Today I am sharing some thinking of my own about our political far “left” and “right” and a joint way forward, in the mix with a very long but entertaining and sometimes informative video which is not closely related to these thoughts but nevertheless sparked them off. You may or may not care to watch this video, but I do hope you read and maybe even chime in on my thoughts. First the video, and then my thoughts:
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “DNC Fraud Lawsuit Bringer Elizabeth Beck Live Discussion “)
Personally, I like and respect Jamarl and many of his well-considered thoughts very much; so I listen to him regularly. In this video, it was also fun to witness his conversation with someone who is still at an early phase of political awakening (but nevertheless brought an important lawsuit in defense of democracy, kudos!). In addition, I have always enjoyed America’s racial and ethnic diversity. Most other countries are so monolithically dull in comparison. It’s all a matter of taste, though, and this clip is really very, very long.
Anyway, let’s now do our own thinking:
One very important point made in the video, which got me writing this article, was: “If you don’t have penalties for bad behavior, it’s gonna grow like cancer.” I agree. This is precisely why we must grow an ethical backbone and stop giving corrupt (“badly behaving”) officials a pass; and why we must also place accountability on our people’s agenda, so that nobody — whether political office holder, police officer, judge, legislator, or bureaucrat — can place themselves above the law or our Constitution or single-handedly interpret the law at their whim to other people’s detriment. Some of our current laws, practices, and institutions need to be reformed or repealed, while others need to be created to give our Constitution teeth and abused citizens weapons with which to effectively fight back. This, to me, should be part of the People’s Platform (a.k.a. Agenda).
The other key quote that sparked off this article is:
- “The [far] ‘right’ thinks immigrants are the problem. ”
- “The [far] ‘left’ thinks concentrated wealth is the problem. ”
That’s really short and sweet. What do you think? Here are my thoughts:
I can follow the second thought train quite well (does that make me “left?”). Concentrated wealth is obviously where money in politics comes from. Money in politics makes the government not serve the people but those who have the concentrated wealth. So, then, we find ourselves getting ripped off and abused by the wealthy who are helped and protected by the very government that should be serving and protecting us but has been bought. This explains a lot. A bought government enacts trade treaties which drop import tolls and let corporations store their wealth in foreign tax havens, so that the wealthy get to export our jobs to cheap labor countries and avoid paying taxes, leaving the rest of us with little to live on. I can follow the money and this sequence of events. It’s not that hard. A government that has been bought by the rich furthermore lets the rich get away with pushing us all into debt to their financial institutions. It also let’s them get away with laying us all off without any compensation when they replace us with robots which they purchase with all the money they took out of our paychecks, loan payments (and even taxes!), so that the rest of us are thereby completely pushed out of the economy, not even able to work for starvation wages anymore. At the extreme, the rest of us are then left with absolutely NOTHING to live on. Instead of doing this, the robots could be used to alleviate our work loads and let us live more of our lives. We would enter the age of universal leisure (rather than the current age of leisure for the rich and misery for the rest of us). Shouldn’t we use the accumulated science and technology of the last two centuries to make life good for all of us? But I digress.
I am also not surprised when a bought government applies lower tax rates on the wealthy than it does on working Americans and when it opens loopholes for the rich to avoid taxes completely. Likewise, it is natural for a bought government to eliminate the estate tax that a more honest government created in the past. This way the rich can inherit their business empires without sharing any portion with the rest of us, even though working Americans did most of the work that went into growing these businesses. No CEO or company owner can do all the work himself. So, where is the cut for all those others who helped made the business work and grow? I can see how all of this ultimately leads to the rich holding ownership title on everything and being in charge of everything, and the rest of us no longer being granted a right to exist. It’s not that hard to understand. So, the second train of thought makes complete sense to me.
The first train of thought, however, leads nowhere to me. Can you explain to me how Mexican melon pickers are responsible for our troubles? Or even a poverty-fleeing immigrant who doesn’t work on our fields but looks for a city job? How is he responsible for shipping our jobs overseas and leaving us with way too little domestic jobs to go around, so that the wealthy in charge can then turn our remaining domestic jobs into crappy, underpaid ones, because there are way more desperate job applicants than vacancies? Offshoring and automation would be eliminating all our good jobs even if there weren’t a single immigrant in the country. Isn’t that obvious? The numbers that blame immigrants, documented or undocumented, just don’t add up for me. Nor is there any money to follow when I am looking at poor Mexican immigrants. Most of them have little money and are not in charge of anything. They are in no position to make the decisions that hurt our economy, our work compensations, or our political say. When I follow the money, that’s when I end up looking at the true culprits: billionaires, CEOs, bought-off politicians… wealthy people who have placed themselves in charge of everything and therefore are in a position to do these things to us. And many of them have and are keeping at it.
Well, that’s *my* understanding of things. On the other hand, people who have spent their whole lives avoiding to think or at least inform themselves… people who have spent their whole lives reacting viscerally to events rather than including a single gray cell in their comprehension process… people who have been cruising along all their lives in a lull, drinking beer on a couch while watching sports after they were done going through their daily work routine… people who never watched someone like Bill Moyers on TV instead… people who are thoroughly uninformed but are now suddenly waking up to our degraded economy and politics when the beer is suddenly gone, and the electricity bill and cable bill can’t be paid anymore after they have been screwed by the rich of whose doings they were never aware even as some of us tried telling them about them for years… people like this are easily mislead to understand things in ways that make little sense buy benefit their manipulators.
I can understand how such folks can lazily burp and latch onto an utterly unsubstantiated idea – given to them by a demagogue – such as that immigrants or Muslims are somehow responsible for their economic distress. The subliminal thought process is: “OK. It’s credible because I don’t like people different from me anyway. Eliminate the immigrants, oh big, strong leader, and give me back my beer and TV. I trust you to do that and will give you my vote. Now let me linger in my stupor, ‘cause I still don’t want to learn how to think.”
The word for this is stupidity, and – yes – a certain portion of the public is stupid, some even so much that they may never be reached by voices of reason. Admittedly, I don’t use the word “stupid” often because I don’t want to insult people or make the wrong people think that I am talking about them, but – frankly – I know better than perhaps most of us that stupidity is real. When I was working as a teacher in schools, I had to work with stupid kids and parents all the time. Dumb and violent, visceral instead of thinking, that’s how these people are. They are part of the human spectrum, sad as it is. We may be able to educate some, but don’t count on bringing all of them on board. Time is too short, and their unwillingness to learn forms a very solid road block. Still, don’t label everybody who disagrees with you as stupid, either. There is a large middle ground of people who are full of false ideas but *can* be educated, especially when we drop labels and knee-jerk-buttons and instead talk about our shared problems. In fact, there exist enough thinking people that we could realize a peaceful political revolution and fix our rigged system without having to appeal to the eternally unthinking ones — except for the power the latter group gives to demagogues.
So, here are the danger, and the gap, of opportunity. Before things went really bad for the most of us, the most of us were still asleep, even many of the smartest among us. Thus, with most of us sleeping on our watch, evil types were able to take over the high reaches of our society. Frustration and fury have finally woken us up, and our anger can fuel effective action once we figure out all the major tricks of the oligarchy and how to put a stop to them. However, as frustration and fury also begin to wake up the stupid, they become easily captured instruments of power for the establishment’s demagogues; and so the establishment can pit them against us. They’ll pit the people of the nation against each other, having us divided into different camps; and thus there will only be hatred and violence and no change for the better — especially if we make the mistake to play along with this dire scheme by going all berserk about the “altright,” “altleft,” or demonized Trump supporters. History teaches us that many of Hitler’s supporters weren’t bad people. They were simply deluded.
Therefore we must educate as many of the stupid as well as possible, and also everybody else, including ourselves, since – let’s be honest – few of us have figured everything out, yet. Our window of opportunity between the rising anger of thinking folks and the rising anger of stupid folks is small and easily missed when things turn bad too quickly. We can widen the window when we manage to promote information, understanding, and workable ideas to as many fellow Americans as possible. After all, when we are badly informed, even the smartest of us make silly mistakes or cruise along in a lull, resulting in a far-too-small informed and capable section of the citizenry.
There is a balance we have to strike. On one hand, we need our current fury to fuel awakening, dissent, thinking outside the box, and effective grassroots action. On the other, we can be cast into fruitless infighting when the heat rises too much too quickly, and when sensible ideas haven’t spread far and wide enough to impede the spreading of loony demagogic themes among the unthinking segment of the public. It’s no coincidence that the most visionary among America’s founders called for an informed citizenry. And it is therefore also no coincidence that a guy like me is posting pieces like this all the time, even as I struggle to make ends meet and, so far, don’t make a single dime from my hard work on this blog.
Perhaps I should take this opportunity to remind all readers that you can not only donate to this blog, but that I also offer a one-of-a-kind online science course which can be of great help to high schoolers and college students who are struggling with science or dissatisfied with the lack of substance in their science curricula (older folks are also welcome). I currently offer it for a ridiculously low participation fee, at that, far less than any tutoring (maybe I should ask for more?); and you can try it out free for roughly a month since the payment is collected only at the start of each month on Patreon last time I heard.
Maybe you know someone who could benefit from a better science understanding? In that case, please let them know! I need to free myself from underpaid drudge jobs so I can keep up my writing, or I will burn out from overwork — and what I can teach about science is eye-opening stuff I have encountered in no school curriculum anywhere. It’s the difference between memorizing weird stuff and actually understanding the natural world. So, funding myself this way would be a win-win for everybody. So, please spread the word to potential customers if you can. Or perhaps you can tell me how I can get the word out, since I have no marketing experience.
Well, I hope I gave you some things to mull over or share with friends, and maybe some tools for speaking to off-the-wall people. Be well until next time.