Monday, February 13, 2012

Thank God I'm Not Like Other Men...

My buddy John is chewing the chair legs:

The NYT article on Chisago County continues to nag at me – not sure why. I guess the major mystery to me is why these folks – who are on the edge of existence – are so determined that raising taxes on the likes of the Kochs is bad – are taking that position. They don’t seem to have much stake in the system – they pay essentially no taxes and many of the interviewees are one carrot away from starvation or malnutrition – and actually are net beneficiaries of the safety net. Yet they attack the government and taxes like it would affect them. Why?
I think I can offer an answer to that. It's a two-parter. Part One I blogged about a couple of weeks ago (though I am too lazy to track down the cite). Call it the rule of "thank God I'm not like other men." More precisely: I may be down, but I'm not as far down as they are--"they" being anyone who seems more marginal and beleaguered than I am.  Why the most vicious  racism came not from the planters (who could be polite about it) but from the white trash, many of whom had barely seen a slave, much less actually owned one.  I'm recalling a scene in a novel--I'm betting Jerzsy Kosinski--where he hero wakes up and finds himself in a cattle car on the way to a concentration camp. Worse than that, he is among Jews.  What am I, a good Catholic, doing in a herd of Jews?  Note, this is what passes for humor in Kosinski.

The corollary flip side--part two--is that I like to associate myself with the hottest alpha in the pack.  Partly this is pure instrumentalism--he might take care of me, or at least keep me from being hurt.  But more, I think, it is just a matter of display.  You think I am a simple tattoo artist?  Hah!  I am one of Koch's boys.  So no matter what you think, same answer as before: I am not like other men.nbsp;

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