From Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice, we are led to this great article at Esquire. Please, please read the whole thing.
It reminded me of this post from Digby, which included this:
In his widely read article in this month's Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz puts it perfectly:But no discussion of Political Sadism can be complete without talk of the Republican War on Women, and the go-to gal for that discussion is Amanda Marcotte.
Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society—something he called “self-interest properly understood.” The last two words were the key. Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook—in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s good for business.
The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.
Sadly, it ends up being too late for most of the rest of us as well.
The whole world is drinking a very toxic political cocktail right now, a combination of crude, soulless Randism and fundamentalist religiosity. (Maybe it's the same thing actually, if you define fanatical market superstition as the primitive faith based system it really is.) Its components are stronger or weaker depending on the culture and economic circumstances but it's all one big churning cauldron of human folly, at least partially brought on by massive change and global economic transition. Sadly, it doesn't appear that the species is up to the task of managing it rationally so we're just going to have to ride this out and hope the High Priests and Warriors don't destroy the whole thing in the meantime.