Nearly everybody complaining about the system — however defined — is doing so from within the system. They refuse to abandon the dominant paradigm even as it abuses them. They call for reform of a system incapable of reform. They refuse to change course while bemoaning a system that will not change course.
Why will the system not change course? Because the vast majority of people within the system are unwilling to change. “Change is good,” they say. But talk is cheap and their actions speak volumes.
In the United States, self-identified Democrats and self-identified Republicans provide superb examples. The masses ignore the fact that the two parties are pushing virtually identical agendas. The two dominant parties represent the twin cheeks of the corporate ass. Nearly everybody I know keeps kissing one cheek while disparaging the other. Such division benefits a few at the expense of the many. The many remain typically clueless.
Next up: Hope and Change, the sequel. What shall we call it, to confuse the masses? Socialism, perhaps. That’ll surely befuddle the typical American, who claims to hate capitalism while practicing and promoting it every day. Or maybe we’ll select a woman in the name of “progress” and a
post-racial post-gender society. Regardless of the outcome, American Empire and its close partner Israel will continue to murder brown children and scores of non-human species. Freedom isn’t free, although the primary costs remain ignored by the citizenry.
The masses claim they’re not anti-science. Rather, they’re pro-myth. That’s my take-home message from a populace dominated by faithful citizens, instead of thoughtful ones. As a result of rampant indifference to reason as a guide to living, Americans are easily manipulated. There’s a reason nearly a third of the advertising dollars in the world are spent on the 4.5% of the world’s human population occupying the U.S.A. (the United States of Advertising). In sharp contrast to the country into which I was born, other industrialized nations have citizens capable of thinking skeptically. Perhaps not many. But certainly some.
Americans are the product of decades of “dumbing down.” The cultural indoctrination has produced a populace largely incapable of using reason as a guide to living. Because most Americans cannot use reason, they don’t. It’s the perfect cultural stew for the two outcomes now obviously on display: (1) scum has risen to the top, and (2) abuse requested from the masses has been granted by the scum.
The masters of oligarchy care about we, the people, only as laborers, consumers, and cannon fodder. Buy more crap you don’t need. Stay on your hamster wheel. Obey, don’t think. Breed. Feed the beast, not your children. Above all, do not question anything except the brands you consume. Which brand of cheap beer? Which brand of cheap gasoline? Which brand of cheap life? Most importantly to the drones on their hamster wheels, paper or plastic?
These are the “depths” typical Americans are willing to plumb. We’ll question everything, except what really matters.
What really matters? War vs. conquest. Changing lives while we die. Oppression vs. freedom. The costs of “progress.” Obedience vs. slavery. The consequences of imperialism. What we fear. The costs of economic “growth.” Above all, at least for me, empathy. That’s my short list, created with little thought. As always, any number can play.
Instead of changing, people embedded within the dominant paradigm prefer to disparage others. “China is horrible,” they proclaim. “They’re burning all that coal, polluting the air.” Or maybe it’s Brazil this week. Or India, using all those “resources” we need here in the homeland.
When you’re dead, you don’t know you’re dead. It affects other people, though. It’s the same when you’re a patriarch. And, contrary to popular belief, one need not be male to be guilty of patriarchal behavior.
Asking questions is difficult, especially when rewards result from placating the scum atop the stew. An entire life spent soaking in the cultural milieu provides little opportunity to rise above the stew and take a look around. And because there is no reward for asking questions, the questions remain unasked. The populace remains contented. The citizenry becomes the system. The machine marches on.
McPherson will be interviewed on This is Hell, a radio program broadcast from Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, 16 January at 10:10 a.m. Eastern. Catch details about connecting to this 40-minute live radio interview at their website.
McPherson will be interviewed by Glen Ayers on Tuesday, 19 January at 4:20 p.m. Eastern. Catch the show online at Valley Free Radio in Northampton, Massachusetts. If you’re in the area, tune into WXOJ-LP 103.3 FM.
Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. To catch us live, tune in every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here. We’re on Stitcher, too.
As always, the schedule of topics for forthcoming episodes of the radio show is posted beneath the tab at the top of the page titled, “Radio Archive and Recent Video.” Please help us out, especially with episodes that focus on criticism of climate scientists and activists by sending your contributions to Mike at email@example.com. The next of these will focus on Naomi Klein’s work on 2 February 2016.
McPherson is scheduled to deliver a webinar at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, 27 January 2016: The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: How Net Energy Decline Interacts with Abrupt Climate Change
Please note that the long, often-updated climate-change summary and update has been removed from the regular posts and placed within a tab at the top of the page. It can be read in three parts, and comments are no longer allowed. Big thanks to Niels van der Wolk for his work on this revision.
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