Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pres. Obama Shows His Annoyance

President Obama's news conference earlier tonight seemed eerily reminiscent of some of the best of the old President, especially as he kept repeating lines like, "It's going to take time," and "If it were easy, it would have been done already," and "We're facing difficult challenges." I could picture citizen Bush sitting in front of his tv in Crawford, smirking and spouting, "Go on and say it, Mr. President! It's hard work, isn't it? Hard work? How do you like it now?" It was easy to see that realization dawning on President Obama, whose internal monologue must have sounded something like this:

I've got the redneck rump of the Republican party openly rooting for an economic collapse so they can hang me from a tree on the White House lawn, a know-nothing Democratic leadership that has absolutely no interest in governance or anything beyond protecting its own turf, and the worst financial crisis in 70 years threatening to wipe out the stock portfolios of all my best friends from Harvard. Now I have to find a way to shovel them enough cash so they don't jump ship and support the Republicans in the next election cycle, blame as much of the damage on Geithner and Summers as possible while still keeping them afloat, all while placating enough of the pitchfork crowd on the left and the right by pretending to keep my promise to run the most transparent administration in history. Oh, and I'm raising two daughters with a woman who would be a load for any man to handle even under normal circumstances but who just happens to have the biggest cheering section this side of the backup quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and the world's biggest media platform to make me look even more like a jug-eared square than ever. So you bet I'm angry. This job sucks and while all you reporters giggle like schoolgirls I'd like to see you try it.

just me and a couple of old friends

I'm not sure why exactly the theological attribute of omniscience holds so much fascination for me. Maybe it's that like so many of my countrymen, I can't resist puzzling over a paradox that seems to split everything right down the middle. Why does it matter if God knows everything in advance? Would it change who I love today? Would it make any difference in what I do tomorrow? Would it solve one single problem that matters to me (like getting my verbatim done, which I'm procrastinating right now.) Yet my mind always wanders back to this game, this score settling. Who was right about what, and when?

I haven't written anything about the financial crisis these past five months in part because I haven't needed to - the world, it seems, has finally caught up to where Plato was 2,400 years ago. For my money, the questions being debated today were already settled then by Plato's thought experiment called The Republic, which proved decisively that a pure economy of desire could not and would not suffice as the basis of a sustainable human civilization. Plato's critique of capitalism ultimately inspired Marx, and it is that reviled genius who has been most vindicated by recent events.

The truth of this extremely obvious statement has finally been revealed to the most deluded people in history: wealth only has meaning in relation to work, i.e., material production. A system designed to reward people for not working is an absurdity, and a system such as ours, in which the greatest rewards are reserved for people whose expertise lies in creating the illusion of productivity on a grand scale, richly deserves whatever fate it receives.

I do take exception to one apparently unquestioned truth about the financial collapse, which is that it was brought on by the greedy actions of a few. This is simply not true. On the contrary, without the greedy actions of these few, our social model would have collapsed a long time ago. We ran out of wealth in about the year I was born. At least the conjurers in charge managed to sustain the illusion of prosperity for another thirty years. Even with a desperately gullible audience, that's a pretty good trick.