Oligarchy – A governmental system wherein power is held by a few persons.
That is my definition. It is my recall of the definition I learned in high school over fifty years ago. Oligarch is the term used by politicians and media talking heads to describe the persons close to the head of government in the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
There are all these shadowy figures, along with President Putin, running Russia. At least this is what is presented to us. We are expected to believe it, just as we are expected to believe in human caused climate change, gender inequities in pay, Critical Race Theory, and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
You see. The U S of A is different. We aren’t ruled by oligarchs. (When you’re through rolling on the floor, laughing, read on.)
Ever notice that a Congressional Representative or Senator defeated for re-election happens infrequently, or that they are almost all millionaires to a person? It just turns out that way. Oh, and they were elected, or re-elected to office, on the basis of their merits. The same can be said for Presidents and governors of the individual states.
The people in power and their media minions are used to lying to us. We, in turn, are inured to believing them. We wouldn’t think to call our Senator, a billionaire tech mogul, a Wall Street financier, or a four star general/admiral an oligarch. But they surely are. An outsider, who stands in their way, will be destroyed. Joe Rogan is but the latest example. Rogan is relatively harmless. Donald Trump isn’t. Sometime, between now and the 2024 Iowa Caucases, Donald Trump will die under questionable circumstances. He pissed off the wrong people.
The motivation behind those who govern isn’t service or dedication to principles, but attainment of and holding on to power. Consider the shifting position of Barack Obama on same-sex marriage. When he changed his mind from opposition to to support for same-sex marriage, he evolved. On the other hand, when Nixon went to China, he was a cynical opportunist. Nixon didn’t evolve, nor was Obama an opportunist. Both, however, shifted their positions to hold on to power.
The oligarchs aren’t omniscient. Bill Gates may know how to write software, but he doesn’t know any more about human rights or liberty than your server at your favourite breakfast spot. Gates has a media and public relations staff. Your server doesn’t.
Oligarchs are used to having their wishes fulfilled. Their ideas are simply that, wishes. If Bill Gates wants the human race vaccinated against COVID-19, that is little more than a wish, He has minions, paid and unpaid, to promote that idea until the whole world, especially its rulers, believe it, and the people of the world are vaccinated.
Back in the Eighties and Nineties, eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers, was the wish of economists and the billionaires (oligarchs) for whom they worked. People lost their jobs in Flint, Michigan, Gordonsville, Virginia and thousands of other places to have this wish fulfilled. When Americans can’t get a light bulb, a pair of shoes, or penicillin until they are offloaded from a container ship, this is the result of this wish. Good for the oligarch and the academic he hires to justify his whims, bad for us.
Today, forty per cent of the ammonium nitrate needed to fertilize our food crops comes from Russia. The Russians say they won’t be able to ship til April. These are the same Russians that are supposedly poised to attack Ukraine. Think they really care about the threat of sanctions? Your Thanksgiving dinner is riding on the answer. Our oligarchs look like they might not get their wishes fulfilled, this time, at least.