I just finished reading 1984, and it was a very thought provoking read for me. Very. Today I want to write about some of the ideas in Goldstien’s book regarding revolution. I was pondering just now, the reason behind revolutions, is it a response to unjustice, or greed?
Revolutions were always done by the middle to become the high, or are revolutions by the proles because of unjustice?
I’ve thought it has been principled, revolutions and rebellions have been the downtrodden oppressed rising up against their oppressors, for example the Maccabbi’s, slaves, the French revolution, the American revolution were all kind of glorified and romanticized in the histories I learned from as a youth.
Is there something innate in human nature which will cause people to realize that they are being treated unfairly, and to fight back? How many channels of TV, how many OnDemands, how many sports to gamble on, how many YouTube’s to watch, how many Wars to fight, how many reality shows, how many celebrities, how many scandals, how many terrorists to fear, how many restaurants need to be delivered, how many people need to be on the edge of starvation, how many people need to be in desperation, in order to pacify (subordinate) the masses?
The middle gets “luxury” goods, you’ve heard the argument before about standard of living “we’ve got microwaves!” as if that makes middle class incomes stagnating and declining acceptable. If you have what people 50 years ago didn’t, somehow this is supposed to be enough to satisfy all of your needs. So what you’re going to be bankrupt from getting sick? You’ve got a digital alarm clock with a CD player!
The proles are stuck in ghettos, without bus services, without law enforcement, without jobs, without education. They are jailed, profiled, and vilified. Payday lenders rape them with the express consent of the congress. They see advertisements for the lotto at the liquor store on every corner with junk foods you can’t find outside of the hood.
The middle is pacified through middling goods and services, and the proles are just suppressed. It is a coordinated effort to keep people ignorant of the fundamentally unfair distribution of wealth. Only ignorance can save the rich from the masses, and the effort to keep people ignorant is proof of the odiousness of the truth.
Yesterday, Digby quoted:
“Central to progressivism is a faith that educated and civilized individuals can, through the use of reason, determine what is best for society as a whole. Persuasion, discussion, and rational dialogue can lead individuals of different views to see what is in the public interest. “
I agree that people can be convinced as to what is right. I have argued with some of the most conservative people, and it is entirely possible to use logic and persuasion to have them change their minds. It takes a lot of work, and skill, and stories. After the first long conversation, they will say “you make a lot of good points,” but they will be hesitant to admit that they were wrong. At that point, if you left it there, they would not be convinced. However, if you are persistent in your arguments, and confront the false assumptions that lead to many standard conservative opinions, you can change their minds.
This is why I am the most disappointed in Barack Obama. After the disastrous rule of Bush, the potential of destroying NeoCon/Reaganomics was at an all time high. Over 85% of the country said we were on the wrong track. That is why Obama won in a landslide. People had had enough, and weren’t going to take it anymore. Do you remember Obama yelling “ENOUGH!” That is in essence the reason he was elected, because the Republicans were so bad.
Instead of going to war against the failed ideas of Bush, Obama has embraced most of them. I put the most importance on economic policy, followed by education, military policies, and civil liberties. In the economic arena, Obama has been indistinguishable from Bush. His subservience of Wall St, trade policy, desire to cut SS and Medicare, support of secrecy in the Fed, all echo the stance of Bush.
Obama has been bashing teachers, promoting waivers, and ignoring the root causes of under-performing schools. He is keeping the NCLB in place. Some grants have increased, but not on par with the increase in cost of college tuition. Obama just gutted proposed funding for community colleges.
We are still in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The military budget only grows. We still are in a War against Terror, which is like being in a War against Sarcasm. The privatization, and outsourcing of War continues, with contractors unaccountable to any laws. Our mistreatment of prisoners has continued.
The FISA law hasn’t been “fixed,” the criminals who illegally spied on all of us are free from any accountabilty. Obama maintains a hit list of American citizens – I mean, what else needs to be said? The people who implemented a system to torture prisoners are being protected by Obama. Obama has pressured the DOJ to act in a way that will help him politically, instead of enforcing the law. Indefinite detention continues, and Rahm is working with Graham now to set this into stone. State’s Secrets is claimed to cover up the crimes against prisoners. The illegal spying on citizens by the government continues unabated. The president claims the right to imprison anybody on his say-so forever, if he doesn’t put them on the hit list.
So at the apex of potential to destroy the tenets of Neo-conservatism and Reaganomics, Obama has done his damndest to make these failed policies bipartisan. Obama has used his opportunity to do exactly the wrong things. Instead of standing up and fighting for the principles he campaigned on, which were popular because they were just, he has maintained the direction of the ship.
What is most frustrating is that the solutions for many of our problems are obvious. In addition, these obvious solutions were a part of Obama’s campaign speeches, and his platform on his website. I remember Obama being against a mandate, and for a public option.
I don’t think that Obama or the other Dem leaders are spineless, as many like to say. They truly do not want to enact the policies they campaign on. Their fiery speeches, which contain the correct solutions to problems are a ruse to get money and votes.
I’ve heard Obama explain about Single Payer. He must know that is the most successful way in the world to do healthcare, but he chooses not to stand up and fight for it. He doesn’t bother to explain why it is the right thing. He doesn’t make any effort whatsoever to do the hard work of changing peoples minds, and handling their objections. We saw a glimpse of the possible, in his summit with Republicans. He easily shot down their arguments and showed the falsehoods of their talking points, the falsities in their underlying assumptions.
I would accept a less than perfect bill, if an honest effort to persuade was made first, and votes were not there. The thing is, the WH, and the Dem leadership was being dishonest the whole time of the Health Insurance debate. The party platform is forgotten as soon as they are elected, and instead of pressuring members to get in line with the party platform, we are told all sorts of lies. The WH made secret deals with their true base, Phrma and AHIP. The leadership crowed about not having 60 votes, until they did, and then did nothing. Then they claimed they couldn’t use reconciliation, which we see now was a complete lie.
If the President had explained that the best HC systems in the world were universal coverage, offered to buyout the Insurance companies, and offer employment to the displaced workers in the new universal system (expanded Medicare), explained it would cost less, and then bullied his party to fall in line, some minds would have changed. I’m not claiming Evan Bayh is going to suddenly tank his wife’s stock options, but the President would be able to convince some in the public, and he would be able to bully some in his party. Instead we see the president bullying his party to act against their party platform, to support his war supplemental, and to vote for something he campaigned against.
How much of this will it take before the last supporter of Obama’s campaign, and of the Democratic Party Platform will stop supporting Obama the President? Will there be a point where the only supporters of Obama will those who didn’t support him during his campaign because of his progressive rhetoric? I think there is a 25% that will support a Democratic president, no matter what he actually does, just like the 25% that would always support a Republican president.
I try to talk to people at every opportunity in order to whittle away at the ignorant 25 percenters. I think people can be convinced, it just takes effort and persistence, and sound arguments, appeals and logic. The persistence and effort is not going to come from the WH or the Dem leadership, so it falls onto us instead.