Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Unbelievable Absurdity of it All

Can you believe that in the early years of the 21st century in the United States of America, claimed to be the wealthiest most powerful nation on earth, we are actually arguing about whether millionaires and billionaires should pay taxes at the same rate as their secretaries or other workers? This is an argument so patently absurd as to be laughable to anyone except, I guess, American millionaires, billionaires, and most Republicans.

Similarly, can you believe we are also engaged in arguments about whether or not we should improve our obviously and seriously deteriorating infrastructure, highways, bridges, schools, public buildings, and so forth? These would be improvements vitally necessary to keep us competitive in the modern world if, that is, as a nation we should even try to keep up. The huge international corporations will keep up whether our nation does so or not, nations as political entities now becoming basically irrelevant.

There is also the question of our educational facilities and education in general. At one time I believe our educational system was one of the finest in the world, now it is not, and there are those who do not want to spend the funds necessary to return it to what it once was, this in spite of the obvious fact we are rapidly falling behind the rest of the industrialized nations. Not to worry, we can also hire more qualified workers from other countries for less.

And how about those who do not want us to use any public funds to improve the employment situation for our millions who are, through no fault of their own, out of work and unable to find jobs of virtually any kind, or are being forced into lower paying jobs than ever before? Technology will replace them and we can find them cheaper elsewhere. Who cares about ordinary workers anyway?

Then there are those who do not believe we should spend any money on health care, or that everyone should be entitled to health care. The relatively minor improvements that were recently enacted, after years of neglect, are regarded as so onerous and terrible many want to see them reversed, insuring that everyone will be at the mercy of insurance companies whose primary means of making profit is to capitalize on sickness and death.

Don’t forget our military budget that exceeds that of all the rest of the world combined, a budget that has become so sacred some do not want it touched at all if not increased. This is a budget that in fact has only a modest effect on national security but an enormous effect on perpetuating our military/industrial/political complex and putting taxpayer money into the coffers of the corporations and their filthy rich owners and managers.

After some seventy-five years of exemplary performance by the most successful program ever created, one that is still completely solvent and has not contributed to our national debt one iota, we are hearing arguments that it should be eliminated, privatized so that Wall Street can make even more money by putting older people and the handicapped at risk of losing much if not all of their security.

Medicare, too, is at risk, even though along with Social Security it has been and is an eminently successful and popular program, one that should be expanded to include everyone, not just the over 65 crowd. Republicans would love to do away with it as it represents, to them, “socialism,” the most horrible thing that could possibly happen to anyone, except, of course, all the rest of the industrialized countries on earth.

What do all these programs share that are so terrible they should be considered for elimination? Only
the reality they are humanitarian attempts to help human beings live more pleasant, healthful, and useful lives, free from the threats of poverty, worry, ill health, and premature death. What is even more astonishing is that we are still arguing over whether evolution and global warming are real, basically a rejection of science itself. This is, to me, literally unbelievable. This is the 21st century, not the 18th, we are supposed to represent the “highest,” most successful “civilization” to date, in fact the culmination of a historical process so magnificent we believe ourselves to be essentially the most highly developed life form on earth, perhaps even in the universe, masters of all, with dominion over all other creatures, uniquely endowed with the power of reason, captains of our fate, master of our souls, created in the image of God, and blah, blah, blah. In fact it appears that many of us are still “savages” or “barbarians,” wanting to continue living with the “law of the jungle,” where only the strong (nowadays wealthy) are fit to survive. Not only do many not believe in physical evolution, they apparently do not believe in the evolution of cultural either.

There is nothing sadder in this world than the waste of human potential. The purpose of evolution is to raise us out of the mud, not have us grovelling in it.

Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

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