Someone on the internet is wrong! And it is me!

This was submitted to Thought Leader by someone calling themselves “MC Stand”. I thought it was just too wonderful not to publish. Who needs rational debate when you can resort to a good-old-fasioned vicious ad hominem? And such passion!

Why Alistair Fairweather is so very, very cross

We’re all so stupid, that’s the problem. If only we’d listen.

Why do people who have no money get upset when they find out that eighty-five people own half the money in the world?

‘Too much of our energy is spent debating about how to appropriately punish the rich for their good fortune,’ scolds Mr Fairweather.

How cleverly Mr Fairweather constructed that sentence.

‘Punishing the rich’ – implying that, by asking the eighty-five human beings who possess more money that half the world to consider surrounding a fraction of their wealth for the betterment of the species, we have reduced ourselves to the level of a bad-tempered parent with a paddle.

‘Punishing the rich’ – as if our primary concern was not injustice, nor social stability, but rather resentment, bitterness and jealousy.

And better yet, ‘their good fortune.’ Isn’t that a lovely phrase? What it suggests is that the superrich didn’t get to where they are by being born Western, white, abled, generally male, and often to wealthy parents, that they didn’t take advantage of a range of unfair opportunities to claw their way to top of the pile, that they didn’t do anything WRONG by gathering up more money than is currently own by half the population of the planet. No, the rich were simply ‘fortunate.’

What is ‘fortunate’? Why, ‘fortunate’ is lucky! What lucky, lucky people the superrich are. How could we stubborn, stupid little people resent their luck?

Mr Fairweather thinks that, instead of getting upset with grotesque wealth inequality, we should talk abouttechnology! Technology is great! Technology will make ALL of us rich! Won’t that be nice? If we just sit down quietly, and stop bothering the superrich, soon we’ll all have enough money for iPhones and iPads and shares in Apple.

Just be QUIET and WAIT, you stupid, uneducated pieces of shit, hisses the subtext of Mr Fairweather’s article.

It’s actually quite easy to see why Mr Fairweather is so committed to this notion of not blaming the poor, poor, vulnerable superrich for their deliberate perpetuation of a system of gross inequality; to the notion that the superrich didn’t have any unfair advantages from the outset, like being white, like being Western, like being men; to the notion that, all the superrich had to do to get where they are was to understand the magical, magical powers of technology.

See, Mr Fairweather is white, and a young, healthy man who was not born into poverty, and writes for a Westernised audience, and understands technology. Moreover, he is all those things in South Africa, and writes for one of the premier newspapers in the country. So Mr Fairweather has quite a lot invested in the idea that all his good fortune is the result of luck, and hard work, and, who knows, the angels’ rewarding him for not masturbating too often. He certainly wouldn’t like to have to confront the fact that the only reason he has the job he has, and the life he has, and the prospects he has, is because a great many people over the last few centuries have been stolen from and violated and murdered to ensure that Mr Fairweather would be born with his arse in the butter.

Oh, to buggery with this. Let’s finish up. Mr Fairweather is not a social scientist, not an economist, and is pretty plainly talking out his rectum about complex issues that qualified people have created journals and NGOs and university departments and books and documentaries to analyse. He’s handed us a smug, lukewarm, technofellating, patronising plate of ignorant, half-formed pseudo-intellectual twaddle. If he were to present any of his ‘conclusions’ to any qualified academic or activist, they would laugh in his face. More to the point, he’s messing us about. He KNOWS that no one is talking about ‘punishing’ the rich for their ‘good fortune’. What people are actually talking about is analysing the systems of unfair advantages that enable a select number of human beings to own huge, huge, inconceivably huge amounts of money while a decent percentage of the planet cannot afford food.

This is not something that just happened, through some random constellation of unfortunate events. This situation, this terrible situation that we are in, happened on purpose. Whether Mr Fairweather likes it or not, there are people to be blamed. There are people who must be blamed.

Mr Fairweather finishes his article by taking a cheap shot at ‘the armchair activists calling for another Marxist revolution’. Ahahah! Well done, Mr Fairweather! That’s the way. When your opponents point out that eighty-five people owning half the world’s wealth is a bad thing, call them Marxists, accuse them of starting a revolution, while at the same time sneering at ‘armchair activism’ – by which you mean ‘concerned citizens debating income inequality on the internet, a useful platform for facilitating conversations between a wide number of geographically disparate individuals.’

Perhaps the sort of activism Mr Fairweather would prefer would involve rioting in the streets and public beheadings.

Perhaps it’s time to think about that.

3 Responses to “Someone on the internet is wrong! And it is me!

  • Ouch Alistair, you just got smacked with a light sabre. Admittedly, you might not really deserve such ‘technological’ treatment, but it was certainly performed with gusto and artistic swooshing sounds. He/she makes some good points though .. 🙂

  • TL;DR.
    It made my head hurt. This commentator needs to get laid. Far too much anger for the middle of a week in January.

  • This person is so smug, I just want to find him/her and high-five them. In the face. With a chair.

    Under all the snark, some very good points. But completely unrelated to the piece he/she is responding to because this person clearly completely missed your point.