Monday, April 10, 2017

The Death of Virtue aka. "Rational Self-Implosion"

"The only problem with Christianity is that it's never been tried"

We live in a globalized refugee camp. The mantra of this era is exploit or be exploited. Post-2008 all pretense of creating a global middle class was wholesale abandoned to fund billunaire bailouts, Walmart, and the Dow Casino. Unfortunately, today's de facto Idiocracy is too blinded by their own cynicism to realize they are being fleeced all over again...

In this sad age, morality has been totally inverted. Morality used to mean altruism - what we do for others. Now, "morality" per se, means what we do for ourselves. The cult of self-interest is the new religion. Sure people go to church and rinse off their guilt, but as the Pope himself pointed out recently, most Christians are living a double life.

"It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life."

"There are those who say 'I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association'

These people should also say 'my life is not Christian, I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life'."

Ayn Rand artificially elevated "rational self-interest", by wrapping it in pulp fiction to aggrandize corporate robber barons. A pseudo-philosophy gleefully adopted by a generation of Mad Men desperate for an excuse to rationalize aspirational depravity. 

Alan Greenspan was one of her key acolytes. He embedded those same "everyone for themselves" principles when he wiped out the middle class in 2007. Here is what he said:

"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," 

“In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” 

“Absolutely, precisely,” Mr. Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

Now it's true, that no one likes a sanctimonious hypocrite. Who am I to judge how other people live? Aspects of hypocrisy are endemic to the human condition which requires self-interest for survival. However, according to the hierarchy of needs, the elements of self-interest and survival are the basest instincts. Which means that taking a shit and/or buying a Ferrari are NOT morally aspirational.

In any case, this all-consuming passion for self-interest is ending extraordinarily badly, since nothing was learned in 2008, despite Greenspan's impassioned mea culpas. The Idiocracy merely recycled all of the bad ideas from that era and took them to level '11'. 

Ironically, those who exhibit the strongest passion for aspirational greed and gluttony are the least likely to see this coming. In poll after poll, it's Trump supporters who are most optimistic towards his ability to bullshit the economy into being great again. In other words, the cynical drive for self-interest has embedded a blinding assumption that someone else is always going to be the one getting exploited. 

All of which is to say that the hairless monkey wants to receive a much harder lesson.

On virtue.

And I think they're going to get what they want. They always do.