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The Mercenary Threat

Part of the Two Pronged Assault on the Constitution by Conservatives

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

Franklin Roosevelt’s great gift to his nation, and to the world, is that he materially severed the then touted and often accepted correlation between wealth and virtue. Hard as it is to believe, that was part of the common wisdom, that wealth was solely bestowed upon the deserving. It still is.

Of course, Christ had cast doubt upon this when he questioned the likelihood of the wealthy getting into heaven, but throughout the world wealth again had become considered a sign of divine blessing. Whether Karma or Puritan ethic or actual act of deity, it was assumed that power and wealth were given to those who had earned or deserved it.

If they misused it, they’d lose it, but God, in those more simple days before he got his set of dice, would not make a mistake.

This fantasy has been academically blown apart and reassembled throughout history, but the sheer randomness of good luck and great fortune unsettles the masses and the establishment both, and a great deal of conservative effort is put into maintaining family wealth and prestige and assumption of blessedness and social prominence. What conservatives hated about FDR is Social Security, which seems to act as a violation of Darwinism and divine approval both. If the poor were worthy, they wouldn’t be poor. Might not be rich, but they wouldn’t be so poor they die in the street of starvation or cold.

And since the New Deal, American conservatives have tried to not only dismantle it, but find scientific and moral reasons to do so and excuse their actions. This is the fueling motivation behind the war to dismantle the public school system and the United States military both.

We notice the War Against Public Education, because it’s waged on two hamfisted levels. The wealthy, who send their kids to private schools anyway, don’t want to pay for the children of the poor to get the jobs that should go, by class inheritance, to their own spoiled brood. So, they want to make their local public schools virtually private by charter and manipulation and keep the poor Spanish speakers, well, poor and segregated. Then, they want to make Christianity, which they think wonderful to manipulate the poor, a mandated fact.

But the dismantling of our military by degrees to be replaced by the street gang militias of our Mercenary contractors hasn’t been given the attention it needs. Till the recent outright driveby Blackwater murders in Iraq last week, anyway. Having failed to dismantle the Constitution as yet, conservatives now envision bleeding away military power into the hands of those who do not swear allegiance to the constitution, or even to their own country, but to a corporation and those that employ it. If they can drape the gossamer of Christianity over it, all the better. Hence, Blackwater, owned by a militant Christian, and their competition.

When I was growing up in placid, well educated, and sheltered New England in the 1950’s, we learned early and often that the Brits did indeed behave badly in our Revolution but the real bad boys were the conveniently German Hessian mercenaries in their employ. This, of course, was easy to understand given we’d been allied with England for two world wars fighting Germany. All of a piece.

But the emphasis for condemnation was on the mercenary part: being a soldier for money and killing and fighting in lands in which you yourself had no interest. A job for money, is all. Not much money, but better than dying old and in the streets of your hometown if your were poor and living in the lands destroyed by Wars of Thirty or One Hundred years duration as Germany and much of Europe had been. Still, killing solely for money was a horror to a nation of supposed Cincinnati, who fought only at need and only for their own protection.

Yet today it is the United States that is the mercenary king. We employ soldiers not even remotely concerned with the nation or peace and prosperity, since their prosperity is based upon there being no peace. Whether called contract labor or mercenary warriors, the US is not only training its foreign enemies, as we do with Iraqi army and police, we do so domestically, with Blackwater and friends.

Mercenary armies are as prime a threat to this nation as religious fanatics with a nuke. Not just the nation FDR left us, but the one that condemned the Hessians.