Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Understand Now What Made My Grandma Communist in the 1930s

I stumbled across this diary on Kos discussing this column by the New York Times' Chris Hedges. It is called The Idiots That Rule America. I immediately clicked to the site, and my jaw dropped. Especially when I got to this part.

Andrew Lahde, the Santa Monica, Calif., hedge fund manager who made an 870 percent gain last year by betting on the subprime mortgage collapse, has abruptly shut down his fund, citing the risk of trading with faltering banks. In his farewell letter to his investors he excoriated the elites who run our investment houses, banks and government.

“The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking,” he said of our oligarchic class. “These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.”

In short, Democracy as we know it has morphed into Oligarchy thanks to the Industrial Revolution, and the dearth of American Intellectual Curiosity. There's a sucker born every minute, and two to take 'em should not be the secret governing philosophy of any government, and certainly not one born of revolution. A revolution sparked by economic and legislative tyranny, by people who were tired of being over taxed second-class citizens. There should be no power behind the throne in a country without one. And isn't the man behind the curtain always a fake wizard?

The underlying truth in this well-written and quite angry column is that it is an indictment of both American education and American parenting. The oligarchs running our financial institutions into the ground had the benefit of a very expensive education, but was it actually a good one? Were they taught the concept of the Social Contract and the Public Good? Were they taught that economics are not an abstract science but something that has an impact on the lives of real people? Do they know that Mussolini originally wanted to call Fascism, Corporatism? Do they understand what Fascism actually was, or how dangerous a populist backlash can be? An uneducated and clueless mob of common people is no better than an uneducated and clueless elite driving a country into a ditch.

America has always fallen short of it's promise. My grandfather's family fought in the American Revolution, Askins, Latimores, Morrisons, Newmans fill colonial graveyards all across upstate NY and, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. I am sure they would be horrified to know the noble cause they gave the ultimate sacrifice for turned out like this.

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