Much of the angst many people are feeling is the result of experiencing and witnessing the decline of democracy on the one hand, while being exposed to an overwhelming level of false narratives propagated by the ruling elite, on the other.
The results of the inconsistency between what's really happening, and the false narratives we are being exposed to is cognitive dissonance. People become psychologically distressed.
Think of it as an assault on our cognition with the use of very powerful psychological weapons. As a result, our understanding of the world around us has been severely distorted.
You hear talk about markets, about competition, about automation, about supply and demand... The problem with all of it is that it is being presented using the language and narrative that benefits the ruling elite. And the reason for that is because they create the narrative and use very powerful psychological weapons to spread those self-serving narratives.
The bottom line in this system of crony capitalism is that the ruling elite wants to extract or squeeze the maximum amount of profits from both, human and natural resources. The whole thing is actually very simple... Your labor generates value; the crony capitalists want to retain the maximum amount of value (or profit) you generate by letting you keep the minimum amount possible. That's when you get to subsistence wages (the lowest wage upon which a worker and his family can survive).
Knowing that these are the dynamics in play, an informed citizenry would then protect itself from this type of exploitation. That's where regulations come into play. For example, if there was a law (or constitutional amendment) requiring that all employees in the U.S. are to be part of a union, the problem of income inequality would be solved overnight...
Want to close a factory here and open one in China in order to pay slave wages and then bring those products back to the U.S.? Fine, we set a tax/tariff that makes that product 200 percent more expensive that similar products manufactured in-country.
Everything is rigged. Corporations keep trillions of dollars overseas so they don't have to pay taxes; income for the wealthiest people is taxed at ridiculously lower rates.
I'm not going to list all the abuses we are being subjected to since I think most people are aware of them by now.
Suffice it to say that economic insecurity, poverty, and ignorance are manufactured by the ruling elite (that's one thing they manufacture in the U.S.) in order to control, subjugate, and exploit the population.
Almost everything we "know" about how things are supposed to work is a lie. If we had an informed and alert citizenry we could pass anti-predatory laws and regulations against media conglomeration (which is used as a propaganda machine), against outsourcing jobs to other countries, against genetically-modified organisms that are beginning to wreck havoc in our ecosystem; we could tax incomes above a certain level at 80 or 90 percent rates (like we did a few decades ago). We could dismantle the military industrial complex, stop the NSA from illegally spying on citizens on behalf of corporations, reform the entire political system in order to remove the influence of money (by a few wealthy donors), have a universal single-payer health care system, and reverse all kinds of oppressive laws and regulations that have been imposed on the citizenry during the last several years.
Some ask, "In addition to pointing out the thousand and one ways the system has become predatory, what can we actually do in order to turn things around?" The answer to that is surprisingly simple...
It starts with you. First come to a full realization about the true nature of the system: captured by monied interests; predatory and exploitative. Second, accept the fact that the overall effect of corporate media conglomeration is the massive spread of lies, half-truths, false narratives, and propaganda more powerful and effective than anything seen in history. Third, short-circuit the effects of the propaganda by connecting with other people who have come to understand the true nature of the system...
This is very important because once you wake up and realize what's really going on, it is very likely that most people around you will remain subjected to the influence of the corporate state propaganda. In some cases that may include your family members, your co-workers, neighbors, friends, associates.
This is where the distress or cognitive dissonance could affect you as you look around and increasingly notice things that are patently absurd, but are somehow accepted by those around you as normal.
If you try to talk about those things on your own, at work, at home, or with friends (who have not come to understand the true nature of the system yet) you are going to feel like the oddball, and that could take a toll on you.
But if you make an effort to seek out others who understand what's going on, and connect with them, then you build confidence in your understanding of the situation, together you can work on reaching out to the population at large.
In fact, that's one of the main functions of an activist: to help bust the myths that have been propagated by the ruling elite, in the eyes of the public. As you do that, together, in unity and solidarity with other activists, then the movement grows until it gains the sufficient strength needed to help bring about democracy and a just society.
A lot of this is already happening around the country and the world... We just need to join in the effort.
So remember, the answer to "what can I do" is to fully participate in the political process, even if we understand that it is highly compromised by bribery and influence-peddling corruption; there are still some marginal benefits we can get from it. Seek out others who have become fully aware of the true nature of the system, and join the fast-spreading social justice movement. And very importantly, hit the streets in protest and opposition to the corporate state hegemony. Nothing builds a movement faster than people of good will meeting face to face in the public square rising in opposition to oppression and corruption...
Other things we can do include boycotts of companies pushing for oppressive and exploitative policies, support small independent local businesses, and embrace collectivism in a number of areas, including food, housing, and business (i.e., employee-owned/run businesses).
The bottom line is that once you become "aware" you can take a thousand actions, big and small, that if done with purpose, could all be considered "revolutionary" actions, with the goal of defunding and undermining the corporate state.
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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues. Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people. They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies. A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption." Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll. Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]