In every show and movie, do any of us root for the corrupt government or greedy, evils CEOs or other villains in power? No, we root for the one who represents us, as individuals, personified on the main character on the screen. In order to make money, Hollywood releases movies which we would enjoy the most. This is what attracts viewers and break the box office. Our collective will is what is determining their profits. We decide who we are and what we want to see – who the main character is. Why do people love superheroes, family stories, heart-warming tales, epic friendships, and the magic of Disney? Why do we praise the rebelling Jedi and not the Sith emperor? It’s actually quite simple. We are those champions. We are good. We choose the the story. We are the main characters in our lives – our own stories.
Knowing this, why then do we allow our own world to be as broken and damaged as the worlds in movies? We see who we want to be in those dystopian fictional worlds in television, movies, and books. We see the best of ourselves in our favorite heroes as they struggle every day of their lives along with their friends and family until they reach a breaking point that drives the heroes story until they come out the winner in the end. Good triumphs over evil, and everyone lives happily ever after. I love these stories. Don’t all of you? But I don’t wish for our reality to mirror one of these stories. Do we want our mother, or father, or siblings, or spouse, or children, or friends and loved ones to experience the suffering that gave birth to these heroes? I know I most certainly do not. I take these tales of dystopian futures not as pessimistic heralds of a bleak future, but an enjoyable story that personifies the human spirit in the face of adversity. I take them as stories, and what they are telling us isn’t what is to come, only what could be and that we should avoid it. None of us wants to world to be a bad place, as so many believe it is. Why then, is it?
The simple and uncomplicated answer: we allow it. If one tries to follow the motivations of those who create the suffering in the world it can likely be tied to the negative end of the moral scale of your choice, such as with the seven cardinal sins of the Christian faith; Sloth, Lust, Pride, Gluttony, Wrath, Envy, and Greed. The most damaging root of evil is one that has become intrinsic to the framework of society: Greed. In our world it is those who ‘have’ that hold power of those who ‘have not’. Yes, the root of all evil is in fact money. Sure, there are psychopaths and sociopaths that lie outside the norm. Plenty of crimes also happen over lust or envy, and any infinite number of reasons. But the most common cause for abuse of or from our fellow human beings is money and the desire for more money.
Money is the means by which we allow ourselves to be bullied and controlled. It is what the wealthy use as a rallying cry and a demonstration of their power. It is what funds politicians and soldiers alike. But the only real power the wealthy have is the power they pay for, and that same money only has power over us if we allow it to. We are the 99.9% and we are the only ones who have real power in a struggle between the 99.9% and the 0.01% who control us. 99.9% of the population in this world answer to, and dance to the tune of, the 0.01%. If we collectively decided tomorrow that their wealth holds no influence over us and we wouldn’t do anything to change the numbers on a paycheck or a balance screen, we would be completely free of their systemic control over our lives. We have homeless people dying of exposure in the streets. We have starving children and even children in cages. They have all the power to shape the world, and yet people fight and steal so they won’t be homeless or starving. So they won’t die of exposure or hunger. The wealthy have all the power to shape the world as they see fit, yet we live in squalor unable to get adequate healthcare or proper diet and exercise. Why? I mean really, why? It’s Greed, plain and simple. Full stop. They care about their insular holier-than-thou glamorous gated communities and having lavish luxurious lifestyles with the rest of us to labor to their benefit: We work 8-10 hour days 5 days a week, eat life-shortening cheap fast foods, suck down stimulant water, get very little sleep, and barely have time for self-care let alone questioning how life became this way.
What changed from when we were children, full of hope, happiness, and vigor? What happened to helping our friends stand up when they fell down? Why did our parents and elders tell us to ‘stay young’, ‘don’t change’, ‘ or ‘enjoy your youth’ because of how miserable it is being an adult? What ‘changed‘ is that we were new, pliable, and impressionable children and we were slowly molded to accept adult working life as a miserable existence with suffering being a mutually inclusive necessity to put food on the table and a roof over your head. Molded to believe that if you didn’t toil, you wouldn’t survive; that if you didn’t compete you wouldn’t thrive. In order to be successful and competent you needed to prop yourself over the masses to be ‘middle’ and ‘upper’ class. Dog eat dog is human nature and suffering is just part of life, so C’est la vie!
But that’s not actually true, is it? We want the good guys to win. I know I am a good person. I know all of you are too. We’re all in this together, sentient living beings cut from the same cloth trying to co-exist on an increasingly complex and crowded planet soaring through an endless void. We’re like intelligent water filling an existential glass – we change and adapt to best fit our own individual circumstances. It doesn’t make us bad people. There’s nothing wrong with life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. Why then, are the 99.9% of us caught up in this violent rat race? In nature and the animal kingdom, and with humans too, resources mean everything. If we didn’t compete we wouldn’t survive, claim mates, feed our children or families. But we’re not just animals, are we? We’re intelligent, rational, creative beings capable of infinite growth and progress. We invented tools, farming, and animal husbandry. With technology and cooperation we stepped outside of the food chain. With that same technological innovation and creative growth we no longer need to compete for resources today. We have the ability to feed the world, run clean energy, create smarter and better educated children, innovate bigger and better technologies, and not be burdened by the scarcity of the past.
What value, then, is money? If none of us need to suffer in order to survive why do we still allow for the kings of greed to rule our lives? For what reason do we not simply share resources to those who need it? We already have the means to do so. The only obstacle to ending suffering is money – the chain by which we allow ourselves to be bound. When you were a child, didn’t you share your extra cookie with the boy who forgot their lunch? We weren’t concerned about money and we naturally inclined to be good, kind, helpful, and sharing. We can still be that as adults today. Nothing ever really changed those things about us. We can all be equal and happy again, once we release the chain of money that keeping us down and keeping us collared.
We can all be equal and happy again, once we denounce the immorally wealthy who control how our world is run. What is capitalism at it’s core? It is a self-sustaining system in which those who profit the most are able to manipulate the system to keep themselves with the most control. And what then, is profit? It is a person taking almost all of the ‘value’ of your work because they gave you the project, role, and cubicle – all of which barely keep you fed and in a home. How are the Walton family so wealthy that they can personally bankroll literally every political campaign for every pro-wealth politician in their pocket to guarantee their political and economic control over the 99.9% and remain in their ivory towers while their employees rely on food stamps to stay alive.
We do the work. They own the buildings and the means of production. The profit (literally a tax on all of our work) goes back to the building owners with their pieces of paper and titles that claim everything is how it should be. They do nothing. They’re literally economic parasites that are sucking us dry to fund their luxury. If you want to have the value of your hard work go to a lazy and greedy group who did nothing to earn it, then the system you’re looking for is capitalism. But that’s not an equal system. That’s not a good, just, or fair system I can believe in. It is a system which keeps almost everyone downtrodden by the wealthy ruling class so that they can control what it is to be human and live on Earth while they live pampered, luxurious lives of excess at the literal expense of everyone else. They sit atop a pyramid of the fruits of our labors. It persists to this day because they got us to believe that it is perfectly normal. People with heroic spirit, charitable spirit, and the desire to make the world a better place believe they can do so by becoming police officers, soldiers, doctors, or other civil servants. These same people are taught to lock up the poor and suffering, are drilled until they follow orders without question or remorse, treat those whose suffering is often caused by systemic lack healthy foods and medications, or do everything they possibly can to effect positive change in the world. But how can we be the good guys when they’re writing the story? None of this can actually effect real change of the root problem of the wealthy, however hard we try or want it to. We police ourselves with their rules and treat the symptoms of their sickness, but the politicians of our ‘democracy’ can never actually change the system. How could they? It takes money to gain visibility and have campaign staff and resources. It’s the wealthy who literally own the media in most forms. Wealthy donors and super PACs aren’t required to disclose the amount and source of their influence and power. The wealthy can prop up their people while erasing the voice of those who’d seek to oppose it. Why wouldn’t they? They enjoy their wealth and power and largely believe they deserve it and we do not. If God didn’t love them, how else can one explain being born with a golden spoon in their mouth?
It wasn’t a God that put them there, it was a demon called Greed. And we continue to allow it to do so. They didn’t earn it, because there is no achievement on Earth that can justify how many families their wealth could save from poverty or ill that could be cured, yet they fund private yachts and mansions and fleets of cars. They don’t even know what to do with their money. The wealthy 0.01% have nearly 5 trillion dollars idling in the banks. They could give (and this is true) every American citizen 10,000 dollars each and STILL be the richest people in the country by a large margin. Many of that level of wealth didn’t even work at all, instead brought up to be wealthy and rule over the rest of us so they never have to.
We don’t have to be this way. The world doesn’t have to be this way. We have largely automated means of production of energy and food that can provide for everyone. We can have a world where we’ll all born with equal opportunity to learn, grow, live, laugh, and love – and the freedom to do so. We have the technology to feed and clothe everyone and keep them warm, safe, healthy, and sheltered. Instead of pursuing wealth through profit – having more than others by taxing the value of their work – we can simply pursue to make tomorrow better than today and no one has to suffer. We can question the mysteries of the universe, explore and colonize the stars, and be able to definitively answer who we are and why we’re here. We can make better food, cure more illnesses, build better homes, and make much, much better schools. We don’t need money and the evil people holding it to tell us who we are, what to think, and what to do. We’re all good people who want bright futures and happy lives, and we have to power to do it. Today.
Edit: I wrote this piece a while back, and re-reading it I am seeing “SOCIALISM NOW!”. While I think socialism is interesting and have read on it quite a bit, I don’t fully understand it or support it for our current society (as of 12/19/19). I am actually in favor of re-negotiating the role of private industry vs. the public good and I think that social democracy is the correct course for now. I think a huge part of the reason socialism and communism fails world-wide is because you’re tossing out hundreds of years of government and society building for what sounds good on paper but hasn’t been tested – it’s too much of a departure. That’s not to say those systems might not be best in the future; society as a whole is kind of slow to embrace ideas and we need to make sure reality can match our imagination. Social democracy is the next right choice. The next right choice is all we need to do to make sure the world is better tomorrow than today.