BY MENCKEN'S GHOST | DECEMBER 15, 2010
American wimps, sissies, pantywaists, patsies, dupes, and sheep
You have to hand it to the European socialists. They at least take to the streets when they feel they’ve been shafted by their overlords. That’s more than can be said about Americans.
If Americans were as tough as they think they are, they’d be holding tar-and-feathers parties instead of tea parties. They’d be meting out public punishments and banishments to the hypocrites, plutocrats, crony capitalists, mercantilists, corporatists, cabalists, cartelists, rent-seekers, neo-conservatives, and neo-Marxists at the top of government and industry, especially the financial industry.
But, alas, instead of punishing the scoundrels who have caused so much economic misery and brought the nation to the brink of insolvency and irreversible decline, Americans remain brainwashed by the very same scoundrels to believe in the scoundrels’ twisted versions of the rule of law, democracy, and capitalism. Taught in government schools to be obedient followers, Americans think that they will be saved by electing new leaders, when, in fact, they won’t be saved until they question why they need to be led by anyone, let alone scoundrels. That question would take them to an entirely different way of thinking about the nature of man, man’s relationship to society, and society’s relationship to the government.
Many Americans thought Barack Obama would save them. Now they think Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich or some tea party politician will save them. It shows that although mankind has made remarkable progress in science and technology – in the triumph of reason over superstition – we are still in the Dark Ages about leadership. We are still looking for an alpha male, a chieftain, a lord, an emperor, a dictator, a Platonic philosopher-king, a Moses, a Muhammad, a Pope, an Oprah Winfrey, a Ben Bernanke, or an elected Congress and president to lead us and think for us. We still turn on the TV, wag our tails, and pant and drool as we listen to the latest power-hungry egomaniac tell us to follow him or her to the Promised Land.
How about leading ourselves? How about a political system where we are the leaders and everyone in government is a follower, or, if you will, an appointed manager, including the president? And how about a banking system based on “free money;” that is, competing currencies in a free market instead of the current Monopoly money debased by the unelected Federal Reserve? With the astonishing advances in information technology since 1776, isn’t self-leadership possible?
The game is changed by simply asking such questions. It puts us in charge of the political narrative, instead of us deferring to the narrative of the highly educated but highly ignorant elites in politics, the media, and academia.
Want to get people thinking differently about politics? If so, then the next time someone says some politician is a great leader, respond as follows: Why do you need a leader? Are you a follower? Certainly someone of your intelligence can lead yourself.
The first step to no longer being a follower is to punish our current overlords. If tarring and feathering offends your modern sensibilities, then at least ridicule them, boo them, and otherwise threat them as the hypocrites, liars, and scoundrels they are. Unless you’re a fool on top of being a follower, don’t treat them seriously or show them respect.
A good starting point would be the members of the banking cartel, which, contrary to what leftists say, is not free-market capitalism. Yes, many bankers and financiers have gotten an unfair rap throughout history, even long before the Venetians developed the precursor to modern banking. But what we have today is beyond the pale and is deserving of persecution. We have a cartel, not a free market – a cartel in which the members are given an exclusive franchise by the government to deal in fiat money, to make profits from the Fed’s interest rate and exchange rate machinations, to be bailed out when they can’t even manage something as basic as mortgages, and to play a shell game with depositors’ money.
The shell game is called fractional reserve banking, which means that banks, without getting your expressed okay, lend your deposited money to scores of other people, in accordance with the cartel’s rules, instead of keeping it in the vault. It would be like you leaving your car at an airport’s long-term parking lot and then finding out on your return that the parking lot operator had rented your car while you were gone to eight other people. Economists say this increases the velocity of money, increases the availability of credit, and keeps the economy humming. I say anything that begins with dishonesty is bound to lead to more dishonesty.
Speaking of dishonesty, let’s talk about Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, who, like other Fed chairmen, deserves tar and feathers. He wrote an article in 1966, or 21 years before he became Fed chairman, about the real mission of the central bank – namely, to allow politicians to give stuff to taxpayers without having to tax them for it, because the Fed prints money to hide the deficit spending. He stopped telling the truth when his ambitions overrode his integrity and he wanted to be accepted into the banking cartel and upper East Side society. Ironically, he had published an article in 1963 titled, “The Assault on Integrity.”
If you read any book on the mortgage blow-up, the financial meltdown, and the bailouts, you’ll be angrier than a swarm of Africanized bees over the incestuous relationships between the bigwigs in the Fed, the Treasury and the big banks. One year a bigwig is working for the likes of JP Morgan; the next year for the Fed; and the next year, the Treasury or some other federal department. Then there are the incestuous relationships between these bigwigs and Congress, and between Congress and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Conservatives are just as good as liberals at fornicating financially with their political cousins, breaking every conservative taboo in the process. For example, John Buckley, whose uncle was the famous conservative William F. Buckley, was a bigwig at Fannie Mae for 10 years. He was also the communications director for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign and a press secretary to Rep. Jack Kemp, the conservative Republican. Another example: Arne Christenson, a former aide to Newt Gingrich, was Fanny’s senior vice president for regulatory affairs.
The politically-connected former CEO of Fanny Mae, Franklin Raines, “earned" $91 million in compensation from 1998 through 2003, a period in which the government-sponsored enterprise was slicing mortgages into tranches and obliterating the personal information that lenders used to know about borrowers. When the inevitable bubble blew up, he was not forced to disgorge the $91 million.
Of all the intelligent dopes who headed big banks and lost trillions of money on exotic financial instruments they didn’t understand, not one has had had to disgorge his ill-gotten loot. They still have their limousines, their Fifth Ave. apartments, their estates in Greenwich and their summer homes in the Hamptons. They’re laughing at us because they think we are wimps, sissies, pantywaists, patsies, dupes, and sheep.
Judging by our reticence to give them what they deserve, they are right.
“Mencken’s Ghost” is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who spends his free time plucking chicken feathers and boiling tar. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, but don’t contact him if you’re a wimp and follower.