A couple of posts and what seems now like ages ago, I still held on to a modicum of hope concerning this country's future, that of the West, and our culture and way of life in general. Despite the parasites on Wall Street and the crumbling of the markets, for all the ineptness on the part of the government to deal with the present crisis, I dreamt of unsung heroes. After the manner of the fictional characters from Ayn Rand's novels, they were certain to rise from the ashes and make us believe that all was not lost, that values such as honesty, industry and hard work were bound to persevere and could once more be reclaimed as part of our national heritage, that America could regain its rightful place among the leaders of the world in championing democracy, freedom and individual self-determination as Everyman's birthright. Surely our once-cherished beginnings as "the Great Experiment" were far from over but would go on indefinitely, and that we were slowly approaching, if we only stayed on course, what some have euphemistically referred to as "The End of History."
After all, there were still people like Bill Dettering, the Applian CEO, and many others like him — all industry leaders, all young, innovative, and enterprising, who were above the fray and the current frenzy of making a quick buck but who were moved instead by their own vision of the world in the making. True, our manufacturing base may have dwindled, and along with it, our economic prowess; but we were still the world leader in the field of computer technologies, the undisputable nerve center of all future industries and business enterprises. Like the captains of industry of old or the heroes of Ayn Rand's universe, it is they who would surely lead us out of our present-day morass into the brave new world of the uncertain future. Such were my musings and ruminations only a while ago, when it was still possible to believe; and I held on to those beliefs with all my might, feverishly, frantically, blindly. I couldn't let go (See "The Met on the Net," for example, or "Setting Matters Straight, Part II."). No longer!
I realize now that all my hopes and sense of cautious optimism have been in vain. They’ve all presupposed a certain morality in government, the kind of decency we’ve come to expect from our public servants, politicians, and elected officials. Which isn’t to disparage anyone in particular, any person, that is, you may or may not know, elected or appointed, who have ever had the privilege to serve in public office. For all intents and purposes, he or she may be a paragon of virtue, exactly as we’ve imagined them to be as when we voted for them in the ballot box. It is, rather, that the culture of Washington, and every other power center emanating therefrom, had become so corrupt, so deeply stained, so much beyond repair, that it is nearly impossible for any one individual or a group of individuals, however well-meaning or well-intentioned, to reverse the process. The marriage of Washington and Wall Street is well-nigh complete; and it is Wall Street which is the master. It’s all on the pages of Catherine Austin Fitts’ memoirs, Dillon Read & Co, Inc., and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits. I’m only the messenger.