The workings of power are always and everywhere shrouded in mystery and intrigue. For the past few hundred years, those of us in the western world have been taught to fear personal and corporate power, preferring to have the state act “fairly” on our behalves and to distribute the power of the people accordingly. Over time, since the state is a business like any other, this power has concentrated beyond what’s reasonable or sustainable, and this will continue until Bitcoin resets the clock.
And while the new orderi grows its roots ever deeper, the existing powers will continue to aggregate and pretend to matter. Why “pretend?” Because the current regime is predicated on words, not power. And words don’t last forever.
So what is power? According to our friend Thomas Hobbes:ii servants, friends, riches, reputation, success, affability, nobility, eloquence, and being handsome.
By these examples we can see that the world’s various and sundry fiat billionaires have access to some types of power, depending on where they live. In the United States of Egypt today, as something like 90% of US GDP is derived from government power, its billionaires recognize their utter dependence on the USG to catch and maintain even a whiff of power.
So what’s an aging US billionaire, one who wants to pass their crown to the next generation, to do?
Well, send their kids to the White House to cozy up all nice and good, all under the pretense of “philanthropy.”iii This is, of course, nonsense. But let’s take a peek at this recent NYT article. Y’know, for enlightenment and enjoyment:
On a crisp morning in late March, an elite group of 100 young philanthropists and heirs to billionaire family fortunes filed into a cozy auditorium at the White House.
Gotta build that next generation! It ain’t gonna build itself.
Their name tags read like a catalog of the country’s wealthiest and most influential clans: Rockefeller, Pritzker, Marriott. They were there for a discreet, invitation-only summit hosted by the Obama administration to find common ground between the public sector and the so-called next-generation philanthropists, many of whom stand to inherit billions in private wealth.
If their wealth was really “private,” like it is with Bitcoin, they wouldn’t need to be at the White House at all. But it isn’t, so yeah, there they are.
The well-heeled group seemed receptive. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Patrick Gage, a 19-year-old heir to the multibillion-dollar Carlson hotel and hospitality fortune. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Mr. Gage is an industry leader in enforcing measures to combat trafficking and involuntary prostitution.
Basically, the Gage kid wants to play judge and decide what’s “voluntary” prostitution and what’s “involuntary.” Presumably with his own penis, ya ? Because how a 19-year-old leads anything more than his own frank ‘n’ beans is beyond me.
A freshman at Georgetown University, Mr. Gage was among the presenters at a breakout session, titled “Combating Human Trafficking,” that attracted a notable group of his peers. “The person two seats away from me was a Marriott,“ he said. “And when I told her about trafficking, right away she was like, ‘Uh, yeah, I want to do that.’ ”
The Marriott girl’s response demonstrates 1) that intelligence isn’t (entirely) genetic, and 2) that “social justice” is more about groupthinky tawking and looking cool than doing anything in particular, which is also why it’s as unsustainable as centrally-planned currency, and closely related. But you already knew that.
Justin McAuliffe, a 24-year-old heir to the Hilton hotel fortune, was similarly impressed by the crowd. “Hilton, Marriott and Carlson,” he said. “That is cool.”
Because Americans are all about hospitality and shit. I mean, what else is a post-industrial society supposed to specialise in if not tourism, as with pre-industrial societies ?
The daylong conference was organized by Thomas Kalil, a deputy director for technology and innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, with the help of Nexus, a youth organization based in Washington that seeks to “catalyze” the next generation of billionaire philanthropists and other stakeholders.
Or to introduce power to other power, which is as it should be, I suppose.
Mr. Kalil moved nimbly among the affluent participants and through the ornate halls of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where the summit was held. “A lot of this is not just, you know, collaborations between the administration and philanthropists,” he said, “but philanthropists finding each other, finding other philanthropists with shared interests.”
On the entry forms, under interests: “power, power, and more power.” It’s no wonder they’re so chummy!
A case in point is Zac Russell, an eloquent 26-year-old whose grandfather made a fortune with the asset management firm Russell Investments and who officially joined the board of the Russell Family Foundation last year. While not an ardent supporter of the Obama administration, he decided to attend the conference to consult, he said, with White House experts on climate change and to discuss grass-roots efforts to improve water quality in Puget Sound, where the foundation is based.
What could be a better example of grass-roots philanthropy than visiting the White House to protect the drinking water in your own backyard? Also, “climate change” is neatly used as a euphemism for not having clean air, clean water, and non-poisonous food to eat. Crafty.
“It’s not just seen as some old guy writing checks anymore,” Mr. Russell said. “It’s young people who want to solve real problems.”
Because only young people know what “real problems” are, not people with experience, wisdom, or anything between their ears. It’s all about “ideas,” which explains an entire fucking culture of neotenic fuck-ups who still read Marvel comics and ride rollercoasters in their 30s.
The conference, which lasted all day and included breaks for lunch and hallway hobnobbing, covered a broad range of topics including “Climate Change,” “Millennial Healthcare” and “Revitalizing Cities.”
One topic that seemed to generate intense interest among the wealthy heirs was impact investing, which refers to a socially conscious form of investing that seeks to generate both a social benefit and a meaningful financial return.
“Impact investing” sounds like finding prime numbers while simultaneously hashing new blocks. There ain’t no free lunch and the only definition of “a meaningful financial return” is beating inflation, which is nearly impossible in the US right now. Sure, stocks are up, but playing with fire is playing with fire.
“We want 100 percent of our assets to be value aligned or impact invested,” Ms. Simmons said. She and her husband recently formed the Blue Haven Initiative, a public-spirited investment office and philanthropic organization. The gravitas she commands as a boldface name, even among this silk-stocking crowd, meant that people wanted her attention as she made her rounds at the conference.
“I was a little worried they were going to get a bunch of rich kids in the room and fund-raise for the Democratic Party,” Ms. Simmons said. “But they didn’t.”
They didn’t fundraise for the Democratic Party because it makes no difference what party the “philanthropists” donate to. It’s all the same.
No matta’ what, stacks goin’ be printed and shit be flowin’ from the White House on down.
Cuz dat’s power. I mean, “philanthrophy.”
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- That is, the -assets +m order. [↩]
- From Leviathan (1651) [↩]
- In theory, philanthropy is part of the American Dream to distribute one’s profits as one sees fit. In effect, it’s an extension of USG power because the Obama administration is too politically neutered on the world stage to openly exert influence so it does so vicariously through its “philanthropic” works. This still means that charity is ultimately being enacted through the state, which we know doesn’t work so hot :
The state works to give currency to the false notions that the “needy”, rather than the industrious, are ideal recipients of charity, and that charity should be unconditional (or at the very most conditional upon “facts” rather than action). The state works to give currency to the false notion that receiving charity is somehow shameful or to be avoided (this is a forced mistake, trying to compensate for the ballooning demand created by the foregoing nonsense). The state works to give currency to the false notion that it can administer charity – which it necessarily never can and never could.