Thursday, January 21, 2010

Human Nature

How can so many members of the public display such a penchant for servitude and submission?

Contribution by Stan Moss

When I first read (and then wrote) about Billy Bragg's "NoBonus4RBS" campaign two days ago, I was expecting to read all sort of feedback online.

What shocked me however, is the length which we're prepared to go and the straws we're desperate to clutch at in order to (subconsciously or not) justify our subordinate position.

Let's start from the actual Facebook campaign. This is what someone called Duncan wrote:
"In order to make our money back RBS needs to have a competetive edge, one that it would LOSE if they had to cap bonuses. Imagine asking Manchester united to improse pay restrictions and how loyal tdo you thing their players would be?"
This is based on the usual assumption that huge bonuses are essential if a company want to retain good employees. A logical twist you only find (on such a massive scale) when banking executives are trying to cover their backside.

Why not apply the "competitive edge" maxim to shop assistants, teachers, soldiers or you name it? Would that be sustainable? Thought so.

Not to mention that the analogy with Man Utd doesn't have a leg to stand on. Man Utd is not propped up by the taxpayer. End of. We would have no right to interfere with Man Utd and their salaries. RBS is a totally different kettle of fish: with the state owning 84%, the bank owes its whole existence to the taxpayer.

And this in line with all sorts of people coming up with rolls, handsprings and somersaults to justify the unjustifiable.

The comments on the Daily Mail website are just stunning. Here, as if by magic, the topic is no longer RBS, the megabonuses and the gigantic bailout. No. The focus becomes Billy Bragg's wealth.
"Never seems to mention his £1 Million beachfront house in Doreset though does he?????",
writes a chap from Slough, his observation so acute that the fact that Bragg's earned his money without a state bailout eluded him completely. As for bikerboy from lancashire, this is what he has to say:
"another champagne socialist who as soon as he makes a fat pile of cash for himself by singing about the poor down trodden masses goes to live as far away from them as possible ie large detached walled gardened house in the countryside".
There is plenty more, but you get the general idea.

In short, what is it with our inner servitude that, whenever we are presented with a chance to improve our social conditions or reduce arrogance by a weeny fraction, some of us start clutching at the unlikeliest straws in a way that simply perpetrates the existing status quo of privileged and minnows?

And this is the crux of the matter. I can understand why a banker would want to cling onto his years of binge and act as if he was entitled to loadsamoney by rights, regardless of performance.

But to have ordinary members of the public (the same people who will have public services slashed as a direct consequence of the biggest bailout since the Ice Age) engage in industrial amounts of sawdust and planks dispensed with one logical ricochet after the other is frankly depressing.

Keep obeying the big people then, slave, and don't forget to remain where you are unless you're told otherwise. Oh and...Parade, REST!


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Good post. And it is not just in the idiot magnets of Facebook and the Fail that such apologists gather, we have been trained well and quite intelligent people will argue the toss over how bonuses are needed. Right whingers of course but quite intelligent never the less.

Madam Miaow said...

Yes, but we are talking The Daily Mail here.

Having said that, it is most dispiriting to find yourself discussing this stuff with a perfectly sweet young uni student who then proceeds to defend the bankers on account of the wealth they "create". It's everywhere.

It's the same delusional and destructive mindset at work in the left where you hear comrades defending utterly appalling examples of cronyism under the guise of "friendship" ("human nature"), which I am given to understand trumps comradeship.

I share your horror. Those of us of a revolutionary bent have to tackle this, not just out there, but in ourselves as well. We're all being headfucked by the system.

Stan Moss said...

Thats right, Daniel.
Quite an interesting number of those you mention, for example, on Liberal Conspiracy.

Like Madam Miaow writes, "it's everywhere".

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Lib Con is full of it, sometimes the threads contain more right-whingers than anyone on the left spectrum, which I find odd as I don't hang out at right-wing places.