Tuesday, March 1, 2011
#60 / Inequality
The image here is from an article in Mother Jones, entitled "It's The Inequality, Stupid." The article basically consists of eleven charts that "demonstrate everything that's wrong with America," to quote the authors.
"Facts," and that is what these eleven charts depict, generally have the following effect when deployed, described, or displayed: facts seem to state what "is," and our minds tend to think that a statement of what "is" is the same thing as a statement of what "has to be."
The verb "is," in other words, states the "reality" of things, and we unconsciously assume that if something is "real" then that "reality" is both inevitable and necessary. To the degree that this is how we are struck by the "facts" deployed in the Mother Jones article, the article becomes far more discouraging than energizing.
How wrong we are to think that reality is conveyed by "facts" (I should probably say how wrong we are to "feel" that way, to be more accurate). The world we most immediately inhabit is a "constructed" reality, a world we create ourselves. Nothing is "real" in our world except the realities that we have, collectively, brought into being, and nothing in this human world is "real" at all, in the sense that the "realities" of our world are either necessary or inevitable.
Whatever exists, in the human world, can be changed. And that definitely includes the realities depicted on the eleven charts in the Mother Jones article. The majority of us can use our political power to take away money from those who have the most, and to give it to those with the least. That is "politics," not "socialism" and not "communism." There is nothing wrong, illegal, immoral, or even improbable about using majority political power to construct a political world that is more "equal."
The fact that politics can be used to take away wealth from one group, and give it to another, is illustrated by this fact: that is what has been happening in the United States, since the time of Ronald Reagan; only the rich have been taking it away from the less wealthy, not the other way around.
Check out Wisconsin if you want to see how it's done!