Friday, November 30, 2007

We Deserve What Is Coming

My friend Blake Haney started something on his Blog Humid Haney the other day that brought a number of people into the discussion.

I thought I would repost some of the conversations here and see where it goes. If anything, I worked too hard on my responses not to see them uploaded here :)

Blake wrote:
We Deserve What Is Coming.
I know what I think is going to happen to the Republic of America in the next 10 years.:

The breakdown of the economy. The schism in our society with those who want to keep supporting the limitations on civil liberties "to keep us safe" and those who wish to break free from state control. The haves and the have-nots getting more spread out and ranks increased. The effects of the lack of investment in our higher education and infrastructure.

And I think we deserve it because we are stupid. We are lazy. We lack vision. We are scared and too religious. We let the media and our government play us.

What do you think?

What got me going was a response by “Charles” that seemed to reflect what I hear often in the public media or on conservative talk-shows:
What country out there provides more hope for the average citizen than the U.S.? Got one? What's their population?
My plan for personal success, regardless of national debt, civil liberties, religion, or media:
1.)Work Hard
2.)Lead a moral life
3.)When a problem arises, don't complain; solve it.

This rather “flippant” response moved me to respond with this:

Good, and unfortunate, assessment. I tend to see things in a very similar and theoretically grounded way. Max Weber said as much would happen to any society which "rationally" operated, yet the rationality created class/status/power system of stratification would become "rationally" impermeable as those groups who control scarce resources seek to maintain those resources. Weber is pessimistic about any social change emerging from this system--only that tensions will emerge as people "realize" that the so-called "fair" system is nothing of the sort, but even then what will be required is a "charismatic" leader to emerge to carry the cause. Even if this is achieved, this charismatic leader can take on the humanistic virtues of Martin Luther King, Jr., or the totalitarian characteristics of a Hitler.

Charles, I really have to laugh at your comments. I don't know whether to take you as serious or as a flame artist. I'm afraid that if you are serious, you reflect the naive tenor of many in American society who do not see the truly oppressive and unfair state we live in--all of us, except those who control between 1 to 5% of wealth in this society. Both Weber and Pierre Bourdieu lay strong foundations for the way those who sit below the top class/status/power tier "legitimate" the existing oppressive and unfair social system, thinking the system is indeed fair and just. Until a good number of us realize how this system is working against our own self- and species interest, and then work to educate others about it, we are not going to see any signficant social change. Unfortunately, by the time we do realize this, it may be the end of our society as we know it.

I'll have more on this conversation in the next post.

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