The charade of democracy is that almost nothing gets done when it needs to get done, and what actually does is totally impermanent. At best a given measure is transitory. Opponents have only to wait for their man to be elected to get what they want. It is political chaos, and in truth American society has no real stability. (As if the will of "the people" has any value at all -- in practical terms it amounts to mob rule).
I dig "turn on, tune in, and drop out." My sentiments exactly. The problem, however, is that in this particular reality, on this particular planet, at this particular time, there is nothing at all to drop out to.
Modern capitalism is simultaneously the most productive and the most socially and spiritually bankrupt economic system in the history of the planet. It comprises great material success (for some) on the one hand, and a total stultification of the soul on the other.
Who wants a specialized job? Who doesn't want, instead, a meaningful role? We're going to have to overhaul the entire concept of work in the coming years; why not set about thinking about all of this... right now?
When you're young, they make sure to tell you that you need to pick a career, and that this career will be the defining variable of your life. What if there isn't any vocation which you truly want? What if there isn't any vocation you can bring yourself to engage in even though you might be able to do it well? There are no satisfactory answers to these questions in our culture. These questions generally aren't asked, at least aloud.
The free market is far too irresponsible to regulate itself.
Nationalism has become obsolete.
The major premise of the right is that we can do without most regulations -- that the market and society can and will regulate themselves. This is wrong. The major premise of the left is that government can do anything, which is also wrong, and that it can be used to effect outcomes that are in reality impossible, or too complex to control. Conservatives, ironically, while very anti-regulation, are the first to come to the government to ask for help (or new laws) in times of trouble. Liberals, on the other hand, are quick to promote and pass legislation that, more often than not, does not institute actual progress and just makes it harder for certain parties to operate. There are no good answers coming out of either the right or the left.
Geographically, the United States is a wonderful place. Culturally and ideologically, perhaps not so much. The United States, in terms of its culture, turns out magnificent products very much in spite of itself.
Most civilized people throughout history have had to pay to live, as ludicrous as that is. The tragic fact is that the population levels sedentary societies have brought into existence can't be financed in any other way. So people's ability simply to live is held hostage from them, and obviously money is crucially important. We as a global community are rapidly approaching the point where we will have the highest imbalance of job to worker ratio in history, and while the wealth levels will continue to rise for the rich (the ownership), most people will be permanently out of work. There is going to have to be some type of basic income program in which everyone gets compensated while only a few are actually working. An entire overhaul of the concept of an economy will have to come into existence, or society will simply collapse. Technological streamlining should be a good thing, and welcomed by society -- the realization of a dream that is thousands of years old. In this, our modern society, it is turning into a nightmare -- because everyone in power is, as yet, completely ignoring the problem.
It is not uncommon to hear people say that America is failing. But that's not exactly true. America isn't failing. It has already failed.
By and large, the affairs of the United States of America have always been about the one percent. It has been the case throughout our history, ever since the very beginning. After all, the founding fathers were rich, land-holding slave owners. Progressiveness and liberal politics are cosmetic distractions; the real activity goes on behind the scenes, and has always been directed toward supporting the elite and maintaining the status quo. The strongest social force is a billionaire.
The way to change the world is to change minds. As long as people are thinking the same way, nothing much will change. As long as people willfully and idiotically chase this insane "dream," society will remain functionally the same and things will only be able to go from bad to worse. It's not exclusively the fault of the very rich. The American People, the middle class, are as much or more to blame for our collective woes.
I have elected not to participate in the cluster-fuck of overspecialization. And while I may not have much money, I am quite happy with the decision.
The founding fathers were very careful in their structuring of the Constitution to prevent the popular will from deciding the affairs of government. They were squarely against mob rule or even influence, and it was for this reason that they constructed a federal republic, not a pure democracy. Rule by the average man -- our democracy -- has grown out of this in time and become a tradition; but it was expressly contraindicated in the Constitution with its emphasis on representative government which acts independently for the people, but does not submit to a mandate by the people. Supposedly, the representative -- who is not merely a delegate, and who is genuinely qualified -- conducts himself according to his intelligence and wisdom, not the (often ridiculous) popular will.
If you think mob rule is an effective way to administer a situation, why, you'll love democracy.
The United States is an oligarchy pretending to be a pure democracy which was founded as a federal republic. We don't even have a coherent political identity.
We see (it is almost ubiquitous at this point) the difficulties these soldiers are facing upon returning to civilian life. That intensity, that numinous heroism, of battle is impossible to reproduce at home, and so it is virtually impossible for very many to adjust back to their pre-war mentalities in which there is a lack of that intensity. It's tragic, and the truth is that they should never have been deployed in the first place. How much destruction are we capable of before we can finally have peace (and peace of mind)?
In the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the U.S. fucked just about everyone, including itself, and for many decades we will be dealing with the offspring of these acts of congress.
The reason more government is necessary and conservatism and libertarianism won't fly is that humans, by and large, can't be trusted to regulate themselves and do the right thing. Left to their own devices, people will cheat. And it only takes one bad apple to spoil the entire bunch. This notion that the market can and should regulate itself is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Wall Street runs amok even with regulations. Would-be criminals and people who are already criminals must not be put in charge.
One of the reasons governments are so opposed to psychedelic drugs is that they catalyze states of mind in which beliefs and boundaries dissolve and are questioned. Since beliefs and boundaries are two of the most important factors for power, this is a very real threat to the status quo. For that reason, the stigma surrounding these substances is very convenient for the authorities. Indeed, a fearful, ignorant public supports them in this for the most part. Nevertheless, the U.S. Constitution does seem to guarantee the freedom to cultivate and ingest any plant substance, for example, as long as it does not impinge upon the liberty of another. Therefore, prohibition of substances is illegal. Not only that, it pays criminals and government agencies billions. I wish we could do better.
If any of the founding fathers could be resurrected to life to see America today, and what has become of their experiment, I believe they would request to be put back in the grave.
History favors the victorious, then turns to propaganda. Who would have been hurt if the British had won the Revolutionary War? Was the terrorism propagated by the colonists really okay? If it had gone the other way they (the founders) would all be viewed as scoundrels and brigands. Did what we have now really occupy the minds of the founders? Could domestic affairs be more propitious as a satellite of the U.K.? It's funny how history has its turns, which become set in stone, but in all reality if the story had gone differently than our luminous fairy tales, things might possibly have turned out better. Yet we worship them as gods.
What is great about America is the land, the Indian land which is sacred to anyone with the eyes to see it. The dominant culture overlaid on this luckless continent is another matter. But the geography is special.
Communism doesn't work because in reality, the hierarchy never dissolves.
Democracy has been successful because it perpetuates the illusion for the people that they are getting what they want, while the 'powers that be' can very easily get away with whatever they wish. It is the most efficient way to maintain order while not preventing, indeed while fostering, the agglomeration of moneys and therefore power. Civilization has been a pyramid all along (or rather, a Ponzi scheme), and our dear progressive liberal modern world is hardly any sort of exception to this. Perhaps it is its culmination.
We are not "free." We are relatively free.
American culture is utterly shallow and entirely soul-deadening. Work a job -- if you lose it you're in huge trouble!; make more money to do worthless, unfulfilling and meaningless things with your free time; take a vacation!; go drinking on the weekends; get into debt; buy something; do drugs to alleviate boredom and pain; find a hobby; play with toys; sit at home. We engage in no meaningful activities. There is nowhere for us to be, and nothing for us to do. Our lives are empty. And we have no choice.
In politics, the right is more concerned with the protection of property; the left is more concerned with the welfare of individuals. I personally have certain misgivings either way, in the mess that is reality -- but I think I know which way to lean, if the situation calls for it.
What's "great" about America is that it's very safe here and we're rich. Culturally, we are extremely shallow.
The sad fact is that there are millions of Islamic citizens of various countries who have directly seen or heard about American warplanes and soldiers attacking their countries and their people indiscriminately -- in wars that make no sense except as overt persecutions of Muslims. Drone strikes, too. I don't want to seem crass, but it's hard for me not to see good old Uncle Sam as the bad guy at times, based purely on the merits.
The modern (now global) materialist capitalist system is undoubtedly controversial. On the one hand, it must be true that the human mind is plastic enough to have a system based upon something more intelligent, more humane, more sustainable in this world. Indeed many thousands of cultures which have existed on this planet can be said to fall into that category. Howsoever, the truth is that, at this point in time, with current circumstances, it is impossible for the majority of the human population to have something materially different. Radical change is not possible and it is not coming. So there is something to be said for those whose choice it is to buy into the system. This is not folly, really. I will say though that there is also something to be said for detesting it.
Usually when people get rich, they get bored, spoiled and miserable. At which point those who suffer the least think they're suffering the most. Living the Dream.
In modern American culture, family and friends are essentially superfluous. One goes inevitably to where the money is, all other considerations be damned.
I live in the United States. This means that, on a spiritual level, I wake up each day to a nightmare.
Where did we get this idea that we can legislate our way out of our problems? When did programs really change the way we conduct ourselves?
Corporate is not a bad word. Corporations are only the logical conclusion of the development of a society like ours. What is really wrong is the crass consumerist/materialist culture which has become totally ubiquitous. The buying and selling of goods and services in some form or other is virtually the only activity in which our civilization engages. It is truly soul-crushing when you get down to it. But why not indulge in the corporate products? In reality there is no other option. We no longer have any other choice if we are alive. May as well try to enjoy some of it.
In America (and I assume by now most countries on Earth), in 2016 there are not many opportunities to do a whole lot. This is regardless of personal worth, strength of character or, most importantly, ability and potential skill. There are very many millions of able-bodied, competent people who are unemployed or underemployed. The crisis is here, now, although it appears that very few who can reach a wide audience seem willing or inclined to bring it up.
Our problems lie far deeper than the political level.
America, the land of opportunity and freedom? Truth is, things aren't so idyllic in Dreamland.
Success depends almost entirely on whom one knows and getting some type of opportunity. Many people are never afforded the luxury of knowing or having been acquainted with someone who can give them a meaningful opportunity.
The notion of being "rich and famous" is a pipe dream that sees fulfillment in virtually no one. It clearly does not bring happiness, and in fact frequently brings misery.
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Americans fall into this category.
Economists seem never to be any good until after the fact.
We have two political parties in the United States. Count them. Does every issue really fall into two neat categories?
In America, the right seeks to protect and augment personal property as much as possible and above all else, reasoning that this is the best route to success. It's actually what's most wrong with America. But the left offers no especially good alternative, seeking to legislate every problem away, and in the process giving the government more power than probably a government ideally ought to have. I guess what we really need is some sort of enlightened monarch, because the above approaches aren't getting us very far. Not that such a thing could ever come to pass, of course.
People in modern American society have started to use the word "capitalize" a lot, when what they really mean to say is "exploit."
There are many varied reasons why people take drugs, but the most common reasons are these: exposure, boredom, curiosity, and addiction. If you eliminate these four factors, drug use would virtually cease. Which is, in a word: impossible. Let's legalize and responsibly regulate everything.
I'm all for smaller government, but people have to realize that in a country as populous and complex as the U.S., there is a minimum size the administrative infrastructure can be -- and it's pretty big. I'm no democrat, but the republicans and libertarians have to be more realistic: government in the modern world simply has to be rather substantial.
If you start with a population with equally divided wealth -- meaning that every citizen has the same amount of money -- and you allow transactions to start taking place, pretty soon there will be massive inequality. We see this again and again with the ebbs and flows of the various civilizations throughout history. Once a certain segment of society accrues enough wealth, their ability to generate with that wealth geometrically more wealth translates to an upward parabolic curve -- a positive feedback cycle. In any society in which money is changing hands, there will always be at some point gross economic inequality. In human civilizations, based upon stratification, division of labor and unequal access to resources, it is inevitable and mandatory.
Is poverty genetic, or not? It seems to arise from a combination of genetics and environment, like anything else. Persons who would otherwise be truly remarkable but have been reared in extreme poverty almost never get out. And any idiot knows that most rich people are nitwits who were only good at the one little thing that got them rich. So, despite the rationalizations of the well-to-do to themselves, the picture probably is not quite so simple.
No one deserves to make as much money as people do for finding and exploiting a niche in a capitalist economy. No one need be or should be a billionaire; that much is obvious and certain. It's obscene how much some people have whilst millions are starving in the streets. There is absolutely no rational justification for it at all. Perhaps the most alarming thing of all is that most of those people starving in the streets would very much like to be billionaires.
That "better job" is pretty mythical.
In the twentieth century, American empire believed it could interfere with the affairs of several smaller nations for its own expedient purposes without any consequences. Well, the twenty-first century is proving to be the century of consequences.
What a lot of Americans don't realize is that America exists at the top of the world at the expense of the middle and bottom of the world. This could explain at least some of the anti-American sentiment by which everyone is so shocked.
It is as if it were a physical law: civilizations rise, then they fall, then the cycle gets repeated all over again. From Mesopotamia to Sumer to Egypt to Greece to Rome to Europe to Great Britain to the United States to. . . what exactly? America is very probably not exempt from the law; the questions are how badly will America fail, and who's next?
America is filthy rich only because we sit on the richest deposits of natural resources in the world. The business end is a cosmetic superstructure. That is the real reason.
Not only is it not a question anymore, America's decline is rather obvious at street level. Homelessness wasn't an epidemic thirty years ago, health care wasn't a problem twenty-five years ago, and only one wage earner was needed (rather than two or more) only a few decades ago. These are only a small handful of the items in evidence for the fall of empire.
One of the tragedies of the modern age is that the vast majority of people have been splintered into solitude, at least in America. Some people like solitude, but most people don't do so well with it. There's simply not enough social cohesion, and not enough of a community scene, for it to be materially different in most places. It's quite sad.
When we criticize the government, we ought to be careful to distinguish in our minds between the small minority of elected officials who hold political office and make most of the executive decisions, and the greater majority of hundreds of thousands of middle class professionals who are enabling the country to run. Government is clearly necessary, and despite the idealisms of the republicans and libertarians, there is a minimum size it needs to be, and in the modern world this is rather large. The great irony is that the right, who are the first to decry government and regulation, are the very first to come to the government in times of trouble to ask for help. And we certainly can't have smaller government if everybody wants to keep passing laws!
Any civilized nation should have a populace with access to: free health care; any non-lethal substance one wishes, a subset of which would include clinics for the administration of, for example, heroin and certain other schedule I substances; any plant/fungus one chooses to cultivate and grow; free education for anyone who is interested, with attentiveness to the possibility of compensating students monetarily, which would be not only appropriate but also act as a mechanism for ensuring the presence of those who should be there and the absence of those who shouldn't; extremely limited campaign finance and fixed, tighter term limits on all politicians, ensuring a lack of corruption and true citizen service; a defense budget that is sensible but not out of control; a sensible tax code; and any number of other basic improvements that all citizens of planet Earth should have. We would do well to stop all this very American self-congratulatory flag-waving and get down to thinking about things.
Society, for me, is like a one-size-fits-all garment that doesn't fit at all.
Americans may think that their political enemies are bad people, but in most cases they are just decent humans, like anybody, and the fact remains that Uncle Sam is the imperialist on the block.
The quality of American culture is unprecedentedly low -- from top to bottom and across the board. I like to think that I, at least, am keeping a flame lit.
Trump isn't a cause; he is a manifestation.
Nobody seems to want to pay taxes in the United States. Yes, the government misuses a lot of the money, but in fact very much of it goes to good and necessary functions, necessities and basic civic uses. It says something about the state of our country that many nations celebrate tax day, while we desperately loathe it.
In the end, Obama was just another ineffective president. And worse.
There is quite an uncomfortable amount of interpretation going on in our justice system. It's how lawyers and judges make livings and why they have jobs. And more of it goes according to whim than the law.
In very many countries, one can afford not to work with a disability. Not so here.
In the America we've created, there can't be many whose true potential isn't being wasted.
Being patriotic, and buying into the official story of "the hive," do not at all preclude a belief in individualism. In fact we have a fiercely individualistic society here, despite the collective ethos.
Trump's whole thesis that if we bring the overseas jobs back to America everything will be candy-canes and sunshine is foolish if seen in the proper light. Most jobs will be gone by 2040. That's not a function of globalization, it's a function of technology. He can't stop it, and I predict his whole approach will fail miserably. The manufacturing sector he's focused on will be the first to be fully automated, top to bottom. Those jobs will be gone the world over, at some point. His whole approach to jobs is totally stupid.
Hunter S. Thompson wrote of "the death of the American Dream" in the 1970s, which he blamed on Richard Nixon. I'm frankly not so sure it was ever alive, but I think it's safe to say that now, forty years after Dr. Thompson's original diagnosis, it has without a doubt been fully cremated.
Reading about the revolutionary period and the founding of the Republic is fun and enjoyable, if for no other reason than that it transports one to a romantic and adventurous time when there was actually hope.
The programs of the Federalists entailed the logical development of future evolution, but perhaps the simplicity of the early republic could have been maintained a while longer. The Federalists anticipated inevitability, but the Republicans advocated for the more humane and desirable course of action. For the time.
In paying for food and medicine, we are paying for the temporarily granted privilege to remain alive. It's psychotic.