The idea of bailing out Wall Street in a deregulated capitalism is far more fantastical than that of a casino giving back all the money a guy lost cheating all night in cahoots with the dealer.
Realizing he will eventually fall asleep, let alone he’s not the only one with a dart, the early strong hunter learns to share his game with the weak and the laggard. Later, an observer recognizes order in the sky and wonders why some men will not share a pie. Can’t they see time is ephemeral, the days waver, the present must pass and the future is uncertain? Then some become philosophers and some prophets, and the chosen die of murder for exposing unprovoked violence. Then the enlightened find the truth: one is free only when able to fight injustice and help the weak; ignoring the torture of others is the mark of a slave.
In the late sixties, some liberal intellectuals tire of the false egalitarianism and utopianism the democrats are preaching. Then the counterculture of the young comes as a last straw. In an attempt to protect the American Way of Life, these, now formal liberals, introduce a new political philosophy: Neoconservatism, which departs from conventional conservatism by embracing collective insurance and monetary help for the poor. Liberal programs, such as Social Security, the original neocons warn, could be the last line of defense against further socialization, which conservatives fear the most.
“A welfare state, properly conceived, can be an integral part of a conservative society...In a populous, complex, and affluent society, people may prefer to purchase certain goods and services collectively rather than individually...People will always want security as much as they want liberty, and the nineteenth-century liberal-individualist notion that life for all of us should be an enterprise at continual risk is doctrinaire fantasy,” wrote Irving Kristol in The American Spectator in 1977.
This was also echoed by the economist Samuel Bowles of the University of Massachusetts Amherst: “Individual success hinges on a big X factor: There’s a lot of luck involved. The whole idea of social security is to insure the unlucky by having the lucky pay a little extra.”
People everywhere desire a dignified life for their families, but not everyone is a born beg-borrow-and-steal-hustler ready for “business,” or aspiring early in life to become a fudge manager. Others may be proud, honorable, or simply decent folk looking for honest work. A fair government should provide employment to those who refuse to beg individuals (private business) for jobs; the same government should also regulate to protect small business.
In a society where money defines worth, money cannot buy rank, because there is always someone with more money; ironic, but it is capitalism’s only democratic charm. Socially, we must never express capitalism—an unfair system of privileged enterprise and a fertile ground for greed, corruption and nepotism—in winner-loser terms when luck, to be polite, is the main player. In such an infantile culture, people harshly judge and despise those with less money. Moreover, setting an arbitrary line for “winning” at, say, a few hundred thousand, or a million dollars a year, is wishful thinking on the part of the Middle Class, let alone cowardice: You cannot just quit halfway in the game.
If you make four hundred thousand dollars a year, rest assured that another, who makes five, calls you a loser, and this is a sincere warning to most of the delusional Upper-Middle Class. Board your private jet on the upper deck of your yacht, stop in Manchester for Richard Jewels to take your measurements, reach your villa in Monte Carlo just in time to see your daughter arrive in her Bugatti before you declare yourself a winner. Even though in the real world, only those at the top of the Upper Class can decide the winners amongst themselves. For example, a while ago they denounced Trump as a loser and an outsider, which explains the conniption fits he throws every time someone exposes his actual worth...the man lives in shame.
Three unspoken truths the Upper Class should share. First, only those who came to America already wealthy earned the title old money. That is, if your ancestors made their money in the New World, you are not old money. Second, the Upper Class despises none more than the Upper Middle Class; looking down, greed is ugliest. Third, no one (actually) earns billions of dollars, only a god can control all variables in time and space.
It is in the big money’s best interest to turn the culture around and use its media to glorify natural aristocracy (honesty, common decency and pleasant demeanor), promote virtue and deplore opportunism and the worship of dead wealth. Taxes on the rich must also help the government provide jobs (in energy and infrastructure, for example) and excellent social programs for security, health and education. Only then can the owners pursue their greed free from conflict or retaliation. Allow the peasants—this is what the winners call the losers—to keep their dignity; they will not care what you do with yours.
Fudge Manager: a low-life hustler who cheats—to be polite—people out of their money, a word play on the phrase ‘hedge fund manager’.
Sam Ryan © 2011