I know full well that the sensible approach to reinventing community is something to be made fun of in the context of a synthetic reality made real through the repetition of a paid for refrain that causes people, even those being hurt, to believe that the kind of economic system we now have, one that so badly distributes the wealth of the nation, is the best humans can devise. To say such a thing raises the hackles of of people who really do know better, or could if they would allow themselves to move out of their zone of comfort, a zone that accepts inhumanity, the suffering of others as a natural consequence of a society’s greatness. Yes, capitalism, as practiced now, does allow for many to live lives they understand to be comfortable lives but come on! How many are ever really comfortable and how many actually are able to realize the fullness of living the kind of life truly sensible people would want. Craving for the end of the work day to have time for oneself and time for others about whom one cares? Looking forward all year to a bit of vacation time because the rest of the year the work has to get done! This when the work that needs to be done could be better shared with those who have too little work and need something more to make their lives better? How about better in the sense that one has a decent sense of security, is not regularly made frightened by the possibility of some kind of change in how work gets done or the kind of work that needs to be done? How about worrying about whether some kind of bad health moment might wipe out those vacation funds or cause the loss of home and more? This isn’t about the nature of things, it is about a reality that has been sold us and into which we have bought. Want to think outside the box? Then take your mind beyond what is now said to be possible and think of a truly good community that allows all of its members to live truly good lives and you will find that the impediments to such are highly artificial and highly promoted by a relatively small group with considerable wealth and very bad values.
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“a zone that accepts inhumanity” (Lafer).
The nation’s and our present communities’ policies, as we have them now, seem to me to be the results of some conspiracy; that is, to keep people stupid and in debt. Stupidity in the work force is a favorable disposition for those who wish to take advantage of them, and a people in debt is a favorable position for those who want to keep them working and not thinking about those taking advantage of them. There are a few “filthy” rich while the rest are paid slaves—but slaves non-the-less—because the pay most of us receive is barely enough to make ends meet—making it difficult to save for future leisure and retirement. It almost seems that debt is how the establishment keeps us all under control; people who cannot afford to take long vacations and have plenty of leisure time do not have time to think about things, and then, of course, cannot find ways to challenge the status quo. Which raises a thought: Many people do not know what do unless they are working. Is it that people cannot think for themselves and enjoy anything unless someone tells them what to do and what to enjoy? Such a population is the perfect target for those with the means to take advantage of them—the pride of the the consumer/capitalistic status quo: “the stupid society.” It is good to value hard work, but is that all we are to value? So long as we do not become what I think many have become: the forever in debt workaholic with a never satisfied narcissistic craving for some “thing.”
It seems to me that the job of the government is to guard and help the people they represent to be as free and happy as possible. As it is now, the government favors the monopolies of a few. An example is that the present policies make it hard for people to go into business for themselves. Many businesses, if they make it, take about five years to reach a point when the entrepreneurs can pay themselves if they do succeed–while it has become easier and easier for large corporations to move into areas and hurt the businesses of those already established. Companies like Walmart, Lowes, McDonalds, etc., may seem to offer good deals at low prices, but they pay low wages and the competition is hard on locally owned businesses. Government should be more about helping small business rather than rewarding large corporations establishing monopolies. Wages need to go up; local business strengthened, and the chain monopolies need to go. What we have now is a downward spiral of wages and upward spiral of debt: a people controlled by debt, without time to think and consider other ways of living.
Yes, it does seem like a conspiracy is behind it, and, yes, for something to “seem” as such does not mean that it is true, but it is also true that conspirators work hard at never being found out. The genius is that it is not only the conspirators and those lucky enough to avoid the trap of stupidity and debt which are in “a zone that accepts inhumanity,” but, further, it is genius that those actually in the trap of debt and stupidity are in “a zone that accepts the inhumanity inflicted upon them.”