Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What Shameless Greed, Arrogance, and Ignorance Look Like

Note: Yesterday I posted an answer to a query I found on Quora, a website I joined recently, and one I'm still "test-driving." It remains to be seen if it's worth my time.

The question, listed above my answer below, sat in my craw for a while before I responded to it. It has since gotten several hundred views and "upvotes."

This morning administrators at Quora informed me that they'd "collapsed" my answer, which is their odd way of saying that they found it unacceptable and "too harsh," as they put it.

Therein lies the problem. Because the answer I gave was not too harsh. Not in this day and age, perhaps the most deadly in all of our species' history. People like the man who wrote this question are the problem. They are the reason why our world is on the verge of environmental, nuclear, and fascistic Armageddon. Blithe, smarmy, suburban, self-absorbed, arrogant, and ignorant people like him are no longer acceptable. They must be opposed at every available opportunity.

If needed, I won't hesitate to use the ol' ad hominem hammer on folks. I was actually far gentler with this jerk than I probably should have been. Still, Quora thought it too much.

And so we lurch ever closer to our end.



"I am financially secure but very stressed. How can I live a simple but quality life?"

I am a 28 year old male, happily engaged, and have $7.5M but feel pressure from society to continue making more and never stop. I want to live a healthy life full of experiences, travel, learning new skills, and simplicity among other things.

My Answer

LET ME see if I’ve got this right.

You’re 28 and “have" $7.5M.

Questions: By “have” do you mean you earned it? Meaning precisely this: from dollar one to dollar 7,500,000, and by your own efforts, you lawfully earned every penny in-between? Or was part or all of that inherited wealth?

Or by “having” are you implying some other financial term of ownership, i.e., real estate or the liquid assets of a company, stocks, etc.—?

Your question smacks of rank ego. “I am 28 but have $7.5M …” Why not ask instead, “I am 28 and have some money …”? What would the difference be to the query in and of itself? You ostensibly are feeling “pressure” from the society that granted you that wealth, no matter the means, to continue making more and never stopping. Again, the specific number “$7.5M” sticks out like a sore thumb here.

Let me ask everyone reading this: Who among you, regardless of income, don’t feel pressure from society to continue making more and never stop? I’d wager—and I believe there are plenty of statistics backing this up—that poor and impoverished folks feel much more societal pressure to produce than people of wealth. By the way you’ve phrased your question, you imply that being wealthy brings with it far greater pressure. But that is flat-out incorrect. In fact, it’s grossly insensitive and crass.

The only people who hold you up as a standard to be admired based on your age and income are very sad, pathetic people indeed. Think Trump supporters. People who base their worldviews on wealth.

There are slightly more than 8 million millionaires in America, according to Wikipedia. That is to say, there are 8 million people in America worth at least one million dollars. The number of Americans worth at least 7.5 times that is probably much smaller. At most, one in fifty Americans, in other words, is worth at least a million bucks. The probability that you are one of those folks is, therefore, small.

But let’s say you are that wealthy. Why brag about your wealth here, on Quora? What good would it do? What possible benefit would it confer aside from tragic and uninformed ego gratification?

You say you want to live “a healthy life full of experiences, travel, learning new skills, and simplicity among other things.” Your wealth allows almost perverse ease towards all those goals. If you’ve got all that money and haven’t seen that to this point, I seriously must question your intelligence—or your motivation in posting the query.

There is nothing keeping you from quitting whatever thing it is you do that’s applying all this pressure. You’ve got the wealth!

You want a real challenge? Try doing that while poor! Try living an authentic life while poor!

Ah. But I’m putting words into your mouth here. You said nothing of living authentically, did you? You want a “quality” life. Right?

There is the chance that you’re nothing more than a rich jerk who has no friggin’ idea just how good you’ve got it and just how rotten the vast majority of the rest of your fellow human beings have it. Your question smacks of arrogance, ego, insensitivity, mendacity, and jaw-dropping idiocy. If you are such an individual, I genuinely feel sorry for you. I, an individual with nary a penny to my name, who depends totally on my partner to keep a roof over my head. I do!

There is a much greater chance that you’re some stupid punk who doesn’t have anything close to that kind of scratch who’s got some psychologically stunted need to make yourself look wealthy and “with it.” Or you are just trying to goad people like me into nuking your sad self so you can troll them back.

If any of the above, I offer a heartfelt wish to you. Here it is: I wish you get to live, firsthand, and for at least five years, what it is like to live on the edge of nothingness—utter poverty, homelessness, hunger, no health care, nothing but the dead, angry, judgmental stares of wealthier passing citizens as they glare at you in your shabby, threadbare clothes …

For that is how the vast, vast, vast majority of this species lives each and every day.

That is my wish.

Educate yourself. Now. Right now.


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