What happens when you look forward instead of backward and refuse to hold your elite accountable for disastrous policy decisions and crimes?
You get feral elite. They’re running wild, breeding with other feral elite. It’s a real problem.
Our financial elite wrecked our economy with their witches brew of mortgage backed security crap, then engineered a trillion dollar government bailout. Are they grateful? Hah! They’ve moved on and are busy lecturing us about how they are doing Gods work, while advocating cuts to social programs like Medicare and Social Security. Of course they haven’t quit their day job of looting our economy.
In an article entitled, The Rent is Too Damn High, Enrique Diaz-Alvarez, makes a strong case that the entire financial sector, not just Goldman Sachs, really is just like the vampire squid famously described by Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi.
“For every dollar that our capital stock increases, finance collects somewhere between two and four dollars! Old Soviet bureaucrats with their chauffeured Ladas and modest three-bedroom apartments never dreamed of achieving this level of parasitism.“
The US foreign policy elite wasted trillions of dollars invading Afghanistan and Iraq, killing and displacing millions in a tragically inept war on terror. The perpetrators and their media cheerleaders are unapologetic, busy advocating more wars. And, to add insult to injury, lecturing other countries on proper behavior. Here’s Secretary of State Kerry, the very same one who, as a US Senator, voted to invade Iraq, scolding Russia.
“[Y]ou just don’t invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests.”
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The hypocrisy is simply stunning.
Our elite intelligence officials tortured people to death, set up a world wide gulag of hidden prisons and destroyed whatever was left of our reputation to uphold international law and respect human rights. Once again, nobody was held responsible for this criminal behavior, in fact, President Obama named one of the chief perpetrators–John Brennan–to be head of the CIA. And how did that work out? Wonderful. Now the spooks responsible for this crime have been caught spying on the Senate committee responsible for oversight.
“In recent months, it has emerged that the CIA has been spying on investigators from the Senate intelligence committee – the very committee charged with overseeing the CIA. The investigators, who were authorised to examine CIA documents relating to interrogation methods, found a withering internal review which concluded with the finding that torture techniques, like waterboarding, used in “black site” prisons had been ineffective. This was particularly troublesome because the CIA director had argued the opposite before the committee, contradicting the agency’s own findings. When the CIA discovered that the investigators had the review, it started going through their computer logs to find out how they had got hold of it.”
When you maintain a bifurcated rule of law and maintain a class of feral elite you end up rewarding sociopaths and psychopaths who do sociopathic things, and make psychopathic statements. And, when you reward a feral elite the press glorifies them and justifies their behavior. Read the New York Times Deal Book and see what I mean.
This sociopathic/psychopathic behavior is especially prevalent in corporate America. Writer Alan Deutchman, asks a provocative question. Is Your Boss a Psychopath?
“There’s evidence that the business climate has become even more hospitable to psychopaths in recent years. In pioneering long-term studies of psychopaths in the workplace, Babiak focused on a half-dozen unnamed companies: One was a fast-growing high-tech firm, and the others were large multinationals undergoing dramatic organizational changes — severe downsizing, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. That’s just the sort of corporate tumult that has increasingly characterized the U.S. business landscape in the last couple of decades. And just as wars can produce exciting opportunities for murderous psychopaths to shine (think of Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic), Babiak found that these organizational shake-ups created a welcoming environment for the corporate killer. “The psychopath has no difficulty dealing with the consequences of rapid change; in fact, he or she thrives on it,” Babiak claims. ‘Organizational chaos provides both the necessary stimulation for psychopathic thrill seeking and sufficient cover for psychopathic manipulation and abusive behavior.'”
Rewarding sociopathic and psychopathic behavior has resulted in a dangerous, self perpetuating cycle. We have, on a national level, created a Gresham’s dynamic, where bad behavior is driving out good. As a vivid example of this dynamic, US Attorney General Holder basically admitted that our largest banks are now too big to jail. Who says that crime doesn’t pay?
“Because if now, as the senior member of a bank, or the board of a bank, I know that there are no criminal penalities for breaking the rules, don’t I have a fiduciary responsibility to my shareholders to actually play fast and loose? Because if I get caught, that’s just the cost of doing business? I know it’s a frightening thought, but if carried to its logical extreme—if truly people believe that because of their size, they can’t be prosecuted, it actually brings forth a new issue of moral hazard extreme: illegal behavior. That’s why equality under the law is an important concept – one that is being violated now.”
How does all this end?
Not well. Journalist Chris Hedges interviews economic historian Avner Offer, who offers a grim warning.
“Offer, the author of “The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950,” for 25 years has explored the cavernous gap between our economic and social reality and our ruling economic ideology. Neoclassical economics, he says, is a “just-world theory,” one that posits that not only do good people get what they deserve but those who suffer deserve to suffer. He says this model is “a warrant for inflicting pain.” If we continue down a path of mounting scarcities, along with economic stagnation or decline, this neoclassical model is ominous. It could be used to justify repression in an effort to sustain a vision that does not correspond to the real world.”
And guess what? There’s no progressive savior coming to rescue us. After 5 years of President Obama, that ship has sailed.
No, it’s up to us. If we are going to neuter our feral elite and rescue our country it will have to be a DIY operation.
Let’s get started.