The Danger of Obedience

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

The above quote is taken from an article called The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism. Over the past 13 years, since the probable false flag known as 9/11, the American people have witnessed a variety rights stripped away. The Patriot Act, NDAA, and Citizens United have all made being an actual person in America worth less. Corporations have the rights of people but are subject to nearly none of the same penalties for crime. A U.S. president, no matter who he or she might be, can arrest and detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without charges. Faceless government employees and identity-less private contractors have access to nearly everyone’s private text messages, emails, and phone calls. And now, with the revelations surrounding Ferguson and Eric Garner, we know that government authorized agents can shoot and kill unarmed citizens without so much as being accused, officially, of a crime.

Johanna “Hannah” Arendt was a German-born political theorist who hated being called a philosopher, even though she was. She was also a Jew from pre-WWII Germany who’d witnessed the rise of Hitler and the politics that resulted in the Holocaust. In 1963 Arendt published her thoughts on the trial of a Nazi lieutenant-colonel named Adolf Eichmann. Arendt’s findings were controversial because most people couldn’t handle the fact that a person responsible for the deaths of thousands of human beings had been driven mostly be a desire to advance his career.

In her work centered on a concept called the “Banality of Evil” Arendt investigated how a totalitarian state turns ordinary citizens into criminals. She set out to debunk the stereotype of the demonic Nazi because this image prevented people from understanding the “total moral collapse” that had led to war.

Arendt showed that when combined with a general lack of empathic imagination (the ability to imagine how other’s feel) basic obedience could create terrifying results.

The “central phenomenon” in the atrocities carried out by the Nazis was the individual who rejected the notion that anything external should have an affect on his/her actions. Abstract concepts like “human rights” and “dignity” were completely disavowed by Eichmann, as he ignored what French philosopher Sartre described as a fundamental part of what it means to be human:

A gesture, a breath, a thought may suddenly alter the sense of the whole of the past—such is man’s temporal condition.

Eichmann just kept doing what he had been doing, which was what he was told–no matter how immoral or harmful those instructions became. “Those few who were still able to tell right from wrong,” Arendt concluded, “went really only by their own judgments, and they did so freely; there were no rules to be abided by”.

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”

~Martin Luther King Jr.

Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments where average people were instructed to administer electroshocks by authority figures. The experimenters found that normal people were willing to administer near-fatal dosages of electricity to their fellow human being just because they’d been told to.

“After witnessing hundreds of ordinary people submit to authority in our own experiments, I must conclude that Arendt’s conception of the banality of evil comes closer to the truth than one might dare imagine” said Dr. Milgram. He continued:

“…ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.”

The hyper-militarization of local police forces all across America is a terrible sign of things to come. One heeded by the courageous individuals who already have and who will take to the streets for a better world.

Get To Know: Bill Hicks

TBR

Bill Hicks was an American stand-up comedian, satirist, and social critic. Without shying from controversial topics involving religion and politics, Hicks criticized consumerism, mainstream media, and popular culture as tools to “keep people stupid and apathetic”. Bill Hicks was regarded as one of the greatest comedians who ever lived by those who saw him.

The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love.

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Who Are The Ultra Rich?

  • They are the top .01%. These are individuals with a net worth over $100 million, at least.
  • The average member of the Ultra Rich took in about $24 million in income during the third year of the Recession.
  • Until the 1970s the majority 90% had seen its income grow more than any other income group. Now the bottom 90% of Americans are poorer today than in 1987. The .01% on the other hand are thriving.
  • Since 1980 the .01% have more than quadrupled their share of total wealth.
  • Over the last five years 95% of income gains have gone to the top 1%.
  • Within the 1% inequality is soaring. The top 1% of the 1% now has 28% of the 1%’s wealth.
  • When you factor in hidden wealth, the .01% they have an estimated 33% of the 1%’s wealth.
  • Only 1 in 5 Americans makes enough money to sustain the cost of living (without debt).
  • Between 2007-2013 the Ultra Rich’s wealth increased 26%, while the median household lost 43%.
  • Throughout the Recession the .01% saw rising income and wealth.
  • The richest 1% overall own more than 48% of global wealth.
  • Billionaires are getting richer, while millionaires are getting poorer.
  • 492 Americans have more wealth than 155 million of their fellow citizens combined.