The condition of Man…is a condition of Warre of every one against every one. –
Pt. I, Ch. 14. Thomas Hobbes, “The Leviathan”
Sometimes I think there is some kind of ethereal tattooist lurking in the delivery room in every town, city, village and ‘burb in the United States, lurking off in some dark corner waiting to scribe this quote into the heart of every American child. It’s practically the national credo, and we damned well work hard every waking moment to make it true, here in the land built on chattel human bondage and genocide.
The weird obsession Americans have with things being “fair”, and no not that fairness that would enable everyone to have the basics to make for a baseline comfortable life, but a horrible small-minded fairness, the kind of fairness that takes one’s own disappointments and challenges and uses them to demand worse for others. “I worked hard, no one gave me anything, so …”
It’s not just the teabaggers, not just the Right or Republicans, not just the ignorant or bigoted or closed off or chauvinistic or homophobic or class conscious. It’s baked into everything. We make people jump through all kinds of hoops to obtain any kind of succor to salve life’s pains, it’s hungers, it’s bone-chilling cold and it’s unforgiving wounding assaults. We demand humiliation and a downcast gaze. We lock up and beat and lecture and scold …
I can’t even think we’re capable of fixing it, now that I’m into my second century in this country. We don’t want to, we who are the best and the brightest, the most innovative, the most creative … just ask us, watch our media … and just ignore any objective measurement comparing us in most everything to other western industrialized countries. For so many “liberals”, all we need do is tweak a few things, elect the right technocrat, fight the right wars the right ways, ban the right things, force the right behaviors … and for so many on the right and so-called center all we need to do is punish and withhold, whip and excoriate. Lock ’em up, throw away the key.
And et cetera, and so on, and on and on an on.
Build some more prisons, fill out some more forms, stand in some more lines, swallow some more pride, take it like a man, if you’re a man, or suffer silently, if you’re not.
As I watch that fraud try to explain away the broken website that was supposed to enable healthcare for all (which in this sad seat of empire means poorly delivered overpriced insurance) on the news today, a day after watching zealots attack the very same pallid thing as some kind of socialized medicine on the Sunday follies (as though anybody in this uneducated land would know socialism if it walked up to them and fed and clothed a child) it is truly impossible to see anything other than Warre of every one against every one well into the foreseeable future.
We like it that way, after all. An empire of ghouls who’s nearly every business model is built on blood or exploitation. Advertising and entertainment … merely forms of farming to deliver eyeballs to those who would harvest them. Our insurance industries don’t serve to pool risk to enable greater opportunity and safety for all … no, they’re merely siphons to suck people dry then discard the husks when they’re emptied. We build and deliver more weapons and death than any other nation on earth. Our police are increasingly gussied up paramilitaries, our prisons dedicated to exploitation of captives rather than tools for rehabilitation. Our financial industries run bust-out scams and Ponzi schemes masquerading as retirement plans and small business loans and mortgages.
Our national bird should be a vulture.
I become more disgusted and more radicalized every year. Instead of finding ways to help one another, to pool our opportunities, to become better, we keep up THIS, this idiotic system that everyone can see isn’t working. So what if you think flipping burgers is some lowly thing that doesn’t deserve more money … what if that is all there is? SOMEONE has to prepare the food and sweep the floors and wipe your ass in that overcrowded “retirement” home and minimally train those children you may not have wanted. Why can’t we spread the wealth … what happened to resenting UP instead of punching down?
Americans like to complain that life isn’t fair, or at least it wasn’t fair for THEM, so they respond by picking one of two of the many ways that enable the very few to exploit the very most and to leave the very least for almost all.
It makes no damned sense, and it apparently isn’t going to change, other than for the worse.