There’s a great catflight going on between Matt Taibbi (who has turned into a mad cross between Upton Sinclair, Michael Lewis, and Lenny Bruce) and Claudia Deutsch about Goldman Sachs’ plan to pay big bonuses to its people again. Matt rips apart a post titled “Congratulations, Goldman– And I Wish You Many, Many More.”

The defense of Goldman seems to boil down to, yes they have all sorts of connections, and yes they got tons of money from the government, but they’re honest about it.

It makes me wonder: At one time, back in the day, we thought that the Internet and other information technologies would create transparency, make it harder to hide corruption, and thus force powerful people to behave better.

But we’ve essentially run an experiment for a decade testing this hypothesis, and it seems to me that it hasn’t worked out that way.

Instead of forcing corruption underground, the Internet has forced shamelessness aboveground– and indeed, has turned it into a virtue. So the Goldman execs may be dickheads, money-grubbing asses, and willing to sell their grandmothers if the price is right, but they don’t pretend to be anything else. So they’re welcome to their bonuses.