Fools And Their Money

Way back in the olden thymes, I worked in the Imperial Capital. I was just a kid and that allowed me access to a lot of scuttlebutt. That may seem odd, but no one has anything to fear from a kid running errands and doing office tasks. Consequently, the young people, mostly interns and pages, used to hear and see more dirt than just about anyone else. In the age of cell phones, that’s probably no longer true.

The thing about people in power is they don’t have a high regard for rich people. We like to think that the rich run the pols, but it is not really that way. The powerful of DC live pretty well by normal standards. The currency of DC is influence. Knowing how the system works counts for a lot more than money. Knowing who to call will always trump the ability to stroke a check. Lots of people have money. Few people know the right number to dial to get things done.

As a result, there’s a degree of contempt for the rich, in general, amongst the ruling class. The Rodney Dangerfield rich guys who barge in thinking they can buy their way into the right parties are particularly loathed by the Ted Baxter set. Even so, the sophisticated classes that run things in Washington are very good at handling wealthy rubes from the provinces. They want their money, of course. They just don’t want to put up with the bullshit that rich people bring with them.

So, they direct them into harmless endeavors. I once had the task of giving some rich guy and his old lady the tour of a UNICEF office. I knew nothing about UNICEF, but the congressman I worked for was on their board, I think. Maybe it was his wife. I was young and earnest looking so I guess I filled a role in the hustle. It was a long time ago and all I remember is how flattered the rich people looked. A Congressman’s wife and her people doting on the rich people made for a good show.

Later in life I figured out that the game was to guide the rich dumbasses into funding projects that employed friends of the political class. It was a form of patronage. It was also a way to keep the rich people from doing something stupid. Think about all of the Hollywood assholes who get involved in a cause. Most of them can’t count their balls twice and come up with the same number, but they are loaded and they have free time. That’s a dangerous combo if they want to “make a difference.”

That’s what you see with Bill Gates and his gun grabbing efforts. The nitwit who wrote the article is generally clueless, but that’s part of the game. The Left needs to keep tools like Cliff Schecter toiling in the fields.

Somewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.

It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

Gates is only the latest Washington billionaire to give to the effort, with original Amazon investor Nick Hanauer providing crucial early funding, and more recently upping his overall donation to $1.4 million. Additionally, Gates’s Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has provided $500,000 for the cause.

The ballot issue in question, #594 is largely a nothing initiative. It requires a background check for private transfers of firearms. This is a favorite hobbyhorse issue for the crackpots because they think it will lead to registration and then confiscation.

You see, there’s no way to enforce regulation of private sales without registration. Registration is the precursor to confiscation. The trouble is it will never survive court challenge. Imagine needing a permit to post comments on the Internet. That’s how the courts will treat this measure.

The bigger problem for the gun-grabbers is that another initiative on the ballot would forbid background checks and it has broad support as well. But, some low-level flunkies get a paycheck for a while courtesy of rich suckers like Bill Gates. That’s what counts.

9 thoughts on “Fools And Their Money

  1. Pingback: Monday morning links - Maggie's Farm

  2. Curious, is CAPTDMO a bot…?

    The comments always have English words but nothing ever arranged in what might be considered coherent thought, much less a train.

  3. So, once again, the normal people in WA state go forth to do battle with the nitwits in Puget Sound. This state gets more like California every day.

  4. Yes, thank you, this is the most common political misunderstanding I know of. The rich are not the ruling elites, and do not affect government but to a small fraction of the level to which the government gorilla controls them. Our rulers became the academia-media-government complex in 1933, a fact which Hayek had already noted in 1940. They respect wealth and hate capitalism, a curious dichotomy, because they think government is the source of wealth. And even when that that mule is ridden until it dies, they will inherit still more power. So they believe, and it may be so. Or not.

    Garet Garrett–
    “Outside of the Communist Party and its aura of radical intellectuals few Americans seemed to know that revolution had become a department of knowledge, with a philosophy and doctorate of its own, a language, a great body of experimental data, schools of method, textbooks, and manuals.
    There was a prodigious literature of revolutionary thought concealed only by the respectability of its dress.
    To the revolutionary…it was knowledge that gave him a sense of power. One who mastered the subject to the point of excellence could be fairly sure of a livelihood by teaching and writing…and meanwhile dream of passing at a single leap from this mean obscurity to the prestige of one who assists in the manipulation of great happenings.
    The revolutionary mind that did at length evolve was one of really superior intelligence, clothed with academic dignity…and at ease in all circumstances.
    What it represented was a quantity of bitter intellectual radicalism infiltrated from the top downward as a doctorhood of professors, writers, critics, analysts, advisers, administrators, directors of research, and so on–a prepared revolutionary intelligence in spectacles.”

    One of the Austrians pointed out that the capitalist himself was no less likely to be a socialist than anyone else, and likely more so, because capitalism to a capitalist is not theory but rather a talent, leaving him incapable of defending what he does on principle and vulnerable to the projected guilt of others.

  5. In olden thymes, as you put it, politicians were the lapdogs of the rich. There was no real regulatory state, and most of the power was in the hands of the plutocrats. When politicians went after plutocrats, it was usually at the behest of another plutocrat. Now most corporations are just oversized rent seekers, dependent on government largess and contracts. They are fearful of the IRS, the SEC, the EPA, and the rest of the massive regulatory bureaucracy. Corporate CEO’s are no longer Randian owners and inventors; they are risk-averse corporatists who are happy to do as they are told by their masters in Washington, as long as that keeps the stock price up.

    I’ve often wondered why people like Buffet and Gates just wake up one day and decide that the best use of their hard earned dough is to fund programs that encourage Third World abortions, confiscate guns, open the borders to millions of moronic peasants, and make the nation’s school children stupider. You think they’d know better. In the old days these guys built libraries and museums and founded great universities. They amassed extraordinary art collections and built amazing houses. Now they pay for Adhiambo Achieng’s late-term abortion, and are proud of it.

    I think these guys get phone calls. I think they are told what to do with their cash, or face some kind of SEC investigation or anti-trust suit. Perhaps the EPA threatens to swoop in and invent some endangered animal that shuts down your factory. They are told what to do, or face the consequences.

    • hmm but aren’t the majority of members of the ruling class rich?

      Rich compared to Americans, sure. They are not rich by robber baron standards. The typical Silicon Valley rich guy has house boys worth more than the typical hack. Lois Lerner, for example, was making six figures to harass the Tea Party for the Obama administration. That’s servant’s wages in Stamford CT.

      There are some truly rich congressman and senators, but that’s just the part of the iceberg you see. The real power in Washington is with the permanent bureaucracy and consultancy. They write and administer the laws. The pols give speeches.

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