Fear & Loathing In Kappaville

Beta Phi fo fum, 1%ers with their knickers down.

Once we made it to the lobby, Ross and Lebenthal reassured me that what I’d just seen wasn’t really a group of wealthy and powerful financiers making homophobic jokes, making light of the financial crisis, and bragging about their business conquests at Main Street’s expense. No, it was just a group of friends who came together to roast each other in a benign and self-deprecating manner. Nothing to see here.

But the extent of their worry wasn’t made clear until Ross offered himself up as a source for future stories in exchange for my cooperation.

“I’ll pick up the phone anytime, get you any help you need,” he said.

“Yeah, the people in this group could be very helpful,” Lebenthal chimed in. “If you could just keep their privacy in mind.”

The whole thing is worth a read, proving once again, that wealth only prevents you from having money problems, but

The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers.

Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When you’re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.

If they only knew how utterly human they were. If only those who worshiped the wealthy could see their false gods.

Stuff like this reminds me how the “we built this” crowd overlooks the government giving the railroads the land for the Transcontinental Railroad, giving them low-interest loans to build it, and then standing idly by when the robber barons absolutely screwed the farmers of the great plains, whose farms were Homestead Act tracts of 640 acres, with monopolization and rate fixing.

Nothing has really changed has it? The American public still buys into the bullshit of free enterprise, and the wonders of capitalism. The wonder of capitalism isn’t that it works better than other systems, it’s that it isn’t allowed to work better for more people because regulation impinges on the 1% right to screw main street.

Like I’ve said before, sometimes I think I live in the stupidest country on Earth. Perhaps the most human too, albeit not the most humane.

Also too: Also too.

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