Turning Virtues Into Vices

The other day I had the misfortune of driving into one of the Pink Ribbon events that seem to be everywhere these days. Every month is breast cancer month and every weekend there is a “waddle for the cure” event somewhere. You can’t watch a sportsball game without seeing some bright pink mixed into the uniforms. The one I ran into was a 5K where middle-aged women “unite” to display their “passion” for “fighting” cancer. Like Hitler, women are passionate and enjoy fighting.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a racket, just like any large charity. The bulk of the money they raise is spent on raising money, which requires hiring scads of people, who need supervision by well-paid administrators. Some money goes to charity, but how much ever ends up doing any good is debatable. People more cynical than me suggest the whole point of the Komen operation is to facilitate “pink washing” by corporations looking to keeps the gals off their back.

I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that heart disease is the number one killer of women and it is not even a close. The next seven killers on the list account for fewer deaths than heart disease. Breast cancer is very treatable and the treatments are fairly mild compared to most other cancers. There are exceptions, but you would much prefer to have breast cancer than colon cancer or congestive heart failure. You won’t see women sporting brown or red ribbons for those diseases.

Komen and the pink washing rackets are not unique. All of the big charities are rackets run mostly to employ managerial types and keep them in a lifestyle they believe they deserve. I recall once going to the campus of the Red Cross, outside DC, and seeing what looked like a luxury car dealership. It was the executive parking lot. At the time, Bob Dole’s old lady was President of the “charity” and she was pulling down a million per year. It’s called “doing well by doing good.”

This is a feature of the managerial state. The people running big charities, not-for-profits, think tanks, NGO’s and so on, have no real way to make money outside of stealing via taxes. They make nothing anyone wants to buy. They create nothing anyone needs. They have no salable talents that the private sector demands. Instead, they create demand for their labors by turning society’s virtues into vices. In the case of charities, that means exploiting American generosity and civic mindedness.

This is most evident in our elections. We now have armies of people who make their living entirely from elections. Many of them work for both parties. Not so long ago, these were jobs handled by low paid staffers and volunteers. I’m old enough to remember when my Congressman had three staffers and relied entirely on volunteers for his election staff. Today, your local congressman has at least a dozen staffers, many making six figure salaries. Most have law degrees from prestigious universities.

When people in the political class get bored, they hop over into the media for a while. The cable channels are littered with “veteran campaign consultants” and former elected officials. We live in an age where it is no longer possible to draw a line between the rulers, the people working for the rulers and the people reporting on them. American public life is an amorphous noisy blob that serves no obvious purpose other than to exploit people’s desire to be well informed citizens.

The ugly part of this is that the politics industry, in the process of exploiting the citizen’s desire to be informed, generates massive amounts of false information to fill in the gaps in the narrative, in order to promote the interests of the managerial class. As a result, public trust declines, not just in the media, but in the institutions of society as well. We live in a age of seemingly unlimited media, yet people are not only less informed, they don’t believe anything they see in the media.

The counter to these observations is that people have been finding ways to profit from the good intentions of others long before the concept of the managerial state. This is true, but it was always small scale and ad hoc. What we are living in today is large scale and systematic. The tax code, for example, has been warped to provide for the existence of not-for-profit organizations that do nothing but politics. All of the big foot opinion sites are now non-profits. Many of the campaign organizations are now non-profits, calling themselves educational organizations.

The rapaciousness of the managerial state is a feature. It must bend all of a society’s institutions to the perpetuation of the managerial class, because it has no other way to generate income. If the boys and girls of National Review, for example, had to rely on paying customers, they would starve to death. If candidates could go directly to rich people for funding their campaigns, there would be no need for the campaign industrial complex and its money laundering services.

Human societies go through periods where they create and accumulate surpluses of wealth. Similarly, they go through periods where they consume their surpluses until they reach a crisis. This is when there is no more surplus to consume. It very well may be that the emergence of a managerial class is the signal that a modern society is heading into the consumption phase. Given the fiscal health of the West, it is not unreasonable to think that we have consumed the benefits of the technological revolution and we are now hurtling toward crisis.

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65 Comments on "Turning Virtues Into Vices"

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Karl Hungus
Guest

Zman, what do you think the significance of the FBI releasing docs on the Marc Rich pardon is about? I am thinking they found some emails where Bill and Hill discuss the quid pro quo of it all. Seeing gossip that the reason the big Dems are removing Hillary from their twatter feeds is because something really nasty is about to come out…

King George III
Guest
Heading into the consumption phase? Good Lord, we’ve been pedal-to-the-metal redlining the consumption for the past fifty years. America 1966 was by all accounts prosperous and peaceful and moral and above all fertile. Except for the nascent Sexual Revolution Degeneration, things were basically fair and corruption was basically minimal and men could afford to marry and raise children, and there were marriageable women around to marry. Today the government squeezes the productive dry and corruption is endemic and even upper-middle-class men can’t really marry and raise children, as even if they try there are no marriageable women around to marry,… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member
You are correct about the “campaign industrial complex.” Take Dick Morris. He serves to get someone elected, then transfers to the administration after the win and when times up, goes back to trade on the experience with book deals and tv shows as an expert talking head. If there is a fix to this problem, it goes beyond term limits for Congress. There should be a mandatory retirement age for SCOTUS, and we should move to a single six (6) year term for President. As it is, in the first term, barely two years is spent settling in and doing… Read more »
Member

Abolish all tax exempt organizations. No 501c3. Even for churches and universities. Especially universities.

thor47
Guest

Consumption tax solves that problem.

firefirefire
Guest

V.A.T.? no thanks.

Ofay Cat
Guest

That is a horrid tax that keeps going up until you shop exclusively in the underground economy where there are deep discounts because there is no tax. I have experienced that over recent years. You have to economized as best you can in a world where your government is mugging you daily.

Member

But beware the permanent bureaucracy. Sir Humphrey Appleby is waiting in the wings.

Member
Then there’s green washing by big corporations to keep the environmentalists off their back. Also black washing to keep Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton off their back. Also rainbow washing to keep gays off their back. When I say “off their back” I mean keep the extortion at a controllable level. All this washing is the one big idea the managerial class has come up with in the last forty years. All those MBAs and this is the best they can do. As to the political managerial class, it’s totally into fantasy washing. Twenty trillion in national debt, cultural cancer… Read more »
Member

Maybe it is time to strip their tax-exempt status from the big non-profits, college endowments, and charities…..

Re: “Black-washing,” “green-washing,” etc. – let’s call it what it is – plain old racketeering and extortion. In a sane society, guys like Jesse Jackson would have been indicted, charged, tried and convicted of said crimes a lot time ago.

Member

A while back you made a comparison between the state of things now and the structure of the Ancien Regime in prerevolutionary France. I’d say that the philanthropic racket is part of the second estate comparable to the nobility with their tax exemptions. I agree that we are hurtling toward a crisis, but it might be averted with some skill and luck. You usually can’t tell where the requisite elements will come from.

Dutch
Guest

The United Way is the worst. They essentially do a skim on all the other charities that they pipeline the money to. They have embedded themselves into corporate America as the “go to” charity to keep the grievance professionals off their backs. The United Way leadership, and there are so many layers of leadership, they make the big bucks. The corporations encourage the employees to do an automatic payroll deduction for United Way, then put on the peer pressure to get all the employees to participate. Ugh.

Member
Back in the mid 1970s I was a GS 10 working for in New York. Our director appointed me the CFC Campaign director which sent me off to the United Way for training, which BTW absorbed a half day of federal work time. Our instructor was a stereotypical blue-haired society lady, wearing enough gold chains and jewels to equip a rock group. And cynicism enough for a Mafia Family. Instruction emphasized how to extort the maximum from everyone. Use public shaming. Be persistent. ALWAYS get the donation in CASH, NEVER as a check or Credit Card, because those would be… Read more »
james wilson
Guest

Really well done. This is the type of thing I send to my daughter for her education. Re-education.

A.T. Tapman
Member
If honesty were a requirement for charitable organizations their pleas for cash would sound something like this; ” Please give, we have legions of starving mid and upper level managers who through no fault of their own live in abject poverty. Just a few dollars a day from you can solve this crisis. They are relying on YOU. Please give until it hurts”. I used to be a charitable guy, they have changed that. The last straw was when the local head of a Prominent charity was nailed hauling whores and other execs to exotic vacation destinations using charter aircraft… Read more »
The Usual Suspect
Guest
In our town (as many others) there’s been an out break of cardboard sign beggars that say something like, “Iraq/Afganistan/Vietnam vet,or homeless single mother, and god bless you for giving, every bit helps” dressed in thrift store clothing or the Army fatigue jacket. I have a tuxedo and I’m going to dress up real nice and go stand next to the beggar with my sharpie marker cardboard sign that says, “Can you spare even $50.00 or $100.00 to help me go to a nice French restaurant tonight, bless you for blessing me even more. That’s the managerial professional giver type… Read more »
Member

I absolutely love it. Both you and A. T. Tapman.

jay dee
Guest
That opening paragraph is a classic. How many times I’ve had the EXACT same thoughts over the past decade or so. Unfortunately, I have to keep them to myself. I have a “bad attitude” and am “negative”, you see…..No matter how many times I protest: “Hey!….I’m just noticing the BS!!”. “Passion” —– When did this get started? Probably Oprah. People these days – and especially women – twaddle on and on about their “passions”. WTF. No one talked that was 30 years ago. I’ve also made the mistake of pointing out that your body does the “fighting” of cancer all… Read more »
Member

Re: ““Passion” —– When did this get started? Probably Oprah. People these days – and especially women – twaddle on and on about their “passions”. WTF. No one talked that was 30 years ago.”

Yep, no kidding. Clint Eastwood was entirely correct when he called it the “p*ssification of America”!

King George III
Guest

It’s alright, you can say pussy, this is a safe space.

Dorf
Guest

Life is a Terminal disease, so Just don’t get the Cure…..

Member

No, it wasn’t Oprah, God bless her soul (in the southern sense) -if she has one. It predates her at least to the late 1960s university humanities classes. I caught my case of “feeeeling my feeeelings” in 1968. Ten years later I decided to retake control of my life and retoughen. I’ve been functional and sane ever since.

Member
Re: “This is a feature of the managerial state. The people running big charities, not-for-profits, think tanks, NGO’s and so on, have no real way to make money outside of stealing via taxes. They make nothing anyone wants to buy. They create nothing anyone needs. They have no salable talents that the private sector demands. Instead, they create demand for their labors by turning society’s virtues into vices.” Zman, as usual – your observations are right on the money. Those armies of lobbyists, managers of non-profits, the denizens of the think tanks, and so forth – are here and they… Read more »
Omega3
Guest

If anybody hasn’t read Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs”, they ought to give it a skim at least. He’s more of an anarchist than a lefty, and he’s obviously not without his flaws and mistakes (the neoliberals have trashed him mercilessly), but the general thrust of his argument is not that far off IMO:
http://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/

UKer
Guest
When I heard the story that a charity in the UK — dedicated to ‘fighting alcohol abuse’ — received something like 99 per cent of its ‘donations’ from government to keep going (and thus pressure the government to spend more money of ‘fighting alcohol abuse’) I began to find out that a lot of charities exist only to spend the government money they receive to hound the government in their specific areas. Apparently the figures I saw for this anti-booze charity had attracted pitiful donations from the public (yeah, I know: the public would have more money to throw around… Read more »
Ofay Cat
Guest

I haven’t supported a registered charity in my adult life. I figured out the scam very early on. If you want to get warm fuzzies giving money away .. .look within your own circle of family and friends. You will find all the charitable opportunity you can afford right there …. I guarantee it.

Member

Part of the unwritten conspiracy of the managerial state is convincing everyone that no problem can be solved or even approached without some huge corporatized organization to lead the charge. These are stand-ins for big daddy government until he can take over.

tim s
Guest

The NFL breast cancer awareness program strikes me as the most ridiculous. How is anyone supposed to get motivated by players with pink shoes or whatever. If the NFL truly wants to promote breast cancer awareness, how about having the cheerleaders go topless? That’d raise some awareness of the horrible potential loss.

Dutch
Guest

Might even be enough to get me watching the games again.

Karl Hungus
Guest

or have the players wear bras during the game?

Member
I think the NFL breast month was a poorly thought out marketing idea to “reach out” to womenz to watch the NFL. Now, the game is become mush… taunting isn’t allowed, because…. Mom. Celebratory dances aren’t allowed…. because Mom. The “knee” stuff has helped drive down viewership, but too, the NFL has morphed into a weird game now, and the cognitive dissonance is what is driving men who liked the game before into saying enough. They’ve ruined it. I’ve joked in the past to friends that I’d watch football IF there was a SAP feed or channel where a game… Read more »
Chiron
Guest

The MSF (Doctors Without Borders in English) was created by the French Government after the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s, France was supporting the Biafran separatists that ended up losing the war. The French got mad with the Red Cross because with remained neutral (like they should) during the conflict and didn’t openly support the Biafrans.

The MSF is always managed by French-jewish doctors with Zionist interests.

thor47
Guest

I have a son who is an artist. An organization he follows has a charity campaign each year. One year Doctors Without Borders got the proceeds, which were substantial. He created a piece which was bid on. He paid to ship the piece to the winner. DWB was supposed to reimburse him the shipping cost. They never did. They didn’t even acknowledge his work. He doesn’t agree to terms like that anymore for anyone.

LetsPlay
Member

Ummmm, the Red Cross remained neutral? Wonder why? Must not have been a big enough payoff to get involved would be my guess. They are one of the worst of corrupt non-profits around the world.

Earl Wertheimer
Guest

“The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a racket, just like any large charity.”
It would be nice if you did some research into the actual numbers, instead of a blanket claim that all large charities are rackets…

Member

It’s a rack racket.

Ofay Cat
Guest

You would have to look far, wide and deep to find a charity that is an actually selfless operation … perhaps the Salvation Army, but I can’t think of any other that isn’t top heavy with luxury car owners. Wise up … nothing is ever what it appears to be.

Member

Linked on #Gab.ai

@ProGunFred
#GabFam

ambiguousfrog
Guest

My stepfather clued me in on the Red Cross and his experience during WWII. He was wise beyond measure. It may seem small but it was during a time when we took care of our own, and if it had a cross it must be good. Free Coffee. They made the GI’s pay for a single cup of coffee. To you and I it may be small or petty in today’s world, but to his generation it spoke volumes during the war. He never gave to them based on that single experience.

Member

“You won’t see women sporting brown or red ribbons for those diseases.”

You owe me ONE keyboard!!

wtoo jones
Guest

” misfortune of driving into one of the Pink Ribbon events”
I always want to but chicken out and hit the brakes.

The Usual Suspect
Guest

Good, clear thinking, that’s a plus in today’s world. Exactly what the “Kinton Cabal Initative” is on a Global scale. Money laundering, I’d bet if all the cards were flipped over the Klintons are billionaires.

meema
Member
Spent a couple hours getting my car serviced today. Forced to watch two episodes of Property Brothers – could there be a more classic example of formula fiction? Finally car ready – paying the bill I looked up and saw a ginormous sign framed in pink – said – Come to AutoNation and help us drive out breast cancer! I so wanted to say to the service guy – what a load – but I refrained. In this era of everything is ruled by emotion not thinking, one has to be careful not to express anything that doesn’t align with… Read more »
Member

Formulaic? Yes, but I’ll never forget my 7 year old daughter yelling at me not to change the channel 10 minutes into Property Brothers. Why? “Because my favorite part is when they crush their dreams.” (The part of the show when they show the couple a $2.5m house that “meets their requirements”…but not their $550k budget.

You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a 7 year old girl say “crush their dreams”…

meema
Member

LOL!

R Daneel
Guest

“…..we have consumed the benefits of the technological revolution and we are now hurtling toward crisis.”

Zman – It is called design margin and we already done used all of it. We are now at the point of eating our seed corn.

It will have to end sometime, probably sooner than later, then it is going to get cold, unfriendly and hungry out.

marc fenton
Guest

Don’t give to the money grubbing fuckers it’s as simple as that.

newrouter
Guest

The music video for this final week:

Kate Bush Cloudbusting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRHA9W-zExQ

Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon

Zman, the beast is going to be indicted this week! Nemesis is almost here…

Member

Or: the real reason behind quite a lot of Nevertrump (itself bankrolled by RomneyBush).

I suspect no small reason for nevertrump is anger at that chump refusing to pump $1B+ into the consultant-opinion class. Doesn’t he know theyve got second mortgages in Aspen to pay?

JML
Guest

Great article, I highly recommend “the wisdom of whores” by Elizabeth Pisani for an on the ground perspective of how these charities operate.

james wilson
Guest
Burke wrote the most remarkable paragraph on turning virtues into vices– “You began ill, because you began by despising everything that belonged to you. Respecting your forefathers, you would have been taught to respect yourselves. Compute your gains: see what is got by those extravagant and presumptuous speculations which have taught your leaders to despise all their predecessors, and all their contemporaries, and even to despise themselves, until the moment in which they became truly despicable. By following those false lights, France has brought undisguised calamities at a higher price than any nation has purchased the most unequivocal blessings. France… Read more »
Ofay Cat
Guest

“hurtling toward crisis.” I think we have arrived. It’s being down played by the vested interests who want it to continue, but we are broke ..no? We are very divided and most of the world wants to kill us all. Drugs, obesity, violent crime, cop hating, DOJ and FBI corruption … a lying president and a lying women nominee for president … Wiki leaks, Project veritas …. I could go on …. but you get it …. WE ARE IN A CRISIS, WE ARE NOT ADMITTING IT.

Saml Adams
Guest
We are well into the consumption phase as evidenced by the current national, state and local debt loads. Problem is we’ve spent as though the Third Industrial Revolution was going to deliver the levels of productivity and GDP growth that came from the First and Second. Instead we are flatline. Going to unwind sooner that we think. Saw a presentation from a Pew Foundation demographer in a meeting yesterday. One of the most interesting charts in the series was the one showing the delta in household net worth for 30 year olds versus 65 year olds in five year increments,… Read more »
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