In Defence of Money

My recent post urging (meh – suggesting) my fellow Brits to vote Labour at the next election was a twisted piece. Twisted, because I am a contrary fellow, who appreciates both sides of every argument and would rather like to both have my cake and eat it. Twisted, because I am apt to change my mind at the drop of a hat at the best of times. Twisted, because I am in a constant state of political conflict. The latter is the most difficult issue and quite impossible to resolve.

I gave a longish list of principles that I’d like to see the country run by. But in truth, I could have summarised my position more concisely and more accurately. I think I may have done so in the comments section. I very simply believe that people in Britain shouldn’t go hungry, go without shelter, go without heating, go without medical treatment or be otherwise unfairly treated. Because, as a society, we should be better than that.

But how dull would a society be if we were all equal? We are not born equal. We’re all born different. That we should be born with equal opportunity is another thing entirely. But it’s natural that some rise to the top in their professions. It’s natural that some will earns riches beyond their wildest dreams. It’s natural that some sportsmen will earn medals. And it’s equally natural some will have to satisfy themselves with middling jobs, normal salaries and a pat on the back for taking part. Many would say it’s also natural that some people will be shunted to the sidelines, fail to make ends meet and be social misfits. If that is true, let’s try to be unnatural.

I love how Americans admire and applaud those who get to the top of the ladder, and instead of plotting to bring them down to earth, they plan on how they will get to join them there. Us Brits are rather reserved when it comes to wealth. No one likes a show off. It’s ok to be rich. Just don’t let anyone know about it. And besides, no amount of money will buy class. Because class most definitely still opens doors. Just make sure you’re wearing the right school tie.

I rather despair at the fact that the ladder is held a little too high from the ground for far too many people to even get on, but that’s another story. My admiration or contempt for a person isn’t determined by how rich he is, but by who he is. I’m a big fan of Bill Gates. I’d not shed a tear if the Kochs were to be come to a sticky, public end. I’d frankly be tempted to push Donald Trump in front of a train, given the opportunity.

I am, sad to say, one of those with a middling job, a very normal salary and the occasional pat on the back when I complete a 10km run. But I benefit from the wealth of others. Not in the ‘trickle down’ sense. Nor because I have any genuine belief in getting some of that for myself. No, I receive the benefit of wealth in a different way entirely. Every time I go to London and see the grand architecture, palaces and fabulous shops. Every time I go visit a beautiful old castle in the countryside. Every time I enjoy a trip to a museum. Or see a priceless work of art, commissioned at ridiculous cost.

My senses are brought to life and stimulated by other peoples wealth. And if I work hard enough, maybe, just maybe I can be part of that impossible dream. If only temporarily. Afternoon tea at the Ritz, perhaps. For a moment, I can pretend to be at home amongst my surroundings. Or I can walk around a car showroom and make my choice. Not any old showroom. If you’re going to dream, do it properly!

London is a fabulous place to be if you like cars. You won’t have to wait long in Westminster or Chelsea to see the latest Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls or Lamborghini. There are some choice showrooms on Park Lane. Paganis and McLarens can both be found there. But we strolled around some fine motors in a dealership on Berkeley Square. Mostly Bentleys.

But there was one shiny blue beast of Italian descent, now based in Germany. A Bugatti. I know I’ll never drive this Bugatti, let alone own it. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that I’ll ever get to ride in one, even as a humble passenger. I may even be chased away by an irate salesman if I dare get too close. But, nonetheless, I’m glad it exists. The world is a better place because of this Bugatti. My spirits are lifted every time I see such a creature. My socialist sentiments are put back in their box for another day. Viva dinero!

Screenshot_6

21 Comments

  • My last post.
    Tormenting nutters is my specialty not a sideline. When I enter the US and the little form asks “do you advocate overthrow of the govt by violence or insurrection?” I check both

  • Some facts
    #1 Hitler as a Jew
    From the Huffington Post: DNA tests apparently show that the Nazi dictator may have had Jewish and African ancestry
    #2 Anti-Israeli organizations supported by convicted felon George Soros:
    Arab American Institute, Global Exchange, Gisha, I’llam, Machsom Watch.
    I would like to know about the laissez faire extermination of people and other bedtime tales

    • Tsk tsk Wes, you are edging towards the blog abyss! And you can’t say I didn’t warn warn you…. 🙂

      I’m sorry chap, but anyone who kicks off with ‘the US is Socialist’ is going to find it tough to be taken seriously in the real world. These latest comments are along the same line of thought.

      Go home, have a lie down and sober up. Come back tomorrow and play a different game, and play nice.

      The End.

  • Gary
    There is one country in the history that meets all your ideas about good government. A veritable Shangri La
    #1 Free healthcare for all
    #2 Guaranteed lifetime employment at a living wage
    #3 Free food
    #4 Free housing
    #5 Free daycare
    #6 Free abortion services
    #7 Free education including post secondary and advanced degrees
    #8 Speech codes to prevent “hate speech”

    And that country was:
    The USSR.
    Go back to the USSR Comrade. Perhaps N Korea is hiring.

    • Oh dear Wes, where on earth do I begin? There is a part of me that is tempted to attempt to debate with you. I almost want to explain why unregulated private enterprise free from government with all those ideal characteristics of free markets, property rights etc ends up just as badly as every other extremist ideology. I’m tempted to explain how the best example of light (to non existant) touch govt which promoted laissez faire policy ended up killing more people than either Hitler or Stalin. And, by the by, I feel entitled to mention Hitler as you have already breached Godwin’s Law. Awfully early in the debate I might add.

      I’m tempted to explain why your anarcho-capitalist utopia is every bit as horrific as a Marxist socialist hell. And I know I’m jumping the gun and making assumptions here with regards your views, but I do feel you’ve given enough flagposts to indicate the predictable direction you’re going to take this. You’ll have to forgive my forward thinking.

      But as tempted as I am to engage with you on these important matters, I’m going to choose to pass on the opportunity. Largely because I know this isn’t going to be a debate, but a conversation with a very angry person who probably spends far too much time on the internet posturing, insulting and quite frankly spouting nonsense. If I typed in your handle into a search engine, would I perhaps find a longish list of rants on all sorts of online publications with a fairly liberal sprinkling of ad hominem attacks and baseless assertions? By the way, did you like how I slipped the word ‘liberal’ in there and applied it to yourself? That was pretty clever of me, I thought. In a slightly dry and evil English sort of way.

      So let’s cut to the chase. What would normally happen in these situations, is that we’ll spend an awful lot of wasted time, with myself becoming frustrated that you ignore basic facts and common sense. You become more belligerent and obnoxious. Eventually I tell you to sod off. You claim that you have been censored and declare victory. I shrug my shoulders and continue life as normal, but with less rubbish in the comments section of my blog.

      Let’s do this differently. We’ll agree to disagree. And as there is no point in discussing politics with each other, you could simply limit your comments on my blog to other topics. You could even keep them civil and sensible. You can choose to do exactly that, I promise. Because I do actually hate to block people from commenting. It seems so unnecessary.

      I’m open for a bit of adult banter when it is appropriate. I’m fairly thick skinned. I do believe people should be able to say what they think. There is even room for a little bit of offense, so long as it isn’t entirely unwarranted abuse. In fact, I’d go so far to say that a person has to be a real douchebag to get themselves blocked on my blog. The only problem is when people start leaving comments that are little more than the literary equivalent of the contents of that douchebag. And this is not an insult aimed at you, Wes. You aren’t blocked! I hope it stays that way. Genuinely.

      Have a great New Year amigo.

  • You are delusional about the inheritance tax. The truly rich who control governments dodge it via Foundations etc. The best examples are Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Mr Buffett lamments about the tax state of his secretary but dodges taxes as best he can. With an inheritance tax,who gets screwed are the upper middle class who built a small business but lack the ersourecs for imaginative tax planning. Socialists just love stealing money. If you made it you should be able to give it to whomever you want. The worst part of taxes is that funds the most evil killing machine on the face of the Erath: the State

  • Two questions. Is money the only way to reward excellence, or high achievement (I have no problem with heads of state living in nice houses and having someone around to shop for groceries and whatnot, and I suppose “captains of industry” and the like deserve the same perks… but what about great scientists or artists or others who aren’t political or whose competence is purely of of financial benefit? Secondly, what about those with inherited wealth? What did the Kardashians DO (we know WHO they do)? For that matter, what did Donald Trump ever do beyond squandering a very large inherited fortune? Anarcho-syndicalist that I am, I admire Carlos Slim… not because he’s the richest guy on the planet, but because he’s a mathematical genius who recognizes that he had the good fortune to be born to wealth and it was pure accident that he’s become obscenely rich (not that he spends much on himself… his personal salary is less than I’m paid, and his house is surprisingly ,,, almost shockingly,,, modest), The point is, I wonder if we don’t celebrate the “successful” for the wrong things, and/or reward the wrong people, Assuming, that is, that “stuff” is the only way to reward success.

    • I have two thoughts regards artists. Firstly, the very best are rewarded financially very well. There are the obvious artists such as Madonna. And the real artists, such as Damien Hirst or Anish Kapoor.

      But artists in some ways get the best reward of all, if they are good enough. They have found their calling and spend their life doing what they love.

      There’s a simple answer to the second issue. A 100% inheritance tax. I’ve made that argument for years, with all its horrible flaws and loopholes, and I’ll continue to argue for it right up till when I’m due an inheritance. At which point I’ll shut my trap.

      • That pretty much sums it up. Although more accurately, the Kardashians shaked some booty with a bit of inherited fame to it, and that is what attracted the hoi polloi.

        Is that an admirable facet of our society?

        • You suffer from the Fatal Conceit. People like you are the ones who put Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Progressives are full of condescension for the hoi polloi but in reality are village idiots. Remember it was the Progressives that were behind Prohibtion and minimum wage laws (passed so no one would hire blacks)

  • Rather than obsess about equality obsess about freedom and property rights. The sad fact that a govt that can arrange the affairs of people invariably becomes oppressive. Property rights and freedom are the things to obsess over. It is sad that these ideas largely originated in your country but tend to be ignored now. Since we are throwing people in front of trains I nominate George Soros. A convicted felon, Jew hater, atheist and wvil man

    • Who is obsessing about equality? But anyway, it is true that we once embraced freedoms and property rights in a way few other civilisations have managed. Tens of millions of people who were subject to the whims of those freedoms and rights died as a direct result, but let’s not worry too much about inconvenient statistics.

      I am curious though. When you throw Soros under the train, will you do it for your own sake, or on behalf of society? And which of his sins is most worthy of the death sentence? His freedom to hate Jews, or his freedom to not believe in a religion?

      • There is a significant difference between those who want to FORCE others to do their will and those who live and let live. Soros is in the former camp as are most leftists and Conservatives. I regard those who wish to rule others as evil and Soros easily counts in that category. Leave people to live their lives without intervention by their not so wise masters. The country that did champion property rights was the USA although those are being lost with time. Incidentally countries with strong property rights tend to be more prosperous. Is there a possible relation?

    • You might want to check your facts. According to Wikipedia, Soros IS a Jew (though not practicing), so I think that rules out “Jew-hater.” And if you read up on the insider-trading conviction, I think it’s pretty gray, though he in fact was convicted, and the conviction was upheld on appeal. Atheist? This is an insult? You talk about Property rights and freedom are the things to obsess over. yet you seem to think “atheist” is also something evil. Shouldn’t people be free to choose no religion? As for evil, Soros is a big philanthropist, donating money to numerous causes including education for blacks in South Africa, peaceful transition to democracy in Eastern Europe, poverty elimination in Africa, and many other causes. And as someone who has benefited tremendously from the free capitalist system in the USA and Britain, it’s laughable that he somehow wants to destroy it.

      So before you slander someone anonymously online, you might consider checking the facts first.

      • Hitler was also a Jew so I guess he couldn’t be a Jew hater right. It is well known that Soros made his early money helping confiscate the property of Jews in Hungary during the German occupation. How low can you go. He donates to anti Israeli causes. He was convicted in France of insider trading so he is in fact a FELON. Soros gives money to shape the World in the way he wants which generally means loss of freedom for the rest of us. Pablo Escobar gave money to charity does that mean he was a “great man”. Soros is hardly a capitalist but a Progressive control freak. He does not believe in free markets but rather in crony capitalism. This is a familiar line in leftists. Maurice Strong the One World Socialist behind the IPCC and Al Gore’s mentor made his fortune in the OIL INDUSTRY. Perhaps you can get some facts right,

        • Hitler most certainly was not a Jew. You can find some research here: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/hitlerjew.html. Your assertions about Soros aren’t backed up by any evidence at all. I’ve already conceded the insider trading case, but Soros paid the minimum penalty, and as far as I can tell, served no time. You should look into it. The case is sufficiently unclear that the initial prosecution found Soros not guilty. Only on a subsequent attempt was he convicted. And you should note that under US law, such a second attempt by the prosecution would not have been permitted. None of your other assertions are even explained, never mind supported, particularly your assertion that Soros’ activities generally means loss of freedom for the rest of us. Example? Do you have any evidence of Soros’ donation to “anti-Israeli causes.” What are those causes, and when and how much did Soros donate? And all those other people you mention — Pablo Escobar, Al Gore, Maurice Strong — have nothing to do with the argument. You do realize, of course, that when you make such wild assertions, that the burden of proof is on you, right?

  • I agree with everything you say! Last year my wife and I were lucky enough to get a courtesy for two nights in a suite in the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, and the feeling of being one of the “chosen few” was incredible. But don’t you also get that sinking feeling from actually realising that you haven’t done enough with your life to make that kind of thing a permanent reality? I do!

    • There are always things I can’t afford that I would like to have! I’d be weird if there weren’t. Mostly photographic and computer equipment. But truth be told, I’m happy with what I’ve got. I enjoy experiences more than material things, although a nice balance of them both is all good! But then, I’m a person who has dumped most of his stuff on several occasions and who is generally happier on a deserted stretch of beach (free!) than in a pricey resort. Although, truth be told, the older I get, the more appreciation I have for creature comforts.

      But no, I don’t get a sinking feeling from the thought that such riches are beyond me. I’m more likely to get a sinking feeling that someone is driving around in a pointlessly extravagant Bugatti whilst others go hungry. Which is rather contrary to the spirit of this post. Hence, my political conflict, and the impossibility of resolving it!

Leave a Reply