I flew back to Nashville from Aspen, CO this morning, and fell into a conversation with my seatmate about the current state of the US economy. “I’m the 1%” he told me. I’m not, I replied.
“Where do you stand on gun control?” he asked. I favor it.
“Me too, but you shouldn't be. Anyone among the 1% who isn’t in favor of gun control is a fool. The same with anyone in the 99% who favors it.” And why is that?
“Because this country is on its way to a civil war: the 1% versus the 99%. Right now the 1% runs the country and controls the military. The military is our jobs program for the poor. When the 99% rise up against us, we will use the army against them. What's happening in Syria will happen here. Some among the military will turn against us, but most will see that their future lies with serving us rather than killing us. If we allow the civilian poor to arm themselves it will make it that much harder to defeat them.”
I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what to say. So he just went on.
“Capitalism is a culture of winner take all, and winners rig the system to keep winning. When the losers finally catch on that they can’t win, they'll take to the streets and bring their guns with them. Of course you can’t stop them from owning some guns, the Second Amendment and all that, but I would restrict them to the most primitive hunting weapons, and not let any military grade or military style hardware get into their hands.”
What about a revolution via the ballot box?
“Never gonna to happen. We own the media, the media tells people what to think. Liberal media, conservative media, MSNBC or FOX, it doesn’t matter. I’s just circus, just distraction. Media figures and politicians are all millionaires. The difference between them is an illusion designed to keep the 99% believing there is hope that one day they too can be rich. Never gonna happen.”
Your view sounds very dystopian. “Dystopian for you, utopian for me.”
As I sat thinking about what I had just heard, I couldn’t help noticing that this one percenter was stuck in the same cramped tin can I was. It gave me hope. But probably not enough.