The fish rots at the head – part two

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People in the driving seat will always collude, always try to twist the rules to suit themselves and to create an ongoing monopoly. It’s in the nature of the game and you might as well try to change human nature than prevent this from happening.

If it means that one firm goes to the wall after being outmanoeuvered by another, then that’s the cut-throat nature of the game they’ve chosen to enter. It’s a completely different game to include the homes and jobs of the vulnerable, ordinary people as a means of furthering one’s profit margin. At that stage, we’re getting into a whole new ball game.

In the Tavakoli interview in Part One, a few references were made to why New York could not see what was going on, why it was New York which caused much of this and why, in other parts of the States, things seemed to be able to run without the rampant greed. It was also noted that “when you get some bad apples in, they tend to draw more bad apples in.”

Those bad apples also tend to gather, to congregate, in central places, e.g. New York or The City, in Rome, Paris or Geneva, to name a few places. With those bad apples at the centre of the action, the hub, their particular brand of malfeasance tends to radiate outwards and is characterized by:

1. Rampant greed which throws off all shackles and lauds cavalier action;
2. A culture of concealment and lack of conscience;
3. The desire to be technically within the laws they themselves newly create but in fact are far from legitimate in their manner of doing business;
4. Unaccountability and the inability of any regulatory body to curb them.

Why does it particularly seem to occur in certain places and in certain career paths?

History

Here is a summary of the plot of Friedrich Schiller’s The Ghost-seer:

The main character is a German Prince who is manipulated by unknown forces during a visit to Venice. At first, the Prince is moral, pious and intellectually curious, but unfortunately his religious convictions are of a simplistic Pietist kind. He is also very superstitious and easily lead. A group of conspirators, led by a mysterious Armenian, takes advantage of this.

First, they stage a Spiritualist seance during which the spirit of the Prince’s best friend is conjured up. Next, they reveal that the seance was just a hoax. By this double bluff, the conspirators make the Prince lose his religious faith, and turn him into an out-and-out sceptic.

As a sceptic, the Prince becomes immoral, lustful and completely disinterested in serious philosophy. He begins to advocate what’s essentially an early version of Nietzscheanism: life is meaningless, and the only thing that matters is brute power. How or why power is won, is irrelevant. Eventually, the Prince realizes that his new “philosophy” only brings him personal unhappiness. How can anyone be happy, if life is meaningless?

Unfortunately, the Prince doesn’t want to end his immoral lifestyle. He wants “meaning” only for the sake of his own personal consolation. At this point, the conspirators strike again, and eventually convert the Prince to a false religion: Catholicism. The conversion is facilitated by stage-managing an unhappy love affair with a devout Catholic woman. In other words, the Prince embraces Catholicism for reasons of lust, rather than reasons of faith or intellectual conviction.

During his stay in Venice, the Prince goes deeply into debt, to finance his new libertine lifestyle. At the end of the story, he begins to contemplate a coup in his German principality, and perhaps an assassination of the legitimate heir to the throne, simply to get his hands on the family fortune. The story ends with the Prince attending a mass celebrated by the Armenian, who turns out to be a Catholic priest.

The history of the Lombards, why the Jews became involved with them and how the Templars got in on the action is a complex one and is interwoven with the Venetian spy system, second to none in its day. They spread to every major European city and became a City within a city, subject to their own rules and with freedom of movement across borders and freedom from local regulation.

Evil

This is a word much bandied-about and whether there is an Evil Entity directing operations or whether it is just that a collection of people with loose morals, in one place, tend to aid and abet one another, it is certain that proximity to certain hubs tend to corrupt – just look at the Westminster expenses scandals.

Now, it’s not letting the individual MPs off the hook but if each had been told, clearly and succinctly by the whips and permanent heads that such ‘n such a perk was simply not on, then those MPs wouldn’t have dared try it on.

No, someone or something was in there giving the nod, tacitly telling them that it was OK.

Similarly at Abu Ghraib, Lindy England was a girl, a soldier who understood that it was quite OK to do what was in those photos, to do what Lt William Calley did in Vietnam, say. Someone let it be known, in a field where compliance with the rules is paramount, that certain things would be overlooked.

Now that entity is culpable. If my class of schoolkids is slovenly, then are the kids culpable? To a point but you see where this is going.

You can look at Hank Paulson and hotly deny he’s evil, yet look at what his actions and his subsequent denials over those actions has produced, he and the others. Can a man be a good man when evil consequences flow from his actions? What does one say when he is clearly not alone in this but those consequences appear across the known developed world and the same names are part of the same organizations which meet in the same places and claim they are just social clubs?

On the rare occasions they are held to account, e.g. in Andy Jackson’s day, then a whole host of excuses comes out:

1. It wasn’t illegal;
2. I was following orders;
3. I didn’t know what I was doing;
4. It was for the nation [or for the children];
5. I was misled by bad people [the only accurate one].

What does Hank Paulson say to the millions whose assets have taken a hit, whose mortgages have defaulted and who are out of work? He says 6. “Nothing to do with me.” None of these men and women are ever to blame. It’s the people who are to blame.

Evil is an illusory thing – when you finally meet up with the source of so much trouble, the person can often appear urbane, witty, friendly and intelligent, with impeccable manners, not the brute beast we imagine.  And yet the results of his actions say he’s a monster.

In Andy Jackson’s day, an angry mob picketed Nicholas Biddle‘s house, sheeting home the blame to the correct source. The question of what to do with these men and women today, if we can get to them, is the major question because without stopping them and the evil behind them, we will go right back to where we were before all this began and it will happen again, further down the track.

As Janet Tavakoli said, we need to go after these bad guys.  As Calvin Coolidge said, after Teapot Dome – let the guilty be punished.  So far we’ve treated the symptoms, not the root cause.

7 comments for “The fish rots at the head – part two

  1. March 26, 2010 at 09:48

    “People in the driving seat will always collude, always try to twist the rules to suit themselves and to create an ongoing monopoly. It’s in the nature of the game and you might as well try to change human nature than prevent this from happening.”

    Ah… It has happened again James… just for a moment, everything comes together, the planets align, the moon slips in front of the sun (or whatever) and I find myself entirely agreeing with you! Then you soon start to drift away again, of course, but we should celebrate the moment with a high five, maybe even a knuckle punch, or perhaps just an old fashioned handshake or nod (please not a kiss) … until next time…

  2. JD
    March 26, 2010 at 13:05

    Can a man be a good man when evil consequences flow from his actions?
    ==
    are you saying-
    “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”?

    if that is so then must the converse also apply-
    “The road to Heaven is paved with evil intentions”?

    Do we follow the smooth road or the rocky road?
    Which road leads to which destination?

  3. March 26, 2010 at 20:08

    James, you are on a rich vein of corruption here.

    Ride it.

    Both of us know that these methods originated centuries ago, and the players bloodlines exist, and are in play, today.

    The corruption, however, is present, and it seems that circumstances have created an opportunity to expose the corruption to the world.

    Don’t dilute the current exposure potential by referring to conspiracies that did occur hundreds of years ago.

    Stick with current happenings, heaven knows, they are enough.

    Historical happenings can be tracked, when the heat is off, to any guilty parties still hiding in dark corners, should circumstances, and public ire, demand it.

    If you need another angle, think of the wealth effect of an increase in the gold price, that would have been enjoyed by current poor nations that were/are, rich in gold. South Africa, for example, where poverty still crushes families. Those families and countries suffer, to enrich criminals. Think of it that way…..

    That gives an angle on the magnitude of price manipulations globally, practiced by these scum.

  4. March 26, 2010 at 23:47

    I agree with xxxl, focus on the current corruptions.

    People need to see what is going on now and know that it is wrong and that there is still a chance to change it.

    Convincing the people that they can make a difference is a problem but the struggle is worth it.

    Find the network and angle and something will give…

  5. March 30, 2010 at 16:17

    All a variety of Eichmannism. Didn’t Neil Postman write about this?

    • March 30, 2010 at 16:56

      Yes it is very much Eichmannism in its sterility, the clinical nature of it.

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