February 25, 2011
By way of wikipedia, The Worship of Mammon, 1909, by Evelyn De Morgan.
Lots of people take up blogging in order to rant. For the most part, I didn't and generally try to keep Goat Rope relatively rant-free or at least keep the impulse under control.
Ordinarily, I go for a fairly serene tone here, with reflections on some ethereal topic followed by links and comments about current events. I'd prefer to be blogging about Beowulf now. However, I feel the need to rant today.
It occurs to me that of all the causes to which people have thrown their lives away or surrendered their ideals, integrity and _____ (fill in the appropriate body parts), the most pathetic is to utterly surrender one's human autonomy to the service of plutocracy and grovel at the feet of it. I'm sure it's a good gig for those who can take it, but it is one utterly devoid of honor.
Of course, people need economic resources to survive and thrive. That's what the fight is about. And in pursuing those things, we all have to do things we'd rather not. But here as elsewhere there is a line that sometimes gets crossed.
I can understand the appeal of many of the lesser gods humans have served, whether these are viewed as mere symbolic personifications or real persons. Aphrodite, Ares, Artemis, Hermes, Isis, and even violent ones like Kali and Tlaloc may have their limited place in the scheme of things. But surely Mammon is the shoddiest idol of all.
I have much more sympathy for those who sin in the service of some love or passion for an individual, a group or an ideal than those who choose greed for the filthy lucre or servility to those who command it.
(Regarding the applications of the above rant, which are Legion, as Bob Marley sang, "Who the cap fit, let them wear it.")
KOCHED RED HANDED. Here's more on the Koch crank call to Wisconsin's governor about billionaire backed union busting.
AND, WHILE WE'RE AT IT, a friend pointed out to me today that the aforementioned Wisconsin governor in his conversation with an imagined Koch didn't really talk about the state budget. Wasn't that what all this was supposed to be about? But, as Paul Krugman argues, in reality it's a classic case of applying what Naomi Klein called the shock doctrine.
A MODEST PROPOSAL. Here's an idea for West Virginia: set aside a portion of severance tax revenues to create a trust fund that could be used to promote job creation once extractive industries decline.
HOWEVER, rather than bold endeavours, it looks like the WV legislature is scaling back legislation to regulate the Marcellus Shale gas boom.
A LITTLE GOOD NEWS. The West Virginia CHIP (Children's Health Insurance) board voted yesterday to raise eligibility for the program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Previously, benefits were capped at 250 percent. As I understand it, this will cover around an additional 800+ children when fully implemented, although the news article linked above uses a slightly lower figure.
A LITTLE NOT SO AWFUL NEWS. Jobless claims dropped more than expected last week.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED