Fear of Equality Part 8. Don’t Question the System

Frederick_Douglass_as_a_younger_man

 

Recently I have been engaged in yet another YouTube debate with someone who is not so readily convinced that the world is ready for equality. Predictably the excuses… err, reasons given were many, but they all boiled down to a singular point: this person assumes that in order for everybody to take part in an egalitarian world, he would have to be required to give up his money or worse, suffer the fate of having his money taken away from him. I reassured him angry mobs would not be lining the streets with their palms out wanting to whet their beaks on his bank account, and I asked what was it about Capitalism that he was so interested in defending. Instead of an answer, he played this card:

“Here’s the thing, WE DON’T WANT YOUR NEW WORLD ORDER. Nothing you can propose will change our feelings on this. We are far from perfect, but we do love our country. Make fun of it all you like with your tongue in cheek “Murike” remarks. There are millions upon millions of us here in the United States alone who are telling you to take your Utopia and stick it. Now, how are you going to “re-educate” the world into your point of view without committing to the “morality of abuse” you claim to oppose? How will you force us to assimilate? Is resistance futile?
Come get some.”

By the way, this person was going on and on about the elevated sanctity of the Individual and how maintaining that specific self-identity was very important – especially when its reality can be affected by the “evil Collective,” of which he holds a deep and abiding mistrust and sees as the enemy of the Individual’s “sovereignty.” And yet he appeals to the “millions upon millions” who he claims share in his position that they will be unwilling to grant economic equality (the term he used is “Utopia”) under any circumstances. What does this show us? It could be seen as a “double-standard” where his position in his argument need to be arrayed in such a fashion that the Individual must be ever vigilant to the sinister machinations of the “Collective,” and so the Individual is accorded nearly divine status that cannot be questioned. And of course, when the fear arose within him in imagining a world where economic justice and equality were indeed given to all equally, he psychically gathered within his consciousness the opinions of “millions upon millions here in the United States” who like him, he believes, opposes economic equality. He instinctively understands that there is strength in numbers, much more than could ever be found in a single Individual. This is instructive to see because you can see here how one fails to see how they are holding opposing or conflicting views within their minds. Actually, the conflict isn’t real – as the argument can only proceed upon a logical foundation, which will change in an instant when one has to defend something that can’t be defended on moral terms. It’s intellectually dishonest, but people love to have morality on their side. That’s how they can morally justify dishonesty. You don’t expect to hear the truth, do you?

Knowing this, I asked the gentleman once again; “what is it about the current state of capitalism that you find so worthy of defending?” He hasn’t answered yet. It’s a question I’ve found very few people are willing to answer honestly, because to do so (and make sense) one has to either give up the morality point (that is, capitalism is not a moral good for everybody equally) or admit that the system is more trouble than it’s worth (for countless reasons). And beyond that, I’ve found in discussing this point that many people who are so heavily invested in having their opinion, beliefs and projections validated by others, that they will very rarely come out of the block and plainly say, “Yeah, I know capitalism exploits and kills and destroys everything on this planet. But as long as I don’t have to change or suffer, I couldn’t give a crap.” Most people will dissemble and lie and start talking gibberish, but they will never give up morality. It would be too embarrassing. They would rather hide behind the lies. They consider themselves as civilized, you see.

Fear of Equality is rooted in FEAR. I have a hard time accessing what that would feel like since I don’t have fear of equality, but I reckon on of the main sources of that fear is having one’s ideas, beliefs or self-definition invalidated through morality, reason, logic, what have you. It’s too much trouble to rebuild all that within one’s self, hell, it may be impossible. Yet, it is a fear that has resonated within the minds of those who sought to control and dominate the lives of others ever since the time of the first Master and Slave.

I was reading an account about the life of the former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. Douglass was taught the alphabet by the wife of his owner, but was soon discovered by her husband, who disapproved. Mainly, it was against the law for slaves to read. But beyond that, the husband explained to the wife that if a slave learned to read, he would soon question himself and become dissatisfied with his station in life and desire freedom. Imagine that! Here was an honest expression defending a system of exploitation on moral grounds! So much for morality, then. “Look, in order for this system to work, we need to subjugate this person, rob him of his liberty, his labor, his time and ultimately his life. Plus, he has to remain in this ignorant state unless he awakens to a possibility where he can express himself as something greater!”

Sounds familiar? It is the same argument used today to keep people in poverty and alienation. “Don’t give everybody a living income – they will question themselves, question the system and their station in life and desire freedom!”

To think that there exists a type of person who would purposely continue to exploit or to benefit from the exploitation of others is a notion that is despicable to me. Investigate the Living Income Guarantee and expand your definition in what is possible.

 

Next: Fear of Equality Part 9. Escape from the Collective

 

NOTE

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4ZLe7CcMUA&list=LL5rA6LDTwLoA1g8RePrLTJA

Advertisements

Brief Consideration on the George Zimmerman Verdict

ap_abc_george_trayovn_kb_130625_wg

I’ve given this media story a bit of fleeting consideration. Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman forever linked to a tragic incident that is no different from any other tragic incident. The “tragedy” being of course that an unhappy result of a calamity all but guarantees further suffering awaits all parties involved.

Leaving skin color aside, I believe we should focus on the fact that what we have are human beings killing other human beings due to an interesting human failure: out of reactions of fear, suspicion and/or sheer hatred. What happened in this case can be retold in many, many thousands of incidents EVERY DAY, callous, sinister acts of that span the unimaginable depths of human cruelty. You know, like intentionally dropping depleted uranium on foreign soil or dumping nuclear waste in the oceans or human trafficking or using child soldiers. If one looks at the big picture, one begins to see a larger pattern that  emerges. That pattern suggests that human beings are not intrinsically “good at heart” and that it is a constant struggle to give reality, value and meaning to our humanity.

6.9.13: Human Right #3. Safety and Security for every Child

baby

3. An Equal Right of Safety and Security for every Child, so that a life free of fear, insecurity and trauma is assured, a life in which parental guidance is balanced with freedom of expression and lived within an environment of creativity and joy so that every Child grows into his or her utmost potential as a unique expression of Life Itself.

It is a commonly held belief, that “all men are created equal.” There is also a counter-argument that cuts against the former: people have differing strengths and weaknesses, talents and deficiencies, thus any talk about “equality” must be utter foolishness. There is, however, one point of equality that cannot be denied. All human beings come into this world with a legacy of dependence. Babies cannot care for themselves, and are completely helpless beings immediately after ending our world. Doesn’t matter if you are a dumpster-diving commoner or a blue-blooded aristocrat, infants depend on others to keep it alive.

It is in this state of innocence and dependency that most parents can appreciate. However, not all parents can offer their children the protection and support they need to grow into effective beings free from fear, sickness or abuse. These unfortunate babes are destined to never reach or discover their potential in this world. They have been cut off. Truly, their births were in vain, wasted and dishonored simply because of the black hearts of too many adults are filled with too much hate to ever get along with others. So wars are fought with child soldiers. Mass starvation on a criminal scale decimating poor countries because of investor greed, trickery and fraud. Intentional maiming and disfiguring of a population’s gene pool  with depleted uranium to keep certain nations weak and unable to stand up for themselves. It appears that adults, who know how to take care of themselves, are forever attempting to destroy other beings who can’t fend for themselves. In the pages of history one can read about the extensive use of child sacrifice as a religious sacrament and ritual in ancient cultures. In more recent news, it seems that reports of child sacrifice are increasing.

Human Right #3 demands that it should be obvious that the safety and security of each child is right, proper and just. Since children are innocent and weak, they become targets of the strong and cruelest of beings. Not recognizing that the right of children to be sheltered and protected from those that would love to destroy them means that these beings are enjoying the right to destroy everyone in their way. Has it really come down to this? It is the 21st Century. We no longer have to act like superstitious barbarians who sacrifice the innocent for our sins. The time to stop allowing the potential of children to be erased from existence is now. The Equal Life Foundation has been convened to end this assault on the innocents.

 

6.7.13. Human Right #2: Right to Physical and Mental Health

2. An Equal Health Right that provides all essentials to building strong physical embodiments, insuring vitality and well-being along with clarity of intellect, emotional balance and physical stability.

darfur

Anti-Abortion activists often refer themselves as members of the “Right-To-Life” campaign. It’s a bit of a misnomer, since they really should be called the party of the “Right-to-be-Born.” I don’t have a problem with considering the right of a fetus to allowed to be born, IF the world they are going to be born into the jaws of a nightmare that we laughingly call “civilization.” The fact is that the “right-to-life” movement cares way too much what happens to the fetus before birth than to what happens to it after it’s born. For most fetuses that will be born into this world, birth  is probably the worst thing that can happen to an incipient life-form. Most infants – many millions of them – will be born into an impoverished hell that they will never be able to recover from. Many will have nothing but pain, starvation, war, a wrecked environment and insane human beings to deal with before they die an undignified death, never knowing a single comfort that we in the First World take for granted every day. The “Right-To-Lifers” really couldn’t care less; many have told me that it isn’t God’s Will that so many suffer, but that it’s due to Satanic influences and Mankind’s “fallen nature” that so much suffering exists for these little ones. If that is the case (and I’m kind of in agreement with the “fallen nature” aspect – humanity has forever been a pretty brutal and vicious piece of work on this planet), if such suffering and pain is awaiting so many new beings coming into this world and you realize how fucked up things are, why would you campaign for the “right” of these future persons to be born on such a world?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to be all about standing up for the unborn if the world was first a proper place to begin a life? Has anyone ever interviewed a fetus before it was born and asked if it’s okay being born in a dirty hovel in a Darfur refugee camp where it can expect of life filled with no education to speak of, no access to healthcare, nothing but violence, water and food shortages, abuse and exploitation to look forward to? Put yourself in those shoes. Does that sound like an entrée  you’d want to order from the Menu of Life? Does that sound like the kind of fate you would want for your child? People who wring their hands about the shame and desolation of abortion (which may very well be a mercy considering what is in store for most children coming into this world) are so involved with their own minds and inner conflicts that they fail to see what they are really advocating. It is unfortunate for them that they never considered what would be in the best interests of newborn beings would align with the best interests of everybody else. That means providing a decent place for children to be born into – a place where they can grow in strength and honor, within a potential just waiting to burst forth onto this plane of existence, freed from crippling psychological issues that maim and destroys their character before they even have a chance in this world. What greater sin could there be to be given the gift of life and have that gift of a newborn turned to such a shameful thing just because we refused to rise above our disgraceful, paranoid natures, where the “right-to-life” is merely a “right-to-wrong” the truly innocent. Human Right #2 would be so easy to give to all of us, and it would finally bring forth a world that would be an honored destination for any newborn.

Fear of Equal Money, Part 2. 03/24/2013

War in Iraq
Photo: Carolyn Cole

10 years ago, I recall working in a Kinko’s in Whitehall, Ohio when the war began with the news of rockets raining down in Iraq. I heard it first on the radio that we had turned on behind the counter. For months I felt uneasy about the prospect of war with Iraq, and when there was news about an anti-war protest being held in Columbus, I went down only to find nobody had bothered to show up. Some of my work colleagues accused me of “protecting the terrorists.” When I talked with my teen-aged son about the illegality of the war, he dismissed me as “giving in to the terrorists.” I kept to myself and studied the news that confirmed my suspicions that “Bush’s War” (as I called it) was being conducted for stealing Iraq’s oil. Others were saying this at the time, and I felt it was probably true. And at the same time, I experienced a gaping disconnect from my fellow citizens who were parading their “patriotism” by slapping American flag decals on their cars and whooping and hollering as if they were cheering the OSU football team in their rival match against Michigan. I felt a disgust and even a hatred against these stupid, easily – duped people, purportedly my countrymen, and wished that there could be something that would happen that would change their collective minds.

The war dragged on. The Patriot Act. Abu Ghraib. Depleted uranium. [1] WMDs that never were found. “Freedom Fries.” Blackwater. Guantanamo. Extraordinary renditions. And what “good” came out of it? Depends on what you would call, “good.”

Saddam was deposed and the invading nations colluded with the biggest oil companies to shares the spoils of Iraq’s oil reserves, namely, BP and Shell. It certainly was a “good” outcome for them.

Looking back on it now, it seems my memories about the start of Bush’s War has cooled and hardened into a dull mass of regret and shame, and the horror of what America is accountable for is difficult to hold in the mind. Some of these memories are recollections of truly the most, absurdly existential bullshit. Some of them reflect a shocking, sinister and murderous malevolence that exists somewhere within the being of every American. Its fury was born in the perceived mass humiliation of 9/11 and was artfully misdirected and manipulated into being unleashed upon 116,000 Iraqi civilians who never asked to be “liberated,” let alone liberated from their precious resources and their lives.

Will anyone accuse the American Capitalist system of illegally “confiscating” the wealth of another sovereign nation? Will anyone question the morality or justification of a course of action that was nothing if not naked fury of greedy, blood-stained hands? Will anybody ask where the trillions of dollars that exchanged hands in the war went?

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to blame others for not doing more to stop this shameful war  from happening. But I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t know how to stop it. I didn’t realize until it was far too late that there was another way, a way that was paved within a society  that was honorable and just, not interested in doing the most good for the largest amount of people, but what is best for all.

I went through all that to set up this question: could something like the War in Iraq happen in an Equal Money System? This is going to sound “scary” to some folks, but when one realizes the decisions to invade another country almost never happens because of a purely politically interest. It’s a business. It’s a racket. The profit motive is front and center. The goal of EMS is to remove Capitalism’s profit motive, and replace it with a principle that is truly life – affirming and supportive to all beings, as this quest for profit is both  unnecessary and the single greatest cause of poverty and fear in the world.

NOTE

[1] A 2010 health study of Fallujah, Iraq reveals the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied. Residents have high rates of cancer, birth defects and sterility from U.S. bombs that used depleted uranium and white phosphorus. Other areas of Iraq face similar health problems.

Fear of Equality, Part 2. 03/03/2013

survival

People fear equality because we fear each other within the competition of survival

The Belief that Man (and Earthly existence) is Inherently Evil (Original Sin doctrine).

This notion was codified in the West by Augustine of Hippo and was expanded upon by Christian theologians through the centuries and accepted as a “truth” ever since. The opinion of Augustine was that human sexual desire was the engine that made Man into a depraved, immoral and hopelessly sinful creature that needed the salvific  intervention of Jesus Christ to be saved from eternal damnation in Hell. In this teaching Augustine traced the fallen state of Man to the Fall of Adam and Eve after they “sinned” against God in the Garden of Eden. [1]

Running along this cultural stream is another complimentary or competing idea that the evil in the world is necessary because of the existence of Free Will in humans, which allows and justifies evil within a scheme of metaphysics that claims salvation comes in choosing the good over the evil, thus following the example of Jesus Christ and earning one’s way to Heaven.

Due to our so-called “fallen nature” combined with “free will,” Man is thus free to commit any act he wishes, regardless of the consequences an act may have on one’s self or others. People are intimately aware of their own inner demons and destructive impulses, so we are certain others are aware of theirs and our own, as well. The question is always present when we enter into any relationship – who can be trusted?

Equality is feared because somehow there exists a belief that such a state will increase MORE suffering and misery for people  in the world. The person I encountered in the previous blog on PolicyMic held such ideas. Mr. Green stated;

Once perfect equality is achieved it will soon dissolve by human nature and talent within hours, to maintain equality for a longer period requires totalitarian force and oppression while leveling down the lifestyle of some to starvation poverty of others. Your equality comes down to petulance of wanting others to suffer, somehow your hatred of those wealthier then you will be abated when this occurs? What will you an internet user do when your opulent lifestyle needs leveling down too?

Reading between the lines reveals a nightmare for those who fear Equality as an existential, authoritarian and human destructive force where freedom of choice, and more frightening, loss of privilege will wipe out human initiative, and more important, degrade the current lifestyle of those who now benefit from inequality within the system today. This fear of degradation of the current lifestyle is the major concern here, although it seems to float upon Green’s subconscious. I don’t know if he aware of the ramifications or the implications he’s made in this comment.

Why does Equality conjure up in the mind of such frightening images of nameless, existential ” totalitarian force and oppression?” Because we are so distrustful and fearful of each other, we consider ourselves so depraved and hopelessly evil, that this belief has become hard – wired into our brains: Equality can only be achieved through militaristic and draconian measures.

By the way, the same can be said to accurately describe the current Capitalist State. Competition (over diminishing resources) is seen as the smarter choice than cooperation. Logically, one could map out the consequences of the destructiveness and  irrationality of this kind of thinking. However, it is more important to maintain the status quo of near-immediate gratification for those who can afford this, and so the consequences must always remain incoherent, unexpressed and exist in some untouched future for others to deal with. Equality is a direct threat to the status quo and will be pushed back, not through superior logic or intellectual power, but through emotional expressions of greed, fear of loss, hatred and mistrust of Man against Man. When John Mackey complains that Capitalism has been under unjustified attack by intellectuals, his response is likewise a feeble emotional romanticism of a mythical Capitalism that is making the world a better place for everyone. This form of Capitalism obviously only exists within his mind, and yet, because he has systematic value (wealth), he’s going to influence others to adopt his religion of “compassionate” Capitalism. It is unfortunate, and another obstacle to overcome as we spread our ideas of Equal Money and Equality to the world.

NEXT: FEAR OF EQUALITY, PART 3: The Myth of Liberty

NOTE

[1] Augustine based his teaching on his interpretation of Paul’s Letter to the Romans 5:12-21

Fear of Equality, Part 1. 03/02/2013

inequality

Part 1. Why People Fear Equality

I have just participated in an Internet dialogue on the PolicyMic site, where I occasionally leave comments that support ideas of equality and bullshit removal.

I had quite an interesting exchange with a defender of Capitalism that was fascinating. This person was adamant in his characterization and defense of Capitalism as a promoter of “freedom” and “liberty.” Through our exchange it became clear that he experienced a very strong reaction to the notion of Equality.

What kickstarted this whole shebang were three points made by Whole Food’s CEO, John Mackey that needed to be challenged:

“The problem is not that there is an unequal distribution of wealth in the world. The problem is that there is an unequal distribution of capitalism.”

“Business has been hated by the intellectuals and elites for all time.”

“Profits ultimately create all growth, capital, and prosperity … Profits are created    through voluntary exchange, not through the exploitation of people.” 

These are three curious statements that could only be made in complete ignorance of the historical record, or within an air – tight fantasy land where the dreams of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises reside.

If we look closely at Point 1, the assertion that the problems facing the world stem from “unequal distribution of capitalism, ” what we see here is an exercise of dissembling, although we have no evidence that Mackey actually believes this. It’s more a slogan or a sound – bite and not a guiding principle, and it certainly does not reflect the reality of the economically oppressed and exploited. I’m sure that CEOs are more concerned looking at the world through broad and “big picture” lenses, but that only makes these guys incapable of describing reality as it exists. Their words should thus be considered with suspicion.

In Point 2, Mackey offers more of the same impulse for historical fantasilization. The statement that, “business has been hated by the intellectuals and elites,” is not based on any facts, and betrays the anti-intellectualism held by defenders of capitalism. This reflexive backlash comes from the fact that Capitalism, as Karl Marx in the 19th Century and the Critical Theorists in the 20th Century proved, cannot stand for long against any sustained intellectual analysis. “Business has been hated by intellectual and elites,” is a statement so monstrously at odds with common sense, that it seems the most silly and childish of charges anyone can make. One only has to take a brief inventory on the “intellectuals” and “elites” who thought Capitalism was a fantastic idea. But because Mackey leads a health food empire, people will be influenced by this kind of empty economic jingoism.

Point 3: “…Profits are created through voluntary exchange, not through the exploitation of people.”

Wow, what a whopper. Somebody get me Tim Cook or the sweatshop responsible for my Nike’s. “Voluntary exchange,” eh? Anybody who works for a living knows that they are a few paychecks away from having to beg on the streets. One either sells their labor to another in exchange for money, or one doesn’t eat. This notion that Capitalism is based on voluntary participation is a sweet – sounding mythology that’s been built up in layers of philosophical sediment over the past 400 years. This process is too deep to cover here, but it’s instructive to note that proponents for speak glowingly about Capitalism’s “voluntary exchange” are going to distort and mangle the definition out of context to support their perspective.

For those not interested in reading the (sometimes tedious and pedantic) thread in its entirety, this is what my comment said:

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.”
– Bertrand Russell

“Sweatshop workers “hoping for the best” isn’t part of the moral equation that Mackey is talking about, or is it? Mackey’s breezy, breathless oversimplifications for compassionate capitalism really is a paean for “compassionate consumptionism” without considering the anti-democratic forces that is the muscle behind unrestrained self-interest.”

This comment drew a response from Joshua Green, who said:

“The hatred implicit in your nihilistic statement is destructive Darryl, please turn from it and embrace that life can be beautiful. What Mackey and the rest of us are trying to explain is that capitalism provides creation of products of new services to build and enhance life for everyone. This means we reward builders and innovators for improving our way of life. Now not everyone can afford say the nicest I-Pad but the technology behind it and the service it provides improves our lives. For an example a restaurant nearby uses an I-Pad for its register saving them money/space on counter and allowing the customer to sign for purchases which offers security to the buyer and assurance to the company.” (Emphasis mine.)

My comment that sweatshop workers (those who are victimized and exploited by the Captains of Industry) are never considered when talk turns to how wonderful Capitalism is, was seen as “hatred” and “nihilistic” (a principle that life is meaningless). Where is the fucking compassion this guy was praising Mackey for having the vision to entertain? And isn’t it interesting that Green’s rambling response was punctuated by three specific words, “hatred,” “nihilistic” and “destructive”  – used to describe my defense for those who are the ones obviously catching hell from the stateless corporations which see no obligation to improve the lives of the slaves they work so slavishly. Mr. Green obviously does not see the projections and distorted definitions that he’s engaged with – his words are loaded with fear. This realization was very instructive to see, especially the further the discussion evolved.  The Big Fear would soon present itself, and when it did, it was not a coincidence that the discussion ended.

Next: Fear of Equality, Part 2. The Competition for Survival