Nobody Asked Me, But I Will Tell You Anyhow
Dateline Feb 1, 2018: Jack Moscou
Long before there was twitter there were aphorisms which the dictionary defines as a pithy observation that contains a general truth such as, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Like they say there is nothing new under the sun so with apologies to all the great minds whose pre-twitter tweets we find in books of great quotations I herewith add a few of my own as well as some others (with attribution) that I would have retweeted if they had been on twitter.
Poor people are not middle-class people without money. Poor is a whole different country.
All stereotypes break down on the individual level.
“Health care is not just a human right it is a human necessity.” (Lawrence O’Donnell-MSNBC).
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (Anatole France).
Not to be outdone, the GOP equally permits the poor as well as the rich to purchase the health care of their choice.
The crack “epidemic” in our recent past located mainly in our inner city black and brown communities was treated as a criminal problem. The current opioid “epidemic” located mainly in our white and rural communities is being treated as a public health problem. I’m sure it must be because we have learned from our past mistakes and has nothing to do with our being a racist society.
We are not born stupid. We are educated into stupidity by a society whose dysfunctional cultural values cannot survive critical thinking.
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts…War does not determine who is right – only who is left….Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.”.(Bertrand Russell)
“Hardly any of the ‘symptoms’ of psychological distress may correctly be seen as medical matters. The so-called psychiatric ‘disorders’ are nothing to do with faulty biology, nor indeed are they the outcome of individual moral weakness or other personal failing. They are the creation of the social world in which we live, and that world is structured by power.” (David Smails ) Perhaps somewhat overstated but I think if we lived in a harmonious and loving world at least fifty percent of our current physical and psychological problems would disappear overnight.
I do not like to idealize anybody, any group, or anything because the reality behind the idealization is always disappointing, but I believe that the Amish people with their rejection of mindless materialism and adherence to a plain and simple life, with its emphasis on everyone being the same, are onto something.
On immigration, I suggest we round up every undocumented person whether that number is six million or twenty million and deport them all – no exceptions – overnight. I am certain that within two weeks the whole country would be down on our hands and knees begging them to come back and even offering to double their wages. To say that we couldn’t get by without their labor is the understatement of the decade. They are our modern day equivalent of all the immigrant groups despised in their time who made America what it is.
I would also note that I find the term guest worker particularly disingenuous. Where I come from we always offered our guests the best of everything we had. Paying our guest workers as little as possible, working them as many hours as we can get away with, forcing them to live in sub-standard housing (particularly on farms) hardly strikes me as how you treat a guest – more like if we can’t bring back slavery let’s settle for the next best thing – a low paid worker who we can always threaten with deportation knowing there is an inexhaustible supply of impoverished people around the world desperate enough to escape the grinding poverty in their own country for the minimally better conditions here.
“There is no problem for which man cannot come up with a rational solution, but not until he has tried every other alternative. ”(John Kenneth Galbraith). My take on this is maybe we should try putting women in charge of problem solving.
We need to be clear on the difference between a principle and a tactic. Firm on principles and flexible on tactics and careful not to elevate a tactic to the rank of principle
I would also note that all solutions by definition are imperfect, incomplete and lead to a new set of problems (I didn’t come up with that but have no idea where I saw it.)
“Choose only those battles you know are winnable. It’s often wiser to quit a fight before recklessly marching across a point of no return.” (Bob Oster).
I would piggy-back on his point to suggest courage is not enough to carry the day. Courage without strategy is a losing proposition.
Without an acknowledgement that we are living in a sick and decaying society, and without a radical re-imagining of what life might be like, I fear that all the solutions being offered by politicians, think tanks, and pundits will prove to be exercises in futility
One final thought:
I am certain that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will go down in American (and world) history as one of the great moral leaders and intellectual giants of our time, but I fear that his “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” while a very comforting thought, is not borne out by history.
Anyone wanting a more moral universe will have to get down into the trenches and work for it in whatever way(s) they can without being sustained by hope of success but simply the sense that doing what is right is worthwhile in and of itself.
Jack Moscou is a co-founder of The Writers Collective. He has an extensive background in management training, strategic planning, and political consulting. He is the author of