For The Love Of Money

I saw an opinion piece in the New York Times today that, while inoffensive enough, seemed to be a perfect example of the way that all public discourse today has come down to discussion between the "center" and the heartless views of the right.  Here is an excerpt:

His family drove "...down to the valley, where sketchy-looking people lived in vans by the river, in plywood shacks with rusted appliances on the front lawn, their laundry frozen stiff on wire lines. The rich, my mother explained, were lucky. The poor were unfortunate.
Dissenting voices rose from the back seat. But didn’t the poor deserve their fate? Didn’t they make bad decisions? Weren’t some of them just moochers? And lazy?  Well, yes, in many cases, my mother said...
As the year ends, this argument is playing out in two of the most meanspirited actions left on the table by the least-productive Congress in modern history...These actions have nothing to do with bringing federal spending into line, and everything to do with a view that poor people are morally inferior."

And that's the discussion:  Are poor people morally inferior to rich people, or are they just unlucky.  What drives me crazy is that we are not even allowed to consider the possibility that it might be the rich people who are the morally inferior ones.

And by the rich, I mean the born-rich vultures like the Koch Brothers who feel entitled to use their money to twist the world to benefit themselves, the corporate bankers and hedge fund managers that think it is perfectly acceptable for them to make vast sums of money, while contributing nothing to the economy, but who do generate disaster after disaster which they force us to pay for, the Mitt Romneys who are born into the American aristocracy, and use their positions to multiply their riches while destroying the lives of tens of thousands, never ever considering that this behavior might be objectionable.

It is time that we consider the third possibility, the one which has been edited out of our nation's moral conversation, because it is of course the truth.  To become rich in this country today (other than being born rich) in the overwhelming number of cases, what you really need is a hunger for wealth that crushes every decent emotion you possess.  It is not that the rest of us are lazy bums, it is that we don't care about money to the exclusion of everything else in life, that we won't sacrifice everything decent to become rich, and so we are shoved aside by this pack of greedy monsters.

It is the rich, not the poor, who are the morally defective ones, and it is time that we realize that.  They have no right to remake the country in their own self-serving image, and we have every right to stop them, whatever it takes to do it.


joseph said…
Mr. Eagle,

It's simple. The rich get that way because they don't mind cheating
Jerry Critter said…
And they are supported by morally defective poor who wish to, but never will, emulate them.
Magpie said…
We have thing called the “tall poppy syndrome”. The phrase exists in Britain too but we mean it differently.
It describes a cultural imperative to bring people down to earth when they go too far in thinking themselves ‘above’ everyone else.
It’s a leftover from the colonial era when the population was sparse and working men thus wielded so much power that the class distinctions… well… melted in the heat.

But maybe America could do with a lot more tall poppy syndrome. It’s become a class society nearly as pernicious perhaps as that of Dickens’ time, whom I note Eagan alludes to in that NYT piece.

All the humiliation is one way – the poor cop the lot. You need to humiliate your rich.
But you only do that to celebrities and maybe that is indeed part of the social purpose of ‘celebrity’ in America. People could starve on their front porch but all you’d hear about is what Miley Cyrus was wearing.

One of the trolls here at the time of the election spoke of ‘the class’ of the Romney family...
That’s illustrative of the problem. This fawning admiration for people who themselves would have nothing but scorn or indifference to the admirer, ideologically propped up by crap by Ayn Rand and the like. If ‘class’ means anything tangible and material then it must be equal to exploitation and injustice – by definition.
Remember when your old friend Derek said it would be a good idea to cut taxes on the 10% wealthiest – because they’re the ‘movers and the shakers’?

Yeah – they move your job offshore and then shake down your retirement fund.

And then blame you for your poverty.
Grung_e_Gene said…
The Rich are rich because they deserve to be the poor are poor because they want to be.

The Ultra-Reactionary push back to the progressive gains during the 20th century are all predicated upon the above statement.

It's all so the rich can continue living off of the labor of the poor.
Paul Avery said…
Mark my words, friends. Historically, in every civilization, the people surrendered power, wealth and privilege to an elite in exchange for protection and modest stability. Whenever the elite abnegated their role in this arrangement and denied any responsibility in a social contract, every civilization inevitably fell. In short, as a civilization we are doomed. But this is not necessarily a bad thing.
johninoregon said…
Beautifully said, GE. And sadly, I can't think of anyone even close to the mainstream media--other than Bill Moyers--who could make the same point to a mass audience.
"No one ever made a million dollars honestly". Will Rogers
Anonymous said…
I am honestly surprised on a daily basis that the hacking collectives out there don't set the global accounts of the rich in their sights.

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