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Two Points About What We Face

Two Points About What We Face

By Dennis Loo (4/28/14)

This article is prompted by many people's comments that the public is powerless in the face of invincible governments and that "human nature" dictates that people are driven by selfish desires for material wealth.

First, if authorities were truly impregnable because the populace is all too bought off, "fat and happy," mall-obsessed automatons, then authorities would not need to be spying on everyone in the world. They would not have to be passing and using the most repressive legislation seen in generations or, in some cases, ever in US history. Obama would not have had to be put forward by the powers that be as the first black to be US president to superficially change the face of US imperialism and be the supposed savior to keep millions within the system’s fold. He would not have to have a "kill list" that he adds names to every Tuesday and he would not be using rendition, torture, indefinite, and preventive detention. Obama would not constantly be talking about the importance of upholding "the rule of law," "due process," "transparency," being opposed to torture and the holding people at GTMO, and so on, while doing the exact opposite of these things, if most people, especially those who are soceity's opinion-leaders at all levels, did not value these things. The media and public officials would not have to conceal, lie about, and distort what the government is actually doing.

Obama or whoever else is in the White House could instead say something like this: “We’re the sole imperialist superpower in the world and what we say goes, no matter what the law says because we make the rules, and if you don’t like it, then we will crush you. Now, the rest of you Americans: go spend more money so the rich can get richer!”

This is worth really thinking through. If you do that, you will see that indeed, if most people were really as selfish and philistine as so many people believe and have been taught by authorities to believe, then there would not have to be misdirection and outright lying by authorities about what they are doing and why they’re doing them. They would not have to pretend that they are operating based on high principles. They could be straight with people.

Now, as a slight aside here: There are pundits and political leaders whose appeals to their followers are not very different from such blatantly xenophobic and might-makes-right rationales. There is a social base for this kind of appeal. It’s just that the proportion of the US population that can be mobilized around that appeal is a small portion of the population and it’s a particularly disreputable and overall - there are some exceptions – frankly rather stupid section of the population. The majority of people aren’t knowingly going to follow along with such a crowd of yahoos if for no other reason than that jingoists,’ male chauvinists’, and white supremacists’ values are so blatantly disgusting. While the Republican Party has an active and fired up social base within it that knowingly or unknowingly adheres to these values, even the GOP could not survive as a party if it had to rely solely on that reactionary social base and had its moderates in its social base flee from the party.

Second, the vast majority of people have not been taught how to think critically and they have specifically not been taught how to think dialectically. This latter issue of dialectical thinking is true of even most of those who have had the best educations that money can buy. This is evident in all kinds of matters, but I want to focus on how this comes out with regard to how people see politics and social dynamics: their thinking tends to be mechanical, static, and/or one-sided. It can only be such if they don't know dialectics.

Most people don’t see things in terms of the systems that we exist within and how that shapes and affects what people do and how they see the world. You simply cannot really understand what’s going on in politics and in society if you don’t understand how systems work and don’t base your thinking explicitly and consciously upon that knowledge.

For example, people who say that the problem is the people because the people are philistine, think that capitalism exists because the public as a whole is only interested in crass individual self-interest. If this were really true then we would not have a society because societies can only exist because of mutual interdependence and support. Families themselves would collapse because parents would no longer go to the trouble of raising and caring for their children who are a net drain on parents’ material resources and couples would no longer remain together because being in a relationship involves too much self-sacrifice and compromise to suit crass material self-interest.

To be continued.


0 # Daniel Gomezzz 2014-04-30 01:37
(1/2) Just to let everyone know, he is actually applying dialectics to his analysis on the aspects of political power (persuasion and coercion). Seeing things one-sidedly and frankly on the surface of things, will lead you to very spontaneously come to the conclusion that the people cannot be successful in overthrowing the government/ the system. This is wrong, as Loo has stated and pointed out logically. If the U.S truly was all-powerful, then it wouldn't have to blatantly lie all the time to us about the horrors they are committing. Why do you think repressive arm of the state comes AFTER all the distortions and lies about various movements and groups opposing the U.S empire. The reason is because the people CAN rise up and MUST rise up.
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0 # Daniel Gomezz 2014-04-30 01:38
(2/2) Something can be done about it, and if you feel the same or are interested in finding out how we can do something about it, please join me and we'll discuss. The material basis for our change should be based off of the contradictions of the capitalist-impe rialist system and all of the ideology and structure that preceded it and are now bound up with it, not the false belief of the masses stating that nothing can be done.
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-05-05 06:50
I completely agree, Daniel! That fact that people don't see how and why we need to have a revolution/upri sing is because they have been told by the government that this cannot happen. I would love to join you in discussion about how an uprising should and could happen.
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0 # jnandez 2014-05-06 02:48
You speak truth! We need to make this concept and strategy of thinking dialectically into a foundation so that it becomes an automatic response to how we analyze things that occur around us. If we are able to do this, we can get past the mentality that we are too weak and the government is too powerful. The question is now, how can we get to this stage? It may involve raising awareness of this way of thinking with articles like this one, but what else can be done to help those who do not have these kinds of opportunities to read/know about such articles/knowle dge?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-06 03:18
Quoting jnandez:
We need to make this concept and strategy of thinking dialectically into a foundation so that it becomes an automatic response to how we analyze things that occur around us. If we are able to do this, we can get past the mentality that we are too weak and the government is too powerful. The question is now, how can we get to this stage?... what else can be done to help those who do not have these kinds of opportunities to read/know about such articles/knowledge?
Promote the articles on social media such as Reddit. Come to and grapple with the burning questions: "Where We Are in the Revolution," Sat., May 17th, 6 PM

Presentation and Reception

Immanuel Presbyterian Church

Westminster Chapel (enter on Berendo)

3300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90010

Spanish Translation Available
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0 # vices 2014-05-02 21:22
Of course the government fears the public, because it is their only opposition. I agree that families wouldn't exist if people were completely individualistic , but people can still be selfish and have families. It could be possible that relationships exist because 2 incomes are better than 1, and children are an investment for the future in which they could eventually make money for the parents when they are too old to work. Most immigrant families come to the US and teach their children to get an education to make a lot of money. They want them to become doctors or lawyers, so basically they tell them to assimilate and follow the systems with the ultimate goal of achieving wealth. It is possible for people to care for their families only and not for the rest of society. I'm sure there are many workers that would refuse a pay cut even if it meant more people would get employed. It is not that everyone is selfish, the government keeps us divided so we see each other as the enemy.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-02 21:26
Most parents don't raise their kids in order for the kids to financially support them. They raise them because they love their kids. The central premise for sociology and anthropology is that societies are first and foremost collectivities that exist in order for us to even survive and that individuals are not the primary factor in societies. When you argue for the centrality of individualism - to the extent that you are doing so - you are adopting the outlook, theory, and logic of the bourgeoisie. That is their viewpoint and it serves their interests. But it isn't correct. If it were, sociology and anthropology would not exist.
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0 # vices 2014-05-02 21:40
I agree that they raise children because they love them, I only present this case because it is an exterior motive that could exist. I also agree that societies survive on the collective cooperation of each other. I, as do most people, live empirically which creates bias. I am not saying that it is a good thing. Could it be possible that society is heading towards self-destructio n because of the absence of these sciences?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-02 22:10
The dominance of an ideology contrary to the premise of sociology and anthropology is destroying society and the planet, yes.
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+1 # Sadiez Moreno 2014-05-05 00:16
Quoting vices:
Could it be possible that society is heading towards self-destruction because of the absence of these sciences?

I was thinking the same question. While just doing some general thinking, and because our professor said that the planet is indeed being destroyed by the view opposite to soc and anthro, I generated ideas to how we can see this destruction today. For one, half of our marriages now end in divorce. For another, juvenile delinquency is quite prevalent in the United States. I honestly feel like these occurrences are part of today's society because people follow the principles and beliefs that the gov't force feeds us, and we adopt them to be the utmost truth. In addition, people today cannot see the impact of what the gov't is doing to destroy us because they have not been taught how to obtain the vision needed in order to see things as the bigger picture.
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0 # Viceless 2014-05-05 05:36
Quoting Sadiez Moreno:
I honestly feel like these occurrences are part of today's society because people follow the principles and beliefs that the gov't force feeds us.

Is it necessarily the government or more the corporations that truly run America? Our children grow up saturated by what they see in video games, television, and movies. These things largely influence them and put a focus largely on material things which has created a society of people who are focused solely on what they don't have instead of what they do have.
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0 # jnandez 2014-05-06 03:17
Quoting Sadiez Moreno:
In addition, people today cannot see the impact of what the gov't is doing to destroy us because they have not been taught how to obtain the vision needed in order to see things as the bigger picture.

In anthropology, what you are referring to is known as the holistic approach of understanding things. It is similar to Dr. Loo's article here with the concept of dialectics. In the science of anthropology, holistic thinking must be applied to everything. In order to understand X, you must understand it in the bigger picture with its relations/ function to others and the overall structure that X resides in. So instead of analyzing life only through binoculars, you are able to analyze with a bigger sense of the world where your vision is not blocked. If more people were able to do this, than more people would understand the government's bullshit.
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0 # Frank Sahagun 2014-05-08 06:35
The destruction is definitely visible when you look at things like the divorce rate. The family is becoming more and more distant from each other. The children just wanna be alone in their rooms. There is rarely a time when the entire household is all present for a family dinner, due to everyone's busy schedules and what-have-you. Children are growing up extremely fast. Middle school kids are dressing like they are in their twenties, and engage in 20 year old activities, like drug & alcohol use, or sexual activities. TV is one of the major culprits here. It seems that everything on TV revolves around sex, drugs & alcohol, and violence. This is very alarming because when you get to them at an early age, you got them indefinitely.
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0 # Aria 2014-05-02 21:27
I think it is so interesting how we have the facade of the United States being one of the freest places in the world, but we are actually under high surveillance. The media portrays America as a picture perfect place with the "mall obsessed" citizens, but I wonder what would happen if they showed us how watched we are. I knew on some level that there were cameras everywhere, but it never really hit me until this class how we are all literally being watched. I do not think the public would be happy if those in charge told us how they were really running things.
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0 # giovanna serrano 2014-05-08 01:27
Just like you I think it would be a serious thing to know what would people do if they really realized we are indeed being monitored/watch ed closely by our government. Like you say America is portrayed amongst other countries as the nearly perfect country where freedom rises above all amongst its citizens. However, being under surveillance and monitored does not really sound like freedom to me.
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0 # Aria 2014-05-02 21:30
I believe that the systems we live in play a pivotal role in how we live. Families exist because everyone in that family is working together to further themselves as a unit. If people were individualistic , they would not get far in life especially here. In the United States we like when people are individuals, but we encourage working with others more. Things run smoother when people work as a unit. Our society works together because all of these families have the same interest in "keeping the peace" in America (if what we do have is peace since we are under surveillance all the time). If we did not work together in our own ways, the United States would look like an entirely different place.
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0 # deltoro 2014-05-03 01:48
Soc 305. I agree with you Aria. We live in a structure in which we need others to survive. However, in the American culture, we push people to be independent. We see individualist in the early age in our families. In the American culture children are placed by themselves in their own rooms next to their parents. We make them go sleep by themselves. This helps children to be independent. On the other hand, the school system teaches and encourages children to work together as a team.
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0 # deltoro 2014-05-03 01:50
Soc 305. We live in a bureaucracy structure in which we have the right know what the government is doing. The government does not have the right to hide things from us. Especially the killing lists in which we do not know who is listed.. Who decides who is going to be on the list? Under what morals and values does Obama make his killing list decisions? We the people of the U.S. have the right to know. We put these people in offices and in power in order to represent us and support us. Not by hiding a list to kill. Who is going to benefit from this list? The White House or the U.S. citizens who do not have any idea of who and why these people are being killed every Tuesday.
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0 # katgrl15 2014-05-03 06:13
Max Weber coined the term Iron cage which refers to individuals being controlled by systems and lured in unconsciously. The article portrays this iron cage by stating, "Most people don’t see things in terms of the systems that we exist within and how that shapes and affects what people do and how they see the world". People see the world not in terms of systems because they wholeheartedly believe they have all the correct information and that individuality is what is causing internal issues in society. But what is being unrecognized is that most societal, political, or economic matters involve and are influenced by the systems and in turn will find a way to manipulate people's perceptions and worldviews. Max Weber defined power as the ability to get what you want even against resistance and at this point the systems will continue to overachieve having power over people because there isn't very many people resisting.
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0 # Sadiez Moreno 2014-05-05 01:25
I agree with you entirely. Our population is being supplied and fueled with ideologies that keep the powerful, powerful. We immensely proclaim that we know everything there is to know about the gov't and why they do the things that they do, when in reality we only know what they allow us to know; and this isn't very much. In addition, we can also use Weber's term to mean a literal iron cage; in which the American people are collected and intensively observed. As this article stated, our every move is watched and noted. If the gov't really thought of us all as overweight, unintelligent over-consumers, they would not need to go great lengths in order to keep information to themselves and to keep track of everything that we do in our day-to-day lives.
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0 # Marisol Parra 2014-05-03 16:11
Soc 305- Weber stated that power is not shared equally amongst society and dominated by a bureaucracy. Majority of people have been raised to believe that the government is always telling the truth and is 100% accurate at all times. Soc 305 class lecture Dr. Loo talked about the whistleblower Edward Snowden who worked with the NSA came forward to reveal how the US government does indeed violate our own free space. The NSA does monitor what we do from the emails to the conversation we have on a daily basis. Bureaucracy will only get stronger as they seek to keep their intention a secret which makes it even harder to destroy such hierarchy of authority. We the people need to stand up and truly think outside the box.
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0 # Sme 2014-05-04 02:55
Even though we might not be happy about the way the government is doing things and about the elites ruling this country it is true that the government is necessary. If there is no “organization” or laws that keep people from doing what they want, this country would not even exist. And without the government hiding things from the people the government would not exist. How this country and the rest of the world are ruled is by governments hiding things from the people that is how governments and countries are maintained sin the first place.
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0 # ch2782 2014-05-04 04:30
We the people have to know and be informed about the decisions our government is making concerning to our “safety” in America. Who is the system/governme nt protecting by making a kill list, the people or themselves? If one does not understand how the system works, how can we be able to think critically? One cannot expect to learn much about this subject, since most institutions are controlled by the government. The less one knows the better. The government censors what gets publish and determines what students should learn, keeping hidden information from the public and students.
to be continued...
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0 # Catman 2014-05-05 04:43
I think the issue of the kill list is not who is benefiting from is whether or not the people on the list are correct chosen to get kill. Most people targeted on the kill list are probably terrorist, that is just speculation because no one knows for real. If random, innocent people starting dying, there would be a uproar, but when a nobody terrorist is disposed of, no one will turn twice to see who it is. I think the issue of learning to think critical about this situation is to understand that the government is not perfect and the people are not either.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-05 23:38
Quoting Catman:
I think the issue of the kill list is not who is benefiting from is whether or not the people on the list are correct chosen to get kill. Most people targeted on the kill list are probably terrorist, that is just speculation because no one knows for real.
Actually, we do know for real. While we don't know exactly the status of individuals in every single case, we know that hundreds of children have been killed w/ drones in Pakistan alone, let alone other countries. We know that thousands have died. We know that the drone operators are guilty of doing "double-tap" attacks where they wait a few minutes after an initial attack and then send in another missile to kill or injure those who respond to assist those hurt in the first attack. We know that the USG defines its victims are "militants" not based on anything other than the fact that they are men of a certain age range.
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0 # ch2782 2014-05-04 04:56
Just like we discussed in class, Durkheim mentioned that the more one knows about the subject, the more people would want to learn. The more sociologists know about the inequalities and the injustices our government is taking, the more one is willing to take affirmative action about it. Institutions are structure because not knowing about the problems in society causes less chaos and fewer answers the government would have to respond.
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0 # thatdude 2014-05-04 16:51
A major concern of mine is that the U.S. as a whole is uninformed and doesn't know much about what government is doing at one point in time or another. It seems like so much is kept secret from us citizens and then eventually when they (the government) decides to tell us, its been shaped and modified to show the decision made by government in a good light. If we as citizens of this nation are blinded from what our government's agenda is, then we are already at risk of total control which I don't see as that far from where we already are. Government does what it wants when it wants and if there is a barrier in the way they create a detour to get around it and press on... Scary to think about
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0 # jnc 2014-05-04 21:55
I think the example given at the end changed my thoughts. I always thought that people were so self centered and are only focused on their own interests and what is best for them. Although sometimes it feels as if this is true, the example listed above makes me think about how societies need people in order to survive. What is sad is how people in higher power take advantage of those below them in order for them to get to the top and not think about the people in society who helped them get there.
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0 # Michelle Ngo 2014-05-04 22:39
We are taught different things by our environment and the media. Upholding the "rule of law" is important, but it seems like those who are supposed to uphold that law is not doing their job. For example, when police officers beat homeless people for no apparent reason. How is that the rule of law? Somebody is always breaking that rule in some way. People are not powerless when they want to fight for rights, but they are powerless when they do not know the rights that was written down on the constitution.
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0 # zzchi 2014-05-04 23:01
I for one do not know much about politics. However, as I read and learn more of these systems we exist in, the more distraught I am. Politicians and rule makers do not want the people to understand what is going on in society, because they fear the people. They fear what we might do if we know the truth. In class we spoke about 9/11 and the warnings Bush had before the planes collided into the World Trade Center. He ignored it and left the people to clean up his mess. These people do well at hiding what they know and cleaning up the mess they made, but at who's expense? If we were properly warned, what would the outcome be?
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0 # tiffany 2014-05-05 03:11
I agree with a lot of what you are saying but sometimes I like to think about in the mind of a politician or for this case, Bush. If they were open with us more what would the people do? If he did warn us since he "apparently" knew about 9/11 what would we have done to prevent it, or would something worse have happened? I dont know. But I do believe that it is wrong for government to keep so much info from us but at the same time they are prevented chaos. The only people who have problems with government is people who question them like we are right now, if we did not, if we trusted the government as "good Americans" should, then would we be living a less questionable life? I feel like we put these problems in our heads instead of choosing to trust, then again, why should we trust. I just dont know. Yet, I prefer to live happily and if I am constantly questioning the authority, I can never feel safe, so I choose to trust.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-05 23:34
The gov't does not care about you or me or the planet as a whole. They are destroying the planet. Do you want to trust those who you ought not to trust and who allowed, at the very least, through at the very least criminal negligence, the 911 attacks and you have since the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses, committed the supreme war crime of a war of aggression in which more than a million have died? Do you want to trust those who should be acting with great urgency to prevent further global climate disasters and who are not?
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0 # cutemeow 2014-05-09 21:17
I think that part of the government's fear of the people has to do with them knowing that the public has the potential to be very powerful. The fact that they continually cover up their inconsistencies is a mechanism for them to keep the public disorganized and ill-prepared for opposition. That is how capitalist societies function. And in a way I think our country's capitalist gains are not only monetary but also their pride. Saying that the public is "fat and happy" is not true, but rather the other way around. The government is continually suppressing the public, and feeding us with capitalistic ideology so that we can keep them "fat and happy".
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0 # Guy 2014-05-05 01:24
I think the government and the media spend a lot of time making citizens think we are powerless. But in fact we can take control as citizens if it ever has to come to it. Knowing this I think the government sets up distractions to derail our attempts to find and change how the system works. In order for the government to do what they want I think they need at least more than half of the population thinking they can't do a thing about it. The US has made society very affordable place where you do not really need that much money to go on living day to day. So if we are able to live off eating the dollar menu it would seem to a lot of people that there is no need for a higher education where they can learn how and why to think critically. If we have so many citizens without the ability to think critically and would rather listen to the tv, I think it will be a challenge for the rest of us with the ability to think critically to reverse their thinking about how the gov is actually working
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0 # Jessica Ulloa 2014-05-05 01:48
Personally, my knowledge on politics & how our country operates is not where it should be. I feel very ignorant to the entire idea. i do care to know more, that is why reading information that is to inform us of the truth of the world we live in is necessary. After reading this it made me think of Durkheim's DOL. The entire world is full of "working class," which in my view would be Americans &those in politics are the elites. The reason i relate the two is because most Americans aren't i the know w/what is happening nor some in the know with who makes what decisions for our country. Therefore we must educate ourselves to see what is outside the box. If we do not know of what is to be done then we will be in our own comfort zone and in the dark forever. All in all, as depressing as i feel at times knowing what little control i may have over what decisions are made for the country i live in, i will strive to educate myself and know that i can decide for myself &the country i live in.
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0 # CamouflagedWife 2014-05-05 03:34
Since we pose a threat as a whole to our authorities, they feel the need to watch over us always. The sad thing is that by doing this, it loses faith in the system from the side of the people. Since we are being spied on, it becomes more natural and reasonable that people will want to rise up against this if they actually knew what was going on. This connects to the second point of being taught to think critically and dialectically. This is a must! Because we are not taught to think in that fashion we just sit idlely while our government watches us with rare upset against the system. We would definitely live in a different world today if the two points about what we face were different.
we have not been taught to think critically
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0 # Princess Peach 2014-05-05 04:28
A good portion of the United States population is always throwing out their opinion on politics in America. They also want to know what is truly going on and what decisions are being made in the White House. The problem with this is that the majority of the American people do not understand how the US government system works. The information that the American people receive about the US government comes from the media. Far too often public officials distort the information presented by the media. In SOC 302 we discussed how the media could be misleading and it gives the American people false information. This leads them to believe that the US government is a less complex subject than what it actually is.
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0 # Catman 2014-05-05 04:32
The problem of the authority/gover nment spying on everyone in the world doesn't really affect me at all. The people who it effects are the people that are doing something wrong. I wonder how the world would be if we didn't have "big brother" watching over every move we make. Authority creates a sense of unwillingness to create chaos within a society. Without authority, societies would cease to exist.
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0 # flr9d 2014-05-05 05:55
After reading this article it made me think different of how our society works.Individua ls motivates are based on their own interest without looking at the bigger picture.Like it was stated in the article we as a society are interdependent that means the government needs us as much as we need them, to keep order. Even though there is a interdependent relationship they have broken the trust they had with Americans and I believe that's why citizens don't only have enough knowledge about our system but don't care to.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-05 23:30
Quoting flr9d:
I believe that's why citizens don't only have enough knowledge about our system but don't care to.

I agree with the earlier comments of yours but then you end with "but don't care to" and I'm left wondering why you say that. If people don't have enough knowledge, then how can the problem also be that they don't care to? The first point of yours can be supported by lots and lots of evidence but the last part of yours is simply an assertion. It's an assertion that describes some people, but only a minority and definitely not the majority.
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0 # Sherlock 2014-05-05 05:59
Because our government is so shrouded in secrecy it may be hard to pinpoint the specific cause of a particular event. However, simply seeing the effects should be enough to motivate people to fight for change. If not, then nothing will.
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0 # soad 2014-05-05 06:14
People who live in the US don't really know what's going on. So many citizens don't even know about Obama's kill list. There is this facade that shows the United States as this great and free nation, but in reality, we're all watched. When I think of being watched, I think of a stalker. But in this case, the government is the stalker. Observing each of our moves and listening to our conversations. It's truly terrifying. Imagine if more people knew about this. I don't think the citizens of the United States would be sitting at home idly in fear, but I think they would be more ballsy and start a revolt against the government. A form of protest or even a revolution isn't a bad thing and we shouldn't fear it.
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0 # MarieB 2014-05-05 06:17
If everyone was happily oblivious and ignorantly content with their country, the government would not have to hide many things, but since there are people who notice there are major problems, they have to work very hard to cover it up. To me, it is hard to fathom how they planned this ignorant reliance on selfish consumerism so far in advance, because it is really working. This is a good article because it takes into consideration the thought process of the citizens as well as the manipulation of the government.
There is a theory in psychology that says when parents give their children trust and responsibility, they will basically be better adjusted than parents who are unreasonably strict and distrusting. By this theory, since the government is spying on and is distrusting of its citizens, the country may wish to rebel like an overprotected teenager.
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0 # BBalty 2014-05-05 06:29
(1/2 The American government has always been fearful of the public. Throughout history, the public has demonstrated strong social solidarity at difficult times through riots such as the Rodney King Riots. Due to the effects of such events, our government is not willing to permit any possibility of Americans becoming truly informed. Spying on the American public is the government’s way of asserting its authority over Americans and taking away our rights.
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0 # BBalty 2014-05-05 06:29
(2/2)If this is true, why don't we fight for our constitutional rights to privacy? Because the government has misinformed us on its true reasons for spying. They have told us that spying on the public prevents future terrorist attacks on this nation, which leads us to believe that violating our privacy for the greater good of our safety is worth it. The government knows that if it deliberately attempts to take away our freedom and rights, Americans will revolt. However, if the government can convince us that releasing our rights to privacy will improve national security, most of us will be willing to do so. Therefore, because Americans are constantly fed false information from the government, the public cannot distinguish between truth and deceit, and the government is able to force its authority over us.
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0 # Slovebee 2014-05-05 06:54
This was an interesting and eye-opening take on this issue. It's true people can be selfish but if we were to blame innate selfishness for the problems I think we are missing the mark. I think our society has some authenticity and I think we can rise above the issues we face today. I think that's why certain movements have become so powerful (civil rights, gay rights, etc...). When the human race comes together in unity amazing things can happen. It's about becoming informed and educated on the world around us in order for us to contribute to the revolution.
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0 # Brandon Vildosola 2014-05-05 06:56
Well i agree with the part that if people were truly completely selfish then they would not raise their kids and society in itself would eventually die. However, i do think there is a selfish aspect of people as a whole in the way that they firstly think bout themselves and then also think about those in their inner circle (people that they love and care about). for example, i care about myself more than my boss, but i care about my brother more than i do myself. So with that in mind, i do not think that society will ever die because there is always a small circle in which i might not be considered selfish. The only people who would be selfish would then be considered sociopaths since they are incapable of thinking about anything else. other than that i don't have much to say, other than i agree with the rest of the article.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-06 00:33
People do fairly naturally tend to care more about their close circle of kin than others, it's true. However, that is not the same as the doctrine of ultra-individua lism that is preached by Ayn Rand followers and the neoliberals who follow Fredrick Hayek's views. It is furthermore true that if people ONLY think of their immediate kith and kin - a form of ethnocentrism that can under specific circumstances turn into racism - that this level of consciousness needs to be raised overall so that the maximal benefits of social life can be achieved. We are by accident of birth related to who we are related to and born in the particular country and circumstances that we are born into.
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0 # menava 2014-05-05 06:57
Of course nobody in power would ever say "we’re the sole imperialist superpower in the world and what we say goes, no matter what the law says because we make the rules, and if you don’t like it, then we will crush you. Now, the rest of you Americans: go spend more money so the rich can get richer!”

We need to fool everyone into thinking that America cares and that our ideals fuel the greater good. It's beneficial for people to not understand how the system works because it perpetuates ignorance. If everyone really knew the truth how could they sleep at night? It's easier to say you weren't aware of people being tortured and when you do find out--it's all the governments fault because you didn't know. It's a convenient game of passing the buck.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-05 16:21
Quoting menava:

We need to fool everyone into thinking that America cares and that our ideals fuel the greater good.

Who is the "we" in your "we?" Is everyone in the US in the same boat and does everyone wield the same amount of power? Do we all equally benefit from exploiting human labor and natural resources? Are we all guilty of ordering and carrying out torture?
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0 # Frank Sahagun 2014-05-08 00:13
The only reason to keep something a secret is because you know that it is wrong, or you know that everyone else would not agree or support it. Of course, there is the occasional lie that is told for the sake of not hurting someone's feelings, for instance, telling mom that the dinner she made was delicious when you really didn't care for it, that way mom's feelings aren't hurt. But on the other hand, if you told the truth and said that although didn't care for the meal, and in turn suggest what she could have done differently, then maybe, although moms feelings would be hurt, in the long run, she will fix the problem, becoming a better cook, and ultimately making better tasting food to which you can genuinely say that you enjoy it. In the case of the gov, the only reason to lie about, hide, distort, or cover up information to the public is that they know that the public would not support it, and/or, it is not for our benefit.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-08 00:24
Hear hear!
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0 # Frank Sahagun 2014-05-08 00:27
if people take the time to do the easiest/hardest thing in the world to do nowadays; think, then the real motives behind everything the gov does would become much more clear, but Life is set up in this country to minimize the amount of thinking people do. I see this everyday and it is evident based on even small things such as the way people even drive. i drive an old car so i drive rather slowly. Its amazing how much of in a hurry people are on the road. if they must zoom past me and weave in and out of lanes, even though speeding and driving like a maniac will only cause you to reach your destination an average of 3-4 minutes earlier than if you had drove the speed limit, then that tells me that other factors have an even greater affect. We do not have much free time in our lives anymore. we work or go to school by day. Tired from a long day make dinner, run misc errands, and go to bed,and spend what little free time have we spend it in front of the tv or computer or video games
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0 # Frank Sahagun 2014-05-08 00:35
as if our busy schedules arent enough to keep our minds distracted, things like the tv, computers, social networking websites, smartphones, tablets, and video games are the icing on the cake. all of us in this country use at least one of these things everyday whether it is in our job, or our personal lives. all of them require little to no thinking. I see younger and younger kids using them too which makes it even worse. My sister just started high school, and she is glued to her new iphone. my mother just recently got her first ipad, and she cannot put it down either. everytime we start having a conversation about anything, doesn't even have to be about politics or religion, the minute her ipad goes off, she gets on it, and i lose her attention completely.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-08 00:47
Another indicator of this is that in most doctor's offices now there are TV's set up and even at gas pumps there are monitors and the noise and video distractions are everywhere so that people having time to think about things instead of being absorbed by distractions are difficult.
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0 # Frank Sahagun 2014-05-08 06:14
sometimes I feel hypocritical saying those things because I use all of the aforementioned technological devices, with the exception of the social networking websites. However, I am doing my best to reduce the time I spend in front of screens, all of which turns our brains into mush, and spending more time doing more things, that exercise the brain, and promote wellness. for instance, instead of putting on a movie, I'll take my dog for a walk to the park and let her run around while I practice my poi. Another example is instead of sitting down on the couch and picking up the remote control, I'll sit down on a lawn chair in my backyard with a book. instead of surfing the web, I'll pick up the guitar, sit down at the piano, or sit down on the drums. I must say, that although I haven't been doing this for very long, I already feel so much better physically, as well as mentally. I have been suggesting this to people quite a bit, hoping that this method would help them open up their minds
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0 # Christine Lopez 2014-05-10 22:47
I agree with Dr. Loo most people are not taught how to think dialectically, we are often times told something that we believe is the truth and we do not question the validity, it is not always taught in school and people have just taught themselves how to think critically. Marxism and the study of Dialectics.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-10 22:51
Please see "Our Kitty Genovese Moment," especially the comments leading into the article about the mainstream and why not not questioning the validity of what we're told is what we must expect unless and until people are exposed to and are trained in how to weigh evidence and evaluate claims. Unless peo are taught this, we cannot expect them to do anything except accept what they're told.
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0 # Jessica Rodriguez 2014-06-09 02:56
i agree that we need a revolution, a change, a real change and not one that obama just said to win these votes that i guess dont really who you vote for. i have talk about why our system sucks and maybe socialist would be better but i got called a trader. which is fine because they haven't got the new knowledge that i learned in class.
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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12