-Religious Freedom: for some-

Sometimes, people tell me I should feel grateful to live in a country where we are free to worship God in any way we choose.  These statements always burn me from the inside out, like acid in my veins.

People mistake their personal situation for the general situation.  They think that, because they are free, the entire country is free.  The truth is, if you are a white Christian of a recognized denomination, you ARE free to practice your religion in America.  But if you choose a different faith, there’s a gun butt to your jaw and a dank, dirty jail cell waiting for you.

In Rastafari culture, there is a very important religious ceremony known as a ‘Reasoning’.  A reasoning is a simple event where the Rastas gather; smoke ganja; and discuss ethical, social and religious issues.  Many people do this in America as well, without even realizing it is a sacred religious ritual.  Unfortunately, reasoning is illegal in America.

There exists in America a similar custom which is tolerated by the law.  It’s called ‘Holy Communion’.  A Holy Communion is a simple event where the Christians gather, drink alcohol, and discuss ethical, social, and religious issues.  Sound familiar?

My question is: What is the difference between the Communion and the Reasoning?  If your mind is free of prejudice, there is no difference.  But the bigots that comprise the ‘powers that be’ will always try to ‘teach’ you by installing their prejudice in your mind.

They say that cannabis is an evil plant that has no spiritual value, but my life experience says otherwise.  These old eyes have personally witnessed the mystical effects of cannabis on the hearts and minds of my fellow humanity.  I have seen ganja impart empathy and conscience to those who previously had none.  Cannabis has transformed simpletons and petty materialists into theologians with complex philosophical ideas.  Ganja has awakened the spirit of individualism and free thinking in those who were previously hard-coded robots.  It has broadened the perspectives of many, and turned those who partook into better people than they were before they tried it.

Do you ever wonder why hippies care about the environment?  Its because they have been reminded of their responsibility to it through the smoking of the sacred herb. Some people don’t smoke cannabis, and instead prefer alcohol.  These tend to be the ones who care nothing of the fate of humanity.  They are cut off and numb to the world, and spiritually dead inside.

Not to bag on alcohol too much, we all need a drink now and then, but I’m tired of this commonly propagated lie that alcohol is harmless and cannabis has no value.  They say that cannabis is a petty escape from reality.  That may be true of alcohol, but not of the sacred herb.  Cannabis is a mild psychedelic.  It is not an escape from reality, and anyone who uses it with that intention will be sorely disappointed.  Cannabis amplifies reality.  And if you have any skeletons in your closet, cannabis will shove them right in your face.  That is why the evil ones cannot partake in it.

There is a saying amongst potheads: “Man made beer, and God made pot.  God is perfect, man is not.”

But whatever your opinions of cannabis and alcohol are, there is one argument you must consider:  The first amendment to the Constitution says that the government cannot prohibit anyone from the free exercise of their religion. Considering the fact that many religions view cannabis as a sacrament (including certain sects of Christianity), shouldn’t this make anti-pot laws unconstitutional?

Why should some denominations of Christianity be able to get together on Sunday, drink alcohol, say that it is a sacrament that helps them commune with the Holy Spirit, and that’s fine with the law. But if a Gnostic or Rastafarian church wants to do the same thing with pot, its a crime? Is this not a clear cut case of religious discrimination, and a government that prohibits the free exercise of one religion while legally respecting another?

Sadly, the pro-cannabis religions are a tiny minority, and their rights are swept under the rug. The problem is, anyone who isn’t directly effected by prohibition could really give a rat’s ass about someone else’s rights. People who aren’t effected by an unjust law are not going to fight it on general principle. Johnny Wasp, as he sips his wine after church, doesn’t care at all that the government violates the civil liberties of Rastafarians by locking them up for pot. It doesn’t effect him.

And our Supreme Court, composed of Justices who are supposedly our wise and uncorruptable social and intellectual betters, doesn’t give a rat’s ass either.  They are so Eurocentric that they cannot even comprehend why cannabis could be considered a religious sacrament.  And they are further motivated by psychological evidence that suggests pot users are more sympathetic to certain political causes.  Political causes that the Justice’s wealthy constituents view as a threat (ie- socialism).  Once again, capitalism trumps religion in America.

We live in a country where selfishness is our only principal. With that weak of a foundation, of course minority rights will be trampled by the ensconced majority culture. If it were THEIR church being raided with SWAT teams and THEIR holy sacrament confiscated, there would be a countrywide revolution the next day. But they could give a fuck if it happens to their neighbor, whose unconventional beliefs seem weird, scary, and mockable.

The truth is, the persecution of cannabis users is just a small part of a much bigger plot to completely eliminate certain trains of thought from the minds of humanity.  This coincides with the systematic genocide of the world’s indigenous cultures.  Religions have existed for millenia that consider certain plants sacred and holy.  Then, the white man stole their land and made their culture against the law.

But the genocide of the Native American and other indigenous races isn’t enough for the American Government. They also feel the need to completely eliminate indigenous cultures from American society. They won’t be satisfied until the last member of these races is dead, and all records of their culture’s existence is destroyed.  They do not want these cultures’ ideas to ‘pollute’ our minds and jeopardize the control that our leaders have over us.

The last thing the ‘powers that be’ want is for members of their own race to convert to these alien ways of thinking.  Thus, they do not recognize the rights of white people to partake in the cultures of other races.  This runs contrary to our country’s professed ideals of many races and cultures coexisting harmoniously.

We live in a multicultural melting pot society, which means that different people living beside eachother will eventually adopt eachother’s customs. Although I am white, I am not strictly the product of white society. MTV and the public school system raised me, just as much as my parents did.

I see American society as a kind of cultural buffet. As an American citizen, I feel entitled to pick and choose which cultural customs to adopt personally. Thus, its unfair for the government or anyone else to say that I am not a Rasta, just because I am white. To me, a person who decides to follow a particular religion is a legitimate practitioner of said religion, regardless of race or cultural heritage. If a fat, rich white kid from New Jersey truly believes in Rasta ideals, then he IS a Rasta.

Sadly, the religious organizations controlled by indigenous races are so scarred by the white man’s transgressions, they tend to distrust us.  This is exemplified by my quest to consume and understand the mystical and hallucinogenic catcus known as Peyote.

I tried everywhere to get this stuff.  No one cold get it.  Not hippies, not gangstas, not even the Mafia!  Finally, I came to the conclusion that the only person who could hook me up was a real bonafide Native American.

So I went to their churches, and got the door slammed in my face many times.  I asked Native Americans that I knew in every day life to let me in, and they angrily spurned my attempts.

Eventually, I got close enough to one of these guys to get him to really talk to me about it.  But he was still reluctant to take me to his tribe’s peyote ceremony.  When I asked him why, he would always respond:

“Its ours.  Its not for your kind.”

But he knew that I was sensitive to the Native Americans’ plight, and he knew I understood that their race was dying.  And so I said to him:

“If you don’t share your culture with me, then it dies with you.”

Understanding that all I wanted was to understand, he let me into the inner circle.  Realizing that I was truly with them in Spirit, my friend and his tribe allowed me to partake.  And I learned much wisdom that I will never forget, and carry with me into the world at large.

By converting followers of different races, the Native Americans can ensure that their culture lives on, even if their race dies out. One of the great things about culture is that it outlives the people who create it.  Unfortunately, Rastafarians can be victim to this same paranoia about white people, but I have won their trust as well in times past.

The knowledge that curiosity about other peoples’ ways of thinking has given me has transformed me into a much better person than I used to be.   And I credit both that and my complex understanding of theology to the consumption of entheogenic substances.  So you’re never going to convince me that  these chemicals don’t have spiritual value.

Instead, I will know that I am oppressed, and that Freedom of Religion in this country is a lie and a sham.  It is yet another benefit of conformity that belongs to everyone else but me and the people I care about.  I will know that I am a slave to a system which does not just try to control my body, but my mind and soul as well.  I will know that not only my behavior, but my very way of thinking is being controlled by a crooked organization that is trying to fuck me and everyone else.  And I will know that this is bullshit.

And whenever someone congratulates me on living in the Land of the Free where everything is gorgeous and rosy, I will always feel a mixture of both sadness and anger in my heart.

JIHAD!

Advertisements

-Any children you have will be used against you-

Ever wonder why Republicans just love to talk about “family values” and why you should never get an abortion?  It’s because children make for great political leverage.  They want people to have kids, because a father or mother is easier to control than an individual with no offspring.  A person once willing and able to stand up for their rights will inevitably, upon becoming a parent, bend over and allow the government to rip their rectal lining to shreds with its spiked, rusty dildos.

And you can’t really blame the parents.  After all, human beings have deep-seated paternal and maternal instincts.  And this is a psychological weakness that Republicans are the masters of exploiting for fun and profit!

First, they convince you to have kids, then, you become their slave.  This is how it works:  When you are young, they bombard you with media and advertising brimming with sexual overtones, which makes you horny as a dog in heat.  They tell you to hold it in, and that abstinence works when it has been proven, repeatedly, to FAIL.  They do not tell you about condoms or the pill.  When you finally give into your natural urges, you are too ignorant or brainwashed to use protection, and then the miracle of conception happens!

You try to go to a clinic to take care of the problem, but an angry mob of protestors chases you away with scary pictures of aborted fetuses.  Your conservative parents tell you: “Sure, you can get an abortion.  But after that, we will disown you.  Forget about college or having a future.”  And so, defeated, you decide, under duress, to carry the pregnancy to term.  Of course, your parents will tell all their friends at the country club how proud they are of you for “deciding” to have the child “of your own volition”.  Your parents are pleased as punch that this unwanted pregnancy happened, because it gives them power over you that they would have otherwise lost on your 18th birthday, and saves them the horrible pain of empty nest syndrome.

At this point you are utterly screwed.  You are obligated to your parents for supporting you, you are obligated to whatever employment you can find, no matter how poorly they treat you, and you are obligated to this mewling, worthless, incomplete person that is the fruit of your loins.  You have no choice but to do what you’re told, fall in line, and “go straight”.  Because otherwise, the ass you risk is not your own, but your child’s.  And who is going to risk their child’s ass?

Soon, you will be voting Republican, because they want to give you a child tax break, despite the fact that every child is a tax burden and giving people tax breaks for having children makes utterly no fiscal sense.  If anything, people with children should have to pay MORE taxes.  Public school isn’t free.  There are too many people in the world and not enough resources, and the last thing the government should be doing is encouraging overpopulation by handing out child tax credits.

After a few years of having kids, you will throw away all of your bongs, sex toys, and heavy metal albums because the conservatives will convince you that they could “corrupt your children”.  Then, because you are jealous of all the childless people having a good time without you, you will support conservative-backed legislation to outlaw all of these things because they don’t “promote family values”.

And family values will become so important to you that any politician who champions these values will get a free pass on all of his other policies.  You won’t even notice the war they start in some foreign country halfway around the world, because you will be too busy empathizing with Sarah fucking Palin for being such a strong working mom, just like you.

And as the war drags on and on, guess who will be fighting and dying in it?  That’s right.  The same kids those Republicans convinced you to have, or else you would go to Hell for aborting them.  Apparently, population control in the form of birth control or abortion is a mortal sin, but once that kid is 18, sending him off to die in some pointless war so the DOW Jones Average will go up a point or two is fair game.  I read that Sarah Palin’s oldest son is joining the military.  With any luck, both of his legs will be blown off in Afghanistan by an IED, and he’ll return home to no benefits.  We’ll see how Republican he is then.  The suicide rate is 4 times higher for veterans.  You gotta like those odds.

And businesses love to hire family men too, because it makes them that much easier to manipulate in the workplace.  “Can you work late tonight, Charlie?  Of course you can!  Because if you don’t, you’re fired and your children will DIE of STARVATION because YOU’RE A WORTHLESS DEADBEAT PARENT.  Now get back to work, maggot.”

And if you ever do try to have a little fun, don’t let word of it get around to Child Protective Services.  They will raid your house, find your stash, and tell you that if you don’t narc out your supplier, they will take your children away!  Oh No!  So then you become an informant against the Mafia and end up being fitted for a nice new pair of cement shoes at the bottom of the river.

Of course, not all children are conceived accidentally.  Some people actually have the audacity to CHOOSE to conceive, rather than adopting one of the many starving orphans all over the world.  This is, of course, completely based in selfish desires.  Nobody wants to raise someone else’s child.  They want to have THEIR child with THEIR DNA, because THEIR child will be the best child EVER.  THEIR child will be Jesus, Vishnu, and Buddha all rolled into one.  And they will be able to mold it in their own image and dress it however they want, just like the dolls their conservative parents bought for them as children.

They want to have THEIR child, because he will be the best at sports, win 5 Grammy’s, be the first man on Mars, and solve all the world’s political problems someday.  And then they will bombard you with pictures of their children and mundane stories about how great they are.  “Maybe someday you’ll be selfless enough to bring a life into this world,” they’ll say.  They neglect to mention the fact that you are the one paying for their child’s education and healthcare, despite having had nothing to do with the conception of that child.

FUCK YOU SARAH PALIN.  We all know it wasn’t your daughter’s choice to keep the baby.  We all know Karl Rove put a gun to her head.  We all know it was the Republican Party that made that choice for her, just like they would love to make it for the entire country, if they could.

But it’s OK though, because when Bristal Palin’s baby turns out to be a complete fuckup due to the poor circumstances in which it was raised, you will be able to cut it off and kick it out of the house at age 18, because that’s what conservative parents do when their kids don’t turn out they way they’d hoped.  It’s called “Tough Love”.

Sarah Palin, you smarmy, smug, catty fucking bitch.  You are nothing more than a Republican Hillary, and that’s a double negative.  .

The Enemy

I’ve seen an infinite source of energy
Used to decimate our enemy
I’ve seen rockets that could reach the depths of space
We spat them in our enemy’s face
I’ve seen wealth that belonged to me and you
Appropriated by a selected few
I’ve seen speakers of truth crucified
By those who would rather believe in lies
Between Angels and Demons, Heaven and Hell
Our greatest enemy is ourselves.

The Libertarians

Here’s some more old writing I’ve resurrected.  I wrote these dialogues in 2004.  Enjoy.

The Libertarians

by J. Tourdet

Father: Well, son, it looks like its time for you to go out into the real world. I can’t provide for you any longer.
Son: But Dad, I’m only 6 years old!
Father: That sounds like a personal problem to me. Your problems are not my responsibility. You will have to survive on your own merit.
Son: But Dad, I don’t even know how to read! You wouldn’t even let me attend public school!
Father: Public schools are for Communists, son.

********************

Son: Gee, Dad it sure is too bad that the judge court ordered you to take care of me until I’m 18.
Father: Its a travesty of justice that the judge won’t let me do what I want to with the fruits of my own labor- ie: you.
Son: well, I guess you will have to abide by their decision. It is the law, after all.
Father: We’ll see about that, son.
Son: Hey, Dad, where are you going with that AK47 and a map to the judge’s house?
Father: The second amendment is a viable check to the government’s power, son.

********************

Son: What are you doing with that bucket of oil, Dad?
Father: Why, I’m setting it on fire, son.
Son: Isn’t that kind of a waste?
Father: It’s my oil to waste, son. The fact that I’m burning this oil does not prevent some guy in Somalia from burning oil in his own garage.
Son: Dad, our house is on fire!
Father: It’s my house to burn, son.

********************

Son: Dad, our house is on fire!! Don’t you think we should call the fire department?
Father: That would be immoral, son. The fire department was established with public funds garnished from people’s wages. Why should we make them pay for the fact that our house is on fire?
Son: So what do we do?
Father: We’ll just have to put the fire out ourselves, son.
LATER……..
Firefighter: Would you like some help putting out your house fire? We might still be able to save some of it.
Father: Get off the charred remains of my lawn, you Commie bastard.

*********************

Son: Why do we have to live in your car now, Dad? Didn’t you have home insurance?
Father: The government is always trying to force me to insure things… my car, my house. What a ripoff! Its basically just a government enforced protection racket! Not only that, but our rates go up because of other people’s stupidity! The whole thing smacks of the Red Menace to me.
Son: Well, if we’re gonna live in your car, can we at least park it on the street?
Father: Public roads are for Communists, son.

*********************

Son: Dad, I fell off the swingset and I think I broke my leg! We need to get to the hospital!
Father: I’m afraid I don’t have the money or health insurance to pay for a doctor, son.
Son: Can’t we just go to the free clinic down the street?
Father: That would be immoral, son. Those clinics are paid for with money collected by force from hardworking people. Why should they have to pay for your mistakes? Nope, I’m afraid we’ll have to fix this ourselves. My diagnosis: amputation.
Son: But I don’t want to have my leg amputated!!!!
Father: Its the only way, son. Now bite down on this paint stick while I go get the chainsaw.

**********************

Son: If Communisim is so ineffective, then how come the Russians were the first people in space?
Father: They may have been the first, but we did it the right way: using capitalism.
Son: I don’t understand, Dad. I thought that NASA was publicly funded.
Father: Come to think of it, you’re right, son. We should set up our own space mission, libertarian style!
Son: How are we going to do that without the cooperation and funding of millions of people?
Father: We don’t need all that, son. Just go sit on that keg of dynamite in the backyard. Liftoff will be in ten minutes.

************************

Son: Dad, can I ride the merry go round?
Father: No, you can’t, son.
Son: But that kid is riding it!
Father: Well, he had a quarter and you don’t.
Son: Why should he have the power to ride the merry go round just because he has a quarter and I don’t?
Father: Money is not power, nor does it entail privlege. It just allows certain people to have and do things that others cannot.

*************************

Father: Here’s your lunch money, son.
Son: This isn’t money!! These are just carved wooden figurines of Michael Jackson!!
Father: Yeah, I spent a whole day’s worth of human productive effort on those. They have to be worth something.
Son: But how will I use them to get food?
Father: See if you can trade them for food. But don’t accept any cash, though. Federal Reserve notes are for Communists.

**************************

Son: Dad, you’re always ruining my life. Maybe I should kill you in your sleep.
Father: That would be a violation of my natural rights, son.
Son: What the hell is a natural right?
Father: Natural rights are rights intrinsic to all people. Everyone is born with natural rights, such as the right to live. We call them ‘natural’ rights, because they come from nature.
Son: What the hell are you talking about? Our dog is always trying to kill our cat! Last week he bit off the cat’s leg!
Father: That cat is a commie, son. The dog is justified in wanting to eat it. Besides, why should it be the dog’s problem that the cat can’t run fast enough?

***************************

Son: I think I’m gonna go live with the neighbors. They aren’t crazy libertarians like you, Dad.
Father: No. You cannot choose to live with them. They are commies. You are not allowed to choose communism. Thats how libertarianism works; its all based on mutual consent and freedom of choice.
Son: Screw you, I’m gonna live with them anyway.
Father: Fine, but their commie system is bound to collapse!! And if it doesn’t, I will start a war with them to ensure that it does!

***************************

Son: Its great that you’ve decided to hire a chauffer Dad, but why did you hire a blind man?
Father: I can hire whoever I want. Its my car and my money.
Son: But he doesn’t even have a liscense to drive!!
Father: Liscense??? That sounds like a bunch of government red tape to me!
Son: But you can’t expect him to drive safely!!! He’s freakin blind!!
Father: Laws against blind people driving are discriminatory and selective. Your lack of support for equal rights disgusts me, son.

Debeers, Artificial Scarcity, and the Drug War

“If you look at the effect that the law has on the price of narcotics, it is clear that the function of the law is to protect the Cartels.” – Milton Freidman, Nobel Prize winning economist

In order to understand the Drug War, a good place to start would be the diamond industry.

Did you know that diamonds are actually worthless?  Their value is created by manufacturing an artificial scarcity.  A company called Debeers has a virtual monopoly on all diamond mining.  Not only that, they have the world’s largest reserves of diamonds locked in a huge underground vault in Europe.

If you understand the basic economics of the inversely proportional relationship between supply and demand, then its obvious why Debeers hoards all these diamonds:  to release them all to the market at once would be devastating to the price of the product.  Basically, as supply goes down, price goes up, and vice versa.

And thus we have the hallmark of late-stage capitalism: the commoditization of goods once freely and readily available via the manufacturing of an artificial scarcity that forces the consumer to pay more for the product.

Bottled water is a classic example of this.  Water used to be free.  Then, water supplies became polluted.  Now, you have to pay for purified water, being sold by the some of the same companies that polluted the water supply in the first place.  They create a problem, then sell you the solution.  The treatment is always more profitable than the cure.

The same thing is happening with the drug war.  At one point in time, drugs were freely available.  If not for the interference of governments backed by big business, drugs would grow everywhere.  They would grow out of the cracks in the sidewalk.  People could quite easily grow poppy, coca, and cannabis in their own gardens, and these plants would essentially become worth about as much as tomatoes, bananas, or any other easy-to-cultivate agricultural product.

The government often calls its actions against the drug supply “eradication efforts”.  It would be more appropriate to call them “scarcity efforts”.  Because the goal of these operations is not to eradicate the crops, but only to make them more scarce.  If the most powerful governments in the world wanted to erradicate a plant, I assure you that they easily could.  Erradication isn’t the point: the point is control of the supply, control of where the money goes, and, most importantly, creating an artificial scarcity that makes these crops worth trillions instead of pennies.

NATO’s newest opium erradication effort is a classic example of what I’m saying.  Notice, they aren’t going after the opium farmers, they are only going after the labs within Afghanistan that turn raw opium into heroin.  They don’t want to screw with opium farmers who ship their raw product to European countries like Turkey to be processed into heroin and distributed by the Eurpoean cartels.  They just want to cut the Afghanis out.  They aren’t trying to erradicate the supply, they are just trying to control it.

The entire purpose of the drug war is to take a product worth pennies and make it a product worth trillions by creating an artificial scarcity.  That is the one and only purpose of the drug war.  And all these “sheeple” voters who think that the Drug War is for the purpose of saving their precious children from the jaws of addiction are simply being duped.  I would feel sorry for them if I weren’t so disgusted by the bigotry in their hearts that makes them willing to put non-violent drug offenders in jail for no morally justifiable reason.

And thus, in trying to convince these types of people that the drug war is bad for humanity, I have abandoned moralist and idealistic arguments in favor of more effective appeals to their self interest.  We must explain to these people, how much the drug war costs them personally.  Even if you’ve never done drugs and have no intention of doing them, the Drug War still hurts you.  Its a huge tax burden, its a social injustice that causes civil unrest in the homeland, and it exposes us to national security risks by effectively shipping hundreds of billions annually to our worst foreign enemies.  If not for prohibition, this money could stay within our country.

On Healthcare

I would like to take this opportunity to voice support for some kind of public healthcare system.  This is in opposition to the Republican Healthcare Plan, aka “Work the Poor to Death”.  (to give credit where its due, the Republican plan would probably reduce the number of uninsured in America: by allowing them to die off)  Never have the lyrics to one of my favorite Dead Kennedys songs “Kill the Poor” rang so true.

Consider this:  A businessman owns an automated factory.  Machines do all the work.  If one of those machines breaks down, the factory owner pays to have it repaired.  Before that even happens, the factory owner will pay to properly maintain the machine.  This is the basic courtesy that they extend to the machines in their employ.  And yet, for 40 million American workers, this basic courtesy is not offered by business owners.  What is being implied by this action?  That machines are more valuable than human beings?  Is that what their cost-benefit analysis told them?  I suppose they are right: human resources are limited only by our capacity to reproduce, and thus human lives are not as valuable as physical resources: oil, coal, gold, and heavy machinery.

In case you are unfamiliar with the practice of American medicine, here’s how it works:  First, they diagnose you with a disease you don’t have, then they prescribe you treatment you don’t need, which eventually leads to you getting strung out on drugs.  Being a member of the ADD generation, I have witnessed this cycle many times, often carried out on children as young as 6 years old.  You can’t trust a capitalist doctor any more than you can trust a capitalist car mechanic: ultimately they are both trying to make a buck off you.  Its really sad when you can’t trust paid experts, but the truth is their loyalty only goes as far as the money you pay them.

Our corporate employers tell us we don’t work hard enough, then send us to doctors who hand us methamphetamines and tell us to work harder.  And having your healthcare dependent on your employer doesn’t exactly make for a mobile workforce, either.  Its a clear conflict of interest.

And that’s if your employer offers health coverage.  For all the private-sector bitching about the looming danger of a public health monstrosity, I’ve yet to hear the CEO of McDonald’s take responsibility for allowing all of those workers to go uninsured in the first place.  The private sector created this problem, and it is their failure.  That’s why I have no sympathy for their complaints of government involvement in their business.  The necessity of public healthcare in this country would not exist but for the negligence of the private sector.  They had their chance to do right of their own free will, and they blew it.  Now its time for the government to force them at gunpoint to take care of their employees.

I know what its like to be one of those 40 million, because I used to be one.  The funny thing about having divorced parents: when it comes time to pay for shit, they both point at each other.  So yes, my wealthy parents allowed my health coverage to LAPSE while I was in college, resulting in my not having the means to see a dentist for 7 years, despite being employed AND a full-time student.  A few years out of college I get a somewhat decent job, go to the dentist and he hands me a $15,000 estimate.  Most of the work he has to do could have been prevented had I been able to go to the dentist all those years ago.  To say nothing of living with the pain of EXPOSED NERVES IN MY MOUTH FOR 7 FUCKING YEARS.

Having had that rather unpleasant experience, I have now come to this conclusion:

If the poor of this nation are to spend their entire lives in servitude of the rich, piloting their limousines, cooking their burgers, and building their fucking pyramids, providing healthcare for us serfs, peons, and indentured servants is the LEAST THEY CAN FUCKING DO.  Tax the fuck out of those wealthy assholes and give the people some fucking healthcare.

Even if I were a capitalist, I would be in support of national public healthcare.  Why?  Because, as it stands, American medicine is the most transparent failure of capitalism, besides possibly our higher education system.  The longer this system is allowed to stand, the more people will turn against capitalism altogether, eventually leading to peasant revolt.

But, having said all that, here’s the other side of the coin:

The current healthcare plan being formulated by congress will be a compromise between Republican and Democrat interests that will be doomed to failure.  I blame the Republicans.  Their MO is to sabotage public programs and then blame the concept.

This is what they did with Social Security.  We had a national retirement plan.  Then Reagan and Bush I borrowed from the Social security trust to fund tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate bailouts (yes, they had bailouts in the 80’s, too).  Fast forward to the 2000 election, and Bush Jr says we should privatize Social security because “it has failed”.  Well who borrowed from the trust in the FUCKING FIRST PLACE, ASSHOLE?

By the way, the whole “Privatizing Social Security” plan- pure Republican Genius.  In light of the recent stock market collapse, that would’ve worked REAL WELL, huh?  Yeah, investment bankers are much better at managing retirement funds than the feds.  That must explain why my 401k is doing so well.

I’d trade my car for a train

Aldous Huxley once wrote: “Liberty?  There is no such thing.  Only gilded cages.”

I can’t help but think of this quote whenever I drive my car.

Don’t get me wrong.  Its not a bad car.  Its actually pretty nice.  Its the car I’ve always wanted since I was a kid.  It’s pretty plush: AC, leather, power windows, the works.  It looks sleek and sexy and I can definitely credit it for getting me laid.  It goes fast, and at one time was considered to get good gas mileage (although by today’s standards I’d say it falls short of that mark).

But the fact is, I’ve grown tired of it.  I’m tired of driving it, tired of maintaining it, and tired of insuring it.  I’m tired of being chained to a job I hate just so I can have my gilded cage.  I enjoy the freedom of leaving whenever I want, going directly to my destination, not having to walk at all, and making whatever stops along the way I damn well please, but is it really worth the price I pay for that freedom?  Is it really freedom when I have to work like a dog just to have the means to get to my job?  Sometimes, I wish I could just take a train.

I imagine places like New York or Europe, with their train systems, as idyllic for not just efficient, environmentally friendly transportation, but also social mobility.  I imagine being able to walk down to the corner, hop on a train and be anywhere in the city for the small price of a subway fare.  I imagine how this would effect the entire community in which I live, and how many new, different people I might meet if they were free from their geographical limitations.  I imagine owning a car becoming a luxury, rather than a necessity.  Now THAT is freedom.  Unfortunately, I can only imagine these things because the state in which I live has no public transportation, or at least none worth mentioning.

“Public train system?” you might say, “That sounds expensive.  That means new taxes.”

Well, are those taxes going to be more, per capita, than what it would cost to maintain, insure, fuel, and finance a personal vehicle?  To say nothing of the environmental costs?  Well then shut the fuck up!  Besides, you know what else costs money?  Building roads for your over-privileged white ass to drive a Lexus from the suburbs to downtown every day!  If we’re gonna spend public money either way, why not spend it on a train system that EVERYONE can use, as opposed to roads that a lot of people can’t use because they don’t have the money to buy a car in the first place?

By building roads instead of trains, they FORCE us to buy a car, burn gas, pollute the air, and buy insurance because THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION.  Why would they do that?

Because its a publicly-funded blow job for the auto, oil, and insurance industries, that’s why.  Its yet another public decision being made for the benefit of selective corporate interests.

But don’t mind that.  Be happy you can afford a car.  Enjoy your gilded cage.  Never mind the inefficiency, the wastefulness and social alienation caused by everyone being confined to their personal little transport bubbles as opposed to all riding together towards a common destination.  You too can revel in the brilliance of such urban planning decisions as putting the place where everyone gets drunk 20 miles down the highway from where everyone lives.  Sure, someone might get killed by a drunk driver every now and then, but think of the revenue generated for the police from DUIs!

And when you’re partying downtown and someone hands you a hit of acid, you don’t take it because you have to worry about your precious car, your holy temple of personal transport, your personal monument to capitalism!  So you don’t get loose and mingle, you drive home disappointed and jack off to porn like the suburban loser you are.  Ain’t it great to be free?

Our Classist Higher Education System

Public education definitely has its flaws, but our higher (private) education system in America I think is the penultimate example of classism in our society.

We all know some rich fuckup who had everything going for him, infinite support from his parents, luxury car, all bills paid, and still managed to flunk out of college because he was a bad student or maybe college wasn’t for him.  Conversely, we all know some immigrant badass who had nothing going for him, worked 60 hours a week and still managed to graduate with a 4.0 and move on to postgrad.

However, both of these examples represent anecdotal evidence that is not in line with statistical trends.  Statistically, affluent college students, whose parents give them more help, do better and go farther in higher education.  I mean really its just common sense.  The “all bills paid, free ride” rich kids have literally nothing to worry about except getting good grades, partying, and getting laid.  The rest of us on the other hand, have to worry about bills, rent, wage slavery, and cramming 25 hours of activity into a 24 hour day.  OF COURSE THE WEALTHY DO BETTER!

What really burns me is when these over-privileged brats then go out into the world with this attitude like they’ve achieved something, like they have more merit than the rest of us.  Sorry guys, hate to burst your bubble, but your social status is more the result of the class you were born into than any kind of merit or hard-won achievement.  Get over yourself and your inflated sense of entitlement and accomplishment.

I really busted my ass to get through college.  I had some minimal support from my parents, but I was the last of three kids and the product of a defunct marriage to boot, so naturally I got a little shafted.  I can’t blame my parents for this too much, after all they put 3 kids through school, so I can’t say they didn’t suffer to make that happen, or that they should have suffered more on my behalf.  My parents sacrificed plenty to get us through school.  I’m not saying they should have done more, but the system should have done more.  Financial Aid, Scholarships and Grants were out of the question for me simply because of my parents’ income.

Seriously, I worked full time, and had several side business .  I worked my ass off, and the final GPA wasn’t horrible, but it definitely wasn’t what it could have been had I had proper support.  It would definitely be a major challenge for me to go to postgrad at this point, as it would require doing some more undergrad work to boost my GPA and also take some more undergrad classes related to the field I would like to go into.   That’s just to get in, to say nothing of paying for grad school.

According to a labor study recently released, more people under the age of 30 are staying in school, rather than getting jobs.  Why?  Because the Boomers are working later than expected and the youth is getting squeezed out of the labor force.

I’m under 30, and I went straight from undergrad to the workforce upon graduating college. Parents told me grad school just wasn’t in the financial cards, and I’m not going to put myself through working 50 hours a week AND trying to go to grad school. So I got an entry level job, but I worry about my future, because in a few years all those kids who are in grad school right now are going to get out, and they will immediately be in a higher class than me, and their earning potential will quickly overshadow the meager financial progress I have made with my entry-level job.

It seems my parents’ decision to put their retirement ahead of my education has relegated me to a middle-class existence that will be very hard to climb out of. I don’t fit in with this national trend of staying in school until age 30, and that makes me worry about my future. I honestly wish I had the option of continuing my education, as I think that would be a better investment of the best years of my life than working for peanuts.

Its not so much about “making it” or “doing well” to me, its more about doing something meaningful with my life and being the best person I can be. I really feel as though I am quite capable of doing more than just menial office work. I am basically yet another American moving at half speed, half capacity, simply because no one has entrusted me with enough responsibility or opportunity to show what I can really do.

I also feel as though I need more education, and there aren’t enough opportunities for working class people like me who want to do more for society but simply lack the funding for higher education. The kind of career I want would be in scientific research, which is a field that requires a lot of education, but you end up making pretty low pay and living off grants mostly. And I’m not about to go 5 or 6 figures into debt just so I can get what basically amounts to job training so I can be a more productive member of society. If society doesn’t want to throw me a bone, then why should I even bother? I’ll just stagnate in the middle class existence I’ve been marginalized into and watch the world end on TV, knowing I probably could have done something to prevent it, had someone merely given me the most basic of resources to work with.

Its also a serious thorn in my side to watch these yuppie larva kids in grad school go on to way better lifestyles and jobs than me simply because their parents were willing to do so much for them. It makes me wonder, does the upper class really have more merit than I do, or did they simply just get better breaks in life?

Some parents think: “If I give my kid too much help, he’ll be spoiled and won’t appreciate anything.”  While that is true, the other side of the coin is: If you don’t give your kid enough support, he will be unable to compete and will ultimately lose the rat race that is capitalist education.

Its for all these reasons that I believe Higher Education should be FREE in America, much like it is in many parts of Europe.  If we truly want social mobility and an escape from the feudalistic moneyed aristocracy “the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor” situation we have in America now, this is the only way to go.  And yes, I know this would cost the general public a lot of money.  But this isn’t a handout we are talking about, this is a solid investment in the future of our society.  Especially if corporations are going to outsource/give to immigrants all of our menial jobs!  If Americans don’t want to pave roads and mop floors anymore, put a damn book in their hand and get them doing something higher level.

As it stands, it takes both money AND academic ability to get a higher education.  I say, take money out of the equation and let the common people really shine.  Lets see what they can really do.  I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Sure, a few “off color” people might join the ranks of the higher classes, but what the hell is wrong with that?  That’s supposed to be what America is all about.

Corporate Employment and the Zero-Sum Game

Imagine a pie.  If there are four people splitting a pie, I get first cut, and I cut a piece about half the size of the pie, that means the other 3 peoples’ slices of the pie would have to be smaller than mine.  the largeness of my slice has negatively effected the slice of their pie.  This is what is referred to as a “Zero-Sum Game“.

Back when I was studying economics, I was often presented with the argument that “capitalism is NOT a Zero-Sum Game“.  What that basically means is that capitalists assume that resources are infinite, and therefore the size of one person’s share does not effect the size of another person’s share.  This seems to be a cornerstone of capitalist ideology, because I have heard this argument from many die-hard capitalists over the years.  Unfortunately for capitalism, this argument is complete malarkey.

OK, maybe 200 years ago, when Adam Smith and John Locke were writing the rules for capitalism, the idea of infinite resources was a little more plausible.  Back then, the human race was small, and the Earth was vast and unexplored.  It may have been OK for them to make such an assumption at that time, but in today’s modern age, the idea of infinite resources is becoming more and more an antiquated notion of yore.

I mean, we’ve been off the planet and photographed the whole damned thing from space.  Its just a pale blue dot.  It definitely has dimensions, a finite mass and volume.  Not to mention that we have pretty much staked out every single piece of real estate on Earth.  There are no more frontiers.  So the Earth is definitely finite.

Now, some would argue that the resources of the Universe are infinite, and that’s debatable and definitely pretty hard to prove.  But even if they were infinite, our access to them certainly isn’t.  With our current means of propulsion, it would be impractical to mine the solar system, let alone outside the solar system.

So, maybe, at some distant point in the future, if and when we achieve Star Trek-like technological capabilities (matter generation, free energy, etc…) then we might be able to say that our resources approached the infinite, but in the here and now, our resources are most certainly finite.

Now, back to the Zero-Sum Game argument.  Capitalists will use a variety of means to convince people that capitalism is NOT a Zero-Sum Game.  They like to use the ambiguity of a large scale environment to “prove” their point.

“Sure, I’m a millionaire,” they say, “But there are a lot of millionaires!  Anyone can be one.  Me being a millionaire doesn’t prevent someone else from being a millionaire.”

Now, in the context of the big world, this is almost believable.  But in the context of a smaller-scale environment, such as a small corporation, the Zero-Sum Game becomes obvious.

At any given company, salaries are paid by a finite pool of revenue.  The company only makes so much revenue a year, and thus the payroll is definitely finite.  Therefore, if your boss makes $100k a year, and you only make $30k, and when you ask for a raise the company says “we can’t afford to give you one”, your boss’s high salary is most certainly at least partially to blame for the company’s inability to give you a raise.  In other words, the largeness of you boss’s slice of the pie has negatively effected the size of your slice.

This is why at any given company in America, the situation you normally have is a bunch of hardworking, intelligent, underpaid people doing most of the work, while all the company’s revenue goes to lazy, incompetent, overpaid executives.  This is the truth of our era, and anyone trying to propagate ideas to the contrary is just a wealthy man trying to avoid getting lynched by the working class he rips off on a daily basis.

Who Owns the Truth?

Truth.  The search for truth could occupy several fruitless lifetimes, especially considering how many powerful institutions exist solely to obscure or redefine “the truth” for their own selfish purposes.  Unfortunately, many of these institutions are schools.  Can we really trust our educations?  Where did this information come from, and for what motivation was it released to students?

Is our education biased?  This is a question we must all ask ourselves.  I think its less important for hard science students whose education can be physically verified and peer reviewed, but more important for social science students, especially business, economics, management, and even psychology students, whose education is more politicized and potentially biased by the source.

I believe that our education system is a big part of our current economic problems.  Normally, when I complain about America’s higher education system, I’m complaining about the social inequity involved: the high economic hurdles placed between the individual and their education that effectively serve as class barriers, preventing those in lower classes from moving up.  But there is also something to be said about the way capitalism effects the content of our educations.

Who’s to say that the fact that these schools are private institutions owned by individuals with private interests isn’t effecting the objectivity of the education we receive?  We’ve already seen the role that funding sources play in creating bias in scientific studies.  Illicit drug research, for example, is often funded by the government, and this has caused a lot of the results to be skewed.  We know there is a conflict of interest when it comes to funding sources for research, so isn’t it safe to assume that conflict of interest exists in education as well?  Basically, the crux of what I’m saying is: can you trust your school when its owned by old money?

Old money tends to teach its young that the poor are lazy and stupid.  They instill in the youth a sense of God-given right to rip poor people off.  They think that anyone can become wealthy regardless of background.  They have no idea the extent to which coming from money has effected their lot in life.  Basically, people who come from money have no idea where money comes from.  My old man tried to lay the same bullshit on me, but he forgot to include the bulging trust fund that normally accompanies such an indoctrination, so it was obvious to me he was full of shit.  I guess if he had bribed me, I might have believed him.  I went to business school for about 1 semester and I was so horrified by what they were teaching there, I had to go to Psychology school just to figure out how people could be so fucked up inside!

Right now we have a situation on Wall street where all these CEOs and stock brokers went to the same east coast schools, they were taught the same lassiez-faire, supply-side, trickle-down economic doctrines, and now they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off because everything they were taught is falling apart right in front of their eyes and they don’t know what to believe any more.  This is what is causing a lot of the uncertainty on Wall Street right now.  Harvard and Yale are where the old money grooms its future CEOs and Presidents, and unfortunately, they don’t teach people the truth at these schools, they teach them what the money controlling the school wants them to believe is the truth.

Imagine the horror:  You are born into this world knowing nothing.  You are constantly bombarded with biased news, advertising, religious dogma, and other misinformation.  If you are smart, you know that this isn’t the truth.  The truth costs money.  In order to learn something, you have to put yourself through hell learning it and pay out the ass for the privilege, if you are even lucky enough to have access to an education.  Then, after all that, you find out that most of what you paid so dearly to learn is actually just someone’s self-serving opinion, installed in your mind to serve their interest.  This is what we are seeing in the financial world right now.

It can be hard to admit one has received a biased education.  “What do you mean I don’t know what I’m talking about?  My diploma says Harvard.  Of course, I’m right.”

Sorry dude, you got a degree in bullfuck.

I guess the lesson learned is that you can’t trust anyone these days.  Not your school, not the government, not the media, and increasingly, not even yourself.  So take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

and if anyone knows where I can buy a copy of the real, honest-to-God Truth, let me know.

*DoktorJ prepares himself for a shitload of Bible emails.