Saturday, May 20, 2006

"We have within reach, now, the attainment of almost every dream of mankind."
-- Gene Roddenberry

1949. How young we were back then; so innocent, so simple, so monochromatic. Looking back, it appears as though those times are long gone, who could have predicted the mess we'd eventually get ourselves into? Try, one of the smartest men to have ever lived. It will take you about 10-15 minutes to read Einstein's essay "Why Socialism?" but afterward you'll see he understood more than theoretical physics, he could editorialize about social organization and modernity. What I found truly fascinating was when Einstein touched on how we are composite creatures, making us a tad confusing as well as a tad confused. Not only are we self-contained individuals, or islands as some have said, but we also crave social stimulation. Our behavior is then informed, in large part, by that abstract concept encasing us all - society.

It is important to identify which half of human nature a particular society nurishes. If the answer is social participation, as is the case with many Scandinavian countries, then the population tends to exhibit more compassion for one another and embrace sweeping social programs such as universal health care and welfare. If the answer is individual detachment, as I believe America has done, then the population tends to exhibit aggressive behavior without much concern for their neighbors let alone people from different socio-economic backgrounds, religions or political inclinations.

This all brings me back to something I posted a few days ago. True Majority Action made an easy-to-understand video breaking down just how much money America devotes to the Pentagon, $400 billion per year. Every social program we have is hacked apart in order to increase the flow of capital to the military. With every feature of society making concessions for a single program, its no wonder that many people feel outraged, apathetic or hopeless. How we spend and what we spend it on should be as diverse as the people who live here, instead the framework of society is narrowing around just one characteristic, leaving many without a voice.

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