Anyone who does not want to see what is lofty in a man looks that much more keenly for what is low in him and mere foreground--and thus betrays himself.
There is a certain dejà vu operating today. The mini financial scandals of nearly a decade ago produced the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and a set of regulatory consequences--(1) a shift in regulatory power from the states to the federal government, (2) privatization of enforcement, (3) an increasing reliance on surveillance as a technique of governance (control of social and economic behavior), (4) , and (5) . See Larry Catá Backer, The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Federalizing Norms for Officer, Lawyer and Accountant Behavior, St. Johns Law Review, Vol. 76, pp. 897-952, 2002; Larry Catá Backer, Surveillance and Control: Privatizing and Nationalizing Corporate Monitoring After Sarbanes-Oxley, Law Review of Michigan State University 2004(2):327-440.
In like manner, the current crisis has already produced its governmental intervention framework in the United States--in the form of the Emergency Stabilization Act of 2008-- and will also produce its own great shifts of regulatory consequences far beyond its apparent scope. I highlight two here:
The framework is clear enough: it will seek to merge the public and the private in a new way--sovereign wealth funds will create a regulatory superstructure modeled on an intergovernmental governance (state to state) basis for the rules by which they can each participate in the economic markets of each other as participants rather than as sovereigns. The consequence will be both a privileging of public (political) over private (economic) actors within markets in an emerging sphere of public-private governance.
The question remains, though--where is the foreground? And what about ourselves might we have betrayed?
Almost everywhere in Europe today we find a pathological sensitivity and receptivity to pain; also to repulsive incontinence in lamentation, an increase in tenderness that would use religion and philosophical bric-a-brac to deck itself out as something higher--there is a veritable cult of suffering.Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: A Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Walter Kaufmann, trans., New York: Vintage Books, 1966) Section 293 (What is Noble). Our cults will produce something interesting indeed.