In light of some of the things that have been going on in the world during the last few years, it’s a wonder more of us aren’t institutionalized for mental breakdowns, from the sheer weight of the daily assaults on our perceptions of reality.
Of these, one that sticks out in many people’s minds is the fact that a religious group that presents itself to the world as “Christian”, would promote hate, to the extent that Westboro Baptist has. Their actions seem to go beyond even the boundaries of zealotry, into the realm of madness. Religious persecution is one thing, shouting “FAG LOVER” at an 8-year-old boy attending his father’s funeral, is another.
But why on Earth would they do these things? Surely they’re not simply concerned with our salvation. Surely this isn’t some kind of ‘tough love’. According to the family that makes up Westboro Baptist, they don’t care about your salvation. That’s not their motivation. So what is it? Why in the world could they be acting the way they are?
The reason why is because they are shrewd. They are mostly lawyers, after all. That is how they make their money, by exploiting legal loopholes that allow them to steal thousands of dollars from state coffers. Put simply, Westboro Baptist finds weaknesses in things they don’t like. Then they exploit them, picking at them like holes in a sweater until they fall apart. They do this from a religious standpoint. According to their belief system, the US rule of law is a sin. Democracy is a sin. The US Constitution is a sin. They are all sinful because they supersede the rule of God. Everything they do, they do to weaken these things. When they exploit legal loopholes, what they’re really doing is trying to undermine the entire legal system, to show that it’s bad. When they shout obscenities at grieving families, what they’re really saying is that the freedom of speech is bad, and should be ripped apart. According to their worldview, nothing should limit the speech of mankind but the word of God.
It’s funny how quickly people realize this is the truth, yet somehow just can’t wrap their head around other examples that we see today, with ever increasing frequency. It’s also funny how we would never want to follow their advice, and destroy that which we needed to survive, yet there is an epidemic going on today, doing just that. It’s a prevailing attitude that shows itself all over the place, seemingly everywhere we look. The more people become awake to the corruption around them, the more people seem to want to utterly destroy anything which has been corrupted, rather than heal it.
Why is that?
Part of this is likely a reaction from overwhelmed people who are fed up. They think they’re being “realistic”.
But are they?
“The economy is corrupted, let’s kill capitalism!” “Our government has been corrupted, let’s declare Anarchy!” “Our police force has been militarized, let’s destroy the police!”
But anything can be corrupted. With that knowledge, how are those three statements fundamentally different from these?
“Our daughter is sick, let’s abandon her across the state line!” “My new car won’t start, let’s just leave it here and go buy another one!” “My sink is dirty, let’s fill it with cement!”
It seems ridiculous, but that is the extent to which people feel powerless to affect any sort of meaningful change in the world. Many have simply given up. But what people really need to remember, is that they are systematically being made to feel that way, by people who profit off of their hopelessness. In reality, they are being convinced of a lie, because the very last thing they want us to know is that all of us, collectively, have power that they will never match, not with all the wealth in the world.
They also may have other ulterior motives that influence their decisions, like wanting to remove or replace certain institutions that are inconvenient to their purposes, as we have seen, and as we will see again.
“CAPITALISM IS AWESOME!”
With the level of poverty in the US at an all-time high, and income inequality showing no signs of abating, let alone reversing direction, many are shaking their fists at what they decry as a system designed to oppress them. This, of course, is absolutely true, but how much of this peril is inherent within capitalism itself, and how much of it is the result of corruption? The amount of anti-capitalist sentiment in progressive circles right now is staggering, in either case.
In order to remain a working system, capitalism must, by design, have a sense of mutual interdependence between workers and corporations. There must be mutual respect and consideration. If not, and the system is skewed to drastically favor the top, then what you have is what Bernie Sanders referred to as “vulture capitalism”, or a twisted perversion of capitalism that is parasitic by design. It’s almost not even capitalism anymore, but rather corporatism. That is what we have in America today. Instead of having gently-tiered pay, providing incentives to achieve higher positions, we have an elite top living in a bubble, while nearly everyone beneath them might as well be on a different planet. The parasite will eventually kill its host… the situation is not sustainable.
But if we “trash it”, then what? How do we get rid of capitalism?
The short answer is, “You can’t.” America is based on the wealth of private individuals. We own the factories, the land that they are on, and the labor that we can pay for. We are allowed to do that because of capitalism, which requires a ‘free market’.
But another, perfectly valid question, is “What’s wrong with capitalism?”
Of course, there are several things that can be wrong with it. Not least of these, capitalism is regarded as inherently unfair, because it discriminates against people without the ability, knowledge, wherewithal, or inclination to move ahead. For those who lack competitive skills and/or resources, it can be a hindrance, rather than a boon. The more the tables are slanted against the poor, the worse this gets. For a long time, it has been feared that capitalism will inevitably result in a situation where the successful would rig the system to make it harder if not impossible, for anyone else to come up through the ranks, conveniently removing all of the competition they would bring. All the evidence either suggests, or outright proves, that that has already happened.
But there are a few things we should remember.
First, in spite of what we hear constantly about deficit-based capitalism, Modern Monetary Theory disproves the idea that you can only use what you have, to grow an economy. Anybody that’s ever played a tactical game on any platform knows that you can’t just start the game with nothing. The game always starts you with something, or you won’t have anything to invest in your industry, and people. Further, if you don’t put some of your profits toward enlarging your production capacity, you will never be able to build beyond what you currently have. These are basic, easy concepts, yet our government corrupts them in order to maintain a constant crisis state, that they control completely, and is an utter fabrication.
Second, the US pulled itself out of the Great Depression by tweaking the dials in favor of the people. We built a massive middle class from almost nothing, in just a few decades. If the dials have been turned away from our favor, they can be turned back. In addition, there are many countries that are already doing this. You know those progressive Scandinavian countries that make us dream of better things here in the US? You know how they jailed the bankers, provide state-sponsored healthcare, education, and infrastructure, and have a high standard of living?
They are all capitalist. All of them.
They use Democratic Socialism to regulate the potentially hazardous effects of capitalism and manage its risks. It really is that simple. Meanwhile, here in the US, there’s a perpetuated misconception that socialism and capitalism are diametrically opposite things, which can’t even exist at the same time and place, or else the universe will implode. The DNC even funded a poll, which set up a false opposition between the two, forcing 100,000 high school students to pick only one or the other to affiliate with. Thankfully, many European countries aren’t intentionally limited in their thought in such a way.
The result is that they have a system which still works, without being slanted to the point of being deadly. At least one of these countries is even experimenting with a basic income, which takes a jobs guarantee one step further, offering a basic income guarantee. MMT can enable both of these. The idea is that when you invest in your people as a nation, you get a return on your initial investment, in the form of citizens who feel valued, and integrated into society. They do not stop working, but work ceases to be about survival and begins to be about joining a team to accomplish an important task. Best of all, in these countries, there is oversight and regulation in place to maintain the balance between corporate interests and the people.
And that really is what it is; a balance.
You don’t set 3/4 of your stereo’s equalizer sliders to zero, and then say “This song sucks.” If you do, you’re pretty silly. There’s a reason why the song sounds bad, and it’s not the song’s fault. You’re not playing it right. Again, it seems silly to make the connection, but that’s exactly what people are doing that want to “destroy capitalism”. They don’t know what they’re talking about. The alternative is literally a world where citizens are doomed to only consume and cannot produce wealth themselves by selling. They call it a “free market” for a reason, as it turns out. Who wouldn’t want that?
In a similar vein, there seems to be a growing group of people pushing anarchy as a viable response to our corrupt government. According to them, government is inherently bad, because ‘look what it’s done to us’. Since our government has been bought out by big money interests, it’s broken and needs to go. But nobody hates governments more than corporations. For those who wonder if it’s really possible for corporations to destroy governments utterly, one need only look to Albania, who was reduced to anarchy by the use of corporate pyramid schemes on most of the citizens of the country, with the help of a Presidential endorsement. Rival, heavily armed gangs of thugs ruled most of the major cities for months afterward.
People always fantasize about a world in which they would have the most power. If you remove all controls, what kind of people would soon have it? The people who could scream the loudest on message boards, intimidate dissenters with derision and sarcasm rather than concrete, well-intended responses, and carry lots and lots of guns would. In short, in lieu of rule, Ted Nugent would rule. That’s really all that needs to be said about that. People govern themselves one way or another. Enforcing anarchy is just another form of government. …A really bad one.
People are even willing to throw away the safety and security of a police force, simply because the system we have now is so sick with institutionalized racism, and militarized training which treats people as targets, as hindrances, rather than the objects of their protection. People will jump from buildings to avoid burning alive, and how could anybody blame them? But even in the awful case of police brutality, the answer is not to throw away something that is designed to protect citizens, and that in spite of incessant MSM news reports to the contrary, actually does that from time to time.
The answer is in education and oversight. The police must be trained to respect cultural difference, use restraint, and always respect the safety of all, not just themselves. Oversight comes in the form of body cams, dash cams, strongly regulated use of both, and absolute, unquestioned rights of citizens to record what the police are doing publicly, at any time, for any reason. That must be a nationwide law. In addition, our local police forces, as Bernie Sanders once said, need to “look like the communities they serve”, which speaks of the mutual investment of these local cops, within their communities. The relationship benefits both.
The 1% thrive on fear and conflict, and nothing would make them happier than to remove a protector of the people, even one that they had previously found so valuable as a wedge, through their corruption. The more they hurt the power of the local police, the more they build up the power of corporate police forces, which are growing in strength and number.
The police have always had problems. But again, what was broken can be fixed, and it must be. We must take our police forces back, to protect our local communities, as they were intended to do!