Friday, April 03, 2020

The Marching Morons

One of the funniest SF stories, and one that is really scary when you think about it, is The Marching Morons" by Cyril M. Kornbluth.

It's funny because Kornbluth is a great writer. It's chilling because it perfectly captures how our rulers see the ruled. The ending doesn't really make sense, but Kornbluth most probably couln't have sold it (and might not have been able to overcome his own sentimentality) without the comeuppance in the end.

I don't know how the billionaire class, the top 0.01%, feels about the workers. It's likely that they're mostly sociopaths who simply don't see other people (even other billionaires) as people, just as objects.

But I am part of the professional-managerial class, and I know the the PMC in the top 10 or 20%, the ones who do the grunt work of managing the day-to-day operations of society, think that almost everyone not in the PMC are morons, most of whom can be made marginally productive with enough discipline and coercion.

The PMC gets away with feeling this way because workers mostly feel the same way.

The almost in "almost everyone" is the key. Most workers believe that all the other workers — especially workers with trivially lower social or economic status (coughBlack peoplecough)— are morons, but they themselves (and maybe a few of their friends) are the rare exceptions.

Did you lose your job because of the coronavirus quarantine? You don't have any wealth? Well, you must be a moron. Can't get a new job? Then you're not useful: lie down and die get out of my sight, loser.

But I lost my job and have no wealth? Hey, I'm the exception! I'm not a moron! Help me!

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