Saturday, December 10, 2011

Death, Slavery, and Maximizing Unhappiness

• Death, Slavery, and the Maximization of Unhappiness: I take this to be the current Republican Party’s Credo, their Bill of Non-rights, superseding the original statement in the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. While I am sure they will deny this, it seems obvious to me that both their words and acts of the last few years indicate it is a perfectly adequate description of what seems to be their agenda.

They have been and still are opposed to universal health care (unless you are wealthy enough to afford it). This means that many, many people will die sooner than necessary and inevitably in unnecessary pain as they lack proper health care. They support the Health Care Insurance business that basically makes their profits on the misery and death of their clients. You will no doubt recall some of their famous statements on this question. Ron Paul, for example, explaining that if you don’t have health care it’s your own fault and you should just be left to die. There was applause. Then there was that Nevada Republican Bimbo who suggested if you were sick you should see if your Doctor would take a chicken for his fee (lots of people have chickens these days). When it comes to death more broadly conceived, remember how they cheered when it was announced how many people had been executed by Rick Perry as Governor of Texas. And don’t forget they are opposed to regulations having to do with clean air and water, pharmaceuticals, workplace safety, and virtually anything that might protect people from environmental dangers, including global warming. And, of course, they are generally in favor of permanent war, sending our young people around the world to die for oil and other industries. The death of others, especially non-Westerners, seems not to bother them in the least. I remind you of Alan Grayson’s terse description of the Republican health care plan: “If you get sick, die quickly.”

As far as slavery goes, it now exists in a somewhat different form than it did in days of yore. Nowadays we have “wage slavery” and other forms of slavery as well. Republicans are opposed to a minimum wage, insisting the market should determine wages, and thus laying the foundation for wages so low as to keep people virtually enslaved to the low-paying job they are lucky to have, as there are masses of people with no jobs to replace them if they leave or get so uppity as to suggest anything as terrible as forming a union. If you don’t have a job they do not want you to have unemployment insurance. One of them famously said, “If you don’t work you shouldn’t eat.”They want you to have to accept the most demeaning jobs ever for the lowest wages ever. Most ordinary working people are also slaves to the banks because of usurious credit card rates. These high rates are basically the functional equivalent of slavery as once you fall into their debt they make it as difficult as possible to get out of it. Credit cards exist for the purpose of making profits for the “Masters,” just as slaves on the Plantations did. The only difference is they are not allowed to beat or rape you whenever they feel like it. When you are forced to work for what are basically slave wages it is difficult to stay out of debt, and once you’re in debt you’re in their clutches and have to struggle mightily to ever prosper. I am speaking here of ordinary credit card debt, they also have so-called “Payday Lenders” who at times manage to get as much as 300% interest. Republicans resist changing the laws to prevent this, just as they resist changes to the Credit Card industry in general and Bank regulations as well.

It should be obvious that all of the above contributes to the maximization of unhappiness. But there is more. They are opposed to Gay marriages, thus making probably as much as 10% of the population unhappy. They are opposed to women having a choice when it comes to their own bodies, thus forcing them to have children they cannot afford and possibly do not want to care for. This means that not only the mothers are made unhappy but their unwanted children are doomed probably to a lifetime of unhappiness as well. They don’t support subsidized child care thus making it as difficult as possible for poor women to work and buy food for themselves and their children. Similarly, when it comes to immigrants, they oppose citizenship for children born here and see no problem with splitting up families in order to enforce the law, the same laws their benefactors break to attract cheap labor in the first place. They are also attempting to create onerous laws making it more difficult to vote, especially for older and younger voters, and minorities as well. I cannot imagine this makes their lives any happier. They also oppose any restrictions on gun ownership, apparently believing it makes everyone happy to be able to carry their guns to school, church, and even into bars. I doubt this makes most people happy. They seem to seek out ways to make people unhappy, it’s like they fear that some Middle Class or Poor person, somewhere, somehow, someway, might actually have a moment of happiness. They even want people to abstain from sex, trying to ban contraception, birth control and even Planned Parenthood, and demanding “abstinence only “advice to teenagers (which seems to make them have even more sex). They insist that drugs be criminalized, filling up our jails with non-violent pot smokers (and lots of minorities), making anyone happy? You can be certain if there is anything designed to make the Middle Class and the Poor more unhappy than they already are, Republicans will be in favor of it. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness be damned. Their solution to all our problems: more of the same.

The object of government in peace and in war is not the glory of rulers or of races, but the happiness of the common man.

Lord William Beveridge

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