Guy Verhofstadt: “de uiterste consequentie van het identiteitsdenken zijn de gaskamers van Auzwitsch”

Hoe dan ook, de ééndimensionale zoektocht naar de gezamenlijke ‘identiteit’ is van een heel andere orde. Zij leidt tot het uitrollen in de samenleving van een aantal etnische, nationale, culturele of religieuze ‘containers’ of ‘bunkers’ waaruit de mens niet meer kan of niet meer mag ontsnappen. Onvermijdelijk mondt zij uit in geweld, in rellen in de eigen buurt, in haat en oorlog in de wijde wereld. ‘L’identité meurtrière’ zoals Maalouf het noemt. De voorbije moorddadige 20ste eeuw was er de tragische illustratie van. Die 20ste eeuw heeft ons geleerd dat de uiterste consequentie van het identiteitsdenken de gaskamers van Auzwitsch zijn. En de reden waarom dat zo is, valt niet moeilijk te achterhalen. ‘Identiteit’ betekent dat men aan een groep mensen specifieke kenmerken toeschrijft, die veelal radicaal verschillend zijn van iemand met een andere identiteit. ‘Verschillend’ betekent ‘anders’. En van ‘anders’ is het maar een kleine stap naar ‘vijandig‘. [bron]

Guy Verhofstadt

“For the Love of Money”

From that moment on, I started to see Wall Street with new eyes. I noticed the vitriol that traders directed at the government for limiting bonuses after the crash. I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. Ever see what a drug addict is like when he’s used up his junk? He’ll do anything — walk 20 miles in the snow, rob a grandma — to get a fix. Wall Street was like that. In the months before bonuses were handed out, the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in “The Wire” when the heroin runs out.I’d always looked enviously at the people who earned more than I did; now, for the first time, I was embarrassed for them, and for me. I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn’t fair; that wasn’t right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn’t really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist. Not so nurse practitioners. […]

Wealth addiction was described by the late sociologist and playwright Philip Slater in a 1980 book, but addiction researchers have paid the concept little attention. Like alcoholics driving drunk, wealth addiction imperils everyone. Wealth addicts are, more than anybody, specifically responsible for the ever widening rift that is tearing apart our once great country. Wealth addicts are responsible for the vast and toxic disparity between the rich and the poor and the annihilation of the middle class. Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation — including an $8.5 million bonus — as the McDonald’s C.E.O., Don Thompson, did in 2012, while his company then published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages. Only a wealth addict would earn hundreds of millions as a hedge-fund manager, and then lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary. [bron]

Sam Polk (twitter) is a former hedge-fund trader and the founder of the nonprofit Groceryships.