Financially Stable

Financially Stable

I was recently researching a political topic on the Internet and a dating service popped up that was supposedly connected to being politically involved. It piqued my interest since politics is such a large part of my life so, I checked it out. I answered their profile questions and was then able to browse through the profiles of the women looking for partners. I think I went through something like fifty pages and I only came across one woman’s profile that mentioned she was politically liberal and didn’t like President Bush.

However, what I did come across repeatedly under what these women were looking for in a man was someone who was ‘financially stable,’ and almost as often, they were looking for a guy with ‘Christian values.’ It struck me that not only was this a deceptive dating service but that this was yet another example of the cold and shallow free market fundamentalists as well as their contradictory and corrupt Christian fundamentalist compadres. I was also reminded of the classic book by Max Weber Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic. In short, the ‘Christian’ and the capitalists alike, callously accuse those that don’t succeed financially of being morally deficient. Why? Because in their self-serving, Alice in Wonderland logic, God rewards the virtuous and the righteous with material wealth. Therefore, the richest people amongst us must necessary be the most righteous. So, people like Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Carnegie, Ford, Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Ken Lay, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim & Tammy Faye Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, etc. are good, God-fearing Christians and all of us who have been laid off, downsized, outsourced, screwed by a former employer, seriously injured, etc. are lacking in moral character or strength, lazy, enjoy being where we are, etc.

This just illustrates once again the strangely ironic fact that me, a secular humanist, whom the fundamentalists label as immoral, tools of Satan, etc., have to remind them of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount which encapsulated the core of his teachings. And what did Jesus harp on more than anything else, that those who believed in him should care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the lepers, the prostitutes, etc. and he castigated the rich time and time again for their selfishness while so many went hungry, naked, & without shelter. I’m not going to take the time here to detail all the crimes both morally and economically of the handful of the power elite I mentioned above but I challenge you to even do a cursory review of that den of thieves, liars, pillagers, plunders, traitors, & etc. and you will soon see that this isn’t jealousy on my part but a simple matter of fact. In brief, the vast majority of the wealthy the world over, have made their fortunes by lying, stealing, cheating, framing others, murder, and manipulating their gullible followers into during their dirty work for them. The U.S. and many other countries throughout history have repeatedly gone to war under false pretexts in order to make the rich even richer and more powerful.

Moreover, if that isn’t enough to convince you of what I’m saying, simply take an honest look at America right now, Christmas time 2005. This administration of King Georgie the W. (WIMP), the son of an oil multimillionaire, a former president of the United States, a former director of the C.I.A., & the CEO of dozens of corporations—including a member of the Carlyle Group which has profited greatly from our invasion and occupation of Iraq along with their Saudi Arabian royal family members—is the cruelest administration America has ever known. The Bush cabal is made up almost entirely of wealthy ex-oil (depends on your point of view) and energy executives & they have waged a steady war on the poor. They are trying their damndest to dismantle every social welfare program of the last century. And the height of hypocrisy is that they have the gall to call themselves ‘compassionate conservatives’ and George the wing-nut Bush-whacker declares himself a ‘born-again Christian!’ Yeah, right. He was never born in the first place, he was hatched under some rock.

In other words, not only are these free market fundamentalists & their pie in the sky fellow travelers blind to the suffering of their fellow Americans not to mention the death and maiming of hundreds of thousands around the world in the name of the free market and God, but they also emasculate men here in America by writing them off as losers, quitters, failures, etc. Why do they believe so many millions of hard-working American males are losers? Because they haven’t been able to weather this assault by the crony capitalists and the ‘compassionate conservatives’ who champion the free market & capitalism as long as it works in their favor i.e. little if any government regulation, tax breaks, tariffs against foreign competition but they scream bloody murder when other nations erect tariffs against them, etc. But whenever these captains of industry fail, the first thing they do is go running to the government i.e. us, the taxpayers, to bail them out e.g. Chrysler Corp. Yet, if you or me own a little business and start to go under they say, oh well, that’s the free market!

Furthermore, the American working class and the middle class has been under steady attack ever since good old Ronnie the Reptilian Republican Reagan and his assault on labor unions. Recall that one of the very first things he did was fire the air traffic controllers for life. Followed by deregulating just about every industry you can think of which gave us the Savings and Loan Scandal that wiped out tens of thousands of Americans life savings, and he gave corporate America obscene tax breaks under his ‘trickle down’ voodoo economics package. Remember how those tax breaks were suppose to stimulate the economy because they would allow those poor megalithic corporations to hire back the employees they had laid off? But instead we witnessed record mergers and the beginning of the downsizing of the American workers. And come to think of it, downsizing is the appropriate word because they want to downsize us to the point that we are bugs they can simply stomp on and not have to be bothered with any longer. In fact, this push for globalization on the part of the capitalist cockroaches is a de facto drive to make the entire workforce of the planet wage slaves with no say so, no benefits, no rights, no nothing!

Indeed, why do you think the temporary agencies have been flourishing for the past twenty years or better? And what really blew my mind was when I discovered a couple of years ago while looking for work through the state employment office was that now the temp agencies are working hand-in-glove with the state. So, if you are collecting unemployment benefits and they tell you that they have a minimum wage job through a temp agency, you must take it or risk losing your unemployment. I thought the government was suppose to represent us, not the corporations? Perhaps you haven’t yet had the pleasure of working for a temp agency? Oh, it’s a lovely experience. They talk down to you like you’re some simpleton or loser when they often can’t even speak proper English and their forms are grammatically incorrect, misspelled, etc. It’s all I can do personally to bite my tongue and refrain from asking them at times, just how far did you get in school? And they have the nerve to talk down to me? It’s fitting that little Georgie, the bantam rooster who loves to strut around the world stage like he’s tough or something, calls his crime partners ‘compassionate conservatives’ because as I recall, his daddy used the phrase ‘we’re a kinder and gentler nation.’ Yeah, right. If you include in that group such illustrious figures from history as Attila the Hun, Hannibal, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Genghis Khan, etc. Yep, temp agencies are in the top ten industries ever since that conservative crocodile Reagan took office. It’s open season on the American worker and workers the world over. Nowadays you work for a temp agency if you’re desperate and you are forced to work longer hours for far less than you used to make, you have no medical benefits and live in constant fear of you or your children getting sick, and usually you’re lucky if you make a dollar or two above the minimum wage. Of course the politicians and the corporate chieftains keep voting themselves wage hikes though. Those poor guys! How can you expect someone like the former CEO of AT& T who was forced to lay off 11,000 employees in order to save the company from bankruptcy but tripled his salary to $140 million, to get by on a mere $40? Why, that’s just plain un-American to expect such a sacrifice from our elite. We, as humble members of the working class must always remember our proper place in the social order & that’s why it’s okay for these temp agencies to make two or three times what we the lowly peasants make and that’s also why they can so casually discard us like they’re simply throwing out the trash when a job is done. Equally important, don’t forget a very important lesson I learned i.e. all that stuff our teachers told us in school about working hard & getting a good education would guarantee you a secure and well-paying job is a fairy tale they tell us to keep us in line or brainwashed so we’ll slave our lives away in their factories and beg them for crumbs.

You’re probably thinking along about now that I’m just some bitter old loser who rants & raves about imaginary wrongs and injustices. So, I’d like to introduce you to someone whom I’m fairly sure you have never heard of and that’s because he has been marginalized by our so-called ‘mainstream media’ i.e. corporate lap-dogs. His name is Noam Chomsky and he first rocked the academic world with his work in linguistics. I admire him though for all his work in the field of political science and his tireless efforts to wake up the masses. And for the record, Chomsky has been put on a list by some scholars, of the ten most quoted people of all time. This list includes Socrates and Jesus. And Chomsky is the only one of this list who is alive. Chomsky has taught at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for over 30 years and M.I.T. is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and certainly here in the U.S. Okay, enough background. Here is why I wanted to fill you in on Chomsky’s intellectual credentials and remember this essay is all about the emasculation of the American worker and how that affects a man and why it is therefore so unfair for women to expect a man be a steady breadwinner when the cards are so stacked against him through no fault of his own. And yes, I am a bitter person and you sure as hell would be too if you had worked as hard as I have for my whole life. I average probably 40 hours per week reading and researching political, economic, social, historical, & philosophical topics. I watch and tape political programs on cable access that most people aren’t even aware of. And for the past two years I have been working on a writing project that has grown to over 1600 pages so far. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but I have earned the right to speak proudly of my efforts and compared to most good little capitalists and Christians, I am light-years ahead of them in terms of knowledge and understanding how this world works and how those bastards destroying our lives and the environment are getting away with it—so far!

“Capitalism looks successful partly because it’s always had a lot of slave labor.” (Chomsky, Class Warfare) The advertising industry or what we used to refer to as Madison Avenue, has made us a nation of shallow materialists. This has led to the point now where the powers that be only value us for our consuming habits which put even more of our hard-earned money in their hands and we are no longer citizens in the traditional sense. We’re a consumer society not a civil society. And the public relations industry has duped, fooled, & manipulated us to the point that we really are a nation of suckers or sheep just bleating for more toys, junk food, sports distractions not unlike imperial Rome with their gladiator games in the Coliseum, and like sheep waiting to be shorn, the masses of Americans bleat ‘Bush, Bush, Bush,’ just like lambs or should I say hogs going to slaughter? The almighty buck reigns supreme and the corporate behemoths pull the strings of their political and media flunkeys to keep us dazed & confused and believing we’re living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Next, Chomsky briefly lists a few of the major institutions which have emasculated us in terms of undermining our democracy and which continue to keep us in our subservient place i.e. under the jackboots of the true elite—don’t let them fool you when they pretend to be anti-elitist, recall that both Kerry & Bush were members of Skull & Bones—those megalithic monstrosities we used to refer to as transnational corporations. And the three major tools for an unholy trinity of the WTO (World Trade Organization), the IMF (International Monetary Fund), & The World Bank. I must say here that Chomsky has been a real life-saver for me because it is all too easy to start doubting one’s sanity after awhile when so many around me have mocked and jeered at me over the years because they have either never heard what I say or they can’t understand it. And I dare anyone to doubt or question Chomsky’s credibility because this man is a true scholar and can substantiate every statement he makes with his extensive footnotes and bibliographies. The powerful who are in control right now, dare not allow Chomsky on national television—though there have been a few exceptions but he was restricted to such ridiculously short fragments that it makes him look like he’s not able to rebut effectively—because if he were allowed say a half hour to elaborate on an important topic, he would really shake up the sleep-walking consumers. It’s critical that those holding the reins of power maintain this mass illusion of freedom and democracy and therefore they can’t and dare not allow those brilliant scholars, writers, thinkers, artists, etc. amongst us to gain too wide an audience. Why? Because if they did, the general populace would start to awake from its long, national slumber. Why do you think they won’t allow the coffins of our young soldiers returning from Iraq, to be shown on national t.v.? Because they learned that lesson from the Vietnam quagmire in which after several years of seeing their loved ones come home dead, the ‘silent majority’ eventually turned against our Vietnam adventure. I know I sound rather cynical at times but we do still have a few remaining trappings of a democracy and the semblance of some rights or freedoms and that’s the only thing keeping those evil bastards from simply declaring this a dictatorship.

Of course, we didn’t get here overnight. Chomsky points out that the corporations started getting real worried back around the 1930s and spent billions in a massive campaign to ‘reeducate the public.’ Corporations made their employees attend ‘economic education programs’ in the factories and places of business where they worked & their stated purpose was to ‘teach people what we want the truth to be.’ In brief, propaganda films drilling into workers, unions bad, corporate leaders good. Chomsky also states that about ‘one-third of the material in schools was produced by the business communities,’ e.g. textbooks, teaching materials, etc. “Churches and universities were also targeted for subversion. Even sports leagues were taken over. The huge entertainment industry was enlisted in the cause.” Note the charade on the part of the conservatives especially on the FOX network which is the house organ for the reactionary right-wing extremists currently in the White House, in their periodic denunciation of the Hollywood lefties in the entertainment business? Most of Hollywood’s powerful march dutifully in line with the crusading Christian capitalists. Sure, there are a handful of celebrities who dare to stand up and speak truth to power like Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Barbara Streisand, etc. but they are dwarfed by the vast majority who either silently go along or who take an active part in the war propaganda machine.

Furthermore, Chomsky goes on to inform us that ‘the anti-communist crusade was tied up with the business leaders brainwashing campaign—my description. ‘That’s its true meaning. It was a way of using fear and jingoist sentiments to try to undermine labor rights and functioning democracy.’ ‘We’re only a quasi-capitalist economy and business itself called for government regulation a century ago because capitalism under laissez-faire was destroying itself i.e. the Great Depression.’ (Today, under the Bush junta, laissez-faire is back with a vengeance) “Workers here didn’t get the rights they had in Europe until the mid-1930s. Europe had them fifty years before us, even in reactionary countries. By the end of WWII, almost half the U.S. workforce thought they’d be better off if the government owned the factories….which is a horrifying idea to pure totalitarians like business leaders….Our philosophy is to rob everything as much as possible and forget about tomorrow….Deregulate everything, enrich the rich, which is what privatization is…and if something goes wrong, turn to the public for a bail-out….You don’t care what happens down the road and you don’t care what happens to anybody else. It makes perfect sense. If it destroys the world, well, it’s not my problem.” (Chomsky, Class Warfare)

Not your problem? I’d like to know where those dildos think they’re going to go when the planet is no longer inhabitable? But unfortunately for the rest of us who do still have our sanity, this is the mindset of the mercenary moguls and the masters of the universe who can’t see any further than the next fiscal quarter. In conclusion, I want to remind you that besides the blatant election fraud of the 2004 presidential election, the most decisive factor in the ‘reelection’ of the butt-boy from Crawford was the Christian Right which are working their feeble, little brains day and night in their effort to make this a fundamentalist Christian nation where adultery is punishable by death and they are in total control over every aspect of our lives. Think I’m out in left field? Check it out for yourself by reading some of their literature. They don’t try to hide it. It’s all over the Internet, in their publications which they’ll gladly send you, etc. Yes, these good ol’ Christians who have killed abortion doctors, blessed the genocide of people of color the world over, want to force us to pray to their idea of God in public schools, want to eliminate the teaching of evolution, want to sanitize television to where only the Hallmark channel and Disney would be allowed to be shown, etc. are seeking to subjugate us all and in that respect, I see very little difference between their fundamentalism and that of those who attacked us on 9/11 or those Iranians who took us captive in Teheran, or those in Afghanistan who stone women to death if they don’t cover their faces in public. I am also reminded of something else Chomsky pointed out in another book i.e. America started out as a nation with a group of fundamentalists called Puritans. And this got me thinking about how those fundamentalists treated Quakers—they’d brand them, cut their nostrils, slice their ears off, etc.—or how about how they treated the native Americans and the old ladies who practiced herbal medicine or danced around in the woods. You know, the ‘witches’ they burned alive, drowned, or hung. If you confessed, you were spared the torture but still killed. And if you didn’t confess, those good Christians took great delight in watching you suffer in excruciating pain. Finally, and so as to not end on an entirely negative note, I want to share with you a bit of wisdom from Nietzsche who really rocked the 20th century in terms of his influence on artists, writers, thinkers, scholars, poets, dancers, theologians, etc. etc. etc.

The Eulogists of Work

Behind the glorification of ‘work’ and the tireless talk of the ‘blessings of work’ I find the same thought as behind the praise of impersonal activity for the public benefit: the fear of everything individual. At bottom, one now feels when confronted with work—and what is invariably meant is relentless industry from early till late—that such work is the best policy, that it keeps everybody in harness and powerfully obstructs the development of reason, of covetousness, of the desire for independence. For it uses up a tremendous amount of nervous energy and takes it away from reflection, brooding, dreaming, worry, love and hatred; it always sets a small goal before one’s eyes and permits easy and regular satisfactions. In that way a society in which the members continually work hard will have more security: and security is now adored as the supreme goddess. And now—horrors!—it is precisely the ‘worker’ who has become dangerous. ‘Dangerous individuals are swarming all around.’ And behind them, the danger of dangers: the individual.
—Section 173 from The Dawn by Friedrich Nietzsche

In conclusion, Christian fundamentalists & free market fundamentalists have one core belief in common and that is their belief in authority. The Christians live by an absolute belief in the authority of the husband in each family and the authority of their church fathers. Free market fundamentalists believe in the absolute authority of the free market and the authority of the president and the authority of the C.E.O. of each corporation. So, please explain to me why I or the millions of other poor slobs who have been downsized, outsourced, made redundant, etc. are suppose to be financially stable or else we’re written off as losers and corporate C.E.O.s, televangelists, and President Bush can be so fiscally irresponsible that they’re running us into financial ruin as a nation & yet they are still held up as exemplars of moral virtue by the fundamentalists.

For instance, Jim & Tammy Faye Baker were living like jet-setters and yet while Jim is in prison, Tammy Faye is back on t.v.; Jimmy Swaggart was spending his congregations money on hookers; Pat Robertson was suppose to be helping poor Africans & instead bought himself a diamond mine; we’ve had wave after wave of corporate scandals with Enron, World Com, & several of the major stock brokerage houses just the most recent examples. All these corporate rip-offs of their shareholders, their employees, & ultimately the American public because we’re forced to bail them out, couldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for the look the other way attitude of the politicians. Don’t forget that Ken Lay was one of King Georgie the W’s largest campaign contributors and Bush called him Kenny boy but once he was busted, George claims he barely knew him. And another connection is back when ol’ Ronnie Reagan started opening the floodgates by deregulating industries left and right, we had the Savings and Loan Scandal & Neal Bush, the current president’s brother was involved in that i.e. Silverado Savings and Loan in Colorado. Or how about the blatant conflict of interest with our current vice-president who not only receives a pension in the neighborhood of $400,000 per year from Haliburton but also owns over 450,000 shares of Halliburton? And don’t tell me it’s just a coincidence that Halliburton was awarded the no-bid contract for not only rebuilding Iraq but also New Orleans. And don’t forget that Halliburton has been busted several times for overcharging us and for not providing the services or the products they have already been paid for. Moreover, our Christian knight in shining armor i.e. the Bushwhacker from Crawford who poses as a lamb of God, should more rightly be referred to as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s morally bankrupt and he’s trying to bankrupt the federal government so we’ll be forced to stop funding every social welfare program. The only things he and his compassionate conservative cronies in crime believe the government should pay for are the military—because Georgie boy & co. are all war profiteers—the Pentagon, & the police to keep the rabble in line i.e. that’s all the rest of us who haven’t been invited to the feeding trough of the federal treasury. Bush told us that the Iraqi oil would pay for our little excursion into the Middle East and so far we have spent something like $280 billion out of the U.S. Treasury. When Clinton left office we had around $4 trillion budget surplus and in less than half the time, Bush has turned it around to where we have like a $7 trillion budget deficit now. We are spending billions per year just to pay the interest on our national debt. Bush passes laws like the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ but then doesn’t provide the funding for it. We have over 45 million Americans with absolutely no health insurance. Our borders, our harbors, our airports, our nuclear plants, etc. are seriously open to terrorist attacks but instead of beefing up the security at these critical points, the Bush junta keep dumping billions into the Iraqi quagmire where crooks like Bush’s old buddy, Chalabi, are getting rich by lying to us and using us. The Iraqis hate him and he is wanted by Syria for ripping off a bank he worked for there for millions. Of course, Bush now claims he hardly knew him even though Chalabi sat right behind Bush at his presidential inauguration. Anyway, I could go on and on but I think I’ve more than made my point. These are our leaders and these are clearly not financially or morally responsible men. Therefore, I nor anyone else who has been screwed by this corrupt system we call free market capitalism are the unstable, unreliable, or immoral ones. We are the victims in that we have been duped and have had our lives turned upside down. We have suffered much personal pain, humiliation, and degradation at the very hands of those snake-oil salesman masquerading as successful businessmen, public servants, and holy priests and preachers of God’s word. But God knows who’s telling the truth and who has tried to help their fellow man. And I have a clear conscience. Can Bush say that in his heart of hearts?

To put it differently, I have tried to give you a brief overview of the contradictions in the American form of capitalism but I am not so egotistical to think that my few pages will convince many of my possible readers. No, we have been under such a constant deluge of propaganda and public relations ‘spin’ i.e. lying, for so many decades that I fear it may be too late. The arrogance of American power and the self-righteous posturing of presidents like Bush have convinced far too many of us that we are indeed that ‘City on the Hill’ and that we are doing God’s work. I have been ridiculed and threatened far too many times to count because of the political, social, & philosophical positions I have taken in arguments with family, friends, & strangers. I have felt like an isolated outsider for most of my life and I’m not trying to romanticize it. Believe me, it’s no picnic. People have advised me to just accept the common wisdom or ‘common sense’ repeatedly—especially my own mother. And in times of weakness, sorrow, & loneliness, I have briefly entertained the idea and wished I could ‘fit in’ and just go with the majority. But there’s something inside of me that keeps pushing me forward and that demands I speak my truth. And the hardest price I have had to pay was a few women who I was in love with and who were in love with me but because I was not ‘ambitious’ in their understanding of the word & because their parents feared that I would not be able to provide a ‘financially stable’ life for them, these women broke up with me.

Therefore, I have been written off many times in my life as a helluva nice guy, a very intelligent guy, a loyal friend, etc. but, as not being ‘ambitious.’ For the record, here are some synonyms for the word ‘ambition’ (aspiration, purposefulness, will, determination, eagerness, appetite, get-up-and-go, dynamism, aggressiveness, push, goal, purpose, aim, end, focus, target, intention, objective, desire, dream, wish, resolve, desideratum). I submit that every one of these synonyms apply to me except my goal i.e. knowledge, is not respected in this country where the majority of Americans agree with stupid and simplistic bumper stickers like ‘he who dies with the most toys wins.’ Unfortunately, the word ‘ambition’ has become so bastardized that it has been reduced to a synonym for monetary greed. As I mentioned earlier, I conservatively spend at least 40 hours per week reading, studying, writing, researching, etc. but I don’t think I mentioned that I have been doing this for at least 30 years. No one has paid me to pursue knowledge. No teacher or boss has made me do this. I have driven myself because it’s a longing deep in my soul and I have the audacity to think that I and any others who care also, can make a difference in this world. A positive difference. I want to leave this world a little better place than before I was here. Touching students’ lives and having some cry when I had to move on has been the greatest reward in my life. I don’t believe the politicians, the corporate bosses, the media lap dogs, etc. I have learned far too much to fall for their lies and manipulations anymore. What keeps me going is that once in awhile I either read about someone, see them on a cable access channel, or hear about them on the radio, who have had similar experiences to mine. This is probably all that keeps me from going off the deep end altogether. Today is Dec. 23, 2005 and my heart is heavy because even my own son doesn’t believe in me or have a clue as to who I am. I fear that he thinks me simply a bum. He owns three cars and I don’t own a single one. I am sleeping on my ex-wife’s couch and I’ve been out of work for several months and off and on for several years. I often get drunk at the local pub and I’m angry a lot of the time. This too is part of the price I pay for not being ‘ambitious’ or ‘financially stable.’ I have perhaps one friend and he doesn’t understand or care about hardly any of the things that move me. My health is failing and I worry constantly about dying alone in the gutter somewhere. Yet somewhere deep within the recesses of my soul, there burns a candle that barely flickers but is symbolic of my hope and belief in myself. Financially sound? Stable? Responsible? No my friend. It is they who are unsound, unstable, & irresponsible. It is they who see life in such narrow and perverse terms who will find themselves morally, intellectually, and spiritually bankrupt someday and wish they had put their energies to better use! As Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

—Rob DeLoss, Dec. 23, 2005

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