WiseBites Episode 22: Socialism for the Rich

The Rich Love Socialism…for themselves

The wealthiest people in the world are known to be zealous proponents of capitalism. Capitalism allows for wealth to be accumulated in unlimited amounts in the hands of individuals. Capitalism stands in direct opposition to socialism. Even on the mention of the word socialism, the rich hiss and boo like angry vipers who have been disturbed wallowing in their own money pit. But people are often caught off guard when they realise that the super rich employ nothing but socialism among themselves. Socialism is, to remind the forgetful, cooperation among and sharing of resources within a community. That community, just happens to be a small number of oligarchs. For the poor on the other hand, it is ruthless unabated capitalism. To let you get a more practical idea of what that means, here is an example. If a poor person gets a job in a shop, that job is occupied so another poor person does not have it. As such one is earning some money and the other remains in poverty. It is a game with a winner and a loser. It is competition. When a rich oligarch gambles and destroys the entire world’s economy, the taxpayer bails him out. The banker should have been beyond poor and indeed in jail. Instead they got a massive personal payoff. This is a safety net for the rich. This is socialism.

You would be quite right if you were thinking, this runs rather contrary to the propaganda slammed down our throats every few minutes. As such, they always refrain from calling it what it is. But here’s the interesting thing, the elite did not always behave this way. It took them a while to figure out that the most secure position of power for them was an elite class rather than just one elite person. One particular historical event made the elite poignantly aware that they need to share, even if it was just among themselves.


Caligula Pushed the Elite Towards Socialism


It is the year AD 37. A baby known as Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus was born. This young man’s family were extremely powerful, so much so that Roman Emperor Tiberius had his family killed horrifically. But rather than doom Gaius, Tiberius adopted him and set about grooming him as the future Emperor of Rome. This was a strange relationship as he was being brought up for the best job in the world, but at the same time he was a prisoner. He could not leave, he could not opt out. He was forced to live and work directly under the man who killed his family right in front of him. It is no surprise that Gaius, or as he was popularly referred to as: ‘Caligula’ meaning little boots, developed a serious mean streak. He conspired with the royal guards to bump off the old Emperor, who was highly unpopular, and with the guard’s endorsement, crown him Emperor Caligula.



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When this grizzly assassination went down, and Caligula rode into Rome in a triumphant parade, the people and the Senate smiled. Caligula promised to be all that his predecessor was not. But this was not to last. In theory the Emperor had absolute power, but the Senate was full of the wealthy, but Caligula simply hated them. He would go about playing convoluted pranks on Rome’s powerful men, culminating with him appointing his favourite chariot horse to the Senate. Contemporary chroniclers wished to label him mad. However, it is more likely he was just mocking the life out of the Roman elite. Humiliating them on a daily basis. There was only one power: Caligula and whatever he said was law. No other noble, no other living thing should ever question him.


Once he had established that he could defy the most ancient traditions of Rome, namely the Senate, he set his eyes on other taboos in which he could engage in, because he was Emperor of all. The first thing was sex. The Romans may not have been shy lovers, but they had very clear dos and do not dos. Incest was on the not list. So of course, Caligula had a well publicised romp with his sister causing the mother of all scandals. If that was not good enough, he would have sex with whatever women he wanted, even leaving a banquet with the wife of a noble, and returning to sit beside him and describe how good his wife was in bed. Caligula had guts. But simply humiliating the snobs and banging their women was not enough for someone of his power. It was all too small, too petty. He wanted to do something extravagant. As such, he tried to invade Britain, but his superstitious army refused to cross the English channel because they feared falling off the edge of the world. So they just came home. Embarrassing right? Well, Caligula decided that he would be a victor anyway, so he demanded the Senate let him parade through Rome in the manner of all victorious Romans. They said no due to his lack of victory. Enraged, he decided the flip the biggest finger at the Senate he could think of. So he went off to a resort, which was like the Las Vegas for the Romans and had dozens of boats strapped together across a bay. It was over three miles long. And he paraded his soldiers across it, torches blazing, music playing before retiring to a night of wine, women and debauchery. This was not an exhaustive list of all of his ‘accomplishments’ but they culminated in him declaring himself a God while he was still alive, like a Pharaoh. He would often stand in front of the statue of Jupiter so when worshippers bowed, it looked like they were bowing to him. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He was assassinated.


Caligula set the precedent for emperors to come, most notably, his successor Nero. But this total autocracy was despised not as much by the poor, but by the elite. Their honour had been trashed, their interests disposed of and their names tarnished. And so a long history of a one man autocrat was replaced by a small number of elite families, culminating in the Magna Carta limiting the power of the English monarch. The rich were being forced to share to avoid the rise of one infinitely powerful person who would injure their interests. As such the seeds of oligarchic socialism was born. But there was no goodness in this sentiment, it was sharing in the name of greed, and indeed their system works. The 6000 richest people in the world have never before been richer. Their power dwarfs that of any emperor. Socialism for the rich was a cosmic success. So the next time you see a rich suited turd lecturing you about competition and capitalism, just remember that he will say to his rich mate “Don’t worry buddy. I’ve got your back.”


The Gnostic Heretic writing for the Apollo Institute of Reason AIR Review©


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