Sunday, June 08, 2003

Throughout most of history it has been an assumption that the struggle to obtain wealth was not something one talked about in public. It was important, obviously but not on it's own. The most important thing was to be able to justify wealth and power in terms of something else. I am great because I have built this, or funded that, or brought stability and peace to such and such an area of land. "I made my first billion in sewage," didn't cut it in polite society, even if everyone else knew the truth. Those days are gone. And we now have people who philosophize about money as if it were enlightenment itself.

The second link is to an article accompanied by a photograph of an elderly economist shaking hands with the King of Sweden. In the print edition this article is preceded by a full page image of the recumbent head of a beautiful but anxious woman, whose lower lip is pinched gently between her thumb and index finger, and whose eyes document the mixture of desire and trepidation in advance of the assault to which she has willingly agreed, in return for the gift of some jewelry.

Decadence and barbarism don't offend me half as much as the defense offered for them by academics and intellectuals. After all, I wish I had given her those presents, and so do most of my friends- of both sexes.

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