I will be interviewing Catherine Austin Fitts at 2 pm CST tomorrow (Saturday, April 12) on BlogTalkRadio. If you wish, you can call in at (646) 200-4945. If you miss the show, you can listen later to the archive. Catherine's site is Solari.com. Here is her bio. See her Narco Dollars for Beginners. See also, Will the Real Economic Hitmen Please Stand Up. And see, more recently, her Slow Burn. These will give you a pretty good idea of her clear eyed view of the world we have.
Catherine is the one who introduced me to Ponerology: The Study of Evil. When we talk about a satirist or moral philosopher affecting a moral cure of those in power, it seems like a joke, doesn't it? But evil like any other disease spreads from those infected to those who who come into contact with the infected person. As the Sicilians say, "The fish rots from the head down," as John Ashcroft may have felt in discussing torture in the White House. Of course there is nothing we can do about it. We are complicit but innocent. No one can blame us, because we are like children, docile, unawares, trusting, and intimidated by those set above us. We are just glad that the big people do what they must to keep us safe, even as we fear for our own lives in a society increasingly stripped of civil liberties. If Father is a tryrant who feeds us, protects us, and beats us, best to say nothing, lest we or those we love turn up dead. The Unsaid in America is obtrusive. Catherine breaks that terrible silence.
Catherine, a veteran of the first Bush administration, characterizes herself as a conservative. What she seeks to conserve are sustainable, morally healthy, economically vibrant local communities. As against that world she sees ranged the forces of centralizing power (on Wall Street and in DC), as well as the covert flows of money from criminal enterprises, and governmental agencies that operate without public oversight or accountability. Her analysis of the ugly state of current affairs, a perversion, as she sees it, of true free market principles, is not so different from that of Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine. Both see our society and our market as having been captured by centralizing powers bent on creating their own Green Zones, a gated and armed paradise for the few, amidst a society for the rest of us that runs rapidly to dissolution. Both see us as caught up in an economic war of the few against the rest, disguised as a free market, but requiring the increased use of surveillance, brute force and covert force to keep the many down, as the few collude in secret to their mutual advantage. Where Catherine differs from Naomi and most progressives is in believing that we can outwit those who have outwitted us. We can rebuild our country from the grassroots up. The tools, in Catherine's view, are those of markets set right, as well as religious faith. Distributed networks like those of blogs and BlogTalkRadio allow us to come together, in a web without a head. Were there a head, it would rest uneasy on its neck. But a distributed network proliferates uncontrollably and unpredictably in all directions, ever-evolving.
Catherine and I have talked face to face and via email and blogs with great intensity for several years. She has a mind unlike any I have encountered, a mind both deep and wide. She is highly analytical, but also intuitive. Her vision is panoramic. Her religious faith allows her to view the horrors of contemporary life without lose of hope or humor. As a former insider, she does not simply unmask perps in high places and their modus operandi. She rallies us to build our own alternative communities, on sound business and ethical principles, locally. She calls that vision of local investment of time, love, energy, attention and money a Solari.
Generally, I think it is fair to say, Catherine considers screened investments, social enterprises, double bottom line investments, and philanthropy as modes of adaption to the intolerable, as ways we console ourselves that we are good, even as we by our votes and investment choices and choice of employment, and through our silences, enable what we fear and despise. She might say that all too often philanthropy is a cover for and enabler of abusive power. I will be asking her more about how the Solari idea works in practice. I will also be challenging her to consider how generosity (caritas in the Christian tradition) and her own kind of local social investment might conspire to achieve the world we want. Might there be a joining of forces among progressives, conservatives, social investors, philanthropists, activists, secular idealists, and people of faith, to rebuild our communities and to restore our free society?
By the way, this coming BlogTalkRadio show came about when Catherine wrote to tell me that my interpretation of her work here is flawed and incomplete. I asked if she would be willing to correct me on the show. So, soon, she can speak for herself and set me straight.
Catherine is a truly remarkable person. If you are fee to call in, please do.