Who Are We Kidding?

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WHO ARE WE KIDDING?

 

I’ve drawn some fire from my last post, “Spoiled Rotten Brat Syndrome.”  The article apparently offended some, who called me “arrogant,” “superior,” and asserted that I must think “my way” is the right one.   It’s not the first time I’ve been accused of this.  In fact, people love to tell me I’m wrong and always have. I don’t claim to have “the way,” although I keep looking.  I know a lot about what doesn’t work.  Since other people rarely tell or show me a better way, I have to figure they don’t know, either.

 

It is said that fanatics are frustrated idealists.  I’m a frustrated idealist, but no fanatic.  I usually can’t live up to my own ideals, so can’t reasonably expect others to do it.  However, one of my ideals is to live in a civil society, but for that, civility has to be a value others share. The ideal civil society, according to me, is one in which tolerance is the norm, with each person cooperating by choice rather than coercion or manipulation.  

 

When I wrote about “projection,” and “projective identification,” I wanted to describe how the process works, from an analytic point of view.  It is common for people to assume they know more than they know.  It is especially common for mainstream and social media to distort facts, information, and opinion to suit specific agendas.  A valuable precept in group therapy is to check out your assumptions, but this is only possible when conversation flows both ways.

 

To characterize Americans as “spoiled” is merely my opinion.  I also believe Americans can be quite open-hearted and generous, especially on an individual level. 

 

But I believe the tone of any organization is set at the top and by its history.  Since before the US began, the European settlers laid claim to more and more land, and its resources, committing virtual genocide on the 10 million residents whose greatest error was in not having guns.  The US was built on guns and warfare, and its expansionist practices and policies continue to create mayhem around the world.  Currently, we are bombing at least six foreign countries, and we have military bases in 77 of them.  We have been taught to believe this is acceptable, because “might makes right.”  Manifest destiny, and all that.

 

Only trouble is, it’s not working, not even for us.  We’re supposedly wealthy, educated, with “high living standards,” and we’re busy spreading “democracy” by hook or crook to every nation that has resources or labor we want to exploit.  The “economy” is doing great.  Just look at the stock market.

 

Considering all this, we should be happy, shouldn’t we?  So, where are the happy people?  We’re all on drugs, and not only legal and illegal mind-altering drugs.  We’re on drugs to compensate for our over-consumptive, stressed out lives.  Blood pressure medicine, statins, weight-loss drugs, drugs for diabetes, allergies, and arthritis, to name a few.  We’re escaping into television, movies, and video games.

 

The recent Las Vegas shooting, shocking as it was, is to me a symbol of American values turned upside down.  I’ve read that Stephen Paddock was a “lone wolf” and a wealthy gambling addict.  No one foresaw his obviously planned shooting spree.  We will never know what motivated him to go on such a rampage, and he maybe didn’t know himself.

 

Addicts share some personality traits that provide clues in Paddock’s case.  Addicts swing from being rigidly controlled to out-of-control.  A “dry drunk,” as one addiction specialist has described it, tends to be a stickler for rules, intolerant of others, and controlling.  After this shooting, ever louder voices are calling for more gun control legislation. 

 

I don’t like guns, but dislike legislation even more. A nation built on guns and apparent addiction to violence, we have saddled ourselves with rules to control every aspect of our lives, yet each piece of legislation restricts more freedoms.  We swing from overly controlled to out of control.   That’s the US trajectory so far. If I call Americans spoiled rotten brats, it is the voice of a frustrated idealist who knows we have the potential to be better than that. 

 

How can we condemn an individual act of violence with guns, when guns have made us what we are today?  “I’m proud to be an American,” the saying goes.  Stand for the national anthem, which celebrates a victory won with guns?  Hold your hand over your heart and pledge allegiance to the flag, a symbol of more war, with the red stripes representing bloodshed? 

 

Do we have enough controls yet?  I have claimed we are stuck in the anal-phase of psycho-sexual development, the “terrible twos,” in which the toddler learns the power of “no,” including withholding feces.  Successful negotiation of this potty-training phase is crucial to prevent destructive power struggles with authority and false authority later on.  Mature adults recognize they are their own best authority and can undermine false authority without resorting to manipulation, force, or violence.  

 

I don’t feel “superior,” despite others’ accusations.  I feel like an alien from outer space, abandoned on a planet full of beings I don’t understand. Why the fussing and fighting, the moaning and groaning, the loss of humor, especially about ourselves? Is humorlessness a sign of intelligence?  Rather than feeling superior or arrogant, I feel disconnected, as though I don’t speak the language, and this makes me lonely.  The more I know, the less I understand.

Comments

Michael Cikraji Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:09pm
Jeez, pretty deep here, thanks for sharing!
Well, if you want to know a "happy" person, I'm one of them. Couldn't really ask for much more in life. 
 
One thing about your article though: it's a common misconception that the Native Americans largely died out due to white-sponsored genocide. These two things are true, but don't really have to do with one another.
 
 
Yes, the settlers massacred Native Americans. However, there were also plenty of Native Americans that massacred settlers too. A really sad and nasty time.... 
But the EXTREME loss of life of Native Americans actually had to do with diseases the settlers brought, not genocide. The settlers and Natives could have gotten along just fine, the massive die-off would have happened anyway due to a lack of immunity the Natives had to Euro/Asian/African diseases.
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:13pm
Summed it up Katharine.
Too much nastiness and not enough civility and discussion. Even if people can't agree they can be polite can't they?
America is a young country whose birth was based on violence, betrayal, racism and genocide. It hasn't grown out of that. There are lots of great things about America though. If only it could mature wisely.
Never mind.
Two cows in a field. One says 'Moooo'
The other one says 'I was just about to say that.'
Michael Cikraji Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:17pm
Opher,
There are lots of great things about America though. If only it could mature wisely.
WELL SAID!
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:23pm
Thanks Michael.
Even A Broken Clock Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:36pm
Katharine, I love your comment about being stuck in the anal phase of psycho-sexual development. We certainly have elected a leader who represents that phase of development.
 
It's almost like you are made to feel guilt now a days if you do have a satisfying life, and are happy, because so many others are feeling such pain, and what right do you have to be happy if I'm not.
Mike Haluska Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:52pm
 
Katherine - great article.  Given that the rest of the "civilized world" has a 3,000 year head start and the US is just 230 years old, I think the rest of the free world should cut us a little slack.  When nobody is invading them or they're not threatened by psychotic dictators, the other nations jealously look down their collective noses at the US.  The second they are threatened they clamor that it is the moral duty of the US to supply weapons, food, equipment and armed forces.
Dino Manalis Added Oct 9, 2017 - 2:55pm
We need to be civil and welcome to debate in order to discuss the issues and hopefully find reasonable solutions!
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 3:30pm
Mike - I didn't hear Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam, Cambodia, Syria..... asking for the USA to bomb them?
I didn't hear the South American countries or Cuba asking for CIA destabilisation.
Who are these countries asking for the US to get involved?
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 3:31pm
Dino - I agree - we can disagree thoughtfully and explain, listen and learn.
Dave Volek Added Oct 9, 2017 - 3:35pm
Katherine
I took a look at your previous article and found it well done. It was indeed something to think about.
 
I wouldn't worry about those who took it in another direction. I enjoy the comments from my articles here. It's interesting to see how WB contributors take it to places I had not imagined. Sometimes responses are warranted, sometimes not.
 
Considering all this, we should be happy, shouldn’t we?  So, where are the happy people?  We’re all on drugs, and not only legal and illegal mind-altering drugs.  We’re on drugs to compensate for our over-consumptive, stressed out lives.  Blood pressure medicine, statins, weight-loss drugs, drugs for diabetes, allergies, and arthritis, to name a few.  We’re escaping into television, movies, and video games.
 
This is indeed a sign that we westerners are not exactly heading down the right path any more.
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 3:38pm
Dave - we've been hi-jacked into a consumerist nightmare. It's as addictive as gambling. We've become consumer robots. It's not satisfying.
John G Added Oct 9, 2017 - 4:00pm
The elephant in the room that dare not speak its name is CAPITALISM.
Leroy Added Oct 9, 2017 - 4:26pm
"America is a young country whose birth was based on violence, betrayal, racism and genocide."
 
And, exactly, how does that differ from Europe with it centuries of development?
George N Romey Added Oct 9, 2017 - 4:27pm
The economy sucks. We've been lied to now by 3 Presidents. Its all a sham and now its going to get ugly.  The Great Depression V2 is headed our way and even the Federal Reserve/Government/Big Bank/Corporate cabal will be out of gimmicks.  Find your family and friends because you are going to need them. We had something good in this
Country with the Middle Class but the elites destroyed that.  What we saw in Orlando and Las Vegas will become an almost daily event.
Mike Haluska Added Oct 9, 2017 - 4:36pm
opher - you make a valid point about:
 
"I didn't hear Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam, Cambodia, Syria..... asking for the USA to bomb them?"
 
the US has gotten involved where it shouldn't - primarily we try and deter the Russians/Chinese from expanding Communism.  That being said, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan didn't "ask" for us to bomb them either.  As a Brit you ought to thank the US for keeping you all from starving/surrendering during the first few years of WWII thanks to convoys of US Merchant Marines that risked and lost their lives bringing food, medicine, ammunition and weapons to the UK.
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Oct 9, 2017 - 4:55pm
I like the comment about the stock market, as if it somehow accurately reflects the economic health of the country. The various local news agencies push this lie as well. In fact the stock market directly affects only investors, that leaves the vast majority of the population otherwise concerned. In fact a large percentage of the time when the stock market is doing well the overall population is doing terrible, given how the executives screw over everyone, including even their own business partners and employees. 
Edward Miessner Added Oct 9, 2017 - 6:11pm
"The ideal civil society, according to me, is one in which tolerance is the norm, with each person cooperating by choice rather than coercion or manipulation."
 
It seems we are far from an ideal society; people in this country are more often than not forced to compete with each other and it's been like this since day one when there was so much free land, ripe for the taking once the natives were taken care of. Well the natives could have taught our forebears a lot about living in harmony with nature, but dead men don't teach, now do they? 
 
PS I left a comment on your previous article illustrating why we are always in competition with each other.
Edward Miessner Added Oct 9, 2017 - 6:13pm
George, actually it's been five presidents in a row who've lied to us, and now we're being lied to by the sixth. The last president who told us the truth was voted out of office in a landslide because collectively, we didn't like what he told us.
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:21pm
Leroy - it doesn't. We've just got a bit more mature over time. we're more stable and less aggressive and expansionary.
Nasty Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:22pm

opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 3:30pm

 



Mike - I didn't hear Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam, Cambodia, Syria..... asking for the USA to bomb them?
I didn't hear the South American countries or Cuba asking for CIA destabilisation.
Who are these countries asking for the US to get involved?
 
You didn't hear because only LEFT sounds penetrate your ego sound barrier.
Iraq asked to be bombed twice. Once when it invaded it's neighbor Kuwait, but the elder Bush didn't bomb Saddam's Army out of existence for fear IRAN would take over. And then asked a second time when it refused to live up to it's cease fire agreement and allow inspections.
 
Afghanistan asked to be bombed when it said "Terrorists who attack America, are our brothers and are welcome here."
 
Yemen was bombed by Saudi Arabia to protect the elected Sunni government from being overthrown by Iran Shiite rebels. A Muslim war, not USA.
 
Vietnam was a reaction to the fear of Communism. Fear makes all countries act badly.
 
Cambodia asked to be bombed when it could not stop China from shipping munitions along Ho Chi Min trail.
 
Syria asked to be bombed, first by Russia when it's Army turned against it, and then by USA for chemical bombing innocent's. Keeping
OBAMA'S promise.
 
I didn't hear the South American countries or Cuba asking for CIA destabilization.
 
You would have if you weren't wearing Che Guevara ear muff's. Making revolution in South America and Africa is an invitation to intervention. But Kennedy fucked it up.
 
Who are these countries asking for the US to get involved?
 
They are the ones who would slaughter innocents and set the world on fire! Namely North Korea.  And Iran if Trump doesn't act!
 
You don't hear their screaming opher, because you refuse to!
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:23pm
Edward - the Native American Indians were more in harmony with nature and were tolerant of many things. They were still warlike though and intolerant of other tribes.
Nasty Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:34pm
You live in a "FOOL"S PARADISE" opher. You see only what you can understand and hear only select sounds from the left!
Enjoy your delusion, but stop trying to convince others that they don't know the truth.
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:38pm
I live in the real world Nasty. I've travelled, lived in it at many levels, talked to people from all religions, cultures and political groups and I don't buy your callous right-wing doctrine. I find it rather ugly, belligerent and repulsive. I prefer a loving, caring society.
My 'fools paradise' is a lot more pleasant and constructive than your 'hell on earth'.
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:47pm
Nasty - Iraq was set up. The invasion of Kuwait was sanctioned. They did not violate any later agreements. There were no weapons of mass destruction or nuclear programme - all a con.
Saudi was behind the bombing of the towers - not Afghanistan. Taking out terrorist training grounds is one thing; invading and bombing is something else.
Yemen - then why are the US involved? They supply Saudi as does the UK.
Vietnam and Cambodia was pure US paranoia. They had a perfect right to decide what to do with their countries. If the US doesn't like communism then so what? What other people choose is up to them not the USA.
Overthrowing elected governments in South America (and Central America) because you don't like their politics is plain morally corrupt.
Your defence of American imperialism and interference via military means is scandalous. By the same token Russia and China are justified in invading the USA because they don't like your system. You can't have it both ways.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:48pm
Geo "active" Romey tries to frighten: We had something good in this Country with the Middle Class but the elites destroyed that.  What we saw in Orlando and Las Vegas will become an almost daily event.-'Course, more gloom and doom from Romey "the original".  At least he didn't get all thrilled by the prospect for a good war so people over 50 would get those jobs held by draft aged kids.  He's also a real humanitarian...
Jeff Michka Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:50pm
Nasty tries some "dime store patriotism": They are the ones who would slaughter innocents and set the world on fire! Namely North Korea.  And Iran if Trump doesn't act!-Uh huh, Curtis Lemay...trying out the patriot bit under your new cover, eh? 
Jeff Michka Added Oct 9, 2017 - 7:52pm
I can see ol Geo R looking over the obituaries each day, counting up Millennials who get killed in the daily Las Vegas and Orlando shootings, looking for where to apply for a new job.
opher goodwin Added Oct 9, 2017 - 8:01pm
Nasty if Trump really messes up and starts a war with Iran and North Korea you'll see war like never before. They'll whip your arse.
The US has not won a single war it has entered since the Second World War (and it didn't win that one on its own).
Korea
Vietnam
Cambodia
Iraq
Afghanistan
You got booted out of all of them. Short memories of heaps of body bags, traumatised kids with PTS and mutilated paraplegics.
War's never good.
George N Romey Added Oct 9, 2017 - 8:40pm
Katharine the markets are being propped up by the Federal Reserve. It’s all one big charade about to fall. If you are living a simple life you are in very good shape. This FEMA contract position has been a real eye opener for me. FEMA know zilch about disaster recovery. It’s all contacted out and the big firms see nothing but big government teats full time of milk swinging in the wind. I’ve seen every infraction of the law you could name. I’ve seen more waste than imaginable. Want to know why we’re $20 trillion in the hole and counting.
 
The crash of all time is coming and Katharine hold onto those chickens.
The elites have built the Ponzi scheme and the smart ones have prepared to live through it.
John G Added Oct 9, 2017 - 9:03pm
 Want to know why we’re $20 trillion in the hole and counting.
You're not.
John G Added Oct 9, 2017 - 9:03pm
This Nasty has to be a parody account, surely.
Dave Volek Added Oct 9, 2017 - 10:30pm
Opher
 
Dave - we've been hi-jacked into a consumerist nightmare. It's as addictive as gambling. We've become consumer robots. It's not satisfying.
 
Before the industrial revolution, we had alcohol and religion to ease our sorrows. Now we got many more addictions to numb us: nationalism, political ideologies, shopping, owning, dealing, narcotics, entertainment, comfort, vacations, terrorists, soap opera politics, etc. etc. etc. 
 
I've had a few people in my life who went a little too far with alcohol. If you try to tell them they have a problem, they will deny. Likewise try to tell a society that it is mentally sick. That doesn't work so well either. 
 
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Oct 10, 2017 - 2:11am
actually it's been five presidents in a row who've lied to us, 
 
Damn Skippy.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Oct 10, 2017 - 2:17am
we should be happy, shouldn’t we?  So, where are the happy people? 
 
Indeed. I've maintained for decades that were DUHmerica to live up to its billing it would be one happy place to be. 
 
It doesn't.
 
It isn't. 
 
That's how you know its a lie. 
 
Another way is when I was a kid one always heard "go ahead its a free country" where now one only hears "there ought to be a law".
 
John G Added Oct 10, 2017 - 5:03am
Romey: Katharine the markets are being propped up by the Federal Reserve. 
 
The concept that the US government has no money of its own by design and must tax and borrow to fund its spending is an imaginary concept.
All constraints placed upon federal spending are political choices. They are not hard financial constraints.
The notion that commercial banks are the issuers of US dollars and that the US government must borrow from commercial banks in order to spend is an imaginary concept promoted by people who wish to obstruct the US government from doing its job as a currency-issuer and spending for full employment and the public purpose.
The notion that the Federal Reserve is a private bank, independent of the US government and wholly owned by global commercial banks, and that the US government is at the mercy of the Federal Reserve if it needs to spend is an imaginary concept promoted by people who wish to obstruct the US government from doing its job as a currency-issuer and spending for full employment and the public purpose.
The notion that the US government is at the mercy of bond markets is an imaginary concept promoted by people who wish to obstruct the US government from doing its job as a currency-issuer and spending for full employment and the public purpose.
opher goodwin Added Oct 10, 2017 - 5:06am
Dave - that sums it up. We're all caught up in the consumer maelstrom in one way or another. For me I love my music and reading. It's obsessive.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Oct 10, 2017 - 11:23am
Katharine
 
I don’t feel “superior,” despite others’ accusations
 
I haven't noticed that but ok.....good article anyway.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Oct 10, 2017 - 11:24am
Opher
 
We're all caught up in the consumer maelstrom in one way or another
 
There is a difference between interest in arts and a new iShit each 6 months LOL
opher goodwin Added Oct 10, 2017 - 11:53am
SEF - there is but it is still consumption.
Edward Miessner Added Oct 10, 2017 - 12:45pm
opher: "the Native American Indians were ... still warlike though and intolerant of other tribes."
 
Just like the European nations were at the time... plus ca change, plus la meme chose.
opher goodwin Added Oct 10, 2017 - 1:10pm
Edward - Always good and bad things in every culture. The thing I like about Native American culture was their harmonious relationship with nature. We have much to learn from that.
Leroy Added Oct 10, 2017 - 1:36pm
I guess Ari won't be responding, so I will have to comment seeing that it seems to be aimed partially at me.  He requires multiples.
 
First, I would like to say that I was making my argument from your point of view.  I don't accept the Freudian idea of projection.  You seem to accept it, so logically I had to come to that conclusion.
 
I feel like an alien in my own world where logic and reason do not prevail.  I'm comfortable with lots of people around me or no one.  I do see humans who treat their pets like children.  I even saw a couple pushing a couple of dogs around in a baby stroller.  That was so wrong.  If someone likes animals better than people, I am ok with that.  To each his own. 
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 2:11pm
Ahhhh . . .
So many good comments in such a short time, and many places to go with them.  I appreciate the feedback, folks, and the opportunity to deepen discussion and thought with the group interaction.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 2:29pm
Michael,
I, too, have read about warring Native tribes, and about the diseases that wiped many out.  My assessment in the post was somewhat simplistic.  On deeper analysis, I believe what changed the face of the New World (both North and South America) was the clash of cultures, with the Europeans bringing strange notions of property rights, political lines in the sand, and governments.  To the natives, who had more respect for and basically worshipped nature, this naivete led to their inevitable decline.
 
I don't know enough about them to say much more, but wish I did.  I suspect we lost a lot of valuable knowledge with those cultures we destroyed out either by disease or warfare.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 2:36pm
Opher,
On my wavelength, once again, with the idea of civility.  You've posted to that effect, too, I believe.  Also, the respect for nature jives with my belief that if there is a god, she is Mother Nature.  Yes, I know you don't believe in god, but you believe in life, which to me is the same thing.
 
About consumerism, have you noticed that as you get older, you don't want or need so much?  I suspect consumerism is on the decline, partly because people who have homes have closets stuffed full, and also because there's not much worth buying.  Most of my money goes to taxes.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 2:45pm
Clock,
Made to feel guilty over happiness?  You betcha, which is one reason I brought it up.  Poor people need wealthy people to be poor, and vice versa.  But neither condition brings happiness in itself.  We can probably assume Stephan Paddock, although wealthy, was not happy.
 
On the other hand, truly happy people radiate happiness to others, who may feel uplifted simply by a smile on the street.  It is said misery loves company, but so does joy.  We need to spread more of that around.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 3:00pm
Dave,
And there's the gambling addiction.  Denial, which Freud put in the category of "narcissistic defenses," is the addict's primary mode.  In AA and substance abuse treatment, confrontation of denial is part of the treatment.  Another maxim is that addiction is a disease of lying, so methods like the 12-step program are geared towards the addict's becoming honest with self and others. 
 
I see the stock market as a gambler's paradise, with the pros gambling with other people's money.  Those who get commissions make money  whether their picks go up or down.  Also, those who control large pots of money, like retirement funds, can have a sizable impact on the market by just a couple of trades.  I believe that's why the Wall Street Journal tells us how much this or that hedge fund or capital management company controls when reporting their recommendations.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 3:13pm
Leroy,
Thanks for your comment.  It's not necessary for you to believe in projection for it to occur.  I contend its impossible to make an argument from another person's point of view.  There are too many people trying, and it confuses everything.
 
I use "I" a lot, because mine is the only point of view I know.  I don't presume to speak for anyone else.
 
"Projection," to me, is a fancified term to describe feelings we all share, to one extent or another.  You don't have to be a murderer to enjoy murder mysteries, or crime thrillers.  There's the vicarious gratification of knowing you're not alone in your human fallibility. 
 
Also, if you consider why you admire someone, you may discover untapped potentials in yourself.  That's the other side of projection.
 
Welcome to the world of aliens.  Nice to have company.  
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 3:24pm
Edward,
I'm not a competitive person, unless it's with my own standards of excellence.  I wonder why competition has become so predominant in the world, when cooperation works so much better.  
 
But you know what?  I have to keep my two roosters apart to keep them from fighting.  They can spar through the gate, where neither can get hurt.  Recently, it occurred to me that their competition keeps them both entertained.  In a fair fight, all parties can achieve greater potential, theoretically.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 3:29pm
Jeffry,
Step one to living up to ideals is to confront the denial, which this WriterBeat forum is so good at doing.  "Duhmerica," as you say, is clamping down on itself.  I'd like to see a revival of the "can do" spirit.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 3:43pm
George,
You and I have a similar perspective on the Fed, "quantitative easing" and inflated status of the dollar.  However, I do wish you would stop making such dire predictions.  
 
I have a particular grievance against predictions, because they operate like blinders to alternatives.  People become invested in being right.  Next time you read the Wall Street Journal, circle all the predictions, words like "forecast," "predict," and all the words like "if," "could," "may," and so forth.  You may be surprised how much of it--and all other media--is based on speculation rather than news. 
 
Even if a crash comes, we can't know how or when, or what form it will take.  That's why I tell everyone to grow food.  My chickens would be worthless as food.  They are all feathers and mouth, and at six years old, the two roosters and one hen don't produce eggs, either.  However, should the crash come, I can teach other people how to design and build chicken coops, and treat chicken mites. 
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 3:52pm
Jenifer,
The stock market is a long conversation.  There's little acknowledgement of who "the investors" are, but I think many assume these are the wealthy people who have lots of spare money.
 
However, when you think about all the public and private pension plans, managed by "fund managers" who only care about profits and dividends, you begin to see that almost everyone is affected one way or another by the stock market.  I don't know but suspect the private individual investors are only a small percentage.  
 
If you consider that the worst eco-rapist companies, war contractors, utilities, and labor exploiters also pay the highest dividends, it's quite possible that the average Joe Pensioner is supporting the very devastation he consciously abhors, and contributing to the disasters we all fear.
 
Glad you brought this up.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 10, 2017 - 4:02pm
John G.,
The government's idea of what its job is, and your idea, are not mine.  My idea of the government's job is to get out of the way.  We have too much government in our faces, controlling every aspect of our lives, and taking an ever bigger bite in taxes that you claim don't pay for government.  
 
I'm not just talking about income taxes, although that's the only one people seem to think about.  I'm talking about excise taxes on such things as utilities, communications, and gasoline.  Then there are import and export taxes, which are built into the consumer price.  We have licenses, permits, and property taxes, which guess who pays?  Most of my income goes to taxes, to support three levels of government I no longer respect.
 
For the government(s) there is no bottom line, and that is the primary problem.
 
 
 
 
 
opher goodwin Added Oct 10, 2017 - 4:03pm
Katharine - I think we do think alike. Nature is what I would like to live in harmony with.
I like debate and argument but I do get fed up with the abusive trolling on this site. It does get in the way of constructive argument. People who don't agree can do so without resorting to personal abuse can't we? Some people are so childish.
John G Added Oct 10, 2017 - 4:27pm
KO: For the government(s) there is no bottom line, and that is the primary problem.
I don't understand why people can't understand the system.
The government's deficit is the net amount of $ has put IN to the private sector economy.
Taxes are paid with money that the government has spent into existence.
It's really not that hard is it?
John G Added Oct 10, 2017 - 4:28pm
Goodwin: People who don't agree can do so without resorting to personal abuse can't we? Some people are so childish.
Tone policing away the people who criticise you is childish.
opher goodwin Added Oct 10, 2017 - 6:16pm
No John - there is a big difference between criticism and personal abuse. One is a civilised debate in which people use their intelligence to argue, explain their position and explain why they think the other person is wrong - the other is unintelligent childishness and an attempt at bullying - the type you get in infant school playgrounds. I don't think you've learnt the difference.
John G Added Oct 10, 2017 - 7:53pm
You're a transparent hypocrite, Goodwin. 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Oct 11, 2017 - 1:36am
We have too much government in our faces, controlling every aspect of our lives, 
 
Wait wait wait a darn minute! That pathetic saccharine Lee Greenwood song "where at least I know I'm free" is bullshit? 
 
Say it isn't so!
 
opher goodwin Added Oct 11, 2017 - 4:42am
John G - there - you proved it yet again.
Edward Miessner Added Oct 11, 2017 - 1:01pm
Katharine, "I wonder why competition has become so predominant in the world, when cooperation works so much better."
 
Well people and animals, even plants, are hardwired for both competition and cooperation by the workings of evolution. Historically, humans have been very cooperative at least among the ingroup and competitive toward the outgroups. But in America we seem to have elevated competition to one of the highest goods even when it has long passed its "best before" date, and exported it to the world.
Edward Miessner Added Oct 11, 2017 - 1:02pm
Jeffrey, who's Skippy?
Katharine Otto Added Oct 11, 2017 - 3:10pm
John G.,
Unfortunately, the system is too easy to understand and therefore impossible to like or respect.  Under your scenario, everyone should feel dependent on the the nanny state government, to support the overlords who believe they are cosmically ordained to exploit for the purpose of creating more government.  It is not working, no matter what the theorists want to believe.  It is economic slavery, and will continue as long as people are willing to put up with it.
 
Come down to earth, John.  That's where the real people live.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 11, 2017 - 3:19pm
Edward,
Competition and cooperation are two sides of the same coin, for sure.  Competition becomes more vicious when there is a mood of fear or desperation, which has become increasingly pronounced over my lifetime.  No wonder there's a sense that we are riding for a fall.
 
It doesn't have to be this way.  What are we trying to prove?  
Katharine Otto Added Oct 11, 2017 - 3:35pm
Opher,
Even an amoeba can learn, so there's hope humanity will outgrow some of its suicidal beliefs before it's too late.  I believe we are misusing some of our greatest gifts, like intelligence, to over-think the problems, and thereby feed into them.  
 
I wonder about the work ethic itself.  There is such a cultural drive to get everyone working, for money, to pay taxes and conform to society's expectations of what a responsible citizen should be.  Why are we driven to work so hard?  Animals don't work, except to satisfy basic needs, and even then, they seem to enjoy it.  That's yet another way I respect the animals and believe we could learn from them.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 11, 2017 - 3:42pm
Jeffry,
It's impossible to be free if you're busy pushing for rules to control everyone else.  I can't understand people wanting to saddle themselves with rules they then have to abide by--unless, of course, they figure the rules don't apply to them.
 
Well, 40% of Congress (House and Senate) consists of lawyers, as well as the entire Supreme Court.  Is it any wonder the "rule of law" prevails over the "rule of right"?  Every law creates jobs for at least two lawyers, and usually many more.
George N Romey Added Oct 11, 2017 - 3:46pm
Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business and finance. 
Katharine Otto Added Oct 11, 2017 - 4:14pm
George,
Agreed.  That's why I encourage the brave and independent-minded to drop out and let the machine run itself into the ground.  It costs nothing to lie back and watch the clouds float by.  
John G Added Oct 11, 2017 - 4:15pm
KO Unfortunately, the system is too easy to understand and therefore impossible to like or respect.
But you very clearly don't understand it.
Under your scenario,
It isn't my scenario. It is how the monetary system IS.
everyone should feel dependent on the the nanny state government, to support the overlords who believe they are cosmically ordained to exploit for the purpose of creating more government. 
No that's just blind dogma.
 It is not working, no matter what the theorists want to believe. 
It is working because it is being manipulated by the rich.
It is economic slavery, and will continue as long as people are willing to put up with it.
So rather than democratise the system, you'd rather destroy everything, barter and let most of the population die?
Sorry but economic Darwinism and genocide isn't my thing.
John G Added Oct 11, 2017 - 5:17pm
isn't working
opher goodwin Added Oct 11, 2017 - 5:27pm
Katharine - Thoroughly agree. Back in the 60s we were looking for a simpler life, more in tune with the land, away from the destructive machine of capitalism. Unfortunately that camaraderie was all blown apart by greed. Those simple idealistic, optimistic times were seen as naïve.
I am a Biologist and a naturalist and I love animals and despise what we are doing to the natural world. This destruction is obscene. It greatly upsets me.
Somehow we have to put a stop to this money work ethic. There are far better ways to live. 
John G Added Oct 11, 2017 - 7:03pm
Humans are social animals and they value their worth to society by contributing through work.
Changing how we work and the jobs we do is desirable. (Creating surplus value for the rich is no longer a viable goal for the many anyway).
Eliminating work altogether is not. Either economically or socially.
Btw 'the economy' is the processes and organisation of moving real goods and services throughout a society. 
opher goodwin Added Oct 11, 2017 - 7:49pm
John g - if the work is valuable. One can get fulfilment in working in simpler ways without the profit margin and consumerism. I wasn't advocating giving up work. I was advocating dropping out of the system and having a simpler life.
John G Added Oct 11, 2017 - 8:08pm
Yes well all sorts of people are advocating UBIs for people to do just that i.e. nothing productive or socially worthwhile.
The problem is that is won't work economically and it would change nothing socially for the better. In fact it would probably divide society even more.
Full employment, good schools, universal healthcare, good housing for all are all possible.
Half the population becoming Picasso on a basic income isn't.
 
Saint George Added Oct 11, 2017 - 8:28pm
 Changing how we work and the jobs we do is desirable.
 
For you, perhaps, not for others. Zombie Communists (zombunists) love telling other people how to live, how to work, what to do, and how to live their lives. Why don't you just fuck off, skidmark, and let other people live and work however they damn please.
 
(Creating surplus value for the rich is no longer a viable goal for the many anyway).
 
There is no such thing as "surplus value" except in the minds of zombunists and fossilized books on Marxism (all of which have been debunked many times over).
John G Added Oct 11, 2017 - 10:37pm
 Why don't you just fuck off
Funny how Opher, Volek and all the other tone policemen here don't pick up on your tone eh?
Nobody here is telling people what to do except you, shit breath.
Saint George Added Oct 12, 2017 - 4:01am
Funny how Opher, Volek and all the other tone policemen here don't pick up on your tone
 
Substance over tone, my fine smegma-anointed loaf of rat-turd. Substance over tone.
Saint George Added Oct 12, 2017 - 4:03am
And by the way,
 
Shouldn't the title of this thread read, "Whom Are We Kidding?"
 
Are you allergic to objective-case interrogative pronouns? Or do you just not give a damn?
Leroy Added Oct 12, 2017 - 8:01am
'Shouldn't the title of this thread read, "Whom Are We Kidding?"'
 
Another grammar queen.
 
I alluded to that earlier in reference to another grammar queen.
Edward Miessner Added Oct 12, 2017 - 4:48pm
Katharine,
The fear and desperation has turned out to be the inevitable result of a decision to attack trade unions in this country and export manufacturing jobs. It has a lot to do with the disturbances of the '60s.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 12, 2017 - 7:21pm
Ed M asks: Jeffrey, who's Skippy?  Skippy is the one who hops up alongside your car or truck on the right side, keeps pace with the vehicle for a few meters, then suddenly leaps to the left and smashes your radiator...
Katharine Otto Added Oct 12, 2017 - 10:44pm
St.  George,
I stand corrected on grammar.  It should be "Whom Are We Kidding?"
 
On economics and human nature, I stand firm.  John G. is right in that the US Constitution is an economic document that set the US economic wheel in motion.  It has been spinning out of control ever since, which is why everybody works for the government, whether they want to or not.  
Katharine Otto Added Oct 12, 2017 - 10:47pm
Edward,
I believe the industrial age has peaked, and I'm fine with polluting industry moving out of the country.  I'm a minimalist, by nature, and am happy to work less, earn less, spend less, and pay less in taxes.  
Katharine Otto Added Oct 12, 2017 - 10:53pm
Opher,
I remember those idealistic times.  My generation was appalled at our parents' "materialism," and thought we could do better. 
 
Then our generation sold out, got corporate, government, and university jobs, plus retirement plans, and are now heavily invested in the status quo. 
 
Now, the half-our-age generation thinks it can do better than we did.  Good thing, since retirees are depending on them to keep Social Security and Medicare afloat.  More likely, the youngers will find euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide increasingly acceptable.  Unfortunately, I can understand their point.
 
Did you ever see the movie Wild in the Streets?
Katharine Otto Added Oct 12, 2017 - 10:55pm
Leroy,
Bad grammar and all, the post is getting read.  Maybe I should throw in a little profanity to make it sizzle?
Katharine Otto Added Oct 12, 2017 - 10:56pm
Jeff M.,
I don't know who Skippy is, either, but I think Jeffrey was referring to a president.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 12, 2017 - 10:59pm
Opher and John G.,
What about working without getting paid for it?  I work all the time, but nobody pays me, so the government loses out.  Tsk., Tsk.  I consider my work valuable enough to do without hope of reward.
John G Added Oct 13, 2017 - 12:18am
 nobody pays me, so the government loses out. 
Sigh. You seem determined not to understand the system.
There is a lot of work being done that people should be paid for.
People want to work, whether you believe it or not. Rightly or wrongly that's how we in societies find self value in our lives. 
And there is no reason that everyone who wants a full time job can't have one and earn a living wage.
Anyone who tells you differently, including yourself, is holding people and society back. Especially the poor and the young.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Oct 13, 2017 - 3:58am
 
don't know who Skippy is, either
 
Doesn't anyone have the energy or curiosity to look up something they don't understand anymore? It's not as though it's difficult. 
 
damn skippy    

interjection

exclamation of excitement or approval


 
Edward Miessner Added Oct 13, 2017 - 12:12pm
Jeffrey,
 
Well, thanks, then. :^)
 
"Doesn't anyone have the energy or curiosity to look up something they don't understand anymore? It's not as though it's difficult. "
 
Well some of us aren't clued in to look something up, especially if it's new slang or some pop culture reference and we can no longer keep up with the pop culture. Dayyam!
 
Edward Miessner Added Oct 13, 2017 - 12:20pm
Jeff Michka,
 
"Ed M asks: Jeffrey, who's Skippy?  Skippy is the one who hops up alongside your car or truck on the right side, keeps pace with the vehicle for a few meters, then suddenly leaps to the left and smashes your radiator..."
 
x^D-
Edward Miessner Added Oct 13, 2017 - 12:24pm
Katharine,
 
"I believe the industrial age has peaked, and I'm fine with polluting industry moving out of the country.  I'm a minimalist, by nature, and am happy to work less, earn less, spend less, and pay less in taxes. " 
 
I'd be happy to work less, too, when I am working, but the cost of living requires most people to be working full-time, including me. Right now I'm looking for work and not finding any and having bona fide disabilities doesn't help.
 
Katharine Otto Added Oct 13, 2017 - 3:39pm
John G.,
What you don't seem to understand is that I've worked the trenches, and seen the system from the ground up.  It is crushing people, and I'm amazed that some people survive as well as they do, considering how the cards are stacked against them.
 
You seem to speak from a naive, theoretical position that I encounter among intellectuals all the time.  They live in LaLaLand, believing in some fantasy version of how the top dogs are going to compel the underdogs to like getting their backs broken under a repressive, anal-retentive, patriarchal ivory tower that doesn't respect human dignity.  
Katharine Otto Added Oct 13, 2017 - 3:40pm
Well, Jeffrey, I don't care enough to look up who Skippy is.  You are the one who used the term, and if you can't or won't define it, then it's not important enough to pursue.
Katharine Otto Added Oct 13, 2017 - 3:42pm
Jeffry,
OK.  I apologize.  I looked it up, following your link.  Talk about esoteric references . . .
John G Added Oct 13, 2017 - 5:49pm
What you don't seem to understand is that I've worked the trenches, and seen the system from the ground up.  It is crushing people, and I'm amazed that some people survive as well as they do, considering how the cards are stacked against them.
Perhaps but you don't understand what you're looking at.
You seem to speak from a naive, theoretical position that I encounter among intellectuals all the time.  
Not at all. I'm about practical changes that frees people up to live better lives with less work, less debt and more security.
I find it ironic that someone who believes Griffin's tale about the Fed would call me naive. That's an elite distraction.
Your attempted strawman/insult is amusing. The only insult I take is that it is so far off the mark.
I suspect you're like Romey in that you really want the system to collapse because you have become so invested in believing the fantasies that you've swallowed.
You could easily learn the reality but you won't.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 18, 2017 - 7:53pm
Capt Shakes Gilbert sez: Doesn't anyone have the energy or curiosity to look up something they don't understand anymore? It's not as though it's difficult.-Perhaps, but you whine on alluding to all sorts of things nobody has any idea of what you go on about, then you pull this stuff.  As I've said before, whatever "wrongs" were done to you in Seattle, it wasn't enough.  Reply, and then spend five or six hours putting the keys back on your keyboard...

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