Go to Hell Milton Friedman

This might go long so change channels if you do not want to spend the time. I have sent a lot of messages recently concerning the massacre of innocents at the high school in Parkland, Florida and I have tried to do everything I can to support the amazing way in which groups of students have responded, with pushback amidst the sorrow.  I am amazed at how they have turned their righteous anger into action against who and what they understand, correctly in part, to be the cause of their misery. I say “in part” because what they experienced and what caused their moment of agony is really our preference for inhumanity over humanity.  We, the vast majority of us, accept as a necessary part of our world the slaughter of other human beings be it from war or crime or hunger or lack of clean water or adequate sanitation.  We not only tolerate it but pay for it, are entertained by it in the movies we watch to be made happy.  Sorry to have to tell you but Star Wars is about perpetual war, through the eons, brutality and death never ceasing.  We are inured and fascinated but never so much appalled as to reflect on how inhuman we are and how much better we are becoming at just letting it go or saturating ourselves until so full that we cannot be sensitive, least compassionate, for those who are the tragic victims of the violence we now take for granted as a permanent feature of our existence and our children’s.


Most know, I think, that what happened in Parkland, Florida and at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at Columbine not so very long ago, at a theater in Colorado, at a night club in Orlando, on a concert field in Las Vegas, has as much to do with money as anything else.  Yes, and of course, the murderers were in a crazed state when they carried out mass slaughter of human beings and, yes, in some instances, more could have been done to prevent from happening what happened.  But realistically, not much at all could have been done because the craziness of those who killed was hardly possible to detect until the insanity was shown in their actions.  Yes, better gun registration with meaningful background checks might have, for an added day or two or three kept military grade weapons out of the hands of the shooters.  But, as everyone who is half-way sane knows, if one really wants to get such a weapon of destruction, he or she will find a way to get one because they are ever so readily available.


The sane thing for a sane society to do would be to do what is needed to make impossible for one who has the potential for insanity, to go insane, to carry out insane acts to have such weapons.  We do know that there are people who seem sane who are not really sane and we know that people who are truly sane can lapse into moments of insanity without hardly a sign of potential for this before they decide to do something insane.  People who know the shooters, often tell us that they can’t believe that the person they knew could or ever would act in such a way.


Really, the sane and possible to enact solution is to do what is necessary to keep these weapons out of the hands of the insane and the potentially without a moment’s notice turned insane.  And, while it is true that we cannot collect all semi-automatic and automatic weapons that exist, we can reduce the numbers of such weapons available by forbidding their sale, this by law, by laws that are bound to be broken, but, as with other laws, do have an effect on minimizing whatever it is that they exist to outlaw or restrict.  The argument that those who are willing to break laws will do or get what the law is intend keep them from doing or getting is an argument for lawlessness.


In a sense, as pertains to guns, we currently live in a state of lawlessness because there are not adequate laws to make for conditions that allow sensible people to live in a sensible society.  And sensible people in this society have given into, have come to accept a as sensible that which, rationally speaking, is insane and this insanity that has become acceptable is broader in scope than being solely about guns or poverty or war.  It is acceptance of basic premises that are made irrefutable by reference to their prevalence, by their presence over so long a span of time that they seem to be correct because they are all that can, realistically be or be possible.


We have learned to accept that we are bound in by certain parameters and, even if life within these bounds is ridiculous in ways or altogether, it is the life we will live because it is understood to be the only life we possibly can live.


To know that these parameters are artificial and of our own making is devastating to conceive even though we may know that this is ultimately the truth.  The comfort of a good many is secured by being ignorant of such truth, ignorant by choice quite often because one wishes to be comfortable and too, secure in knowing that he or she acts righteously, even though it is righteousness that only can stand as such within the absurd parameters accepted as the actual and only possible reality available.  Such limited thinking—to think otherwise would be to think outside the bounds of the accepted rationality—in some instances, reason to be considered insane.  To even suggest as a goal, a world without war, for instance, is to risk being thought not right in one’s thinking, in one’s perception of reality.


So, I will say what I know too many will consider ideas of a person unbalanced, out of sync with reality, that the true and real cause for the inhumane acts that we are made uncomfortable with on occasion, that we find ways to work through our around to recover our balance, is an economic system that people need to realize is an, if not the, dominant factor affecting in all facets of life, the health of the planet included, is an economic system that is not only tolerated but touted by most citizens of our society as the best and best possible, an economic system that by its very nature necessitates inhumanity and makes allowable and even good the degradation of mass numbers of human beings and the Earth upon which they live.


If we, the people of this Earth will not be so brave as to look the monster in the eye and define it properly for what it is, then to hell with us all for we will have accepted for ourselves this hell of our own making.  We will have accepted that for the good of some it is right to sacrifice others, be it by war, by starvation, by lack of proper health care, by crime, by corruption, by whatever it is that comes with the necessity of bettering ourselves by being better at it than them.  If this sounds like a condemnation of competition, you hear right for it is.  Competition is healthy, it drives us to greatness, it pushes us to strive, to work harder, to persist.  Truth be told, there exist healthy competitions but, truth be told, capitalism does not sponsor such.  It sponsors a kind of completion by which those who lose are made miserable made to suffer miserable deaths.  Such has been made widely acceptable, our consciences made unconscionable by our acceptance of the lie that capitalism is a force of good (to hell with you Milton Friedman) when it is horrible to so many people.  Remember that, that it has been horrible to many, very many people, and accepted by so many who have been the beneficiaries of their misery.


This is not to say that capitalism is inherently or necessarily evil, though I am still uncertain as to whether such may be true.  It is to say that in its present form, in the form it was shaped into at inception, capitalism is based in predation, to exist there must be prey and predator and more, and more than ever now, are prey and, within systems of government, the predator made not only insanely powerful, but by states’ decree honorable.  Consider those held up in our modern day societies as successful, lauded in our schools and every other venue where deeds are discussed and value asserted.  Are these most often humanitarians, people who are ultimately guided in their humanity?  Or are those of them who are considered humanitarians ultimately guided by their greed, successful enough in their predatory endeavors to give up a little to pay for a good name?


The owner of the corporation that makes the AR 15 probably gives something to charity.  The owner of the United Fruit Company that in a very real way made slaves of the people of numerous Latin American countries, I have read, gave enough to be applauded for his charity and humanity.  Didn’t John D. Rockefeller play a role in the degradation of foreign peoples in foreign lands.  Didn’t too many an American soldier, often drawn from the ranks of the poor and ‘disadvantaged’ fight die in wars they for the sake of wealthy people responsible for the low wages they received for the hard work they were forced to do to stay alive?  Yes, these are but a few examples.  But there are more and you and I have to decided how many it takes to show that the balance is weighted against the goodness of capitalism and for the misery it causes.  THE PEOPLE WHO DIED IN AND IN AND FROM SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND BY EUROPEANS WHO TRADED IN PEOPLE IN AFRICA AND AROUND THE WORLD.  THE PEOPLE WHO DIED FIGHTING IN VIETNAM DIED BECAUSE OF CAPITALISM.  THE PEOPLE WHO DIED TRYING TO SAVE DEMOCRACY IN IRAN DIED BECAUSE OF CAPITALISM.  THE PEOPLE WHO DIED FIGHTING FOR TO GIVE THEMSELVES A DECENT LIFE IN GUATAMALA AND CHILE AND EQUADOR AND BOLIVIA AND ARGENTINA AND, YES, IN CUBA AND VENEZUELA, DIED FIGHTING AGAINST THE U.S. AND THE SAME FORM OF CAPITALISM THAT PRODUCED THE GUNS THAT KILLED THE PEOPLE WHO DIED AT THE PULSE AND AT THE COLORADO THEATER AND AT COLUMBINE AND ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP AND AT SANDY HOOK AND IN A HIGH SCHOOL IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA.


We do not necessarily have to abolish capitalism but we certainly do need to think an awful lot about what it has wrought and what we can do to insure that whatever is bad in it and about it be gotten rid of, as soon as possible, if not for any other reason as to do what is right by our children.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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