For the fun of it… 3

I referred to this in an earlier post.

There is something in the psyche of those who either willingly inflict, or allow others to inflict, suffering on others.

They enjoy it. What other possible explanation can there be? The people who demand that what little still remains of the “safety net” be shredded and burned simply have to enjoy the misery of others.

We see more of this with the apologists for torture. Here it is complicated by the apparent willingness to enjoy it at a distance, though I suspect most who champion the practice would never stoop to dirtying their own hands with the blood of others, never assault their own eardrums with the pained screams of their victims, never want to bear the memories of having done any of it themselves, they merely want the feeling of superiority that arises from being able to inflict the carefully metered doses of suffering, rationalizing it all the while in the name of their shibboleth of the moment.

As an aside, one of the more horrifying moments I’ve experienced came one morning on the road, acting as a location guide for a feature film. We were in a small city in Middle America, having breakfast after getting our sunrise beauty shots, and as we awaited our eggs we were treated to the revolting sounds of someone at a nearby table going into a sociopathic level of detail about the physical damage he’d like to inflict on the children of suspects, in their presence.

There was little if any point to commenting, nothing was going to change the mind of this character – a typical Midwestern nobody, of course, who would never get close enough to the situation to do any such thing, and knew it all along. Most likely it was something said to build up his status in the minds of his companions.

As we left, I asked the rest of our small crew about their reactions. We were all dumbfounded. Nothing in any of our minds could have brought any of us to the point where we’d consider anything of the sort.

Now, to return to the original point…

It’s a common enough thing to read, in the comments section of a news story on any social program, posts left by the self-styled “fiscally responsible” sorts who are willing to do just about anything to anyone (short of themselves, of course!) to shave a few bucks off any relevant budget. Most of them fulminate about “handouts” and “layabouts” while going into mind-numbing detail about the imagined transgressions of those who, in most cases, are simply less fortunate, and genuinely in need of some sorts of assistance.

It’s all nonsense.

The true nature of the supposed Libertarian is that of the sociopath. No one else matters. So it’s easy, even enjoyable, to deprive others, in order to accrue more wealth.

The part I genuinely don’t get is the people who will never achieve anything remotely resembling wealth in their own lives taking similar positions, even as they themselves get skinned by those they support.

That’s why all I’m left with at the end of it is the feeling that it’s pure sadism.

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be 2

Note: This is taken from TPM-aholics, where it originated.




What do we want 2050 to look like?

We know a few things already.

It will be more crowded.  Estimates put us somewhere north of 9 billion people worldwide.  Maybe 14 billion by the end of the century.  I might make it to see the 9 billion, unappealing as that sounds.  The 14 billion, well, I’m glad I’ll be long gone for that.

Some nations will be much older, others will be younger.

It will be warmer.  Whether temperature increases stay steady, accelerate, or slow, they will continue for the foreseeable future.  As will weather instability, as we have seen in the last few months.

It might well be drier, and that’s not a good thing, as water is the one thing we absolutely, positively cannot live without.

Let’s leave the global aside for a moment and look at the national – and maybe even closer.

There are two main possible directions for the future.  One is to continue along the increasing corporatization of America, until we begin to resemble something akin to an electronicized feudal state, where ownership of most of the economy is concentrated in the hands of a very few, with the great numbers of people having almost no say or stake in anything.  This is the Libertarians’ ideal, of course, though many of their adherents are foolish enough to believe that they’ll somehow be on the ownership side of the fence.

They won’t.

They’re cannon fodder to the people really pulling the strings.  And they’ll resist that truth to the last breath.

Or we can set about reclaiming the concept of a public good, redefining ourselves in terms of a society rather than simply an economy, and relegating all religious discussion to its rightful place in the private sphere.

Something to work for, don’t you think?

What if that goal was even such a simple notion as that there is no good reason for anyone to have to go to bed hungry, or to not have a bed to go hungry to, or even a roof overhead?  That there is no good reason for a child to grow to adulthood unschooled?  That everyone having basic health care is a huge social positive in many more ways than there are room to list here?

We live in a society.  An economy is just a component of that society, and those who confuse the two shortchange not only this society, they also shortchange themselves.

It would appear that the choice is fairly clear – stark, even.  On the one hand, we can live in Rand Paul’s dreamland, an electronicized Somalia, with no functioning government to speak of and a tiny, cosseted elite exploiting everyone else for fun (more on this in the future) and profit, or we can change direction and realize that we will indeed do better if we all do better.

So, what do you want 2050 to look like?