Courtesy of Slashdot, from a discussion about SocialFixer’s legal threats from facebook, I ran into some very general comments about society that I thought were poingnant and worth sharing. THIS WHOLE POST IS A REPOST; I DIDN’T WRITE IT.
Here we go:
Clearly justice is denied when one party can use the threat of a lawsuit
to compel another to capitulate, simply because they can’t afford to defend
themselves. Everyone knows it works this way. Why don’t more people object?
“For the same reason he doesn’t; You learn early in life if you stand up for what you believe in, authority will make an example out of you. So you learn to fly under the radar, and cherish those precious few moments in life when you can do good without being punished.
It’s youthful idealism to think people will risk their freedom, their home, their financial security, their family, to combat an injustice. Especially against a vastly better equipped adversary like a large corporation with an excessively-sized legal department and millions or billions of dollars to burn… and full access to a legal system that can take away everything you own and away from everyone you know, at the snap of a gavel.
The few people who can’t give up their idealism to become “successful” (that is, capitulate to the demands of the dominant social institutions of their era) very rarely manage to achieve social change — the Ghandis and Martin Luther Kings to the Che Guevaras, etc., in a socially acceptable fashion. The majority simply become homeless, outcast from the system, develop mental or physical illness, and die early, and generally alone. And then there’s the extreme fringe that, so frustrated by an inability to accomplish anything, take themselves out of the picture in a hailstorm of bullets or fire. Terrorism can promote social change, though it’s politically unpopular to say this.
But as you can see… idealism is not particularly practical, which is why few people practice it except in small doses.”
Your comment gives me a crappy black feeling deep inside my chest.
“As it should. We can’t claim to be living to the highest ideals of democracy as long as wealth inequity exists on the scale that it does. So long as men toil and tolerate meaningless labor, potential is being wasted. We have given a tiny fraction of the population wide freedom of choice and an affluent lifestyle, at the expense of putting the overwhelming majority into poverty. This is not sustainable, nor is it moral. But it is, nevertheless, the current state of affairs.
America has never lived up to its promise as the “land of opportunity” save for a brief period after WWII called the ‘golden era’. Prior to that, there was the depression, and before that the industrial revolution… where workers would fall into the machines and lose their limbs or worse, and that was pretty much it for them. There was no health care, no government assistance. Them, and their families, were suddenly dependent entirely on the charity of others, and many perished. And today, despite our technological advances, the inequities of our society continue marching forward.
Many, if not most, of our accomplishments in the area of civil rights were due not to a sudden enlightenment of our population and embracing of democratic ideals, but the more pragmatic issue of economics.
The end to slavery; We needed more workers, and frankly, slaves just don’t work that hard. They’re slaves. You get more work out of people by taking off the real chains and giving them a wage. By replacing the physical and concrete with an abstract, productivity improves. They are still slaves — they have limited options for employment and only long hours for only crumbs… but the illusion of freedom makes them work harder.
Women’s lib: Women moved into the workplace because during WWII, all the men were shoved into a meat grinder and many didn’t come back. Someone had to work the factories. Oh we talk about how it was a great stride forward for women’s liberty and feminism… but it wasn’t. Economics dictated it happen… it’s just that other people took credit for it.
In fact, with only a very few exceptions, economics created the circumstances in which these movements happened, and while we pat ourselves on the back and elevate our heroes… their names and actions would not have been possible, or remembered, without the backing of money. There’s a reason economics is listed under the social sciences, not the physical; Because it really is all about people. You want to understand a society — follow the money.
The fact is, America has never been a strong cultural center for the world. We are an economic power, not a cultural one. Our diplomats are predator drones and stealth bombers… not because we’re excessively militant but because military power is cheap when you have a large class of poor people. We can mobilize millions to go fight proxy wars on behalf of our economic interests — people talk about the high cost of the wars we’ve had, but compared to how much money we rake in from international trade, it’s chump change.
Until that changes; Until America has culture, not just money and rationalizations derived from it, you won’t see very many idealists getting very far in this society. We have the same potentiality in our people as the people of any other country; But we’re squandering it because right now, America’s business… is business.”
OKAY, IT’S ME AGAIN. I think the girl who posted this really nailed it. Had to share.Mood: full
Music: Michael Kamen – The Battle