“They called him Tuan Jim: as one might say, Lord Jim.”
— Lord Jim
— Joseph Conrad
As with the Snowden disclosures the details of the Paradise Papers operates on two levels. The first rests on the details yet is independent of them. That is, no one except the criminally unimaginative, could claim to be surprised by the truth. The shock would be to discover that the oligarchs don’t run the world and that they don’t form a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires. The second is all about the details which reveal to us not only the specifics of the ruling classes’ depravity and the nuts and bolts of our impending doom, but also allow us to say now, the truth cannot be denied. It can be ignored but it cannot be denied.
This brings us to Jim Simons a billionaire sociopath who works with neo-fascist billionaire Robert Mercer. Mercer is the patron saint of Steve Bannon and the spiritual heir to Mussolini’s therapist. Apparently unencumbered by a sense of morality, or rather, possessing the morality of a well-to-do crack whore Simons makes money with Mercer, stashes it in off-shore accounts to avoid pesky things like taxes and goes about the business of buying Democrats and imitating Medici princes.
What is of interest to us here at The Ink is the name of Simon’s trust in Bermuda. It’s called: The Lord Jim Trust.
We’re unsure if this is just gold plated vanity and unintended irony or if Simons possesses some type of rude wit like Goering wearing a toga, injecting morphine and dancing on table tops to the dulcet tones of the Luftwaffe Serenade. After all, if you’re going to be one of history’s utterly depraved monstrosities and preside over a first rate catastrophe you might as well do it with a perverse sense of style.
So here we have a pirate who in every respect radiates as much interest as a wall of slowly drying white paint and yet he names his trust after a masterpiece that radiates a profound sense of dread based on the idea that there’s no possibility of outrunning either your fate or the stylistic ministrations of karma.
Or, he just named it after himself and, like the fat Reichmarshall, his sense of chic is defined by one of the world’s greatest tin ears and a gelatinous sense of right and wrong. Simons after all gives money to charities, like the Democratic Party, and his kids in turn use their tax free billions to help charities in Bermuda (sic!) and dabble in other philanthropic pursuits. Like constructing legally and ethically dubious tax shelters.
Simons, unlike Conrad’s Jim, will almost certainly not end up dead in a jungle tough if he did we wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. He may end up at the end of a rope though we doubt that as well.
But we are certain that if you go and poke fun at the fates things will not end well. In that sense we see the wider ramifications of The Paradise Papers. We see them as a chapter alongside the Harvey Weinstein revelations and the systemic corruption in nonprofit fundraising at venerable institutions like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. What we mean is that the decadent and depraved financial sadists can dance in their togas but the system is springing leaks and shooting sparks all over the place. The words of the prophets may, or may not be written on the subway walls and tenement halls but anyone who thinks it’s business as usual is whistling past their own grave. Lord Jim, Conrad’s Marlow said, was one of us. He meant we were all in it together. We all stand the watch and it is up to us to guide the pilgrims to a safe harbor.
Simons’ fate like the fate of the system he is a creature of is sealed. The question is not will capitalism endure nor is it, will its cannibalism end in a disgusting belch as it swallows itself and the last hedge fund manager is either executed or kills himself.
The question is will there be any of the world left after it takes its last mouthful.
For a look at Simons and the Paradise Papers see the link below: