The Fallacy of Consumer Driven Capitalism

The two major things that drive the US economy are personal consumption and military spending. With this post, I will try to convince you that is a basic problem for us as a country. It thwarts happiness and is a wasteful way to live a life. But the biggest problem is that for too many of us it is the ONLY thing driving our lives. More money, more stuff.

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Ironically this is true throughout the economic ladder from the richest of us to the poorest. We think that if we can just get a few more dollars to buy more stuff everything will be better. Most of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated into consumer driving capitalism. For many of us, contrary to what the philosophers say, money can buy happiness, at least temporarily. Or so we believe…

For those on the lower end of the economic spectrum it is another flat screen TV; for those on the upper end, it is a new $50,000 car to replace the two-year-old one we currently have.

Believe it or not, there are other parts of the world that take a very different approach to capitalism. They don’t depend on all of their citizens spending more and more year after year. Instead, much of the profits of their version of capitalism is used for the overall good of the country and its citizens. Those countries have an infinitely better infrastructure.  Potholes and failing bridges are not the norms for them.  Even more importantly they provide health care for all their citizens and security for their senior citizens.  Every statistic taken shows that they are much happier than we are even if they don’t have multiple storage lockers filled with junk.

How do we as a country get out of the “more and more” mentality and into something that makes us happier?  That is the question of the day for me.

 

(WS) I Don’t Need The Annoyance Anymore…

canstockphoto2945108.jpgI have pretty much given up on the hope that those who are part of the Radical Right/Fear tribe will ever really understand my view of the world or that I will understand theirs.  All we seem to be able to do lately is to scream at each other across the red/blue abyss that separates us. Is that a fruitful way to spend the rest my life? Maybe it’s time go down a different path? That is the thought in this post.

We, in the United States, used to have a common bond but that seems to be fracturing now. There are two basic mentalities that currently dominate.

Red Tribe – There are those whose primary emotion is fear of the unknown. Fear of scientific advancements, fear of automation, fear of strangers, and especially fear that their way of life might be changing.  This group wants things to remain static. They welcome new products and services that make their life easier but still fear the technology that made them possible. They fear that their loss of majority status will mean others will lord over them as they have done over others in the past. Finally, they fear that their religion is losing prominence and therefore relevance in the world.

Blue Tribe – There are those who see one of the most basic things in life is “change”.  They are constantly looking for ways to do things better. They recognize that change often brings on apprehension but it also brings on much-needed progress.  They celebrate technological advances that help us live longer more fruitful lives. They believe that diversity is at the core of the success in our country.  They don’t fear the future but instead embrace it and the challenges it brings.

I think these two groups have always been around but the Us vs Them mentality is so dominant now.  Will we ever be able to fill the deep divide between us?

Getting back to my personal story, I am in my eighth decade now so I have decided to drop out of this war of different moralities and let those younger than me fight it from here on out.  I will continue to provide insight that my years of experiences have provided but I will no longer be a soldier in this war.  I will continue as I always have to vote at every opportunity but I will no longer try to convince those who I see as unconvincible.

My new mantra in life is “One day at a time” and each day is simply too valuable to waste on those adamantly opposed to the moralities that have driven my life. I pray that those who have many more years in front of them than behind take up the mantle I am dropping for I fear the consequences if they don’t…

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Orchids & Democracies

2018-04-08_15-31-46.pngThis being a primary election day here in Indiana, democracies are on my mind. Two of the most beautiful and delicate things in the world are orchids and democracies. They both need constant nurturing to thrive. An orchid needs the right light and temperature. It needs constant watering or it will die on the vine. The same thing is true for democracies.

Too many in this country seem to think that our democracy is as rugged as Rambo.  We can mistreat it and ignore it and it will always come fighting back.  If you want to see the fallacy of that belief just look around the world at various country’s attempts to maintain a democracy. The most obvious example right now is Russia.  When the iron curtain finally fell, Russia claimed that it would be a democracy. But that dream has pretty much been squashed.  One inept leader after another tried to make it so but since a former KGB agent took the helm, the idea of a Russian democracy pretty much has vanished.

Thomas Jefferson stated that an informed electorate is absolutely essential for a democracy to exist. Sadly, an informed electorate seems to have at least temporarily vanished from the American landscape. Too many latched on to one con-man or another with promises they can’t and don’t intend to keep. Too many of us are just too lazy to do the work to weed out the cons from the Patriots. We are currently living with the consequences of that most recent failure.

Being that so many still don’t seem to understand the threat is more evidence that we are not as stable as many believe. All of us need to get involved in caring for our delicate democracy.

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Puppy Dog Eyes

2018-03-23_15-52-29.pngThe old Indiana governor, which is my home state is probably the best Vice President in US history.  I know that is kind of a bold statement, especially coming from me! But hear me out. If you are as sharp as a tack you probably already figured it out.

The basic job of the vice president is to sit in his office and wait for the president to die. At least that is the Republican take on it, the Democrats actually put their VPs to work. I got to change subjects slightly here to make my final point so bear with me. The old saying in DC is if a president wants a friend in Washington then he should get a dog.  Well, I think the current Oval Office occupant has the best of both worlds.

Every time I see the VP with him he is looking at him with “puppy dog eyes”.  He just seems to be in awe of everything the guy says or does.  He is definitely a loyal employee who would never dare to question anything his boss said, and he is definitely house trained.  What more could a sitting president, especially the current one, want?

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Artsy Saturday – Shaker Seeds

For this artsy Saturday, I want to give you a “dramatized” photo of one of my favorite shots from Pleasant Hill Shaker Village near Lexington Kentucky.  I have been to Pleasant Hill perhaps a dozen times over the years and I find myself re-taking this picture every time I go.

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