Friday, November 12, 2010

Keeping an eye on the exit

[[update below]]

Glenn Beck's little festival of anti-semitic propaganda last week has got me once again looking at options for living somewhere else. It's not exactly that I expect stormtroopers to be marching down the street anytime soon (on the other hand, my grandparents in Germany and Czechoslovakia didn't think things would get that bad either, and it's only that they had the prudence to send their children out to England early that I am here to write this). But the fact that a major corporation could permit such unadulterated crap to appear under its name is just a further sign of the general disfunctionalization of society. It's one thing for the world to be run by a clique of self-interested elites -- that's the norm of human history. It's quite another for the elites to be nothing but grifters, looters, and sociopaths who can't apparently even take the trouble to try to maintain the society they are sucking dry.

It's sort of the difference between a more-or-less benign parasite and virulent pathogens. Normal capitalists are tapeworms, Fox News is Ebola.

Anyway, smart rootless cosmopolitans keep a bag packed and their options open. Ironically, it looks like I may qualify for German citizenship so perhaps I can make the opposite journey that my parents did. Don't think I could really take living in Germany (although this recent book makes it sound pretty attractive) but the EU's a big place, and perhaps better equipped to go into the future with a modicum of sanity.

[[update: Here's Digby making essentially the same point at greater length. Key quote: "What's broken down is down is the institutional system that forced elites to work at least somewhat on behalf of the people. Government, clergy, journalism, high finance, the legal system, the military, all of it, has stopped functioning properly." Beck is both a symptom of this breakdown and a contributer to it. ]]


Meaningness said...

George Soros—the target of Beck's rant—is one of my greatest heros.

I love the fact that Beck argued that since Soros helped bring down a series of repressive Communist governments, obviously the United States was going to be the next victim.

Some feats of illogic are so stunning that you can only gaze on them with amazed appreciation.


mtraven said...

Yes - it is amazing. Beck managed to completely invert the thrust of Soros's work.

I don't think there's logic or illogic going on here; it's pure propaganda. Or (now that I've calmed down a little) what it really is is attention whoring. Beck doesn't care about Soros, or America. He cares about ratings and getting his name in the news, and look, he got me to pay attention to him, so he wins.

TGGP said...

I think you should move to Germany, so you can write blog posts about how different things are there, and then we can compare it to Mike Munger's posts on same. You should be glad you are not a righty and have more places to threaten to move from America to.

Anonymous said...

"Normal capitalists are tapeworms." Hmm - I never met a tapeworm that offered anyone a job.

For you to describe honest business owners as "looters" is a fine inversion of Ayn Rand's use of the term. I don't agree with Rand on everything, but she was certainly right that it is the elite in Washington, the Dodds and Franks and their cronies at Fannie and Freddie, and other comparable hives of drones, that are bleeding the country dry, not entrepreneurs competing in open markets.

You ought to move to Germany. This country would be well shot of you.

mtraven said...

Well, maybe I'll stick around just to annoy you.

For the record, I was not referring to "honest business owners" as "looters". There's a difference between the guy who owns the corner laundry and, say, Lloyd Blankfein, the Enron dudes, or Bernie Madoff. This post did not have room to give a comprehensive and fair critique of capitalism as a whole.

Anonymous said...

You may not have intended to refer to them as looters, but you surely referred to them as "tapeworms." Normal capitalism is what honest business owners engage in, and you have pretty clearly identified them as parasites.

George Soros was convicted of insider trading in France. The Cour de Cassation, France's highest tribunal having jurisdiction, has refused his appeal of that conviction. How does Soros's offense materially differ from those of people like Milken and Boesky? Why is Soros a paragon, while others like those you mention are villains? Does his support of left-wing causes somehow excuse him, as Bill Clinton's support of abortion on demand somehow exonerated him among feminists for his shabby personal treatment of women?

Soros has a history of speculating heavily in currencies he thinks are about to collapse in value. He's deservedly known as the man who broke the Bank of England. We ought to watch what he does, rather than what he says or pays others to say for him. What positions has he taken in forward contracts on the dollar, after supporting an administration that has for the past two years followed policies calculated to undermine its value?

I don't profess to know - but I'd bet that Soros has positioned himself to profit immensely from the decline of the dollar. I suspect he'll make back all the money he spent on electing Obama and the other politicians that have engineered it - and then some.

TGGP said...

My only interaction with you is over the internet and moving to Germany wouldn't make you forget English. But I was also poking fun at the people who threatened to move to Canada and didn't follow through. I'm a huge fan of Exit and wish it were a more viable option (for everyone, Let a Thousand Nations Bloom). You seem to have more appreciation of Voice.

mtraven said...

Sorry TGGP, I was responding to the Anonymous who seems to take some sort of perverse pleasure at the offensive nature of my beliefs and existence.

I think the odds of my moving to Germany are pretty small -- but I'm getting somewhat more serious about at least preparing the way.

Anonymous said...

I do not take particular pleasure in your offensive beliefs and existence.

It is because of voters like you that California is becoming an economic basket case. Its municipal bonds are - to borrow a phrase from President Obama - getting a shellacking. And why? Because, as Richard Spencer observes, "Dreams of a universal welfare state are getting smashed by the reality of funding it."

You'd be right at home in modern Germany. Like California, it has lots of poor immigrants who don't assimilate and who remain permanent burdens on the taxpayer. Like California, its white majority is declining into a minority. Perhaps you enjoy and thrive in such a milieu.