Laments of a philosophical pessimist. Notes on society, politics, and culture.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Confirmation of an Ancient Thesis
The good book famously teaches that one cannot serve both God and Mammon. Christ himself drove the moneychangers out of the temple, understanding that one could not look to God while consumed with a desire to overfill one's pockets. Before that, Plato very explicitly cautioned that the appetitive types be kept very far away from the levers of political power, understanding that this ever-grasping class would steer the ship of state onto the reef of ruin. All of the ancient sages we claim to venerate have always warned us of overvaluing the "goods of the world," understanding the lust for things to lead to vice, sin, decadence, and social decay. Now, over two millennia later, we've given over whole societies, perhaps even the whole globe, to such types. And not just to the farmers, merchants, and craftsmen of Plato's day. No, we long ago gave our well-being over to bankers and financiers who can move vast sums of money across the globe at the stroke of a key, producing nothing but vast profits for themselves while producing not a single good or service for society. Given our present state of affairs, there is no need to revise the ancient thesis. Indeed, our horrified eyes pronounce the thesis confirmed.