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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eight Horsemen of the Apocalypse

In recent years, bankers have become a hated group. However, before the politicians could do any damage to their privileges and excesses, the British right-wing media was able to make an issue of some excessive financial claims made by numerous member of parliament (average 20k) and neuter what remaining power politicians had in that country. The ongoing media scandal in Britain has now (finally) exposed the moral bankruptcy of the “tabloid” newspapers who had politicians fearful of taking actions which would offend newspaper moguls. A joke which beautifully illustrates the perversion of these papers has the Pope in a rowing boat with the leader of the miners’ union of the 1980s then in deep conflict with the government. The oars are lost and Scargill (the miners’ leader) gets out of the boat and walks across the water to retrieve the oars. The next day’s newspapers headlines are “Arthur Scargill can’t swim!”!!
The ongoing scandal has now also brought police corruption into the frame in England.
So, in the course of 3-4 years, 4 core professions of the British Establishment (or Power Elite) have been demonised – bankers, politicians, media and police. Perhaps the most powerful professional group, however, has managed to stay out of the spotlight – but needs now to be “outed” and ousted from its privileged and corrupting position. And which group is that? They began to come into the frame at the recent exchanges between the Murdoch mogul and his son and members of the UK Parliament’s Select Committee on Culture and media. Of course the questions (ranging from dum to clever) were interesting - and also the answers (clearly carefully prepared). But, for me, most interesting were the faces and body language. I was particularly struck by the faces of those who sat in the row immediately behind the 2 Murdochs – not just that of his (beautiful, young Chinese) wife but those of two elegantly dressed and elderly consiglione whose impassive features recalled nothing less than those in mafia films. These were his lawyers – and it was (corporate) lawyers whose advice had been sought by the Murdochs we heard about time and time again during the exchanges. Britain and America have more lawyers than most of the countries of the globe put together – and they basically protect the amorality of corporations. And it is these poeple who then go to become judges - Craig Murray has a short post today on the amorality of our judges. And those with any optimism remaining for the future of the planet will be disappointed to learn that the majority of graduates these days still want to go into either the finance or legal sectors. If our churches had any morality left they would be focussing on this – and discouraging our youngsters from such decisions.
I think it was Harold MacMillan who suggested at a meeting of ex-Prime Ministers that the collective noun for a group of political leaders was a “lack of principles” (He also, interestingly, said that “we did not give up the divine right of kings to succumb to the divine right of experts”! ). So I offer you the 5 groups who are destroying our civilisation - investment bankers, politicians, corporate lawyers, tabloid journalists and corrupt policemen. But what about the accountants/economists, academics and preachers??? Damn! There seem to be 8 horses of the apocalypse! Let me in conclusion, offer this quotation from mediaeval times -
Strange is our situation here on earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other human beings - above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends
I have never heard of the painter John Atkinson Grimshaw – but would recommend these videos one of which has the music of Thomas Newman whose soundtrack helped make the film Road to Perdition such a fascinating one for me
I have chosen Durer's version of the Four Horsemen genre.

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