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.