George Carlin — call him a genius, call him a visionary. Call him a prophet if you want to; Glenn Beck thinks of himself as one, so maybe the standard is lower than it used to be. But even if it weren’t, this clip from his HBO Special “Back in Town: Live at the Beacon Theatere” certainly sounds like it could have been filmed last week. Or, if not last week, then perhaps five years ago or so.
In this clip, the immortal Mister Carlin talks about the One Percent, Bankers and the death penalty. Specifically, the kind of death penalty he’d apply to bankers in the One Percent. And why it might have been the best thing for America. Even 20 years ago.
First, George talks about the “sanctity of life,” which he’s always maintained was a concept made up by religious fraudsters to keep people from killing them. Elsewhere in the show, Carlin mentions that 99.9999999999999% percent of things that ever lived on Earth are death; which kind of undermines the concept of the sanctity of life. And so does something else supported broadly by religious conservatives: The death penalty.
“We made them both up — sanctity of life, and the death penalty. aren’t we versatile?“
George goes on to attack another bit of popular conservative idiocy, then in discussion: expanding the death penalty to include drug dealers. Which would never have worked, partly for the same reason that tough-on-crime laws almost never work long term. Nobody commits a crime expecting to get caught, or go to prison for it. So threatening to send someone to a place they don’t intend to go longer isn’t a very good long-term strategy. And society’s always creating new criminals to displace the old, especially in poor and desperate times and areas — so there’s no possibility of locking them all away.
Or, as George puts it:
“This is really stupid. Drug dealers aren’t afraid to die. They’re already killing each other every day on the streets by the hundreds. Drive-bys, gang shootings; they’re not afraid to die. The death penalty doesn’t mean anything unless you use it on the people who are afraid to die…”
And who might that be?
“The bankers who lander the drug money. Forget the dealers. You want to slow down that drug traffic, you gotta start executing a few of these f*cking bankers. White, middle-class Republican bankers.”
Please try to remember — this was 1996. A good bit before the Bush Recession. Forget ALEC; we should have had George Carlin write our laws for us! And how would he do it?
“Forget soft, American executions like lethal injection. I’m talking crucifixion. Bring back f*cking crucifixion — a form of punishment the Christians and the Jews of America can really appreciate. And I’d go a little further. I’d crucify people upside down, like St. Peter. And naked. I’d have naked, upside-down crucifixions once a week during half-time of the Monday night football game. The Monday night crucifixions!…And I’ll guarantee you one thing: You start nailing one white banker per week to a big wooden cross on national T.V., you’re going to see that drug traffic begin to slow down pretty f*cking quick.”
Immediately after, George suggests we use the advertising dollars from the Monday Night Crucifixions to “balance the stupid f*cking budget!” Though we have to point out; prophet though he may have been, turned out Clinton didn’t need the dollars to balance the budget on his own. With a surplus. Which is kind of a shame, in retrospect.
And so is the fact that we no longer have the option of electing President George Carlin. Granted, we may yet see Pres. Bernie Sanders. And he would be fantastic. But as good as Bernie is, he’s not profit.
But here’s betting he could balance the stupid f*cking budget!