from the Democratic Party’s hold over Hispanics has also accelerated because they have also disengaged from all the old media tethers binding them to either the Democratic or Republican party establishment. That’s why they voted in increasing numbers for Trump―again, not because they’ve switched brand loyalties from Democrat Hydra to Republican Hydra.

The same phenomenon has occurred in the hair salons, auto repair shops, retail establishments, and offices across America. But in the construction trades it’s concentrated. This shouldn’t be a surprise. It began with those tradesmen, initially mostly white and male, working on the jobsite and mixing with Hispanic immigrants and an increasing number of African-Americans. The mixing of white construction workers with Hispanic immigrants and traditionally Democratic black workers happened seamlessly, without any of the forced corporate “Diversity-Equity-Inclusion” nonsense.

Construction workers also encounter another kind of refugee besides Hispanics from inflationary states like Venezuela and Argentina. Their work experience is also leavened with refugees from vaccine mandates and COVID shutdowns. Many of those who steadfastly refused to take the jab lost their office jobs and went to work for the only kind of jobs where there was no vaccine mandate. Some of them ended up in the trades. Likewise, many of those who owned small businesses that were shut down by government during the COVID panic ended up in the trades. They bring with them to the jobsite their memories and lunchtime stories about how politically-favored tech giants like Amazon and the big box stores stayed open and raked in the cash while Washington and their state governments ruined their small businesses.

They have all found an unspoken common cause against the political establishment, even though they’re not explicitly political. They joke about people taking their fifth booster shot and still getting COVID, and snigger at people wearing masks in their cars with the windows rolled up. The white, black, and Hispanic “Joe Everyman” in the construction trades are increasingly finding they have more in common with each other than with the “Rich Men North of Richmond” from the few politically-favored giant political parties and corporations who serve the heads of the Deep State Hydra.

Joe Everyman doesn’t have to be told he’s being censored on social media. He sees his “random” 30-day suspension from Facebook for posting a meme and knows intuitively that neither Raytheon, Moderna, nor the FBI will ever be suspended from any media platform. He doesn’t have to be told that the game is rigged against him by the government he’s forced to subsidize; he lives that rigging. But he’d welcome someone reminding him of what he already instinctively knows.

They also know intuitively that inflation is a built-in pay cut for wage-earners, engineered to be perpetually extracted from them. They don’t have to be told they’re being robbed of their wages’ value or given sophisticated economic arguments about how inflation taxes their wages before they get their Friday check. They see it―they live it―all the time at the grocery store, at the pump, and when their rent is due on the first day of every month.

The statistically average white or black male construction worker Joe Everyman will get dirty with drywall dust and blown-in insulation at the jobsite today alongside hard-working and friendly immigrants, probably including a newly-minted Joe Everyman from Argentina or Venezuela, the latter being lean from enduring his country’s Maduro diet. Either way, both will explain in their thick South American accent how inflation destroyed the middle class in their once prosperous nations of origin.

The lickspittles of the Deep State Hydra tell us today “inflation is coming down.” That’s the official narrative. But Joe Everyman, whether white, Hispanic or black, whether male or female, and whether they are in the trades, farming, a storefront or in an office, are just waiting for someone to tell them the truth. They probably don’t even know they are looking to hear that truth. But this is the truth they desperately want to hear:

Inflation is the Federal Reserve Bank’s way of saying workers deserve a pay-cut every year. And they’ll tell you that even though you had an eight percent pay-cut last year, they’re giving you another three percent pay-cut via inflation this year on top of last year’s pay-cut. And they think you should be grateful they’re not taking more from you this year. Remember, cutting workers’ pay through inflation is their forever policy.”

As he drives closer to the jobsite along the highway to work and the sun peeks over the treeline, the Joe Everyman tradesman passes an exit near an upper-middle class home he worked on last month. It reminds him of his own family. He sees the same worry in the eyes of family members and the owners of homes he works in, people who went to college and have made it to the professional level. They have jobs along with their college debt. Most of the time their cars are nicer and their homes are bigger, because their salaries are higher. But they face a greater threat of unemployment and financial destitution in an uncertain economy with a recession looming. The professional workers just have bigger bills and bigger problems, so there’s no real class envy here. They’re basically all in the same situation.

Meanwhile, Joe Everyman’s little brother with his theater arts degree is still living in his parents’ basement, jobless, and $216,000 in debt. After four years of a double major in chasing girls and drinking beer, while minoring in pot, he has a small house payment and no house. But he can still get you some quality weed. Most construction workers can remember a grandfather or great uncle telling them he was able to work off his $400 per semester tuition back in the 1960s by laboring summers as a plumber’s assistant and pumping gas on Saturdays during the school year.

Construction workers don’t know that the only tangible accomplishment in 60 years of federal college aid has been to saddle the next generation with debt by jacking up college tuition rates and subsidizing marginally useful degrees. But if someone were to tell a worker that, he’d instantly recognize it as the undeniable truth.

The Deep State Hydra’s lackeys lecture millennials on lack of thrift for spending $9 on avocado toast in the morning, even as they take one out of every seven dollars workers they earn by their calloused hands―20 times that toast expenditure every week―and throw those dollars down into a counterproductive money pit.

Joe Everyman doesn’t know he has to pay three times the payroll tax rate on Social Security and Medicare his grandfather paid for the same promised benefit levels. Nor does he know that the coming demographic collapse will mean he’ll never see even those promised benefit levels. He’ll either have to pay a much higher tax rate for the same crappy “benefits,” or, more likely, the benefits will be drastically cut by postponing them until he hits his mid-70s. Such is the unforgiving math for a Social Security retirement pay-go scheme when longevity is perpetually increasing and the workforce perpetually decreasing.

Joe Everyman doesn’t know that there’s not a single actuary or CPA in the world who, having done the math, can honestly say Social Security and Medicare even at current rates is a good financial deal for workers compared to privately investing that money in a stock index fund. Because it obviously isn’t. The financial game is rigged against workers, taking away their best chance to save and earn compound interest early in their careers. But he would appreciate someone telling him that it’s time to sunset Social Security and its regressive tax regime…because he’s never heard that Social Security is a “third rail” of politics. And even if he had heard that slogan, he wouldn’t care, because he carries zero loyalties for the Deep State Hydra’s political third rails.

For the Deep State Hydra, working people are now a toxic mix of “misinformation” that “threatens national security” because they threaten the security of their hold over the government and the corrupt “profits” the Hydra squeezes out of it. Five of the Metro DC counties are now among the ten richest counties in America. But it’s not like the metro Washington DC area is known for its great agricultural output, or its manufacturing prowess. None of the great products that provide the comforts and necessities of American life have a manufacturing hub in the imperial city, northern Virginia or southern Maryland.

There’s a reason Washington, DC is the richest area of the country right now, and it’s the same reason the Deep State Hydra is going into overdrive to crack down on free speech online. The only “Virginia ham” coming out of northern Virginia is the pork barrel tax subsidies in the form of more than $100 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine designed to keep profits rolling at Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin, and the Russo-Ukrainian war perpetual. It’s a steep price to pay in getting so many hundreds of thousands of 19-year-old Russian and Ukrainian conscripts killed in a forever-war, but the fact that it keeps military contractors in the black proves to them it’s worth the price.

The Deep State Hydra has to use the FBI and Big Tech to censor social media, because they don’t want you to know they profit off war and death. Government officials working hand-in-hand―and in revolving door fashion―with politically-favored corporations (the textbook definition of economic fascism) is what has made them rich. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sweetheart federal contract for Moderna’s jabs or Amazon’s tech work for the NSA, profits prove that any demographic which threatens this highly political and highly profitable relationship needs to be snuffed out.

In the 1920s, Benito Mussolini overtly sought to bring corporations into the government formally with his Grand Council of Fascism. So he was a bit more honest than the Deep State Hydra. In the United States of the 2020s it’s done more informally. The corporate fascist Deep State Hydra is based in the permanent executive branch bureaucracy, and has heavily infiltrated―and made impotent―the legislative branch. They don’t want any more pesky Church or Pike Committee hearings. But overall, America has nonetheless followed Mussolini’s fascist plan of economy: Interlinking corporations and government, perpetual deficit spending, public works projects (today we call it “infrastructure”), braggadocio patriotism leading to military aggression abroad, and media censorship via a secret police that’s part government (FBI/ODNI) working in tandem with a part corporate (Big Tech).

Working people are ready to hear someone tell them that metro Washington DC is a blood-swollen tick, sucking all the economic progress and freedom away from America’s working people, and producing nothing of value in return. Wealth demographics of the Metro DC area prove that the parasite has clearly gotten bigger than the host. They need to hear from someone a plan to drain the swamp by defunding the Deep State careerists in the federal executive branch, not just Trump’s vague and ineffectual political promises to do so. They need to hear plans to end regressive taxation methods like inflation and the Social Security payroll tax.

These mostly economic issues which interest workers are largely libertarian. So this pro-worker theme could be picked up publicly by someone (or some movement) within the Libertarian Party, a rebellious quarter within the Republican or Democratic parties, some other third party or even a less specifically political alliance.

The media demographics and the political results since 2016 have shown that workers generally, and construction workers specifically, have been disenthralled from the Captive Media wing of the Deep State Hydra. The backing for Trump was about rebellion against the political establishment and an acknowledgement that no one else in politics was even saying they were on the side of working people.

That will change. More voices will pop up. It may happen in 2024, or it may not happen until later.

But it will happen, as surely as those work vans and trucks will arrive at the jobsite on time Monday morning.

The Captive Media can chant “Hail Hydra!” all they want to the geriatrics in assisted living facilities across the country, but nobody’s listening. The FBI/BigTech alliance will continue to play whack-a-mole against free speech on-line, but their efforts will be in vain.

The revolution has already happened. All that’s needed is the spark.

Thomas Eddlem

Thomas Eddlem

Thomas R. Eddlem is the William Norman Grigg Fellow at the Libertarian Institute, an economist and a freelance writer published by more than 20 periodicals and websites, including the Ron Paul Institute, the Future of Freedom Foundation, the Foundation for Economic Education, The New American, LewRockwell.com, and—of course—right here at the Libertain Institute. He has written three books, A Rogue's Sedition: Essays Against Omnipotent Government, and two books of academic resources for high school teachers of history, Primary Source American History and The World Speaks: World History Since 1750 Using Primary Source Documents. Tom holds a masters of applied economics and data scientist certification from Boston College (2021) and is the treasurer of the Massachusetts Libertarian Party. He lives in Taunton, Massachusetts with his wife Cathy and family.

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