Class Warfare Blog

October 26, 2019

Interweaving Threads of Thought

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 9:19 am
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I don’t know about you, but I read a great many books simultaneously. I start a book, read it for a while and then put it down to read something else. Later I pick it up (or not) and read some more. Rarely do I read a book straight through.

Currently in my pool of books I am reading are The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History by Howard Bloom and A Native’s Return, 1945-1988 by William L. Shirer. Two more disparate books would be hard to find, although there are some touch points between the two.

In The Lucifer Principle, the author is addressing various scientific points behind human history that people tend to forget. The first point, made strongly and almost irrefutably is that humans are equipped by nature with both “good” and “evil” tendencies. One of his arguments involves the tendency of male mammals to kill the children of their competitors during conquests. Not only do we see this behavior in nature but also in human societies. A lactating female is naturally resistant to getting pregnant again, so removing the children, makes the female capable of having babies again, the babies of the conqueror this time. (This discussion gave me more than a few twinges of male guilt, but this practice is observed in both males and females and also seems to be hard-wired into the drive to procreate. The females getting preferential treatment for her offspring by the social exclusion or even killing of other females offspring.)

Here is a sample from this book:

“Hugo Grotius in 1625 published De Jure Bellis ac Pacis, or Concerning the Law of War and Peace, a book that tried to make Christian war more humane. In it, Grotius justified killing children. He cited Psalm 137, which says, “Happy shall he be who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock.” Thus, Grotius was well aware of two things: that killing enemy children was common in the days of the Old Testament; and that it remained as common as ever in seventeenth-century Europe.”

I was drawn to A Native’s Return, 1945-1988 because the author of this memoir also wrote the quite famous book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a book I have read several times.

Here is a sample from that book:

“Every person’s life is of importance to himself, of course; it is the only one he has and knows. But in the universe of infinite space and time, it is insignificant. “Qu’est-ce qu’un homme dans l’infini?” asked Pascal (What is a man in the infinite?). Nothing. Perhaps Carl Becker, the historian, and one of the most civilized men I ever knew, grasped best our piddling place in the infinite. Man [he wrote] is but a foundling in the cosmos, abandoned by the forces that created him. Unparented, unassisted and undirected by omniscient or benevolent authority, he must fend for himself, and with the aid of his own limited intelligence find his way about in an indifferent universe. And in a rather savage world! The longer I lived and the more I observed, the clearer it became to me that man had progressed very little beyond his earlier savage state. After twenty million years or so of human life on this Earth, the lot of most men and women is, as Hobbes said, “nasty, brutish, and short.” Civilization is a thin veneer. It is so easily and continually eroded or cracked, leaving human beings exposed for what they are: savages.”

Such coincidences occur often enough in my reading and almost always are worth paying attention to. In this case, we tend to use the word “civilized” to describe thoroughly socialized human beings, people who use words and not weapons to get their points across. People who are “civil” and not brutish and violent. But my recent reading has shown me that civilization was and is based upon oppression of the many to provide ease and resources to the few. So, while there are many nice things to say about the veneer of civilization, at its heart, as at the heart of capitalism, is exploitation for gain, not any of the touchy-feeling nice things we claim for “being civilized.”

If you will allow me another quotation from yet another book currently in my stack:

“Bacon was not thinking of the labouring people, but one hundred years later Bernard Mandeville, who was quite as convinced as was Bacon of the “Tyranny which Custom usurps over us”, was a great deal less well-disposed towards any universal provision of education. It was necessary that “great multitudes of People” should “inure their Bodies to Work” both for themselves and to support the more fortunate in Idleness, Ease and Pleasure: Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (Harmondsworth, 1970 edn.), p. 191: also p. 334.

“‘To make the Society Happy and People Easy under the meanest Circumstances, it is requisite that great numbers of them should be Ignorant as well as Poor. Knowledge both enlarges and multiplies our Desires. . . The Welfare and Felicity therefore of every State and Kingdom require that the Knowledge of the Working Poor should be confin’d within the Verge of their Occupations and never extended (as to things visible) beyond what relates to their Calling. The more a Shepherd, a Plowman or any other Peasant knows of the World, and the things that are Foreign to his Labour or Employment, the less fit he’ll be to go through the Fatigues and Hardships of it with Chearfulness and Content.’

“Hence for Mandeville reading, writing and arithmetic ‘are very pernicious to the Poor’.”
(E.P. Thompson Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture)

Note The poem “The Fable of the Bees” was published in 1705, and the book first appeared in 1714. The poem suggests many key principles of economic thought, including division of labor and the “invisible hand,” seventy years before these concepts were more thoroughly elucidated by Adam Smith. And a clearer statement of purpose for exploiters has rarely been seen.

And, I close with yet another quote, read quite recently, from one of my favorite philosophers:

Man is a rational animal—so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it, though I have searched in many countries spread over three continents. (Bertrand Russell)

We do not need to invent gods as the sources of good and evil (Yahweh claims both, by the way) but rather an act of scapegoating to make us look better in the long run.

September 14, 2019

We Can’t Trust Our Senses! . . . Really?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 8:57 am

I have pointed out that we carry around in our heads a mini Matrix-like simulacrum of reality. This mental construct is how we make sense of the world around us, actually it is how we perceive the world around us in an effort to survive. As a recent Scientific American article stated:

“The deeper truth is that perception is never a direct window onto an objective reality. All our perceptions are active constructions, brain-based best guesses at the nature of a world that is forever obscured behind a sensory veil. Visual illusions are fractures in the Matrix, fleeting glimpses into this deeper truth.

“Take, for example, the experience of color—say, the bright red of the coffee mug on my desk. The mug really does seem to be red: its redness seems as real as its roundness and its solidity. These features of my experience seem to be truly existent properties of the world, detected by our senses and revealed to our mind through the complex mechanisms of perception.

“Yet we have known since Isaac Newton that colors do not exist out there in the world. Instead they are cooked up by the brain from mixtures of different wavelengths of colorless electromagnetic radiation. Colors are a clever trick that evolution has hit on to help the brain keep track of surfaces under changing lighting conditions. And we humans can sense only a tiny slice of the full electromagnetic spectrum, nestled between the lows of infrared and the highs of ultraviolet. Every color we perceive, every part of the totality of each of our visual worlds, comes from this thin slice of reality.” (The Neuroscience of Reality by Anil K. Seth)

The reason I bring this up is that materialists, like me, are often challenged by people who are fans of the supernatural that our perceptions are flawed and that something could exist outside of our ability to perceive.

Yeah, “Cleanup of wishful thinking on Aisle 5, please!”

As mentioned above something as profound as color is a mental construct. It only exists in our heads . . . in that fashion. Other animals “see” differently. Some insects see myriad colors, well into the ultraviolet part of the EMR spectrum. Some animals see in duotone, others in black and white.

Sepia duotones were common in the early days of photography.

I have been a fan of black and white photography for half a century and I remember seeing quite a few black and white movies on television as a child, but now with color movies being so dominant, black and white movies seem bizarre somehow. Interestingly enough, the original design of our vision (designed by evolution, not some supernatural designer) was for duotone vision. For those of you who do not understand “duotone” it involves two colors against a white (or single color) background. Photoshop has an “action” to create duotones from black and white photos and you can have great fun creating these. But they pale in comparison to full color photos (see the example photo of one of the first photographic duotone varieties).

The reason we know that we were originally designed (by evolution!) for duotone vision is apparent in the color receptors in our eyes. We have two dominant color receptors. For full color we would need three (just like the RGB—red, green, blue—color monitors/TVs). The two primary color receptors in our eyes are quite different in the color of light they respond to, but the third is clearly a mutation of one of the other two. (There is DNA evidence for this.) The color it responds to is very close to the one which it is a mutation from. But this is enough difference for our brains to interpolate “full color” from the information. If our eyes were computer monitor aligned, that monitor would not be a red-green-blue monitor but a red-green-“bluish-green” kinda sorta monitor. So, basically we got “full color” vision by accident. And, if we had not, we would think that duotone vision was “normal.”

Now, can we “trust” our senses? Of course we can. We can trust them to be what they are. But if you think that what we observe is a direct portal to reality (whatever that means) you are mistaken. We need to understand what out senses are . . . really are, not just what we assume they are.

Scientists have tackled many parts of this issue. For example, when you see a Yellow Banana™ (Ray Comfort) and you describe the color as “yellow” and I see it and say “Yes, it is yellow,” have we just been trained to use that word (yellow) for that color or do we actually perceive the same thing? Rest assured that we do perceive the same thing (brain scanners are wonderful tools) and you are not seeing green and calling it yellow and I blue and calling it yellow, or some other misperception. So, we all seem to be taking in the same information and treating it the same way. So we agree on what out senses “tell us.” Actually our brains interpret the information in the same way. (Normally . . . there are variations enough due to the sheer number of us.)

In addition, we have invented myriad instruments to extend our senses, including ear trumpets, telescopes, microscopes, radio telescopes, eyeglasses, laser interferometers, etc. We do not just depend upon our hard wired senses to acquire “sensory” information. And we have coherent interpretations of what our instruments perceive. (When scientists “measurements” conflict, they hungrily chew on those data because they may be the source of new learning.)

And we just do not perceive “supernatural” phenomena. If we did, then they would be “natural.” For supernatural mental constructs, such as gods, to affect us, they must affect reality, and so they, or their effects, should be observable. They are not observable and sometimes when we have looked and looked and looked, the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The simplest explanation for why there is no evidence for the existence of gods is they do not exist.

To claim that a god exists outside of time and space (whatever that means) is a desperate claim that puts a god where it cannot be perceived. But it also puts a god where it cannot affect reality. In this we can trust our senses. Anyone claiming that we cannot is building fairy tales out of whole cloth.

Sometimes a Blurb is Enough, Part ???

Filed under: Religion,Science,Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 7:35 am
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I see a great many books recommended by Amazon.com based upon my reading tastes (as indicated by my searches and purchases, I assume). This one caught my eye: Genesis and the Big Bang Theory: The Discovery Of Harmony Between Modern Science and The Bible. This is the blurb accompanying that title:

A ground-breaking book that takes on skeptics from both sides of the cosmological debate, arguing that science and the Bible are not at odds concerning the origin of the universe.

The culmination of a physicist’s thirty-five-year journey from MIT to Jerusalem, Genesis and the Big Bang presents a compelling argument that the events of the billions of years that cosmologists say followed the Big Bang and those of the first six days described in Genesis are, in fact, one and the same—identical realities described in vastly different terms. In engaging, accessible language, Dr. Schroeder reconciles the observable facts of science with the very essence of Western religion: the biblical account of Creation.

Carefully reviewing and interpreting accepted scientific principles, analogous passages of Scripture, and biblical scholarship, Dr. Schroeder arrives at a conclusion so lucid that one wonders why it has taken this long in coming. The result for the reader—whether believer or skeptic, Jewish or Christian—is a totally fresh understanding of the key events in the life of the universe.

* * *

Why the author had to go to Jerusalem on his “thirty-five year journey” is mysterious. The creation didn’t take place there, Genesis is available on the Internet as are several tons of discussion of it, so. . . ?

I have not yet read this beast, but it is a common approach of apologists to establish a correspondence between what we perceive as reality and their scriptures. Since their scriptures have a poor track record in such comparisons it is easy to scoff, but I decided to give this a go. I will report back.

Of course, there are a few minor foundational issues with all such comparisons. While one may establish that the order of the steps of creation as described in scripture is the same as actually occurred, in scripture the process by which they occurred is magic, something that has never been observed. As a colleague of Daniel Dennett put it (approximately) is that “real magic is fake and fake magic is real.” And any sort of physical explanation for a manifestation of nature must include not only the event but the process by which is occurred and “God did it” is not so much an explanation but an admission that one doesn’t know why or how it happened. And, it would be much more convincing if the scriptural account differed from reality and later, our view of reality had to be corrected due to mistakes being made and it came into alignment with scripture. This never happens. More often apologists claim that scripture corresponds with reality perfectly and then we find errors in our picture of reality and this is followed by some other apologist claiming that scripture was in perfect agreement with the new reality. (Note that Christian scripture corresponded exactly with Babylonian cosmogony and then Aristotelian cosmogony and then modern cosmogony (apparently), all three of which are vastly different. But I get ahead of myself. As I said I will attempt to read this book and report back.

For those who object that Yahweh “speaking” the universe into existence shouldn’t be characterized as magic, I offer this definition: magic (noun): the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces. If the scriptural creation account is not mysterious and didn’t involve supernatural forces, then it was a natural thing and we don’t need a god to account for it, so scriptural creation is magical, almost by definition.

June 30, 2019

Evolution of the Gods—God and Satan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 11:08 am

It seems that John Branyan cannot seem to grasp my argument regarding Satan and that a final battle on the plains of Armageddon between the forces of good and evil, must be some kind of joke because on one side you have an all-knowing and all-powerful god who can vanquish his enemies with the flick of a finger. I usually assume that any misunderstanding is my fault but I suspect that Mr. Branyan cultivates a certain imperviousness to serve his own ends (what those are isn’t clear to me).

The last question I put to him in the comments today was “Why does Satan exist? What can Satan do that Old Yahweh cannot?”

In answer to this, Satan has god-like powers. In the Bible it infers that Satan can fool Yahweh and can actually thwart his will. But, of course, Satan isn’t a god, he just plays one in church communities. Honestly, why is Satan still around?

Here is an excerpt from the listing under Satan on Wikipedia: “A figure known as “the satan” first appears in the Tanakh as a heavenly prosecutor, a member of the sons of God subordinate to Yahweh, who prosecutes the nation of Judah in the heavenly court and tests the loyalty of Yahweh’s followers by forcing them to suffer. During the intertestamental period, possibly due to influence from the Zoroastrian figure of Angra Mainyu, the satan developed into a malevolent entity with abhorrent qualities in dualistic opposition to God. In the apocryphal Book of Jubilees, Yahweh grants the satan (referred to as Mastema) authority over a group of fallen angels, or their offspring, to tempt humans to sin and punish them. In the Synoptic Gospels, Satan tempts Jesus in the desert and is identified as the cause of illness and temptation. In the Book of Revelation, Satan appears as a Great Red Dragon, who is defeated by Michael the Archangel and cast down from Heaven. He is later bound for one thousand years, but is briefly set free before being ultimately defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire.”

As usual there are more questions created than answered as soon as you delve into the back story of such a being. So . . .

  • Why would Old Yahweh need a prosecutor? To find out facts he already knows?
    • Why would suffering (torture?) be the preferred mode of examination? Has neither Satan nor Yahweh any truth serum at hand? You can lie to God?
    • “Dualistic opposition to God” spills the beans. Satan is the fall guy for anything bad that happens so that Yahweh doesn’t get blamed, even though He repeatedly admits he is the source of all good and evil.
    • Why would Yahweh create a posse of fallen angels to “tempt humans to sin and punish them”? There aren’t enough temptations that exist naturally, that he has to poke the bear over and over?
    • If, in the Book of Revelation, Satan is bound for 1000 years (now eclipsed) and then “ultimately defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire” why would Yahweh treat his trusted servant like this? And, clearly, if you ask any evangelical if Satan has been vanquished, they would say no (or maybe Hell, no!). Defeated? For doing what Yahweh wants him to do?

Getting back to my main point. Yahweh created Satan. Satan knows this. Yahweh can uncreate Satan. Satan knows this. If Satan actually opposed the plans of Yahweh, Satan would cease to exist. Satan knows this, too. So, why does Satan appear to oppose “God’s Plans”? It can only be because Satan believes that’s what Old Yahweh wants him to do. (And where did he get the idea to oppose his master? Was there some miscommunication? Aren’t angels perfect beings, created by their perfect master?) So, should Satan be blamed for anything he does . . . in his master’s name?

I don’t think so.

So, the Cynical Old Bastard in Charge (that’s translated from the Hebrew, I believe, not Aramaic) keeps Satan around as a fall guy, just to take any blame for any evil that befalls humans. Satan knows his job evaluation will be based upon how well he does his job, so he performs it to the letter. (How could he not he is as near perfect a being as Yahweh could make?) And for doing his job well, he is villainized, excoriated, cursed, and given no props by Yahweh worshipers.

I’ll tell, you, there is no justice in the world.

John Branyan thinks that because Yahweh’s plans are opposed doesn’t mean that Yahweh is not “all-powerful.” If that is so, then that opposition is part of Yahweh’s plans and therefore He owns it.

What a scam!

December 13, 2018

Dichotomist Nonsense

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 12:58 pm

I ran across a Harlan Ellison quote today: “I know that pain is the most important thing in the universe: greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure.” He is an author whose work I have read a lot, although he is not necessarily one of my favorites. (He is a brilliant and fabulous writer.) I plucked out this quote because it demonstrates erroneous dichotomous thinking. Dichotomies are two “opposites” such as pleasure and pain, good and evil, smart and stupid, etc. And a common argument is if you didn’t have the one, you wouldn’t also have the other. An example is that we all can’t be rich, so “the poor will always be among us.”

This is bullshit of course.

Let me give just one example: eating an ice cream cone. Is it good? (Assume it is your favorite ice cream, favorite cone, etc.) Is it good? You bet your ass it is good! How do you know? Must you compare that pleasurable sensation with poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick? (Doesn’t that sound silly?)

The reason these dichotomies are stupid is that the argument only works if there are only two possible states, that is they are alternatives. Either you have one or you have the other. But most things are not like that; in fact, very few are. Most things are parts of continuous ranges of values. So, the good of a favorite ice cream cone is immediately comparable with “normal” meaning “no ice cream cone.” Pain is not necessary to make a definition of pleasure. Everything can be compared to the “norm” or the status quo. So pain is not necessary as a framer of pleasure: non pleasure does that quite well.

This false thinking is behind all kinds of foolishness, such as happiness quotients. “Happy” and “Sad” are not two states. In between are unhappy and unsad in large manifolds. And happiness is not something to pursue. At best it is a marker. Short stints of feeling happy are a good sign that you are well balanced. The rest of the time things like contentment, gratitude, etc. are much more worthy states to be in.

False dichotomies are rampant in political argumentation. I have written often enough about the false dichotomy of “moral” and “immoral.” The vast majority of the time we are amoral, that is we act in ways that do not impinge upon morals or ethics. So, washing your car, driving to work, making the kids lunches: are these moral acts? And aren’t many of our actions a tiny bit immoral, even though we claim to be moral actors, by and large? Have you ever driven over the speed limit in a school zone, endangering members of the next generation? Have you ever been a scofflaw by walking against the pedestrian traffic lights? Have you ever been given too much change for a purchase and not returned the excess? Do any of these make you immoral or even the acts immoral? They are all matters of degree. They are all on a wide spectrum of behaviors. So why do we always pursue the false dichotomies that litter our thinking: liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, capitalists and socialists, believers and atheists? I suspect that it is because thinking is hard … and slow … so we would rather take the shorter, faster route to a position. I wonder of our democracy (being different from other democracies) can survive such laziness?

“The majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.” Alex de Tocqueville (observing U.S. citizens)

 

November 19, 2018

Worse than the Scientologists?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 12:16 pm

I just watched part of an episode of Leah Remini: Scientology the Aftermath which was about the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was apparently at the request of some survivors of that church. I knew Scientology was a scam before I saw any of her exposes. I didn’t know they were as bad as they were, though, so she really helped clarify the situation. I thought that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were just another fringe brand of Christianity but they may be worse than the Scientologists.

Scientology worked a bit of a scam getting itself declared as a religion by the IRS (I want to be a religion, toooo!) and it has that status legally because of that declaration. (It also profits financially (hugely) because of this.) The Jehovah’s witnesses have been around since the mid-1800s when the IRS hadn’t yet been invented, so I think they got grandfathered in because they survived as a cult.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to be scripture cherry-pickers of the worst sort. They justify abominable practices using any scriptural reference they can find apparently. As an example, along in the 1940’s, they decided that blood transfusions were the work of Satan and forbade their members from having them. They quoted Acts of the Apostles that reiterated the Jewish claim that food should not contain blood. (The effing Holy Bible is full of blood magic, bogus blood magic, of course.) Because of this admonition, JHers die regularly because of refused blood transfusions. It is not just that the member him- or herself refuses, but the churches send out teams to make sure they refuse. This includes children of members, often young enough that their parent’s refuse for them. Those who die from this lack of medical care are considered particularly holy.

Think about what else the JH leaders could have done to reinforce their control over “their flock.” They could have noted that this admonition refers to food and hence doesn’t apply strictly, but since they believe all non-JHers are controlled by Satan, they could have forbidden transfusion from non-church members. Then they could have organized their own blood banks and helped each other to live and grow in the church. There were other options, but it seems they prefer submission of women to men, children to parents, and all church members to the leaders of the church above all else. Of course, they call this submitting to Jehovah (probably should be Jehovah™).

They also had to have their own “translation” of the “Holy Bible” as none of the hundreds already in existence seemed to do what they needed. (Need a blatant sign of a scam?)

If you do not accept my claim that religions do not survive that do not coerce the masses to serve the interests of the religious and secular elites, you need to look at the levels of coercion in both of these “religions.” They both have church members spying on their fellows and reporting any failings observed. When they shun people, families are split up and communication between the fragments is banned. Plus, they have industrialized “blaming the victim.” Anything that goes wrong is your fault, because they represent God, don’t you know, and He makes no mistakes. (Why the Great Flood ever happened is beyond me because “He makes no mistakes.”)

If you haven’t yet read What’s the Harm? Why Religious Belief Is Always Bad by Richard Carrier, I strongly urge you to do so. And do realize some of these “religions” are worse, far worse, than others, e.g. the Australian JH Church knew of over 1000 child sexual molesters in their ranks and reported none of them, zero. They claimed that they couldn’t take action because “scripture” required that there be two witnesses for a crime to be adjudged, which would mean that a child molester would need to bring a couple of adult, male witnesses along to build a case against himself. So, none of the accusations were adjudicated by their panels. They did say, however, that they did believe the children who came forward to accuse their molesters … but their hands were tied, you see, because of the two witness rule. Scum, utter scum of humanity.

 

 

November 15, 2018

So There Are Still Prophets!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 11:06 am

September 15, 2018

Couldn’t Have Said It Better

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 8:08 am

I buy a lot of stuff through Amazon.com. Recently the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, did the billionaire thing by announcing a two billion dollar donation to “help” the schools. My reaction wasn’t good. Pete Greene’s was on point. Please read this.

WTF, Bezos

April 4, 2018

NRA Lauds Advances in Gender Equity

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 10:48 am

An NRA spokesperson announced today that the NRA is proud to see that more gender equity is being achieved in American society. He did not refer to specifically to the San Bruno, California shooting at YouTube during which Nasim Najafi Aghdam shot three people at YouTube’s offices before killing herself, but made the comment in response to a question from a N.Y. Times reporter about that incident.

As more and more women acquire concealed carry permits and practice marksmanship, the achievements of men and women will become more on par, he said.

[Note To avoid criticism of “Fake News, Fake News!” from the President or the NRA itself, I freely admit this is fake news. My only defense is it is no more fake than the news the NRA puts out. SPR]

March 26, 2018

Oh, The Irony!

When the American Experiment in self-governance began, the creators of the government we now possess were significantly concerned that the hoi polloi, the “middling sort,” as they called them, not get too involved in the process. The Founding Fathers were elitists, by design. They felt that only people like them had the education, the perspectives, and experience to lead the government.

One of the fears expressly stated was the fear that if the poor got control of  the government that they would use the government’s powers to strip the wealthy of their wealth. Most of the FFs were quite well-to-do, don’t you know. (Like you I was shocked, shocked, I tell you!)

This fear: that the poor would go after the wealth of the wealthy, has lived on in the hearts of most of the wealthy persons since the later eighteenth century and exists today.

In all of that time, I can only think of one period in which the wealth of the wealthy was effectively restricted and that was due to the New Deal of the quite wealthy President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was called a “traitor to his class” for his efforts). People often point to the 90% tax bracket introduced during WW2 and kept there after (even under Republican Dwight Eisenhower) as an example of  wealth stripping by “the people.” But this doesn’t hold up. This onerous tax bracket didn’t kick in until one had an annual income in excess of $100,000. Considering that the average worker’s income was around $3000, this was quite a lofty salary. So this 90% tax bracket applied to very few people. Plus SS taxes were quite low in the 1950’s as opposed to now. (Thank you, Ron Reagan!) And one can argue that effective tax rates (the rates people actually pay, not listings in tax tables) are higher now than in the 1950’s, so this does not wash as an example of a time in which the rich were attacked by the poor. The actual slowdown of the accumulation of wealth in the 1950’s was, I believe, caused not so much by policy (some was) but by a feeling of “we are all in this together” due to the war, making it harder to screw your neighbors.

There are, however, more than a few periods, including the one in which we are in now, in which the wealthy have joyfully robbed the poor and middle class. (Oh, the irony!)

If you are unfamiliar with wealth inequality (really it should be termed wealth inequity because really no one is arguing that all should be equally wealthy) you need to educate yourself on this very hot topic. Wealth “inequality” as currently defined is at an all-time high, worse than it was in the Gilded Age or any other period in U.S. history.

The entire process of civilization has been fueled by coercing inexpensive labor out of the masses to benefit the religious and secular elites. Any advantages of civilization that have been gotten down to the poor are the result of trickle down process and we all know how effective those are. Still, a certain amount of this is acceptable but when it gets excessive, as it is now, the torches and pitchforks tend to come out and, well, there are more of us than them.

I think we all need to take a page out of the playbook of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and establish a single issue voting block. I will no longer vote for any candidate who has an A or B rating from the NRA, in support of their effort. (Vote them out!)

How about a wealth inequality inequity single issue voting block? Establish a few parameters and then VOTE THEM OUT. Unfortunately this will go badly for all Republicans and the corporate Democrats. On second thought, strike the word “unfortunately.”

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