Hostile Takeover
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Hostile Takeover

Early on I was made to understand that life is a struggle, that a lot of life is competition, deception and even violence. What was missing was today’s reassurance of a child’s safety to back me up in the great antagonism that is one’s life. I was schooled quite thoroughly about the need for me to be ready to be supportive of my family, neighborhood, and my country—I was just never given any sign that it was reciprocal. And having been raised that way, I was quite messed up for a long time before I was able to deprogram myself from the strange childhood nightmare that was the society of the 1950s and the 1960s.

It is strange to reflect on—I was torturing myself over my self-worth and value as a person while it still remained possible for society to heap scorn on anyone ‘different’. I always had the answer, whatever the problem, whatever mess someone else had created—I ‘knew everything’. But no one praised me for this—they took cheap shots, a childhood’s worth of taunts and condescension, and moreover, being used whenever convenient as a human reference book.

But spilled milk and all that—the only thing that really bugs me about it—well, there’s two things actually—one, that I was being molded into an asshole (and against no small amount of resistance on my part)—and two, that I wasted the first thirty-five years of my life just learning how to de-asshole myself and become a human being. I especially resent number two because I can imagine what a nurturing society could have led to, in terms of my ability to live the life of a good person, un-neuroticized, de-selfish-and-fear-based-motivation-taught—maybe even the heights that a person of intellect can reach when his or her tics and eccentricities are overlooked, instead of dwelt on, in the formative years.

But why should I complain? The way our grandparents’ generation raised our parents was a nightmare far in excess of what we went through. And the lifestyle they had imposed on them included barefaced misogyny, child abuse, racism, exclusion of the disabled—homosexuality was the ‘sin that dare not speak its name’.

It was banned from public discourse (and remember now—freedom of speech had been guaranteed for nearly two centuries by their generation’s time). And I think it is important to note that this was not a continuation of world opinion since the beginning of history—it was a highly-wrought prudery that condemned even the mention, in polite society, of many subjects—homosexuality, menstruation, birth control and abortion, pederasty, etc.

The historical record shows that most earlier civilizations discussed such things openly—being, as they are, an unavoidable part of the human landscape—and only similarly repressive societies (such as the era of the Spanish Inquisition) have such strict arcana imposed on their people. And that last discussion-no-no, ‘pederasty’ is a special case—there was a great deal more of it during the seemingly repressed 1950s—when a child’s accusation was treated as obscenity, thus making the child the cause of the trouble and impugning the honesty of their charges. It was paradise for pedophiles—any child victim’s ‘ravings’ could be overlooked when countered by an adult refutation, or worse, taken as proof that the child was the motivator, or a filthy-minded liar.

The priestly pederasty scandals came as no surprise to knowledgeable adults—indeed the only surprise was the fact that the ‘free ride’ the clergy enjoyed was finally over and exposed before the world. It still baffles me how anyone remains a Roman Catholic—after more than a decade of rolling scandals, state by state, and then nation by nation….

Well, all I’m saying is that each generation of humanity tries, sometimes successfully, to enhance human civilization by removing or exposing some endemic injustice or persecution. When books were first printed, they were illegal all across Europe for a time—ordinary people were not supposed to know their bible—they were supposed to listen to the only guy who had a bible. Each generation tries to move us forward against the inertia of entrenched powers and superstitions.

In that sense of history, I can’t fault my times too harshly—they did, after all, produce me—I’m a man who devoted my life to being a better person, husband and citizen than the society of my day tried to make me. And I get satisfaction from the sort-of ‘second enlightenment’ that seems to be sweeping the globe—the internet is similar to the bible-printing, but upped in magnitude by the dazzling science that remakes our world very nearly each and every day, it seems.

The respect that America has found for its formerly-fringe citizens is impressive—when I was a kid, southern black people were on the news being fire-hosed and having attack dogs sicced on them—now, a public figure has to apologize for using hate speech that was everyday conversation just a few decades ago. Minorities, women, atheists, disabled, mentally-challenged, gays—all have been recognized as deserving of respect from all the ‘normal’ people. And I love this sense I feel that, now I’ve outgrown my own twisted, shadowy youth, the whole country seems to be doing the same thing.

It disconcerts me, however, that the opposition to all of this social progress and enhanced individual freedom is a consortium of religious institutions, business leaders, armies of media-indoctrinated, impoverished Caucasians, and all the warped perceptions of the so-called Tea-Party fringe.

Major faiths in our time have faced a choice: eschew the ‘fairy-tale’ aspects of the bible (or vedas, korans, toras, etc.) and embrace the humanitarian uber-message—or— dig in, and insist on quite ridiculous impossibilities, on hate-activities disguised as piety, and on humiliating itself before the world as ‘science-denier’s and agents of overpopulation in the most poverty-stricken lands on earth. They resist admitting a woman’s right to determine her own health issues, to allowing homosexuals to be honestly open and accepted, to allowing the starving throng of third-world countries to be educated on the subject of birth-control and HIV-protection—they cause real suffering and unnecessary division—even death.

Churches were traditionally the element of a community that kept it together and cooperative—in many ways, the opposite is now true. As humanity learns, as people become more educated, they are taught about biology, mathematics, astronomy, physics, medicine and chemistry. Today, all these subjects contain at least one theory or proof which jibes with orthodoxies of the major faiths. Moreover, the latest works in particle physics, cosmology, space exploration, nanotech materials, and microbiology raise issues that challenge intuitive thought itself—you can imagine how upsetting they are to ancient-ish faiths.

The major faiths themselves have become a subject of research and analysis (not to mention discovery—the relatively recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the library at Nag Hammadi have revealed disturbing inconsistencies amongst the proto-sects that eventually coalesced into the Catholic Church). And the Protestantism of the Reformation was its own ‘come-to-Jesus meeting’ (you should pardon the pun) about the flagrant corruption of the Papal Realm—and its actions—as an immovable object blocking the irresistible force of spirituality. Martin Luther’s introduction of common sense into religious dogma is now the enlightened present that sweeps all fairy tales and mythology before it. It is ironic that fundamentalist factions of Protestantism are now the leaders of the pack that rail against the corruptive influence of science.

There are people who are saying that we need to rise up against the rich and powerful—that Powers That Be have a strangle-hold on our global society that runs counter to every concept of cooperation, decency, and humanity that we believe in. I’m tempted to agree—but my hippy-influenced childhood tells me that violence is always the wrong answer. The right answer always lies in one’s ability to out-think one’s opponent.

A frontal, physical assault on the establishment is a dream from a comic book—the establishment of the 1960s was transformed by grassroots efforts—but not in the way the anti-establishment wanted. The ‘real’ grassroots change came late in the game, with people realizing that idealism doesn’t put food on the table, that some of what the flower people shouted were good ideas, and some were bad ideas. By destroying some of the imaginary social boundaries put up in the 1950s, people were left free to live their lives without so much peer-pressure, from the establishment or the counter-culture!

And since then, from the 1970s onward, the fight has gone ‘in-house’—corporations have bought the rights to all the songs of freedom and revolution and love; governments have begun measuring the right-to-privacy against a need-for-surveillance; all the op art and pop art has been coopted by the advertising industry and the entertainment industry. Everyone eats yogurt now. Everyone hates sugar and fatty foods now. No one ever wears a tie anymore—unless they have a job that requires it—hence the term ‘suits’.

But the worse incursions have been made by lobbyists in DC—our legislation is all about money now—and rarely in favor of the private citizen. Our congress has lost its ability to represent their constituents (if it ever had it) and now represents the major industrial forecasts in the major states, and a few small ones. A tiny cadre of power-mongers controls the entire country—the votes prove it. Look at gun legislation, look at GMO agricultural legislation, look at financial legislation—have any of the current actions of either house struck you as being concerned for the private citizen, rather than being concerned for a loud-mouthed PAC funded by cronyism?

What’s the surest sign that our democratic government has been gamed by the super-wealthy? I’d have to say the correlation between funds raised for TV airtime and votes received at the polls. When money makes all the difference in a contest, it’s not democracy anymore, it’s a hostile takeover.


Street Talk

And I would have to agree with you 110 percent. Money is always there, ey?

Reply
  about 6 years ago

It's like they say--"Rust never sleeps".

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks for reading.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Good to see you writing again Christopher, I have missed your articles. :)

  
  about 6 years ago
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