Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dystopia

Definition of DYSTOPIA
: an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives

What if Dystopia was not an imaginary place? What if it was a real place? And what if it was called The United States of America? Don’t laugh, if Republicans have their way we will soon be able to rename our country Dystopia.

We certainly live increasingly fearful lives, what with the Patriot Act, increasing surveillance (to protect us from terrorists, of course), warnings everyday about the danger of Obamacare (death squads, and worse, socialism!). And “Bibi” tells us regularly we are subject to attack by Iranian rockets and nuclear bombs (when they get such things they will immediately turn on the entire world), and don’t forget our military budget, larger than almost all of the rest of the world put together, necessary to keep us from being attacked (by purely imaginary enemies). Of course there is always the danger we will be taken over by the United Nations (in their black helicopters hovering just over the border). Then there is the danger that Sharia law is about to overcome our own legal system, Muslims hate us for our freedoms and are our implacable enemies. Black people, especially young Black men are a constant threat, are as immigrants (especially Hispanics). Labor unions and minimum wages will doubtless destroy us, and so on and on. There is no doubt whatsoever there has been a deliberate attempt on the part of Republicans and their corporate masters to keep us in fear, as that makes it so much easier to control us, and we are increasingly being controlled, spied upon, lied to, and mostly ignored (where does public opinion matter when considering gun laws, health care, immigration, or whatever?).

Similarly, we are being increasingly dehumanized, partly as a result of technological changes that tend to minimize human contacts in favor of texts, email, gmail, Facebook, Linked in, internet shopping, and such things. I do not blame Republicans for this type of inevitable dehumanization. But what is involved when they are opposed to health care, unemployment insurance, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, choice, minimum wages, gun control, same sex marriages, and virtually everything else that would improve the human condition for everyone. Obviously they ignore the fact that these various institutions have a direct effect on individual human beings. You cannot be opposed to such things unless you dehumanize the potential recipients, pretend they are not involved as individual human beings. Indeed, the rationale for “privatizing” everything under the sun, which is what they believe in, is that institutions should not exist for the public good, but, rather, for private profit. Profit can only be made by exploiting labor and the environment, thus labor is merely a commodity, divorced from the human being that performs it, and the environment, too, is merely a commodity rather than the physical environment we individual human beings depend on.

Dystopia seems to me to be the goal Republicans are striving for. Boehner summed it up rather neatly, “Congress should be judged on the amount of laws we repeal.” The laws exist to protect human beings, without them we become no more than just another animal species. Laws, rules and regulations, mean government, and government, thanks to St. Ronnie and his idiot idolizers, has become perceived as bad. Government of some kind is a uniquely human phenomenon, whether you are governed by the eldest male in the group, chiefs, councils, kings, elected officials, or dictators. Given the fact that we possess virtually no instincts and have to create our own rules and regulations for behavior, culture, if you will (no matter how flawed any given system may be), and given the fact this is a basic prerequisite for human life, to ignore it, or try to destroy it, is the ultimate in dehumanization. So keep it up, Republicans, Dystopia may soon be yours.

      “I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and 
poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.” 
 Paul Krugman

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