Implication for the Long Run
Developments Last Week
Mumbo Jumbo Scams
September 17, 2008
An editorial in my local paper about the financial crisis contains this sentence: "What's needed is sound, insightful leadership, not just by the giants of Wall Street -- who may bear much of the responsibility for the problem -- but also by our political leaders."
Why not just say: what's needed is for a genie to pop out of a bottle and provide plentiful, free energy for all the people of the earth? There's about as much chance for one as for the other.
To become a giant on Wall Street one must mimic the behavior of a somewhat clever spoiled brat child, who cares about nothing except his own wants. The notion that we can get sound, insightful leadership from such people is beyond fantastic. The public need to learn, once and for all, that any modicum of social service that a stock market or non-deposit, shadow bank like Lehman Brothers may provide is so far overwhelmed by the consequences of greed that the former count for virtually nothing. These institutions are giant, sucking leeches and they have no thought, ever, beyond a determination to continue to bloat themselves unto eternity.
Their propaganda machines have drummed into people's minds so incessantly the idea that wealth equals respectability and intelligence that probably a majority of the population believe that business acumen is the main ingredient in a solution of the social and political problems of the earth. No belief could be farther from the truth. What's now called business acumen is little more than tricking up pieces of paper with fancy names, which can be bought and bundled by a second set of manipulators who are hoping to acquire vast wealth by selling them to dupes. It's little more than a gigantic Ponzi scheme, and the economic well-being of the people of the United States supposedly depends on keeping it going.
Up till now, the American people have consistently punished politicians who dared to tell the truth about the monied classes in America. Truthtellers were written off as unbalanced radicals. That's why we have had scant political leadership on economic issues. You would think current conditions would cause enough voters to wake up that we could get politicians who actually want to promote the well-being of a majority of the people. But waking up takes mind, and, at the moment, there's no telling whether there's enough mind in America to seize control of public affairs from those who seek it only to fleece us.
Daring to Be Obvious
September 18, 2008
A wave of dauntless courage is sweeping through the ranks of American journalists. For the first time in years, quite a few of them have got brave enough to state the obvious. It's astounding!
Surprising as it may be, some reporters and commentators have begun to say that John McCain's recent twists and turns have nothing to do with conviction or policy; they are pure opportunism designed for one purpose only: to manipulate those voters who continue to refuse to think. In other words, they're the essence of the Karl Rove electoral strategy.
My favorite quip so far comes from Gail Collins who noted that the trouble with McCain's newfound populism is that his "willingness to make speeches that have nothing to do with his actual beliefs is not matched by an ability to give them, he wound up sounding like Bob Dole impersonating Huey Long."
In the spirit of this dawning boldness, I'd like to offer one obvious point that the waves of courage have not yet quite reached: John McCain is not very bright. His dullness of mind has nothing to do with his age. He has been dull all the way back.
There are, of course, various forms of stodgy thought but in a politician its most frequent manifestation is an unwillingness -- or inability -- to think seriously about the public weaknesses that government might help to bolster. It's all very well to make an occasional ironic quip about something that's going on in the federal government, but when it's followed by lockstep devotion to a party line that has been more destructive of public well-being than any other in our history, a reputation for independence become a farce. John McCain is a standard, regular, dead minded, squint-eyed Republican, and nothing else. His attempt lately to run away from who he has been is a tactic that comes naturally to a mind such as his. If the public can't grasp that, then another obvious truth the media may not be intrepid enough to mention is that the public itself is severely limited when it comes to accurate perception.
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