“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”
I didn’t believe this story was true at first – thought it had to be a spoof. But it turns out to be true. The great banks of the world have gone on a p.r. counteroffensive in Europe, and are sending spokescrooks in shiny suits into churches to persuade the masses that Christ would have approved of the latest round of obscene bonuses.
Goldman Sachs international adviser Brian Griffiths explains it this way: that Christ’s famous injunction to love others as one would love oneself actually means that one should love oneself as one would love oneself. This seemingly baffling outburst by a Goldman executive in what appears to have been a prepared speech – someone actually wrote this, and thought about it, before saying it out loud – gets even weirder when one tries to figure out what could possibly have motivated this person, and by extension his employer Goldman Sachs, to make such statements in such a place as St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Because there are only a couple of possibilities, and both of them are equally unnerving. One is that they know how preposterous this is and are just saying this shit because they think enough people will fall for it that it will end up being a net plus, optics-wise.
I seriously doubt this and think the converse is much more likely: that they actually believe this to be true, or are trying to believe it is true, and by making the case publicly hope to persuade the world to see the light (and just maybe reaffirm to themselves in the process) and embrace the Orwellian propositions that greed is love and taking is sharing.
It’s not hard to imagine how they could actually believe this stuff. Absolutely the dumbest people in the world, always and without fail, are intellectuals. Anyone who has ever sat in with a bunch of Yalie grad students while they discuss Kafka- they’ve read every book in the world about him, right down to the nineteen different Marxist critical interpretations of The Castle, but it’s somehow eluded them that Kafka’s stories are funny – knows what I mean.
It’s a particular kind of mental disability. This is dumbness that doesn’t know how to connect the information coming in from their other sensory organs, i.e. from the outside world, to whatever flowery kaleidoscope of overwrought horseshit their professors sent hurtling on a permanent lifelong spin-cycle in their empty skulls back when they were eighteen.
We all go through the same phase at the same age and most all of us fall for more than a few dumb ideas in the same way. The difference is that most of us normal people end up having soon after to go out into the world, where we get rudely introduced to the fact that life is mean and unforgiving and confusing as hell and that if you try to go through it leaning on some neat, gift-wrapped package of intellectual theories given to you by some preening old clown in a cardigan, you will very quickly become ridiculous and incompetent to manage your own life.
You’ll notice it, your friends will notice it, the opposite sex will notice it, and certainly the meritocracy known as the capitalist job market will know it.
This is true in every case, with one big exception. If you happen to be a rich dweeb who went to the right schools and hung around with the same group of people your whole life, and those people actually run the world, well, then, you’re in the very happy position of having your own bullshit adolescent belief system become self-reinforcing.
You think that reality coincides with your beliefs because your beliefs are true, whereas in truth it’s because you spend all your time with people who believe the same nonsense you do, and generations of your cultural ancestors just happen to have built very high walls all around you fools to keep reality from getting in and spoiling things.
Nothing else explains people like Alan Greenspan and Megan McArdle and all those other idiotic Ayn Rand devotees, big and small, who continually go out there in public and flog pseudo-religious beliefs about the self-correcting free-market as a cure-all for anything and everything, even as evidence to the contrary rains down from the sky like volcanic ash.? These people actually believe this shit and they believe it with the imbecilic ferocity of teenagers, even the ones who are 190 years old like Greenspan (who incidentally finally conceded a “flaw” in his thinking, but only after the entire world exploded and even all the reality-proof friendly data sources he had relied upon for his whole life told him his ideas were fucked), and it’s nearly impossible to get them to let so much as a sliver of their belief systems go.
There are lots of different varieties of evil in the world. On the extreme end of the spectrum you’ve probably got your Ted Bundy-at-Lake-Sammamish brand of evil, torturers and such, people who actually take pleasure in the suffering of others. You look at people like that and they defy rational explanation; you have to just chalk that up to the universe basically being a horrifying place where there’s either no God at at all or a God who’s just incompetent and/or explaining himself really, really badly.
On the other end of the spectrum, not nearly as evil comparably but still pretty bad, are people like this clown from Goldman. They lie to themselves and think up elaborate reasons to do the bad acts they were already hoping to do anyway. Some day, when historians finish peeling back all the different onion-layers of this financial disaster we’re living out right now, they’re going to find at the heart of it all this social Darwinist mantra wherein a very small group of overeducated twerps agreed to believe that stealing every last dime they could get their hands on was something other than what it looks and sounds like to the rest of us. That protective delusion was the first of the many luxuries they bought with all the money they stole, and see if it isn’t the last they agree to give up. What a bunch of assholes!