Monday, March 30, 2009

Janet Albrechtsen, Fairy Stories, Grotesque Circus Acts and the wonders of greed and capitalism

Millenarianism has always fascinated me. The apocalyptic mind, which looks forward to  a cathartic cleansing of humanity just down the track, is like a short circuit of the mind, or thinking, or understanding, or reading history, and getting a bead on all the millenarianists who came before you, and got it plumb wrong. 

Or perhaps it's a just way of enforcing on everybody a personal reality we all come to face at one time or another - we're all gunna die. Heck, if I'm going to go down, dear lord make sure they all come with me.

And it's not just the religious that throw up this kind of loonacy on a regular basis, though you'd think the strict millennialists might have worked out something was amiss after the passing of two of the thousand year cycles. But one way or another some proportion of the population of a country always seems to hunger for a messianic solution, lordy lordy, be it either John Howard or Kevin Rudd in the role of messiah or satan. Be it anarchist, socialist or capitalist.

Myself, I love a good movie about the end of the world, especially if it involves Morgan Freeman, who let's face it, for pure gravitas in the face of nonsensical plotting, should have been elected the first black president, but instead had to be content for paving the way for America's latest messiah (at least Barack Obama shares the right skin coloring with Christ, you silly Mormon and Catholic blue eyed blonde haired delusional caricaturists).

Anyhoo, living under the Sydney airport flight path, each day offers up a Donnie Darko moment whereby an engine might land in the lounge room, so I guess a general apocalypse is a never no mind thing. Then again, a fatal car crash involving a speeding Miranda the Devine, distracted by worry over her accumulated fines and demerit points, is just as likely.

Except of course for the loons, who make a living shrieking about how this or that will surely result in the end of the world as we know it, if not now, then certainly by 2.01 PM on Tuesday next week. One of my fondest memories of Adelaide was how at certain times of the year, wild rumors would sweep the town about how we were all doomed, with some racing up into the hills, while Don Dunstan would race down onto the beach, and King Canute style, hold back the tides and the oceans with his pink panted, safari suited strength of mind.

But enough of all this theorizing. Which of our loons promises the world will end as the result of evil lefties, greenies, socialists, commies, pinkos, perverts, and intertube geeks by lunch time, thereby depriving us of a last gin and tonic as a native wafts a cooling fan above our heads and we look out on the calming ocean. Until it turns into a raging tsunami of alternate society destroying ideas.

Why come on down Janet Albrechtsen, devastated by the notion that capitalism is under dire threat in her column Beyond the G20 freak-show protestors.

First she lists some of the freak show contenders gathering to protest at the G20 meeting in London - all weird academics of course. But these grotesque circus acts, part of the misguided, the naive and the dumb, the screaming malcontents pimping their latest gripe, aren't her real concern.

It's happening in our homes and suburbs and workplaces, in cafes and playgrounds, places people gather and talk. It is there too on the streets of London. One guy there must have been listening to Kevin Rudd. He said the markets "had let rip" causing untold damage. Another chap said that capitalism had rewarded a tiny few, and left the vast majority of people worse off. Try telling that to the millions lifted out of poverty across the world by trade and commerce conducted through free markets.

Yes, it's you, people, with your muttering and your brooding and your ungratefulness. It's you that are bringing the world to an end with your socialistic cocktail chatter about the dangers of capitalism. Remember people, loose lips sink ships, careless talk costs lives.

Now no back chat. I want you to immediately go to your wardrobe, dust off the moths, and put on a nice fitting three piece suit (two piece for women), with appropriate accoutrements (not the second best cufflinks please), so that you're in the right frame of mind to listen to Dame Slap's heartfelt plea to save the world as we know it from the freaks and loose thinking:

People who are sensible but anxious about the future have been fed a fairy tale of heroes and villains. The heroes are the politicians meeting in London to work out how to deal with the greedy corporate villains. Politicians – including those gathering in London - bear much of the blame for stoking in the community an irrational anger against capitalism. They sought out scapegoats because it made for an easy political narrative they could sell in 15 second sound-bites. Every good witch hunt needs a witch. And today’s witches are found on Wall Street and in corporate offices around the globe. Suspicions are now raised about anyone who has earned a great deal of money from the free market. Corporate bosses and bankers are now presumed guilty of excess. Rogues and crooks run riot in the free market according to the yarn. Why bother trying to explain their own role in the fiasco, the loose monetary policies of the US fed, or the bad laws emanating from Congress that mandated loans to those who could not afford them when you can stick to a simple tale of villains on Wall Street?

Wow. It's not just you people. It's the politicians. It's the witch hunters. Mandating loans. Insisting banks give out money they knew could never be repaid. And the bankers shrieked and howled and protested, but finally did it, with the greatest reluctance. Unhappy, tortured bankers.

Now those witch hunters, like Charlie Bronson in Death Wish (parts one to a zillion), go hunting for the innocent hides of corporate bosses and bankers. Hapless, innocent squillionaires who got their loot by hard graft, tilling the soil, toiling in the salt mines, sweating on the factory floor.

Some think of them as rogues and crooks, but why? What's your whinge if you had money in Storm or Babcock & Brown. You gambled and you lost. Suckers. Would you blame casino management if you lost on the machines or at the tables? Of course not. It's actually all the fault of the politicians who allowed casinos to be set up. Why are you people always interested in fairy stories?

Well here's one. A simple, humble dedicated entrepreneur came to town one day, and persuaded everybody that what the town needed was a brand new industry making cars. But it would need government subsidy. And it did, until it collapsed in a screaming heap. When the entrepreneur rode off into the sunset, his saddle bags full of government cash he'd temporarily stored in a Japanese bank account, he turned and smiled and said 'sorry about that' because he was ever so humble and nice and caring about all the job losses ... 

Now here's the real villains. It's the politicians for handing over the money, and the people for wanting jobs and wanting houses and blaming Wall Street. You see there's a golden rule, capitalize your gains, personalize your profits, and socialize your losses, and if you can't manage that, you're worth diddly squat as a capitalist.

Witness the hysteria over the US$165 million payouts to employees at AIG, a firm that received a $US100 billion bailout. Whatever the rights and wrongs of those payments, nothing warrants what followed. US Senator Charles Grassley suggested that AIG executives ought to “follow the Japanese model ... resign, or go commit suicide”. AIG staff have now been warned to travel in pairs, not wear the company log, (sic) AIG employees have received death threats and a union backed campaign now runs bus tours of AIG houses in Connecticut.

Oh the humanity, oh the tragedy. Oh the poor dear lads. Shed a tear for those brave foot soldiers of capitalism, done down by the evil, revolting peasants. Weep for the fallen at AIG - and remember whenever dissembling, it's really important to insert an equivocating phrase, like "whatever the rights and wrongs of those payments." 

You see the payments might have been wrong, even outrageous and reprehensible, but you want to gloss over that, because otherwise you in turn might be accused of telling a simple minded fairy story of good and evil, and shedding crocodile tears over ill-deserved payments to a company and employees sucking vigorously on the socialistic taxpayers' teats. Remember socialize the losses and have no shame about it. And never ever accept personal responsibility for anything. After all, it was probably corporate culture, or the politicians ... yes, the politicians.

But wait, as Janet points out, we need these filthy villains. Why that milk sop Obama wants to work with Wall Street to make things right. All you people talking about greed. Forget it. Greed is good, greed is great, greed is fan-fucking-tastic. Greed will drive Obama's plan to rid the banking industry of toxic debt. Come back Gordon Gekko, all is forgiven, we need a whole new round of junk bonds to clear out the last batch of junk bonds.

It's going to be bonus time, with the taxpayers' paying for the bonuses. Manna from heaven, good times again for the greedy, and you suckers spent all those months listening to the politicians' blame the capitalists. It's the politicians who are the witches, the brave capitalists, bankers and financiers the witch hunters, driven on by thankful bonuses from the grateful citizenry. Suckers. 

Remember if you're going to London, brave soul that you are, wear flowers in your hair, and take a banner saying "Thank God for capitalism after all", and remember to tell everybody that Janet sent you with love ...

But why isn't she going herself you ask? To carry such a brave, defiant, sensible banner? Silly billy that you are, I hear there's a convention in the Bahamas much more suited to her taste and her style, full of bankers and finance types, in very dignified and well cut suits, chortling into their cocktails as the sun sets over the sea. There's only one qualification for entry: you have to have achieved a stupendous, humongous personal bonus after driving your company into the ground, and then achieving a payout subsidized by the taxpayers in recognition of the tremendous skills involved. (I'm guessing anyone in News Ltd. can get honorary membership for rorting $40 million from taxpayers to help produce that turkey Australia).

Remember, socialize your losses, and when in doubt, always blame the politicians because they'll be blaming you, and remember if the peasants are revolting or unhappy, or inclined to become grotesque circus acts, blame them, because they couldn't recognize the inordinate amount of great skills and all devouring greed required to plunge the world into financial chaos.

(Below: Marina Pepper, one of the likely G20 demonstrators. Don't let the coy, mother of two, looks fool you. She began a 'glamor modelling career' as a page 3 girl, became a Playboy Playmate of the month, wrote books on witchcraft, has crafted absurdly titled academic papers about monstrously silly things, and refuses to wear a decent executive suit. She is without a doubt unadulterated pure evil, and likely to cause the downfall of the planet by next Tuesday at 2.04 PM - revised calculation).

PS any resemblance between the hysterical, over the top fairy stories and outrageous slurs of the left, and the hysterical, over the top fairy stories and outraged hysteria of Janet Albrechtsen are unintentional and coincidental, and in no way reflect real people, dead or alive, or the real situation of the world as we know it.

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