People going through today’s American educational system can be assured to have been intensely trained to understand that using crude stereotypes to whip up hatred toward Jews and blacks in order to justify targeting them with public and private persecution is gravely wrong.
I can remember, though, a day back in my parochial elementary school when our nun brought in a film projector and told us all about the Holocaust. Scarcifying images of great piles of emaciated bodies being pushed into mass graves by bulldozers, of skeletons lying in piles in ovens, of the pitiful starven and emaciated survivors took the entire class of children through the emotional wringer. How could human beings do such things to other people? more than one classmate demanded indignantly in the subsequent discussion.
Then rang the recess bell. As my classmates filed down the porch steps to the asphalt school yard, the dark atmosphere of the tormented history of Europe suddenly lifted, and, to my own astonishment, first one aggressor singled out a particular class misfit for persecution, then one by one nearly all of my classmates joined in. I marveled at the time that so much enthusiasm for the accepted moral lesson could go hand in hand with a complete incapacity to generalize it.
Editors and journalists employed by major newspapers and television networks are highly paid members of America’s upper middle class community of privilege, but that does not stop them from behaving like nasty school children ganging up on vulnerable victims, or from forming lynch mobs to go after not-necessarily-in-every-case better-paid business executives.
We’ve had a disgraceful orgy of class hatred for days now directed at AIG employees who receive, in accordance with the custom of their industry, large portions of their compensation in the form of bonuses. The bolshevik quarter of the blogosphere and the mainstream media have been deliberately whipping up public indignation by using selective and inflammatory reporting and general ignorance of the bonus compensation system as a basis for stirring up group hatred aimed at Wall Street and the business community as a class.
A trader or division leader in a firm which is losing money may himself, of course, be making his firm all kinds of money, and may be more than amply exceeding his own profit targets. It is not extraordinary or astonishing in the least that in an industry in which bonuses play a major role that, even in times of negative overall earnings, firms may be obligated by contract to pay bonuses to many executives.
The press also doesn’t stop to remind the public that any responsible business organization will first pay its own employees, before it attempts to meet external obligations to creditor or stockholders, or even to Big Brother.
The press and the leftwing blogs are simply cynically manipulating the emotions of the public by relying on false stereotypes and imaginary grievances to stir up envy and hatred which they propose to use to as the mechanism for gaining public support for their own radical, pernicious, and socially and economically destructive agenda of institutionalizing class warfare in public policy.
The American socialist revolution ironically typically features the fat and comfortable bourgeoisie yelling for the blood of the harder-working, less prestigious representative of exactly the same class as himself.
The gleeful tricoteuses at the Washington Post report that the public’s “rage swells,” proud of having whipped the mob into a sufficient fury as to pose actual physical hazard to their fellow citizens.
A tidal wave of public outrage over bonus payments swamped American International Group yesterday. Hired guards stood watch outside the suburban Connecticut offices of AIG Financial Products, the division whose exotic derivatives brought the insurance giant to the brink of collapse last year. Inside, death threats and angry letters flooded e-mail inboxes. Irate callers lit up the phone lines. Senior managers submitted their resignations. Some employees didn’t show up at all.
“It’s a mob effect,” one senior executive said. “It’s putting people’s lives in danger.”
Even so-called Republicans senators, like the egregious Charles Grassley of Iowa, have been unable to resist the temptation to pick on a defenseless target. Grassley is quoted by the Politico suggesting that AIG executives entitled to bonuses should resign or commit seppuku.
American life is growing darker and more dishonest.