Amerika

On “banksters”

Our latest meme is “banksters,” or claiming that our current round of problems originated in the bankers acting like gangsters. Only glitch: that’s a scapegoat, not a diagnosis.

Americans have a new word, and we’re hearing a lot of it: banksters. A combination of “gangsters” and “bankers,” this word is a perfect meme.

It’s easy to say. It’s clever. And it implies a brutal equality: our bankers = gangsters, and we’re getting ripped off. They’re the ones doing this to us — this recession, this oil spill, who knows.

Neat idea, except it’s 100% false.

The bankers are doing what they always do: make money. If you make a stupid law, or leave a loophole, or make dumb investments, they’ll profit off of you. That’s their job. If they don’t do it, someone overseas will.

The idea that Wall Street is waging war on Main Street, and that somehow a conspiracy of kleptomaniac bankers has run this country into the ground is another excuse. It’s conspiracy thinking along the lines of blaming Freemasons, “ZOG,” Scientology, or a vast right-wing conspiracy.

It’s a fantasy, and we like it because it lets us off the hook. No, we weren’t busy ignoring our government. No, we didn’t mean creative finance when it brought us things we liked. We sure did like those easy home loans, too. We didn’t want to wade into the maze of laws that existed by 1970, much less afterwards.

And into that rotting heap of inattention, half-thought legislation, and a giant pile of clueless consumers, Wall Street injects its own brand of street justice: make the clueless pay and take the profits to someone with a clue.

Your society exists in denial. We just elected some guy on a wing and a prayer (errr… “hope” and “change”). We can’t face basic political conflicts in Congress or our media. We’re in denial of biological inequality and overpopulation, which makes us the modern equivalent of Flat Earthers. Corruption and pollution increase around us and yet we’re more interested in Justin Bieber.

Yeah, that’s why we love the term “banksters.” We think it lets us off the hook, and we’re ready to forget it as soon as we have a new scapegoat. And so the real problem persists, just under the surface, waiting to take a new form — and to have us, its willing accomplices, invent a new witch to lynch in lieu of fixing our problems.

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