Is it Cynical to Believe the System is Corrupt?

While a new poll shows most US citizens believe the political and economic system is rigged against them, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren also echo this sentiment. Some conservatives are now pushing back. But what says the evidence? NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network and analyzes the situation. You can view here with a transcript.

2 responses to “Is it Cynical to Believe the System is Corrupt?

  1. It seems evident to me that making excuses for irresponsible or corrupt behaviors and suggesting that we can leave them be is a pernicious form of cynicism at best and willful corruption itself at worst. The key to cynicism is angry despair that results in paralysis; it’s no use to try because everything sucks. Corruption is a form of crime, and crime is as old as dirt, but its prevalence has varied between eras and societies. Corruption in the US was on a roll in the Gilded Age, a previous era of plutocratic political power and impunity. After several decades of resistance and democratization, we have been gulled into allowing it back.

    Mainstream media outlets that matter-of-factly report that a “powerful lobby” can block a popular initiative, or conversely ram through an unpopular one, speaks of anti-democratic corruption in plain sight, to the point of normalization. The fact that it seems as if every letter or email I receive from my political representatives is essentially a plea for money suggests that something is out of whack. The amounts of money that are spent to shape political outcomes testifies to the intrusion of vast sums as an anti-egalitarian wild card, distorting the democratic nature of the process. Were the money not effective, such excessive sums would not be spent.

  2. “We’ve got to stop applying morality to this form of crime.” In essence, he is channeling the godfather. “Tell the Don it wasn’t personal. It was just business.”

    Years ago my father told me of encountering a businessman with whom he had some contact in the past, and the two exchanged greetings. My father as asked about a woman who ran the businessman’s office whom he had praised highly in the past. The businessman said “I had to let her go. Another year and she would have qualified for retirement benefits”. So much for “business ethics”. Morality get a bad rep with people fuming over gay sex etc., but it starts to matter when people can be or are being harmed. We tend to agree that wildly irresponsible or predatory behavior is unacceptable: drunk driving, arson, rape, murder, etc. , although we are not always consistent over who we will trouble to protect. The dirty secret is that corruption gets a foothold from which to spread no matter who is the victim. When we excuse or wink at corruption or lies perpetrated by one of our own, we open the door to corruption of all. Its that simple. The current administration indicates how far our cynical tolerance of lies and liars can go without consistent societal moral resistance. The devil had no horns or tail, it’s the “Mr. Hyde” that lurks in our own human nature; our human capacity for narcissism and sociopathy that we leave untended at our peril.