Education, History, Politics, Social Commentary, Socialist

Kakistocracy

It should not come as a surprise to observers of American culture that this republic has become a kakistocracy. The worst, least qualified people are running the government; the lunatics have taken over the asylum. In a democracy the politicians are representative of the people, which highlights the twilight of the republic. Electing a leader should be a logical, deliberative decision, and not an emotional outburst of anger. American society has denigrated the intelligent and championed the asinine which is a breeding ground of corruption.

There is nothing wrong with a working class that uses their hands with which to sell their labor. The problem is that many people in this society choose to remain unaware of what is going on in the world and how elected officials make their plight worse. Most people are unaware of how public policy is connected to private pain and people voted against their best interest. Being able to relate to a candidate and feeling that they represent us is a great feeling, but not realizing how much data and market research goes into crafting the public persona is shows a lack of analytic thought.

This situation is reminiscent of the classic tale of the scorpion and the frog; a story where the frog helps a scorpion cross a pond and the scorpion kills the frog during the journey because it was in his nature. People vote for politicians who reflect their values they wish to enforce on others. Values which in reality are unenforceable because people value different things. America often espouses the virtues of a meritocracy, yet societal success is often based on personal connections. Nepotism is a cultural trait more acceptable than competence as long as we fell comfortable with those whom we know. Living in such a bubble will suffocate the decision makers makes the culture incestuous.

The worst people imaginable have somehow come to power and people seem to have no problem with this situation which is of their own making. In America the lower the melanin count the more one can benefit from the kakistocracy. Anti-intellectual currents run through the American bloodstream and the people are too distracted to notice. The problem with anti-intellectualism is that it is a poison that will destroy the country. There is no panacea for this problem, which makes this situation dire. In a perfect world a working class clerisy words would be heeded for directions to working class tranquility.

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History, Politics, Social Commentary, Socialist

Alternative History

Let us imagine a future dictated by reactionary forces writing the history books. The past would be different with vital parts missing that was once usually taught in schools. These specific parts that are elided focus on marginalized people and labor organizing for their fair share. Those accounts are replaced with heroes who are avatars of rugged individualism who flourish in Ayn Rand novels. George Orwell’s quote will ring true: who controls the past will control the future, who controls the present controls the past.

True causes of events will be obscured and distorted beyond recognition. Shay’s rebellion was about nutcases instead of people who were angry about taxes that benefit the rich. The civil war was about state’s rights and other myriad causes that have nothing to do with slavery. Unions are evil anarchist and terrorist instead of an organization that brings democracy in the work place. Book burnings of socialist authors such as Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, Norman Thomas, and Herbert George Wells will be conducted. America The Beautiful and This Land Is My Land will be declared obscene because those songs were written by subversives. The Pledge of Allegiance will be replaced with bible hymns.

In this grim future the film Birth of a Nation will be seen as a prophetic documentary. Gilded Age captains of industry are the best Americans that were ever produced. Bible questions will start to appear on standardized test thus blurring the line between church and state. Sea levels will rise and flood the Gulf Coast and people will think it is an act of god. The collective intelligent quotient of the American people will dip below 65.

This future can be avoided if the truth is told constantly and reinforced thought teaching the younger generations. It is important to wage a culture war about what stories about the past that are told. Stories about the past can serve as an inspirational guide towards the road to the future. Different parts of the country have different histories as exemplified by what southerners call the war of northern aggression. One positive thing about this phenomena is that this war is not bloody yet.

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Social Commentary

Satire

Social critics, commentators, and teachers often say there is truth in satire. By definition satire is based in truth and humor is used to make a comment about a particular subject. Comedy often seems to be more important than the truth when it comes to satire. While it takes a tremendous amount of skill to be a great satirist, it is not always the most effective form of communication.

The important thing about satire is that it is rooted in intellectualism. Confusion is created when interpreting satire because certain segments of American culture embraces anti-intellectualism. In order for satire to work, the receiver would have to be familiar with the source material and references. The likelihood of the comment being understood the first time around depends on the popularity of the subject matter. If the receiver does not understand the subject matter, the point will be easily missed, and as the Joker says; if you have to explain a joke, then it is not funny.

Although satire can open a few eyes, it does not inspire lasting changes in points of view. In order to change a person’s viewpoint, an anvil has to be dropped, and that is hard to do under guffaws. Comedy is meant to distract people from their problems and not necessarily to make them think about critical issues. Embracing comedy as a distraction would require avoiding satire that is polemical. In the end, satire is relegated to a joke with much of the nuance stripped away for mass consumption.

Satire may not be a great agent of social change but it does serve a purpose. Creativity is required for satire to work which is a great way of expanding intelligence. Getting at a truism in a subversive way is probably the only time an audience is exposed to that particular viewpoint. It is such a shame that in American culture addressing polemics needs the mask of comedy. In this country, the only way to speak the truth is as a joke.

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