Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes, I am my brother's keeper

By Siv O'Neall, Axis of Logic Columnist

The polarized world

Do we need further proof that greed is not the solution for a sound economy? Do we need further proof that capitalism is foundering? Do we need further proof that ignoring the poor is not the way to make the world go round? That selfish accumulation of wealth is not the key to peace of mind and a life worth living?

The weirdoes who are presently at the helm of the world don't know a thing about what a good life is all about. A half-starving family in India may well have a more meaningful life than high-riding madmen who accumulate riches and who never stop striving for more – the very people who are ruining the lives of the poverty-stricken slum dwellers in the third world, people who were once farmers, poor but self-sustaining. Now they are scavenging on the garbage dumps on the outskirts of the big cities. The goals in the lives of the poor rich people who are ruining the earth couldn't be more out of joint.

There is certainly no beauty in desperate poverty, nothing positive in being deprived of the decent lives of billions of the earth's population. But the poor soulless billionaires who have set as a goal in their lives to destroy the lives of millions, so as to wallow in luxury in their secluded mansions, are the victims of their own selfishness and their disastrous misjudgment of the human psyche.

Why haven't those criminals who are the mad founders of 'disaster capitalism' been tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail a long time ago?

Then again: Why was Hitler so very close to conquering the world?

Love and solidarity have so many ingenious and dangerous enemies – the ones who know nothing about the humane qualities that hold us up and keep us together in a community, spiritual or geographical. Those are the dangerous fanatics who construct edifices of world domination theories in an attempt to compensate for the lack of anything constructive in their lives. They are trying desperately to use power and wealth to cover up the emptiness of their inner beings.

The world before the meltdown

There are two major problems today. And don't miss the forest for looking at all the trees. There is the willful murder of the poor and there is the killing of the environment, thus ending life on earth as we know it.

Greed is the ultimate cause in both these disasters. Lack of vision and lack of the urge to live a meaningful life of love, solidarity, and intellectual challenges are the secondary factors that have shaped our modern world since large-scale expansionism became the leading urge for a handful of madmen who wanted to rule the world. Greed combined with utter lack of empathy, such as is seen in today's deranged heads of state and corporations.

In order to rule the world, they have been working very deliberately and consistently on expanding their territories and on spreading their so-called culture all over the world, to make us all into Disneyworld-going, shopping-mall-loving, and anti-intellectual robots. Dumbing down the people was one of their prime goals. Robots do what their propagandized brains have been made to indulge in. Which is more television propaganda, digesting preposterous lies (such as spreading democracy and freedom and fighting 'terrorism'), more consumerism, more borrowing to make for more indebted and dependent consumer addicts. Once they are indebted heavily and propagandized to a state of mental vacuity, thought the ruling madmen, we'll command all their movements. They will be helpless victims in this wonderful world where only the lives of the very few have any real importance. The rest of the people of the world will get by on the scraps from the rich man's table and, since they've been dumbed down, there is nothing they can or will do to change anything.

What the people of the world want more than anything else is peace. So the clique who runs the show invents the Pax Americana. Trumpets are blowing and flags are waving. Wow! To begin with people went hysterical with ostentatious patriotism. Pax Americana, democracy at home and abroad, freedom for all people. The United States of America, always the fighter for freedom and prosperity for all its citizens. The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! U.S. citizens were floating around on clouds of slogans.

The U.S. brand of patriotism replaces true solidarity. Fear makes the people at home deaf and blind to the true nature of the aggression of the powerful – those same madmen who have lost all touch with reality. There is no attempt to actually try to understand the way foreign peoples react to the cruel acts of domination by the superpower. There is only a naive belief in the possibility of remaking the psyches of the vanquished masses. Making them into a brand of new-age Americans.

"O brave new world that hath such people in't!" The United States dominates the planet with hundreds and hundreds of military bases on all five continents. People all over the world would be sold to the 'American' way of life and they would just be begging to get more McDonalds, more Disneyworlds, more shopping malls. The non-thinking gluttons for self-aggrandizement would see their mirror images in people all over the world. Steeping the world in the red white and blue virtues is seen as a lark. Patriotism is for Americans, the rest of the world is just supposed to be grateful for the civilization that the U.S. domination is bringing to them so generously. Since the only civilized country is the United States, the rest of us must be oh so grateful for the opportunity of sharing in this civilization. The total ignorance of the U.S. leaders and of most of its citizens as to what real civilization is all about and its long and wonderful history is appalling.

Doubt is rearing its head

But something has gone sour. The American people are beginning to see that maybe we are not fighting for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe we were not fighting for peace in Somalia, maybe we were not fighting for peace anywhere in Asia or Africa. Wasn't this Pax Americana costing them too dearly at home? Weren't they all paying for this war that their sons and daughters were being killed for? Weren't the Big Corporations making huge profits while they suffered foreclosures of their homes?

Was there ever going to be an end to this horrid war? No, say the masters of war, there will be a war without end. Finally a word of truth. And the people began to see that they'd been had. The madmen at the helm of their own country and a huge part of the rest of the world were the only winners. They were the kings for a day in this world without compassion, without a vision for the future, without a plan for how to make their gambling craze be compatible with the survival of the planet. The gambling became a goal in itself and the short-time winning spree made the madmen dizzier than ever and things got a bit out of hand.

There was one value in this setup and its name was money. Paper money, useless money, huge fortunes that only increased the poverty at home and in the third world, but, or so said the 'wise men', they themselves were going to be immune to any wild fluctuations on Wall Street. Let the poor people lose their homes, they themselves would sit comfortably in their mansions. Let the hurricanes blow, they were always going to be protected by the high walls surrounding them. Family values be damned. The phrase had been useful as a political slogan but values were barely needed any more. The people were made powerless and totally malleable to the whims of the masters of war. The slogans of Patriotism, Terrorism and Eternal War were on the agenda of the day.

The end of winner take all

And then the bottom fell out. The U.S economy was in shambles and the crisis spread to the rest of the world. Can this meltdown of the world economy possibly lead to a rethinking in the minds of the ruling 'elite', the bankers and Wall Street conmen who are now scrambling to put a lid on the violently boiling stew? If compassion does not work for the psychopaths who rule the world, can reality tell them that something went terribly wrong? Their monolithic machine hit a massive wall.

Will this be the final proof that raw capitalism does not work? Will the Big Money men finally understand that there has to be production behind capital gains, not just speculation for short-term gains? And who are the producers? You and me. The producers were the people who are now laid off and hurting, who lost their homes through the urge to get into deep debt that was preached to them by the bankers. Preached to them by the Wall Street prophets who have not lost their fortunes or their standing. Only the workers are hurting. This government takes care of its own.

When will the people finally be able to convince Big Money that their wealth is due to the ceaseless efforts of the workers? That they must have a share in the profits or else the economy is bound to tank. Again and again. No buyers, no profits. The Big guys can sit safe on their big estates only for so long before they too begin to hurt. You don't eat shares and derivatives. You don't go on luxury cruises when there is noone to make up the crew. (noone in one word is perfectly correct)

Even the people who don't understand the words compassion and sharing will find one day that speculative short-term gains do not make the world go round.

Being your brother's keeper

How about reinstating an equitable way of running the ship? When will the leaders of the world see that with the billions of the world's population who are starving or on the edge of starvation, the lack of equilibrium on the planet is not going to be solved by letting those billions starve to death?

The people who fail to understand that we are all born equals and that the only humane thing to do is to be your brother's keeper have to do some serious thinking. If your brother is starving it's not because he is lazy, it's because he was never given a chance to earn a decent living, or else you, the criminals who rule the planet, took it away from him. Given equal chances to make a decent living to begin with, the human being is instinctively a hard worker. If you ruined his chances to look out for himself, it's your responsibility to restore his rights to a decent life.

Call it socialism, call it welfare if you like; but I call it repairing the damage caused by colonialism, expansionism and corporatism, and the effects of a game of loaded dice that you invented. You naively believed that you could run the world without the cooperation of the honest people, the workers, the producers, the ones who were not brought up to become rapists and predators. You thought those people could be exploited indefinitely, until they conveniently died from starvation and overwork. In the meantime, you had reaped all the profit possible from their delivering diamonds and gold from the mines in the Congo or in the badly constructed and ill-secured mines in your own country where several deadly accidents have occurred in the past few years alone. Who cares? There are millions of unemployed workers who are waiting to take their dangerous jobs. That's the way you planned your game of Big Profit.

How unfortunate for you to realize finally that your wealth is not going to go on multiplying endlessly, with just a tolerable number of victims of your greed every year. How unfortunate for you to realize that you have to be your brother's keeper or else the economy will come to a screeching halt.

Was democracy a dream only?

If it's unrealistic to think that we might be able to change the minds of the madly accumulating psychopaths, today's world leaders, or to put them in straitjackets, we can at least hope for a future world where humility, cooperation and concern for the Other will reign, instead of fear.

When will we all have a voice in where the world is going? When will we get some semblance of democracy back?

Can we finally have some degree of basic human rights and decency in the running of the world? Please.