The Public Good Takes A Hike
Fortune magazine is estimating that the ongoing public rescue of private American banks may cost the public $4 trillion. What were the consequences of the recent collapse? Bankers gave themselves massive bonuses and those principally responsible for the bank failures became policy-makers of the current government.
Recently rescued hiker Scott Mason (no relation) did not run to Congress and will not be bailed out. He has been charged $25,000 for spraining his ankle and losing his way in the woodsy New Hampshire wilderness.
Bankers having lost their way in the financial wilderness of Wall Street hiked straight to Congress for a public rescue. Scott Mason hiked three days into history having received a bill from the state of New Hampshire for his own private harrowing experience.
The dichotomous cultural values spill out before us. Small-scale human mishaps in the mountains are personal failures engendering blame and public ignominy. Large-scale banking mishaps are "financial tsunamis" that just mysteriously happen, have no points of individual or institutional responsibility, and receive public monetary rewards
I was another lost Mason. During the 1960s, I was hiking as a teen in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My Boy Scout backpack trip turned into several days lost in the rugged California wilderness. We were eventually rescued by helicopter. We got lost. We made mistakes, We were rescued. We didn’t get an invoice for our invocation of state services. Something fundamental has changed.
Dichotomous cultural value systems are exhibited every day in the manner in which the powerful shape the perception of events.
Jamie Neale also lost his way, turning a hike into a 12-day ordeal in the Australian wilderness. For this mishap, he netted $250,000 from the TV program "60 Minutes Australia." Although Mr. Neale is a self-proclaimed "idiot" for having lost his bearings in the Blue Mountains, but apparently he regained his bearings back in town.
What every culture needs is a forum for public discourse on values. America, notwithstanding hundreds of so-called news media outlets, has lost its cultural bearings in a corporate landscape. The maintenance of inequality–the maintenance of concentrated wealth and power–lay in the maintenance of two, independent value systems. The rich can no longer rule so much by force of arms, and therefore are compelled to rule by force of cultural charms. ABC is an amulet working its charms against popular awareness of manufactured hypocrisy. The rich live a charmed life, but self-interested manipulations by the media, which they own, are but fragile veneers.
The very purpose of modern media is to encourage losing of the public way. The purpose of modern, corporate media is to deflect the possibility that the public might convert private banks into public utilities, and by doing so, tell the bankers to "get lost."