The price of stupidity must be high

I’m probably going to get a bit of flak for this rant, but at least take into account the context. Today thousands of Russians attended a demonstration in Moscow to declare their absolute loyalty to the government that routinely steals from them, destroys any prospect for a healthy future, and generally treats them like children. Since its obvious that the action is largely financed by the state, it serves as yet another example of how that state, rather than actually fix problems and cultivate genuine patriotism, prefers instead to piss away money suppressing people’s complaints about said problems.  This, of course, is a recipe for disaster and it serves as another reminder that squirm and thrash as it might, Putin’s Russia is in for a spectacular collapse. It may not be this year, nor the next, but it’s coming.

In general I would say I regret this. However misguided I might have been as a young man, I loved Russia and did not want to see her destroyed and humiliated again. But when I look at something like this idiotic Million Moron March and see how readily people will come out and bend over for a few hundred rubles or because their bosses told them to, it just washes away any pity I might have for them. You see these state workers like teachers and medical personnel, who have already started experiencing cutbacks and layoffs, and they dutifully come out to support the same people who are ordering the cuts so as to preserve their own luxurious lifestyles.

Back when the Tea Party movement became popular in America, I used to say it was regrettable that these people would never get what they said they wanted, i.e. a massive gutting of all government services. A common feature of the Tea Party, and indeed American conservatives to this day, is that when it comes to government spending, they seemed to go by the following rubric:

1. Government spending that benefits me personally is necessary and good.

2. Government spending that does not clearly benefit me personally is wasteful and wrong.

This is why you’d see so many elderly Tea Partiers screaming about taxes and “socialism” while benefiting from things like Medicare, Social Security, and in some cases, government pensions. This is why people who receive farm subsidies or government contract jobs could come out and rail against “wasteful spending.” People who received a college education thanks to the US military had no problem screaming about “fiscal responsibility.”

The reason all these people can continue to support a party and policies which go against their best interests is because they will never actually get the “small government” they want. The old folks will still get their Medicare and other state benefits. The farmer keeps getting his subsidy, the military retiree keeps getting his pension from Uncle Sam, the contractor keeps getting those juicy government contracts. This is because capitalist libertarianism is essentially a fraud. It’s promoted by the richest class, aimed at the middle strata, the people who are sure they too would be millionaires if it weren’t for all the wasteful spending, taxes, and regulations. The actual billionaire knows how important the state is to his business, and thus is happy to conclude government contracts or lobby for tax breaks and deregulation while the rubes go out and scream about illegal immigrants taking benefits they aren’t even eligible for. For all its talk of small government, the Republican party is still rooted in reality, if only behind closed doors. Thus, Johnny Jerkoff in his tri-corner hat will never be told one day that he’s getting laid off because the government decided to stop contracting and to let the market decide how to maintain infrastructure.

Russia, of course, doesn’t have such a system. It is no longer run by people who have any grasp of reality. When the ruble took a dive last December, within weeks you had Duma deputies seriously claiming that the Russian central bank was working for the United States. Today they sponsored a rally against a revolutionary opposition movement that doesn’t exist. From Putin on down, Russia is governed by people with one singular purpose, preserve the wealth they have or steal until they achieve the lifestyle they desire. This means that when it comes down to their luxury cottages or the babushkas and their local health clinic, the latter don’t stand a chance. This also means that when those same babushkas take hand outs to go and protest in favor of that same government, I can’t really feel sorry for them when the consequences of their actions.

Perhaps we live in a world which has grown too soft. We have people who weep for the suffering of people in Donetsk and Lugansk who supported a separatist uprising and invasion and now cry about how their cities have been destroyed and they were cut off from their pensions and salaries. Indeed, there are people in these cases who are genuinely innocent, and I do reserve pity for them, but I’m beginning to think that people who set fire to their own houses need to live with the consequences of their actions.

Civil War-era picture showing how Southern women supported secession and war, only to find themselves starving soon after.

Civil War-era picture showing how Southern women supported secession and war, only to find themselves starving soon after.

Old Donbas woman with flag calling for Putin to send the Russian army. In the next panel, the Russian soldier says: "You called?"

Old Donbass woman with flag calling for Russia to invade. In the next panel, the Russian soldier says: “You called?”

In short, the price of human stupidity has become far too cheap in modern times. There’s always some journalist who will listen to your story of how you did something incredibly stupid and now you’re paying for it, and you’ll be totally absolved of your complicity and portrayed as this victim of unhappy circumstances. When the price of stupidity is cheap, people will be more inclined to dabble in it. They will not learn any valuable lessons.

Some may say it is cruel to demand that the price of stupidity remain ever high. I object. It is not cruelty to allow people who engage in self-destructive actions on such a massive scale to face the consequences of those actions without being bailed out by those of us who would never engage in such idiocy. People who engage in these actions get other, truly innocent people in trouble or in some cases, killed. It’s the latter we should save our pity for.

So let us not waste our compassion on those who won’t appreciate it anyway. Let people suffer the awful consequences of their actions and do not give them an ounce of pity until they publicly declare that they were wrong, explain why they were wrong, and tell us what they indeed to do to rectify their past actions.

When inflation continues to rise and price goods beyond the range of those pensioners and students who came out to kiss government ass, maybe then they’ll realize they chose the wrong side. They wanted a strong leader, they got it. They wanted the “stability” of dictatorship instead of freedom and actual stability that comes from rule of law, they got that too. The more a leader receives praise from the people he abuses, the more brazen and bold he will become. They’ve bolstered his faith in their submissiveness.  Let them suffer the consequences and serve as a lesson to all those who were at least smart enough to abstain from such stupidity.

9 thoughts on “The price of stupidity must be high

  1. Bandersnatch

    It is just a matter of time until the personal impact is great enough to motivate action at personal risk. It will happen. I know it seems like it won’t. But don’t you think that in a year or so they’ll turn on Putin? It just seems like they can’t be THAT deluded. They already stopped paying pensions to elderly people still working, making over 90k rubles or something like that.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      No, they won’t turn any time soon. What is more likely to happen is Putin gets stabbed in the back by one of his allies or even worse, he slips in the shower and goes into a severe coma or is affected by any similar ailment which prevents him from ruling. That’s when the scramble for power will begin, and ordinary people will have no idea what to do because they spent years watching the idiot box.

      Various thieves and con-men will arise to struggle for power, each one promising to be the most anti-American “strong leader” who can restore Russia’s imperial glory if only the people would give up their freedom to him.

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The problem is that his health and sanity are both out of others’ control.

        In any case, looking at today’s rally I am now starting to come around to the theory that Russia’s next president will be Kadyrov, and that will be extra humiliating for the vatniks.

  2. Chukuriuk

    No, it won’t happen any time soon.

    “And it’s in Moscow that the main counternarrative to the revolution has been developed. There are many geopolitical dividends Putin might hope to draw by sponsoring, arming and manning the rebellion against Kiev in east Ukraine, but there is an important narrative trick the Kremlin is trying to pull off too: revolution is meant to equal chaos and war, framed not merely as pointless but as downright bad. Kremlin spin doctors put Maidan in one line of disasters along with Syria and Libya (all organised by the CIA), and ultimately question whether the fall of the Berlin Wall was such a great thing after all. The idea is to undercut any desire for revolution at home, which also means policing the stories that are told.”

    Peter Pomerantsev in the LRB

  3. michael baker from nova scotia canada

    i liked reading this. yes, i like your blog. i am also simple-minded, so, be warned. i get your point about reaping what you sow, but your punishment-wishes are not good if you actually mean them and they are beyond rhetoric, i mean, what do you expect the public servants and lackeys to do? be far less comfortable? LoL. if you do, you’re naive (sorry, i’m getting kinda snarky now). and the people who live in eastern ukraine should be punished too for supporting the rebels and rejecting the jerks in kiev? again, i truly get your point about them reaping what they’ve sown, but jesus if you’re actually serious about this all the way. i am a mark ames fan and an eduard limonov fan – know them? i bet you do. but i am divided because i am also a putin fan, and i feel “guilty” about that, but what’s better? limonov? kasparov? navalny? etc etc etc? ultimately no different and easily worse, okay? and there might EASILY be even worse than them if there’s a vacuum. there’s a good chance that a vacuum and disaster will come eventually too because so many around putin and outside putin are frankly, idiots – truly, i totally mean this. and don’t tell me putin is a small-minded person, PLEASE. he has an extremely keen mind when it comes to “geopolitics” (how can anyone deny this, as angela merkel did?). putin is truly cynical and i like him somewhat, a little bit, a fair bit – whatever – well, i like some of the bells and whistles, that’s for sure, since i’m a sucker, a “russophile” so to speak. putin tries to see ambiguity to EXPLOIT in almost EVERYTHING, and this might lead to him arrogantly over-thinking, and thus, finally, his downfall. and he obviously does not believe in half the propaganda that his handlers cynically feed to the russian public (anti-homosexual conservative morality or half-clever racism for example) and he only does this (SADLY) because he knows that stoking up these deep “slavic” prejudices help keep up his approval-ratings so that he can do the “real-job” as he sees it, whatever that is. putin is very flexible, and smart, and patient, because of his long and almost fruitless bureaucratic KGB background (which has been slightly overstated of course). putin is not the “end all” and “be all” to me at all, but i like him despite his HUGE-HUGE faults. even though he is power-greedy, very corrupt, and increasingly, at least somewhat vain, putin does care DEEPLY about russia, or at least he thinks he does, no matter what you say – i can’t believe that you intimate that he doesn’t, but i do agree that many, if not MOST in power around him in russia such as dmitry medvedev are totally useless and stupid swine. anyway… because i am a loser i would NOT want to live in russia like you do, even though russia probably has more losers and open-hypocrites than anyone else in the world, except maybe for brazil. okay… cheers.

  4. LoneWolf

    Sorry, I generally like this blog, but this is moralistic hogwash. Yeah, let the populace of Donbass and Russia in general be punished by the “consequences of their actions”, that’ll show them! This promotion of collective responsibility is quite ridiculous.

    It also blatantly tendentious to show the Donbass woman’s house being crushed by the Russian soldier on the cartoon, when so far the majority of civilian casualties have been inflicted by Kiev weapons. Now, the recent incidents show that the rebels aren’t that morally better as they portray themselves on the issue, but the tendentiousness still remains.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      How about the areas like Debaltseve, which came under attack by Russian forces? At the end of the day, Russia started a war. There is no way the local rebellion could have maintained violence for more than a day or two with the weaponry and resources they had. All of this is happening thanks to Russia.

      At the same time, pro-Russian terrorists have been setting off bombs in cities like Kharkiv and Odessa. There can be no doubt as to who is morally wrong here.


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