Monday, June 12, 2017

8 Rules of What?


So, I get on Facebook this very morning and I see this post. Now, under normal circumstances I would edit out the name, for the protection of one who likely means well and is grossly misinformed, or simply does not know better. This is not a normal circumstance, this was posted in a pro-Stein group, and this gentleman is running for a seat in the US Senate in the Great State of Massachusetts. Now, I have no real love for Massachusetts, or Jill Stein but this notion of the “Useful Idiot” is worse than the whole “Welfare Queen” myth.

Now, in his personal commentary, he Mr. Smith does bring up some points I feel are valid. The oligarchy has been left unchallenged by those we elected to represent us. Our leaders are more inclined, for the most part, to let them run wild, give them all the perks for being job creators. It doesn't help matters that our elected representatives are more concerned with keeping a job than actually doing it. It is true that these oligarchs are totally corrupt, that they have no regard for human life, or anything outside of profit. It is also true that it falls to the people to do everything within their legal power to get this situation under control. It is also going to require that we stop the infighting, we stop the name calling, and that we start listening and paying attention to what others say, even if we do not agree with what they say. It means listening, then rebutting as civilly as possible, when we feel they are misinformed or are otherwise in error.

Now, he posted an screen cap of an article called “Beware the Useful Idiots.” And this is where he ultimately lost me. First and foremost that screen shot of “Beware the Useful Idiot,” yeah, its not even real. Well, the screen capture is real, and in some form it actually existed, but nobody knows who really wrote it, and we can only assume its original intention. In truth, I would say this can go either way, depending on your current view of society, is it a hit piece on Socialist views, or a damnation of the current oligarch controlled capitalistic view others hold. On that I am going to leave it for you to decide, because either way, its pretty messy. Anyway, in this we have “eight levels of control” that must be obtained before you can create a social state.

  1. Healthcare – Control Healthcare and you control the people.
  2. Poverty – Increase the poverty level as high as possible; poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
  3. Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to raise taxes, and this will provide you more poverty.
  4. Gun Control – Remove the ability to defend themselves from the government. That way you are able to create a police state.
  5. Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (food, housing, and income).
  6. Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.
  7. Religion – Remove the belief in the God from the government and schools.
  8. Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent, and it will be easier to take (tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

Those actually sound very libertarian, conservative libertarian to be exact. It sounds like something Ayn Rand or Rand Paul would say. But since this was already debunked as mostly fake, lets break it down even further, and show how this happened, not in a socialist society, but in our current society.

  1. While it can be argued that by controlling healthcare you can control the people, our healthcare is already controlled. It isn't controlled by the government solely, in fact outside of Medicare and Medicaid, it is controlled by corporations currently. They in turn control the field by dictating price. If you are comfortably middle class, you can likely afford your healthcare, if you are poor enough, the government will step in and you will get government healthcare. If you are poor, but not poor enough for government assistance, you previously got a tax fine. In many ways, healthcare is currently a carrot at the end of the stick. We don't want any fines we cannot afford, so we are going to go a little further down the hole to get and keep insurance, even if we cannot use it for any reason. Its just an added expense to a load of other expenses. If you are lucky enough to have it via your employer, you aren't going to be as likely to leave a job, because you need that insurance, it is a set of cuffs. You won't rock the boat, you won't get off the boat, and you are going to do everything in your power to do neither of those things, so you can keep your insurance.
  2. Poverty is the ultimate motivator. Funny you should hear it from a guy who spent years living in a tent, a guy who has for nearly a decade done everything within the law to survive poverty. In truth, most of my friends are where I am, and are very quickly approaching where I have been, and honestly, I don't want to see that for anyone. But poverty is also a control mechanism, as stated previously. But not for the reasons stated above. Poverty controls every aspect of your life. As with the person who gets healthcare via their employer, when you are the working poor, you are not going to do anything to upset the status quo with your job. You aren't going to do anything to rock the boat should your employer be doing something questionable, and you aren't going to simply quit. You have options, you can look for another job to replace the one you have, and that certainly is the best course of action where there are plenty of available jobs you can take, but in many areas this is not the case. By hook or crook, many jobs require various levels of specification, many jobs that once required an Associates Degree now require a Bachelor's Degree, and the jobs that required the Bachelor's Degree now require a Master's Degree. You see where this is going?
  3. Poverty plays into this next “rule.” Debt, the bane of existence to the majority of people. You want that education to escape poverty, to make it to the comfortable middle class lifestyle so many are living on the surface? Go to college, get that degree, get that better paying job that requires a degree, but you are going to pay for it. Want a newer better car (or a car in general) because you don't have access to public transportation, you are going to likely go into debt with the purchase, getting it road worthy, or keeping it road worthy. Tired of living in your parent's basement, you are going to go into debt renting an over priced slum, or you are going to have a mortgage. With these things, you essentially tie yourself down to a job, and regardless of the abuses you face, you are going to keep the job you have until you find something better, if you ever find something better. Like poverty, debt is a massive motivator, if you have a lick of sense, you are going to want that debt to vanish quickly, as it is taking away from your abilities to do other things.
  4. As someone who supports the second amendment, I find this laughable. Really it is very comical to think that by limiting the ability to own firearms that you are removing the ability to defend yourself from the government. I'm sorry, but I seriously doubt anything a common person would have in their personal gun safe would be able to take out a fighter jet, a tank, or a military drone. You might be able to do something with the human element, until the human element gets serious, but once the hardware rolls in, you haven't got a chance. This isn't some Red Dawn scenario, where you run off into the woods with your friends and take the fight to invading forces.
  5. This is another one of those head scratching rules. But one that we should all reflect on. In essence as it reads in the above statement, you would think it makes sense. That is until you look at current events where our elected officials are now placing rules on what one can buy with their food stamps, what they can or cannot have in their public housing, and what can be done to income should they not follow a precise set of rules. You want public housing, ditch the pets, don't smoke or drink, don't have a birthday party for your kid. Want welfare, thats fine, but you can't buy potatoes, steaks or any kind of seafood. As for the amount of income, yeah, survive on a few dollars a day. I'm sorry, but most people I have encountered really want to get off of welfare and out of public housing as quickly as possible. Imagine, if you will, living in a house, but being totally unable to do anything in it. Or being able to buy only specific kinds of food.
  6. At this point, I am in tears, take control of what children learn in school. Oh, they learn about history, science, mathematics, literature, and some other things. We have put standards in place in an attempt to ensure that all children come out of primary school with the ability to survive in the world. These things are “controlled” so that children have an understanding of the way everything works. Of course it could be better, lots of things could be better, but the problem isnt what they are being taught, it is the attitude that many students have. Lets be honest, lots of kids hate school, they want to do other things that are more important to them. Parents for their part don't force the issue. Personally, I found school to be boorish, it wasn't about learning new things, it was about being popular, it was about who the varsity football team was going to play. Most of the classes consisted of a teacher droning on about this or that with little engagement. The best classes had teachers who engaged the students, who tried to make the material, no matter how boring, interesting. On a side note, some parents should never be allowed to dictate what is taught in a classroom. I'm sorry, but if you dropped out in the 8th grade, you probably don't have the knowledge base to dictate that creationism should be taught, when it has been repeated shown to be impossible. I should know, I have a title that covers that, and yes, the creation of the Earth, as described in religious texts is physically impossible, just like a worldwide flood, and a host of other things. Save that education for your local church. Oh, and uh, the Earth is not flat, Japan is a real place, with real people, and while we are at it, you can't fall off the edge of the world, but at times I think it would be nice if you could.
  7. Religion ties into education in a large way. We have a lot of people pushing to “teach the controversy.” I hate to break it to those who think in that way, there is no controversy, and if there ever really was, the debate ended a long time ago. Look, what you believe if your deal, you want to believe in a personal savior, who is going to come back and fix everything, thats great. In the meantime, some of us are concerned about real world problems that need to be solved right now, not in the period of God knows when. God is still in the government, surprise surprise. Every time I turn on CSPAN, when congress gets fired up, they still pray to a God. When I turn on any sporting event, I still see an invocation. I still see players thinking God in interviews, and pointing a finger to the sky. Now, if you are the religious type, you are saying look at Tim Tebow and what happened to him for his religion. I hate to break it to you, but the guy wasn't that good of a football player, He was more lucky than anything else, and thats why he is playing minor league baseball somewhere.
  8. Ah, Class Warfare, this one is by far the best. You see, this is actually happening, and it has been aloud to happen for many many decades, repeatedly throughout history. As a society progresses people tend to move up and down on a social ladder. In a truly fair environment, people can move up from poverty to a sustainable level (the middle class), and their kids could in turn move higher up the ladder with a little luck and some work. Surely, I will never be a multi-millionaire or billionaire, but my kids could do better than I, if they choose to. But the socioeconomic ladder is more of a food chain. Those at the bottom are currently used and abused by those higher up on the chain. Those people are in turn used by people higher yet on the food chain, and this cycle continues until you get to the highest levels, where you run into the alpha predators. The problem is, there is only so far you can move on the food chain, outside of extraordinary events (winning the lotto for one). But back to the class warfare thing. What we have happening here is a man made creation, where those higher on the food chain exploit politicians and the rules to suit their needs, well more like desires. They have the money, and money is power, well according to the SCotUS, free speech. They put forth tons of money to get the message out that they want, while getting the people they want to change the rules of the game. The more people see they cannot have, the less growth they see in their lives, the more discontent they are going to be with things. This happens when people see that their hard work is going nowhere, and the freedom they truly seek is nothing but an illusion.

So, here in lies the crux of it. Some of the things that are considered bad by the libertarians, and those seeking to eliminate the socialist elements of our society have drunk the proverbial Koolaide. In some cases they want freedom, but only their own. They want God in the government and in the schools, but which God? Their own God. They want to teach the controversy, but they only seek to teach their personal beliefs to everyone, even if it is hogwash. Do you notice a trend here? Everything listed was conservative and libertarian talking points, about the evils of this and that.

So, you say, I want freedom. I want to be able to rock the boat when my boss is engaging in questionable behavior, I want to be able to ditch that horrible job, I don't want to worry about my healthcare, eating, and shelter. I don't want to have a mountain of debt, I just want to go about my life. Well, I hate to say this, but there are no easy answers to these things. I have my views, you have yours. In my mind, the solution is easy to say, hard to achieve. We need to set about working on our elected officials to get it done now, so that our children and their children will only have to fight to maintain the work.

First we need Universal Healthcare. We need to be in a position where we aren't forced to pay large amounts of money to go to the hospital in case of a major medical emergency. We need top notch education, and we need to stop the insanity of teaching the controversy, seriously, if you wish to have your children taught about creationism, you have a church for that. Your preacher will be more than happy to talk about how evolution is a lie, and the world is flat. We need a Universal Basic Income, set in such a way that even the laziest of people can have a basic standard of living. And we do not need to be telling people what they can or cannot buy with this income. If they want to burn through it on hookers and blow, more power to them. We need to set real rules on property owners who are renting. Yes, most places have a standard for livability, but no limits on the rent. Seriously, in some places it costs a thousand dollars for a hole in the wall slum in the bad side of town. That eats up a large chunk of income. Religion is just a trigger word, it is used as a means to get the true believers up in arms. Religion is here, just as it always was, and while religious numbers are decreasing, it will be here for a good long while.

Look, if you are concerned that poverty is allowing the government to take more control, you are sadly in error. Poverty is allowing the oligarchs to take control, strip away our freedoms, and our ability to grow. If you really want freedom, your first concerns should be healthcare and poverty. If you take the steps to cover healthcare for all, and poverty, debt will evaporate like a puddle of water on a hot summer's day. One those three things are eliminated, true freedom could be achieved. Imagine where people would be if they weren't just trying to survive. They could explore aspects of themselves that they currently do not. We would certainly be healthier, both physically and mentally without all this stress, heartache, and angst. People wouldn't have to worry about paying this or choosing between homelessness, hunger, and a lack of essential medications. Those free loving hippie artists could paint to their hearts content, and who knows, maybe even make a living doing that. That quiet guy who tells some awesome stories might be able to commit them to paper, and make a ton of money, while exposing large numbers of people to his visions, not just his friends and neighbors. We might even stumble across the next Einstein or Hawking, who is the utterly brilliant fry cook at your local fast food joint. The guy who has a knack for physics, but is too busy being stressed out about covering his share of Mom and Dad's household expenses, because he lives there. By ensuring that survival is not the most important thing, we grant the ability to not only think, but to grow, to give people the opportunity to change the world. I'm sorry, but the way I see it, humanity can overcome anything and everything thrown at it, but first we must get out of our own way. We first have to realize that no matter what station in life you feel someone should have, when given the chance, they could save everything. All it requires is a change in our attitudes, and to let everyone else do the rest. And it all starts with giving people the freedom to do more than survive and feed the machine.