The Rude Guy Podcast #72 October 7, 2010
[Capitalism and War]
Rich Zubaty here. I’m sick of political issues. I wanna go back to being the Paul Harvey of Podcasting. I wanna go back to what this show was originally about: IDEAS. This was supposed to be the podcast about ideas. Not political issues and opinions that flit in and out of the daily media babble-sphere. Ideas.
I recently read a bit of Voltaire, the mid 1700s French philosopher who, along with Jean Jacques Rousseau, invented… America. That’s right tea baggers. Invented America. Rousseau gave us the idea that all men are created equal. Even kings and peons. And Voltaire gave us that idea that church and state should be separated. Or else you get madness like the Spanish inquisition, or the George W Bush presidency. Rousseau and Voltaire. So when you see a tea bagger with a “Welcome to France” sign, tap her on the shoulder and tell her to update her sign, because we became France 250 years ago. That’s how the Declaration of Independence and Constitution got written in the first place. French Ideas. Ideas. Powerful powerful things.
Anyway, 250 years ago Voltaire wrote something called the Philosophical Dictionary, which is really just The Rude Guy Podcast two and a half centuries earlier. It’s a grab bag of short bursts on every topic imaginable: god, science, evolution, government, marriage, liberty, and more. Just like this podcast. So that gave me a bit of a psychological boost to keep this podcast going, since it IS interesting and enlightening to see what people were thinking about, 250 years ago…and maybe that’ll hold true 250 years from now.
I also recently read the biography of Henry Ford, the Bill Gates of automobiles. Here’s what he had to say: quote
“The right price is not what the traffic will bear, and the right wage is not the lowest sum a man will work for. The right price is the lowest price an article can be steadily sold for. The right wage is the highest wage the purchaser can steadily pay.” unquote
This from the ex-farm boy who built a peppy light cheap car that put the world on the road. The man who understood what the Japanese were doing 70 years before they did it. As post WW II Detroit continued to manufacture gas hogs, the Japs did what Henry had done 7 decades earlier – they made light peppy cheap cars — and cleaned…our…clocks.
Just before WW I, from which he stood to make mountains of money supplying the troops, Henry Ford proclaimed: quote “Do you know the cause of war? It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars. Take away the capitalist and you will sweep war from the earth.” unquote
Ford pushed hard against the war, damning Wall Street for profiteering from the mass death in the trenches.
Said he, quote: “Business is a service, not a bonanza. [The aim is to] employ a great army of men at high wages, to reduce the selling price of your car so that a lot of people can buy it at a cheap price, and give everybody a car that wants one….If you give all that, the money will fall into your hands; you can’t get out of it.” Unquote.
Ah…the good old days of how America used to be. Make a good product…and make some money. Not, make a good product and have it stolen from you by a corporation. Or, make a crappy product, market the hell out of it, and have it suck the blood of the entire economy, (I’m thinking of recent so-called financial products here) suck the blood of the entire economy, while you make fistfuls of money.
Recently Ariana Huffington said:
“We in the USA have gone from being experts at making things, to being experts at making things up”. Unquote.
Two thirds of all profit made during the Bush administration was made by Wall Street. What the fuck does that mean? The guys, who don’t do anything, or make anything, grabbed two thirds of the money, of the wealth of this nation, for cobbling together obscure financial deals? For running up the price of oil? And housing? And worldwide food prices? For destroying Greece? If labor is capital. If labor is what produces wealth. Where is their labor?
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now just interviewed a stunning Chilean economist, named Manfred Max-Neef, who wrote a book called, “Outside Looking In: experiences in barefoot economics.”
This is an economist who LIVED with poor people in Peru and Chile. He slept in their houses and ate their food and worked alongside them, and one day, standing ankle deep in mud with his neighbor, he realized that as a Berkeley-trained economist, he had not one single thing he could say to this unemployed father of five, about money. No language with which to communicate to a normal human being about money. Should he say to him: you know the GDP is up this year? Or maybe: did ya hear securitized mortgages now have a triple A rating? What bullshit.
He also realized that the greediest people are the people who have the most. The more you have, the more greedy you become. His impoverished neighbors were the least greedy people on the planet…but if Darwin was right, and it’s just a jungle out here, they should have been the most greedy, because they’re the most desperate. But they weren’t. How could that be?
Eventually he came up with five principles for an economy that would actually work, instead of just rape the planet. They are:
1) the economy is to serve the people, and not the people to serve the economy
2) development is about people, and not about objects
3) Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth. We all stop growing at a certain age, but we do not stop developing. We do not get bigger, we get deeper. More knowledgeable and more complex. Development has no limits. Growth has obvious limits.
4) no economy is possible in the absence of interconnected ecosystems.
5) the economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence: permanent growth is impossible
According to Manfred Max-Neef:
The fundamental value needed to sustain a new economy is: no economic system can put itself above reverence for life. Nothing is more important than life. Not just human life. All Life.
That means war is out, and destruction of the environment is out. This isn’t just hippie drivel. It’s an economist talking.
And what will bring these new economic ideas into play? asked Amy Goodman. They will bring themselves about, said he. Probably through catastrophes. Riots in the streets. The French Revolution on a global scale. I’m sorry to have to say it, but, he’s right. We do not learn. Knowledge makes no difference to our behavior. We have tremendous knowledge, but no understanding.
Because people ignore structural violence. Structural violence.
Keeping people poor while other people are obscenely rich is, structural violence. Bombing other countries to bring them democracy is, structural violence. Fracking and mountain top removal are structural violence.
speaking of violence:
couragetoresist.Org is the web site for the organization which is doing exactly what I KNOW, stops war. These are former soldiers who give quote “support to the troops who refuse to fight”. unquote Hallelujah.
Courage to resist…dot org
They help any soldiers, or the families of soldiers, who call them. Lately they have been heading the drive to raise money to defend Bradley Manning, the American hero who allegedly released the Wikileaks collateral murder video, and is now in jail awaiting trial over it. In jail for having the courage to tell the truth. The courage to obey military law, which says, flat out, that knowledge of crimes must be reported. Courage to resist…dot org raised over $50,000 for Bradley’s legal defense, and hired a hot tamale of a civilian lawyer to defend him. Bravo soldiers!
Courage to resist…dot org
I just saw a presentation by a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran named Captain Paul Chappell, that blew me away. In less than an hour of Socratic dialogue, whereby all he did is ask questions, he extracted from the audience, proof, for the principles that: war is not inevitable, that human beings are not inherently war-like, and that indeed, the hardest job of any army, is training their soldiers to kill. That world peace is not a foolish dream, but is actually possible. That the U.S. military would actually be much more effective at protecting us, if it cut its budget by 90% and vastly expanded the “civil affairs” programs, that currently focus on disease prevention, medical and dental care, disaster relief, and building roads, schools and hospitals. He believed, having lived in the military for seven years, that the structure was already in place, to transform the military into a global peace corp, and that, in fact, is the direction it is already headed. Wow!
Right now the military hardware corporations control our government, and keep us in constant war, so we buy their high tech weapons. If we are stuck with the fact that corporations will control our government, better they should be the food and medical and engineering corporations. Those are the kinds of corporations who should be lobbying congress, so that instead of us pouring tax money into outrageously expensive weapons, we should pour our tax money into foods and medicines and schools and hospitals. That’s how to create national security, in a world where wars between large armies have become virtually extinct. Feed them and heal them and build them houses.
Said Chappell: If Americans are doing this humanitarian work all over the planet, any terrorists who recommend destroying the USA are going to be ridiculed and marginalized. “Who will give us food and hospitals if you guys wreck America?” they’ll say to the terrorists. The whole world will be protecting us, spying on the terrorist groups, for us. And for their own best interests.
When it comes to prioritizing government contracts, let’s put General Foods and its cereals over General Electric and its weapons. Let’s put our construction companies over the bomb makers. Let’s put our pharmaceutical companies over the drone makers. Congressmen will still be taking payoffs, but at least they’ll be taking them from corporations that are actually helping the world, and contributing to our national security, rather than the war mongers who are eroding both.
Yes, I know…war will not end in our lifetime, because greedy evil powers have taken over our government, just as President Eisenhower warned about. War is not really about protecting us or bringing democracy to anybody anywhere. It’s about certain huge corporations making enormous profits draining the U.S. treasury and terrorizing the tax payers, by keeping us afraid. General Electric shows us close ups of mad terrorists on it’s NBC subsidiary, so we will buy missiles, guns and military aircraft engines from them.
Due to our constantly aggravated fears, we Americans have built 800 military bases in 160 countries around the globe, and yet we remain the most fearful people on the planet. We spend more on war than every other country in the world combined. But more war and more soldiers and more conquests have not made us feel safe. We’re not gonna simply beat up Iran and North Korea and then we’ll feel safe, because the next day the bastards’ll move the goalposts. Suddenly it’ll be about socialists in Venezuela and, or bearded guys who hate women in the ninth largest country in the world: petroleum rich…Kazakhstan. Get ready for Kazakhstan. The more countries we conquer, the more the people of the world fear us, and hate us, and the more enemies we make.
OK, Here are some audio clips from Paul Chappell’s videos, found online at:
paulkchappell.com/videos/ (spell it out)
Here’s another clip….and another.
The battle that the peace warrior is engaged in, is the battle of altering consciousness. Of convincing your people, the East Indians, that the English cannot suppress you…or your people, the blacks, that the whites cannot suppress you, or your people, the Polack’s, that the Russians cannot suppress you, or your people, the middle and lower class Americans, that Wall Street banks and their corporations cannot suppress you.
Altering consciousness is the key to social change.
But what IS Consciousness
I’m always battling with atheists about consciousness. My bottom line is: until you tell me what consciousness is, you’re in no position to tell me there is no God. Because God, as the Hindus say, is the Supreme Consciousness. We have no scientific model for consciousness. Richard Dawkins, biologist, atheist, and inventor of the concept of the “meme”, says the biggest remaining mystery to him is: what is consciousness.
To me, an interesting example of consciousness is a bee hive. Yes, in the hive, there are individual bees with individual slivers of consciousness. But the thing that is conscious, is the entire hive. Individual bees come and go, but the consciousness of the hive goes on. Every bee in the hive has identical DNA. They’re like the cells in our body. They’re not just brothers or sisters, they’re more like clones. Even the queen and the drones have the same DNA as the workers, but they are fed different diets and thereby different genes get expressed in their individual bodies, so they develop differently.
The hive grows, and collects nectar, and makes honey, and splits into other hives, and defends itself against dangers like fires and bears and wasps. The thing that is conscious is the entire hive. It’s clear to me the directions to manage and operate this entity do not come from any single organism in it.
Are humans like that? Of course. As Peace Pilgrim said: we are all cells in the body of humanity. Through sleeping and waking and death, our individual consciousnesses bleep, on and off, under the continually shining sun of human consciousness. Human consciousness is the sun, we are the photons of that sun.
That’s where things like instinct come from. Not every bee brain has to be a reservoir of all remembered bee actions – like how they should all get together and fan their wings when fire threatens the hive – because not the individual bee, but the consciousness of the “hive”, remembers how to do that. How? I don’t know. But it’s high time to study it and find out. Yes, it’s mysterious, because we don’t have a scientific model for memory either. But I for one, do not think that every bee or bird, or human, has to remember instinct. I think there is a reservoir of memories, called instinct, that is held off-body. Outside the individual body. And I don’t think this is such a strange concept.
I have seen human beings all over the world do the same things at the same age in life. Walk, talk, draw, pursue the opposite sex, become obsessed with fishing, seek God. And how I interpret this commonality of experience is: that the brain does not make consciousness, any more than a radio makes music. The music, or the consciousness, is out there, on the airwaves. And the radio, or the brain, receives it, decodes it, and amplifies it. Plays it.
We have scientific studies of brain damaged people who have lost the ability to taste, or recall short term memories, or use the left side of their bodies. But that doesn’t mean that their taste buds can’t taste, or their memory cells can’t remember, or that the cells on the left side of their body don’t feel anything. Only that the damaged brain cannot decode these sensory inputs.
Agriculture started in at least three geographically separated places on earth, at about the same time: 6000 years ago. Mexico, Iraq, China. And probably Indonesia and India and Australia and other places too. What can explain that? The evidence points to a reservoir of human consciousness that is held off body and outside of time. This happens so often in my writing that I am overwhelmed by it. Ideas, expressions, memes, pop up about the same time by writers who are wildly separated by time and distance and even language. I often swear bitterly under my breath that someone has robbed something from me, only to conclude that they probably never heard of me, but that maybe somehow my newly forged memes descended on their brain from outside of space and “time”.
Consciousness. It’s a beautiful beautiful mystery.
I’ve written more about consciousness in an article called “I Choose Therefore I Am” which is posted on my web site: happyfool.orG
Health permitting, I might be going away this winter. Going Luddite traveling in Mexico or Central America. So if the podcasts stop, you’ll know why. I need to reinvent myself. Life after The Rude Guy Podcast. Or after the first five years of the Rude Guy Podcast. Or something. Even if I go away I’ll be back with this eventually. Might even do a couple reports from the road.
If you like this show, email me. So I hear about it. So I muster the will to keep on going. firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I’ll even read some of your thoughts on the air…and visit my website too: happyfool.ORG
Here’s a song I used to sing while I was driving with my kids, when they were driving me crazy whining and crap-assing about who touched who, or who ate who’s donut. It usually shut ‘em up. Or at least let ‘em know I was not buying into the drama. And sometimes I sang it, just to sing it. You have to imagine me singing this to three year olds.
IIIIIII’m a happy guy, on a happy day, and I don’t know why, I’m such a happy guy…Toooo Dayyy
Stupid, but it worked. Ha ha ha ha
And here, by the way, is an old child raising tip, from me, the first of seven kids. If you wanna make friends with a child under the age of two – even your own – lay down on the living room floor. They will crawl over to you and start pawing your face and cooing and dribbling saliva on you. They cannot resist the temptation of investigating one of those large humans, who they’re always looking up at, down at a level beneath them. Just lay on the floor.
Have fun with babies. They are truly god’s gift to us all.