By Christopher Cudworth
Hey Chad Stafko. I read that article you wrote for the Wall Street Journal about how runners are supposedly self-glorifying stupes. It is subtitled “Running a marathon is hard enough without also patting yourself on the back every step of the way.”
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Chad, in case you did not notice, you wrote your opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, one of the most self-aggrandizing publications ever conceived and published. It is maintained for one sole purpose: to coddle the financial world in all its glorious inequities and vain pursuits of wealth.
See, the Wall Street Journal is a media company that seems to pride itself on speaking for business and by proxy, most of America’s interests in economics and finance. In case you’re not lucky enough to actually read the publication you write for (a not uncommon situation among journalists) please allow me to explain to you why some people see right through the Wall Street ruse.
For starters, people who read it think they’re smarter than everyone else. But they’re not. They may be richer than some, and more conservative than others. But they are not smarter. Not by a long shot.
I recently had the opportunity to stand on Wall Street and the first thing you notice about the physical place known as Wall Street is that there the barriers to prevent anyone from driving a car bomb into the buildings where big banks and other financial companies keep their offices. There is only one reason why Wall Street would respond in this way. That’s because there is a general threat of being attacked by people who disagree with what you’re doing. And they’re right about protesting the Wall Street worldview, because it has come close and may still bring on the bankruptcy of America.
But let’s put that on hold for a second.
The media company known as the Wall Street Journal has long defended, often uncritically, the actions of banks who literally steal money from their clients and the public coffers through quasi-legal means that abide by the philosophy “If you can get away with it, then it must not be illegal.”
If you want to make a Wall Street wizard come in his pants, whisper the word “loophole” into his or her ear. Everything in the financial world is about exploitation of the rules. That’s how the Great Recession came about, you see. The Wall Street crowd exploited the system, but financial karma came back to bite them in the ass
But it won’t stop them from running away with the economy again. Filthy rich people and those who play fast with their money like to see themselves as heroes, you see. They reward themselves with all sorts of material trappings that far exceed the normal narcissisms of people with less money. That’s why you hear about people paying for million dollar toilets in their Wall Street offices. They think their shit doesn’t stink.
Yet they also think they are the ones who make America great. Wait, it’s worse than that. They think they are America. In their eyes, and in the columns of the Wall Street Journal, the rest of us are serfs, dupes and slaves.
But in 2007, the ruse of their greatness came to the brink of collapse. Giant financial firms went into default and bankruptcy. Yet even when threatened with default and criminal prosecution, the Wall Street crowd has refused to change their practices in any significant manner. The four big banks that were bailed out by American money have grown by 30% since 2007. This is the Big Hustle no one talks about. If you were to put a bumper sticker on the vehicles of their success it would say Too Big To Fail, And Nothing You Can Do About It.
People who live in a bubble of arrogance like that need daily affirmation that their approach to life is justified and moral. And that’s right where the Wall Street Journal comes in. It sees life through an exclusively conservative lens that tells it constituents (yes, that is the proper term) that their actions are okay.
The WSJ derides market controls that keep the risky behavior of its constituents in check. It regards protection of our resources and environment as comparatively petty problems in comparison to stroking the backs of those who read the WSJ to confirm their own selfish worldviews.
The worldview of the Wall Street Journal is far more narcissistic than any other worldview on the planet. The values it has come to espouse and support are hollow and devastating to the nation (and the planet) and its best interests. When people question
those values, they are branded socialist or un-American. But the socialism of Wall Street is corporate welfare. There is no difference. No sustainable separation in philosophy between money returned to people in retirement through savings insurance programs like Social Security and money given upfront to corporations to incentivize their growth. That is the tarsnake of modern economics. You have to invest money back into society somehow. You cannot irrevocably extract it and expect an economy to thrive. Yet that is what Wall Street seems to support. That those who “earn it” should get to keep it even when their ability to do so it both directly and indirectly supported by the society and nation as a whole.
When President Barack Obama said, “You did not build that,” he was referring to the dynamic in full context that says success is always dependent on the hard work of others, along with the resources you leverage to make yourself successful.
But conservatives used that comment out of context to brand Obama as anti-business. That tactic outlines the morally bankrupt manner in which conservatism has evolved to become a major detraction to the success of America as a nation.
Conservatism as a social movement embraces contradictory aims, espousing personal autonomy while preaching about government control of moral issues. It also runs off at the mouth about individual fiscal responsibility while supporting what amounts to a giant gambling racket on Wall Street. The actions of its constituents cost Americans trillions of dollars. The Presidents the WSJ supports continually invest in war and fail to invest in education. It’s a worldview spiraling downward in a maelstrom of self-absorption.
That is who you write for, Chad Stafko. So you’d best think again before criticizing the running community for being narcissistic. Conservatism is stumbling along like a marathon consisting entirely of brain-dead zombies spouting platitudes like “Let the Market Decide” and “The Job Creators are Holy.”
They’re running after the rest of us to empty our wallets and eat our brains. Maybe that’s why there are so many more runners on the streets. We’re trying to get in shape to stay away from Wall Street Zombies like you, Chad.