Saturday, 26 May 2012

Moral blackmail, divide and rule BOGOF

With frightening rapidity, the notion of Greece as part of the Third World is becoming the new normal. Hot on the heels of 'humanitarian disaster'  we get this:

So when she [IMF hegemon, Christine Lagarde] studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won't have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won't get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care – does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?

"No, I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens." 
The Guardian

As an example of how the unaccountable overclass talk down to the rest of us from their recession-proof ivory towers, this couldn't be bettered. So many subtle overtones in so few words. First, the language of 'tough choices', (tough choices are always easy to make, so long as you're making them on behalf of other people and are you can be sure that you won't ever be called on to make any personal sacrifice). Then there's the deliberate mention of a Third World country, with the implied threat that Greeks will end up like that if they don't knuckle down and vote for more of the same.

Then there's the moral blackmail - how very dare you be so selfish as to want midwives and life-saving drugs when there are babies going hungry in Africa (let's just gloss over the disastrous impact that the sort of the "structural adjustments" demanded by the IMF have already had on the economies of sub-Saharan Africa)? On the moral blackmail point, you get a buy one, get one free deal - buy the moral blackmail and get some divide and rule free, putting the interests of Africa in direct competition with those of Greece.

Yes, I did notice what you just did there, Christine. It's easy to rubbish anybody's needs by comparing them unfavourably with somebody who's even worse off. It's called the race to the bottom. Funny how members of the overclass always use this trope to play the relatively poor off against the absolutely desperate.

After all, it would be in terribly bad taste to compare and contrast the very poor with the really rich and comfortably off. Imagine if she'd said 'I have the poor Africans in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than French and German bankers'. No, that would never do.