Monday, April 03, 2017 10:47 AM
We like to pride ourselves on our progress—we’ve conquered the apex predators with stones and bones, conquered the elements with clay and lumber, conquered hunger with agriculture and husbandry, conquered thirst with aqueducts, pumps, and plumbing, conquered winter with fire, and conquered boredom with the arts and sciences. Using these tools, we expanded our species from its niche-point to cover the globe.
Taking all that success as encouragement, we entered an industrial age, an atomic age, and a digital age—our control and manipulation of matter, energy, and other life is impressive. But there’s one thing we don’t control—ourselves.
We have laws, treaties, and understandings—but these are frail things that leave us still with a substantial amount of war, crime, and violence. We have some socialism, but it still leaves substantial numbers of children hungry, sick, uneducated, and generally underserved. We have some equality, but it still leaves substantial numbers of wealthy people able to take advantage of others and skirt the law.
We have a representative government—but somehow it fails to represent us all. As soon as the Constitution was ratified, self-serving people have sought to circumvent its spirit—two centuries later, they’ve got the whole thing pretty well hacked. Now, it is a joke, and we elected a clown who, evidence indicates, has no idea what it says in the document he swore to uphold and defend.
I could live with a venal president who wanted only to line his pockets. I could live with a conservative whose ideals are premised differently from my own. That’s democracy—but how does a perverted, ignorant narcissist get elected? Border-line-legal corruption and intentional confusion are the only answers. We are still waiting for the answer to the question of whether legality’s borderline was, in fact, crossed—and the crooks are in charge of the investigation, so we’re not holding our breath.
Trump is the poster-boy for our present day crisis—people need to have unity and inclusion. Patriotism, capitalism, tyranny, and secrecy are all opposed to unity—these ideas split us into ‘teams’ that work against each other and fear each other. Wealth also breeds disunity, making poor people resentful and rich people paranoid. This is a bad thing for a global community that is on the edge of climate change, habitat loss, resource shrinkage, and overpopulation—and anyone considering making the whole thing worse with a ‘limited nuclear exchange’ is just flat-out psychotic.
Income inequality wouldn’t be such a big deal if there were a bottom to the lower end of the income scale. If everyone could be sure their families had plenty to eat, public education, internet access, and all the other necessities of modern life—then having rich people driving around in fancy cars would simply be an annoyance, at worst. The reality is that these people take and take, in the face of millions who go wanting—and that’s sociopathic.
Capitalism was founded back when the class system was still the norm—that is why the vast majority of its participants, the laborers, fight even today to get their due—their nature was defined back when their equal value as humans was ignored. That is why capitalism, an inherently mathematical idea, became nothing more than a re-tread of monarchial rule. Capitalism allows us all a loophole, where we can ignore the Constitution (and all decent human instinct) in favor of owners’ rights and the laws of property.
Now, I want to keep my property as much as the next guy—I own a home on a piece of property, a car, appliances, and books and other sundries. Compared to most of the third-world, I’m in the lap of luxury—and I consider myself to be so. But there should be limits on property—if I had $85 billion, like the Koch Bros., I would consider it only fair that I disburse some of that money to other people, perhaps hungry children or college students who can’t afford their tuition. Just keep a few billion—anyone who feels strapped because they only have a couple of billion bucks is living in a fantasy world.
Financial institutions try to frighten us with ‘Cold-War’-like warnings of the Chinese or the Russians having bigger financial cannons—that’s nonsense. A more grass-roots, localized economy is stronger in the long run—and less likely to abuse its power. Greed will continue as major motivation for so long as we refuse to recognize the unfairness of capitalism—and greed, at this point in our civilization, is a fatal addiction. Unity is the only health food that can wean us off of greed.
So we must recognize that our government is infested by greed—and our mass media, too—and we must begin some sort of underground that circumvents all these broken institutions, without becoming just another problem in the mix. Human nature defies us to try—nothing has yet withstood the rot of corruption—even the great experiment that was America is frayed and torn. But those men in Philadelphia made a good jab at the problem—and perhaps our best tribute to them would be to try for something new, like they did, in spite of the odds against success.