Still reeling from the election. I was wrong again, of course. But I was even wrong about the victor! The bad guys won. Even they were surprised! Mind you, the good guys were hardly good. Just less bad. And even that judgment hinged on wishful thinking. We’ll never really know.
I somehow need to rid myself of the poison and vitriol streaming through my system and I cannot. Not yet. This kind of thing eats at me like a cancer. It is so wrong on so many levels.
One of those levels, of course, is that this blog is supposed to be about living-off-the-grid. So, I am kinda wrong just to be writing about politics. So, I’ll curb my tongue for awhile. Again. You know how it is for me. I can only go so long without ranting but I’ll try to stuff the spleen back into the bag. For a while, anyway.
Still, I have a bit of a tangent rant to share today. Something indirectly related but not specific to the election. Kinda philosophical. Here it is: Capitalism and democracy are, in our current thinking, good things. If not good, then better and more efficient than many other such systems. Democracy for the voice it gives the people and Capitalism for the efficiency and supposed egalitarian nature of markets. And I think to some extent there is some truth in those views.
But what about the combination of them? And, even more important, is that all we need?
Prior to the ascendancy of Democratic Capitalism or Capitalist Democracy, we had morals, value systems and a number of things in life that were not commodified, not monetized, not boiled down to dollars and cents. We would not engage in slavery, for instance, regardless of how much money could be made, because it was morally repugnant. We had values. We had ethics and we had things that money simply could not buy.
That has all changed. Now we will sell and buy anything we can. Human organs, political favours, degrees from universities, even wombs are for rent. We have put a monetary value on virtually everything. And in doing so, we have sidelined morals, values and the Golden Rule. The result is rampant greed, corruption of institutions and focusing of governments on the almighty dollar. We have become a society – an international society – of whores.
One could argue that it is not my business if someone rents out her body in surrogate motherhood and, I suppose, it isn’t. Nor, I suppose, is it my business if they are prostitutes. And I suppose anyone can choose to take drugs or not. Freedom of choice. But those decisions, when combined, can lead to destructive lives, sick children and incredible social costs, not to mention sadness and tragedy. In the past, we intervened in that person’s life on a moral basis. And we had the morals to back us up.
Now we don’t.
Today, the governments of the world have abandoned morality as a factor in their deliberations. Gambling is legal. Prostitution is mostly legal. Surrogate motherhood is legal. Organ donor selling is legal (and where it isn’t, it is hidden by fake organ donations). We sanction anything we want and we usually want.
None of this is enough for me to even write a blog. Honest. Ugly and sick is part of the human condition. Old news. But when Capitalism and Democracy co-mingle without morality present as a chaperone, trouble can and does ensue on a large scale. They create wars, for instance. Next thing you know, that pair could screw up the planet. And then, like social and cultural decay, we have environmental decay and then we all suffer.
Put more succinctly: it is yin and yang. Again. Capitalism and Democracy together sometimes merge the worst of both, it is not always for the best.
Sometimes the egalitarian, for-the-greater-good aspects of Democracy are eroded by the avarice of Capitalism and sometimes the efficiencies of the markets are turned into amoral monopolies by manipulation of so-called democratic systems. The rich get richer and poor people don’t get elected.
I believe that is what is happening all over the world. In all walks of life. It is not just Microsoft/3M/Starbucks/Google becoming ubiquitous, it is their ‘way of doing things’. Starbucks morality. And Starbucks morality is profit oriented. The Capitalist way. The values of the local people are expunged if they want to work at Starbucks. To be a citizen of Starbucks and work there, you drop the values you were raised with and you adopt the new corporate ones. It’s better. You get more money. Starbucks gets more money and your Islamic grandparents are left scratching their heads. So are the Catholic grandparents of your co-workers. Their values are no longer their children’s values. Money is the only guide.
And, of course, sometimes the Starbucks/Microsoft/corporate lawyer gets elected. And governments start to think like Starbucks. They consider selling naming rights to civic buildings, selling exclusivity rights to Coke in schools and selling ‘fast-lanes’ in government line-ups at the borders.
We sell out.
Is it any wonder that our governments are so inclined given that they are made up of so-called successful people who have mainly just drunk the kool-aid? Is it any wonder that ‘bottom-line’ is more important than clean air or water? Or profits take priority over nature? Is it any wonder governments, that just a few decades ago would have been jailed, are now re-elected with their crimes and faults fully exposed? All they have to do is chant, ‘Jobs! Money! Prosperity!’ and they will be re-elected despite evidence of corruption and evil. They can even show disregard for the common good. Why? Because we have accepted that Jobs, Money and Prosperity are the most important things. We don’t want jobs and prosperity for all. We want it for ourselves. Pass the kool-aid.
Doing the right thing? Fuggedabout it! Wealth is the new false idol. And Democratic Capitalism is sold as the most efficient way to get it.
We don’t need no stinkin’ morality.