Billionaires, Bunkers and Brain Damage

“The rich are not like us”

Occupy Wall Street: October 8, 2011

Douglas Rushkoff has an article (based on his latest book) called “The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse,” in The Observer.

This excerpt gives you an idea of how the barbaric brain of a billionaire operates:

Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from raiders as well as angry mobs. One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time.” It’s as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

After reading that, you may be wondering if the rich are brain-damaged. To which I reply: Why weren’t you thinking that all along and yes, they are brain-damaged. Some studies to consider:

There’s plenty more where that came from but, of course, all such “research” must be viewed with healthy skepticism. Personally, since I’m justifiably wary of “studies,” I’ll just look around to see — with my own three eyes — how the wealthiest humans on the planet have behaved since, well… forever.

Or consider the words of the immortal Dorothy Parker: “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

Translation: The billionaires are not going to save you — or ever help you. They’re running scared to get their brain-damaged butts into bunkers.

So, connect with your peers. Connect across “party” lines and ideological hive minds. Toss away your purity litmus tests and find common ground.

What will save us is what always saves us: community, resilience, compassion, open-mindedness, innovation, and imagination.

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.