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December 22, 2008

Jim Hoagland Has Discovered That We're Horrible

The Washington Post's Jim Hoagland wants us to know how awful "we" are:

We have taken the greatest financial, technological and political opportunities the world has ever offered and abused them for our own pleasures, greed and egos. We read about Bernie Madoff so avidly because deep down, Bernie is one of us. He got what he could while he could...

Bernie was one of all of us who refused to vote for politicians who would raise our taxes and make the nation live within its means, even as we went to war. Bernie was one of all of us who did not demand more diligent supervision of financial markets as long as the outsize returns kept flowing. And in his own special way, Bernie was one of all of us who wasted energy in myriad forms, kept on consuming imported goods even when it meant going into debt to foreign lands that do not wish us well, and cut budgets for regulatory and law enforcement agencies even in the fat years.

So we got what we didn't pay for, too. And so will our children.

John Milton described this type of behavior from Washington Post columnists 350 years ago:

No marvel if the people turn beasts, when their teachers themselves, as Isaiah calls them, "are dumb and greedy dogs, that can never have enough, ignorant, blind, and cannot understand; who while they all look their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter"...

Had they but taught the land...then the poor mechanic might have so accustomed his ear to good teaching, as to have discerned between faithful teacher and false. But now, with a most inhuman cruelty, they who have put out the people's eyes, reproach them of their blindness.

Hoagland via Dean Baker. Last Milton sentence swiped from this.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 22, 2008 12:30 PM

liquidation time at the pottery barn....

Posted by: hapa at December 22, 2008 12:52 PM

When ya get GREEDY, ya get STUPID too.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 22, 2008 01:30 PM

It might have been a tad helpful and not so bullshitful (antonym of "insightful,") if Hoagland had tolds us a little more about that bunch in the "all of us" who kept on consuming imported goods etc etc
I know plenty of people in South St. louis who don't guzzle Becks or Newcastle Ale, but whatever is on sale--Milwaukee or Busch-- and whose "greed" extends to making it to the next paycheck.
Crocodile guilt and very late at that. He didn't notice the boys and girls from HBS descending on Wall Street around 1998, living the rich life and not giving a damn about anyone or anything else?
But now, Bernie woke him up.
What a load.

Posted by: donescobar at December 22, 2008 01:37 PM

Yay, South St. Louis! I spent many a weekend there watching Creature Features on Channel 30.

We now return to your regularly scheduled financial apocalypse.

Posted by: Mike of Angle at December 22, 2008 01:48 PM

Yay for Southie, but what awful taste buds. They like Busch beer, toasted ravioli and Emo's pizza--which tastes like melted Velveeta on toasted Wonder Bread.
But, real folks they are.

Posted by: donescobar at December 22, 2008 02:04 PM

What you me "we" white man.

Posted by: empty at December 22, 2008 03:38 PM

Dean is becoming increasingly shrill lately.

Good for him.

Posted by: bobbyp at December 22, 2008 04:53 PM

Who do you mean by "we" kemosabe?

I don't think the people out in the hinterlands are going to buy the NYT/WAPO's "blame the workers for bad management decisions" crap this time around.

Posted by: S Brennan at December 22, 2008 06:35 PM

I posted some photos of shoe protests from around the world on my blog:

Posted by: Susan at December 23, 2008 01:09 AM

I don't know. But I think people need to have responsibilities to think for themselves, even and especially when they are kept from doing so, don't they?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at December 23, 2008 08:48 AM

I don't know. But I think people need to have responsibilities to think for themselves, even and especially when they are kept from doing so, don't they?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at December 23, 2008 08:48 AM

When I started blogging I would sometimes use the popular "sheeple" to refer to the people who were so easily led astray. No more.

As I have learned more about the deep and thorough propaganda effort promoted by the government on the part of the elite through the biased corporate media, and see what is possible as an alternative in fora such as this one, my mind has changed. It's not the people's fault that they've been betrayed.

On these web sites there is an inherent, built-in 'BS filter' that allows false ideas and lies to be verbally destroyed, unlike the common media, and we are able to see that there are a lot of wise people out there, people who otherwise would never be heard from.

We have to believe that people are basically kind, good and possessed of some inherent wisdom or there is no hope of anything.

Posted by: Don Bacon at December 23, 2008 10:35 AM

Don Bacon: EXACTLY.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 23, 2008 11:58 AM

Sorry about the war, I don't know what I was thinking.

Posted by: SteveB at December 23, 2008 03:32 PM

I read somewhere a few years ago that of the bottom-tier beers, Schlitz was the best tasting. I found that plausible and adjusted my consumption patterns accordingly.

I now save even more money by not buying beer at all. Who knows if it's good or bad?

Happy holidays, y'all.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at December 23, 2008 04:19 PM

Hoagland performs the ritualistic Washington dance better known as "there enough blame to go around." The dance is performed whenever somebody screws up royally and the Hoag people chicken out and blame everyone instead.

Posted by: koshem bos at December 23, 2008 04:45 PM

Everyone knows this joke, right?

The Lone Ranger: "It looks like we're surrounded."

Tonto: "What you mean we, white man?"

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at December 24, 2008 09:29 AM