War and Wealth
Rivals for Power, Part Five: Prelude.
Some may recognize a particular family but this is a chemical cracking, an attempt to refine the machinations we witness into their components. Writing through the technique of fiction is not intended to obscure but to reveal. This is a prelude to specifics about particular players though I may keep the fictional technique going so long as it helps to reveal character more fully than news reporting is able.
So what's happened? If you read Hugh Howey's Wool, you'll have a handle on the claustrophobic mindset of being at the mercy of fell tales about what’s "out there."
Fear is always greater: your imagination sees to that, as every writer knows. In this story, what's out there is even worse than your most desperate nightmare.
‘But what happens next?’
I cannot tell you what happens next without telling you what happened before. All right. Here's the short version.
There was a family that made so much money from torturing people that... it got energised. What once took a lifetime to earn could now be amassed in just four years of war: their wealth was magnified 10 times or more.
It wasn't just the money. It was the way they made it that changed them. They got physical pleasure from destroying people and getting rich at the same time. They enslaved the poor and the prisoners but also their rivals among the wealthy. They made political connections so they could put their competitors in chains.
While they were getting rich from torturing people they were having babies. So the pleasure that they felt from breaking others was the same they got from sex and they made offspring with the evil of the sadist pulsing through their veins. Every thrust was a dagger. Their backs arched, fists clenched, they cried out in pain as they smashed at each other, grinding their bodies through that crepuscular doorway whence they sought the spirits that spoke their dark language.
And a new generation was born. They felt no guilt for their money. While others atoned for their bloody wealth they turned away in arrogance. Psychopaths are genetic, above all in their traits of fearless dominance and antisocial impulsiveness. They would have been cruel even without the environment in which they were raised. Their isolation made it worse.
They say the devil's greatest trick is to convince you he doesn't exist. In this family it was the reverse. So aware were they of the sanguinary source of their lucre that they were thrown together in secrecy, resentful of whispers, pitted against the world and ever more vengeful.
If that were all, they might, like a virus, have become less virulent with each mutation, like a poison diluted in the stream, killing those who drink the nearby waters but mercifully fewer over distance and time. That, however, was not all.
During the era of their greatest enrichment they looked into those eyes that every German knows from legend. A people as practical as those inhabitants of northern Europe knows there is nothing impossibly mystical about giving oneself to the pursuit of wealth and power untrammeled by convention or care.
Yet there was to this family something not only of Faust but also of Macbeth. It is said that intuition is feminine. If so, what is the full scope of intuition when it is applied to depravity? For at the head of this family in every generation is a team of horses, a pair that even should they divorce still conspires to seek out and exploit the most callous and foul opportunity.
They married into the highest levels of the land, opportunistically. That one should bear another man's children matters not when that freedom in the sack gives birth to contracts and yet more contracts.
Among the very rich their money eventually multiplies through parthenogenesis. It no longer requires pollination or insemination. As the saying goes, money makes money.
This changes the person because the very rich identify with their money. And that money gives birth to itself. Taking leave of his humanity be becomes Übermensch, convinced of his genetic superiority, obsessed with his will and determined to impose it on others.
Where once he felt loyalty to children, family, clan he now delights in destroying his own. His origins become not a source of attachment but something to overcome. Ethnicity is weakness, a grimy stain.
He is his own — or perhaps another’s. For his bargain was made at such an exalted level, whether politically or Mephistophelean, that he carries a cursèd inheritance.
He desires to live forever. Failing that, he gravitates naturally to eugenics to ensure his spirit prevails. His money shall make the psuedoscience real.
Here we approach the root of all evil. If it were only about camels and needles. For in our generation these descendants still put their psychopathy to work, seeking once again that orgasmic ascension to new peaks of wealth that they enjoyed in war. Which, once tasted, forever calls to them from the shadows.