Guest Post: Requiem For America
Submitted by a reader
Requiem for America
America, that grand experiment created to probe the limits of human freedom, liberty and equality, has succumbed to its many injuries and passed away. The exact time of death is uncertain, the causes many.
America was always, until its demise, a work in progress, but that progress stopped. The country lost its way, forgot where it was headed, and fell prey to a host of enemies, all of them coming from within.
The coroner has yet to announce the cause of death, not yet sure if it was murder or suicide. That almost does not matter, however, since dead is dead.
I’ll admit I had a hand in America’s death, but I’m not taking all of the blame, nor even the lion’s share. Like original sin, you, too, share the guilt, if you claim the deceased as your next of kin. For those of you who do not know the pecking order of sin in the Catholic faith, there are degrees of wrongdoing. Most of us are guilty of minor transgressions, the venal sins. Though small in a relative sense, we are not absolved of responsibility for America’s death. We also committed another type of sin, called the sin of omission, which means we failed to do the needful when the survival of our country demanded it.
The greater responsibility, however, rests in the hands of those who committed the mortal sins. They struck the fatal blow, though we stood back and let them do it. In a just and fair Universe their punishment would exceed our own, but such a Universe does not exist.
We all die the same death, no matter the extent of our individual culpability.
The mortal sins, and those who committed them, are well known. The list is too long to relate in totality here, but some of the key players and their acts deserve special attention.
Those who abused the trust of the people and abrogated their responsibility to the state and the citizenry are most guilty. They go by the names of Bernanke and Greenspan, Geithner and Paulson, Rubin and Frank, Bush and Obama, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and many more. They are guilty of a host of crimes and failings. Some lied. Some are corrupt. Some are hypocrites. Some suffer from bloated egos. Some are simply fools and incompetent. Some are all of the above. All abused their power, quite often simply for their own personal gain.
Our elected and appointed leaders are not the only ones guilty of mortal sins. Private individuals---some fools, some psychopaths, and all self-serving and avaricious---had a hand equal to our leaders in America’s death. That list, too, is long, but special mention must be made of one named Dimon and one named Blankfein. One seems to be a psychopath, while the other just a fool blinded by his own greed, though that does not excuse him.
As individual citizens we helped facilitate the wrongdoings of the leadership and the elite. We gave in to the siren song of false gods.
We came to believe, because we wanted to believe, that growth could exceed input, that reward could exceed effort. Indeed, we came to feel that reward should exceed effort, because…well…we deserved it.
We took on debts we could not pay, merely to accumulate things we did not need. We found money where it did not really exist, such as in the delusional value of our homes. We lost patience. We had no discipline. We suspended logic. We rationalized that it was all okay because everyone else was doing it.
We had good teachers, and even better facilitators. Our leaders, beginning with a fool named Reagan, told us debt did not matter and that the appearance of wealth was all that mattered, repayment be damned as that would fall on someone else. Every leader after him tried to tell us that the bills never came due and that sacrifice was just a quaint and outdated concept. One of our leaders started a silly war, with an undetermined goal, with an ever-changing justification steeped in lies and deceits, then told us all to go shopping, as if both the dying and the payment were someone else’
We let them get away with it because we wanted to believe. We spent our days adding to the list of unalienable rights our founders had enumerated for us. Two hundred some odd years ago those men had given us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We came to like the last one best of all, and redefined it as needed. We assumed a right to live beyond our means. We took a dream, the so-called American Dream, and not only determined it was a reality, but that it was a birthright.
We became hypocrites along the way, something illustrated to perfection by a man who long has had an active hand in our demise. We came to believe our own hype, that we were the best, and that we knew best. We forced others to accept our way of life when force was in our own interest, and we lectured when force was not a viable option.
We made no friends either way, leaving destruction most everywhere we tread. We did to others as we would never want nor allow others to do to us.
Regarding that illustration noted above, consider Timothy Geithner, now our Treasury Secretary, but late of both the New York Federal Reserve and the IMF. When East Asia stumbled as a result of its own failings in 1997, Geithner demanded that they face up to their own errors and accept their earned pain. Budgets were to be balanced, interest rates raised, and the weak and incompetent allowed to fail.
Years later, as both Fed Governor and Treasury Secretary, Geithner’s prescription was the exact opposite. The weak, corrupt and incompetent were to be saved at the expense of the innocent, and economic policy should be a continuation of the very things that led to the economy’s collapse.
In partnership with an equally incompetent Fed Chairman named Bernanke, America engaged in the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world, from the most innocent to the most guilty.
These two men, along with those who appointed or confirmed them, had the audacity---or stupidity---to tell us that the solution is the problem is the solution.
A collapse resulting from excess debt was to be solved…with more debt. A country suffering from excess spending was to…spend more. The people whose actions had been the prime cause of the collapse…were to be made more than whole again with someone else’s money. The existence of institutions whose enormous size afforded them a finger on the financial nuclear trigger…were not only to be allowed to remain too big to fail, but they actually were encouraged to become even larger.
We were told this was a necessary evil and that it was for our greater good. We were intimidated. We were threatened. We were spun in circles so that we’d be too dizzy and confused to see the many ways we were all on the hook for someone else’s crimes. The contempt of our leadership was so great that they dared to say that those who were forced to pay for others' corruption were actually making a profit on our unintended and unwilling generosity.
Many lost faith early on. Some saw all the lies, and that affected them so deeply that all they could see was lies, even when they were told the occasional truth. While I personally take exception to what this complete loss of faith has bred, I understand its genesis.
Without going into detail, I trust the reader knows what I mean.
As of this writing, nothing has changed. We are still being taken for fools. The guilty continue to run free, and for them times have never been better, though even for them it will be temporary. The wealth transfer continues unabated, and the prescription given to the masses is as it has always been: spend more. So isolated is the leadership and the elite, or so callous and cold is their soul, that they act unaware that more spending is not a option.
We’ve just embarked on something called QE2, with the association of its name (a cruise ship on vacation) a cruel joke. QE2 is an academic’s solution to a problem whose only real solution is a realization that real gain only comes from real sacrifice. QE2 is an economist’s answer. Like most every economic theory---economics is a dismal science at best, alchemy and fraud at its worst---it starts with an assumption. In the case of QE2 this is: assume infinite money.
So far the reaction is such that the economists are patting themselves on the back. They not only think they are correct---despite the historical fact that they, from Bernanke to Greenspan to Summers have never been right once in their entire lives---they continue to take the masses for fools.
Maybe we are fools. Certainly we are lazy. We are probably also cowards. We are lazy because we failed to demand real change, not the silly change that spews from a politician’s lips as easily as all of his other lies. We let them do this to us. We let them fool us. We let them put the final stake in the heart of America and guarantee its demise. We are too late. That is our sin.
Talk to your neighbors. Read the press. Watch TV, especially the business shows. Do you see anything different this week that you have not seen before? Do you feel the mood, even among the most optimistic, is different than it was a year, or even two years ago?
It is. It is clear in the faces of even the formerly optimistic.
They know it’s over. They know we’re dead and that QE2---assumed and endless money for real and endless maladies---is the final blow. They see it in the collapse of the once almighty dollar. Yes, they are all partying, but they know the lifeboats are all gone and all they’re doing is emptying the liquor cabinet on the Titanic, maybe hoping to be in a stupor when the cold or the water steals their final breath.
We are cowards because we did not do what our founding fathers did to rid themselves of the oppression and corruption under which they suffered. They put their lives on the line. They took up arms when such action was the only solution. What the current leadership has inflicted upon the citizenry is at least as egregious as anything suffered under King George. All of the debt and none of the glories.
The Founding Fathers never intended to concentrate so much power in the hands of so few people, as now rests in the hands of Ben Bernanke and the Fed. The system supposedly has built in checks and balances, but it is clear there are none, given that a non-elected official in a semi-private entity can determine our collective fate. That his mandate, if what mandate he has is even constitutional, is to defend the integrity of the currency and maintain price stability is being ignored. That he is prohibited from monetizing the government’s debt is also being ignored. Such is our leaderships’ enforcement of the laws. We need to be our own enforcers, since those who ostensibly have the job refuse to do so.
As a country we have used violence to eliminate those who pose a real or perceived threat against our well being. As individuals we have all played the parlor game of asking what we would have done, had we had the opportunity, to eliminate Hitler early in his career. Most of us, despite our abhorrence of violence, would say Hitler should have been eliminated. The world would have been a better place.
Some future citizens will play that same game when they discuss the decline and fall of America. I wonder what they will decide? I wonder if they will blame us for our failure to act before it was too late, when the system did not allow us a workable solution, and when the only thing that would have saved the country was the elimination through any means those who actions were destroying it.
Is this sedition? Were the Founding Fathers seditionists? They would have been if they had failed, but they won. We are too late, however, so the consideration for us is a moot point, to be debated by our grandchildren in some future parlor game.
What right do I have to even suggest such things? None, other than the right to defend myself and my country, since our elected leaders fail to do so. Our democracy---for some reason limited to two virtually identical parties---is but an illusion. More importantly, our leaders have decided that laws do not apply to them and to those who feed their egos. They even have decided that we, the people, have no right to know the machinations behind those who manipulate the value of the currency we are forced to use. We are all supposed to simply shut up and pay so that our betters can prosper at our expense.
Since the law is not applied equally, can it be any surprise that eventually the people will also opt out of obeying the law, too?
Strategic default and squatting are merely the opening shots in the abandonment of all pretense. As frustration builds, other laws will be ignored, until the time comes when those who should have been responsible will be held responsible. When all is lost and everything the country was or should have been is gone, the only satisfaction that remains will be taking a pound of flesh from the ones who brought the country down.
Those pounds will be taken, one by one, and a degree of fairness will be restored to the Universe. That is the law; the law of the jungle, to which we are now returning.