Defending the Indefensible

Arthur C. Brooks and Janet Daley have something to say this week about protecting their wealth, and the wealth of those they cater to. I’m taking these articles as a small but good sign that the rich are feeling under attack. The pressure is finally getting to them to the point where they feel they have to lash out in the media. We’ll see where it goes.

As for Brooks, his article is a case study in the prescription of values from the rich to the underclasses, which I spoke about at length in a recent post. To wit:

And even if only a portion of the outcomes in life were due to merit, we should still gear our system to the part that is under our control. Otherwise, we have no incentive to be industrious, honest, innovative and optimistic — and there’s no reason to teach these values to our kids, either.

I had to laugh. It’s so cute that he thinks industriousness, honesty, and innovation are values the rich share. Oh, I grant they have optimism; that’s what helps them believe they’ve “earned” the vast sums of wealth they steal and withhold from the masses. But there is nothing honest about what they do. And they are not industrious in the least, unless you count generating spreadsheets of wealth that would make Nordic hoarders blush.

But let’s be honest. Lloyd Blankfein has never broken a sweat over anything more strenuous than racket ball, and certainly not on the job. Neither has Warren Buffet (raised in Washington DC; the son of  a Congressman), for that matter, and Arthur C. Brooks is now beyond the days that he’ll have to sweat (not that he ever had to as the child of two professors, and who played French Horn in an orchestra until he decided to finally join the college ranks), thanks to the generous largesse of the Randian rich who prop him up. As for innovation, well, just look at the Gates/Jobs saga, or Zuckerberg against the world. These men have made billions by stealing the ideas of others.

Janet Daley (Berkeley, ’65) is another story. While Brooks only had more privilege than 70% of Americans, Daley had it all and decided to flee her homeland before the great guttered masses rose up and yanked it all away. Best to go to England, where that privileged shit is embedded in culture.

She doesn’t have to take the prescription of values. She already has them as she amply demonstrated in this quote from the article:

To most voters, fairness does not mean an equal distribution of resources and wealth, or even a redistribution of these things according to need. It means, as the report’s title – “Just Deserts” – implies, that people get what they deserve. And what is deserved, the respondents made clear, refers to that which is achieved by effort, talent or dedication to duty: in other words, earned on merit.

What she’s doing here is prescribing values. She’s trying to convince you folks who wish you could also be rich one day that this economic mess that England finds itself in–and America by extension–is the “Just Desert” of the people who were robbed blind by the folks playing poker with both nations’ economies. As if. It’s victim-blaming on a HUGE scale. She continues on and on…

No, they say, as often as not, poverty is a consequence of lack of effort or self-control – and, therefore, the individual must accept the consequences. And they do not believe that such character failings and their consequences should be disregarded in the apportioning of welfare or help from the state – help which they know is made possible by the efforts of those who do “the right thing”. They still have a firm and undaunted conception of the “undeserving poor” – a term so unfashionable that no politician would be capable of uttering it – and would like such people to be made to accept their reciprocal obligation to society in return for any assistance from public funds.

What she’d like to do is rally the troops–that is, the middle class–against the real threat to the rich, the working and poor classes. She’s speechifying like a general to the troops, trying to make it okay for them to die in cause to the interests of other people–that’s what war always is. And that’s what this is: a class war. It’s the same old song and dance, and these articles suggest we’re moving closer to the final countdown, where the rich finally relent and restore material balance, or face having it all violently taken from them.

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