Random Thoughts

Problems of Wealth, Weapons and Power

Wealth is a necessity without which comes tragic suffering, but with which comes inconceivable grief. An often quoted adage, attributed to Churchill, is that anyone below the age of forty, who is not a communist is a fool and anyone above the age of forty, who is still a communist is a greater fool. This is not an edict carved in stone, but depends on the status of most individuals with respect to their age. Most persons have little or no substantial monetary self-worth before the age of forty and are therefore inclined to idealism and a concept of a just and egalitarian society in their deprived stage. After they have acquired substantial assets by the age of forty, their philosophy and outlook is conveniently metamorphosed into preserving their assets, than in an equitable distribution of them. This is particularly noticeable and serves as a primary hindrance in the second marriage of individuals with substantial net worth who being once bitten and twice shy are thus lured to pre-nuptial agreements, which sow the seeds of their future disaster.

It is poverty that is the root cause of unhappiness, misery and crime for much of humanity and a credit to the developed countries that they have understood this to develop and sustain a safety net for the have-nots. The tragedy of history is that the most powerful nation in the world, is ruled by a faction committed to disband this safety net and let the devil consume the hindermost. The charitable tendencies of the wealthy were never based on the virtue of charity, but more on the perpetuation of their reputation or to ensure their security by neutralizing the rebellious anarchy of the majority of have-nots. What is even worse is that these benevolent philosophies had their foundation in the oppression, enslavement or exploitation of the backward peoples, who had not yet reached political or economic self-consciousness. This is not a defense of the backward nations that were mired in the religious morass of rebirth, Karma or other fanciful opiates of delusion, but an indictment of the latter day saints that espouse humanitarian values, human rights and other such holy truths after a long history of abuse of all that they espouse. The frequently quoted virtue of Britain being an early opponent of slavery is reminiscent of a rogue scientist publishing a bogus paper and when exposed publishing a retraction and claiming the credit of publishing two papers without any advancement of science or truth. There is no virtue in the behavior, philosophy or behavior of the West in spite of their pretentious claims.

The first and only legitimate reason for acquiring wealth is to provide security, but soon it is the nature of this addiction that it acquires a new rationale. Thus it transforms into a need for exclusivity and even worse into an obsession to bar the doors for other would be aspirants. It is the nature of privileged exclusivity to narrow the entrance for new entrants. What good is an expressway that becomes a gridlock of traffic that delays transit? It is the nature of the wealthy to be exclusive and thus limit the inconvenience by excluding the masses. It is pure craving for status and imperviousness to cost that encourages the wealthy to pay $500 to $50,000 for a watch that keeps no better time than a $25 quartz watch or to pay $150 for a Hermes tie or $1000 for an LVMH suitcase. The price is paid for envy that is based on personal insecurity or an irreverent affinity for extravagance generated due to lack of value for money, worth or extravagance due to a privileged access to it without rhyme, reason or fairness.

This psychopathology is not restricted to wealth, which ceases to be a means and becomes an end. It is equally prevalent in relation to acquisition of weapons, particularly of mass destruction. History clearly confirms that the development and use of biological weapons began with the use of smallpox-infested blankets by the conveniently religious Pilgrims and the Spanish Conquistadors. It is equally clear that the use of chemical weapons can be laid at the doors of the European powers in WW1. The use of nuclear weapons is a black mark on America for its xenophobic biases against the oriental Japanese, which it still tries to justify as a rational decision to reduce American casualties. It is patently obvious that the colonizing European powers resented the upstart and equally nefarious Japanese, who agreed to colonize and exploit the Orientals to appease the great European powers with total disregard for their fellow Asians and used every and unfair means to cut down to size this new malevolent upstart that had the audacity to challenge their hegemonic monopoly on evil exploitation of the foolish. Lest this maybe misconstrued as a railing against the immorality of he West, it is really an indictment against the stupid naivety of the Asian and African idiots, who willingly collaborated to achieve their miserable status.

The current dilemma is the aspiration for the Islamic Republic of Iran to become a nuclear power. Nobody disagrees that a rabidly religious zealot government disliked by its own citizens should be allowed to have such weapons. On the other hand it is America, a Western power that has misused nuclear weapons for its own aggrandizement and what right does it have to dictate who will or will not have those weapons. It is a classic case of 'Katie bar the door'. Iran is in the driver's seat because it knows that with the current high prices for crude, the UN cannot afford to sanction its oil sales. Furthermore, it just signed a deal with China valued at $70 to 200 billion dollars with China, which it can use to influence a Chinese veto, if the problem is brought to the UN Security Council. It has already enticed a disillusioned Russia to use its veto by signing lucrative contracts for its Bushehr reactor. There is no moral defense for a beleaguered America bogged down in Iraq to prevent Iran from going nuclear, and the quagmire in Iraq prevents the foolishly reckless Bush administration from taking a more aggressive military stance. A worse problem confronts America in the blackmailing North Korea. As in wealth, the natural tendency to bar the door for latter day aspirants of nuclear power is destined to failure due to the foolish misadventures of America I Iraq and its inability to lead by consensus rather than a pre-emptive paranoia.

That brings me to the last instability of illegitimate power. America for short-term selfish reasons has been the main support for illegitimate power in most of the world, including Philippines, Indonesia, El Salvador, Argentina. Honduras, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States. These unstable regimes can only last for a short time and are destined to provide a severe and devastating blowback in the near future. Those combined with the unsustainable budget, trade and current account deficits predict a devastating devaluation of the dollar with an unacceptable diminution in our living standards with a revulsion and antipathy to the current Republican agenda by a disenchanted stupid electorate. Those who hold illegitimate power live in fear and uncertainty, just as much as those who think they hold legitimate power by duping the stupid electorate, because the electorate though basically stupid, ignorant and susceptible to brainwashing, wakes up when it is pushed to the wall by economic deprivation, which is the biased agenda of the current stupid zealot radicals.  


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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