If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich

Perhaps social status and eminent consciousness of it is to put it simply just another personality trait. Some people are funnier then others and enjoy a certain status associated with that, while others are serious and nose to the grindstone types and enjoy what benefits or social deficits that goes along with that. I have to admit that beyond a certain point I cannot relate in the least to the kind of social climbing that entails having a house as big as one’s sister in-law, or having the newest German luxury car. I just do not see the point. I can relate to the degree where someone wants a reliable late model car that has air conditioning or wants a raise because they’re worried that they will not be able to be their child through college. So where climbing the social status ladder edges over into blind envy with a dash of decadence, those inclined to see their world in those terms and themselves as failures for not obtaining the newest and most costly have lost me as far as personal, economic or political sympathy. So while this article is interesting in the sense of a window on a world view that I don’t relate to the conclusion might be enlightening to those that are full enlistees in the Rat Race, Out of position: Against the politics of relative standing

The argument for the politics of relative position is at bottom an argument about the limits of human freedom. We are, it is alleged, locked into the rat race by the relentless engine of our evolved status-hungry nature. And we are, it is argued, almost helpless to reinterpret the context, the frame of reference, within which we evaluate our own choices. But the unique human cultural capacity—equally a part of our biology—liberates us.

Where benevolence, fidelity, cooperation, innovation, and excellence are esteemed, positional races may produce mutual advantage instead of mutual destruction. And while the game of status may be locally zero-sum, it can be globally positive-sum, as scientific, economic, and cultural entrepreneurs identify new dimensions of excellence in which to compete and earn freely conferred prestige as payment for benefit to others. We are not destined to want fancier cars, bigger houses, and more upscale outfits, nor are we helpless to feel diminished by those who out-consume us. We can opt out by opting in to competing narratives about the composition of a good life. And we do it all the time. We can, like Gauguin, quit law and family to paint naked natives in Tahiti. Or, better, we can move the family to a quieter place where houses are cheap and schools are good. (‘Is this heaven?’ ‘No, Iowa.’) If we are aggrieved by the rigours of the rat race, the answer is not the clumsy guidance of a paternal state. The answer is simply to stop being a rat.

Ignore the distracting monkey references and one can read the idea spread by many a conservative semi-intellectual that the working classes problem is just too much envy. If you can’t afford the costs of living where you are. A blink, a rub of the old lantern and presto, just move to Iowa. How Iowa has avoided participating in any way with the competitive grind of the modern economy is as yet unexplained by social scientists. Those Americans toward the lower middle and reaching into poverty should just accept their lot or move. Imagine it is 1509 and you ask the prince that owns most of the land if he could spare a little economic and social justice, that is where this argument is from; well 1509 and a big dash of social -Darwinism. You see, society is supposed to be unfair and any attempts to rectify the more gratuitous inequalities of our financial masters who most likely got their start at the end of a silver spoon is a silly social experiment at best. In supporting public education , public health, and some safeguards against work related injury and blacklung are infringements on the rights of the wealthy elite. The elite who are elite and wealthy because they have been masters of the rat race for millienia, its in their genes you see. Do away with public institutions, the social safety net, an appointed attorney for those that cannot afford one, as it is all just tools of envy and enforced equality. Something of an odd argument by the wealthy who rely on the unscrubed masses to buy their widgets and gizmos with the built in obsolescence in order to remain wealthy. The author is one Will Wilkinson and I do not know his political leanings, but the article reads like an ivory tower piece. Written by someone that has little idea of what is to struggle from paycheck to paycheck ( which would include about half of all working Americans). This one sentence was the dead give-away,

While capitalism does in fact produce absolutely egalitarian results—enabling the poor to own high-quality mobile phones, microwaves, and cars functionally equivalent to those of the wealthy…

I work for a living and I know that the hardest working, the most conscientious workers are frequently less well compensated then those that the powers that be simply like better regardless of the consequences to the companies bottom line. Those powers are acting in their self interests , even though conservatives and some libertarians assure as that it people do not act, given freedom to, against their economic interests by rewarding mediocrity. I sometimes get the feeling that when people write articles for the internet that they are targeted at people, like themselves that live in an ivory tower world and have little clue what real working America is like. Given that it is impossible to right every little social injustice, it is also just plain goofy headed to think that there is somewhere that one can move and totally opt out.

House Intel Chair Suspends Staff Member

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has suspended a Democratic staff member pending an investigation into whether he leaked a high-level intelligence assessment to the news media.

The committee’s top Democrat said the suspension was “without basis.”

The staff member, who was not identified, was suspended this week by Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., his spokesman said Thursday evening. The aide is being denied access to classified information pending the outcome of a review, said the spokesman, Jamal Ware.

The leak to The New York Times of a National Intelligence Estimate on global terror trends caused a political uproar last month. In the assessment, completed in April, analysts from the government’s 16 spy agencies concluded that the Iraq war has become a “cause celebre” for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better.

What else should we expect from the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Peter Hoekstra, (R) – he has run the committee like a drunk carnival barker and let Rep. Duke Cunningham,( R-C) run wild funneling money to his conservative buddies defense contractors Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes. This is a classic Republican twofer, extract a little political revenge on Jane Harman(D) who released that little document that showed that Republicans are creating more terrorists then they are killing and deflect attention away from the fact that Petey shouldn’t be trusted to guard a hen house much less the United States of America. If Washington D.C. was run in a manner that was only minimally competent Hoeska would be sweeping his prison cell every morning. He’d probably screw that up too. Hoekstra is on record as being part of the Bush logic school of leaks. When he wants them or gets them from insiders they’re good, but as we all know from the Bush school of leaks its a one way street. leaks are OK when they flow to Republicans and not OK when they make their way to Democrats or the American people, Hoekstra Urges Bush to Impart Intelligence Details

The Bush administration briefed top lawmakers on a significant intelligence program only after a key Republican committee chairman angrily complained of being left in the dark, the chairman said yesterday.

House intelligence committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) would not describe the program, but he said it was significant enough that the administration should have briefed him and others voluntarily, without waiting for them to learn of it through government tipsters.

“There was at least one major — what I consider significant — activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on,” Hoekstra said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Some people within the intelligence community brought to my attention some programs that they believed we had not been briefed on. They were right.”

Hoekstra said the briefings took place after he complained in a May 18 letter to President Bush of hearing about “alleged Intelligence Community activities” not described to committee members in classified briefings. “If these allegations are true,” he wrote to Bush, “they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of law and . . . a direct affront to me and the Members of this committee.”

Yesterday, Hoekstra appeared mollified. But he said he still believes the administration falls short of its legal obligations to brief key congressional members on significant intelligence operations.

“I wanted to reinforce to the president and to the executive branch and the intelligence community how important, and by law the requirement, that they keep the legislative branch informed of what they are doing,” he said. “It is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing.”

Hoekstra learned that Bush did not fully inform him on certain classified intelligence matters “through government tipsters.”Did those , shall we say leaker friends of Petey ever get investigated? Of course not, conservatives leaking to other conservative about other conservative is just the sweetest thing since Mom dumped five pounds of sugar into her apple pie.

“To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” – President John F. Kennedy