Thought-Provoking Words

Until just a couple of weeks ago, I had not, that I can recall, heard of Umair Haque.  Then, our friend David sent me a piece by him that I found to be thoughtful and thought-provoking, so I did a bit of research on the man.  Umair is a London-based consultant, and author of at least three books1.  I read several articles by him, in addition to the one David sent, until Medium, where he publishes, told me I had reached my limit of free articles.  While I do not necessarily agree with all he says … after much pondering, I mostly agree.  I have highlighted in red the parts that really made me sit up and take note.  Please read the following and give it some thought.  I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.


Umair-Haque

Umair Haque

Here’s a tiny observation. Forgive me. You might not like it.

I’ve seen many countries collapse. Pakistan. Afghanistan. The Soviet Union. Turkey. Iran. Sri Lanka. Egypt. Some, first-hand. Some from afar, through the eyes of friends and colleagues.

But I’ve never seen a country collapse as fast, as severely, and as hard as America is.

America’s collapsing at an unprecedented rate. Light-speed. Terminal velocity. Turbo-charged implosion. I don’t think a country has collapsed as fast as America — maybe not in all of history. Especially not a rich and powerful one. Rome took centuries. The Soviet Union’s took decades, and it’s still rolling on. Maybe only small countries which had never really built strong institutions, barely-democracies, have I seen crash this fast, hard, and badly — but that’s the point. American collapse is something unique in modern history.

Of course, that’s a subjective judgment — we don’t have an objective speedometer for the collapse of societies. But that is what this essay will be about. To show you, a little bit, what leads me to the idea that America’s crashing and burning at light speed. I want to take a moment to share what I see, by pinning down precisely what I mean by collapse.

First, of course, there is political collapse. From democracy to autocracy, kleptocracy, and authoritarianism. America’s political institutions simply don’t function anymore. It’s [sic] democracy doesn’t represent the 70% of people who want functioning healthcare, gun control, education, safety nets — but only the 25–30% of immovable extremists who apparently want to live in the Handmaid’s Tale meets 1984 by way of Mein Kampf. Its rule of law has devolved to mass trials and mass disappearances and mothers being separated from their kids at the border. It’s critical systems of governance are so broken that 5000 people died from negligence after…a storm.

The American polity doesn’t resemble the French or German one — in fact, it looks very much like the Pakistani polity, the Saudi, or maybe the Soviet polity. It is completely and utterly dysfunctional, to a degree that is unimaginable among its rich peers. And all that took perhaps a decade or two.

Then there is cultural collapse — from a culture of thought, reason, and accomplishment, to one of superstition, violence, and extremism . Kids shoot one another in schools regularly. People die for a lack of basic medicines like insulin — and the average American appears not to know that insulin doesn’t cost $1000 a month, but pennies, even in the world’s poorest countries. Why is that? It is because the are misinformed and kept ignorant by a media that feeds them a diet of Ancient Aliens and Paranormal Files. Hence, what should be a functioning culture is now rife with dark age style superstition.

Vaccinate my kids? No way! Never mind that humanity only eradicated smallpox in 1977. But vaccination is the least of America’s descent into superstition: then there is conspiracy theory, “truth” movements, a kind of hypocritical religious fundamentalism that’s quite happy to let kids shoot each other, bigotry, supremacism. And among the professional classes who look down on that, there is a culture of overwork and abuse and greed and cruelty — followed by lowest-common-denominator consumerism as a salve for the wounds of its emptiness. All these things rising are a function of a culture that fails to educate, inform, connect, or bond people together anymore.

A culture’s role is to help people makes sense of the world, as Marcel Mauss once argued — but American culture appears only to drive people into a kind of madness, either a frenzy of violence, a paralytic resignation, or a blind rage of fear and ignorance now. How fast did that happen? Well, it didn’t seem to do that so much even a decade ago, did it?

Then there is social collapse — from a modern society of broad-based prosperity, to something more like a dystopian caste society, where each stratum bitterly resents the next, and tries to pull it down, no one lifting anyone else up. The structure of American society is not that of a healthy society any longer. A once prosperous middle class has imploded into a new poor — while a tiny number of rich grew ultra rich. American society now resembles something more like Latin America in its darker times, Egypt, or Pakistan, perhaps. But even that understates the issue, because in America, trust imploded. People don’t trust institutions. They don’t trust society. They don’t trust their neighbours. Social bonds have completely imploded — predatory capitalism’s dream of a disintegrated society of atomized human commodities has finally come true.

As a result, of social bonds imploding, norms and rules no longer appear to work at all in America. Kids shooting each other? Ah, that’s terrible — but what can you do? Shrug. Every day brings a fresh scandal — this TV star is a supremacist, that celebrity is a bigot, that politician is a wife-beater ,and so on. How far have norms of decency shattered? There is an open pedophile and rapist running for public office.2 I don’t think that has happened anywhere in the modern world, ever, so far as I know. Not even in Pakistan, Iran, or Rwanda. And it would have been unimaginable even in the America of the 2000s.

Then there is economic collapse — from modernity’s rising living standards to a new kind of poverty. America has pioneered a new kind of impoverishment — precarity, living at the knife’s edge, in constant anxiety and panic and trauma. The average person has less than $500 in emergency savings. His or her income has been stagnant for decades — and even that economic “number” vastly understates the issue, because while their parents had jobs with benefits, pensions, retirements, protections, they have none of those things. Meanwhile, the price of the basics of life — healthcare, education, finance, food, housing — has exploded, skyrocketed, gone supernova.

How much? So much so that just the hospital bill for having a child costs half of median income. Who can afford to live a decent life in a society like that? Not even in Pakistan, Iran, or Afghanistan does having a child cost so much. Not even in severely broken countries do relatively well off people face so constantly the plight of living every day right at the razor’s edge — there, they have, at least, informal safety nets, family support systems, communities to shield them, and public goods to protect them. But Americans have none of these — because predatory capitalism has reduced them to prey.

For all these reasons, the average American has no optimism left in the future. He doesn’t believe that his children will live a better life. He is right, sadly. And that is because America is now collapsing at terminal velocity — faster than any society in history, as far as I can tell.

And I think that while Americans have a sense things are breaking down around them, they don’t really understand — because they aren’t often told — that a) this is the real thing, genuine collapse b) it is happening not slower or better than elsewhere, but in fact far faster, worse and harder, and c) because it is happening so fast, there is added to the constant stress of predatory capitalism, the heart-stopping turmoil of all these kinds of collapse, political, cultural, social, and economic.

Terminal velocity. So what happens when a society hits the ground? Usually, like anything, it shatters, breaks, and explodes.

Umair
June 2018

Text dividers

1 The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business (2011); Betterness: Economics for Humans (2011); Why Are Europeans (So Much) Happier Than Americans? (2019)

2 The pedophile and rapist running for office was Nathan Larson, who in 2018 was running for election to Congress from the 10th congressional district of Virginia, an election he lost by a landslide.  Larson served 14 months in prison for the felony of threatening President George W. Bush’s life.

109 thoughts on “Thought-Provoking Words

  1. Meaning no offense:

    You said “our government is currently owned by the wealthy, and unless we change that …” then all you have to do in the paradigm democracy is simply vote the buggers out, no? Simple, and easy-peasy too.

    Sheesh—!

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  2. I hope by quoting you I may have brought you some more customers. (My own blog is a desert for discussion—I just wasn’t aware I had halitosis?_

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  3. Pingback: ANYONE OBJECT? – CASSANDRIC

  4. There’s no simple answer, but I have the simple answer—
    —teach folks how to think.

    Not easy. Most folks I know don’t even want to think. Slogans beat thinking any day, and when slogans fail a bullet too can be quite convincing. And so, as much as it pains me to say it: the beat goes on. And on. And on …

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have just hit the nail squarely on the head! If I could give one reason that people in this nation, the UK, and others are allowing authoritarians to take over their government, it is because they do not think for themselves, but rather buy into whatever load of b.s. hey hear on television or see on social media. And, it’s certain to get only worse, since colleges and universities have all but stopped teaching young people to think for themselves, to question, to research.

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      • It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. The answer lies in (a) teaching your own young to think for themselves, and (b) self preservation on their part (which will mean keeping their heresies to themselves).

        If colleges etc are ‘going with the flow’ … why is that? (Simple survival economics—self preservation, of course. They’d be stupid to bite the hand …)

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        • Your points are valid … point (a) is easy, and I know I have done that, for my granddaughter who I homeschooled for 12 years is a deep thinker and much more astute than I! Point (b) may be more difficult, as the forces of nature put humans in their place.

          I think there is a concerted effort, especially now in the era of Trump and with Betsy DeVos heading up the Department of Education, to ‘dummy down’ our populace, making the highest level of education available only to the children of wealth, such that the rest of us are consigned to never hold positions of power in government or business. Brought to you by Citizens United, where wealth replaces the will of the people.

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          • Questions of wealth — in earlier times I was heavily influenced by the writings and philosophies of Ayn Rand. Thanks to her I am aware that there are two differing kinds of ‘Capitalism’. The one she described is and would be an ideal, the one that actually exists in Reality is an insulting parody.

            She has been described as a boring writer but I never found her so. Regarded as her magnum opus is “Atlas Shrugged” but her works have to be read carefully, slowly, and thoughtfully. (She was a Russian writing in English so seems a bit clumsy in places) (and don’t bother with those silly movie attempts to summarise her works).

            And if we could get some folks thinking for themselves, then what?

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  5. I’ve been an America watchdog all my life and living just across the border (and having pre Homeland security even travelled through the States) it wasn’t a difficult task. I’ve seen how, as my history teacher said, “when America sneezes, Canada catches cold.” I’ve seen our natural resources plundered by American corporations and our local businesses demolished by American corporate greed; the best of Canadian talent bought up and taken south. One helpless nation out of dozens conquered by “Americana” in whatever form of force it could use, the two most popular being money and military. So I added the score, year after year and watched the rot spreading when few could yet see it. “You reap what you sow” and America sowed with bloody, violent abandon as well as calculated intent world wide. That is what Umair Haque fails to mention, why America is collapsing so rapidly: it’s predatory reach was always global and in its greed and hubris bit off much more than it could chew, all propaganda aside. If one honestly adds up all the gross evils America is guilty of, such as slavery and genocide at “home”; the stealing of lands from natives and Mexico; the millions of deaths from attacks on nations such as Korea and Vietnam, Central and South America and the Middle East morass; overthrow of democracies and arming of violent dictatorships (currently Saudi Arabia and Israel), sanctions that added more to the toll of global death from cutting off food and medical supplies to the poorest countries… those things going on right now that Americans continue to live in denial of, well, there you have it. Surprise? Shock? Only because some few are waking up and seeing, not a beautiful “Beach Boys” type landscape but a smouldering garbage heap and they wonder how that happened while they were asleep.

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    • A new Rome, in fact. As in a new Roman Empire. The USA is just another empire, and if there’s one absolute for empires it can be summed up in three words “Inevitable total implosion”.

      Brave new worlds indeed …

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post and I believe he is spot on. I am passing this along to friends, not that it will do any good, as they think like us. The ones who don’t, wouldn’t believe it and would claim it’s fake etc.

    History repeats over and over and we never learn. Hate, wars, killing and revenge. We are on the downside swing and the next generations will see it hit bottom and then what? And this isn’t just the US and in some ways, I’m beginning to feel, it doesn’t matter who is elected, as it’s all corrupt and the conservative forces trump has unleashed, will be there long after he is gone.

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    • Thank you, Mary, and thank you for sharing it with your friends! As you say, we are ‘preaching to the choir’, or as my friend Hugh says, ‘spitting in the wind’, but … we keep trying in hopes that maybe that wind will carry the message to just one person who’s willing to listen. You’re quite right … it isn’t just the U.S., but they are feeling the pinch in the UK, Australia, Canada, and other EU nations. And, you are also right that even once Trump is gone, those who put him in office will remain. They actually came first … I’ve long said that Trump is only a symptom of a larger problem. And, the very real danger is that next time, they might find somebody to fill their agenda who actually has a degree of intelligence that Trump does not possess. That person would be even more dangerous in many ways, than Trump is. That said, my friend, please don’t stop hoping for and working toward a brighter future.

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  7. I began reading some of Umair’s pieces soon after I joined Medium at the beginning of 2019. I think he has a tendency to over-exaggerate and his solutions tend towards the extreme left politically. It’s worth taking a look at some of the discussions that take place in the comments on his Medium articles – he is/was very prolific there.
    For me the biggest worry is that the underdogs, the folk struggling to raise a family on minimum wages and insecure jobs, have bought into the Trumpian philosophy, so any hope of substantive change in the near future is illusory.
    Umair cites other nations that have collapsed in recent years. What he does not mention is what happens after the collapse, which is always far worse than what went before. Who wants to live in Iraq or Syria, Lybia or any of the places where anarchy reigns? And where anarchy has been defeated what replaces it is dictatorship: Putin’s Russia, Turkey’s Erdogan for example.
    The US and UK are by-passing the anarchy and moving straight to dictatorship. Democracy is dead.

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    • I would agree that he is a bit extreme in some of his writings, but at the core, I think he sees the world quite clearly … he just lacks the thing most of us rely on … hope that we can turn things around. It does seem that both of our countries are teetering on the brink of dictatorship … while the masses wear their rose-coloured glasses. Question for you … you say you joined Medium … do you find their content to be worth the $5 per month? I considered joining, for I was frustrated by being locked out, when there was more I wished to read, but as I already pay for unlimited access to The Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Guardian, I hesitate to spend any more. However, if you feel that overall it has value, I may give it a trial for a month or two.

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  8. Reblogged this on Scotties Toy Box and commented:
    Hello Jill. Thank you. This post is really a thought provoker. I hope you won’t mind my reblogging it as I think the more people who read it the better our US will be. Again thank you. Hugs

    To my Toy Box Viewers I want to highlight a couple passages that resonated with me.

    Its rule of law has devolved to mass trials and mass disappearances and mothers being separated from their kids at the border. It’s critical systems of governance are so broken that 5000 people died from negligence after…a storm.

    Then there is cultural collapse — from a culture of thought, reason, and accomplishment, to one of superstition, violence, and extremism . Kids shoot one another in schools regularly. People die for a lack of basic medicines like insulin — and the average American appears not to know that insulin doesn’t cost $1000 a month, but pennies, even in the world’s poorest countries. Why is that? It is because the are misinformed and kept ignorant by a media that feeds them a diet of Ancient Aliens and Paranormal Files. Hence, what should be a functioning culture is now rife with dark age style superstition.

    These are only two small quotes from a grand post. Please got to Jill’s blog and read the entire post. It is a scary read but damn well doings so. Best wishes and hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey, Scottie … let’s not knock all the Ancient Aliens. There are indeed questions in the real world that we can’t answer—so instead of invoking ‘gods’ and making a fortune, some folks invent ‘aliens’ and make a fortune … some others raise questions that can only be answered by invoking minds that existed outside of the mainstream; I’m with them … and to hell with silly gods and aliens, but the evidence is there that does demonstrate genuine anomalies.
      But how to explain those anomalies? Can’t be done in light of current knowledge—for myself I continue to discount both God, gods, and aliens.

      The current ‘best bet’ I run with is a civilisation of human beings (evolved from those same Darwinian monkeys) that was removed by a meteoric impact much as the dinosaurs were—quite some time ago.

      The whole notion is growing rapidly into a challenging threat to current ‘knowledge’ … and well it might. Some clever person might yet find a way to turn it into a religion and make an absolute fortune—timing is everything.

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    • SCOTTIE:

      it has been stated often enough that “you get the government you deserve”. It has the ring of truth, no? I very much admire the American Revolutionists and what they fought for, and achieved; and how they tried almost desperately to create a ‘just’ system that would last.

      They failed …

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  9. The sky is falling, but no one wants to admit it. An invisible tidal wave is heading towards North America, but will it be enough to put out all the wildfires already burning? Unfelt earthquakes are creating a fractious understructure that will crumble. Maybe you can stop it, maybe not. So why not look to creating a new future, being proactive instead of reactive. We, Americans, Canadians, maybe even Mexicans, have an opportunity to create something intentionally, instead of reactionary. Where are our visionaries when we need them?

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    • Actually, I am admitting that the sky is falling, but haven’t completely given up hope that we can repair the damage. Not completely. Mostly, I see gloom and doom as our future … a plutocratic oligarchy whereby 99.9% of us are reduced to proles or slaves, while the few smoke their stogies and drink their fine wine, eat their steaks and laugh at us. But … the forces of nature will make them pay for their perfidy before this century is out. While I’m a fighter, I’m afraid I’m not one of those visionaries you call for. I hope there are some out there, but … I’m not seeing them at this point. However, I shall keep fighting and seeking those visionaries!

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        • Your bracketed comment kind of took the wind out of my sails there, but regardless, since I’ll only be repeating myself to folks who won’t or can’t understand how this works, my solution is basic and foolproof. Within every Earthian, buried beneath the parts utterly controlled by Matrix programming, is an unused force called compassion. Sure, it’s mentioned and quite regularly confused with “love” which is an artificial concept designed to function within the programming, but it has seldom, if ever, truly been used. The compassionate being becomes the penultimate human being. Every aspect of predatory behaviour falls by the wayside when compassion rules. Compassionate people don’t need rulers and they don’t need laws because they are above such manipulative concepts. They are free beings; they know how to think their own thoughts; they know how to reason events; they are self disciplined, self empowered, detached – thus having no interest in gossip or fake news. They take responsibility for their place in the world and for how they interact with that world. They have no special relationships with anyone and fear neither life nor death. No one, and I don’t care the claims, can comprehend such a thing until they choose to make themselves into “the compassionate one” and live that way.
          In terms of collapse, America is the visible part of the civilization iceberg. All of it is collapsing, melting into an ocean of chaos through entropy. Nothing can stop this. No collective, no government, no economic or political system for any of those belong to the monster eating the planet. Only an individual can stand against the corruption and choose to not be a part of it, even if it means dying. So, the only solution is for every individual to choose to become self empowered through compassion. Nothing else will work because it’s all been tried and it has all failed. Simple conclusion. “My” solution has the advantage that it has NEVER BEEN TRIED because the programming mocks it and insists it could never work since you could never get everybody to do this. Only it’s not a DOING thing, it’s a BECOMING thing. Once that is understood, the rest becomes inevitable. Compassion is the one thing that has the power to destroy the Matrix and against which the System has absolutely no power.

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          • Hate to say it, S’T, but that is basically my vision, only I never looked at the compassion part of it. I guess I took it for granted, because once a person or other living being reaches a certain stage of consciousness, everything comes together naturally. And the reason I hate to say this, the last three years have emphasized that too many people have not risen above what they are given as children and young adults. It is easier to hate than to love. It is easier to be governed than to be free. It is easier to teach than to be open to learning.
            Aside from the word compassion, which as I say I took for granted, your comment used most of the same words I used. The only words you missed were respect, and spirituality in the way I use it. The words I never used, and still cannot, are Earthian, and Matrix programming. Those to me are just more boxes in a series of boxes that contain most human beings.
            So, once again we are more similar than dissimilar. We use different vocabularies to mean the same thing. But, you cannot teach a person to be compassionate, and I cannot teach anyone to be spiritual. These things must come naturally to people, learned from inside them, not told by insiders. And right now, while some people are learning them, there are too many opposing them. I once thought my vision could be accomplished within hundreds of years, but now I am forced to see they will take thousands–if they ever come into being.
            You and I are visionaries, S’T, but we cannot force people to change. We can only hope they will. And that is no longer a sure thing…

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            • The most important IMO, is to pass on what we learn, not so much as teachers, but in sharing (which blogging is perfectly designed for). So I learned that self empowerment is a good thing while System- teaching denigrates it because of the great danger it poses to the establishment. But I also learned that S/E needs a focused vision which I call purpose. I chose compassion because it is incorruptible but also because every Earthian has it as part of the spiritual/mental makeup. I used to think of it as a “higher” sense but now I realize it is a force, much like the Force in Star Wars except that it isn’t binary: it does not have a dark side. It’s what gave rise to our ideas of incorruptible super heroes, of angels and saints. I always desired to be one of those and used to think it was a rather exclusive kind of status. Now I know that anyone, absolutely anyone of us can be a hero, a saint, an angel; this it is our legacy to be one. I also know it is going to happen but we have to go through a harsh cleansing first; we have to survive the crucible that is going to destroy all the works of man in order to kill the pride that underwrites his civilization. “…and there will be a new heaven and a new earth and the old will not be remembered…”

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              • Yeah! I was once there, but lately life has dragged me down. When people say Merry Xmas to obvious non-xtians (women in burquas) they say it with meanness, not in joy. That was a real low for me when I first heard that, the person who said it is usually a nice person. I cried.
                The possibility for compassion may exist in everyone, but that doesn’t mean they will ever let it out of the cage it is in.
                I used to believe everyone would evolve spiritually, and that was the purpose of reincarnation. I know it worked for me. But more and more people are devolving, and that isn’t working for life.

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                • I think we’ve entered the time of the great split, where everyone is forced to make a choice. For or against, in or out, all or nothing, fence sitting no longer possible.
                  Mt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
                  Mt. 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

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                  • And that fills me with a sadness and pain that are right now paralysing me.
                    What is the use of going on when so many people want to stay right where they are? Or go backwards. It is not that the gate is narrow, the gate is at least open. Any can walk through it. But there is fear.
                    There is no reason for fear…

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                    • A physical-centered, material based person has much to fear when it sees so much being lost all around. Material (body) people desperately want to hang on to the little they have left of peace, of comfort, of security and material possessions. For that they will plunge into violence and barbarity, it’s the way of the world. Self sacrifice, always required to make any place better, is part of the walk through the narrow gate, not a popular concept on planet Earth. Only spiritual people with their innate awareness of continuity beyond the body are immune to the endemic fear that makes man’s civilization dysfunctionally function.

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          • Sha—

            Compassion is nice but it won’t work. However, what always works is (SFX: drumroll, please)self interest.

            No more, no less. So invoke that—show folks how their own lives will be vastly enriched. (Compassion is sweet but it don’t pay their rent …)

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            • Hello Argus,if you think about it long and hard you will come to realize,as I have that being compassionate is practising the ultimate self interest. It’s the only good thing one can be guaranteed never to turn around and bite you in the ass. One can only prove this by doing it.

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          • Sha—
            Compassion is nice. Compassion is sweet. Compassion is good—but it don’t pay the rent. Try instead invoking the one Absolute called Thought. Not just any thought, but Reality-based thought. Ouch.

            The only thing that can beat that is a bigger gun. Sadly it’s Hee Hoo time again:

            “Hee Hoo has the most biggest guns rules.”

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            • I would have to disagree with that, Argus. Violence is not the answer, guns are not the answer. Compassion, caring about others and working toward making the world a little better is, I think, what makes life worth living.

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              • Sadly there’s a difference between wishful thinking and Reality. If I come across as lacking compassion, please put me in the ‘crying clown’ bucket.

                But compassion works when driven home by Reality. (For some—how many obscenely wealthy religions are there, especially in the most poverty struck environments?)

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                • Not being a believer, I don’t equate religion, most especially ‘Christianity’, with either compassion or reality. In fact, it seems to me that religion is the root cause of most of the troubles in the world. Now, about reality … reality can be changed if people work to change it. You mentioned guns … sure, in the U.S. they are a reality, one that I despise. If enough people voted out those who have an A+ NRA rating, if enough people demanded a ban on assault weapons, laws for competency testing, expanded background checks, eventually it would happen and the reality would have been changed. The same can be said for any issue … healthcare, the environment, drug pricing, etc.

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            • Argus, compassion is NOT nice, sweet, or good (in the sense you imply), you’re thinking lovey dovey BS. Think instead the Force of Star Wars without a a dark side. Think self empowerment and constant self discipline because that is what it makes you want to be. Being compassionate is in the end all about me because I no longer want to be enslaved to either my body or the Matrix. I made a mistake in my previous comment: compassion isn’t doing, it’s both a state of mind and of chosen beingness.

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              • Without looming it up, I break ‘compassion’ down into two roots: ‘com’ meaning with, and ‘passion’ being intense feeling. So compassion means having strong feelings for (identification with?) the subject of your emotional responses.

                (I would have made a grrrreat religious nutcase, I tell you — except I actually do what I preach.) (Some of our best friends of long standing are very Christianly religious people—but they walk the talk without talking about it. They ‘do’ Christianity, in fact. And here’s the odd one: he’s a Baptist, she’s a Catholic. Two competing fundamentalisms actually in harmony, we don’t often see that in this world. They help out at each other’s church, too … weird.

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          • I got as far as ‘compassion’. And lost my train of thought which was overtaken by tumbling questions … is this why we are being compelled by laws to “love each other” regardless?

            I refuse to abandon my own judgement. And if anyone wants to judge me, go for it with my blessing. Go get’em, Tiger!!!

            I shall not (r) NOT ‘love’ some berk just because he’s black, brown, green, yellow.
            I shall not love some bloody religionist who bites the heads off live mice, snakes, critters.
            I shall NOT love someone whose values are tototally different from mine and bloody well unacceptable anyway.

            I need some clever ‘lover’ to sit me on her knee and explain gently why I should surrender MY values, tastes, choices and judgement for those of some other fakir—simply because he/she/it (say that fast and you get shit … weird, that) is different.
            Bugger, I feel another post coming on …

            (Incidentally, the word ‘bugger’ is simply a very mild semi-humorous expletive in English English.)

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            • Sorry Argus, you fell head first in the semantic trap, i.e., programming. Who said anything about love? From my observation love is diametrically opposed to compassion. Work it out. Compassion is a powerful force which an individual trained in the concept may use to change reality. Love is a silly counterfeit which any observer like yourself has figured out and knows not to fall for. “Love your enemy”? That’s biblical propaganda – you can stand at a pulpit and preach love of enemies while fully supportive of drones sent to annihilate him, her and her children and “love” is quite comfortable with the contradiction. Love is demanding, needy, exceptional, hypocritical, always reciprocal, hence why it is a favourite of organized religion. Have you ever studied the real characteristics of Religion’s “loving” God? A misogynist psychopath just like all those in positions of power who, given the opportunity proclaim their love of their fellow man and their nation.
              Compassion, well, I’ve done some ‘splaining’ of it on my blog. If time permits for you, have a gander, see what you think. (PS: something that may trigger your interest: a truly compassionate being does not vote and for very good reasons.)

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  10. Sadly I can’t argue with it. That’s speaking about the UK. Its what I’ve been thinking for about 2 years now. But it’s deliberate destruction. Break the political system, corrupt society and it’s morality. Fracture the economy. This allows for the breakdown in democratic government so it can be replaced with one that works better for the elite few.

    What will the crash look like. Victorian Britain.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello bereavedandbeingasingleparent. The question we need to ask is what those tearing it all down want to get out of their efforts? In each country and every action that tears apart the norms, that upends social society, that drives even more people into poverty … what do they achieve? What is their gain? Hugs

      Liked by 3 people

        • Hello Gary. Yet they will never have what you do with your son. No amount of their greed can ever replace that. Have you noticed the wealthy have other people raise their children? What you are doing is a life forming event, you are forming the bonds, you are who your son will remember even after you are gone. You are grand! Best wishes to you and your son in the new year. Hugs

          Liked by 4 people

        • Jill: Some might say you come across as an envious outsider. Other might say you have your finger on it. Some few of us, a bit more cynical, say “So what?”

          You need a dynamic leader with the skills of a Hitler. Can you imagine though, a nice Hitler? I can’t. Hitler (like everyone else except a few loopies) was motivated by self-interest.
          So find a powerful speaker whose self-interests align with yours and get in behind. Or take the podium yourself—but be aware that sticking your head up makes you a better target.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, I’m definitely NOT an envious outsider … I would not trade my simple life for one of riches and power. To those who say “So what?” … so, the future of every living species on earth may well depend on our actions today, that’s what. We damn sure do NOT need another Hitler or Stalin. We need a leader who is both intelligent and compassionate, who cares about the planet and the lives of the people and animals and plants that live on it. You really want another Hitler in a world that is filled with nuclear weapons??? I’m not skilled enough to take the podium, else I would, and I wouldn’t worry overly-much about being a target.

            Liked by 2 people

            • “We need a leader who is both intelligent and compassionate, who cares about the planet and the lives of the people and animals and plants that live on it.”

              Combine two diametrically opposed human qualities?
              I understand that the last guy who tried that got nailed to a cross by those who well understood him as a growing threat. (Guys in power at the time; you know—leaders.)

              Liked by 1 person

      • It’s called psychopathic power. If you look for anything “normal” in this development, you’ll never see the reality of it. Because most people have a modicum of empathy they can never understand what drives a psychopath, or a psychopathic elite.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Wealth and power. It’s all anybody does it for—with wealth you can buy the world you want, with power you can bash it into place. (And of course, with both comes the concomitant satisfaction of biological urges via groupies and stuff.)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. While this is an extremist view, one cannot really say he’s wrong. At best, it’s cautionary. A recent study by BAV Group and Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania cites Canada as having the best quality of life. What’s shocking is that U.S.A. ranks 17th place in the study. That should not be.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Jill, interesting viewpoint. There are many things to be alarmed about, but we should celebrate a few good things. I would add demonizing hard working bureuacrats that actually do things for Americans. The mission is to work smarter, not demonize those who are doing their best. Michael Lewis has a book out called “The Fifth Risk” on this.

    The other is to emphasize the problems we are not addressing while we chase the president’s goals. Poverty, healthcare, climate change, guns, infrastructure, debt, etc. We have a poverty problem in our country, but we are trying to kick them off healthcare and food stamps, while he wants to build a wall that will solve nothing. As for poverty, predatory capitalists are taking advantage of those in need –
    predatory lending, predatory mobile home investors and landlords, etc. All the while, thr Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was hugely successful has been hobbled because bankers don’t like it. Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    • PS – On the good side, the economy is percolating at a pretty good rate, even though it has softened some, grass roots movements are making strides and companies are trying to be better citizens to attract young customers and to pick up the slack in absent governance. Keith

      Liked by 4 people

      • Well … sigh … I am argumentative today, aren’t I? I don’t mean to be. There are more people employed, and the stock market is singing a victory song … BUT … the minimum wage has not risen in 10 years. Trump and his administration, most of whom are at least millionaires, have no idea what it’s like to try to raise a family on $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 per year. Farmers are starving. Prices are rising due to Trump’s tariffs. It is not sustainable. And meanwhile, Trump’s rich buddies are raking in the profits, thanks to the 2017 tax cuts, and those profits are NOT trickling down to those who need it most. Sigh. Again, I’m really not trying to be contentious … i just see so much wrong and I’m not seeing a heck of a lot being done about it.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I think that there is hope to stop the rapid downhill descent described by Mr. Haque, but a couple of things must be paramount. First, our federal government is currently owned by the wealthy, thanks to Citizens United. If this isn’t changed and SOON, then this nation will complete it’s transformation to a plutocracy/oligarchy in a matter of a couple of short years … we’re already well on the way. The second is that we are backpedaling on climate change, and while there are many issues we must be concerned about, frankly if we don’t address climate change almost immediately, the other issues will cease to matter. I’m actually surprised that some of our European allies haven’t come down hard on us for reversing almost all of our environmental regulations, and for announcing our intent to exit the Paris Accords. I think, perhaps, they are hoping to see Trump defeated next year and sanity returned to the White House, so they are giving us a reprieve. Trump’s madman approach to promoting fossil fuels and trashing regulations and renewable energy affect the entire world, not just the U.S., and sooner or later there will be a price to pay … probably sooner.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jill, no need to apologize for your cynicism with where things are headed. We are not on a good path forward. It is incumbent on people to advocate, call, write, march and vote. Where possible, we need to focus on the issues, knowing full well, that the actions can be traceable to the actions of a corrupt and untruthful president and people who care less about the truth. We must get at the truth. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are so right, Keith … it isn’t just an option, but it is our duty if we don’t want to spend another 4 years on this path. I feel guilty that I don’t do more … I try, but there simply aren’t enough hours in a day!

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          • Jill, people need to vote, even if their favorite or second favorite Dem candidate does not win the nomination. Trump won because he got people who did not love HRC to stay home. This is also how Brexit occurred. People must vote. Keith

            Liked by 1 person

      • Climate change? That’s a whole different kettle of fishy.

        But I like it! Shut down the means of production and distribution to serve only the powerful whilst creating mass starvation to thin out the numbers a bit. (Actually, a lot.)

        I don’t think that’s a well-thought-through idea, though, but there’ll be no shortage of nice folks getting aboard. Personally I think the notion of AGW a scam that has developed into a whole new Religion. (I’m an atheist.)

        But please don’t let us get into that one—it’s a diversion.

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  13. A bleak look at American life for sure Jill. He’s right on so many fronts. I do have hope, albeit a glimmer, that we can do better. I hope to hell it’s not too late. Certainly, the man leading our country needs put out to pasture, and soon. You and I know that if we could somehow revamp how we finance our elections and put in some tough anti-corruption laws, we sure could start the road to recovery. Until then though, I do feel we’re in a downward spiral. I just wish more people would take the time and pay attention to what’s happening. Too much apathy breeds a society none of us want. Only the rich and powerful are getting the society THEY want. When are the people, the every day people, going to rise up Jill? Let’s face it, it’s what they fear most.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Jeff. You say that the rich and powerful are getting what they want and you ask where the every day workers. Well that is really part of the problem, the wealthy have the means to buy workers to just push their points, get them into media, to saturate the news with what they want heard. While the average worker is struggling just to buy food and pay bills, so they do not have the time nor the means to interact or fight back on media or any other way. I am sorry but if you are working two or three gig jobs just trying to survive you don’t have all day to blog or to organize the people to act. Hugs

      Liked by 6 people

    • Adam Conover, John Pilger, Michael Moore, Samantha Bee and the like have shown time and again how wretched many things and affairs have become in the USA.

      In this respect, please let me leave all of you the following quotation as food for thought before 2019 exits and 2020 enters:

      Religious discord has lost her sting; the cumbrous weapons of theological warfare are antiquated; the field of politics supplies the alchemists of our times with materials of more fatal explosion, and the butchers of mankind no longer travel to another world for instruments of cruelty and destruction.
      John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

      Liked by 6 people

    • When I first read Mr. Haque’s essay, I wanted to deny what he said … but, in truth, I couldn’t. He isn’t wrong. As I told John in an earlier comment, our government is currently owned by the wealthy, and unless we change that … and FAST … I think Umair may well be right. If the Trumps and DeVos’ of this nation have their way, 99.9% of us will be reduced to proles. First step is to get Trump out of office, but that is only the first step. We have our work cut out for us, my friend!

      Liked by 4 people

    • That was my first reaction, John. But … I re-read it, pondered, set it aside for a few days, re-read it again, and could find very little of what he said that isn’t true. No, I don’t necessarily think we’re beyond the point of no return … but I acknowledge that we may be. The wealthy own our government, and if that doesn’t change SOON, then I think we might just as well burn the Constitution. Sigh.

      Liked by 5 people

            • Long ago, I suggested that after Trump leaves, the White House should be razed and re-built, but … our friend David didn’t like the idea, so I’ll have to settle for fumigation, though I am not sure there’s a chemical strong enough to rid it of that stench.

              Liked by 2 people

              • There is such a chemical—it’s called ‘rational thinking’ and actions based on that thinking. But—

                —but be well aware that after your glorious revolution things will sooner or later revert to the status quo. No matter what ‘safeguards’ you install. No?

                Liked by 2 people

                  • Without intending to be insulting—it has been said that “We get the government we deserve” — and in a democracy that could be difficult to argue.

                    If a person’s wealth is a measure of intelligence then the Trump well and truly trumps me …

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • Well, I’ve had a number of people quote that to me over the past few years, but the problem I have with it is that only some of the people in this country deserve the government we have. Some of us, on the other hand, have spent our lives working toward a more people-oriented government, one that is truly, as Abraham Lincoln called for “For the people, by the people, and of the people”. But, greed and arrogance, uber-capitalism, have kept the gap between the 1% and the 99% ever-growing, and since the Citizens United decision in 2010, they have bought and paid for our politicians. The majority in this country don’t deserve this.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Voted in, no? As in democratically? As in the Vox populi? Ergo …

                      But all sarcasm aside, I do know where you’re coming from. People react in shock-horror-dismay when I tell then I never (r) NEVER vote. All I get is wide eyes and “Eeeeeek! I fought and died in all those wars for YOUR rights, and you don’t vote?”

                      But they are dismissible as Organic Robots, so I just wag a bit, grin my teeth and change the subject. Discussion requires at least two minds, no?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No, actually if you recall, Trump LOST the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes! It was a combination of gerrymandering and the electoral college that put him in the Oval Office.

                      As to any who fail to vote … well I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I am one of those who firmly believes those who don’t vote are a big part of the problem in this country. Some use the excuse they are “making a statement” (they aren’t, at least not beyond their own mind), some are so wrapped up in their own lives they can’t be bothered to consider the greater good, and some are just lazy. I don’t know which fits you, nor do I want to know, but do us both a favour and don’t remind me that you’re a non-voter.

                      Like

                    • Compelled to; which would YOU choose for lunch? Arsenic, cyanide, or strychnine?

                      Furthermore … I’d simply rather not, but thank you for the freedom to choose.

                      Like

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