Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Rich Are Different From You and I...

They usually have enough money to buy their way out of trouble.  Like the head of the International Monetary Fund, being held without bail on charges of rape and forced sodomy on a chambermaid in a New York hotel.  Pulled off an Air France jet as it was getting ready to leave New York City, this is going to make a really sleazy "ripped from today's headlines" episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.  And Arnold Schwarzenegger--whose separation from Maria Shriver apparently was because she found out that he fathered a child by one of their household staff.

Sexuality is one of the most commonly abused human behaviors, because it is the one that is easiest for people to rationalize or justify.  Even the charges against Strauss-Kahn were, I suspect, in his mind just aggressive seduction.  A previous victim, described Strauss-Kahn as like a "rutting chimpanzee" when he attacked her during an interview in 2002.  (That's sounds worse than Al Gore the "crazed sex poodle," doesn't it?)  From what I have read, she was talked into dropping charges at the time because Strauss-Kahn is a prominent socialist (staying in $3000 a night hotel rooms, and buying $35,000 suits).  Not surprisingly, French Socialists are outraged at how poor little Strauss-Kahn is being treated.  Of course, France is the country that refused to extradite Roman Polanski for drugging, raping, and sodomizing a 13 year old.

One of the strongest arguments against excessive wealth is how many people demonstrate that they lack the character to handle wealth well.  One of the strongest arguments against socialism is that its advocates usually end up with a big pile of taxpayer money, one way or the other, demonstrating what hypocrites they are.


  1. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  2. "From Each according to his Abilities, To Each according to his Needs" is a pretty sweet deal, if you're a needy incompetent, but it makes a slave of the capable and independent. Advocating such a position says an awful lot about the individual who does so, and which side of the equation he expects to be on.
    - Richard Chandler (10/15/04)

  3. The rich are different from You and _Me_ (not I) :-)

  4. The problem, unfortunately, is that all of us at some time in our lives are at risk of becoming needy incompetents, when we are children in diapers, or senile people in diapers.

    The great risk of socialism is that it encourages incompetence and neediness.

  5. Money merely gives you the ability to express the full depth and breadth of your stupidity.

  6. Someone made an interesting observation: "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" produced rounds of revenge when individuals take it to heart, but it's an excellent way to judge cases when you're a judge hearing a case.

    I came to realize that Marx's "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" is excellent advice, when you ask an individual to do it of his own free will, but downright evil when you have bureaucrats deciding who has what abilities, and who has what needs.

  7. Strauss-Kahn is not rich. He might have a net worth of a few $million, but in an age of billionaires, that's merely comfortable. (Compare to Raj Rajaratnam, for instance.)

    What Strauss-Kahn is is powerful - or more precisely, extremely high-status. He is an énarque (a graduate of ENA, the École National d'Administration).

    As such he is a designated member of France's power elite, which in turn is a pillar of the Euro elite, and of the "tranzi" elite. Now, énarques really are a select group: it requires considerable intellect to enter and graduate from ENA. Énarques hold a lot of important and difficult jobs, which they come to regard as their natural right - and along with that, the deference of outsiders. And also, the perquisites of position: fat salaries, lavish expense accounts, and cuts of insider deals.

    Which is to say, enough money or equivalent to live a very fat life style, but not the kind of big money that has power.

    Strauss-Kahn is one of the biggest énarques. His status far outweighs his wealth.