The Cost of Defending Wealth

Defending wealth is expensive. Very expensive.

Think about it.

It’s self evident truth.

But remember, self evident truth is not available to the casual observer!

Only those who learn to see past what the conventional wisdom says are able to glean self evident truth. The whole idea of self evident truth is that you see it for yourself. It’s a shock when you see it. Things that don’t shock are not worthy of the category of self-evident truth.

One of the problems of understanding the ideas of self evident truth is that there are many different kinds of truth. To me, the original self evident truth to which I was introduced, that all men are created equal, is really not self-evident when I look at the world. Or if we were created equal, the equality rapidly evaporates.

But back to the original topic. It is currently self evident to me that protection of concentrated wealth is what our tax money goes to. Those who own little property of value to others are not the ones who need the police and courts to keep their property safe. Rich people don’t go to jail very often. Much more money is spent on sending poor people to jail. Poor people are sent to jail to protect the rich from the behaviors of the poor. Specifically, the behaviors of the poor that the rich see as undesirable, or a threat to their wealth.

Even if there is no direct threat to the property of the wealthy, keeping a lot of poor people under threat of incarceration helps to keep them distracted from ideas of working for social justice. I know from personal experience how I felt when I was threatened with jail time for a trumped up charge. I was eventually able to plea bargain down to my actual deed. And I have more resources and property than most.

Even if people of little property tend to be less educated, and may make personal mistakes, their mistakes are unlikely to cause the expensive problems our  society faces, such as war, and the costly need to defend our borders. Rich people don’t go to war very often either. They send those of less means to defend their way of life. The cost of war is such a high number, I can’t fathom it without study. Check out the link.

Those who own lots of property are the ones who need protection from the jealousy of those who have less, whether internal to our national borders, or external.

The concept of personal property, and the desire to pass personal property on, at death, to heirs, has many consequences. Most of us never think about those consequences.

Even though we Americans think of our country as a democracy, we’re a republic. The whole idea of the (wealthy) founding fathers in creating a republic was to protect their wealth and privilege from the royalty.  They gave more rights to the propertied men who had the means to run for office. The idea of the republic was not to give full rights to those the founders considered beneath them in the social hierarchy. Those who had not yet proven themselves worthy of consideration, because they had not amassed adequate wealth to join the powerful.

The results of the intentions of the founding fathers are with us still, even as we have given non-felonious citizens a full vote, regardless of skin color. (Note that it is the individual states that decide whether felons can or can’t vote, not the Constitution!)

What is the cost of the prison system? Our epidemic of incarceration costs us taxpayers $63.4 billion a year. Much of this is keeping drug offenders locked away, because as a society we have decided that is a more acceptable answer than rehabilitating the offenders, who have often had restricted opportunities at making a reasonable life for themselves according to the conventional recipe for the American Dream.

Poor people are also not the ones who wish to keep the minimum wages depressed by forcing the poor to compete against themselves. John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath” is an eloquent explanation of how property owners work to keep wages down.







 What is a Knomo Choicius?

When I look at how humans treat each other, I don’t wanna be one. So, I’m opting out. I’ve decided that I’m no long going to consider myself a Homo Sap. I’m a Homo Knomo Choicius now. It’s a new day. Why wait for the plague? Why not just go ahead and create the foundations of a new spiritual path, along with the new species of Homo? Of course, new spiritual foundations would be foundations laid over older foundations. Why re-invent the wheel? We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, as they say. What religion might appeal to the Homo Knomo Choicius? What would replace the scriptures of all the ancient faith traditions?

Join me in the Convolution of Knomo Choicius!

The “Rapture”

At one point, I started to fantasize that we’d actually have the “Rapture,” where the rigid fundamentalists, of any type, preferentially got killed off by a plague. They think we’re left in the worse place, but maybe we’d be better off with fewer people who are stuck in old traditions around. They think those left behind are in hell, but I think maybe we’d be better off. But by their own beliefs, the ones who were taken would be happy too!

To be clear, I’m not out to pick on any specific religion. I once had an argument with a fundy Bahai. Now up until that day, I would have thought that was an oxy-moron, if there ever was one. But sad to say, even Buddhists have started resorting to violence in our sad, sad world. Anyway, I’m a progressive. Focusing hatred on a single ethnic or religious group is repugnant to me! It’s only because Christian fundies are the type I have to deal with in my day to day life, co-opting their own Rapture fantasy was what crystallized for me. What if poetic justice prevailed? What would the world look like, in the aftermath of the Peace Fare Virus?

There was a historical precedent for this, I reflected. First of all, when forty percent of humanity died due to the Black Plague in the Middle Ages in Europe, there was a rapid change in outlook by those who were “left behind.” Clearly, belonging to the Church hadn’t saved anyone. On top of that, the dramatic decrease in population meant that the equivalent of the minimum wage rapidly rose. The poorest of the abused under-classes experienced considerable improvement in standard of living, and the backbone of the self-reinforcing power structure of the church and royalty was broken. In the West, we ended up with the Renaissance, and eventually, a new, more Democratic vision of government.

What would such a Renaissance look like today? How would the daily lives of ordinary people change? Mother Earth would surely breathe a sigh of relief with a significantly lower population burden. I fantasize that there would be more resources for the poor, who would still outnumber the rich. Life might just be a little bit easier for those who currently have it so rough.

But, I asked myself, would we even still be homo sapiens sapiens?

Recent scientific work has shown that we are not the single human race that the Adam and Eve story made us out to be. Maybe this is part of the reason that there are large fractions of the population who can’t communicate with each other. At least they can’t communicate anything more subtle than “Please pass the salt.”

And isn’t part of the definition of a biological species that it can freely interbreed? Why do so many couples need fertility clinics?

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