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What is up with the worship of the rich in this country? Anyone who makes a pile of money gets a bunch of free personality traits - they're brilliant businessmen, courageous entrepreneurs, representatives of the American Dream, and most importantly, people who clearly know how the economy works, seeing as how they were able to appropriate it for themselves. We must bow and scrape for the "job creators" so they will honor us and bestow us, the great unwashed, with the jobs we so sorely need to, you know, stay alive.

There has been a slow shift towards aristocracy in this country, and the pace is accelerating now to terminal velocity. There is clearly a prevailing attitude, certainly unquestioned by the for-profit media, that money in and of itself is a virtue. How such monies were obtained, and whether such activity is morally questionable, is absolutely taboo. The person is a great American by default - even if they are directly responsible for the melting of the icecaps and poisonous groundwater. Mitt Romney is able to go about touting his "business experience" as a qualification for President, when his "business experience" was reveling in the worst excesses of vulture capitalism, and pioneering new ways to get jobs the hell out of the country - yet he is allowed to run as if voting him in would not be ANATHEMA to the economy, and indeed the future of this country. I tell you, there is a basic overawe that is generated in Americans by wealthy people, an awe that makes challenging their morality difficult. That overawe has a seed of aristocracy. Let me go back a bit here.

I'm no expert on the social order of medieval Europe, but from history classes that I've taken, there existed an odd thing called noblesse oblige - which was more or less the idea that you, Marquis such and such of something, as one of guardians of the divine order God -> King -> Lord -> Peasant necessarily have responsibilities towards the peasants under your dominion. Just as the King has obligations towards his vassals, you have obligations to protect and watch over the less fortunates that God has, more or less, assigned to your ward.

Now obviously there was a huge range of behaviors of nobles during that time, and human nature pretty much dictates there were truly noble nobles as well as utterly savage and cruel ones. But at least there was some kind of expectation there, and nobles would be held to account, although a slap on the wrist is probably what they would get from all but the most egregious offenses. But, much as I detest religion, the religious nature of the world order - that the social order flowed from God downwards - as viewed in those times contextualized the behavior of those with much towards those with less - for the better. Most of the time.

How ironic that we ended up not with "Godless Communism" but rather "Godless Capitalism." Those that earn a pile of money in good old capitalist America earn it all on their own, and owe nothing back to anyone because they, and solely they, were the brilliant businessmen that misappropriated the commonwealth for their own use. The rich here do not suffer any delusions of noblesse oblige, not least because we now have a class of aristocrats that arose ex nihilo. They are not inheritors of a proud tradition, a lineage, where a great degree of training and schooling go into preparing you for stepping into the shoes of your father, the previous Lord of Dunham or what have you. Instead, we have a bunch of assholes who basically enrich themselves at the expense of all life on the planet, and know nothing sweeter or nobler in life than just making boatloads of money. I'm not saying that all wealthy people make their money in morally objectionable ways - but the ones that do are getting a free pass and that should not be tolerated.

I'm not going to go into theories about "moral training" or what have you, though there is much to be discussed there. But one persistent myth about the rich that MUST be dispelled is that they necessarily know what to do with their money, simply because they appear to have a lot of it. Since they somehow just know how to create jobs when given tax breaks, let's just sit back and let the wealthy people wisely invest in the future of America, as is reasonable and logical.

Let's get one thing straight - economically, Mitt Romney knows what's good for Mitt Romney. He doesn't know any goddamn thing else. And so goes it for most of his chums at the 47% fundraiser. These people have no context for their views on politics and policy - all they've EVER known is what's good for them.

Listen carefully. These people have NO interest in helping anyone else - anyone that demands that people that are scraping by pay more taxes just so Uncle Pennybags can take a few extra vacations is REPREHENSIBLE and has no place in America or any true democracy. Everyone in the media is so mealy-mouthed and equivocating no one is willing to shine the light of morality on the robber barons. And if they were to just show the truth of this whole excrescent situation, and people actually understood it, well the guillotines might just have a 22nd century revival. Frankly, we the people are unable to comprehend the scale of the theft of commonwealth that goes on every day on wall street and in the board rooms of giant corporations across America. I thought we founded America to get the hell away from this garbage.

Instead we're happy to act like these people are role models - and we gratefully and humbly empty our wallets into the hands of a new aristocracy that has broken completely free of the wheel of history. Nostalgia for feudalism is an exceedingly bad sign. Wake up. Wake up! WAKE UP!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well said! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It really is the second Guilded Age in this country...

    Plutocracy is crushing our democracy (Citizen's United anyone?) - and people do need to wake up, call these bastards out, tear them out of our gov't, and bring back some notion of civic duty to this country.

    It wasn't that long ago when people basically understood the social contract but it seems like since the 80's gov't has been repeatedly attacked as the cause of any and all problems in this country.  

    This is a democracy - It's your gov't.  Make it work for you, but you're in denial if you think our society can function without it.

    Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. -Will Durant

    by Blue Dream on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 10:51:50 AM PDT

  •  I think the people who are held in the highest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Dream

    esteem are people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zucherberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin to name a few. And with good reason, they were young people who had an inspiration and achieved the American Dream. Along the way they built companies that employ tens of thousands of Americans. That doesn't mean they would be good politicians, and I doubt if any of the group I named will ever be a candidate for elective office. But they are great models to instill entrepreneurial spirit in our young college students. Starting new companies will be an important part of the long term economic health of the US. It is one of our great competitive advantages.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 11:05:57 AM PDT

    •  I don't disagree... (0+ / 0-)

      with the need to encourage new businesses start-ups in this country.  But I think the larger point is that simply worshiping those who have money, and then deciding the best public policy is to increase those particular people's wealth at the expense of the rest, is not going to help anyone else start that next new great idea that eventually employs tens of thousands of Americans.

      The success of these people is tied to the commons.  We hollow out the commons, and the next great start-up won't be able to compete globally as our workforce becomes less and less educated.

      Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. -Will Durant

      by Blue Dream on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 11:12:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't deny that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blue Dream

      there have been entrepreneurs who downright define the American Dream - although with Apple goods being made in China and Bill Gates throwing bad money after bad re: Monsanto, I'm not sure that these are the best models. They certainly illustrate the possibilities - but once again what happens to a person when they live out a true rags-to-riches story? You get about, oh 85% of those people saying "I'm lucky to be where I am, it's important that I give back and recognize the opportunity I've been given," versus 15% "I did this, this is all me, all on me, and now that I have more money than some small countries, my agendas are not to be pursued locally, but globally, because that is my right as an individual holding the wealth of a nation." In some ways, extremely wealthy people are city-states unto themselves.

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