Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On the Self-made Man...

On Sunday, when I turned 64 and quipped that the iconic Beatles song would no longer be applicable, several of my witty FB friends chimed in. Ove suggested that the song might be saying, "When I'm Six Feet Four." I agreed that this kept the song relevant for me, since this was a height which I have not and am not likely to attain.

My friend, Charles, suggested that this was a height that I could easily reach by standing on a chair. (Former student, Bertha retorted that at 64, it wasn't getting up on the chair but getting down safely that was the problem.)

Charles's solution got me thinking about politics—because pretty much everything these days gets me thinking about politics—and it prompted this answer.

Charles, I think your chair solution explains the Romney/Ryan philosophy of "self-reliance" and "self-respect": however, standing on a chair doesn't make you taller (Look, Ma, now I'm six-feet-four") any more than trampling on the lives of thousands (perhaps, millions) of others in your rapacious lust for personal gain while using all the advantages of wealth and privilege to rig the system and justify fraud and malfeasance make you a "job creator" (Look, Pa, I just raided a corporation with a hostile leveraged buyout that garnered me and my cronies millions while we ravaged the company, left it with insurmountable debt, drove its employees into the street—causing many of them to lose their homes, their pensions, and their life savings— and bankrupted both the employees and the shareholders, then merrily skipped off with our ill-gotten gains to do it again and again). [Yep, that is, indeed, one very long sentence, and look out, here comes another one....]

If, by "self-made," Romney/Ryan/and the far-wrong wing of the Republican Party mean someone who has used all of the infrastructure and social, economic and legal systems put into place by your fellow citizens—including millions of dollars in government "bail-outs" (see "Romney's Summer Olympics" or Ryan's own government pension plan)—if, by "self-made," they mean someone who forfeits his conscience and morality in favor of unfettered personal greed—if, by "self-made," they mean someone who, having done the aforementioned, can, without intended irony, brashly claim that those that you have trampled over and cheated do not "take personal responsibility" or "care for their lives"—then I agree that in order to be that crass, craven, clueless, and conscienceless, a Romney or a Ryan or a Cantor or a Koch or a Rove or a Bush or a Bachmann or a Palin or a Coulter or a Limbaugh or a Murdoch are, indeed, self-made, immoral monstrosities.

And yes, the foregoing is definitely invective (unkind though not uncivil), and it would be an "ad hominem" attack except that the characterization is directly relevant to the claim of these so-called "self-reliant," "self-made" women and men.

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