• Ryan James Carlson

Society breaks stride, asks why

This weird break in the forward motion of society lets you take a look at things like objects in a museum. A lot of ideas that our society is founded on make no sense if you look at them. The government is dispensing money now to keep the system and the people afloat, but already Republicans are worrying that poor people who are given money will become “dependent.” This is one of the fundamental concepts underlying American conservatism, but it is so much nonsense. Let's consider: Why do the children of rich families, who have everything given to them, not suffer from this? That's enough right there, but let's go on. We all know that welfare in the US doesn't make you rich or even comfortable, yet we are supposed to believe that people find this more attractive than work. If you think about it, it really begs the question: How fucking unattractive must the work be? On the other hand we are led to believe that people who are already well paid are motivated by getting more money for doing the same job for which they were already being well paid, and disincentivized by paying higher taxes, for example. Why are they not made lazy by getting a raise without exerting more effort, and motivated when the state reduces what they receive? Pure poppycock. The real issue with poor people becoming "dependent" – one might rather say despondent – on welfare is that they will be poor even if they do work. There is nothing motivational in this scene. So what do we do? Make the work attractive? No, we make the alternative worse. In the end, it is not an attempt to solve the problem – it is nothing but a way of forcing people to work for low wages. Which do you prefer: Poverty A or Poverty B? And if you choose B, you have poor character. It is a mechanism for enabling cheap labor while placing the moral responsibility on the poor person rather than the ones who are exploiting them. We have this idea in America that anyone can, if they try hard enough, get ahead. This is how we justify the fact that people are paid nothing and live in squalor – their fault because they could work hard and get a mansion if they made better choices in life (like which parents to have?). But is it even theoretically possible in our type of economy for everyone to have decently paid jobs? Doesn't the great wealth of some depend on others not getting a big share of what is produced? It's all a lie we tell ourselves to justify what we somehow know isn't right. Let's face it: This society is structurally unfair. Yes, there are loads of good people doing lovely things and most of the people who are involved in this and on the winning side, so to speak, have zero awareness of being involved in any way that is not cool on their part. I'm not blaming almost anyone for this, because we've all grown up in it, rooted in countless generations of this thinking stretching back so far that you couldn't even identify who might be originally responsible. But we owe it to our fellows to question it now.

Why do some people get paid so little?

Especially now when we see whose jobs we actually depend on all the time. The “essential workers” in this crisis are the essential workers in everyday life. Why do people who work at grocery stores get paid so little when we need them so much? How can 40 hours of one person's life be worth a fortune and 40 hours of another's not even enough to afford necessities? It's time we recognized that the system we have, and the moral value that we assign to people based on that system, is actually just a construct designed for the purpose of justifying itself. Rich kids aren't made "dependent" by getting things for free, because when they grow up they will get a job for free and raises for free and they will never "depend" on the government because they will get everything through a series of unearned opportunities. In the end, this person who coasted down easy street will be viewed as the moral superior to the person who never caught one break and worked at least as hard but got paid peanuts for it. The rich guy may even become a politician and talk about "dependency culture" – referring to the other guy, not himself. It's all a sham. So much of our politics and society are based on similar myths and constructs, which all serve to justify some people having vastly more than others without feeling bad about it.

AT avatar 3.jpg
*Nota Bene: This whole site is a work in progress. Click around, maybe you'll find something good. Otherwise, come back later.