The Seven Deadly Sins
1. Support the police! 2. Support the troops! 3. Taxes are theft! 4. Social programs are communism! 5. Regulation is bad! 6. Government is bad! 7. Wealth trickles down!
These talking points explain everything for many conservatives. Yet none of them have any merit. I am so sick of being beat over the head with this stuff.
1. SUPPORT THE POLICE!
Taking a rough look at the demographics, about 163,000,000 Americans fall into the category of adults under age 65 who are most likely to interact with police in a “negative venue” such as being felony suspects or repeat criminals or actually being arrested. “The best current estimate is that just less than 1% of all noninstitutionalized males age 18 and over are psychopaths.1 This translates to approximately 1,150,000 adult males who would meet the criteria for psychopathy in the United States today.2 And of the approximately 6,720,000 adult males that are in prison, jail, parole, or probation,3 16%, or 1,075,000, are psychopaths.4 Thus, approximately 93% of adult male psychopaths in the United States are in prison, jail, parole, or probation.”
With most of the psychopaths in prison the less dangerous type classified as sociopaths are quoted in some sources as making up around 4% of the population. Rounding down slightly to give the lower number of female sociopaths the benefit of a doubt we have about 6 million people with sociopathic traits in the U.S. and this segment of the population is essentially why the police exist. Counting all sworn police officers, prison guards, and parole and probation officers, a very rough estimate of around 2 million are controlling the 6 million on the street that represent “the problem.”
Or, considering the entire population, one person out of 65 is employed to keep three other people out of that 65 “under the control” of our society. I hope my math is close to correct. Consider it as a big room with 65 people representing the entire population. Some are young, some are old, but one adult has the authority to remove anyone who is disrupting the event. There are three other adults in the room who are very likely, for whatever reason, to individually try and disrupt the event. It is important to understand if those three combine against the one, it is not going to end well. To prevent that from happening all adult guests agree to abide by some rules. If those three combine against the one the guests will combine against them to enforce the agreed upon rules and prevent “civil disorder.” This is distinct from civil disobedience in that disorder is dangerous, while disobedience is how rules are questioned and beneficial change occurs, or, to use another term, “progress.” The adults that make up that part of the population who decide what the rules are will decide on any single issue and be “conservative” and conserve the old rule, or “progressive”, and change the old rule into a new one. This system is utilitarian (the greatest good for the greatest number) and not a zero-sum competition (one winner eventually takes all).
If the number of people in the room who are likely to break the rules and disrupt and ruin or even end the event is beyond the naturally occurring number of sociopathic anomalous individuals- then this is an indication of something being very wrong. That failure is historically a misidentification of exactly who is “the problem.” The poor and oppressed who are unwilling to bear any more disadvantage and abuse are not the cause- a small clique of high-functioning sociopaths are always at the other end of that wealth spectrum. If we had less inequality we would have far less police. And if they kick your door down in the middle of the night and you are disappeared, you might wish you had not so strongly supported the police.
A police state is not going to fix society.
2. SUPPORT THE TROOPS!
It is interesting that in many infantry tables of organization around the world the basic element is a “fire team” made up of four individuals- a team leader and three subordinates. Two fire teams make up a squad (8), five squads make up a platoon (40), and five platoons make up a company of around two hundred soldiers. As was noted in our society we presently have one person with authority to control three others who are figuratively out of control. Just as that police patrol officer may not be an especially remarkable person, the team leader in that smallest fire team element of an Army is also just another soldier who, for whatever reason or merit, has been given a basic responsibility to accomplish a mission. The mission of the soldier is to protect your people. Protect your buddy, protect your country, and protect your loved ones by doing the first two. Even if you lose your own life. That makes you remarkable. Always been that way…until recently.
On 16 July 1945, war as the human race had known it for thousands of years ended. The first atomic bomb made any future war impossible to win. And we have not had a real war since then. A few nations without nuclear weapons have waged limited conflicts but no World War III between the superpowers has occurred due to M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction). The bomb was made due to a letter sent to the President of the United States 81 years ago by the scientist whose equations made the weapon possible. That scientist sent the letter because some colleagues had approached him warning of a possible Nazi bomb.
Despite the almost zero possibility of a non-nuclear war, the United States spends more money on the military than all the other nuclear powers combined. We spend over 16 percent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on the military while Russia, our most likely adversary, spends less than 4 percent. The vast amount of tax dollars being expended is almost incomprehensible to the average citizen. The U.S. could easily afford universal health care, free college education, and build a solar energy economy with money from the defense budget- and still spend more than our two main rivals, Russia and China, combined. The reason we do not reduce military spending are the immense profits involved and this phenomenon is called the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). The fantastic array of expensive non-nuclear weapons seem to confirm this as obvious. Our most recent endless trillion dollar “war” has made the rich so much richer, and the rest of us so much poorer. Truth.
The republican President who as a general made the incredibly difficult decision to invade Europe in bad weather and thus began the defeat of the Nazis warned us about this. The defense industry owns politicians at every level of government and shareholders in defense corporations hold over 80 percent of stock market wealth. The reason for much of the inequality in the United States is remarkable- we have been brainwashed into pouring money into the pockets of the super-rich with the simplest of all propaganda slogans:
“Support the troops.”
3. TAXES ARE THEFT!
This is how to smoke out Neoliberal agendas every time. Just bring up taxes. Almost every single thing having to do with inequality and environmental problems is connected with the super-rich avoiding taxes. Very little of the technology they “develop” is paid for by their corporations- almost all of it comes from University or defense research projects paid for by the taxpayer. 90 percent of everything the one percent do or say is really about one thing only- not paying a penny not only for technology but also not paying anything for the healthy educated workers that made them so obscenely rich. It not just the free infrastructure and human resources they exploit in their corporate welfare package that is clearly Orwellian- the one percent take most of what millions of people actually deserve for their labor and put it in their own pocket. Productivity goes up and wages do not is the indisputable proof they are liars when they say taxes are theft. They have reduced their tax burden while reducing wages while becoming billionaires:
The super-rich are tax dodgers and are actually the thieves. Really.
4. SOCIAL PROGRAMS ARE COMMUNISM!
A coworker engaged me in a conversation one day last year I was hesitant to enter into with him and it ended as I expected. He started off by complimenting me as being a smart guy and a good person to work with and then qualified it by questioning my “patriotism.” He had deduced from our few previous conversations about current events that I might lean a little left. I answered with a story about myself- that I had not grown up with much guidance and had been free to explore what I was drawn to instead of being steered in a certain direction. I liked to read and did not like team sports or games. I then said that what we believe about life is a series of connected stories we come to accept as being “real.” This was pretty “wordy” and he did not like it much.
I continued and stated my “patriotism” is based on the story of the great depression. He nodded like he knew what I was talking about but of course he did not. I went on to say the great depression happened because the government did not regulate the financial industry and instead allowed “free market economics” to run their course. After the crash, the labor unions and suddenly powerful American communist party approached FDR and told him either the government stepped in to ease the suffering or it might mean revolution. FDR paid attention as the USSR had formed in 1922, only seven years before the stock market crashed in the United States. FDR, who was a capitalist, went to his rich friends and told them there was going to be a “New Deal.” Social Security, unemployment insurance, a federal jobs program, and Fair Labor Standards (minimum wage, 40 hour work week, and overtime) would be the four legs of the deal- but the most important part would be the government strictly regulating the banks and financial markets. This was mostly based on the theories of a British economist named John Maynard Keynes and is usually referred to as “Keynesian Economics.”
In a nutshell, Keynes promoted the idea of a capitalist economy imbedded in a socialist society and this is called “Imbedded Liberalism” (free market entrepreneurs were originally called “liberals” and the meaning has since changed- a little confusing). The government would regulate (not control- an important distinction) the capitalist economy and if it crashed despite this regulation an established social safety net would provide for and insure workers did not lose everything they owned as they had in 1929. To pay for this large government regulating the economy and maintaining social(ist) programs the rich would pay taxes at a much higher tax rate than the working class, which is called “progressive taxation.”
The “deal” is simple enough to understand: you get to be rich but you don’t get what makes your wealth possible for free. The state will take some of your wealth and put it into a “lockbox” to insure your workers are not going to become homeless and starve because bad business decisions cause the economy to fail….again.
I went on to say what made America great was the New Deal and that was why I was a patriotic democrat. I finished by saying the democratic party and society in general has over the last half century been infiltrated by an extreme form of free market capitalism called “Neoliberalism.” And the only way to Make America Great Again is to go back and start over with another “New Deal.” Because of climate change the best plan is a “Green New Deal” that congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is promoting. He did not like this at all and I will not go into how badly our little talk ended. They really hate her.
Imbedded Liberalism is not Communism.
5. REGULATION IS BAD!
When I was in Alaska back in the 90’s I remember how dangerous the fisheries were. Close to forty fishermen drowned the first year I was up there. Regulations were passed requiring life-saving equipment, mandatory training, vessel inspections, and the outcry against this was intense. The fisherman were very unhappy about it. The next year fewer fishermen died. The year after that even fewer. Five years after the regulations came into effect less than half a dozen fishermen were lost. I have several other examples of the effects of regulation over my lifetime and they all have something in common- there was great resistance to the regulations, much anger and resentment with many people complaining their “rights” were being violated by “the nanny state.”
The real reason people were upset was, of course, greed. Regulations always cut off the flow of money going into somebodies pocket. Those who are going to lose money have to be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance. They will lie and obfuscate and try any trick available to cash out or get that last penny up until the last moment. Guaranteed. That is how business works. Persuading the public such regulation is a communist plot or a corrupt hoax is just another business tactic. Regarding these unethical practices the most heinous example of all is the Koch brothers and climate change. Neoliberals have almost zero regard for human life and regard the majority of the population as little more than domestic animals.
The Neoliberal ideology that presently dominates economic activity on this planet has no ethical or moral imperatives- it is simply about getting rich as the only possible meaning to existence- the only end goal and acquiring wealth as all that matters. It is more of a religion for sociopaths, a cult, than about commerce and markets. When money is the god of this world making rules to limit “wealth creation” is blasphemy. And like any holy war the demonic forces working against the individual becoming a semi-divine billionaire must be relentlessly attacked and destroyed without mercy. Any weapon that gives the individual an advantage over Satanic “collectivists” is allowed.
When I used to get dragged into conversations about this (I avoid them now) with right wing conservatives at some point I was compelled to reveal to them the harsh truth and I would say to them, “the only reason you own anything is the rest of us let you.” The point being the golden rule that states those with the gold make the rules is not reality. It is what those with the gold want you to think is reality.
The only regulation desired by the wealthy is regulation that protects those with wealth from those without.
6. GOVERNMENT IS BAD!
If you “love America” then you love the American Government. The Government is the nation. No difference. If you vote you create that government. If you feel your vote is not counted you assemble and protest as guaranteed by the 1st amendment of the constitution. We the people are the government and we are the nation. That Ronald Reagan inspired Americans to distrust and called for reducing government was schizophrenic and played to the delusions of narcissists and other neurotics who honestly believe their own interests are all that matter. Here is found the great divide between the individual and the collective. Ayn Rand used this language and is a popular figure among those who hate any form of control imposed them. They often call themselves “patriots” but this is a strange and bizarre persona they wear like camouflage. The Neoliberal takes certain ideas and converts them into something different that matches their ideology. The primary conversion being the corruption of the word “freedom.” To those of us who are not, we clearly perceive Neoliberals as understanding the word as actually meaning “greed.” In other words, to Neoliberals freedom essentially means being free to practice absolute greed.
The reason Ronald Reagan disliked Government was his Neoliberal ideology. He was not about Democracy, or the Republic, or any other of the various systems societies organize themselves around; Reagan was a Neoliberal. In Neoliberalism everything must generate revenue, must make a profit, for an “owner.” This was later referred to as “the ownership society” by George W. Bush but it is simply a continuation of the Neoliberal revolution of Reagan. Calls to run Government like a business are the most pernicious expression of this ideology. Perhaps the best way to understand Neoliberals is to look at them as consciously evolving capitalism into a version of fascism. While the nazis made race their central theme it is wealth that occupies the center of Neoliberal ideology. Accuse me of playing the nazi card but replacing race with wealth seems to work in this case. The nazis exterminated their “useless eaters” while the Neoliberals treat non-revenue producing humans as a byproduct with no value- to be dumped as waste.
Government is not focused on the individual owner competing against other owners for the largest share of a market. Government is about the people and how they interact in their society, how they, as a people, effect and affect the collective functioning of the state. Democracy is especially antithetical to an ideology based on survival of the fittest and recognizing only the acquisition of wealth as having any meaning. America famously turned the world upside down with every man a king and the government the servant of the people- Neoliberalism has twisted this into a very few men are kings who are served by unfortunate people with no government serving them.
In a Democracy the citizen is the Government and that is not so bad.
7. WEALTH TRICKLES DOWN!
This has taken me several hours to write and now I have come to that last deadly sin. Voodoo economics is not so much the big lie that is told so many times everyone believes it- it is that- but also a sleight of hand that few people are aware of. Trickle-down, or Voodoo economics, is used in discussion as a replacement for that most ancient and fundamental feature of civilization- redistribution of wealth. By endlessly demonizing this term, Neoliberals have validated exploitation, theft, oppression, and cruelty as the basic operating principles of society. The reason they have succeeded is because of the specific artificiality of civilization. Modernity has caused a kind of collective amnesia in the human species and we have forgotten our hunter-gatherer origins. Stone age hunter-gatherer groups were necessarily egalitarian. Egalitarianism is identical in meaning with redistribution.
Human beings are social creatures (socialists) and have always had to share and sacrifice within a group to survive as an individual. The group dies, the individual dies. There is no disputing this. Unless you are sociopath- then you don’t understand how that works. Neoliberals dispute this because they don’t understand, and in this sense they are certainly sociopathic. The most successful Neoliberals are absolutely sociopaths as they have effectively turned off their empathy for their fellow human beings in order to horde obscene amounts of wealth. If this were not true they would be building schools and hospitals in third world countries instead of buying private jets and yachts. See how that works?
Unlike many Americans, as a Presbyterian Christian and a “liberal”, it is not embarrassing or strange to me that I freely express these ideas. That is what I am. In the same way Neoliberals are what they are and are also unashamed. They see absolutely nothing wrong in buying mansions and half a million dollar Italian supercars. In fact, they think that is exactly how the world works- that they are doing their part by supporting the workers who build the mansions and supercars. They are the good guys and deserve to be rich- and it follows those who are poor deserve to be poor. It is the useless eaters who actively call for taxing the rich that are evil- and should be selected by nature out of existence. We all get what we deserve, right? So it is a matter of opinion if the French nobility who went to the Guillotine by the thousands deserved their fate. Survival of the fittest- they were not smart enough to continue keeping the unwashed masses in servitude and so were selected out of existence- by a horde of useless eaters. Maybe the aristocracy thought it would make them more money?