I’m not even sure how to comment on this story. I have written previously on how modern golf course design takes a backseat to that of the “Golden Age” of architecture, creating courses that can only be afforded by the super-rich and played by the super-skilled. Now comes word that a Dutch (alas!) company is building a $500 million course whose holes float and whose cart paths are under water.

“The yet-to-be-named project is part of a larger government-approved development which will include 200 villas and about 45 private islands off the Maldives coast.”

Here’s an argument for raising the top marginal rate to the 70% range and further evidence, if any is needed, that the plutocrats aren’t exactly suffering, or beset by the sorts of economic anxieties the rest of us are.

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Jeffrey Polet
Jeffrey Polet grew up in an immigrant household in the immigrant town of Holland MI. After twenty years of academic wandering he returned to Holland and now teaches political science at Hope College, where he also grudgingly serves as chair of the department, having unsuccessfully evaded all requests. In the interim, he continues to nurture quirky beliefs: Division III basketball is both athletically and morally superior to Division I; the Hope/Calvin rivalry is the greatest in sports; the lecture is still the best form of classroom instruction; never buy a car with less than 100,000 miles on it; putts will still lip out in heaven; bears are the incarnation of evil; Athens actually has something to do with Jerusalem; and Tombstone is a cinematic classic. His academic work has mirrored his peripatetic career. Originally trained at the Catholic University of America in German philosophy and hermeneutical theory, he has since gravitated to American Political Thought. He still occasionally writes about European thinkers such as Michel Foucault or the great Max Weber, but mostly is interested in the relationship between theological reflection and political formation in the American context. In the process of working on a book on John Marshall for The Johns Hopkins University Press, he became more sensitive to the ways in which centralized decision-making undid local communities and autonomy. He has also written on figures such as William James and the unjustly neglected Swedish novelist Paer Lagerkvist. A knee injury and arthritis eliminated daily basketball playing, and he now spends his excess energy annoying his saintly wife and their three children, two of whom are off to college. Expressions of sympathy for the one who remains can be posted in the comments section. He doesn’t care too much for movies, but thinks opera is indeed the Gesamtkuntswerk, that the music of Gustav Mahler is as close as human beings get to expressing the ineffable, that God listens to Mozart in his spare time, and that Bach is history’s greatest genius.


  1. On a similar note, I just read that Tiger Woods take home pay for his 37th place finish in last weeks Bridgestone Invitational was the paltry sum of $64,000. This amount of money for playing a game is simply asinine.

    I know countless people out there in the “real world” who have never made $40,000 in a year, more less a weekend. Yet the oligarchs have the audacity to tell these same people they are “spoiled leeches” because they actually expect to get the Social Security benefits they spent most of their lives paying for.

  2. I’m reminded of this, from Andrew Bacevich back in 2007, commenting on his son’s death in Iraq:

    “Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.’s life is priceless. Don’t believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier’s life: I’ve been handed the check. It’s roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.”


    The government here, if not at every point, does indeed represent our priorities as a people. There’s no gentle way to put it. We simply don’t care.

    How did we get here? Everyone has their preferred watershed. I’d point to Vietnam: A war waged to send a message to Moscow and Peking (sic), but sold to the American public as vital to our national security. The deception was too vast, the bacillus too poisonous. I recall my father, a WWII veteran, a solid and responsible patriot–by the 1970s, his bitterness at what the republic had become was immeasurable. I saw a lot of guys like him literally weep over it.

    Well, what’s done is done. A more important question is, can we get it back?

    I think Professor McDougall has the most sober take on that.

  3. Jeff, thanks for this. Although I disagree with your assessment on increasing taxes (note: the beast needs to be lanced, not fed), your post reminds me of the golf-course enthusiasts in Walker Percy’s Love In the Ruins. The world is falling apart, and the detached elite in the story are primarily worried about maintaining their ideal golf-course.

  4. Peter Haworth writes : “the beast needs to be lanced, not fed”

    True, but none the less until St. George arrives, feeding the fat rich ones to the dragon watching them squirm and beg is good sporting amusement after having one’s own kith and ken dragged away previously to feed the same.

    But why complain about this one beyond that it’s not being built here locally for our own craftsmen to construct, after all it is in the same price range as the commonly constructed amusement parks dotting the american landscape?

  5. Michael Umphrey writes : “Envy is a distraction and gets no work done. It’s also a sin.”

    Envy? Far from it, I don’t in the least envy those who play golf. Now, if golf had something akin to those slick gutter guards they have for bowling that can be put up to keep the game interesting versus watching the ball roll down the gutter I still wouldn’t be envious, but neither would I despair at the prospect of being forced to play the game .

    For those who want to fly to some distant islands to play the game, let them have at, the same as for those who prefer watching baseball in equally expensive amusement parks.

    And now that I think about it, those local amusement parks are commonly, as here, paid for with sales taxes.

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