Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Science NonFiction: Our Era of Stupidity

“Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground
HALF the world’s wild animals have disappeared in 40 years: Humankind held responsible as familiar species lose battle for survival  Daily Mail

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 91 donors have already invested in our efforts to shed light on the dark and seamy corners of finance. Join us and participate via our Tip Jar. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiserwhat we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our current target.
I’m giving to Yves Smith and Naked Capitalism. You should too. And you should dig deep. What we are doing, together, is nothing less than composing a symphony of what will be an intellectual revolution.
What are we revolting against? The Age of Stupid.
Whether you call it the Era of Complacency, the Age of Stupid, or the Age of Greed, the decades from the mid-1970s until today rely upon a certain set of ideas. Bad ideas. Cruel ideas. Ideas about the nature of humanity, and the need for elites to brutalize the peons and each other to get what they want. Ultimately this is reflected in the God of this age, the financial market. Rigged and ripped and roaring with nonsense, this God is sovereign.
We see this with the New York Fed, and the most recent scandal, which is really just the continuation of a multi-year outrage Yves has been chronicling since 2006.
This era, though it looks dominant, is nearing its end. Because the ideas themselves are stale. Ideas matter. Yes, corruption and stasis have power, but it is ultimately the ideas, and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, that sustains our culture. For decades, Wall Street was the high priest of this market God, and bankers deserved what they had because of their divine nature.
What we now know, and what Yves and all of you have helped unmask, is that this is a false idol. The phrase Too Big To Fail has shattered the keystone of this idolatry, the banks. Bankers may have what they have, and tech oligarchs what they have, and private equity barons can strip mine human beings, but this is by force and leverage and open scams, not through belief. Such systems are weak, as the Soviet system was weak in the 1980s. The bureaucrats do eventually lose their will to enforce immoral claims, as those claims become more and more expensive to enforce.
Systems like this don’t look weak, they just look unfair, a brick wall to justice. But that is the facade, the reality is that it is humans who hold up this injustice, and these humans are losing faith.
And what will bring this system down? You. I know it seems odd, and hopeful, and almost painfully lacking in cynicism. But yes, the answer is, you. And me. Whistleblowers. Professionals with integrity. The ideas, work, and details we put down in corners of the world like this, they matter. They shatter the false idol of monopoly, of the financier, of the private equity baron. They show that this class seeks to rule, through courts and bailouts and special favors and brutal policing.
This class also seeks to delegitimize and eliminate our centers of discourse. Naked Capitalism is an important center. Yves doesn’t get the credit she deserves, because if she did, it would validate the hollowness of our elites. But she is read. And admired. And feared. They want her to go away, because they want us to go away. But we won’t.
We cannot predict the end of the age of stupid, just as we cannot predict when the stock market’s upward ascent will reverse course. But in this corner of the world, we keep our ideas alive, flickering, until the kindling is dry and ready. That is what we can do. So subscribe. Keep this site going, keep our ideas alive.
One day, that wall will come down. And we will need ideas to create the living, vibrant, life energy that is brought forth. Those ideas will exist, here. If we can keep this flame flickering.
So give. That’s what you can do, today, to bring forth the end of the age of stupid, the age of complacency. That’s what I’m doing. Put your money into justice, into truth.