Looking at Society from the Bottom Up

Ninety-four percent of the people in our prison system never had a trial

Because the system is designed to deny them a trial. In fact, the students I teach who have the longest sentences, went to trial, and they were punished for it. Because they stack charges against you, and then they barter, like a poker game. But if you go to court, all of those charges are arrayed against you. And they have to give you a longer sentence because they use you as an example. They say, “Look he went to trial, or she went to trial, and that’s the sentence they got, so you better take the sentence we’re offering.” You can understand the awful dynamics of the corporate state by looking at what it does to the most vulnerable among us, and the best place to do that is in a prison where corporations have reached their deadly tentacles down to every facet of prison life.«

The above is a quote from a speech given by Chris Hedges, the former New York Times war correspondent who has seen a lot of evil in the world and recognizes much of it here back at home. It is hard not to learn from what Mr. Hedges has to tell.

Most of us working Americans are fortunate not to be held in private prisons as a kind of modern day slave making money for the private prison owners through the public funds received per prisoner and through slave wage labor forced out of us by making us pay exorbitant prices for a mere pair of shoes or phone calls home – so that the prisoners eventually leave prison with a large debt which they can’t pay since nobody will employ them, bringing them right back into prison for not paying their “debt.” Still, when we lower our vantage point to the lowest in our society – those who do not have a chance to change their circumstances by moving to better parts or changing employers – we can learn a lot about the moral compass of a society characterized by predatory rigging, which has us trapped, too.

The same moral compass, or lack thereof, which allows millions of our most vulnerable fellow citizens to be locked up and exploited without a trial (or by a kangaroo court, when they insist on their right to a trial), is also behind the way things are set up for everyone placed a little higher on the dung heap of our society. In this badly-formed society, those at the top reap most of the fruits of everybody’s work and are declared owners of most of the world we inhabit, while the rest of us must struggle all our lives to create and uphold these benefits of the rich whereas we get a much undersized fraction of our jointly-produced prosperity and our jointly-inhabited planet for ourselves. Example: currently, the bottom half of all Americans have to share a measly 1% of America’s wealth. Imagine a room full of people who together baked a pizza and half of them must share a paper-thin slice of it, while a single guy (if they were ten people) gets three quarters of it.

I am not, by nature, a jealous person who begrudges my financial betters their wealth. In fact, I am not a very material person. What bothers me, however, is when our society is rigged to disempower most people, robbing us of options and a say in our own affairs. Naturally, that is exactly how a dung heap society is set up; otherwise not that many people would enter and stay in the treadmills which their lives are from the cradle to the grave — the treadmills which keep the rich and powerful rich and powerful. All my life, I have been denied the time for doing what I most want to spend my life with, because I had to run in treadmills set up for me by society’s enthroned parasites and because turf warriors on the dung heap sabotaged my intended work for a better world out of fear I might encroach on the turf on which they were accomplishing much less, but which they jealously guarded lest they might slip lower on the dung heap.

A dung heap is not a good kind of society. Even the ones at the top sometimes get to smell the stink, say when they have to drive their luxury cars past unwashed homeless people or when – in a moment of honesty – they ask themselves why they inherited such opulence and power without doing anything to earn even a fraction of it. What is worse: the universe presents us with challenges and problems we need to fight together (like diseases, decrepitude, and natural disasters); but it is very difficult to do so when our society pits us against each other in a constant power struggle, many trying to claw themselves upwards on the dung heap while kicking downwards and pulling up the ladders behind them, and others who don’t join this unholy fight still finding themselves beset with obstacles and sabotage. In the aforementioned pizza metaphor, we could simply make a bigger pizza instead of fighting over a small one, and then go from there to tackle nature’s challenges.

I truly believe we need to work towards a better society based on ethics and dignified human life, as well as a clear view of nature’s challenges, rather than the demands of King Money. To do so, we must come together in open discussion of our various challenges and search for solutions — especially solutions to abolish or minimize the counterproductive infighting that’s built into our system. Shedding the smoke and mirror of our partisan politics, which divides us down the middle and blinds us with false flag issues, is a good starting point. I hope that here on Political Storm we can learn to do that, rather than make the false flag fight even worse by further hyping up our artificial divide. The real issues are much more systemic than this or that bad name in politics, or this or that oligarchy-serving political party, or this or that graft scandal, or this or that flavor of our deceptive mass media conglomerate. Let us not be overly distracted by those. Let’s take a good look at the dung heap instead and search for some real good pitchforks. As Chris Hedges said in the referenced speech: “The more concessions we make to power and privilege, the more we diminish the capacity for justice and truth.”

In these coming Christmas holidays, maybe we should ask ourselves what the world of human beings should really be about.