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The Banality of Evil

I was not terribly surprised by this article but, hours later, found I was still feeling rather slimed by the experience. It’s one thing to know something in the abstract, and quite another to spend time in the heads of those who run the world, for whom accumulation is their raison d’être. If there’s anything that spells out the end of the species and deservedly so, it is this.

I have known the rich and the super rich for some years. They are not fun or interesting people to hang around with unless you are into sycophancy. There is no life of the mind beyond their own egos and money, and possessions are only valued for what they can get at auction. And their rationale for their success is both criminal and delusional in the classic sense. Having worked in the criminal law, I have observed the common facet among both violent and non-violent offenders: nothing is ever their fault. It is this predatory and self-justifying aspect that is shared by the super rich.

Margaret Thatcher’s famous line “there’s no such thing as society” remains their basic tenet, the law of the jungle with everyone out for him/herself, which defies both man’s nature and survival instincts. Well, there’s no such thing as society for them when it comes to the not-rich (they are all anti-union, anti-class action, anti-social safety net) but when it comes to themselves all bets are off: limited liability companies, boards of directors, global economic organizations designed to impede national sovereignty and obedient governments to rule in their favor or to sell off the commonweal are all essential to their self-aggrandizing faith in the “free market.” They are coddled at all levels while adhering to the fantasy of their lone wolf superiority.

At least blue collar criminals had the system stacked against them. These people write and enforce the rules and when they screw up, which is often, the taxpayer is always there come to the rescue. But should some poor schlub lose his job, suffer a catastrophic ailment or some other disaster, natural or man-made, well, it’s his own damn fault.

The big difference now is that elites are truly global, with no allegiance, conceit or concern for any nation, people or culture. They are untethered to the immolation of economies or environmental devastation and can freely and secretly move their assets around the globe to avoid petty annoyances like tax laws or the occasional criminal investigation. They live isolated from the rest of us, surrounded by bodyguards and undocumented servants, gated off from the hoi polloi.

Ra Hoor Kuit indeed.

Absent some unprecedented planet-wide peasant uprising, this will remain the social order for some time. We know from history and human nature that a lack of retribution leads to even greater abuse down the road. So this global sociopathic stew will continue to fester, causing untold misery and destruction on a scale unseen since the last great mass extinction. And extinction is the probable end result for who can stop this in time? Either we are our brother’s keeper or we are toast.

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