"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help."And, up to $700 billion later, reading this and this, I thought it would be asking you - my readers - to help me compose a certificate that could be sent out to every Thatcherite and right-wing libertarian that you have contact details for.
I'd like to write it up in a nice font, give it a pretty border, and turn it into a pdf that can be printed off, signed and framed, and hung over a well-appointed desk as an acknowledgement of recent developments.
The wording I've got is as follows - let me know what you think?
An Acknowledgement: Draft 0.9
For much of the past thirty years, there has been a consensus that deregulated capitalism provides a just moral framework. One that promotes fairness, efficiency and social progress.
I have been a vocal supporter of this position. I have opposed improvements to welfare safety-nets on the grounds that they would interfere with the workings of the markets. I have advocated a 'meritocracy' in which we all enjoy the rewards of our enterprise and take the consequences of our mistakes.
For decades, I have stood by while millions of people who were not born with my material advantages have been forced to bend over and take it like a man while I have continued to enjoy the fruits of my advantaged start in life. I have always argued that poverty is, at least in part, the consequence of irresponsibility and poor judgement, and that to relieve that poverty would be to reward these shortcomings.
I have always reassured myself that the iron laws of the market show that there is no fairer way of organising human relations.
Furthermore, I have argued that taxation is, somehow, almost a form of theft, and that no situation is so bad that it isn't made worse by government intervention.
I am now happy to concede that the leading lights of modern capitalism are the more deserving of the label 'thieving bastards' than anyone else alive. In a month in which people such as myself have received the kind of bail-out that I have refused to countenance for others who are less advantaged than ourselves, I am now willing to concede that I am - and have for a long time been - a worthless cheating parasite of the highest order.
If the families of the unemployed have suffered terribly over the years for their relatively minor lack of responsibility or good judgement, then in a fair world, I would be spending the next couple of decades up to my eyeballs in raw sewage for the wanton irresponsibility and stupidity that I have long advocated.
If I had even an ounce of honour, I would retire to my study with a generic bottle of blended scotch and a revolver in order to relieve those around me of the burden of having to gaze upon my hypocritical countenance for a moment longer.
But failing that, I now, at least, have the decency to acknowledge that a generous universal safety net funded out a general taxation would be a minimal concession to make given the huge bailout that democratic governments have handed to the leading institutions of capitalism.
Furthermore, I am now prepared to accept that the kind of market liberalism that I have advocated for many years is entirely impractical in a modern democracy - and that effective liberal democracy is that only thing that stopped the entire population of my country, and it's neighbours, from suffering the consequences of my long-standing stupidity, greed and dishonesty. I now concede that elected governments, and not larcenous shitheads such as myself, should drive public policy for the foreseeable future.
Name: .............................................. (block capitals please)
Whaddaya think? Does it go far enough? Or should I make it a bit more penitent? And let me know (Shuggy) if there are any shortcomings in the grammar and punctuation and stuff? I've probably overdone the split infinitives and that.
(Cross-posted at The Trots)