The Barbarism of Corporate Globalism: Outsourcing

In the summer prior to the 2008 Financial Panic, the price of oil spiked to around $140. And I recall reading reports that some multi-national companies were considering closing up, hitherto profitable shops in China and reopening them in Mexico because of freight costs. And I am thinking from the shoes of a Chinese employee and government. An employee’s productivity really matters little in this age of ruthless and callous corporate calculations that disrupt people’s lives at will.

I am not opposed to free markets. Having lived in an Israeli kibbutz for six months, I experienced in a microcosm, the economic problem with socialism. However, there is a subtle distinction between free markets and capitalism. In the former, most individuals own their own means of production. In the latter, to increasing degree, few owned the means of production while employing others in wage labour. The capitalist aspect was in capitalizing (profiting) on the difference between price of product and labour cost.

There was economic justification for this arrangement. As Adam Smith observed in his microcosm experience of the pin factory, division of labour specialization would result in huge productivity gains. Through market mechanisms, this would eventually (and mysteriously) benefit all. There are several flaws and/or limits to the argument. But that will not be discussed here.

Globalization was initially justified on the basis of parallel economic development between the developed and developing world. Existing rich economies could forgo low-skilled, low-wage industries and jobs if they replaced them with higher-skilled, higher-wage jobs. And thus, the low and semi-skilled labourers in industrialized countries suffered detriment to employability and income; supposedly spurring these employees to learn greater skills. The problem with that arrangement is that having imposed the economic regime, which would deleteriously afflict the lower classes; businesses and governments failed to give serious and sufficient effort at retraining. The costs of constant job loss/retraining would fall upon the victims of these new globalization pacts.

And thus, corporations have been arbitraging between the various labour rates in the world; putting strain on the income levels of lower skilled workers in industrialized nations. The minimum wage in both Canada and United States has decline by after-inflation measures by about a third since 1975. In the U.S., that minimum wage is about at the level of Eisenhower’s first administration (early 1950s). And in considering the above Chinese situation; one of the reasons why the Chinese refuse to allow their currency to rise in accordance to their balance of payment surpluses, is because they have to concern themselves with a perennial fresh supply of countries with even lower wage rates.

However, the developing nations have not been playing according to script. And why should they! They have sought those higher skilled, higher income jobs for their own people. And one could see, with the technological advancements and sizable collapse of communication costs, that the arbitrage in wage rates between developed and developing nations would threaten the livelihoods and income levels of more and more skilled labourers in the developed nations.

  In the early 2000s, it became apparent the programming jobs would become threatened as India provided an improved skilled force and as technology itself simplified programming techniques. I had acquaintance with a person who contracted out parts of his Flash programming project to an American agency for $13/hour who themselves employed someone from Eastern Europe at even a fraction of that. Call centers for all kind of products were shipped to India and other nations where English was prevalently and sort-of spoken. Even lawyers are starting to feel the pinch as some of their tasks are computerized.

Semi-skilled jobs are filled by a considerable number of previously skilled journeymen (i.e. tool and dye); whose tasks were outsourced and made redundant within 10 years of having completed a 2-3 year college course. Risk/reward calculations and the high costs and of education are logically no longer justified in an environment like this. Indeed, especially seen amongst white males since 1975, higher education has only meant the ability to grope higher in an overall sinking ice flow of income levels. If one must re-educate at those proportions of loss of time and income and disruptions; especially since the increasingly impoverished state makes it difficult to obtain retraining at subsidized and reasonable rates over a certain age; one can expect an increasingly militant and hostile populace against the corporatist system.

So the recent Royal Bank of Canada flap about 46 IT workers being replaced through contractual arrangements with IGATE of India is only beginning to publicly manifest these ongoing developments. Having benefited at the expense of their poorer neighbours by this process; it is only now, when the middle class starts being threatened themselves, would the push against globalization and other corporate shenanigans begin in earnest.

Industrialized (Western) economies have escaped the full disclosure of their underlying systematic bankruptcy by debt incurring central banker devices and government deficits. Increased female participation rates in the workforce have allowed household incomes to appear to keep up with and/or surpass cost of living; although the intrinsic improvement may be far less than statistical measurements. (If one is paying for daycare (whether individually or through state taxation), which gets included in GDP numbers, for that which used to be provided ‘free of charge’ by parents (mothers), that is only a paper increase in GDP. Furthermore, in surveys in U.S., Canada and U.K., salaried people are working 5+ hours per week more than in the late 1970s.) This is not being reflected in their current salaries or given consideration by government statistics. 

These disguises are no longer feasible. And thus, it can be expected that current corporatist globalism will provoke an increasingly left-wing global progressivism. If corporations do not succumb to popular revolution, they will be depredated by an increasingly activist state, while the less-fortuned sit on their hands with glee. 

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The God of All of Life

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!”1

There exists a mindset within modern Evangelicalism, taking its cue from natural human conceptions of spirituality, of disdain for the elements of this world, in exaltation for those ethereal aspects of the Kingdom next.

It manifests itself in the Christian retreat to our separatist enclaves in hidden valleys, hoping for the wolves to pass over without bothering to ransack our abodes. And to date, the wolves have been largely satisfied to leave Christendom alone in their private realms in a false peace, while they consolidate their dominance in the public sphere.

It manifests itself in the Christian surrender of the mind and culture and all aspects of living except for and thinning personal morality and theology. A truncated and reductionist theology is increasingly orphaned and alienated from every other aspect of human existence and endeavour. It hangs suspended in the ether, disconnected from prevailing conceptions of objective realities; this latter development, undermining its credibility and resonance.

It manifests itself in a withdrawal of interest in the things of this world and that which befalls it, especially as the world rapidly swirls into intensifying decadence, except to protect Christendom’s own diminishing turf and self-interests. In this bubble of ersatz super-spirituality, such readily disparage as worldly, those of their peers who retain keen interest in human affairs.

It manifests itself in the disdain for the people of this world, in a mindset that sees those Others as substantively different from themselves. These neighbours; from amongst whom, they were called; are perceived more as adversaries to be eventually trampled upon than fellow sods to be won. Ventures into assisting the less fortunate out of programmed Christian duty are undermined by a palpable disdain, distrust and fear toward the very ones they purportedly seek to reach out.

But as in virtually all aspects of the Christian life, there is an equally opposite and detrimental mentality that conceives Christ as culture warrior. They do not merely see these earthly elements as vehicles, by which the Christian ethos can be exemplified. The danger from these other Christian folk is not their self-imposed retreat from society into irrelevance; but of attempting to coerce the dominion of God over all things upon their unbelieving neighbours; the latter, who in their unregenerated state, cannot even conceive of the rationality and virtue of the Christian ethic. However, discourse on that mindset is reserved for another occasion.

However, there is a nuanced and narrow middle path, through which the true Christian pilgrim must navigate through; enjoying the carnal and natural gifts of God without becoming mastered; being interested in the things of this world without being entangled; exhibiting Christ in all ‘profane’ matters, while being circumspect as to the extent that the Christian ethos can or should be impressed upon society.

Life is not divided into two areas of sacred and profane. For, all things are sacred; “all things indeed are pure”2. There is little distinction between earthly elements and spiritual elements; since the righteousness of God can work through both types of elements and evil can work through both types of elements. The “Kingdom of God is already in your midst”3, although “not of this world”4. It does not exist in some esoteric future.

 

NOTES

 

1Abraham Kuyper, Inaugural Lecture of Free University of Amsterdam, 1880

2Romans 14:20. Also Titus 1:15

3Luke 17:21

4John 18:36

Sexual Liberty and the Sufficiency of Scriptures

According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue.1

The first indictment in Paul Washer’s sermon Ten Indictments Against the Modern Churchis the practical denial of the sufficiency of Scriptures.2 His purpose of the principle was to castigate “seeker-friendly” churches for using social science to rope outsiders into populating the pews. Even Denny Burk, who has deploys the Feinburg grid, has published articles to assert Scriptural sufficiency as a corollary of inerrancy (“We have an obligation to show our churches and indeed the world that God’s written Word is sufficient to address these issues”3)

The principle contends that Scriptures suffices “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”4; that living requires no more guidance than can be derived from Scriptures alone. Obviously, this assertion runs aground if we considered all the physical elements of this cosmos and the minutiae of life. One hardly believes that these theologians define the principle in a manner reminiscent of the Amish. But where the Scriptures do speak, it provides broad and key principles to inform and circumscribe every intellectual discipline and govern every endeavour.

The complaint is that where the Scriptures do speak, the supposed faithful are inclined to practicably set aside the counsel in favour of the non-Scriptural. A large part of this practice derives from a widespread epidemic of theological and Biblical illiteracy. Alternatively, many place greater faith in the motions of their heart and subjective faculties (pietistic sentiments or gnosis) or in the fluctuating shibboleths of the surrounding culture. Or they are hoodwinked by the prejudice of modernism and historical relativism, or by uncritical and cultish devotion to the opinions of a credentialed priestly caste of scientists. These constitute variations of the typical divine tests and temptations to excise and expose the goats from the sheep. 

Although the manner by which the principle of sufficiency of Scriptures hereby deployed might not be the intended desire of those who advocate it, it nevertheless remains a valid application. Practicable disbelief in Biblical sufficiency has historically manifested itself through zealots who “go beyond what is written”5; fabricating theological innovations and ethical constructs, which resonate more with their own pre-existing religious fetishes and disgust instincts. Where Scriptures appears to be remiss in prohibiting specific sexual practices, which offend these moralist guardians; very broad and vague Scriptural adages will be conscripted to compensate for these Scriptural ‘dereliction’.

General adages might indeed have relevance to the particulars of any given issue. However, with these guardians, these adages are often nebulously and disingenuously inferred, often inflating the Scriptural application of a given maxim beyond its express limits, being selective as to what maxims may be applicable to a given situation; all with the intent “to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus that they might bring us into bondage”6.

The does not exist a dearth of specific New Testament counsel and admonitions concerning physical Eros. Lifelong committed exclusive monogamy, opposite sex coupling, enthusiastic wholesale gifting of one’s body and sexuality to the other spouse, enthusiastic celebration of the gift of Eros with one’s spouse, are amongst those admonitions enjoined. Condemnations against divorce, promiscuity, sexual idolatry, incest, fornication, coupling with unbelievers, impure thought life etc are similarly expressed. See how extensive the explicit Scriptural precepts are!

Therefore, does it not seem reasonable that absence of prohibitions on the particulars of sexual expression between spouses might be through divine design?

I recall, with much annoyance, the lack of Biblical guidelines as to the dos and don’ts of sexual expression. And in that perplexity, I fabricated moral principles, much like those aforementioned, to guide our conduct. Because of devotion to the Scriptural principle of liberty of conscience, I would not dare insist upon imposing my grid upon others (beyond the spouse). It barely occurred to me that God deliberately withholds restrictive minutiae because He permits freer latitude than what our natural religious minds will conjure.

However, my hermeneutical and rational scrupulosity and a wife’s frequent scorn quickly disabused many of my ascetic pretensions. And when, after three decades, my heart fully grasped and embraced true understanding of this freedom in Christ, there was great personal relief, excitement and joy after long self-imposed bondage; and much lamentation for the wasted and anguished years.

Those amorphous ethical principles, which we are inclined to invent and apply to erotic expression, are indicative of an attitude that Scriptures is insufficient in this regard. We must add to explicit Scriptural restraints; although we are hard-pressed to maintain the ones that exist. This is legalistic sin. “Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”7

◊          ◊          ◊          ◊          ◊          ◊          ◊

This is not to say that there are no general Biblical principles that govern the technicalities of sexual expression. But such considerations should differentiate between the objective, measurable and transparently evident from that which is subjective, psychological and more opaque. There is good case to consider the former as objectively immoral and the latter left to liberty of conscience between spouses.

The wisdom behind designating an action and attitude as sin and transgression is that in some way they cause misery and destruction, injury, pain and endangerment, even if inscrutable to us. Thus, the ethics of any particular practice must be understood in the context of their effects on the spouses themselves.

To exemplify an objective and transparent situation; erotic asphyxiation has that transgressive quality in promoting endangerment; by placing pleasure over concern for the life and health of the other. Hundreds die in the U.S. each year by such practices; albeit mostly in an autoerotic setting. It is less an issue of motives, but imprudence.

However, saying this; one can imagine the scenario of the spouse desiring sexual intimacy after receiving extensive burns and disfigurement. Despite the physical pain involved in sexual congress, the pain might be a ‘necessary’ psychological palliative to ease the anxiety of abandonment. Such a crosscurrent of considerations might abet in understanding why God refrained from extensive, minutiae of regulations on these matters.

As to subjective psychological and opaque harms, such as intimations of humiliation or psychological flashbacks from prior sexual abuse; the subjective sensitivities of both initiator and respondent should be given consideration. Most acts of sexual expression are morally neutral in and of themselves. It is subjective attitudes that give a moral quality in these cases. The same act may have different connotations between persons or between social and cultural milieus.

Roman Republicans considered male masculinity threatened if they were in any way “passive”. Females were often deemed inferior beings for that very reason. Passivity was understood to include giving oral massage to a wife. And Cato the Elder considered even kissing the wife in daylight an offense and exiled a patrician.

What might be construed as worshipful honour to the other’s masculinity/femininity to a grateful spouse can in another instance, become a megalomaniacal ego boost requiring the psychosocial humiliation and denigration of the Other. The psychic harm occurs in motivation and attitude; not in any technical regulations that are coherent or sensible.

Certainly, Christian precepts can govern these types of subjective situations. However, these filtering constructs are often unbalanced and tilted towards producing a progressively ascetic and legalistic oppression. The stumbling block or weaker brother/sister principle is often abused to suggest that the freer should always give way to the inhibited, out of love. The grid question is always posed, “Will my brother/sister stumble if I do this?” But an accompanying question should also be included. “Will my brother/sister stumble if I don’t this?” For, is the inhibited one always the weaker brother? If one spouse refuses what is seen by the other as legitimate sexual expression, may it not be inviting the latter to sexual temptation? In a Christian commonwealth marriage, should not overall interests of the relationship govern such determinations, not individualistic interests?

As has been intimated, I was quite green and messed up in matters of sexuality as a newlywed. There are certain sexual expressions, which are absolutely necessary in order for a woman to prepare for comfortable coitus; to which I was ‘ethically’ uncomfortable. It is unimaginable that my spouse should have abode by this stumbling block principle. Sometimes, the cause of Christ is accomplished by breaking the eggs of unwarranted inhibition.

The more inhibited should demand of themselves a scrupulous rigour to justify their inhibitions; not only for the sake of their spouses and relationship but for their own psychic liberation. Actual virtue and vice dwell outside of our subjective ability to ascertain them, to which we should all seek to align. And our guilt consciences are populated with ethical precepts or attitudes to which we concur as consequence of our own subjective evaluations. (Shame is consequence of the evaluations of outsiders.) However, it is possible for some vague, amorphous feeling, which lacks substance in truth, to ape conscience. In that case, the inhibited is not really violating virtue if they violate these unjustified and irrational feelings.

In the typical moralist grid, it progressively tilts the standard toward a restrictive and oppressive ethos and ethic. Should a relationship or society be subject to the lowest common denominator of liberty? Will not tensions accumulate, some form of snap back occur or repression find some alternative and transgressive outlet? It is recorded that sexually restrictive societies often result in increased proliferation of prostitution because wives were deemed too decorous to please husbands except in prescribed ways, dictated by the weaker vessel, often with the spiritual imprimatur of moralist preachers and priests.

The stumbling block or weaker brother principle is a favorite sophistic ploy deployed by moralist legalists in any era to exact a repressive regime. They often inflate the intentions of Scriptural meaning beyond recognition. That which may be merely aesthetically displeasing becomes matters of ethical consideration. Prior sexual abuse becomes a badge for disobedient selfishness.

There is not intention to roll over the concerns of inhibited or weaker. It is merely a call and push back into balance against the tilt towards psychic oppression in matters of Eros.

Finally, the very practice of adding extra-Biblical or nebulously vague generic precepts often inflicts a pall of moralism into every act of sexual congress. Does this action lead to the fulfillment of the Procreative Imperative? Do I have notarized, positive consent to proceed to the next step? Does this particular act glorify God, by whatever inscrutable basis that can be determined? Moralist intrusion destroys psychic liberty and free enjoyment and celebration of Eros; making sexual expression into a stressful and even pathological exercise; destroying the libido and the joy.

Copyright © 2013 John Hutchinson


NOTES

12 Peter 1:3

2Paul Washer, “Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church in America”, Revival Conference 2008, Transcript accessed at http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/102308839520.pdf on April 21, 2013, p 3.

3Denny Burk, “Is Inerrancy Sufficient? A Pleas to Biblical Scholars Concerning the Authority and Sufficiency of Scriptures”, Southwestern Journal of Theology, Volume 50, Number 1, Fall 2007, pp 76-91.

42 Timothy 3:16

51 Corinthians 4:6

6Galatians 2:4

7Proverbs 30:6

Current Events Repeat Itself

It is an old adage that history repeats itself. I much prefer Mark Twain’s variation that “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Many individuals pay exceeding heed to the particulars of a specific development and are obstinately oblivious to parallel dynamics in other similar events.

But when is history is history? Technically, it is the nanosecond following the event itself. However, there is a more realistic if subjective opinion that if events occur in one’s ancestors’ time, it is history. If it occurs while within conscious memory of one’s own duration on the earth, it is current events. It is still immediately real and likely retains a direct impact on one’s psyche and thought to varying degrees.

With this in mind, I proceed.

While Greenspan was declaiming the irrational exuberance in 1996, his monetary policies were affording its opportunity. And waves of asset bubbles and bursts ensured throughout his Fed reign.

With the Fed-induced current monetarist environment of low interest rates and attempts to spur the economy through encouragement of further indebtedness; and in the light of continued organic restraints on wage labour to prevent wage and price inflation that is normally associated with loose monetary policy; the hot air of extremely cheap money must find some outlet, some weak lining to bulge. It is not rocket science to predict more asset bursts on the way. The trick is to determine which asset class will be the instrument of the next financial tsunami.

In other news, the Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available1 to people with weaker credit.

Yet in other news, Wall Street is resurrecting many of the same financial instruments2 that were catalyst to the market crash of 2008. The banks are churning out some of these structured products at rates greater than the peak in early 2005.

It seems that in these days of folly, it is not history that repeats itself, but current events.

 NOTES

1Conor Friedersdorf, “Team Obama to Banks: Issue Home Loans to Riskier Borrowers”, The Atlantic Monthly, April 4, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/team-obama-to-banks-issue-home-loans-to-riskier-borrowers/274647/

2Nathaniel Popper, Alchemists of Wall Street at it again: Arcane-sounding names hide big risks, The New York Times, April 19, 2013, http://business.financialpost.com/2013/04/19/alchemists-of-wall-street-at-it-again-arcane-sounding-names-hide-big-risks/

 

 

George Soros and the Pre-Obituary

What if everybody, just before they denied, was given an honest assessment of what everybody thought of them? The judgment may not be a true and fair picture of the person since even society can be so corrupted as to blight their analysis. But of those people who roamed with self-regard, it might be useful to preview their legacy. Was one’s time on the earth was a waste of oxygen.

George Soros, privileged in everything else, was given privilege in that department. Someone at Reuters news wire “pressed publish” by accident of a pre-fabricated obituary, which was soon retracted. But Business Insider obtained a screen capture before the article was withdrawn.

George Soros, who died XXX at age XXX, was a predatory and hugely successful financier and investor, who argued paradoxically for years against the same sort of free-wheeling capitalism that made him billions.

An enigma, wrapped in intellect, contradiction and money.

All his spectacular winning bets at the expense of the public good (1997 Asian Financial Crisis) and consequent self-righteous hypocrisy in decrying poor government policies that allowed a predator like him to exploit them, are highlighted.

Legacy might be the last restraint upon the self-indulging plutocrats. And consciously facing one’s legacy in a pre-obituary in the sight of peers in one’s remaining days, is the last revenge of the public before Judgment Day.

Why Do We Hate Justin Bieber So

Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.  (Justin Bieber – Anne Frank museum – April 2013)

I will confess that the initial response to this latest Bieberism was one of cheap moral opprobrium. And any disdainful comment would just become a drop in an ocean of scorn. And some are far more talented and practiced at Juvenalian satire than I. However, as witty and psychological satisfying as satire can be, it very rarely persuades. It merely confirms and hardens pre-existing biases of partisans.

I have written on the lad before. I don’t dislike him. For, how prudent is it to form opinions about another without actually face-to-face off camera encounters? However, in that piece, my resentment is less about him, but what he represents; the extreme dumbing down of mass culture. This brings us to the present topic. Why is Justin Bieber so hated?

As a curmudgeonly middle-aged man, I might be following the traditions of generations of curmudgeonly middle-aged men before me, who complain about the callow fecklessness of contemporary youth. The ‘when I was young syndrome…’ Sometimes however, these complaints are valid. Psyche and sociology professionals, who have a measure for everything, Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) included, suggest a statistically significant increase of measured protagorean self-regard and self-indulgence, over the last quarter century or so. The percentage of those engaging in academic cheating at college/university levels has doubled since first surveys were taken around WW2 to today’s epidemic proportions (80% of students admit). And either store owners have become pathologically paranoiac. Or there is valid reason for them to insist that all high school students park their duffle packs at the front of the store; something unheard of in my youth.

The story of Justin Bieber’s visit to Anne Frank House in Amsterdam follows with stories of widespread ignorance about Anne Frank amongst the teeny-bopper set: to which a witty but harsh tweet was contributed by a local comic, Jason Filiatrault. “Look, say what you want, but Justin Bieber just made 3 million idiots Google ‘Anne Frank’.” The fearful thing is that this ignorance about significant matters is frighteningly evident. In a Japanese car plant, I worked temporarily last year; the Japanese plant manager became flummoxed by one late teen-ager when she didn’t know who won the 2nd World War. There is pervasive evidence and complaint of cultural ignorance, moral reasoning, logic and common sense. What are parents and these public schools teaching nowadays?

The problem with the superficiality and ignorance of this upcoming entitlement generation is that it is unprepared as North America enters into a far more tumultuous period of its history. The economic decline, which has been ongoing for at least 20 years, albeit disguised by a debt-inducing, asset-inflating artificial economy, can no longer be masked or sustained. The extremes of economic disparity, decline in hope of socioeconomic mobility and steady economic, intellectual, moral and social disintegration of the lower classes, is certain to destroy the Horatio Alger mythology that has hitherto sustained the American civil peace. And in America, class war has taken on racial dimensions in these last two federal elections; as an overwhelming white European vote against the reigning President was trumped by an even greater Black, Hispanic and Asian vote.

And it is a fool’s wet dream to believe that the culture wars are going to be quieted. The logic and vitriolic folly of both wings of the philosophical divide ever widens. The sociopolitical schism becomes more disrespectful, uncivil, arrogantly contemptuous, vehement and militant. Add to that the first inklings of a new generational divide as the upcoming youth face the generational theft of their self-centered parents and grandparents. Or the Newtonian counter-reaction of bottom-up masculinism against the prevailing feminist sentiments, which dominate in law, family courts and that culturally gated community, which currently dominates the Commanding Heights of society. The existing gender friction is sure to exacerbate.

It is not national problems, traumas and disasters that bring nations down. Republican Rome endured the Pyrrhic military disasters and decade-long trampling by Hannibal, while the late Empire was easily swarmed by uncouth barbarians, with far less population and resources. It is the moral fortitude, intellectual creativity and wisdom of the people that face these threats that determines the outcome.

And Justin Bieber is the pretty face representative of the intellectual and moral caliber of this upcoming Glee generation. 

◊          ◊          ◊          ◊          ◊

The other element of Bieberism lies in the corporate desacralization of our expressions of deepest human yearnings in art and culture. Bieber represents artistic expression as unabashed, undisguised manufactured product with inane ditties, scrupulous attention to snazzy packaging and self-promotion, usually geared toward making adolescent boys hard and adolescent girls wet, for the quick sell.

(A similar desacralization extends into American Churchianity, with industrial strength commoditization of souls through Altar Call assembly lines and their Sinner’s Prayers, Seeker-Sensitive churches and theological debasement of the Christian product in order to disperse it more widely.)

Ultimately, the rage is directed towards these soulless corporate wraiths, who mastermind the cynical exploitation and manipulation of callow, shallow and gullible humanity; in which the message and the medium are tailored by marketing surveys.

A business, its products and modus operandi are invariably extensions of the personality of those who govern it. This is more evident in proprietorships than the diffused corporate structures of large corporations. And although it is more than feasible for a corporate leader to develop a deep and wide array of interests; a super singular dedication, at the expense of all other facets of life, is often required of those who best succeed. In this singular devotion, having undeveloped sensitivities in other aspects, these Babbitts are disinclined to esteem true culture at the expense of basic material considerations.  

Thus, plastic wrap personas are prized and promoted. Such who volunteer are highly orchestrated and choreographed flesh and blood holograms, whose every motion and syllable is geared towards maximizing the greatest acclaim. Such hesitate to take on controversial subjects or unpopular positions for fear alienation their market. Such become cultural descendents of Peter Sellers, whose hollow and chameleonic personalities are beholden and transformed to the external environ of shifting opinion.

If there is one strong cultural message that these merchandized cultural icons promulgate, it will be that rags-to-riches story of capitalist success. Bieber is ideal candidate; being raised by a troubled single parent; and who through brilliant personal social media promotion, was able to garner a captive cut of the world market. He represents the face of capitalism; the perversion of the American Dream of 18th Century (and earlier) dreamers; from the good society with concerns for the overall common good to that capitalist bastardization of rags-to-riches individual success.

For many like me, our souls vomit at the inauthenticity and sawdust inanity which occurs when capitalism ceases to be thought of as a, but not exclusive, useful tool for improving the economic lot; and becomes its cultural motif, celebrating itself.

These complaints might be deemed cultural elitism in normal times. However, when the pop productions of this era are significantly debasements from the pop productions of prior eras; at what point, will we call rubbish, rubbish. The aspersion of cultural elitism loses credibility.

However, it should not be thought that statist culturalism is any improvement over its capitalist variant. I have suffered through environmentalist campsite productions, which reduced artistic expression to a public service message and morality play; the type of utility that Plato would place art under in his Republic. I have ruminated on the grandiose sterility of modernist Nazi and Soviet architecture and propagations.

It becomes evident that true culture emanates from those from outside, often from the toiling masses and the suffering. The sophisticated culturati vampires merely embellish with stylistic flourish, the heart-felt longings of those closer to existential realities. The late 19th Century composers, scouring their countryside for nationalist musical motifs, are best example of this dynamic. Or if an artist emerges from the obscurity, he/she finds his/her creative vitality quickly hollowed out and deadened by schmoozing with the vacuous desolation that is our celebrated culturati.

Justin Bieber is hated for what he represents and for what he signifies for our future.

The Horrid Sin of Moralism

There is great distinction to be made between being highly moral and being moralistic. The former does not necessarily entail the latter. Nor, ironically enough, does the latter entail the former. It is quite the marvel how often one finds that those most moralistic are obtuse to their own ethical failings. They denounce sexual vice, while lasciviously engaging in mendacity or cruelty. Within the hour that they apply a moral principle in one set of circumstances, they violate that same principle in regard to another. And when reproached for inconsistency, they wave it off as being different without being able to substantiate the distinction.

Moralism cuts short the ability to deeply understanding the dynamics of the human heart and society. It labels without giving assistance. It stops from further investigation and thereby prevents the ability to counsel and encourage a person from their vice towards a better way.

I snapped into exasperated anger at an interlocutor after watching the movie “Unfaithful”. While I waxed about the civilization-level difference between the ideological, ethical and cultural mores between America and continental Europe; or the relationship between underlying ideology and cosmological perspective and ethics; my obtuse interlocutor (again) reduced a movie to the simplism of a morality play and felt it incumbent to emphasize that point.

It is probably pretty safe to say that historically, moralism afflicts the female species more so than the male. And moralism is not the monopoly of the religious only. Any standard, secular or sacred, upon which one castigates another ad nauseum, constitutes moralism. The Cult of Tolerance presently constitutes the worst moralists.

Regardless, moralism is the great Shiva of marital relationships. For, in the vulnerable, intimate confidentiality of the conjugal bed, where we are advised to confess faults and failures to each other (James 5:16), let alone fears, anxieties, fantasies and dreams; the porcupine quills of judgmentalism are certain to naturally send the turtle to withdraw into its shell.

It is perverse folly to expect otherwise. What person does not seek to hide their physical blemishes and deformities if oft remarked about? What person, who delights not in sadomasochism, subjects their privates to being kicked at will? Yet the obtuse self-righteousness of moralism blinds itself to this self-evident truism; expecting their spouse or any interlocutor to suffer their righteous slings from this self-anointed guardian of virtue.

In an outside world, where we dwell in a goldfish bowl, where all failures are potential means by which our competitors and enemies exploit to their advantage; the conjugal bed is supposed to be the one locale where one can be at ease; “a haven in a heartless world”.  However, there exists many a person who works long hours; not because of ambition, but because of avoidance.

If a person fails to acknowledge their failings, there is place for reproach. However, if that person acknowledges their shortcomings, continued moral fulminations are akin to stabbing a corpse. It alienates. The recipient of such outrage reconstructs the very fortifications that marital intimacy was supposed to level. It is a gateway to divorce or to a cold toleration of each other in the autumn and winter of the marital relationship.