Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Divided States of America..

Maybe it's the instantaneous availability of current news.. maybe its just that dissension & fighting gets more news coverage. But it seems to me that the US is becoming more & more split ideologically. We have the occupiers at one extreme, & the tea party at the other. The left & the right. The left generally wants more govt, more spending, cradle to grave nanny state solutions. The right wants less govt, cut spending, more traditional american values of freedom & self reliance.

That is simplistic, i know, but is a basic summary of the main differences.

There doesn't seem to be a 'silent majority' anymore. People are leaning to either position, & with good reason. We have had a 'blend' of the 2 ideologies, which has resulted in our current problems. ..$15T in debt & still rising. We either need to go full socialism, or get back to a free market economy. This blend has only given us the worst of both, with rampant corruption making matters worse.

The tolerance of corruption is unbelievable. It's like the leaders think the system is going down, & are letting their cronies grab what they can before it crashes.

The extreme left is pushing for full socialism, of course, & seems to be willing to use violence to get there. They have organized or at least hijacked the occupy movement, & are now looking for violent confrontation to get their agenda in place. Do we think the extreme right will sit by idly while this happens? Violent confrontation seems to be in the not too distant future. A new civil war is brewing with these ideological differences.

And where are our leaders? Our commander in chief is fanning the flames of division with his constant class warfare remarks, & seems to be promoting the left's agenda, & egging on the occupy crowd.

Instead of looking for real solutions to our problems, & healing our divisions, the country is splitting even more, with the full support & encouragement of the govt.

I suppose this is really nothing new.. every so often a nation must define itself.. each generation must choose who they will be. I am very sorry my generation made such a mess of things.. we were like spoiled bratty rich kids who just partied away their parents hard earned savings, then spent more & left the debt to their kids.

I don't think the occupy movement is just opposing corporate greed, or greed in general. It seems to me that most of the occupiers are just as greedy.. they just want theirs. Many of those interviewed want their student loans paid off, or a slice of the pie, somehow. With the rampant corruption in the govt, i suppose i can't blame others for wanting to get in on the gravy train. But surely we realize that there is no free lunch, & someone is footing the bill. Every ponzi scheme ends badly for those at the end.

What is greed? In its basic form, it is just the desire to get ahead.. to build a family, empire, or company. It is a competition to have more that others, perhaps, but it also a desire for security & a better life. Everyone seems to want more.. we are never satisfied with what we have. Many studies have been done that show all levels of the income spectrum wishing for just a little more, then they would have enough. Is greed really evil? If you can charge more for your time or services would you do it? If you can get a better paying job, wouldn't you do it? If sellers can price their products so they sell, but they make more than they need, is that wrong? Apple gets a lot for their iphone, but when the android os came out, it took a bit of their market share.. they have to convince everyone that their product is better, worth more, & price it to sell.

There are laws that prevent monopolies from charging whatever they want, and antitrust laws to prevent organized price fixing. But i don't think the complaints from the occupiers are really about that. They are against capitalism in general.. they are michael moore followers.. dreaming of a utopia where everything is equal. But where has socialism ever worked?

I submit that greed is the fuel that drives people to work hard & get ahead, if they can get compensated. In purely socialistic states, worker production is very flat, because there is no motivation to excel. "The greater good" just does not motivate people like "more for me & my family". China is another good example. When in full socialism, they were stagnant. Once they opened the door to capitalistic enterprise, it has exploded. This is just basic human nature.. there is no changing it or denying it.

But these are arguments about what is dividing us. ..and i think it is good to have the clear choices in the open, not disguised or muddled in politically correct terminology. I think it is a division between a more socialistic direction for the country, & a return to free market capitalism. The next generation will have to make that choice. Mine has made a mess of things by trying to have both, but that hasn't worked at all, so a definitive choice needs to be made.. what kind of country do you want? We cannot just let the extremists & ideologues decide for us. Thinking people need to learn from history, understand the times they are in, & speak up for what they want. I don't think socialism will be an escape from greed or excesses by the elite.. they will still do that, & have the additional power to keep the rest of us from rising to their station, if we so desire.

Isn't this the simple point of division in the US? Capitalism vs. Socialism? 

I have to admit that i am not very sympathetic to the occupiers. These do not seem to be people wanting freedom, but free stuff. But it also seems to be a hodge podge of extremists, criminals, & unwitting dupes. I am not a fan of banks or financial institutions in general. I am too familiar with history to trust them. They take advantage of people & exploit situations to their advantage.. but who doesn't? I would predict that any of the occupiers who had an opportunity to profit from a current event would do so.. just like our congress does when they are lucky in the stock market, just coincidentally related to a bill they are working on.

Self reliance is what made America. Dependence is what will kill it. What made us different from the euro states was we didn't look to the king, parliament, or any lords for our sustenance. Just get the hell out of our way, & we'll take care of ourselves, thank you very much. You don't have to go that far back in our history to see it. But that does not seem to be the direction the country is headed. Dependency & free stuff is what we want, now.

This is also the root of our division. It is defined fuzzily by the media, perhaps, but it is still that basic difference: Self reliance vs. Dependence. Small govt. vs. Big govt. Capitalism vs. Socialism.

"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants."
Albert Camus

"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. 
Yogi Berra 

It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master. 
Ayn Rand 

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes. 
Jack Handey

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