Slavery Sucks. All Forms Of Slavery, That Is — Including The “Subtle” Ones…

Slavery has been a thing homo sapiens do (we don’t know if any other human species did it) since we figured out we could force someone else to work for free. Slavery, in its essence, is stolen labor.

Yes, it’s a stolen life. But, from the point of view of the enslaver, the goal is to steal the labor above all. You can’t steal too much food or sleep — the slave will die. The only other cost basis for a slave is output — work. Take away the raw costs of feeding, clothing and housing the slave, the profit derived from another human (other than their raw materials) is their work. Slavery wants THAT for free.

But there are other forms of slavery where, in essence, a free person gives away their “work” to the person (or organization) who will absolutely enslave them. Employers do it with the contracts they force employees to sign. Credit card companies do it — so do time share companies and gyms. America does it with the way we handle health care (how many people stay in jobs they hate just because they need the employer-provided health care?) Religions do it especially. If you want to belong, you have to surrender your reason and free thinking. Those will only “un-enslave” you from the slaver’s point of view.

About ten seconds of listening to any Trumpanista or republican defend the indefensible tells you — this person is a slave. They have surrendered all freedom of thought to a “thing”. To a person. They are as shackled to their ignorance as any slave ever was.

Except the real slave yearns to be free.

And that’s the difference — between people who’ve been enslaved and people who actually WANT to be slaves.

Ignorance is slavery.

Blind faith is slavery.

Personality of Cult is slavery.

Political indoctrination is slavery.

Trumpism is slavery.

I’ll toss in one more — for the Media’s sake — “Both Sides Do It” is slavery (okay — a lesser variety — but it IS a distinct sub-set of Ignorance). Both Sides Do It is lazy thinking that false equivalences things that do not in fact equal each other (like climate science and climate science denial — two points of view, not at all the same in their truthfullness). “Both Sides Do It” is soft slavery for the Media but hard slavery for the American Public — who continue to be enslaved by the RESULTS of the larger ignorance.

I trust I don’t have to explain all that to free people.

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American Culture Has A White-Christian-Male Bias & It Needs To Go

How many guilty Catholic priests does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Better question — How many guilty Catholic priests (guilty of SCREWING children) does it take before a Culture opens its damned eyes?

That blind spot isn’t the Catholic Church’s alone.  The man who sexually assaulted me worked for a synagogue.  Jews do it too.  And Protestants and Muslims.  I suspect other religions do it, too but I’m not too well-versed in their cultures; I know from Abrahamic religions — they all flow from the same toxic male bias.  The religious elements are all really just ‘overlays’ of male self-aggrandizement.  If you really, really look at them, Abrahamic religions have a nasty habit of making its male believers believe not so much ‘in’ a god as that ‘THEY THEMSELVES’ are gods.

They are not made in Yahweh’s image (Yahweh’s his name, god is his job description), Yahweh is made in theirs.

When you start out — deep down — thinking YOU are ‘the gods’ — and if YOU have control of the Culture (made much easier when you tell everyone that YOU and YOU alone can communicate with ‘the gods’) — things like ‘bias’ just sort of flow naturally.  Like toxic waste from a turd factory.

What we Americans need to grasp is that we begin every conversation or debate about who we are with a heavy bias that distorts our image.  We are NOT that thing the Culture insists we are.  We are not predominantly White-Christian-Male — and never were.

But, when you jealously guard the means to tell stories to the widest possible audience, you risk fooling yourself first and foremost.

White-Christian-Male Culture wants us all to believe their excrement smells like roses.  It doesn’t.  They know better than anyone.

They’ve stacked the deck best they can to keep hold of their Ivory Tower.  Problem is, they’re surrounded — by the rest of us.  We need to overtake them — remove them from their tower and then remove their tower, too.  It all needs to go.

It will start — shortly — with our votes.

If You Hate Donald J Trump, You Hate White, Christian Male Culture; There’s Hope For You…

Trump cos more trump

Let’s define our terms first: The reason we’re in this damned mess is that the republican party (uncapitalized because undeserving), seeing a great demographic Black Hole and Extinction in its future, deliberately and knowingly conspired with RUSSIA to seize power from the American Electorate in a soft Coup D’Etat.

Election 2016 was Illegitimate probably from Top to Bottom.

When I say ‘republican party’, of course, what I mean is ‘WHITE, CHRISTIAN MALE CULTURE’ — a ‘culture’ built almost entirely ON BULLSHIT.

White, Christian Male Culture (WCMC) believes that White People are superior to all other people on the planet, that White People are smarter, better looking, better suited to succeed, better athletes, better everything.  They believe White Music is better (ever hear a racist rail against jazz?).  White Literature (hilarious cos White People don’t read).  White Religion.

Especially White Religion.  White Religion sits at the core of White Male Culture — the belief not that ‘god’ is White but that each and every White Person is ‘GOD’ themselves and therefore omnipotent.  What they say goes.

Problem is, it doesn’t.  Because when White People enter an environment that isn’t just ‘Other White People’, they bump into something that disconcerts the hell out of them:  DIVERSITY.  They find they have to COMPETE with people who haven’t had to compete practically EVER.  At least not with people who weren’t White.

America is diverse and has always been diverse.  DIVERSITY is what makes America ‘EXCEPTIONAL’.  Diversity IS ‘American Exceptionalism’.  All other countries evolved over long periods of time with scattered tribes slowly coalescing into a National Tribe with distinct National ‘characteristics’.  The French ‘evolved’ into being French, the Germans into being Germans, the Swiss the Swiss, the English the English and so on.  In the 1500’s, if you were to step into any of what became those countries, the national character we now think of as those countries was already well-formed enough to be reflected in the historical record.

And, then, all those DIFFERENT national characters started arriving in a ‘Neutral Environment’ — America (made a whole lot more ‘neutral’ via ‘Guns, Germs & Steel’ (to borrow the title of Jared Diamond’s excellent book).  None of those peoples who arrived on these shores were ‘American’.  They became American by being here — while their Culture met (perhaps for the first time) and mingled with other Cultures and began to ‘cross-breed’ with them.

The result of all that cross-breeding is us — America — and all the dynamism and actual Greatness that flows from us.  We are The World mixed together.  We’re the lab for what happens genius from one culture meshes with genius from another culture to produce genius from a third (our) culture.

And it works.  God-damn, it WORKS!

That, apparently, gives WCMC a sad.  It makes it feel scared.  Threatened.  Unqualified.  It isn’t of course — WCMC is no better or worse than any other culture; it, too, has produced great things.  It just has the wrong idea of itself — it thinks it’s better than everyone; good thing that’s fixable.  Ask Germany.Cult

Donald Trump is the literal FACE of WCMC.  It is White-White-White-WHITE.  It is Christian — it does not believe a word of the faith it professes (having never read the actual texts their faith is based on) but claims to be among its most ardent followers.  It is Male — oh boy, is it Male; nothing makes it happier than waving its dick in your face or, worse, sticking it in you against your will because IT feels ENTITLED to.

So, yeah — Donald Trump IS White, Christian Male ‘Culture’.  If you voted for it?  You WILL deserve everything that befalls you.

Think of it as ‘getting cultured’.

Will Our Age Ultimately Be Known As ‘THE BRANDED AGE’?

Americans are not generally known for their knowledge of history (or geography).  We have other strengths.  But, when we DO have history (and remember it), we tend to be ‘colorful’ about it.  There’s a ‘pretty famous’ (if by ‘famous’ we mean Historians call it that) time period in American History called The Gilded Age.

It was America’s first Great Headrush of Success — when the accumulation of extreme wealth became a remote possibility for a few outside the tight circle of White Christian Old Mega Wealth.  Suddenly, even total cads could get the Federal Government to pony up all the money & risk on the transcontinental railroad while THEY reaped all the profit.  Boo-Yah Representative Democracy was Good!

Our own Age is starting to feel (creepily so) like a deranged, stalker wanna-be of the Gilded Age.  Call us THE BRANDED AGE.

Having no more wealth beneath the earth’s crust to pursue (someone else already owns it all), and with technology making most anything we could do with our hands obsolete as a job skill (making ‘things’ is so ‘third world prison labor’, don’tcha think?), that means only the Most Clever Rats will find their way out of the Maze that is Their Future.  And the MOSTEST, CLEVEREST Rats have already groked that BRANDING — making YOU (the ‘idea’ of you actually) a distinct thing in other peoples’ minds — is essential to any sort of success going forward.

Because WHO WE ARE is now instantly accessible by anyone else, we need to make damned sure that what’s being PROJECTED is the picture of ourselves we want projected.  Our everything depends on it being ‘right’ (whatever ‘right’ is for each of us).

Back in the day, this kind of thing was called ‘your values’.  I don’t mean ‘Family Values’ — an ad slogan for smug, sanctimonious Christan hypocrites — I mean VALUES.  Stuff you believed in not because some religious bullshitters rammed it down your throat but because you lived life and applied your life experiences accordingly.  Like most people, you probably wanted to co-exist in relative peace & harmony with your neighbors, live a long, healthy life and get to see your great-grandchildren succeed before passing on.

And because those were your values, you hung with certain people who shared those values.  You formed friendships, started businesses and raised your families among people whose values were pretty much the same as yours.

If you practiced a religion — you formed bonds with people who believed the same way you did.  If you loved a sports team above all others… same thing.

These days they think of it in Branding terms.  I happily ‘brand’ with Tottenham Hotspur for instance.  I’ve followed that English Premier League team for years & years & years (I married into a Spurs family).  On some days, I  still happily co-brand with the LA Dodgers.  It’s an LA thing…

But I am keenly aware of everyone I now associate with.  If I speak up for someone or get their back — I need to know I’m not gonna pay for it by seeing my own integrity dinged.

After all — I have a brand to protect.

Can We Be Really, REALLY Honest With Each Other? If You Believe In Bullshit — WHY Should ANYONE BELIEVE YOU?

I’ll try and make this easy.  If you boarded an airplane and the pilot announced (before the doors had closed) that not only was this his very first flight as a professional pilot — and (cause that’s not enough), he doesn’t believe in science, he believes in Magic — and just to prove that HIS MAGIC is as good as OUR SCIENCE — he’s going to CUT THE ENGINES at 37,000 feet and PRAY US the rest of the way to our destination.

Who’s staying on board that airplane?  Anyone?

Make it a heart surgeon who’s shrugged off looking at your charts before cutting into you — he’s going to wait for Divine Inspiration and THEN cut you.  You staying on the table?

When people tell us they don’t know what the hell they’re doing, we should listen to them like our lives depended on it.

While politicians may not have their hand on a literal wheel — what they do can and does have almost the same impact.  So — WHY they do WHAT they do is important because it indicates whether or not they’re representing OUR interests or whether they’re conflicted somehow.  For my part, I prefer that people making decisions that impact others have the same ‘RESPECT for Reality that I have.

I believe FACTS matter far more than FEELINGS.  I recognize that FACTS can ’cause’ FEELINGS to happen — and those feelings can effect how we perceive those facts — but those FEELINGS do not ever ‘CHANGE’ those FACTS.  FACTS remain FACTS regardless of how ANYONE ‘feels’ about them.

So — when people inclined to poor decision-making BECAUSE THEIR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS INVOLVES ‘MAGICAL THINKING’ go to make a decision, they tend to skip right past all Logic, Analytical Thinking and Thoughtful Analysis to their Magical Thinking Wheelhouse and push ‘Start’.

The Facts On The Ground do not matter.  You have BULLSHIT singing in your ears (badly and completely out of tune).   Bullshit always has its way.

We are living during War Time, folks — but not just ONE WAR… No, we’ve got TWO WARS on our hands.  Good thing they’re ‘related’ — otherwise this could get complicated.

War #1) THE CYBER WAR — the one Vladimir Putin & Russia are waging on us with the full and complete cooperation of Donald J Trump, his Crime Family & the Whole Republican Party.  We’ve ‘talked about that’ here and will again, I’m sure.  War #2) THE CULTURE WAR — The one the Republican Party has chosen to wage on the American People.

The Republican Party does this at the behest of its SECOND Most Vocal, Forceful Constituent — The Hardcore Christian Right Wing.  The MOST Vocal (behind the scenes — and ‘in its own way’), Forceful Constituent is MONEY, of course — and the handful of Rich, White, Christian families who HOARD that money as if it could save them from ‘DEATH’ itself (it won’t).

 

Right now, decisions and decision-making are coming at us more quickly than most people can handle.  That’s not a coincidence.  Those pushing the rush of decisions want people to fall back on the decision-making skills that they learned while going through the American Educational System– Oh, wait… that’s right — we don’t TEACH ‘decision-making skills’.  We RUN from them — preferring to stick a bible under their noses (a bible no one has cracked or WILL crack) with a handful of ‘Do It Cos Big Daddy In The Sky Sez Do-It’ type ‘lessons’.  And that, or some variation, is what amounts to ‘Doing Something”.

Here’s the problem in cold, hard, practical terms.  Sorry if it offends.  No, actually — not sorry at all…

Your average republican (and they put a shine on the word ‘average’ like no one else) ‘CLAIMS’ TO BELIEVE – AS FACT that:  “A Magical Man In The Sky had UNPROTECTED SEX with a Young Female Human who had never had sex before and produced together a ‘Man-God-Baby’ whose ‘mission on earth’ was to ‘DIE’ for All Humanity’s ‘sins’ because A WOMAN named ‘Eve’ once ate a piece a fruit she shouldn’t have — because a TALKING SNAKE told her to…”.

Pretty strange story, right?  But there are more than a few Christians — IN CONGRESS no less — who will claim — out in the open — ON TV EVEN — that they absolutely, positively believe that these things ALL actually happened EXACTLY AS WRITTEN.  That THEY are HISTORICAL FACTS that are INDISPUTABLE.  These ‘LEADERS’ who control what we do as a Nation — have as their KNOWLEDGE BASE a story which while ‘instructive’ and ‘imaginative’ IS NOT HISTORY and to act like it IS history — while DENYING ANY UNDERLYING MESSAGE THE STORY HAS — is an example of the MOST cynical bullshit.

And it’s BULLSHIT.

You might as well say ‘Yeah, I see the apple falling — but I’m still not buying into this ‘gravity’ thing…’.

You’ve told the class — unequivocally — that you are a sucker, a day trader, a headlines only reader.

And, you’ve told them that facts ultimately do not matter to you.

Given a choice between decision-making based on ‘faith’ (which is… guesswork?  Wishful Thinking?  Hopefulness on Steroids?) and Stone Cold Reality, I’ll take the Stone Cold Reality, please.

Realists keep their eyes open — they HAVE TO.

Most Christians Only Like The Bible For ‘The Good Parts’ Anyway…

Clockwork_Orange - Malcolm McDowell

I rail often here about Christians and their insincerity.  Yeah, sure — low hanging fruit and all but — but even low hanging fruit tastes good and has some nutritional value.  So I’ll pick it.

Simple fact:  Most American Christians know virtually nothing about their professed faith.  They’ve NEVER read ‘The Bible’.  Most have never picked one up — except to have in their hands like everyone else — at a church service they did not want to be at.

What they DO know about the supposedly foundational texts at the core of their belief system are the selected phrases of those using the bible for their own messaging purposes.  For instance:  ‘Do unto others — before THEY do unto you first’.

Then there’s the whole ‘pick-n-choose’ quality of American Christianity.  Some rules they like, others not so much.  You’d think they were choosing sides at a fast food restaurant instead of the ‘Rules’ by which they would live.  ‘I don’t know — murder’s horrible and all but if you really have to…’.

Maybe the perfect illustration of how most American Christians really feel about their faith comes from one of my favorite movies ‘Clockwork Orange’.

Alex is a heartless criminal.  He’s murdered a woman after a whole ‘career’ of causing havoc and finally, he’s ‘paying for it’.  In prison he appears to all like a model prisoner bent on reforming himself.  The Prison Chaplin sees Alex reading the bible (or ‘bibble’).  Assumes he’s taking ‘the right lessons’ from it.  However…

If the Jesus ‘story’ was true (meaning — all the window dressing added on to Jesus’ very simple message) — and Jesus DID have a second coming and returned to earth — ALEX would be how most American Christians would think of and ‘approach’ Jesus — not as his follower but as his tormentor.