Friday, September 14, 2012

The Lesser of Two Evils

"All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth" - Friedrich Nietzche

Humans have a long and lamentable history of simplifying complex realities into something easily digested by the masses. IQ, for instance, was for a long time considered a realistic measure of intelligence, and we were all supposed to accept that the vast complexities of human intelligence could be compressed into a single number. Worse, at one time many schools used IQ as a means of deciding worthiness of entry into their august establishments.

That such codswallop is readily accepted by vast swathes of the world's population speaks to more than one tragedy; not least that so many uncritically accept theories advocated by bespectacled men in white coats.

Another disastrous example of conventional wisdom is the idea that somehow the worth of a nation is measured first by its economic strength, most commonly via its gross domestic product. Are we really to measure our worth by economic strength? Is material value really so pre-eminent?

It would certainly seem so, and this lazy, shallow, and indeed inaccurate view is gleefully propagated by establishment media, with billionaires idolized for their 'success' while ordinary members of the public protesting against inequality in society are smeared and ridiculed as lazy, pot-smoking hippies who should 'get a job' and 'stop bothering hard-working tax-payers'; and if you're homeless, you're a bum, a worthless failure, something rather at odds with the fact that many homeless people are in fact veterans (officially revered by the establishment) of wars who could not deal with coming home and fitting back in (among many other reasons).

No, the moment we state that material wealth is the prime measure of success, we must also accept, to cite an extreme example, that the CEO of Goldman Sachs is somehow a more successful human being than, say, Mother Teresa or Mohandas Gandhi. Is the ultra-rich CEO of a bank responsible for the criminal manipulation of the stock market that led to the 2008 global crisis 'better' than a person who selflessly worked to aid the poor, the sick, and the discarded?

Faced with this question, most would probably respond in the negative, but they nonetheless have this nonsense reinforced endlessly throughout the narrow, tightly controlled prism of the establishment media. The result is that while many would reject the premise when challenged directly, they subconsciously 'believe' the opposite.

With the madness of the US presidential election season upon us, however, one particular nonsensical yet widely prevailing concept needs to be put to sleep. How many times do we hear the following from people identifying themselves (read astonishingly blinkered self-compartmentalization) as Democrats: "Obama might not be great, but Romney is much worse, so we have to vote for Obama to keep Romney out."

As with the people who say that if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear from the authorities with regard to the pervasive surveillance state, find the nearest sharp object and stick it in their eyeball, as it is one of the dumbest things one can say.

And here's why...

An extended analogy may be useful here: imagine that all the people with power in a state are fish in a lake. Before they enter the lake, some (certainly not all) may be good and principled, but after they start swimming around, they notice that the water is bad - not enough to kill them, but enough to make them uncomfortable.

What is a fish to do? They notice after a time that there are little pellets floating around, and that some are red, while others are blue. If they eat the red pellets, the discomfort becomes worse, but ingesting the blue pills suddenly makes living in the lake a pain-free, rewarding, even pleasurable experience.

The red pills, of course, signify attempts to change the status quo in a way that does not benefit the elites, while the blue ones symbolize donations and other rewards from rich lobbyists and other supporters, namely the very people who desire to keep things exactly as they are.

The two biggest fish are currently fighting for dominance and their battle will end in November. Some of the policies of the two main US parties are indeed different, on issues like abortion for instance, and one party may aim to help the poor a little more than the other one, but these differences are cosmetic. The core problems plaguing societies will never be solved because they are fundamental - education and media reforms are absolutely essential, not to mention electoral reform (along with donation rules) to ensure that there is more choice than either 'Wall Street stooge who kills hundreds of civilians in drone strikes' or 'Wall Street stooge who kills thousands of civilians in drone strikes'.

Choosing the lesser evil still means choosing evil. By voting for evil, that makes you a party to it. There is a choice, however: until a viable grassroots movement toward true democracy forms, you can exercise your power to not vote for any candidate who keeps big money in politics, the real cancer to democracy as it enables the rich (and other beneficiaries of war and the arms trade) to have overwhelmingly more influence over society than the voiceless poor.

Forget progressive luminaries like Michael Moore and Bill Maher - they've both said great things in the past and have many laudable views but Maher has given an Obama-supporting 'super PAC' $1 million of his own money, and Moore is still obsessed with the inconsequential news tidbits surrounding the campaign, bizarre behavior for a man who has made movies slamming the political system he is tacitly endorsing.

This is where the poisoned lake comes in. Anyone joining a corrupted system is doomed to become one with it via the punishments and rewards that make actually trying to make a difference too painful to attempt for long. The only option for the fish is to go along with it or they'll be hounded out, or their opponents will be rewarded with mountains of campaign cash, and there will no nice revolving-door rewards at the end of it. The same goes for establishment journalists, those pathetic specimens swimming desperately around the big fish, agreeing to any compromise or abdication of their professional responsibility and even dignity in return for 'access' to the corridors of power.

This is a global issue. While tabloids in the UK focus on the issue of benefits fraud and sway public opinion to help the government deny legitimate benefits to the disabled and other people in need, the disgusting fact that 200 million dollars per hour is spent on arms worldwide is nigh on ignored.

The fact that people are distracted by minor issues like benefits fraud, along of course with old tabloid favorites like celebrity scandals, while the true issues facing us are ignored is a clear indicator not only of the dangers inherent in the profit motive in the media, but also that the establishment media is in bed with the elites to keep people from becoming outraged about the things they actually should be outraged about. If you read the story about Kate Middleton taking her top off and being 'snapped' by an enterprising paparazzi, congratulations: you've been distracted!

The only way to end this hopelessly corrupted system is from the outside. A grassroots movement is quite simply the only possible viable method to bring about the deep societal reform that can tackle the hopelessly corrupt society we see in the US and, to varying extents, many other so-called democracies. Work with all your energy toward direct democracy, a system which can be installed effortlessly and painlessly (see short FREE book linked below), and which already exists in Switzerland, a famously safe, peaceful, clean and prosperous society. The alternative is poisoned fish by the thousand. Worse, as you, the voter, drink water from the lake, you will be sickened, too, if you haven't been already.

This writer stopped drinking the water long ago. When will you?

'The 99.99998271% - Why the Time is Right for Direct Democracy’ by Simon Wood is available for free download. In this 70-page book, the current state of human rights and democracy is discussed, and a simple method of implementing direct democracy is suggested.
Simon Wood on twitter (@simonwood11) and Facebook or at his blog. The Direct Democracy Alliance, a group dedicated to creating national/global direct democracy, is now also on twitter: (@DDA4586)

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