Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scratch Beginnings

So, in college, I had this Marxist professor (I know, surprise, right?) and he made us use that book that advocated Popular Democracy (Europe's model for government) over what we are currently supposed to have, a Democratic Republic.  I say 'supposed' because we haven't been that for a long time, but no one is admitting it. 

In simplified terms, a Popular Democracy is a government that, when a party wins, they just vote everything in with no real debate because massive changes only require slightly more than half of the people to tell the other half how they're gonna live, and a country experiences massive changes in a hurry, and usually it all ends badly.  Massive debt, broken medical systems, shady business practices, etc...

The US is there now too, but it took us a long time to reach that because we're a Democratic Republic.  A Democratic Republic requires massive conversations for everyting because there is no such thing as a simple majority rule.  Big changes require super majorities to pass anything.  On the bad side for most modern thinkers, there is no such thing as 'immediate government' help because the parties will not agree or compromise.  I often hear people get upset that they just won't compromise.  Compromise for what though? 

Set aside that they are not there to compromise.  They get sent there to represent their voters views.  People have different views.  It should not be surprising that people from Illinois will see the world differently and want their representative to act differently than people from Idaho.  If the representatives 'compromise' they are representing none of their voters wishes in the name of doing 'what's best for everyone'.  But they aren't there for everyone.  They are there for their voters.  So compromising is a betrayal of their constituents. 

Every time they DO compromise, it leaves us in a worse place.  You want to speed up that process?  Think about it.  One group doesn't want to change anything, another group wants to change everything.  So they compromise.  They change a little.  Now expand that over 100 years.  Little by little, each compromise scored by the people who want to move away from the Constitution is a victory.  The people who wanted to keep the Constitution in place didn't get anything out of that compromise, they just lost a little bit more of their freedom every time. 

That's all that compromise has gotten us.  No more compromise.  Instead of looking for people who want to compromise, we should be looking for people who will fight tooth and nail for what we believe.  No compromise. 

In the book, they talk about how no one in the lower classes can get out now; that everyone was doomed to die in the class structure they were born into.  Which is also a lie.  And ignores that by proposing a Popular Democracy is a form of class segregation by supporting a class of people who get to dictate to others.  That was a problem in Feudal times when Robber Barrens owned all the land and all the fields, but in our society, we jump up and down quickly through 'classes'... I even hate the division implied by classes... the fact that we move up and down that ladder so fast totally makes the idea of 'class structure' irrelevant.  Why would I be supportive of implementing a class structure where one group gets to make all the rules and give themselves benefits and live at my expense?  It's just self-imposed segregation by a bunch of people who want you to believe that they are against segregation. 

Our ability to own property changed everything.  It made us answerable to NO ONE.  Our ability to own a gun made us dependent on NO ONE.  But, through compromise we are losing our rights to be self-reliant to groups of parasites that want to live off the hard work and labor of those of us trying to do things the right way.

It also talked about a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called 'Nickel and Dimed'.  The book (I read it) was essentially a 'whoa is me' tale by a journalist who made the accusation that no one can ever escape poverty because we don't have enough government programs.  That's right, the thousands of government programs costing us TRILLIONS of dollars a year aren't enough to fix poverty.

First, duh.  The reason poor people are poor is largely because they spend more money than they make.  Whereas rich people tend to make more money than they spend.  Sure, some are there by chance, everyone has a story, but most cases result in people who simply are bad at budgeting their finances vs people who offer something people are willing to pay for.  It's not fucking rocket science. 

When I was in basic training and technical training in the military, we all got paid the same.  But some of us, over time, magically had more money than others.  Strangely, those of us with more money didn't spend as much as those who were perpetually broke.  By modern reasoning, even though we all got paid the same, I would have to give up my savings to those who spent more than me to 'even the playing field'.  How in the hell is that fair to me?

The reality that people to like to acknowledge is that some people are like funnels.  You can poor money in them and it might last a little while, but they are always draining.  Some drain faster than you can poor money on them if given the chance.  It won't matter how much money you give them until they've been taught to plug the drain and manage their budget.  People think throwing money at them will fix the problem, but if there is going to be safety nets, there should be strings attached.  One of those strings should be a person or a computer program that monitors their spending and suggests or requires them to make changes.  Hell, Mint does that for free online right now.  Just require them to get a damn Mint account and adopt the suggested changes in spending.

Second, if the trillions we spend isn't enough, than what the fuck is?  Her point is that we need to do more, but last time I checked we're fucking broke.  There's nothing else to give.  The welfare state has broken us AS IT CURRENTLY IS, so where in the fuck does she propose we get more money to be 'enough'?  Sometimes, you can't fix broken people.  It's a shitty reality, but people, at SOME point, have to be responsible for themselves.  At some point, people have to take an interest in their own life and take the steps necessary to fix their own problems.  And even more depressing, there are some people who cannot be fixed and will always be broken.  I'm not suggesting we abandon them, but giving them a free ride is not encouraging them to fix whatever is wrong in their life.

Suffice to say, I disagreed heavily with her pronouncment.  If you read it, you got the impression she assumed she would fail; or even intended to fail.  She had a narrative she wanted to write about and she made it happen.  But, using that same logic, thankfully, I came acrossed a guy who felt the same way I did.  He didn't just disagree, he proved she was wrong.  He went out with his name, $25, the clothes on his back and didn't use any of his previous life like his education and previous work experience, and lived as a homeless person and worked his way out in 1 year. 

Adam Shepard, 'Scratch Beginnings'.  It's awesome.  Definitely a must read for anyone who's ever been afraid of losing everything. 

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