Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Destroying Democracy With the Power of Concentration

Story: Republicans push for a permanent aristocracy

A large estate tax should be part of a larger overall philosophy that concerns itself with the concentration of wealth. Too much wealth in the hands of too few people destroys democracy and makes any political-economic system underneath irrelevant.

For those in favor of something resembling a pure capitalist world, that can't even be considered without a way to keep in play a very large number of very small players so that none of them has too much power and influence. This is the idea behind anti-trust laws, but they are continuing to be whittled away to nothingness, an ongoing effort with the same wealth-concentrating goal as estate tax elimination.

There is no way a democracy can survive as one unless a huge and continuous effort is maintained that stops the concentration of power. It can be successfully argued that this philosophy is the core idea behind the country's constitution with the "separation of powers" tenet being its main principle. Throwing away a respect for this key component of democracy is dooming We the People.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Democracy's Dead Canary

To me a valid democracy's canary in a coal mine would bee everyone showing an incredible amount of respect to the people elected to office because they are the ones chosen by the people themselves to take care of things. This deference would include the wealthiest and most popular among us. This would be a sign that the canary is still alive, democracy is working, and We The People are being respected as democracy intends.

But it's obvious that's not anywhere near our sad reality where the most wealthy and powerful are figuratively spitting in the face of We The People and choosing the ones who are in office to take care of them only. The very idea of democracy seems to have been abandoned for a system that keeps the name for appearances sake but does not even remotely resemble the idea.

The canary is dead. R.I.P.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fear of Abstinence

Story: Two Georgia Prison Guards Resign After Photo of Beaten Inmate Leaks

The point in the headline of this story is not the issue I'm writing about. I'm writing about the reason the inmate was beaten: refusing to join a prison gang.

When reading this story I was reminded that this kind of reaction may be related to the way atheists are seen and treated by theists. The person who refuses to join a religion is also seen as a threat and open to attack, even when the real threat exists between religions (or gangs) and is openly acknowledged by adherents. Refusing to participate is, for some reason, unacceptable as an option.

This idea is also the central theme of the current popular book and movie Divergent, with characters in this story who do not join a "faction" being the lowest members of society and openly declared to be dangerous. This general motivation is also something I remember from post-Civil War America where African-Americans who wanted to be self-sufficient on their own land and not take part in the economics of the country in general were attacked and eventually either driven off their land or killed.

I think this trait also plays a role to varying degrees in other things that include sexual identity and practices, not having children or getting married, ethnicities, food choices, political parties, sports, and more.

It seems to be the case for a large majority of humanity that not participating in a recognized grouping system makes many of so uncomfortable that we can resort to violence over it. There are certainly circumstances where we need to come together in groups in order to function efficiently, but, like a lot of things we do, we take it too far. This trait is certainly one of the many things holding humanity back.