Category Archives: Saving the World

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How to Survive the Trumpocalypse

how to survive the trumpocalypse

I compiled a collection of blogs I’ve written into an E-book entitled “How to Survive the Trumpocalypse,” which is available on Amazon. Below is the introduction and links to all of the blogs:

INTRODUCTION

This book is a collection of essays I posted my blog, TheWiseSloth.com, between 2010 and 2016. The tagline of the website is, “Enlightenment for the masses,” and its mission statement is, “to provide editorial, philosophical, instructional, inspirational and satirical posts in the form of essays, lists, comics, and fiction, which tend to be irreverent, humorous and controversial.”

I choose the topics I write about by asking myself, “What are the most important questions people need answers to?” So I’ve spent years writing about the root causes of people’s biggest problems, which often boil down to politics and economics.

When major events happen in the world, readers will E-mail me to ask for my perspective, and during the 2016 presidential primaries, I received several requests to explain the candidates and the election in general. In response I wrote three essays and three comics analyzing the candidates and the political process. In them I predicted Hillary Clinton would be America’s next president, and I only planned on writing one blog about her victory, because I didn’t have anything to say about her that I hadn’t already said about Barack Obama.

I’d never considered writing a blog about Trump’s presidency, because he was just a bad joke that got taken too far. Then, all of a sudden the joke turned real and wasn’t funny anymore. The internet buzzed for days after the election with people asking what it means that Trump won. How did it happen? What will he do next? What do we do next? Nobody had any idea, myself included. I needed answers to these questions for my own closure.

Initially, I assumed I’d be able to cover the topic in two or three posts, but the end of the rabbit hole turned out to be ten blogs deep. The first four attempted to explain what it means that Trump is president. The last six answered the question, “What should we do about Trump?”

By the time I finished, I realized I had enough content on an important enough topic to make a short book, but after compiling the blogs, I felt the finished product raised more questions than it answered, such as, “How did this happen? What are the stakes? What would happen if we did nothing? Why was I wrong about Hillary Clinton? How far can we question the government? What else can we do?” Since I had already written dozens of posts over the years addressing those questions, I went back and added them to complete the narrative.

The blogs aren’t listed in the chronological order they were written, but each chapter heading includes the date it was originally posted on The Wise Sloth and how many days that was before or after November 9th, 2016, the day of the Trumpocalypse.

Since the essays were originally written to stand alone, some of the information in them is repeated, but it’s presented from different angles in different contexts, which shows how it fits in the bigger picture.

“How to Survive the Trumpocalypse” is divided into seven sections: “Obama’s legacy,” “The root of America’s problem, “What poverty looks and feels like,” “Problems in American culture,” “The Trumpocalypse,” “The moral imperative of civil disobedience” and “What do we do now?”

The book begins with three essays written about/during, Obama’s presidency, because I want to establish immediately that Trump is just a symptom of a bigger problem, which is that America has taken capitalism to its most predatory extreme. All of the essays in the next three sections illustrate how, for the poorest of the poor, life in America has been apocalyptic since 1776.

The “Trumpocalypse” section, which includes all the essays I wrote about/during the 2016 presidential election, leads to the conclusion the reason November 9th, 2016 is such a significant date, is because it was the day America’s economic/political system reached its inevitable conclusion by crowning a corrupt, unqualified, mentally unstable billionaire as its supreme leader. In other words, the system officially endorsed the root of the problem to be the solution.

The government crossed a line allowing Trump to become president. Worst case scenario, the Trumpocalypse was an official declaration of war on the poor. Best case scenario, it was a confession of failure. Either way, now more than ever, every American needs to reassess their perception of reality and start thinking and acting differently, which is why I included the section about civil disobedience.

The solutions I propose in the final section are far-fetched, but I didn’t set the bar so high because I’m naïve. I did it because America has a drastic problem that requires drastic solutions, and lowering the bar isn’t one of them.

My goal isn’t to convince you to believe everything I say. I just want to educate and inspire you. I use a conversational tone and try to inject humor and wit while discussing big topics so you’ll be more likely to read the entire book, think about America’s problems differently and look for solutions nobody has thought of yet.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 Obama’s Legacy 

1. Americans, You’re Not Represented In The 2012 Presidential Election
2. What Four More Years Of Obama Means
3. Why Obamacare Made Me Facepalm

The root of America’s problem

4. The Fundamental Problem With The Economy
5. The Cost/Benefit Analysis of Economic Oppression
6. The Downside of Economic Growth
7. Poverty Is The Root Of The World’s Biggest Problems, And Predatory Capitalism Is the Root Of Poverty
8. What’s Wrong With America’s Tax System
9. The Legacy Of A Billionaire
10. Seven Steps To Becoming A Billionaire

What poverty looks and feels like

11. Why Are Americans So Violent And Unhappy?
12. Life Is Hard Because The System Is Inhumane, Not Because We’re Weak
13. You Might Be Depressed Because The System Sucks, Not Because You Suck
14. What It’s Like To Be Poor
15. The Lottery Is A Microcosm of America
16. Advice For Young Workers
17. How To Escape Poverty
18. Is It Lazy To Not Want To Work?
19. How Predatory Capitalism Warps The Way We Define Maturity
20. This Is How We Live Now: Part 1
21. This Is How We Live Now: Part 2
22. This Is How We Live Now: Part 3

Problems in American culture

23. It’s Time To Stop Guilt Tripping Poor People Into Saving The Environment
24. How Pop Culture Warps Our Perception of Reality
25. You’re Delusional If You Still Believe America Is The Land Of The Free
26. Americans Need To Learn The Difference Between Socialism, Communism And Capitalism
27. The Issue of Race In The Occupy Wall Street Movement
28. A White Man Explains The Context Of The Black Lives Matter Movement
29. It’s Time To Stop Guilt Tripping White People
30. American Cops Are Delusional If They Can’t Understand Why Civilians Hate Them
31. An Intervention With The Police
32. We Need To Talk About Ordering Cops To Beat Up Protesters
33. My Experience With The TSA
34. Is It Moral For Police To Enforce Laws They Believe Are Unjust?

The Trumpocalypse

35. Right Wing Entertainment News Is Making America Worse
36. What I Think Of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders
37. Why It’s Delusional To Vote In America’s 2016 Presidential Primaries
38. Why The 2016 Presidential Primaries Should Make Us All Sad And Scared
39. Why Did Americans Vote For Trump?
40. What Will Trump Do Now That He’s President?
41. Why I’m Glad Trump Won
42. Why Americans Shouldn’t Accept Trump As President
43. How Donald Trump changed my understanding of American politics

The moral imperative of civil disobedience

44. Patriotism Is Not A Virtue
45. Why You Should Not Have Faith In Your Government
46. Why And When You Should Have A Problem With Authority
47. Self-Subjugation Is Not A Virtue

What do we do now?

48. What Should Foreigners Do About Trump?
49. What Should Republicans And Democrats Do About Trump?
50. What Should Racists Do About Trump?
51. What Should Cultural Isolationists Do About Trump?
52. What Should Minorities Do About Trump?
53. What Should Rich People Do About Trump?
54. The Cost/Benefit Analysis of Terrorism
55. Three Things That Won’t Change America, And Six That Will
56. Ten Solutions To Most Of America’s Problems
57. Collapse Is The Product of Unsustainability. Sustainability Is The Product Of Sustainability
58. Why I’m Not Sure We Need Another Occupy Wall Street Style Protest
59. Our Political Model Won’t Change Until Our Economic Model Changes
60. The Quality Of Our Leaders Reflects The Quality Of Our Higher Education System
61. It’s Time To Stop Oppressing The Academically Disinclined
62. A Novel Approach To Taxing The Rich
63. If You Want Everyone To Vote, Then Make Voting Work For Everyone
64. The World Won’t Get Better Until You Stop Being A Consumer Whore
65. The World Won’t Get Better Until You Stop Being A Vidiot
66. Why The World Sucks And How To Save It
67. We Need To Talk About Utopia
68. Conservative Americans, You Don’t Need To Overthrow Your Government To Make The World A Better Place
69. An Open Letter To Generation X
70. My One Point Solution To The World’s Problems


A white man explains the context of the Black Lives Matter movement

Black Lives Matter is an activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence toward black people. BLM regularly organizes protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.” Wikipedia

Like Wikipedia’s definition, most media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement focuses on the issue of cops killing black men and vice versa, which could mislead foreign observers to conclude police brutality is the crux of the issue. More accurately, it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Black Lives Matter is a new banner for an old movement, and if you want to understand the movement today, you have to know its historical roots.

The African American community has been justifiably simmering with resentment and anger since the 1600s. Being a second class citizen will do that to you. Even after the emancipation of slavery in 1863, Jim Crow laws continued justifying blacks’ antipathy towards the American government (and the white people who ran/supported it) until those laws were abolished in the 1950s. Then it still took until the 1990s for discrimination to be completely criminalized.

This puts American race relations in an awkward position today. There are white Millennials who never lived during a time when discrimination was legal. Simultaneously, there are elderly blacks who still remember being forced to drink from segregated water fountains.

So to white children, the struggle for equality can look like ancient history, but in the black community, the wounds of the past are still fresh, and new ones are being created every day. Even though we now live in a time when African Americans can become celebrities, billionaires or even the president of the United States (twice), at least 27% of African Americans still live in poverty, more than any other race in America. Blacks are also at least 3 times more likely to go be shot by police and at least 5 times more likely to go to prison than any other race. Obviously, something is still wrong.

The murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, which inspired the Black Lives Matter movement, blew the problem to the forefront of the national dialogue by dumping fuel onto a 400 year old tire fire of resentment and anger that has been a part of African American culture so long, it has become a cornerstone of their cultural identity, which you can see erupting throughout black culture.

Black comedians habitually fill standup routines and movies with derogatory jokes about white people. Black people call each other “nigger” to spite white people by taking ownership of the term, and despite their intolerance of racial slurs, they’ve invented a whole slew of Caucasian ones they use openly. Black Christian preachers still lecture congregations about how evil the white man is. There are black-only magazines, holidays, music labels, television stations, clubs and clothing lines that blacks use to distance themselves from whites. White racism is such a strong force in the African American community, members are often punished for acting too white. To the extent a black man is likely to be hassled by the cops if caught in all-white neighborhood after dark, a white man caught in an all-black neighborhood after dark is likely to be killed.

With so much bad blood bottled up, anyone paying attention to the history and institutionalization of black backlash wouldn’t have been surprised when, on July 8th 2016, a Black Lives Matter protester shot 14 police officers, killing 5, and admitted he was “targeting white people, specifically white officers.” The shooting didn’t come out of nowhere, and realistically, we can expect more of the same until black America’s grievances are settled.

Many white American Millennials are surprised black people have so much animosity towards them, because they’ve spent their entire lives apologizing to them, treating them with respect, giving them special privileges and walking on egg shells around all minorities. They’ve grown up celebrating black celebrities, making black friends, living with black roommates, obeying black bosses and voting for black politicians. Yet, for all their efforts, they’ve been told that no matter what they do or think, it’s impossible for white people to not be racist. So they’ll always be presumed guilty of subconscious racist microaggressions. Furthermore, white guilt is a form of racism, and it’s impossible for black people to be racist.

If the white population is sitting around subconsciously conspiring to oppress black people, then why do least 26.6% of Mexican Americans live in poverty, which is within 1% of African Americans? Other estimates put the percentages of African Americans and Mexican Americans living in poverty at 38% and 35% respectively, but that still means there are more Mexican Americans living in poverty than African Americans.

If nothing else, this indicates blacks aren’t exactly being singled out. It also raises the question, if anyone should care about blacks lives, then isn’t it equally important for blacks to care about Hispanic lives? Even if blacks are slightly more oppressed, ignoring the plight of Hispanics, and calling dibs on the first place in line to get saved, is just as callous as ignoring the suffering of poor Asian Americans, and putting them third in line just because a higher percentage of Mexican Americans live in poverty.

Poverty isn’t just for minorities either. While at least 3.6 million black children live in poverty, so do at least 4.2 million white children, and their pain is as real and important as anyone else’s. The fact that a bunch of other random people just happened to be born with the same skin color as them doesn’t negate their plight.

Most impoverished white children will never recover physically or emotionally enough from the trauma of growing up poor to escape poverty. Like their black counterparts, they’re only theoretically eligible to become president someday, but for all practical purposes, they’re doomed at birth to work like slaves their entire lives for barely enough to survive, living perpetually paycheck to paycheck, in constant fear of their car breaking down and wiping out their entire life savings. Their employers, and the customers they serve, treat them like second class citizens, and all the hard living they endure, inevitably takes its toll on their bodies, killing them prematurely.

If black people feel like nobody is listening to their cries, imagine how ignored poor white people feel. Not only does nobody care, but the whole world is explosively passionate about their indifference, especially blacks, who should care, because it raises the question, how can white people be the source of oppression when whites are being oppressed by the millions?

Black people should be equally concerned with the fact that police kill twice as many whites as blacks. If there’s a conspiracy to shoot black people, what purpose does the enormous pile of white bodies serve? Police killings shouldn’t be a divisive issue, because black and white victims are two sides of the same coin. Black and white Americans should be complaining about their piles together.

As important as it is for Black Lives Matter to raise awareness of how far blacks are from achieving the American Dream, the movement also needs to raise awareness in the black community of the long-ignored truth that white people don’t live in Whitopia. Rich people do. Everyone else, regardless of color, are varying degrees of wage slaves living in varying degrees of ghettos.

Take a long moment and think about this: Almost half the children in America live near the poverty line, and the percentage is always growing, which proves America has a systemic problem, but it’s not race-related. Every poor person in America is under the same boot. Only acknowledging one race’s plight is myopic and can only make solving the systemic problem less likely.

This is almost beating a dead horse, because Black Lives Matters organizers have already acknowledged all lives matter and clarified it’s nevertheless time for America to get off the pot and do something about their complaints.

yes black lives matter

A Redditor summarized the concept eloquently, “Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!”

The analogy would be more accurate if it read, “Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family. Your uncle gives half the people at the table less than half a portion, but he gives you the least. Then, he keeps most of the food for himself. So you say, “I should get my fair share.” When everybody else says, “What about our empty plates?” You say, “Your plates aren’t the issue. Mine is.” Your comment dismissed everyone and didn’t solve the problem that half the people at the table are starving.

If everyone in America owes it to African Americans to acknowledge their suffering, then African Americans owe it to all of America’s races to acknowledge theirs. As it stands, blacks are demanding everyone reach out to them with an open hand while they hold a closed fist and belligerently refuse to reciprocate what they’re asking for.

Ultimately, every race in America has the same problem. The best way to solve it might not be for everyone to get behind one race, but for every race to get behind each other. Instead of singling one race out for rescue, everyone works in tandem as a unified front.

But before the black community can accept that, someone needs to answer the million dollar question you’ve probably been screaming the whole time you’ve been reading this:

Why are African Americans disproportionately screwed by the system, and is it racially motivated?

Obviously, before the Emancipation Proclamation, the American government, in tandem with the white population, intentionally conspired against, and oppressed, blacks. White Americans born between 1863 and the 1960s were guilty of gradually lesser degrees of conspired oppression. Baby Boomers were the last generation to live in a time with discriminatory laws, and a significantly low number of white Boomers’ decedents still believe in racist creeds. Any conspiracy to oppress blacks ended with the Millennial generation.

Part of the reason it looks like blacks are still being singled out is because the target was taken off their backs about 20 years ago. The white archer is gone, but the arrow is still freshly lodged in the victim’s body.

The arrow is a metaphor for the ghetto. That’s what’s responsible for African Americans’ disproportionately high rates of poverty, violent crime, incarceration and police altercations. The simplest way to explain why/how is by looking at how the same thing happened in other racial ghettos.

The Native Americans, the native Hawaiians of Oahu, and the Maori people of New Zealand were all forcibly relocated off their tribal lands to isolated geographical locations. Since they’d naturally settled in the most fertile, convenient places before white men came along, they were sent to more inconvenient, inhospitable areas. They still could have lived off the land as they always had. It would have been tougher, but they could have made a go of it, but they didn’t have a chance, because capitalists (who just happened to be white) came and introduced the concepts of money and ownership.

Suddenly, everything cost as much money as possible, and the only way to make money was to own a business or work for a business. But employers paid as low of wages as they could get away with, and it costs money to start a business. Even if a Native American, Hawaiian or Maori could start their own business, it would be in an isolated economic wasteland where none of their customers had any money because there weren’t enough jobs to go around. Relocating was easier said than done, because that required money they didn’t have, and more importantly, abandoning their family, culture and heritage.

Once all the land around their homesteads were developed into suburbs with no jobs, options became even more scarce. The higher businesses raised prices, the more the ethnic poor became hopelessly chained in place with debt. The bleakness of their circumstance became a perfect recipe for stress, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, resentment, anger, desperation, violence and drug abuse, all of which became epidemic in their communities.

Since businesses didn’t want to move into areas where people were being driven to extremes by economic oppression, jobs never came to their ghettos, which meant they would always be opportunity-less economic wastelands full of drug addicts who gave up hope and desperate young men who figured out crime pays limitlessly more than minimum wage.

That’s the story of every ghetto in the world, and that’s what happened to African Americans the moment they were settled into theirs. Anyone of any color who lives in those geographical locations will experience the same thing, but not because any racist mastermind is actively tinkering with their lives. The concrete does all the work.

This is why attacking police officers and white people won’t change anything. It doesn’t create job opportunities or lower the cost of living. If the Black Lives Matter movement never amounts to anything more than a white witch hunt, its momentum will be wasted lynching scapegoats, and its only long-term impact will be to distract poor Americans from the real source of their problems: America’s predatory financial system and its control of the government. Until that’s addressed, most Americans, particularly anyone living in a ghetto, can expect to live in poverty and suffer all the horrific consequences that come with it… together.

White people aren’t the enemy. CEOs are. They were the ones who owned the cotton plantations and had the capital to ship slaves across the Atlantic ocean. They were the archers who put the target on African Americans backs. Now America has billionaire CEOs of every color, even black ones, oppressing their wage slaves indiscriminately. To modern business owners, everyone is a disposable resource who is worth less than the products they make.

Since Caucasians are the largest group of poor people in America, they’re actually the most logical ally (and most illogical enemy) for the Black Lives Matter movement in its struggle against the financial system.

However, joining forces with white people to organize bigger protests will only result in the corporate-controlled government deploying bigger columns of riot police to brutally shut down the assemblies the same way they did the Occupy Wall Street movement, which was mostly white. If protesters respond to violence with violence, the only result will be the government justifying further militarization of the police force and erosion of everyone’s civil rights.

The American government doesn’t care about protests. All it cares about is money, because money is power, debt is slavery, and debt-slavery yields the highest, most long term profit (ergo power) margins.

If the poor can pool their resources and build self-sufficient communities that provide free food, water and shelter to its members, then the rich will lose their leverage over the poor and thus their control.

If Americans can coerce their government into prioritizing spending taxes on the necessities of life for all citizens instead of a more high tech police state, then everyone will be free from the desperation and indignity of poverty.

There are multiple approaches that could work, but the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement must be systemic financial reform or it’s just hacking at the branches of income inequality.

If you want to hear about Black Lives Matter from the black point of view, listen to these men:

 

If you liked this post, you may like these:

Macroeconomics:

Microeconomics

Issues in the Workplace


Wisdom is asking the most important questions, and it’s a moral imperative.

Knowledge is having the right answer to a question. Wisdom is figuring out the right answer to the right question. The more you know, the wiser you can become, but until you use a piece of knowledge in a question, it’s just inert information in a data set waiting to be queried. You have to ask yourself questions and use the knowledge in your brain as the variables in the equations in order for your knowledge to serve a purpose.

The more important the question, the more valuable it, and the knowledge required to answer it, becomes, but tallying the sum total of your knowledge is futile. The only thing that really matters is you came up with the best answer to the best question to have the most positive affect on your life. If you’re doing that, then you’re moving forward in life and shouldn’t have time to rest on your laurels anyway.

You can appear wise if you happen to know the right answer to a lot of random questions, but if the question is unimportant, then the only people who would praise you for mastering futility are fools. That’s not the definition of genius. That’s the definition of insanity.

Nobody will ever ask you all the most important questions in life. You’re the only one who can do that for you. If you don’t make a habit out of asking yourself, “What is the most important question I can ask?” then you’re a ship lost at sea, not because you can’t sail, but because you don’t.

Wise people appear to be two steps ahead of everyone else because they’ve already asked themselves the most important questions before they came up, and they’re focused and driven because it doesn’t take external motivation to do what’s most important to you. Far from needing a push, you’ll make excuses to justify doing what’s really most important to you. It takes motivation to act against your beliefs. That’s why there are so many backsliding religious people. Religion is hard to do because it requires a lot of cognitive dissonance to believe in something that fails the test of truth.

Since thinkers have already taken it upon themselves to thoroughly question what’s logically most important in life, they’re more likely to be working towards a logical end goal. People who don’t make a habit of asking themselves, “What’s most important in life?” are unlikely to be toiling towards or defending a logical goal. That’s ultimately how you measure the difference between wisdom and foolishness: by the value of the end goal. You can accomplish everything you set out to by being clever as a fox, but if your goals are unimportant, then you’re just the world’s sharpest fool.

So ask yourself, “What’s the most important question I can ask?” Think about that for the rest of your life. While you’re doing it, bear in mind, the only way to answer a question is to ask more questions, and the more skilled you are at asking questions, the better answers you can deduce. So initially, the most important question you can ask yourself is, “How do you ask a question?” Like most questions, there are a lot of answers, and some are more useful than others. If you need a place to start, I wrote a guide which offers one perspective, and there are thousands more  on Amazon.

As you question your way to enlightenment, you’d be wise to question your answers. Our brains trip us up with schemas, biases, logical fallacies, and all sorts of other reasons to be irrational. To make enlightenment more difficult, many of life’s questions have multiple right answers. Some questions have answers that can’t be proven, but have to be asked anyway. And the most important question you can ask right now may not be the same as anyone else. Plus, no matter how much we learn about life, our understanding will always be at least 99.9% incomplete.

We’re all on lost on our own seemingly futile journey customized to our own life, but we’re also all in the same boat. We’re studying the same data set and sharing the stakes. So a lot of our goals/questions will line up. Sometimes corroborating your answers with someone else is proof you’re on the right track. Other times it’s a sign we’re all making the same mistake.

One thing most of us can agree on is, if a lion is charging at you, then the most important question you can ask yourself is, “How do I not get eaten by this lion?” because if you die, then you’re out of the game. So to the extent that life is valuable, it’s important for you to ask yourself, “Am I about to die?” If the answer is “yes,” then the next most important question you can ask is, “How can I prevent that?” If the answer to the first question was “no,” then the next question you need to ask is, “Are other people about to die, and if so, how can I prevent that without getting myself killed in the process?”

You may be a murderous psychopath who views other humans as soulless piles of atoms, or you may be a sociopath who measures the value of others by how you can use them to get what you want. You may be a religious zealot who measures the value of other people by how many of your favorite prophet’s rules they break, or you may be an abused, broken child in an adult’s body, who hates the world for everything it’s done to you. No matter what you think of anyone else, the bigger picture is that we’re all in this together. It takes a collaborative effort to advance humanity. The more people die, the fewer allies we have to accomplish mankind’s long-term goals. We can’t survive, let alone colonize new planets with utopian village theme parks if we don’t work together, but first we have to save each other.

We all need to survive, and right now the sky is looming with apocalyptic threats so obvious you can’t take your eyes off them. The answer to the question, “Is something coming to kill us?” is “Yes.”

I’ll save you some time decoding the matrix of cluster fucks that are strangling the world. The lynchpin of the world’s problems is poverty. Understand that and everything else will fall into perspective. Fix it, and all its satellite problems will fall away.

But what happens after we fix all the world’s problems and establish utopian settlements on Mars? What’s the next most important question we should ask ourselves then? We’ll see when we get there, but one question we should be prepared to ask is, “What’s the greatest threat to the perfect world?”

It would be logical to prepare ahead of time for an asteroid or futuristic Hitler, but the root of all evil is ignorance. If you build a perfect city and fill it with fools, the first thing they’d do is tear it all down with sincerely good intentions. We’ll never live in anything resembling utopia until everyone is wise. That doesn’t mean we all agree on the same answers, just that we’re all talented, self-driven question-askers who are asking ourselves the most important questions.

Before we become wise enough to live in utopia though, we have become wise enough to create it. Plus, if we all became as genius as possible, we wouldn’t even need to solve half the world’s problems, because we’d be smart enough to not do those stupid things in the first place. This means, the most important thing we can do to create and protect utopia is to learn new things and ask new questions today. The better learning resources we have, the faster and further we can improve ourselves.

This means it’s of paramount importance everyone do something to improve education. There are some free online schools, that could use donations, but every nation in the world should be putting money in a single fund to create one online school with the budget of a small country. If your politician isn’t talking about something like that, you should tell them to start or replace them with someone who does.

With or without the perfect education tool, it’s still up to the individual to decide to teach themselves by any means necessary. It’s a moral imperative everyone asks themselves every day, “What’s the most important thing I can teach myself today?” because you won’t grow until you do, and when you don’t grow, the world doesn’t either. The less you grow, the more the world is full of idiots.

scumbag us

It’s worth speculating what would you do if you became an uberman and all the world’s problems were solved. What’s the most important question you can ask when there’s no threat to distract you… or when death is unavoidable? You’re here, and you’re going to die eventually. There’s more to life than just surviving and preparing. If you only live for tomorrow, you put off living indefinitely. There’s value in the moment, and there’s value to who you are independent from what you can do for society.

Whoever you become is who you have to live with. Who you are is how you experience reality right now, and for the rest of the fleeting moments in your life regardless of anything going on anywhere outside your skin. There’s no point training to be the perfect problem solver, student, worker, artist, citizen or parent if you’re not becoming the perfect you. I could be wrong, but sooner or later, the most important question you can ask yourself may be, “How do I become more me?”

What do you do after that? Well, if you can be your favorite you in the present moment, then afterwards, you’ll have the perfect past to look back on.

Everything I’ve said up to this point may feel more like a guilt trip than an inspirational speech. Nobody can just jump up, become an ubermensch and build an intergalactic empire, but I’m not begging or demanding you to carry a burden. I’m pointing out what an opportunity life is. Every question you ask is a step forward, and the more steps you take, the farther you get. Climbing that mountain yields at least three rewards: the experience of the journey, getting to see above the clouds and being able to say you did it. That’s life, and it doesn’t happen on accident.`

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Poverty is the root of the world’s biggest problems, and predatory capitalism is the root of poverty

The world’s problems are your problems. Even if you live in a safe, middle class suburb, there are still forces creeping into your house that are slowly killing you and threatening the survival of your descendants. If you’re not teaching yourself about the world’s problems and trying to figure out your own solutions, then you’re just waiting to die.

This is serious. There’s a herd of metaphorical bears running straight towards you and your village. Making excuses for why it’s not your responsibility to give your impending demise your full attention is justifying suicide. If you’re not qualified to deal with bears, you need to become qualified, network with someone who is or find a work-around within your abilities.

The world’s problems are so big and complex, it’s dizzying to figure out where to even begin listing them. So I’ll give you some advice that will get you started and save some steps putting everything in perspective. The world’s problems have many seeds, but most of them wouldn’t have grown into towering banyan trees without being thoroughly watered with poverty. If you can fix poverty, then the other evils it creates and exacerbates will wither away.

The root cause of poverty is predatory capitalism. I say “predatory capitalism,” because “capitalism” is just private ownership of business, which isn’t the issue. The problem is that America’s standard business model takes this concept to its most ruthless extreme. The economy is based on the premise that the purpose of businesses is to make as much profit as possible for the owner/s, which is accomplished primarily by paying workers as little, and charging customers as much, as supply and demand will allow.

This isn’t just a formula for poverty. It’s the formula for poverty. On paper it looks deceptively innocuous, but it’s tearing the world apart. Below is a list of apocalyptic problems that can be reduced from mountains to mole hills by using an economic system that isn’t based on creating, sustaining and increasing economic inequality.

Starvation and obesity:

Disney recently released a movie titled, “Tomorrowland,” in which a character asks, “How are there simultaneous epidemics of starvation and obesity?” The answer is poverty.

In a predatory economy, farms can’t give food away for free because they’d go bankrupt. Most farmers can’t even afford to sell their products at reasonable prices, because everything they have to buy to run their company and take care of their family, costs as much as possible. The largest corporations could lower their prices, but they beat their competition and established themselves as market leaders by caring more about profit than human life or happiness to begin with. If they ever stopped exploiting their customers and workers, they’d lose their market share to a competitor who will.

Corporations improve their competitiveness by growing food in third world countries using slave labor and then shipping their harvests back to first world markets where they can charge the highest price. This causes a false food shortages in third world countries, which raises the price higher than the local slaves can afford.

However, obesity isn’t an epidemic in first world countries like America because their citizens are living as extravagantly as French aristocracy, because food companies further lower their operating costs and maximize profits, by mixing their products with preservatives, flavoring, coloring and filler. So instead of first world consumers getting the best nutrition from around the world at the cheapest price, they get the most unhealthy, processed junk food at the highest price.

Americans who make minimum wage can’t afford healthy, unmolested food. So they grow up eating boxes, bags and cans of chemical mulch saturated in sugar, growth hormones and carcinogens, which sets them up for health problems later in life. There’s no conspiracy to commit chemical warfare on the civilian population. Businesses are just designed to make the most profit, and you make the most profit by selling the cheapest product at the highest price, regardless of the cost to human life.

High health care costs:

The law of supply and demand says the more people need something, the more they’re willing to pay for it, and predatory capitalism says to match your prices to your customer’s desperation level. So going to the hospital to fix the inevitable health problems caused by stress and poison is as expensive as possible because medical schools and medical supply companies charge doctors and hospitals extortionate prices. Doctors then pass the exploitative costs onto their customers while also increasing the final price even higher to further take advantage of their customers’ vulnerability.

To make matters worse, the American government’s solution to unaffordable medical costs is to force everyone to buy unaffordable insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of medical bills. For reasons I discuss later in this essay, Americans blame the problem on socialism, even though forcing people to buy useless insurance isn’t socialism. That’s predatory capitalism taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich in exchange for nothing.

Homelessness:

The world has enough resources to house everyone. In America, there are already six times more empty houses than homeless people. The reason working class families can’t afford to buy abandoned property is because the government, in collusion with lending institutions, has inflated the price of real estate through convoluted mortgage laws.

At the same time, the rich are buying up more land than they need, creating false scarcity that further drives up prices and fuels a never ending cycle of housing bubbles/bursts that teeter back and forth between excluding the poor from being able to afford homes and then decimating the equity of those who could.

Since landlords and businesses have to pay the same extortionate mortgages, they pass on the cost of extortion to their renters and customers. That’s why rent is so damn high. This isn’t just “how life is.” This is a predatory business model invented to take money from the poor and give it to the rich in exchange for nothing.

Lack of basic utilities:

If everyone who works were guaranteed food, water, shelter, electricity, telecommunications and transportation, then most of the fear and pain in the world would be eliminated. Then everyone could get on with their lives and only have to worry about the most important issues.

The reason utilities are scarce isn’t because we lack the resources. It’s because the people who own the world’s resources make them as prohibitively expensive as possible. Even when governments build and operate their own utilities, they have to buy the materials at inflated prices, limiting the services they can provide.

Public utilities are becoming a thing of the past anyway since private (and often foreign) companies have been bribing politicians into privatizing those services for decades. The companies taking over utilities claim they can provide a better product at a cheaper price, but the ultimate goal of business is to make profits, which is why you can always expect the cost of utilities to go up, and you’ll keep finding more meaningless fees on your bills.

Stress:

The definition of stress is, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

Nothing is more stressful than fearing for your life, and everything you need to survive costs money. So your safety is directly dependent on how much money you have, but almost every business overcharges as much as possible. You’ll even be charged for things you didn’t ask for, don’t want and disagree with. Your entire life will be spent fighting for survival against everyone you have to pay. This is a formula for perpetual stress. The solution isn’t to read more motivational books. Life isn’t stressful because you’re weak. It’s because the economy is designed to keep you trapped in perpetual danger.

Mental health issues:

The human brain can only take so much stress before it cracks. Anyone living in permanent anxiety will experience mental health issues eventually. The more traumatic you childhood is, the quicker you’ll succumb to all the internal and external consequences of poverty, and the poorer you are, the more damaging your childhood will be.

Seeing a cheap mental health expert for one hour costs more than a minimum wage employee makes in an entire day, and that money is already earmarked for food, rent, utilities, transportation, repairs and government fees. So the people most at risk for mental health problems are least able to afford it.

If you become too mentally broken to work, then you’ll have to live on the streets and beg for food. The size of America’s mentally ill homeless population isn’t a regrettable byproduct of an otherwise great system. The system is designed to create that problem by keeping help as far out of reach as possible and then funneling anyone who can’t function without it onto the streets to beg, steal and die.

Drug abuse:

It’s also not an accidental byproduct of an otherwise great system, that at least 87% of Americans have drank alcohol, 10% have smoked marijuana, 16% have smoked cigarettes, and 13% are on antidepressants. The system is designed to make earning more money, and being able to afford a better life, as hard as possible. For the least academically inclined, it’s virtually impossible.

Paying high prices to consume poison so you can feel better in the moment is irresponsible, because it limits your immediate potential and kills you prematurely. But if you know you’re going to earn slave wages for the rest of your life, and you’ll never be able to afford your dreams anyway, the cost/benefit analysis of ending your miserable existence in a blaze of euphoria starts to add up. America doesn’t have a drug abuse epidemic because so many people are weak. It’s a proportional response to how stressful and hopeless life is in a predatory capitalist economy.

Domestic violence:

Financial problems are one of the most common causes of divorce, but worrying and fighting about money is a long, painful process. Normal people are anxious and angry, because the economy turns life into a grueling, unrewarding rat race. It’s only a matter of time before that frustration comes out somewhere, and the people you’re most likely to take it out on are the ones you see most, which are the people you live with.

You’d think the divorce rate would be higher when everyone is constantly worrying about bankruptcy, compromising on spending, working beyond their physical and mental endurance, suffering from suburban sensory deprivation, and wrestling with the constant source of unfulfillment that comes from not being able to afford your dreams. Actually, the divorce rate would be higher, but poverty often traps dysfunctional couples together because they can’t afford to live on their own.

Violent crimes:

America’s violent crime stats are directly proportional to the stress and desperation created by the false scarcity of food, housing and wages. African American ghettos don’t have third-world-level violent crime rates and are prone to riots because African Americans are genetically predisposed to act like wild, desperate animals. Their problem is they live in a third world economy surrounded by first world neighborhoods they can’t afford to escape to.

Predatory capitalism traps them in an environment in which there are more people competing for resources than there are to go around. When everyone has to fight to survive, it becomes responsible to learn how to fight, and your best chance of succeeding is to join a group of fighters. That’s life for anyone who lives in a ghetto, regardless of their skin color.

There isn’t a secret conspiracy among white Americans to oppress African Americans. The reason ghettos and violent crime epidemics exist anywhere in the world is because business owners are oppressing everyone while the poor are too busy hating and fighting each other to address the real cause of their problems.

Mainstream ignorance:

No matter what country you live in, you’re surrounded by idiots. You know this. They stress you out every day at work, and at night you see them on the news fighting tooth and nail to destroy everything good in your country. If you’re not grabbing your head and screaming, “Why is everyone so stupid!?” then you’re not paying attention.

Why do you have to be surrounded by idiots? Poverty. That’s why. We could have already built the ultimate, free, global online school that could provide unrestricted access to all the world’s knowledge and skills. The internet is slowly providing free online education, but since everything is as expensive as possible, and there’s no profit in charity, humanity can’t afford to create the ultimate education tool.

Even in affluent America, students can’t afford to attend universities because predatory capitalism dictates the more your customer needs your product, the more you should charge. Universities are copying the housing and health care industries and taking this philosophy farther than the market can bear. They’re charging students beyond their means, which is creating an education bubble, which is making college so expensive the cost/benefit analysis of enrolling doesn’t necessarily add up anymore. Predatory capitalism has created as system where it doesn’t pay to get a college education. This is putting a glass ceiling on the intelligence level of the entire world.

Going to school isn’t the only way to learn about the world though. There are media companies in every city producing information for mass consumption, but they can’t give content away for free without selling advertisements, which is a form of misinformation.

The price media outlets can charge advertisers is directly proportional to the size of their audience. In order to attract the widest audience possible, businesses have to deliver the most popular content. Thanks to the oppressive nature of the economy, most people are uneducated, scared, stressed-out slaves with cabin fever, who are longing for escape. This sets them up to want to consume media that satisfies their base instinctual desires for excitement, hope, love, popularity, wealth and power.

Even news agencies, which supposedly follow a code of integrity, drown out useful information with content that’s more entertaining than educational. The six most successful media companies have bought out most of the world’s independent news agencies and syndicated the same distracting brain candy to every city.

Since the most sociopathic business practices make the most money, it was only a matter of time before a sociopath built a global news organization that intentionally sells lies, fear and blame to gullible consumers. The more intellectually-vulnerable people are misled, the dumber they act and the more they oppose useful reform, which creates a vicious cycle for perpetuating ignorance.

The reason you’re surrounded by idiots is because 90% of the world population are victims of economic oppression. I doubt there’s secret conspiracy to dumb down the population to make them easier to control. It was just a convenient and inevitable byproduct of every business’s single-minded pursuit of money.

Religious extremism:

There’s a well-established correlation between poverty and religious belief. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be uneducated and feel stressed, hopeless, alone, unfulfilled and meaningless. Religion offers a solution to all the problems created by poverty. It promises if you believe a story and follow some rules, you’ll be rewarded after death.

Religion is the perfect consumer product. It costs nothing to produce, and your customers will pay you for years without getting anything in return. They’ll do your advertising for you and defend your brand to the death even in the face of overwhelming proof your product is a sham. If your religion teaches hard work and sacrifice are virtuous, and idleness and self-interest are evil, then your followers will make the perfect employees for you or any business lucky enough to hire them.

Not everyone who believes in religion becomes a terrorist, but there’s a well-documented correlation between poverty and religious extremism. If you want to start a death cult that will kill people and steal their resources for you, believing they’re serving the greater good, then all you need to do is promise them that joining your organization will solve all the problems in their lives created by predatory capitalism. Then, indoctrinate them with time-tested brainwashing techniques to base their identity and self-worth on their status in your pyramid-shaped organization. Finally, criminalize dissent and make it as hard as possible to leave. This is what ISIS and the U.S. military do, and if you copy their model, you can achieve the same success.

Corruption and systemic political failure:

Corruption was inevitable the moment money was created. Since money is power, those with the most money have the most power regardless of who sits on the throne of government. Business owners don’t need to sit on the throne themselves or rely on the judgment of others to pass laws that allow them to exploit their workers and customers to death. Modern democracy has created a streamlined path to corruption. Since politicians have to accept donations to fund their election campaigns, they’re beholden to their investors. When the majority of politician’s careers are funded by the same businesses, lone-wolf politicians can’t stand up to all the corporate representatives. That’s why you can’t expect to see hope and change from young, charismatic politicians: because the investors they represent value profits more than human life.

Perpetual war:

Once you have enough representatives to control how a nation’s wealth is used, you can use its tax revenue to bribe foreign politicians into letting you pillage their resources. If they won’t play ball, you can depose them with military force, guaranteeing you won’t have to compete for global market share with worker-friendly politicians or foreign businesses.

Predatory capitalism also guarantees perpetual war simply because war is profitable. The military-industrial complex needs tax payers to buy its weapons in order to remain profitable. So it behooves them to invest in campaign financing so they can lobby politicians to stay in perpetual war.

Even without a secret conspiracy by corporations to manipulate militaries into fighting for them, our economic system is still a recipe for conflict. As a general truth, survival requires resources, and when resources are scarce in a local community, they become as valuable as life itself, and people will kill their neighbors to keep what they’ve got and take from the weak. When a country’s resources become scarce, it will act the same way, and the goal of predatory capitalism is to consume resources as fast as possible.

Since the world’s wealth is being funneled to a few families instead of being distributed to everyone, the nations with the least infrastructure are left in abject poverty and thus chaos, which creates a power vacuum to be filled by the strongest local warlord, which is convenient for big corporations, because warlords prevent small businesses from growing into global competitors, and warlords are happy to sell their nation’s resources to foreign companies for pennies on the dollar.

Environmental apocalypse:

As apocalyptic as all these problems are, the worst consequence of predatory capitalism is the destruction of the very eco-system keeping the entire human species alive. In order for companies to make profits, they need to make as many products as quickly as possible, which means they need to consume raw resources as quickly, and spend as little money on health and safety, as possible. It would be an understatement to call this a recipe for environmental destruction. Predatory capitalism makes pollution a moral imperative, which is why big businesses are so desperate to convince the population global warming is a hoax. Saving the planet would negatively affect their profit margin.

The solution to this problem isn’t to guilt trip consumers into buying eco-friendly products. That’s like forcing people to become cannibals and then convincing them to fight cannibalism by only eating each other’s legs. The problem isn’t the victim. The problem is predatory capitalism’s addiction to economic growth. That’s the herd of bears coming to eat you and your tribe. Solve that problem or you’re effectively committing suicide while being complicit in genocide.

I’m less interested in convincing you to accept my theories than I am in inspiring you to do your own research and come up with your own. If you want to know my theory, the simplest solution is to require governments to spend tax revenue on feeding and sheltering all of its citizens before they’re allowed to spend taxes on anything else. This will solve people’s immediate problems, give them the freedom not to have to work/consume, and eliminate the leverage businesses use to exploit everyone at every corner. If governments won’t do that, citizens need to organize to create private sustainable communities to shelter themselves from poverty.

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This was your life: Bernie Sanders

This is the 28th episode in an ongoing series in which Loki taunts the recently deceased.

bernie sanders meets loki

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It’s time to stop guilt tripping poor people into saving the environment

97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and threatening the extinction of life on the planet as we know it. Even if that’s not true, as some believe, there’s no doubt that pollution and urban sprawl are killing off thousands of species. On a long enough time scale, this will tip the eco-system into catastrophic failure. So there’s definitely a call to action here. It’s vital that humans change their behavior, and millions of dollars have been spent on propaganda and movies trying to convince us to do so.

This is a message that we all need to hear, because we’re all complicit in the destruction of the environment. Wildlife habitats were bulldozed over to make room for the cities we live in. Pollution is created from manufacturing the products we fill our houses with, and the leftover trash goes right back into the land we’re not occupying.

Even if we all reduce our consumption and only buy eco-friendly products, that will only slow the damage we’re doing to the planet. It’s still an inevitability if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, but the problem isn’t that the average person needs to be more responsible. Guilt-tripping the average person is blaming the victim.

It’s pretty much illegal to live anywhere except in a modern house. The only place you can find enough food to survive is at a grocery store where every product is mass produced, pumped full of poisonous chemicals and packaged in disposable containers. In order to make a living you almost have to own a car that you have to keep dumping toxic chemicals into. In order to pay for all of this you’ll have to work for a business that makes and/or uses mass-produced consumer products.

While it’s great that we’re not all living in caves and hunting wild animals, modern life is more of a grueling, soul-rushing rat race than a futuristic utopia. The only way to escape the daily grind is to make enough money to buy land and build off the grid. Even then, you’ll still be hounded by taxes. So you need a permanent source of income to keep feeding the beast, or the police will take everything you own and throw you in jail.

If you’re one of the 3 billion people who live on less than $3 per day there’s no chance of you being able to afford to move off the grid. Even if you live in a first world country, you’ll have to make at least $28k annually just to cover the cost of living, and you’ll still be eating eat cheap processed food, living in the ghetto, driving an old, unreliable car, and never seeing a doctor or dentist.

It’s no accident that it’s so expensive to live or that so many people have so few options. All of these worker/consumer/tax payers aren’t lazy. Almost all of them work full time. They’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of working just to make enough money to be broke after they’ve paid their bills, because that’s how the system is designed. Everyone except the ultra-wealthy are trapped in an endless cycle of debt. We would love to escape the rat race, but all the exits have been systematically blocked. So we have no choice but to keep working, shopping and helping destroy the planet.

Money is power, and the owners of the businesses that are strip-mining the planet’s resources have taken all the money. They’re the only people who have the ability to break the cycle by investing their fortunes into building self-sufficient cities and an economy that doesn’t require the mass production/consumption of junk. They’re not taking any steps in that direction, because that would mean scrapping the system that made them wealthy in the first place.  It should come as no surprise that they’re using their fortunes to make the economy even more unsustainable for the poor. The harder it is for the poor to live self-sufficiently, the more secure the revenue streams of big business are.

If you’re going to make propaganda urging people to save the environment, then you need to target the people who are most responsible for the destruction of the environment: wealthy business owners and investors. Any effort spent guilt-tripping the poor only accomplishes two things: making poor people feel bad about themselves and distracting them from the source of all the world’s problems: our unsustainable economic model.

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