Journalism, Morality and other Conundrums

Journalism is important. Journalism is inquisitive, and news analysis provides an indispensable service to the public. What ever would we do without the daily coverage of a wide range of subjects, too complex to understand, or too insignificant to appear worthy of our mental efforts! Thank goodness, all those news we consume are served in neat little packages, rehashed like microwave dinners fit for the attention span, we, the public, are willing to provide. The absurd part is that generally we don't want to know things we don't already know. Per definition - that would be real news.

What we do want to know however are old news, not really new things about people we already know; things we suspected all along: the oft-cited confirmation bias.

With the rise of the tabloid and the public's binge for information about celebrities, one has to question what happened to so-called investigative journalism. The kind of journalism that offers a social service to all of us, the one that puts fear into the eyes of politicians and the government in its place. It's basically degraded to a supplier of daily outrage. What falls under investigative are things hardly suitable for public education, but short-lived indignation, like, if someone we know carts off money to an account somewhere else. Yes, I don't like it when they do that either. For one, because I myself am not in a position to do so.

More importantly though, it's lowly for someone who indulges in the advantages of a country's benevolent legal system not to pay for that privilege (among other things). We all need to contribute to the status quo. And how good we have it here compared to those other countries we don't want to hear anything about!

And although many of us don't have enough coin to cart away towards a Swiss bank account, how does our lack of riches put us in a position to judge those who do have some money?

Law says there is such a thing as voluntary declaration. Legislature decided that it's more important for rich people to pay what they owe, stay in Germany, than be labeled guilty. Them moving away to other countries and taking their money and business with them for good would be a loss worse than allowing people to call them frauds and wave them goodbye. Money comes first. I understand that logic. Voluntary declaration appears to be an extraordinary privilege given to the rich, when in fact, it's in favor of all of us, since we all profit from those rich people's riches, and taxes, if paid. And they will be paid one way or another. A statute of limitation speeds up the practice.

Someone who carts away tax paid money and doesn't declare earned interest needs to pay what he owes. Someone who refuses to pay interest is a criminal and will be penalized. Someone who does everything along the lines of legality, even paying back charges after the fact that he initially didn't, is not. And that's the difference. In fact, in the latter case, the law retroactively rids him of his guilt.

The only problem is, that we, the lecherous harpies, who, self-absorbed as we are, feel as though we're the reason for that person being that rich, need to make sure that he is not rid of his personal guilt, at least not in the public eye, because that's the celebrity's cubicle, and we built it. He apparently relinquishes the right to make any more money with the deceit. And it seems we really are that powerful. The media, being the mouthpieces of stupidity join in on the sad sad song of we make and we break.

And we won't forgive anyone for being that rich, while we're not, and for trying to get away with it, while we can't, although we'd all do the same if we were in that kind of position.

Unfortunately greed is not only a malady of the rich, it's a sickness of the little ape trying to get his grabby little hands on what he doesn't have. That's what we are. Hairy little wannabes. And morality starting from a sense of jealousy is not a good position to judge other people by, or to do any kind of thinking, especially about the principles of our legal system. Sadly it's all we have, and it's all we are. How could we be more, when all we can focus on is the shiny and how much we want it for ourselves.