It's darker here.

Of Toadies and Lickspittles and Sycophants

DTG: 09:47 Tuesday, 21 February 2023

It's funny, the things I think of in the shower.

While we may recoil at the spiritual hollowness of the kinds of people who are attracted to tyrants and bullies, we shouldn't forget that it doesn't mean they're incompetent.

Some are, but most who survive in an autocrat's inner circle have some level of talent or ability.

Albert Speer could probably have taught Tim Cook a thing or two about supply chain management. And Speer also should have been hanged at Nuremberg. He knew better than most, and kept the war going longer than it otherwise would have.

Likewise Goebbels, an educated man with what can only be described as a gift for understanding mass communications and propaganda.

Himmler? He was a chicken farmer, but he had an eye for talent and he was ruthless. Heydrich was his man.

Borman? Murderously efficient gangster. Not an especially bright man, but possessed of a keen sort of low animal cunning.

Leni Riefenstahl definitely knew how to use a camera. Like Speer, got off too easy. Should at least have done time. Like, 30 years or more.

Ernst Röhm was kind of a wild card or loose cannon. Useful, until he wasn't anymore. Not especially smart, but ambitious and he had something of an army at his command. Perhaps didn't understand how to "stay in his lane."

Goering was mostly a prop. A drug addict and a man of limitless appetites. He was pretty good at the internal politics, and unencumbered by a moral conscience. Just someone to add an air of legitimacy in the early years. He wasn't a brilliant strategist either, over-promising and under-delivering as head of the Luftwaffe.

No, what people like this all have in common is some enormous spiritual defect that attracts them to "strong men." Some emptiness that they try to fill by endearing themselves to bullies. Someone who enables them to pursue their own twisted agendas. Gives them license to be their own bad selves. Get rich through fraud and theft. Murder people. Manipulate and intimidate people. Elevate their professional or artistic reputations. Receive social status and rank they otherwise never would have had. (Looking at you, Dr. Ladapo.)

All they have to do is tell the boss what he wants to hear.

Eventually, the boss fails, because there was no one to prevent his worst excesses, rein in his worst instincts, and the whole enterprise collapses with him.

Then, like roaches, they all scurry for the dark corners. The rationalizations begin. The excuses. The denials.

The whining.

Will DeSantis go too far soon? Feels like it. Some murmur that he already has. If so, I guess it'll be up to Casey to right the ship.

Whether it's now, after he's a candidate, or after he's in the Oval, DeSantis will be another Trump in more ways than a few. He'll step on his dick and fall on his face.

And all his toadies with their heads up his ass will have to see a chiropractor for an "adjustment."

The only question is, how much damage does he do to the rest of us?

DTG: 09:02 Sunday, 19 February 2023

The weakness of "strong men."

Erasing Black History

DTG: 10:29 Saturday, 18 February 2023

Florida faces genuine existential threats from climate change and sea level rise, which require long-term planning and investment. What is Governor DeSantis focused on?

The Weakness of "Strong Men"

DTG: 07:57 Saturday, 11 February 2023

It's so commonly known, it's nearly a universal trope in narratives about bullies and bad bosses.

I can understand someone having a fragile ego, an insecurity, combined with generous doses of luck, that drives them to some level of achievement, some position of power or control. Likewise, I understand their need for constant praise and validation and hostility to criticism.

What is somewhat more puzzling to me is the nature or character of the people who are attracted to this type. The toadies and sycophants, the enablers and lickspittles who compete for proximity to someone in power, someone in control.

Some, I'm sure, do it for their own selfish ambitions, seeking favor or advantage over others. But some are just attracted to it, who seem to derive their own sense of self-worth from receiving the attention of someone they view as powerful. They have no desire for power or control of their own, they just want to bask in the glow of their chosen hero. They derive their sense of self-worth from somehow being of service to a "great man" (or woman).

There is never any shortage of these needy people, and so bullies and bosses find a ready source of adulation, validation and approval.

And it's never a surprise what happens to those who speak the truth.

Florida Leads the Way

DTG: 06:28 Saturday, 11 February 2023

Heather Cox Richardson puts her finger on what's happening in Florida without mentioning it once. A state that has been governed solely by one party for more than a generation has now largely empowered one man to rule over it.

There's a powerful appetite for this sort of thing among a large minority of any population. Democracy is messy and difficult. Faithless actors, chiefly motivated by greed, work tirelessly to corrupt the system. People lose faith.

Institutions must be strong to guard against this; but to be strong requires accountability to the electorate.

When parties themselves, whether Republican or Democrat, work to corrupt the system, by gerrymandering, making voting more difficult, undermining faith in the electoral process, accountability to the electorate is eliminated. Institutions weaken or fail.

The faithless, those hungry for power, the greedy achieve control.

For the privileged, it's often irrelevant. The new bosses make sure the privileged are content, at least insofar as their status is concerned.

It's when things go wrong, or reckless decisions are taken with widespread consequences, that the hollowness, incompetence and cruelty of an authoritarian government is exposed, even to the privileged.

There's ultimately a price to be paid for surrendering your responsibility for self-government to a "strong man."

Sooner or later, the bill comes due.

I would write, "and all must pay," but that's not true. There is a class of people that are seldom, perhaps never, truly held accountable, who never pay for their faithlessness, their greed. That would be the rich. Many of their sycophantic toadies, their apparatchiks and fixers, their "lobbyists" and "consultants" are often held accountable.

But the people who wrote the checks seldom are.

Poor Man Wanna Be Rich

DTG: 12:33 Friday, 10 February 2023

Rich man wanna be king.

And a king ain't satisfied 'til he rules everything.

For more than a generation, Florida has been governed by one party.

Today it is ruled by one man.

Who wants to rule America.

Luckily, We'll All Be Heavily Armed

DTG: 07:30 Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Those that are fortunate enough to still have property above the mean high water line will at least have the legal means to defend their "property rights."

The bad news is, everyone who doesn't have property above the mean high water line will have the means to contest those rights.

Everything will be great in the Sunshine State.

Meanwhile, The Insanity Continues

DTG: 07:24 Wednesday, 8 February 2023

What's the notional life-span of a new apartment complex? I figure they'll be lucky to get 25 years out of this one.

The music's louder in Miami.

They'll Be Moving to North Florida

DTG: 07:16 Wednesday, 8 February 2023

It's doubtful that even the ultra-rich will find a way to adapt in Miami. And without a middle-class tax base to fund services, it's also doubtful the ultra-rich will want to live there, given their aversion to paying taxes.

The people who will be trapped are the poor who can't afford to leave, and the newly-poor who counted on the value of a house in Miami to be the major portion of their net worth who will find their houses worth nothing when the game of musical chairs stops.

The wise will get while the gettin's good, and the music hasn't stopped.

And most of them will want to remain in Florida.