We the Rich will not waste much of our time to discuss such trifles as Wealth-Redistribution. Wealth? Ownership? Be it clear that our stand is "to be content with what we have got to be", and not "with what we have got" = still less "content with what we have". Who doesn't perceive the abyssal difference between the two, is not equipped to appreciate our Rich club. We the Rich simply forgot the importance of the verb "to have".
However, since by a political Gresham's Law, irrelevant issues drive out relevant ones, and the insistence we hear about a needed "spiritual" overhaul in our time policies is growing boring indeed, let's quickly review this most risible of them.
This pretended conversion to spiritual "unselfishness" - intended as social solidarity imposed by law in a top-down way - is judged by the so-called common-sense of the majority as necessary to avoid punishment for human selfishness and past wrongdoings. We have to redeem our guilts, they say. Ah Ah, my friends! And this is the "wise" opinion prevailing in the supposedly wise middle class, this laughable misconception of our fellows the sleep-walkers? These somnambulists seem unable to imagine some centuries ahead of their time the real issue, To Be or To Have, which is something at inherently individual level, and no utopian "organized" transformation of society as a whole. They remain sleepy bound to the very first mental attitudes of the Sumerian Moon God Nanna worhippers of some five thousand years ago, their idea of the Gods to be placated by our sacrifices lest they should withdraw their protection and impending Flood as in the epic of Gilgamesh - Utnapishti (later called Noah in a most recent tradition) should show up to be the deserved punishemnt for our guilts.
They seem to imagine that a more "spiritual" type of man might turn out to be a sort of "unselfish" man planned from the top (forgetting all failures about utopian moulds of manship from Homo Orans down to Homo Sovieticus), created by people who can legislate and command anything, including unselfishness. All this is so infantile that it would be unworthy of any morsel of our time to argue about, but for the insistence on the idea of guilt. This should be scrutinized a bit, for the benefit of future generations who might find it incomprehensible through the history of present century.
The middle class of today has a sort of hypnotic relationship with guilt, due to eons of tradition about it. Only few are resisting being conscripted into the role of guilty. The rethoric of guilt is quite popular. Therefore Kenneth Minogue believes that the repudiation of collective guilt would mark a historic cultural turning. Collective guilt has long been a familiar idiom of contemporary politics. Many middle-class people have been brought to see self-vilification as a duty and a sign of cultivated sensitivity. Yet they should be weary of being what Minogue calls a moral treadmill, unable to avoid guilt even by leading blameless lives because guilt arises from membership in a guilty society. They are encouraged to suffer a debilitating sense of responsibility for all social ills. This is, as Minogue says, an irrationality that involves, among other fallacies, the idea that we can be omnipotent over all problems.
A grievance industry, specializing in rituals of complaint, produces guilt-based politics of acquiring the coveted status of victim and consequent phenomena of reverse discrimination against the supposed guilty of the past. Indeed to be a White, Male and Heterosexual individual c'est la faute par excellence? Sure: according to the victims' vocabulary we the white persons are affectionately described as Melanin Impoverished, Genetically Oppressive Members of the Mutant Albino Genetic-recessive Global Minority on its Way to Extinction, as Brandeis professor Becky Thompson explains in a manual distributed by the American Sociological Association.
At international level any modern state, says Minogue, can be analyzed (and deligitimized) as a producer of historic injustices, each demanding reparations. Such demands dominate political agendas; they are psychological taxes levied by professional victims against nonvictims who have inherited guilt. Politics, says Minogue, becomes a melodrama about the redemption of a sinful society, particularly the middle class. Inculcation of such a pang has been high in socialism's agenda, and the echo could be listened in many an intervention at the United Nations, that diffuser of gaseous guilt, not to mention that most egregious guilt factory, UNESCO.
Within each country the issue is strongly felt since welfare-state entitlements - codified compassion - grow more surely than economies that must pay for them and soon or late Western publics should reconsider where to draw the line demarcating social and individual responsibilities. This perhaps will help growing up from the politics of guilt. As Worsthorne wrote, while it is perfectly proper for a society to think about the unfortunate, it should never be encouraged to think like them.
And that might be particularly addressed to present-day America with its "decadent puritanism", an odd combination of ducking responsibility and telling everyone else what to do, of readily blaming others for problems, rather than accepting responsibility oneself. America's litigiousness is virtually banishing the concept of bad luck. A drunken driver can sue his host for allowing him to get drunk. A prominent citizen who is caught indulging some illegal appetite all too often claims he is a victim, not a fool.
(11.To be continued)