When Will I Ever Learn

Just had an argument with an old dear friend. She kept insisting the problem with things was all the welfare mothers and social security cheats.

I came up with three metaphors to explain my point of view. Although, I said, I hate lazy deadbeats as much as anyone, I don’t think it works to go after them. The major problem is not small cheats. You can’t make workable laws keeping people from being lazy. You CAN make workable laws keeping the rich and powerful from stealing people blind.

I think the meme of the “welfare queen” is a trick pulled by the crooked owners of this country to distract the average citizen from just how crooked and corrupt the whole system is. Get all worked up about the small-timers, and you won’t notice the big crooks stealing all your money and killing people.

My three metaphors: A rich man is so rich he doesn’t use horses to pull his carriage, he uses human slaves. He sits up there with a whip, lashing them to go faster. One of the carriage-pullers is honest and hard-working, but the other is lazy and dogging it. But the rich man whips them both just as cruelly. So what does the hard-working person do? Get mad at the man with the whip? No. That person gets mad at his or her fellow slave.

The situation is like a dike with a bunch of little holes in it, while there has been a great big hole blown in part of it, and the sea is pouring in. Blaming the small-time cheats is like running around shouting at all the people who won’t stick their fingers in the little holes but not even trying to fix the big on.

The situation is like getting mad at the fellow who stole your breakfast while there’s somebody standing there with a gun fixing to blow your brains out.

So what was her response?

She told me to lighten up and claimed that I was in favor of making it easy on cheats. She gets insulted if I don’t agree with her, but doesn’t see any insult in telling me to lighten up or in totally misrepresenting my argument (straw man style).

I should have known better. I really should. No good can come of contending with people who argue that way. Reference my earlier post about the shameless murderers in Mississippi. It’s as obvious as anything in the universe that these are lying despicable bastards, but simply because I point that out, I am suddenly the enemy.

I grew up with this shit. It’s bullshit. That’s all there is to it, and I don’t care how many people are buying it. You can spend your life savings on bullshit thinking it’s gold, but the smell won’t change.

The best I can do is not argue. It doesn’t do any good, and it only makes me despair of the very people I learned to care about growing up.

Read recently a post that argued, based on solid studies that show neocons follow authority, not reason, that there are really two different species here, which only look similar.

Like the farmer in Frost’s Mending Wall. Everybody says the name of the poem with the accent on the first syllable, but that isn’t right. It isn’t a wall where you go to do your mending. It is the activity of mending a wall, and the accent belongs on the third syllable. Similarly, everybody quotes the famous line of the poem, Good fences make good neighbors, as if that were the meaning of the poem.

But it isn’t. The meaning is precisely the opposite. Frost describes the fellow who says it as looking to him like “an Old-Stone savage armed.” The fellow is so proud of the fancy-sounding line, he doesn’t even think about it.

If you think about it, it is obviously false. Good fences do NOT make good neighbors. Good neighbors make good fences, I would say. If you have a bad neighbor, one lousy fence isn’t going to help much.

I have become convinced that, given a choice between a difficult idea which is right, and an easy idea which is wrong, 99.9% of the people in this country will pick the easy idea.

I’m Glad You’re Dead, You Rascal You

Okay, bin Laden is dead.  I, like most people, am glad of that.  He murdered 3000 people on 11 September 2001, and maybe as many as a thousand more in various other incidents.  He was a terrible human.  How awful must it be to be bitter and violent still when you get old?  I don’t envy Al-Zawahri, who looks at least as murderously dyspeptic, and who will surely soon die as well.

But what are we to make of the people who made billions of dollars during our tragedy and disarray?  What are we to make of the Wall Streeters who crashed the economy, the greedheads at insurance companies, people who did not hesistate to profit while millions of Americans not only went through shock and mourning, but lost their savings and their jobs and their hope?  Many of us not only mourned the dead, but mourned a lost country–my first reaction on 11 September was horror and shock and a deep sick feeling, and my second was fear for my country, how angry and vicious we were now, in the aftermath, almost certain to become.

What did most people think of arms profiteers on either side during World War II?  And yet arms profiteering is now our major industry, while taking care of our own citizens doesn’t even make the to-do list.  If I had contempt for Osama Bin Laden, how much more contempt must I have for those who never hesitated not only to strip the vulnerable average citizen of as much money as possible, but to portray anyone who opposed their thievery as unpatriotic?  How much contempt for those who lobbied to change the laws even further in their favor (and often succeeded)?

Greed is NOT good.  This is the firm opinion of the species over the thousands of years of its existence.  Greed serves only itself, looks after only itself, ignores facts and probabilities.  Greed will do anything, anything at all, to further itself.

Can we begin to talk about this now?  Now that the obvious lie has been exploded, the lie that opposition to crooks means you hate the U. S.  Can we begin to talk about these creeps for the sordid little spirits they are, now that they can no longer wrap themselves in the flag and declaim, while taking our money to offshore banks, that they are the only true patriots?

Never mind punishment.  As the KJV puts it, verily they have their reward.  I would not have been willing to be Osama bin Laden for all the money in the world.  Neither would I have been willing to be Anthony Mazilo.

What about the truth?  Is it okay to face the facts about these creeps now?