The ruling elites, whose word used to be law, have been fighting for their privilege ever since the civil rights revolution threatened to enable the people to govern, just as the Constitution proposed. Universal suffrage, freedom of information, public access to the halls of legislatures all threaten the hegemony of the ruling class. Nominating technocrats as surrogates has not worked. Neither has reducing elected public officials to rubber stamps. The people persist in making their interests known. Consumerism has not deterred them. The ruling elites relying on currency as a lever of control has also backfired. The citizenry has responded by setting up a gigantic shadow economy ($2 trillion a year at last counting) which managed to mitigate the crash of 2008 into a mere recession. Not many banksters went to jail, but over 500 bank failures put a significant crimp in their ranks AND prompted effective regulation. Most recently, somebody has invented the term “cognitive elites,” as if cognition were some sort of negative. Which it is, if the ambition is to be born into the ruling class. Of which, by the way, the Dude is a prime example. If he hadn’t inherited a bundle, along with the retinue that handles it for him, he’d be living under a bridge. Making money the signal of rank was effective, as long as money was relatively scarce. Now the myth of scarcity is imploding. The shield of money and the law behind which the ruling elites have been operating is in the process of being rent.
We say “birds of a feather flock together,” but since humans don’t have feathers, it might be useful to explore by what characteristic appearances or behaviors they recognize each other.
A love of gossip
Antagonism towards outsiders
Cause and effect confusion
Habit and Ritual
Distinguishing between revenue and income.
It may not be hard, but the way accountants classify the flow of currency is also not in accord with reality. “Revenue,” a French word meaning to “come back,” refers to something (in this case currency) coming back (as taxes) to the Treasury, the place it started from. That is, revenue refers to a process, a change in location, regardless of who or what sets the process in motion. When currency is taken in by some entity other than the Treasury, it is “income” and the law provides that some portion of that be returned to the Treasury for accounting and redistribution purposes. Exempting some entities from this process is an example of favoritism (rewarding failure and punishing success) and manipulation.
Accountants, assuring accuracy by counting everything twice, have quite inadvertently created a false picture of reality, an unrealistic static model, into which economists have then tried to stuff our communal enterprise by prescribing its behavior. In other words, economists are prescriptive, rather than descriptive (moralistic rather than scientific) and that largely accounts for why their predictions are mostly wrong. They are focused on what should be, rather than what is.
Perhaps the irrationality of finance actually attracts irrational people to dabble in it. Now there’s a thought.
What our secular royalists refuse to understand is that the Constitution is addressed to agents of government and outlines their duties and obligations for the purpose of insuring they do what they are told. The people govern. It almost looks like an accident how that phrase is inserted and the reference to “powers” is somewhat misleading because, like “rights,” the real object is to spell out obligations. Civil rights are, after all, the obligations of citizenship: to vote, to serve on juries, to hold public office, to petition for laws, to provide support and to enforce the laws. What makes them different from the obligations of public officials is that the citizen’s obligations are optional when it comes to performance. The public servants’ duties are not optional because he takes an oath to do what the Constitution says and because s/he surrenders self-interest in exchange for getting paid.
Our public servants are not supposed to distributed public assets in order to promote their retention in office or enhance their worth after they leave. Limiting their term of service does not justify acting like the unjust steward in the Bible. It does not eliminate it either. Like the poor, we will undoubtedly always have unjust stewards among us. Indeed, the former may well be the consequence of the latter. When we let predators into the larder, they are likely to eat us out of house and home.
What a goodly number of our public servants do not understand is that when they accept an official position, they surrender the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. There is no right to privacy when it comes to a person’s official duties and obligations. This is an issue that has been a challenge ever since the FOIA was passed. Closed Congressional hearings to cover up malfeasance were a compromise to protect the bureaucracy.
Call and response, the ritual of religion, in a secular situation.
It is, apparently, the mode of the Con to have people identify themselves and pledge support for the “leader.” “Personal responsibility” means that the individual responds (appropriately) when called upon. I’ve never been to an AA meeting but suspect it is the same. This ritual goes one step beyond calling the roll in a classroom to establish the teacher’s control. The response is effectively a sign of subordination. The language is indicative: “leader” “honor” “blessing” “deserving”
The cult of personality can only be properly understood when one recognizes that the essence of the cult is coercion. People are “honored” and “blessed” and “deserving” for subordinating themselves to the “leader.” Ass-kissing isn’t about the ass; it’s about sublimating the disgust occasioned by the act. The psychological process is similar to, but not as extreme as, a mobster’s initiation.
There is no interaction with the material world in the cult. No practical achievement of any kind. The meritocracy is not about action; never mind affirmative action. The meritocracy is about subordination and the result of subordination is the leader. Every individual is dispensable. In the cult of individualism, the individual person does not count. I suppose that’s ironic, but the Cons do not get irony.
Since money is a figment of the imagination manifest in material tokens (currency) and money doesn’t really belong to anybody, does a person’s attitude towards money change based on his perception of whether the money is his own or somebody else’s?
It there a presumption based on any evidence that one is more or less careless when handling other people’s money or one’s own?
Nothing else to add.
Oh, the latest news is that Preet Bharara refused to take a phone call from the Dude and 22 hours later he got fired. Gangster movies are popular. Having one in the White House maybe not so much.