Eight Myths That Undergird American Society

society August 7th, 2020

Our society should’ve collapsed by now; none should be able to function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a Star Wars movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself. This is a blog about the myths that undergird American society, written by Lee Camp.

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America’s Oligarchy Is Repugnant

oligarchy is repugnant September 12th, 2018

I am now preparing for Hurricane Florence to pummel the crap out of my family and me. It is astonishing, angering, and outrageous to hear a tape of Donald Trump touting the great job he and his team did with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year. He is just such an appallingly poor excuse for a president I can hardly describe it without throwing my computer monitor out of the window. It’s that bad in my opinion. I thought G.W. Bush was bad, but now when I hear him talk, I long for those days! It’s just topsy-turvy in the extreme. My point in this blog is that I hope Hillary Clinton, Bill, Chuck Schumer, the DNC, and especially Debbie Wasserman-Schultz wake up every day and lament their actions in the 2016 Democratic Primary. The Ancient Athenian historian and general Thucydides pointed out that “Ordinary men usually manage public affairs better than their more gifted fellows. For on public matters no one can hear and decide so well as the many”; he was speaking against oligarchy in favor of democracy. Though democracy has never been perfect, and our founders feared granting power to anyone but aristocratic white men, it seems abundantly clear that America’s oligarchy is repugnant. 

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Crony Capitalism: Even Worse Than Raw Capitalism

crony capitalism August 15th, 2018

It’s not a novel concept to compare America to Rome, nor is it to see connections between an ailing, sclerotic, corrupt Roman Empire and our own republic. One thing they share is moral decay, foolish financial/military policies, and perhaps above all, political corruption. I am talking about the effect of money on governance. In modern parlance, crony capitalism. It is a thorn in America’s side because it hampers a democratic and horizontal diffusion of capital and resources amongst the tens of millions of small businesses. Worse than unregulated capitalism, crony capitalism claws at the beliefs that America is the land of opportunity and that we’re all in this together, making them myth. Indeed, as Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz maintains, “One of the darkest sides to the market economy that came to light was the large and growing inequality that has left the American social fabric, and the country’s economic stability, fraying at the edges: the rich are getting richer while the rest were facing hardships that seemed inconsonant with the American dream.”

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A Man of Principle: Bernie Sanders Quotes

Bernie Sanders quotes December 21st, 2017

Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, is known to almost all nowadays. For decades, though, he has been serving his community, state, and country with dignity, honor, and dedication. He really is a man of principle; I believe that. He probably isn’t perfect, but he has taken up the progressive torch and run hard with it. Not only is that an extremely challenging role, he also has billionaires, oligarchs, plutocrats, and other shady characters aligned against him. It’s amazing that the only things that have come out about him that are dubious, hyperbolic, and made-up. It is my pleasure to run through a dozen compelling Bernie Sanders quotes to inspire, enlighten, and reassure you during these extraordinarily tough times. I will also note which value or values I believe each of his quotations are truly about. 

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Economic Justice: My Ideal Society Described

justice December 9th, 2017

What would a society that really paid attention to economic justice look like? Here are some thoughts on the philosophical underpinnings of such a society. The basic structure of my favored economic system is roughly welfare statism centers around merit, equity, progressive goals, and just desserts. There is little of laissez-faire capitalism in this system, though, to my understanding, the welfare state needs to be based on an open market, with its emphasis on supply and demand, private ownership of the means of production, and due recognition of human nature. Thus, my system would stop short of a true, radical egalitarianism, or Marxism/State socialism/Communism. Those systems are too pie-in the-sky and frankly, just political impossibilities. Whereas many of the ideas Bernie Sanders touted during his almost-successful bid for the presidency are workable and politically possible, the State taking over all the means of production and taking private property from the oligarchs and plutocrats in this globalized system is a non-starter. Most Americans would not be in favor of a radically egalitarian distribution of societal goods, either. It just isn’t in our ethos. There is a lot we would be up for, and I will spell out my thoughts about economic justice in an ideal society.

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Corporations, Law & Democracy

corporations December 3rd, 2017

There is a lot of talk these days about “corporate citizenship” and “socially responsible business.” Some people think that is great — no more unnecessary polluting, propping up totalitarian regimes, and globehopping for the cheapest labor. It seems pretty clear that corporate citizenship is still pretty much a joke because of financial irregularities, bribes of politicians, abuse of people, ruination of the environment, etc. Those who make decisions that favor the shareholders and flout positive values are people who don’t have an internalized sense of ethics or honor. They are getting away with murder, often literally. Randy Hayes says: “Politicians and corporate ‘leaders’ have merged, reducing our political system to a ‘democracy theme park.’ This leaves us with the Republican side and the Democratic side of the ‘Big Business Party.’” I discuss these kinds of ideas with the man who knows what the deal is, Richard L. Grossman, in this blog.

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Lyrical Wisdom: “A Farewell to Kings”

A Farewell to Kings November 4th, 2017

The rock group Rush just finished a 40-year career in 2016. I for one think it was amazing in many ways. Whether or not you like them as a band, one song is interesting to look at just from a lyrics perspective. I personally recommend them as far as listening to their music, but at least, many of their songs (like 75!) basically read like poetry. Yes, Rush is but a rock group but they are THAT good. This blog is an analysis of the song “A Farewell to Kings.”

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Greed: Wall Street’s Financial Fraud

greed October 11th, 2017

This blog is about skepticism toward America’s financial services sector: Wall Street, big banks, hedge funds, etc., as well as the lobbyists, politicians, and professors who collude and conspire with the industry’s many bad actors. I’m talking about capitalism and power run amok. Greed. I just watched Inside Job,  by remarkable filmmaker Charles Ferguson. America has such a complex financial and political landscape, I want to criticize, but it is hard to know where to begin. I will crack my knuckles and give you what I’ve got.

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Quotes About Politics, Govt. & Citizenship

quotes about politics April 15th, 2017

Quotes about politics are a great way to learn more about the subject. Instead of a thick book or a dense paragraph surrounded by more dense paragraphs, a sentence or two that have been vetted as really communicating something worthy and informative about the subject is often a great way to learn. In this blog, you will find many diverse, interesting, and insightful quotes about politics, government, citizenship, morality, responsibility, and civics. Put on your critical thinking cap and go to work! 

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