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Any number of pundits have recently found it worth noting that, among other deficits, the American President suffers from an insufficient appreciation of America's exceptional status in God's plan for the universe. Which may well be accurate and, from where I sit, a good thing, since sourcing a pernicious characteristic, which is what American exceptionalism is, in the deity is the height of arrogance.  Imagine Satan proclaiming that because God made him he is good.

Extractive, exploitative, exceptional and self-centered, to boot, is what the Euro-American population has always been.  Touting these characteristics as virtues is perhaps relatively new.  We're not talking about making lemonade out of lemons here or breaking a few eggs to make an omelet.  We're talking about behaving like vandals and calling it civilization.

Though, come to think of it, saving the savages from perdition was an early objective among the religious colonists.  Necessary, perhaps, because it gave purpose to what had to have been a very uncertain and risky enterprise.  Setting off into the unknown across the wide expanse of the oceans had to be motivated by something beyond the sense of self-preservation.  So, the illusion of doing the will of a deity served to fortify human frailty.

However, what has since evolved is something else.  The wanton extraction and exploitation of nature for the accumulation of material wealth can't be justified as doing the will of God.  And, indeed, it isn't.  If the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is to be believed, there's a new standard of behavior afoot in the land, neatly encapsulated in his observation that:

"The public is more willing to accept pain and difficulty, more than they have ever been before."

In other words, the moral value of an act is defined by whatever the victim is willing to put up with.  It's an objective standard, but not in the sense that was originally meant when good and evil were defined by an external principle that was recognized to exist "beyond good and evil."  The new objectivity locates the moral valuation of an act within the recipient or object, rather than confronting the agent of an act with a universally applicable standard, regardless of the victim's reaction or response.  This mental slight of hand not only relieves agents of all moral responsibility, it strips all action directed at non-sentient nature (including creatures who can't bite back) of any moral implication.  So, without objection, human behavior is rendered value neutral.  Even self-satisfaction or self-gratification is no longer an issue.  

Of course, if objective acceptance is the standard of behavior, there's no need to evaluate behavior ahead of time.  And no need to take a negative response or rejection into account either, if only because that's logically impossible.  If a moral judgment can only be rendered by the victim after the fact, then there's no need/purpose to look ahead and anticipate that judgment to deter action.  Abuse isn't abuse and there is no deprivation of rights, unless and until the abused call a halt, and the failure to do so is evidence that there's no abuse and no violation of law.

I'm tempted to conclude that what we have here is another failure by design, another instance where failure, if not a good thing, is at least neutral.  This is not, however, an example of the glorification of badness.  The conversion of bad behavior or evil into good is what we arrive at when the failure to object to abuse and deprivation, as evidenced in the torture of alien detainees and the groping of airline passengers, is hailed as a positive.  When the bodily integrity of a person is challenged or invaded, whether briefly or permanently, that's bad.  Period.  When such behavior is hailed in the service of some supposedly spurious greater good, that's evil being glorified.

This raises two questions for which I have no answer, as yet.  The first concerns how it happened that people supposedly committed to religious principles which clearly define good and evil behavior, regardless of the intent of the agent or the reaction of the recipient/victim, came to accept "objectivity" as the new standard.  Is it just the inevitable consequence of having to locate responsibility somewhere else once "being saved" removed it from the subject or is the effective negation of responsibility intentional?   How was it discovered that having to choose between good and evil could be avoided by relocating the valuation process from the subject to the object?

The other question has to do with why negating responsibility for good and evil isn't enough.  Why does bad behavior have to be redefined as good?  What prompts a Chris Christie, for example, to proclaim that the public is "accepting" of pain?  While there is a long tradition of Christian churchmen touting earthly suffering as a prelude to an eternal reward, it wasn't, for the most part, suffering that the churchmen caused.  In the instant case, the "pain and difficulty" being experienced by the residents of the supposedly richest nation on earth is clearly being caused by the people in charge of the money bags.  Which might well lead one to wonder why the public continues to be "accepting."  If so, then perhaps Christie's assertion is more a denial of what he knows in his heart should be -- increasing resistance by good people to the evil being inflicted on them.

So, there's a third question.  Why are good people not more resistant to the evil that is done to them?  And the answer there, I'm increasingly certain, is that good does not recognize evil and does not recognize itself as a target, while evil, perhaps because it resents being overlooked or ignored, aims to inflict injury on the good, both to get attention and because it can.  If so, then "do good and avoid evil" is perhaps not the best advice.  

If evil aims to get attention, then avoiding it won't keep it at bay.  Evil has to be stood up to and countered and that has to be accomplished by an outside agent.  It's actually what we organize government for.  Moreover, recognizing it ought not to be too hard, once we realize that evil is a show-off.  Abuse is only secret if good people close their eyes.

Addendum--I am stunned to be on the REC list and, as I said, at a loss for words.

Originally posted to hannah on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:38 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If it proclaims itself to be bad, (117+ / 0-)

    it probably is.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:37:23 AM PST

    •  not always... (0+ / 0-)

      ethically bad perhaps yes. ethical bad is pretty bad. logically bad, also pretty bad. but aesthetically bad? that can actually be pretty good in a double entendre, jessica rabbit kind of way. just sayin

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 11:02:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Eventually this will pass? (22+ / 0-)

    The concept of Good v. Evil has never been a component in my life (reared in the Episcopalian Church which doesn't or didn't deal much with sin) so I am constantly bemused by 'moral' people who tout, for example, the evils of tweeting and the damage it does to marriage.  A couple of days ago, I read of a pastor of a huge evangelical flock advising the leaders in his church to put away their evil twits or tweets, only to read yesterday that that same pastor had a sexual involvement with his wife and another man.  Some times, 'evil' takes a big bite of human flesh our of those who are pointing their fingers at evil.

    For what it's worth, I think this phase of ultra right wing hysteria will pass, eventually.  The more a**es that get bit will only hurry it along.

  •  Hard Truths (30+ / 0-)

    In American, "the truth hurts."  In fact, if it doesn't hurt you, it's probably not true.  I think that this is the biggest legacy that Calvinism left for us.  The truth always hurts us, so if someone is hurting us, it's probably for our own good.

    There are all sorts of ideas related to this:

    "Medicine always tastes bad going down."

    "Take you medicine.  It's nasty stuff, but it's good for you."

    This is what the deficit commission is all about:

    "Tough love."

    "Making Americans take their medicine."

    Government wants to put pain on Americans to fix our problems.  The real problem is that simply making people suffer is not a solution in and of itself.  But we have this conviction that we're not being properly governed unless government is harming us.

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 03:58:20 AM PST

  •  badness (20+ / 0-)

    Why are good people not more resistant to the evil that is done to them?

    Fear of Gitmo.


    Lack of confidence in own opinions. Good may think it recognizes evil, but questions itself. Seeing those ahead accept it.


    Brainwashed respect for authority.


    to paraphrase Nixon: "If the U.S. does it, it must be okay."

    The brilliant, liberal voice of Sam Seder is back! Free mp3 play, Free live stream, Free i-Tunes. M-F show. (Free for now.)

    by OLinda on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:01:06 AM PST

    •  You Provoked Him (10+ / 0-)

      That is what battered wives would hear if they called the cops on their abuser.  The religious fundamentalists have appropriated that attitude for their own.  If a wife is abused or berated, it is because she isn't submissive enough.  

      In the 1970's, the Redstockings called women the "authorized victim."  Fear of pain and injury as well as learned helplessness drive the lack of resistance.  Abusers abuse because they can as hannah said.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:59:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of the answers you suggest I vote for (10+ / 0-)


      Lack of confidence in own opinions. Good may think it recognizes evil, but questions itself. Seeing those ahead accept it.

      It is the downside of our partuclarly American style of tolerance. We have tolerance without insight or introspection - unquestioning tolerance of the "everybody has a right to their own opnions, views, beliefs."

      When we are told that everything is acceptable, then what is the value of one's own opinion or belief? How strong can it be in the face of evil?  Sadly, I think this is one area where the right has captured the imagination (if nothing else) of many Americans for no other reason than that they are standing up - and against - something.  Unfortunately, there is little rational thought behind their stance, and that is what we must start to inject into our national discourse.  There are rational reasons for tolerating many things, but we don't bother to elucidate them.

      A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

      by marleycat on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:28:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is the value of an opinion? As I explain it (9+ / 0-)

        to my students: THEY have an equal right to hold any opinion they want to, as people, but opinions are not people so they have no inalienable rights. Opinions must prove their worthiness with supporting facts and evidence.  I encourage my students to challenge opinions -- theirs, others, my own ... -- so they don't waste their precious time and energy with dumb ones.  

        How in the world, and when, did we start believing all opinions are equal?

        And, another thing:

        "The public is more willing to accept pain and difficulty, more than they have ever been before."

        I question this opinion in particular.  What does he base this on?  I am definitely NOT seeing this.  The whole Tea Party crew looks damn mad to me, and I don't see the Left happy about proposed cuts in SS, either.  If anything, I think a smart pol could possibly still get the far left and right galvenized against the Banksters (possibly using the more understandable insider trading scandel about to explode - ala Capone went to jail for tax evasion) with a collective push to make the Banksters and would-be-oligarchs feel some real pain by paying their fair share, and massive fines to boot. (BTW aside from Bernie, anyone know where we could find such a pol?)

        And, "the more than every before" part?  Oh, please.  If the wealthy elite and Republicans think the electorate's message was, "please, sir, may I have another," then in my opinion, they have become dangerously and delusional over-confident on the propaganda they got their mob drunk on. I find the Tea Party crew's push back on the repeal of The Ethics Committee and their continued push for an end to earmarks interesting.  It'll get even more interesting if (when?) their mob realizes they have been tricked and used to attack in the wrong direction.

        •  Excellent way to teach your students (4+ / 0-)

          about opinions. But given the craziness in the country my fear is that the Supreme Court will decide to extend Citizens United to opinions.......

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:53:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you're right about the Tea Party. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, bkamr, Only Needs a Beat

          I hope no one underestimates their anger/passion. Sarah Palin may or may not be their leader, I'm not really sure. I seem to remember reading a poll of Tea folks in which she did not earn such high numbers.

          The fact is that whether we, the left, like it or not, we have several things in common with the Tea folks. This was true too when a debate raged here for several months whether or not Ron Paul was a reasonable candidate for President, based almost entirely on his position against the Iraq war. He was discounted primarily because of his historical ties to racist groups and, to a lesser degree, because of his fiscal philosophy, Libertarianism. I wonder where we would be today had Ron Paul won the election. I do not believe we would be in Iraq, or Afghanistan; I do not believe the fraud on Wall Street would have been swept under the rug, and because Paul is such a strict Constitutionalist, enough so that even Glenn Greenwald wrote a favorable piece on him, we could have expected to see real challenges to the current TSA overreach.

    •  "it's not fascism when we do it" (7+ / 0-)

      is my best stab at an answer to the diarist's first question.

      how it happened that people supposedly committed to religious principles which clearly define good and evil behavior, regardless of the intent of the agent or the reaction of the recipient/victim, came to accept "objectivity" as the new standard.

      Same lack of internal analysis that made the Crusades ok, even holy.
      Or the slaughter of native americans.
      Then there's slavery, Jim Crow, spousal abuse, the holocaust and assorted other genocides; the sorry list goes on and on.

      It's not even new that this viciousness is out in the open (see above list). It's just resurgent.
      Humans are the most violent primates by a country mile, and the thin veneer of civilization is merely a luxury we can afford in times of plenty. Even the relatively infinitesimal deprivation of the recent economic situation has brought this beast out of its rickety cage, and the prospects for putting it back are dim to say the least.
      it's gonna take alot more breeding to get this sickness out of our systems.

      Sexual orientation is as irrelevent on the battlefield as military rank is in the bedroom.

      by kamarvt on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:33:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The demonization of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, kamarvt, Onomastic

        the other makes it possible to become violent, militant, and self-righteous.From history we see a constant: make the "other" sub-human, therefore it is good, no even god-ordained to kill them. When some humans have no value for other humans, it is easy and ordained "by the diety", to cleanse and purify the homeland. The calls to "get rid of the liberals, the ungodly, the socialists, are calls for eradication of those "who are not us". You can easily recognize this ideology in republican, teabagger,right-wing, militia groups, and the military, as well as most policing groups (see Native American genocide,Katrina, illegal aliens, Gays, abortion doctors, etc.). Basically anyone who is not "us" is worthy of control, oppression, and death.

        Support the troops, damn it!...Bring them all home now!

        by brainyblond on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:40:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amazing diary (26+ / 0-)

    I'm increasingly certain, is that good does not recognize evil and does not recognize itself as a target, while evil, perhaps because it resents being overlooked or ignored, aims to inflict injury on the good, both to get attention and because it can.

    I've tried to say this a number of times, but my clumsy expression bears no resemblance to this.  

    I worry that one of the things that has put the world at such risk, and will keep us from correcting it, is that good people can't see evil intent, or a lack of conscience in others.  We keep trying to get bad actors to make different choices, or do different things.  Why would they?  

    Thanks for an intensely thought-provoking diary.  I will now quit typing and spend more time 'listening' to what you've written.

    •  Nothing will change until (5+ / 0-)

      good people start to fight back.

      •  That's very hard for good people to do. (9+ / 0-)

        They (dare I say "we") hate the idea of a fight because it evokes a very core element of evil: violence. In this respect Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr have much to teach us.

        A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

        by marleycat on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:08:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes , you can say 'we' :-) (5+ / 0-)

          Gandhi and Dr King both emphasized resistance for this reason, wouldn't that be right?  

          When reason fails, resist.  Meaningful resistance is more complicated than violence, though.  I don't think we've figured it out yet, what kind of resistance would be most meaningful in the context of our present culture and economy.  I bet it always means sacrificing now for future gains.  

          •  Well, maybe we could organize a movement to (4+ / 0-)

            take turns going to our city and small town common areas en masse to silently stand with signs that simply said:

            No more lobbyists.
            With a simple strong Bill # underneath.

            Just weekend after weekend with masses of people with the same sign.  No speakers. No yelling.  No noise.  Just silent, persistent numbers in the street.  

            I'd be willing to bet we'd see many a Tea Partier joining ranks in a few weeks.  

            •  I don't know if simple (6+ / 0-)

              presence is enough to persuade or change congressional behavior.  For this to work, they'd have to care about what we think, and how we feel, outside of any consequences for them.  That doesn't seem to be the case, so far.  But, maybe it could sway public opinion, if done properly, and reported accurately (a big if!) and that might influence voting or fund-raising.

              When I think of meaningful resistance, I think of refusing to do something we're expected to do, or inconveniencing the right people/entities in a significant way.  Mass boycotts on spending, mass absence from work or other important participation.  Then there is resistance that probably borders on sabotage or obstruction, such as blocking traffic.  

              •  I think we need to get the attention of the (4+ / 0-)

                independents and generally politically silent people.  A simple, quiet message could get through.

                We're not going to get people engaged with a resistance effort if we can't even get their attention.

                •  Thank you for this bkamr. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rubyr, marleycat, Only Needs a Beat

                  This is a crucially important point and conversation.

                  One that needs to be continued.

                  Perhaps, if we first identify the shared issues with independents, the silent, and moderates, then we could articulate a message that reverberates.

                  One of the things that I think desperately needs addressing is how so many of us have bought into the Reagan/Norquist meme of "Government as the enemy."

                  It's been a pervasive message for over thirty years and has worked to seperate us from what is OUR government.

                  In my view, it's led to a sense of apathy, powerlessness and a lack of ownership.

                  If we don't address that, we're not going to get people involved.

                  "I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." Daniel Hillel

                  by Onomastic on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:34:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's why I think it might work to go sideways (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

                    after the forces that are corrupting not only our government, but also our 4th estate.

                    Let's go for the lobbyists in a quiet, numbers way.  It's actually kind of noble and attention getting when large groups of people just stand up, quietly and refuse to go away.

                    I think No More Lobbyists is a pretty good message.

                    Of course, the Supreme Court may reinforce they have a right as a faux peopledom to continue their corrupting influence, but I think that could serve to just bring even more people out.

                    •  How about No More Hate Radio? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

                      And picket your local hate stations? (I know where the biggest one in Winchester is - and they aren't the worst in the area, because there are a few, very few, shock jocks too repellent for them to carry.)

                      If it's
                      Not your body
                      Then it's
                      Not your choice
                      AND it's
                      None of your damn business!

                      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:49:03 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  How about reaching out to people in our (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      hannah, rubyr, bkamr

                      communities or on a state level?

                      It's so easy to find common cause and articulate a point that's inclusive vs exclusive.

                      Using "we" vs "I" and "you" for example in a LTE.

                      For example,

                      We've all been seeing our dollars shrink. It's harder and harder for us to keep up with the bills...

                      Statements like that establish commonality between the writer and the reader. Then the letter could go on - My family and I are confused by why those of us who already pay proportionally more in taxes than the wealthy are being asked to pay even more.

                      Then the facts about the job creation rate under Bush could be included to explain why the job creation meme for keeping the Bush tax cuts doesn't make sense.

                      Sorry about the bad example, but you get the gist.

                      I'm a firm believer in what I call "seed planting."

                      If a LTE gets one person to look at things in a new way, then that letter is a success. That one person will eventually talk to another person and so on.

                      It may be nieve, but I believe that if all of us wrote a LTE each week, or posted on MSM or other sites, we'd be planting alot of seeds.

                      "I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." Daniel Hillel

                      by Onomastic on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:52:46 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Many protests of the anti-war movement were (4+ / 0-)

                effective in changing the attitude toward the Vietnam War. The same techniques could be used to draw attention to the dire straits we are in. Citizens United, elections stolen thanks to Supremes, homelessness, hunger,massive unemployment(accurately estimated at over 20%), corporate fraud and theft, outsourcing , could all be protested.But, how to engage the working class, who is distracted by, god, guns, and lack of butter?

                Support the troops, damn it!...Bring them all home now!

                by brainyblond on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:47:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Engaging the working class (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ActivistGuy, marleycat

                  I think part of the problem is that, instead of engaging directly with working class moderates, we let the MSM tell them what we're about, and the MSM likes a rift.

                  We could start engaging more directly about cross-over issues like social security, veterans benefits, union labor and fair wages, corporate welfare and outsourcing of jobs.  And a lot of people who aren't sold on climate change do believe in the damage pollution causes to water supply.  

                  I think working class people also care about homelessness and affordable housing- most of them have known people who have been in a pinch through no fault of their own.  

                  The people I'm talking about probably vote Republican, but they aren't part of the Tea Party.  The Tea Party isn't about solutions or improvements, they're about going back, where  ever that is.

                  We need to get the narrative away from Republicans.  They talk about big government and entitlements, socialism.  We should be saying hell, yes, we The People want something back for everything we put in.  That's the way it's suppose to work, it's not a gift to you for being you.

                  The Republican Party has pulled a fast one on working class people:  You agree that it's shameful to expect services in return for taxes, we'll  pretend to lower your taxes.  

                  We need to bust that up.  It hasn't been that long since working class people knew better.

        •  Gandhi: I stand ready to die to defy an unjust (4+ / 0-)

          law but I am not willing to kill anyone over it.

          Americans have not really got what that means yet.

        •  ozarkspark, you quote a paragraph, I was tempted (7+ / 0-)

          to quote.  It's an excellent question rich with meaning, but also in need of definition.

          What does "it" really mean?

          Hannah raises dozens of astonishingly thought provoking questions like this, but at the same time leaves me slightly confused.

          Perhaps, I just need more coffee after just waking up this morning?  

          I see from the comments this diary is having a powerful affect on many, but also that many folks seem to be recognizing, and/or projecting into it, tacit ideas, assumptions, and references to ideas that need to be better defined for a larger audience.  

          I mean this in a positive way, and I hope is received by the "recipients" in the positive (good), way it is intended.

          This illustrated just one confusion aspects of this diary.  After standing on the established foundations the "post-modernist" idea of 'multiple subjective universes', the author seems to nostalgically miss, or call for one objective 'transcendent' standard of both objectivity, and virtue, (good versus evil.)

          Are we, perhaps, tripping over two incommensurable paradigms?  Or, perhaps, not fully realizing yet, the evolutionary displacement of one over the other?

          I'm reminded of Jimi Hendrix's pardoxical question, Is it Love or Confusion?"  

          Or as my most ruthless, but, beloved, philsophy professor might note, "the author raises more questions than she answers."  

          But, unlike my professor, I mean this in the nicest possible way.  I hope you decide to rewrite this diary several times to help us all get to it's "next level" of which it happily has many, many of.

          Good job.


          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:36:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's why (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I concern myself less with being a "good person" anymore, and concern myself more with fighting those that prey upon the vulnerable, the weak, the marginal.  If I become bad in that fight so be it, at least there will be less harm upon the poor, the weak the vulnerable if I win a few of my fights.

          American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

          by ActivistGuy on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:32:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Its strange how we readily accept (19+ / 0-)

    one nation being robbed to benefit our own, we even call it just. We herald our wealth as a right but it is often gained at someone else's expense.

    Personally I prefer the terms right and wrong.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:07:16 AM PST

  •  Going Bosnia (24+ / 0-)

    Sometimes I think that because despite all the good there is in the world, in our part of it, all the hope and possibilities - to many of our countrymen can't shake the dark wistful dream of what it would be like not to have to share lovely days with people we think don't deserve them.

    Because acting on this "I wonder..." happens.

    Once upon a time, Yugolavia was the most prosperous country in eastern Europe. Then it decided it would much rather have genocide and civil war and do its best to look like Cambodia.

    The Bosnians probably never imagined that Sarajevo would look like Phnom Penh someday. Then there was, borrowing from a Carl Sagan line, one last perfect day...but underneath it was the darkness, the distrust, the desire to make the day more perfect in an especially ugly way - a day where, at last, self-described deserving people did not have to share it with people they described as not deserving life at all. Then the horror started.

    Sometimes I think this society wants to become a giant Bosnia. I doesn't want to stay united. It doesn't want to do constructive or helpful things. It only wants to gin up for fights with its own constituents. It only wants to imagine and prepare for war - and it no longer has the energy or resources o fight wars elsewhere, so it's preparing its collective heart and mind to have war here. Against itself.

    It only takes this analogy to fit a little bit, on a country with 310 instead of 2 million people, to presage very dark times ahead for us all...and if Bosnia and Rwanda are any indication, even those who daydream of dark nights and bonfires and machetes and massacres will suffer that worst of punishments - the eternal knowledge that the opposite of having to share heavenly days with people you don't find agreeable getting to share hell on earth with people who you do.

    •  American Taliban (17+ / 0-)

      To paraphrase Kos from American Taliban, the main difference between Bosnia and the US is that at least here they cannot be open about their wishes and desires regarding purging "them".  

      Most Americans are still horrified by that desire so they must put lipstick on the pig and dance around what they mean.  Reagan kicked off his campaign for president (the successful one) in Philadelphia MS but he didn't laud the violence of the Klan outright... he hinted.  

      It's the reason for all the dog whistles, euphemisms and secret meetings.  If they ever start bringing it into the open explicitly and without fear of contradiction... then we are well on our way to becoming Rwanda. is America's Blog of Record

      by WI Deadhead on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:43:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I fear you are correct Deadhead. (10+ / 0-)

        Radio RTLM was the coordinating force behind the Rwandan genocide.  How far is it from the current Faux News hate speech to actually using the guns that we know every one of their viewers possess?

        In 2005 Ann Coulter wrote: "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo."

        In 2006 Beck said: "I say we nuke the bastards. In fact, it doesn’t have to be Iran. It can be everywhere, any place that disagrees with me."

        Professor Phllip Zombardo in his book The Lucifer Effect, noted that: ¨History's most blatant example, the "final solution," was not the product of some inherent psychological deficiency in the German people. To the contrary, it was the product of a deliberate campaign carried out in newspapers, on radio, in required texts of school children, and even in comic books, which "sought to create the perception of Jews as a sub-human race that was a threat to the national state."

      •  They are becoming more emboldened. (6+ / 0-)

        They're not trying to mask it as hard as they used to.

        If you saw Jon Stewart's take-down of Glenn Beck last week, JS shows how Beck's chalkboard lists the same exact steps that the RW is already putting into action to affect their coup -- and that's what it is -- a RW coup d'etat.

        They've just been really successful at making it seem otherwise.

    •  Excitement and addrenalin rush is addictive. (7+ / 0-)

      Conflict is considered more interesting than boring peace.  We have built this into our society thru TV.  
      The difference in problems and their solutions on soap box shows indicate how this works.  I have watched As the World Turns on and off for almost 40 years.  Today there is no major character who at one time or another has not committed murder.  There may be all kinds of reasons and exceptions and explanations but the fact of the matter is murder is an acceptable solution.

      Forty years ago the concept that normal people openly consider murder as a solution would have been unthinkable and unbelievable.

  •  I am blown away by the comments so far. (19+ / 0-)

    Now, while I'm used to people not leaving many comments, I'm at a loss for words.  Thanks.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 04:37:52 AM PST

  •  Mind-control regime has worked (31+ / 0-)

    To put it simply, the oligarchs in the United States noticed that advertising works. Edward Bernays (nephew of Freud) and the other in Wilson's Creel Committee were able to bring Americans to a boil using simple propaganda methods that Goebbels and others imitated. With the growth of social science and increasing understanding of how people can be conditioned and controlled through ambiguity in terms of mind-control techniques disappeared. Corporations could sell their useless and ridiculous products and governments and elites can make anything work even when the facts indicate the opposite. One instructive case is to observe how the government was able to persuade people to attack Iraq based on no facts and a series of lies. By 2003 all the media including NPR and so-called "liberal" press were howling for blood and the people bought into it. Facts and experts were ignored and generals were trotted out to give delight the crowd (my hero, our brave men and women in the military and so on). Ignored and banned from all media was the person who knew most about the issue of WMDs in Iraq--someone airbrushed out of history by the name of Scott Ritter.

    The technology of mind-control has been time-tested, the public has been conditioned for generations, for example, to believe in the bizarre and almost Nazi-like theory of American Exceptionalism which is a sort of cultural version of the Nazi master-race doctrine. The methods involve telling the people what they want to hear to make them feel connected, particularly in a society that has as its basis of value money and property and you have people in the palm of your hands.

    As long as people don't understand that their minds are being massaged every single day by people who, frankly, wish them ill and want to exploit their vulnerability (particularly in the subconscious and primitive reptilian areas of the brain) for profit then no sane politics can emerge from this rapidly fading democracy. Already we have lost habeas corpus which is fundamental to our tradition and few on the left complain. How the fuck can people support a President, and I don't care how charming and civilized he appears, that doesn't fight with his life for habeas corpus and rule of law? How many indictments have we seen of the criminals on Wall Street who clearly and blatantly defrauded people systematically and are off scott-free because they are in and out of government in all administrations Republican or Democrat? If people here at DKOS stand for that then they'll stand for the knocks on their door in the middle of the night which may comes sooner than we think. Anyone on the left who supports this administration and it's clear disregard for our most basic rights is neither liberal, progressive or on the left. This is how strong mind-control is and the fact the oligarchs control the mythos of this country. Christians who blatantly ignore the message of the Bible and make up a fantasy role-playing game they call "evangelical" and so-called leftists who ignore the importance of rule of law and class-struggle.

    •  "Christians" and the Bible: (4+ / 0-)

      The Wrongs don't ignore it. Watch a TV preacher for a while and count the number of times (s)h intones, "The Bible says..." and then trots out some recorded-oral-tradition utterance of some prophet or other exhorting "God's People" to "put the tribe over the hill to the sword." And of course to send in their seed gifts, so God's Word can be spread further by Reverend Billy Joe-Bob and his Temple of the Anaphylact. Tax-deductible, of course, and you get a CD with the sermons identifying all the tribes over the hill that are in need of massacre and the theft of all their stuff and the enslavement of their women and children.

      And "Christianity" as mostly practiced in the US ought properly to be called "Paulism," for the early PR genius who sold the whole enterprise to a failing set of Empires...

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:48:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now, now, Paul wasn't so bad... (3+ / 0-)

        Saint Paul was mixed bag and a great letter-writer. Even Paul is taken out of context by those preachers who thrive on the ignorance an illiteracy of their followers who really want nothing more than to be told what to do. I have to blame the public education system for our situation of massive and spreading illiteracy in the larger sense, i.e., people who may read words but don't understand their meanings.

        •  Yeah, Paul was a mere mortal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Only Needs a Beat

          and he's been set up as The Authority On God. As if he really knew all the answers, instead of the guy who was The Answer.

          If the Christian churches ever got over this deification of Paul of Tarsus - and to a lesser extent Augustine of Hippo - they'd solve a lot of their problems.

          Saint Patrick had it right: you don't have to be Roman to be Christian. You just have to be the best whatever-you-are (Irish, in his case) that you can be.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:00:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  super obama didn't clean house (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the oligarchs have always exerted themselves in politics and media and that's why this 'democracy' has so often stumbled. but oligarchs need a constituency. when our representatives vote for the oligarchs they still have to point to a constituency to enable their treason.

      the last 20 years have been a unique disaster because americans have given the enemies of democracy the biggest soapbox in the country , starting when reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine and the right was allowed to subsidize and develop a massive talk radio monopoly that can generate a daily buzz that would make goebles and madison avenue jealous. that is the difference now.

      and now many continue to blame obama as if they haven't been paying attention to the way the oligarchs have been ripping this democracy up the last few decades. anyone who thought a super obama black man could walk into the white house and do what he wants (including putting the previous administration in jail) is severely naive and perhaps new to politics.

      your mother is a whore and  your father is a murderer and your representatives are traitors- that's what your local limbaugh station has been saying about liberals and their causes for the last 20 years while the left plugged in their CDs.

      as long as the left allows the oligarchs to control a 1000 station-strong megaphone and the collective left ignores it they will continue to create made-to-order constituencies (teabaggers= town hall screamers=dittoheads=republican base) to enable this disaster.

      as long as the left gives that coordinated think tank messaging machine a free speech free ride the collective left cannot say it is protecting its representatives and cannot reasonably expect them to stick their necks out to go after the oligarchs. a democracy isn't supposed to work like that and it doesn't have to if the left would pull its fingers out of it's ears and fix the oligarchs magic messaging machine and constituency maker. and quit whining about how super obama didn't clean house.

      you might be able to say you got obama's back but collectively dems/liberals/progressives have failed miserably at it.

      Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

      by certainot on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:01:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  tipped and rec'd (8+ / 0-)

    for a thoughtful diary.

    You're watching Fox News. OH MY GOD--LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU

    by rexymeteorite on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:11:00 AM PST

  •  excellent diary hannah (11+ / 0-)
    Thank you.  AND a thought provoking discussion that follows, minus the usual fall into name calling and other useless means of expressing thoughts and ideas.  Thank you to all.

    Often, truth is strange and deceptive; it has to be struggled for, against the flow of the everyday. Ian McEwan, Atonement

    by jaebone on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:15:00 AM PST

  •  Is America a great country? Yes! (5+ / 0-)

    Is it the Greatest Country in World History?

    That is a question which only God can answer. If we as Americans affirmed the statement, it would be hubris, also known as the sin of pride.

    For relevant sci-fi and fantasy, go to

    by Kimball Cross on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:29:19 AM PST

  •  The cult of easy (11+ / 0-)

    We want to lose weight without changing our eating and exercise habits.

    We want to pay less for gas without giving up our gas-guzzling SUVs or driving less.

    We want to have all of our needs met, without sacrificing anything.  We want to have all our needs met without considering the needs of anyone else.

    We revel in junk tv.  Bad behavior is entertaining.  

    If "they" do something wrong, it's horrible and "they" should go to prison.  If one of "us" does the same thing, "we" had a good reason.

    If there's something we disapprove of, we bitch and moan but rarely take any effort to change things.

    Our society as a whole wants it easy.

    "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

    by Tracker on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:29:54 AM PST

  •  satan has a point there (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

    if memory fails me, there is actually a twig of the mideastern religious family that believes just that (satans essentialness in gods plan for the world). I have forgotten their name, only that they are persecuted by all the major tribes (christians, and muslims alike) for being too clever.

    the real wonder isnt what the religions say but that people are able to think all that up.

    Ici s´arrète la loi.

    by marsanges on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:32:45 AM PST

  •  Stunning. (6+ / 0-)

    Stunningly well written. Stunningly insightful.'ve managed to articulate some very deep truths, things this country needs to address before any "progress" can be made.

    People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered: forgive 'em anyway. --anonymous

    by b4uknowit on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 05:40:39 AM PST

  •  This makes a thought I often have... (9+ / 0-)

    come to mind.

    I live among people who seem to think that if you try enjoy your life you're not working hard enough. I think it's a regional / religious thing, characteristic to this area but sometimes it's a little more than annoying.

    In many countries living one's life to the fullest means seeking to enjoy it, in this country not so much.

  •  I think WW II plays a significant part. (9+ / 0-)

    There, we had a generation of ordinary citizens as well as non-citizens who were called to endure incredible sacrifices in the cause of defeating a great evil, and they rose to the task (e.g., my mom once had a boyfriend who went to war in those times and did not return). Afterward, the shared sacrifice (not shared by all, of course), was mythologized and remains a powerful cultural theme to be used or misused by those who understand its potential.

    •  It was the bankers who met at Britton Woods (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

      who purposefully set out to abuse all the rest.  Their machinations were so bad that no one would have believed it then.  And then, of course, there was the big problem of everything being kept so secret.

      I am very clear that the Matt Damon character who says as a CIA big wig, we own the country the rest of you just live there.  Is where it is at.  Since they own it, they can do what they damn well please with it.  And they own it because they know best or at least more than the rest of you because that is how they keep control.

      Since there is no such thing as CT, I just consider it all extraordinary coincidence.

      •  Bretton Woods (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

        was, in general, a benign organizational outline. The IMF was created to prevent currency speculation which had been one of the economic forces causing the War, and the World Bank was supposed to be a vehicle for using the wealth of the developed world to help the third world emerge into the general prosperity. Among the features of Bretton Woods was the Marshall Plan, which provided the capital for rebuilding Europe and the several Asian rebuilding programs. The agreement was based on the value of the dollar which was fixed in gold. It worked relatively well and was generally beneficial until 1973 when Nixon floated the dollar and destroyed it. The organizations continued to exist but their purposes were twisted into their current neo liberal bent.

        Your history has a number of serious flaws. Start with Keynes "The Economic Consequences of the Peace".  

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:30:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I believe it was Bretton Woods. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

        I could be mistaken, tho (not enuf caffiene, yet) :) .

    •  Paul Fussell has a great deal to say (3+ / 0-)

      about the normalization of marketing propaganda in his brilliant analysis "Wartime," to defeat the Nazis and Japanese Imperialism.

      Unfortunately, it worked so well that it was irresistable to the Money Power. Since 1945, the power of obfuscation has been used to enrich themselves at our expense and the planet's expense.

      We have yet to find the antidote, but either we do, or the game is up, and we lose.  

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:58:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm expecting the catfood commission (0+ / 0-)

      is going to be telling us more about "shared sacrifice."

      "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

      by CKendall on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:53:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The quote from Gov. Chris Christie (8+ / 0-)

    is not dissimilar to what Glenn Beck has been preaching lately:  When "the change" comes, there is going to be pain, and everyone must be made to expect it . . .

    What I believe Christie and Beck and the rest of the RW meme-pushers is talking about is the complete subjugation of what remains of the American middle class after the right "takes back the country" -- dog whistle rhetoric for a RW coup d'etat that has been in the works for decades, actually -- or, to look at it from another perspective, a reinstatement of the RW coup of 2000, when the Supremes handed the government over to the Cheney/Bush regime.

    Is it supposed to be a secret, or something, that the GOP/Tbaggers support dismantling our manufacturing base, outsourcing jobs to low-bid wage labor pools, continued crumbling infrastructures, gutting public education, taxpayer subsidized corporate welfare, and obscene wealth extraction from the country?

    The propaganda is clear -- if you think it's bad now, it will get worse, and the subliminal message is: Surrender to the inevitable . . . only those on the right can save you!

    Just like the Nazis did.  And it worked, too.

    •  We're also trained to believe that "hard work" is (6+ / 0-)

      an essentially American characteristic that verges on divine sacrifice.  It is this mentality--encouraged in the average person as a point of nationalistic pride by the plutocratic right's culture-war infrastructure--that is fertilizer for such lies as the necessity of sending our troops to fight in unnecessary wars in order to fight for our freedom, the necessity of working harder for les money, the requirement to give up social safety nets, the need for us to repeatedly sacrifice in total ignorance of how the powerful are not sacrificing at all but growing richer at our expense.

      The Right upholds the image of the worker and the soldier, as it eats the actual workers and soldiers.

      Dude, where's my pitchfork?

      I'm all in favor of the rich going Galt. When they do, we gotta change the locks.

      by Leftcandid on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:16:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When Repugs Like Christie Gets Kudos For (3+ / 0-)

    hurting the poor and the middle class it is time for good people in America to stand up and say WTF over.

  •  the Gnostic Creation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, Only Needs a Beat

    "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

    by theRoaringGirl on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:26:04 AM PST

  •  I'm not resistant to the evil done to me (0+ / 0-)

    Not in the slightest.  Was a time, yes, when there was nothing I could do about it, and nothing has ever been truly right or correct since.  I hobble and wobble along.

    Inwardly, anyway.  It's interesting, I wrote on this just a few days ago, about the evil inflicted upon Amanda Marcotte.  Had that happened locally the dogs of war would soon descend upon the sonzabitches.

    Another thing--I sorta have a posture and a face set, 6'1" 214 pounds 17% body fat.  I don't mean to be the badass in the slightest, that is not how I should walk the earth, yet I've noticed people don't mess with me, shit people try to pull on others is avoided in my vicinity.  Okay, whatever.

    That, too, was evolved into, where I came from did not initially create that physical presence.  Not a lot of fun, my time on this earth.

    [shrugs] I know better than to complain too much.  I still won't stand for an evil intrusion, I'm a place where it gets an instant vicious response.

    One can see how this psychology is not the best place of residence in the Democratic Party.  Ya well, we're stuck with each other.

    •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eigenlambda, Onomastic

      I could happily do amazingly evil (0+ / 5-)
      And damaging things to your obnoxious, dense, and stupidly provocative squirrel shitcan of a soul.

      I so hope you ever dare and are manifestly stupid to ever stand in front of me with that wa wa wa, Jesus your awful time on earth left would be forever scarred.

      So happy to do it.  So sick of the foul Obama lemmings who fucked us so bad.  God.

      by paradox on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:20:15 AM EST

      How's that attitude working for you?

      "L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." - Le Petit Prince

      by littlezen on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:52:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This started with the first settlements (9+ / 0-)

    You can pick any year of our history, and you will find examples of the same thing, our own evil glorified as good because supposedly the ones we harmed were worse than us and downright dangerous. Only the histories written by the victims put the stories in a more accurate perspective. Our 19th century Manifest Destiny was nothing more than genocide and theft. From day 1, we were on the cruel and unjust side of race relations. The good we have begrudgingly done as a nation has been forced on the country by activists like the abolitionists and suffragettes and by the victims themselves, through labor union and civil rights struggles, for example. I'm not sure what we are supposed to be so proud of.  On the other hand, the fault seems to be in our species, not just us, as history shows mankind playing out the same kind of scenario everywhere, over and over. Although there is also much good in the human race, the good tend not to fight for power, as the fights are always dirty, and when somebody with good intentions does achieve power, so often the good is corrupted. It's not a hopeful picture, but there's nothing different to do about it, other than staying on the truthful and just side and continuing to try to fight what's wrong. Although I started by saying it started with settlement, I think it goes back much farther and is part of our genetic makeup, as we can see in the apes who evolved from some common ancestor with us also engaging in power struggles, deceptions, and war.

    •  It's a battle between (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tam in CA, littlezen, Onomastic

      education and science on the one hand, and the 'limbic system' [the hypothalamus and amygdala] on the other.

      Lately, the limbic system is winning, and as resources become more limited and society becomes more hectic, the response of the limbic system will dominate, logic, morality and decency will decline further, until we finally destroy ourselves.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:02:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Craven corporate media changed how America thinks (6+ / 0-)

    The American people are no longer anchored in the here-and-now, reality-based existence that once defined post-Enlightenment Western culture.

    This is far more important than you can imagine. The greatest advantage Western European culture had over Asia, Africa and the aboriginal cultures of the Americas was not technology, physical strength or numbers. It was a cold, calculating, gimlet-eyed realism in sizing up the world and one's opponents. Cultures and kingdoms around the world were trapped by their mythic, delusional, religion-based thought process. Reading how millions of Aztecs were brought to their knees by fewer than 200 ruthless Spaniards, largely due to their suicidal adherence to cultural myths, is mind-boggling.

    That's exactly what's happening to America today. Our craven corporate media have crafted and enforced a delusional false narrative (Tax cuts create jobs! Global warming is a myth! Immigration is bad! Health care reform is socialism! Crime is increasing!) that is literally destroying our nation. It has obliterated America's capacity to deal with the crises confronting us.  

    •  you're both referring to (3+ / 0-)

      our right wing radio monopoly, now in the process of destroying the nation because it is ignored....


      Our craven corporate media have crafted and enforced a delusional false narrative (Tax cuts create jobs! Global warming is a myth! Immigration is bad! Health care reform is socialism! Crime is increasing!) that is literally destroying our nation.

      and hanna:

      If evil aims to get attention, then avoiding it won't keep it at bay.  Evil has to be stood up to and countered and that has to be accomplished by an outside agent.  It's actually what we organize government for.  Moreover, recognizing it ought not to be too hard, once we realize that evil is a show-off.  Abuse is only secret if good people close their eyes.

      Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

      by certainot on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:14:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Conquistadors' advantage was only temporary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poemworld, CKendall

      What really tipped the balance against the Aztecs was that Cortez talked all the neighboring tribes who hated the Aztecs - with good reason! - into uniting behind him to take them down. That and all the little Spanish germies that were a catastrophic Fifth Column ahead of him.

      The cultural myth thing only bought the Spanish enough time to get their other assets in gear.

      If it's
      Not your body
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      AND it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:20:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo (4+ / 0-)
    Evil has to be stood up to and countered and that has to be accomplished by an outside agent.


    Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will. --Frederick Douglass
  •  Rambling thoughts (5+ / 0-)

    Can't help but thinking that there is a tie in to the concept of individualism. It is only here as far as I know that individualism is considered a really good thing. Elsewhere we call it selfishness.

    While we were being taught about serving the common good you were being taught that you were the best, not by achievements but by something completely beyond your control - where you happened to land when you were born.

    Ultra capitalism (as opposed to healthy regulated capitalism) requires this cognitive dissonance in the havenots and an utter lack of critical thinking within the majority of the population.

    With this lack of critical thinking the inability to separate good and bad by a critical mass of the population is not only possible it is inevitable.

    I was having a discussion with someone the other day and for the life of me I couldn't get them to see the distinction between illegal and 'bad but legal' - they were convinced that if an act didn't break US law it was perfectly OK and not bad and therefore good. Ever wonder why the guilty bang on about the US being a nation of laws?  

    Just because they give you a seat at the table doesn't mean that they want to feed you.

    by stevej on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:51:46 AM PST

  •  Pain and difficulty (3+ / 0-)

    If the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is to be believed, there's a new standard of behavior afoot in the land, neatly encapsulated in his observation that:

       "The public is more willing to accept pain and difficulty, more than they have ever been before."

    Speaking as a resident and taxpayer of "his" state I think Christie has it wrong. People aren't accepting pain and difficulty for themselves. They are accepting it because they think it will be inflicted on others more "deserving" of it like teachers and other government workers. When the value of people's homes goes down because of poor school systems, or their house burns down because there are no paid firemen and the volunteers are all at work, maybe then they will not be so accepting of pain and suffering.

    Where are all the jobs, Boenher?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:08:10 AM PST

  •  Most people do not realize what is happening (8+ / 0-)

    to them.  The right wing has been working for more than a century to debase the language of public discourse.  They have stepped up those efforts in the last 30 years with the help of professional psychologists.  The language of economics in particular has been thoroughly corrupted.  Mason Gaffney's "The Corruption of Economics" is a thoroughly sourced read for how deliberate this effort was.  John D. Rockefeller was the ringleader but much help from other uber-rich.  The present day train wreck was intended by the uber-rich.

    Most people simply do not have the verbal tools and concepts to work through the evil being inflicted.  For example the entire public discussion about taxes is riddled with certain assumptions that are NEVER questioned.  Why are taxes structured they way they are?  Did you know that taxes on natural resource privileges are known by economists to not cause even the slightest economic loss?  The taxing of these resources actually makes the economy function MORE efficiently and the taxes CREATE jobs.  Taxes, properly place, are GOOD for the economy and, surprise, NECESSARY.  I bet you won't hear that from the bobble heads, then their job isn't to inform, but rather to confuse.  

    The income tax, properly structured, can accomplish some of these goods, but will also cause much "collateral damage".  A real progressive agenda must begin questioning these core structures in our economy.  And as long as Democrats talk within Republican terms we will be screwed.  Obama should not be talking about "tax cuts", or worse "tax relief".  He should be talking about reclaiming what rightfully belonged to the public in the first place.  

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:21:41 AM PST

  •  Someone here may remember a diary (4+ / 0-)

    written maybe two or three years ago in which author explained how the message is being controlled and how the Democrats don't have a clue. The piece was written by someone who works in the PR industry. I recall thinking it was a very accurate description of what the media and the professionals are up to. I have gone looking for it but can't find a link in my comments yet. Did find this though:

    I'm still looking. I don' think the author was a regular, BTW, but I could be wrong.

  •  It's good, because in order to stand up against (6+ / 0-)

    evil, you have to have the courage of your convictions. We don't see our politicians in D.C. doing that, and conclude they have no convictions whatsoever.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:25:07 AM PST

    •  Some are scared. Others are ignorant. (5+ / 0-)

      Not all are evil, but they serve to aid evil just the same.

      This is a sick world we live in, and I see politicians potentially as 'healers'.

      In that light, it's simply not sufficient to stop at 'First, do not harm', as patients will still die.

      Perhaps these politicians in leadership positions do have convictions; but their failure to stand for them condemns the patients under their care to painful and unnecessary death.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:45:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  tipped but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        littlezen, Onomastic

        this part truly bothers me

        I see politicians potentially as 'healers'.

        I understand what you are saying but I do have issues with looking to others to heal the things we can heal ourselves.

        Not to disrespect anyone or their beliefs but one of the reasons I reject a very large portion of the Christian meme is because, it places responsibility of human actions on others.

        Personally responsibility, is a must for personal growth imo.

        That doesn't mean we ignore those that are also responsible for a situation, or participated in creating a situation but it shouldn't absolve us of the role we played either. No matter how large or small of a role we played.

        I will Not give up, I will Not give in, I will Not quit!

        by JupiterIslandGirl on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:16:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's a blanket statement we need to be (5+ / 0-)

      careful about as it buys into the "government as evil" meme that Norquist/Reagan/etal have been pushing for over thirty years.

      We have politicians that run the gamut from uber right wing to socialist. McConnell and Sanders for example.

      It's simplistic to treat them as equal and it denies the cultural and economic differences of the regions they represent.

      If we're going to encourage change we need to support those politicans who actually do good work and get the message out about those who are not.

      Not just on blogs, but in our communities and states, as you well know.  

      If we want people to take back their ownership of government, then we have to show where it has made a positive difference, as well as pointing out where it has not.

      If people feel there is no hope, if the cards are all stacked against them, then they disengage.

      We can't afford anymore of that, especially now.

      "I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." Daniel Hillel

      by Onomastic on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:11:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  interesting points but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's good, because in order to stand up against
      evil, you have to have the courage of your convictions. We don't see our politicians in D.C. doing that, and conclude they have no convictions whatsoever.

      i think your statement, which btw i agree with, begs some important questions, which i would like to foreground. first, in order to stand up to evil, it would help to have a theory of evil. that way you can at least attempt to justify yourself when calling out something as evil. second, how does one arrive at "the courage of your convictions" in the first place? where do both the courage and the convictions worth it come from? maybe our politicians are just as lost as we are in a landscape littered with competing agendas, individuals and institutions. "how do you know?" is at least as good a question as "what should we do?" what is action without thought? thoughtless

      with regard to my first point, my theory of evil is simply the absence of value. this is both in the pure form of the vacuum of value, pure evil, that self-justifying intrinsic contradiction that exists as contrast to both truth and good; but also in the form of the destruction of value, recognizing as it does that value, unlike mass-energy, is not conserved. that is, it can be created and it can be destroyed. thus, one can now thoughtfully characterize what one means by "evil."

      with regard to my second point, well, i guess that's the real point, now isn't it? i think this is what everyone is arguing about, courageous convictions. what are those convictions? i've not really seen hide nor hair of them, except for those actually functioning effective convictions of profit, power and domination. those are inarguably present and accounted for. funny enough, it seems to me that the two sides, left and right, have unknowingly taken the two sides in the "fact-value" debate. the right has values but no facts and the left has facts but no values (at least none that they've been able operationalize and institutionalize and own). and nothing is going to change until we recognize that we're being provoked and manipulated into going for each others throats. now, there's a real evil to stand up to imo.

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:34:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Simply excellent! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CKendall, Only Needs a Beat

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:25:31 AM PST

  •  The real virtues..... (3+ / 0-)

    .....are the achievements of civilization. These are laws which enshrine the following principles:


    These principles have been distilled from thousands of years of collective empathy. The concept of "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a recognition that doing unto others is doing unto ourselves. It is practical and applied empathy.

    It is no coincidence, that our political adversaries have loudly and proudly repudiated this very foundation of civilization, while they drive plunged deeper and deeper into savage barbarism.

    This space had been for rent. But it's now the subject of an illegal foreclosure.

    by xynz on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:28:23 AM PST

    •  Many in this country [and in EU as well] (2+ / 0-)

      willingly reject those ideals, and embrace evil. The election of various politicians who espouse ignorance, hate and evil in democratic systems reveals something about the nature of the human society we live in.  

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:38:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nicely written. (4+ / 0-)

    Reading through this, I couldn't help think those that fit within this framework have reached a state of enlightenment, as taught by Gautama Buddha.

    Life is suffering.
    Suffering is caused by craving and desire.
    Ending desire will end suffering.

    And still it seems they are a long way from reaching enlightenment.

    ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

    by Seldom Seen on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:29:33 AM PST

    •  Westerners will never reach that level (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat

      of asceticism: it would be nice if most Westerners were not so willing to throw a thousand years of the better part of Common Law, education, logic, culture and science under the bus.

      It would be nice to see Westerners just being fair and reasonable people, rather than acting like savages.

      But advertising and mass media has convinced people to reject civilization en masse, and they are doing just that.

      In the process, we're at times electing disgusting, ignorant, and repellent creatures to lead our countries and run our governments here in the US and EU, we're discarding precepts of basic morality faster than a prom dress after the prom.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:55:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i like buddha but... (0+ / 0-)

      Life is suffering.
      Suffering is caused by craving and desire.
      Ending desire will end suffering.

      life is not only suffering. and what, pray tell, causes craving and desire? this is a thoughtful and thought-provoking formulation, as always. but it's only a part of human values systems worldwide and should be placed in that deeper and broader context. humanity has been struggling with itself for millenia and has made much progress but is not free yet. we should keep working on it. for me, the beginning is a notion of integrity and the end is civilization and in between is mostly love and freedom. good luck to us all...

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:58:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is truly amazing, seeing how (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Only Needs a Beat

    the supposed Christian-Judeo ethics of Europeans in a free and democratic society has been twisted into what can only be called evil.

    Under dictators, one expects this perversion of morality, it comes with the territory.

    To be clear about this shift towards what I must and will evil, it's not just in the USA. The rise of right wing demagoguery in many countries in Western Europe is just as, if even not more shocking, given the 'lessons' they suffered first hand in the 20th Century.

    The rise of this phenomenon, what I see as a vibrant and active embrace of evil and ignorance by significant segments of populations in countries that have traditions rooted in the Enlightenment and of Western Civilization generally is relatively new.

    Those lessons of the 20th Century?
    Already forgotten.

    Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

    by shpilk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:48:07 AM PST

  •  You lost me at... (0+ / 0-)

    ... the first sentence of your first below the fold paragraph.

    Sorry, I don't read diaries that wrap up all the darkness that makes up a portion of human nature and blames it all on one group.

    The inadequate is the enemy of the necessary.

    by JRandomPoster on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:09:28 AM PST

    •  It's about the hypocrisy and banality (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, JupiterIslandGirl

      of that one group, the one that is supposedly the recipient of 'God's blessing'.

      The one that was shown the face of evil and failed to learn from the experience.

      I'd say it's a pretty good indictment of the failure of what most people call 'Western civilization', in context.

      'Western civilization' is dominant is our world here in the US, and remains as the dominant force on the planet, as well. The concepts of free will, democracy, logic, science and ethics are not unique to the West, but this version of it is. It has been forced upon the rest of the world, for the most part.

      Absolute failure of 'Western civilization' was dangled in front of us as recently as 70-80 years ago, and yet we as a group have apparently learned little from it. We seem to be on the verge of repeating the same banality of evil again, a handful of generations later in a different guise.

      It's quite appropriate to indict the one 'group', in my opinion and ask why and how this has happened.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:36:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Business is the new Religion (4+ / 0-)

    Corporations are the new god.

    Is it just the inevitable consequence of having to locate responsibility somewhere else once "being saved" removed it from the subject or is the effective negation of responsibility intentional?

    Perhaps there's a clue in here why the corporate oligarchy is able to co-opt people against there own best interests.

    Nice diary Hannah.

    Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. - r. bach

    by poliwrangler on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:01:10 AM PST

  •  An amazing, throught provoking, badly (6+ / 0-)

    needed diary and conversation.

    I hope the conversation and throughtfulness continues.

    It's vitally important.

    My deepest thanks to you and to so many of the commenters.

    "I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." Daniel Hillel

    by Onomastic on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:13:34 AM PST

  •  I wouldn't be so certain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that we organize governments to keep evil at bay.  It certainly hasn't been the performance of government throughout human history.  The balance sheet between governments keeping evil at bay and governments as a means of carrying out evil would be interesting to review, and I strongly suspect that overall would fall on the negative side of the ledger.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:24:11 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, CKendall

    You made me think on a Sunday, dammit! Tippd & reccd.

    I am no longer a Democrat. Deal with it.

    by Jazzenterprises on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:40:00 AM PST

  •  Thank you for your diary, hannah. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubyr, Sybil Liberty, 4Freedom

    This is Daily Kos at its best!  Hotlisted.

    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

    by CKendall on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:50:40 AM PST

  •  Two words: Rich selfishness. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was thinking about this ever since I watched the heartbreaking first segment of Countdown on Friday, wondering how in the Hell anyone could possibly call her/himself a "Christian" while condemning nearly 100 Americans to die. It's all based in rich selfishness.

    Now clearly there are some unselfish rich people. IIRC someone was reporting yesterday that a group of about forty millionaires wrote a letter to the President, asking him to raise their taxes. Bobby Kennedy Jr., whatever his other faults may be, clearly is an unselfish rich person.

    But the Selfish are in charge of our country, and they drive all the narratives, including the religious ones. They've redefined support by the government of the poor as universally bad. I've had the Selfish on a Christian site I used to visit argue that ending taxes to support the poor would help the poor (!) because then the rich would have more money to give to them.

    Yeah. How'd that work out, those of you who lived before the social safety net remnants we have today? It didn't, did it?

    So the Selfish have redefined good as evil, mocking those of us in the general population and in specific who have empathy and compassion for our neighbors, and arguing that our real agenda is to intern them and murder the Selfish.

    The Selfish don't care, and they've deluded enough people into going along with them that I seriously fear for our country. At a time when we're supposedly a majority Christian country...we can't get an extension of unemployment benefits for Christmas for our poor?! Really?

    Merry Christmas, Selfish. Jesus must be so proud of you.

    On Sara Palin: "That an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 11:07:49 AM PST

  •  156 comments and not one person: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ~~ called another person a liar

    ~~ questioned another's honor and/or integrity

    ~~ accused others of highjacking a thread

    ~~ questioned other's intelligence

    ~~ used foul language (which I am certainly guilty of)

    ~~ failed to proceed with respect (despite their POV)

                    It. Can. Be. Done.

    Thank you, Hannah.  

    "Mysteries Like This And Many Others~~ In The Trees Blow In The Night~~ In The Southern Skies" Allen Toussaint

    by rubyr on Mon Nov 22, 2010 at 09:32:32 AM PST

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