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Science’s New Theory of Everything

I need another ten million,
on the double!

 

Fresh from the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an understandable explanation for everything from the banks to some pseudonymous blog commenters.

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/11/4086.abstract

Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior

Abstract

Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.

  1. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 9:13 am | #1

    For a second there, I thought you were going to lay some Lawrence Krauss on us.

  2. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 9:24 am | #2

    Hey, this is one area where science finally catches up to the gospels (Matthew 19:24):

    And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  3. High Finance
    April 18, 2012 at 10:48 am | #3

    Anyone who believes this study is a moron.

    It must be an Onion article.

  4. Percy
    April 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | #4

    Hifi’s version of peer review.

  5. Plain Jane
    April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am | #5

    What do you expect from the sort of people who believe “greed is good,” can justify anything for profit including wars and destruction of the environment, claim superiority over those with different “morals” and claim to be Christian? I wonder if they are capable of even the slightest intellectual honesty.

  6. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am | #6

    HiFi,

    It’s the same sort of communist propaganda scientists engage in when they pretend they have studies indicating industry is destroying the habitability of the planet, or asserting that tobacco smoking causes cancer, or that oil drilling sometimes leads to oil spills.

    Classy rich people acting out of greed?! Scurrilous and outrageous. You almost never see a house burglar in white tie and tails. QED.

  7. What Now
    April 18, 2012 at 11:18 am | #7

    Percy, Highly Fried is skeptical of ALL science since the Scopes monkey Trial.
    In his particular case, evolution COMPLETELY passed him by. Feeling left out in that respect , he can’t stand the thought of others benefiting from such a process.
    A simple case of envy.

    Highly Fried DOES present some rather amusing tricks at parties and gatherings using his prehensile tail and opposing toes when he’s sufficiently inebriated.

    Sadly, he no longer performs his signature “Fall Of Savannah/Sherman’s March ” dance since he burned all the fur off of his back and ruined a matching set of Cherie Arkley’s faux Ming vases from Gottschalk’s.

  8. Thorstein Veblen
    April 18, 2012 at 11:47 am | #8

    I had a professor in college who summed up darwinism in the human context not as ‘survival of the fittest’, but as ‘survival of the least fit’. I think of him when I hear news of wall street.

    I suppose it depends on how you define ‘fit’. It could mean a concern for survival of all, ours and other species, and the planet. Or it can mean survival of myself and possibly my progeny while the rest of you fend for yourselves.

  9. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm | #9

    Thorstein,

    Sorry, but “survival of all” is not remotely related to evolutionary fitness. (Of course, it would be lovely if it were.)

    Darwinism is survival of the fittest, but too many people don’t understand what “fitness” means. If you use “total mass of organisms” as an objective measure, bacteria are evolution’s big winners. I can’t think of a better, more objective measure. Maybe you can.

    Evolution has no “plan,” so evolution does not necessarily result in species that won’t eventually destroy their own habitats. If we understood what evolution has to show us about what we are, we’d have a much better chance of building societies that would be able to overcome the built-in hazards of human nature. But it’s much more pleasant to pretend you’re created in the image of the sky god.

  10. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | #10

    This news is consistent with the recent NOVA documentary on scientific research proving that human greed is generated from the ancient emotion-generating part of our brains that is shared by lizards and birds. (“Mind over Money” NOVA PBS.ORG).

    Like our other emotions of hatred and the violence it causes, it needs to be strictly regulated if we care that our species (and the many others that we depend upon), survive.

  11. April 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm | #11

    Hey Mitch,

    Enjoying your thoughts. What do you think about the old concept of Social Darwinism. I am not speaking of individual “survival of the fittest” as many people understand it but in the context of rival cultures competing as groups in an ever changing environment.
    Darwinian evolution works on the group genetic level, not the individaul level.

    In other words do concepts like sky gods (or socialism, or racism or its opposite racial tolerance or choice of acceptable drugs) become like social DNA that is passed down through a culture in human beings?

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  12. High Finance
    April 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | #12

    I said only morons would believe that study.

    Lots of people took the opportunity to slam me but I haven’t heard anyone say they believed the study.

    As I have said before, being poor does not mean you are noble. Being rich does not mean you are more honest. People are people. You are a cheater or you are not, having money does not change your basic character traits.

  13. A-nony-mouse
    April 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | #13

    However it may change the way you view the world.

    By the way, the article says there were SEVEN studies. Redundancy counts as does repeatability.
    None of the studies claims ALL people are one way or the other. They do indicate tendencies.
    Don’t take it personally, HiFi. We all know you’re a saint!?

  14. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm | #14

    highboldtage,

    I think Darwinian evolution provides a metaphor for other situations, and I think social Darwinism is one of the more famous abuses of the metaphor. Social Darwinism was one of those ideas that was so intellectually vacuous it didn’t even make it to wrong.

    On the other hand, I think people are putting the genetic metaphor to good use when discussing how “memes” spread and evolve. I haven’t a clue as to how much scientific backing there is for meme behavior modeled on gene behavior, but that’s only because I haven’t paid the ideas much attention.

    high finance,

    I believe the study. Even without going into the specifics of the experiments and observations, the hypothesis makes total sense to me.

    That’s not to say I don’t think there are nice rich people and rotten poor people.

    It just doesn’t surprise me that those who have grown up surrounded by a sense of entitlement feel more entitled to lie and cheat, and that those who have grown up being taught that money is vital will lie and cheat more than the average person who just thinks money is nice.

    I suspect the only reason this is not common sense in our society is that the wealthiest and greediest are the ones who control most of what we hear and see on a day-to-day basis. The news media considers the Dow Jones important enough to update us on it daily or even more frequently, while I don’t hear very frequent updates on any index of well being, or on average rates for various types of skilled labor.

  15. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm | #15

    highboldtage,

    I do believe that certain ideas, by their very nature, enable themselves to spread. The idea of the importance of a priestly class seems like one of them, far more so than the idea of an omnipotent god. I suppose it’s not easy to have a priestly class without the idea of an omnipotent god, though.

    The thing that’s really interesting is the way in which parasitic ideas can hitch along with ideas that may have merit beyond parasitism. For example, “love your neighbor” is a pretty good idea. But “listen to the priests, and kill whoever they tell you to, and that will get you into heaven” is a parasitic idea — an idea that spreads because of its very nature. That’s always intrigued me as an explanation for the bait-and-switch of most religions. They bait you with some core wisdom, and then attach tons of dogma, the purpose of which is to ensure the power of the people who profess the dogma. In the case of “love your neighbor but kill them when I say,” the core idea and the dogma are mutually contradictory, which makes their cohabitation all the more remarkable.

    And then there’s the most efficient core parasitic idea, as stripped and efficient as the tiniest virus: (protein 1) You must evangelize on my behalf (protein 2) to get me to pay you. (protein 3) Payment will be rendered after you die.

  16. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm | #16

    I think you are all missing the most obvious point. How these studies actually defined “class” is very important here. If it means social standing, what most would consider to be classy behavior, or merely wealth would be interesting to know. Some define “class” as merely those who appear wealthy. These studies would not be valid unless there was a pretty widely agreed up definition of “higher class”. Those who have money are not necessarily what I would consider to be classy. I see truth class as being ethical.

  17. Thorstein Veblen
    April 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm | #17

    That study may be kinda fun to piss off those who are part of the ‘unethical elite’, but that’s about it. I think it’s as likely that unethical people just gravitate toward those activities that best rewards the behavuior. I doubt Goldman Sachs has much trouble recruiting clever new talent who will come up with creative ways to pick pockets.

    As for evolution, I suspect it was set up as a self-adjustment mechanism, to allow changes to the system without the constant, direct, personal involvement of the sky god. Social darwinism is our own invention, though, all on us.

  18. suzy blah blah
    April 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | #18

    -i don’t need any acadamy or science to tell me the obvious. You don’t get rich if you don’t lie and cheat, duh. If you want to become successful within the upper class malieu, youre gonna have to be stepping on some toes. You don’t get there by “loving your neighbor”. That’s just the way it goes. It’s totally naive to believe otherwise.

  19. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | #19

    You want to think that Suzy, because perhaps you don’t like the amount of money you are able to save, so others with more must be cheaters? I think a lot of people I know prove your statement false. I know many good people, and some of them are what I would call rich.

  20. High Finance
    April 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm | #20

    Suzy blah blah is consumed with envy. She has to justify her own failure in life by charging the rich only get that way by lying & cheating.

    Unfortunately she represents the view point of a lot of people who failed in life.

  21. April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm | #21

    High Finance imagines that most wealth is accumulated by hard work and prudent risk taking and it does happen in some cases but the vast majority of wealth is inherited death money.

    If it were true that all it takes is hard work to get rich then there is no reason to allow any intergenerational inheritance at all is there? Because anyone who has the motivation can get rich, right? So why deprive the children of the rich from that experience? Surely the children of the rich are hard working and prudent. Well aren’t they?

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  22. Not Ted
    April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm | #22

    Ain’t that Ted Nugent a DICK?

  23. High Finance
    April 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm | #23

    Really Bill ? Any links to any reliable figures on how many rich got that way by inheritance only ?

  24. April 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm | #24

    It is simple logic that escapes you High Finance.

    If all this money is self made then why all the hoopla over “death taxes?”

    The answer is clear and the product of simple logic. The vast majority of wealth is inherited otherwise no one would object to inheritance taxes since their effect would be insignificant.

    You don’t need links to understand this High Finance you need synapses.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  25. suzy blah blah
    April 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm | #25

    Suzy … perhaps you don’t like the amount of money you are able to save … I know many good people, and some of them are what I would call rich.

    -and they got there my following the dictum, “a penny saved is a penny earned”, right? I’ll remember that when i tip the waitress.

    Suzy blah blah is consumed with envy

    -high fi fo fum, youre probably totally right, i am trying to justify my failure in life. Thing is, the “charge” is not a lie. And Science has now proven suzy right. Slam dunk.

  26. High-as-f@#$%ng-Fi
    April 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm | #26

    OF COURSE WE BELIEVE IT! the resultant consequences of this fact are obvious in every human societal dysfunction. I am assuming, based on the minimal time between the posting and the denial cum apologia for the exploitive classes tendered by the very High one, that s/he did not read the studies or try to understand the methodology or in any way examine the data. His failure to do the research and due diligence automatically discounts his baseless opinion on the subject.

    where are YOUR data to prove otherwise? The fact of lower rates of charitable giving per $ earned is well documented and further bolsters the greedy, selfish a-hole tag being applied to these supposedly “higher” classes of humans.

    The problem with applying statistical generalities to individuals is that any given individual may be more likely to exhibit the behaviors in question, but is not certain to. there are always outliers in any population, but those outliers represent the statistical extremes, not the general mode.

    OF COURSE WE BELIEVE IT! IT IS TRUE AND OBVIOUSLY EVIDENT! Silly brown-noser!

  27. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm | #27

    Anyone interested in reading the complete study, but who doesn’t happen to subscribe to the Proceedings, can find a PDF online here.

    It appears that different techniques were used for assessing class — the first one I noticed, related to driver behavior, asked coders to assess the status of the vehicles. The coders were not told what the study was about.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDkQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fredaccion.nexos.com.mx%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F02%2F1118373109.full_.pdf&ei=imWPT4r2JKqw2QXT25D4BA&usg=AFQjCNH-XU6qJn12j9WxhpNhvYxnAzwuDw&sig2=l7im91bO2dvoupIB3vG1Uw

  28. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm | #28

    So upper class means lawyers.

  29. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm | #29

    Ah, Thorstein. So evolution is sort of an autopilot used by the sky god, so he can catch the Superbowl rather than fuss about all the time twiddling knobs on limb length and such? And evolution managed, over an eon or two, to turn dead matter into you and I, beings capable of appreciating the sky god’s magnificence, and rendering appropriate worship.

    We agree that evolution must be a powerful enough phenomenon to lead to beings such as you and I.

    Without evolution, though, where did the sky god come from?

  30. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm | #30

    Probably the nicest person I know is a guy who is now in his late 70s. He worked as a barber for most of his life.

    He probably could have put away a fair amount of money, but for one “problem.” Every time he had a spare five bucks, he gave it away. This is not behavior that gets you into the “upper class.”

    It was always a challenge to get him presents that he’d end up having to use himself — for obvious reasons, cash was out. He ended up selling his old VW camper van for next to nothing, not really thinking about how useful it would be to be able to get its “worth” so that he could then buy another vehicle at some later point.

    This is not a rare phenomenon. It takes a certain hardness of heart to manage to accumulate large sums in a society with as much need as ours has. It helps to live in a gated community, and to avoid interaction with anyone who might have financial needs. It also helps to have religious (and non-religious) frauds around, to tell you how good a person you are for tithing to the church/supporting the symphony orchestra.

    Those with soft hearts accumulate less.

  31. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm | #31

    Once again I’m reminded of the true meaning of the old addage that an infinate number of monkeys given an infinate amount of time will write all the great books. For those of you who think that is an improbable situation, guess what?

  32. Ponder z
    April 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm | #32

    The only rich I see are the dope growers. They lie and cheat and dont pay taxes. They want your child to be a stoner and drop out of school. And buy more weed. Only a dumbass stoner would believe this study anyway.

  33. 2 cents
    April 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm | #33

    Do tell ‘Anonymous!
    What is the true meaning of the old addage (sic)? Personally I don’t believe an infinate (sic) number of monkeys, given an infinate (sic) amount of time could write War and Peace – much less “all the great books”.
    So enlighten us, I can’t guess [what the Hell you're raving about now]……………..

  34. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm | #34

    I’ve been saying this forever, having been witness to plenty of proof. The worst of it is, they ‘pretend’ to be nice…they work to gain trust that they don’t intend to honor. They become your friends for the sole purpose of using you. Ethics of the most personal kind. The new ethical low is already way too low.

  35. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm | #35

    …the results of the study have been common knowledge forever.

    http://themetalden.com/wp-content/uploads/Scum1.jpg

  36. Thorstein Veblen
    April 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm | #36

    Mitch, hellifiknow. Maybe the random monkeys with typewriters thing produced all our religious writings. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

  37. Mitch
    April 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm | #37

    Yes, a hoot. But then (lowers voice to conspiratorial level) who made the damned typewriters?

  38. Anonymous
    April 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm | #38

    “who made the damned typewriters?”

    Ten million monkeys running around a scrap yard.

  39. What Now
    April 18, 2012 at 10:13 pm | #39

    Anonymous says:
    April 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm
    “who made the damned typewriters?”

    “Ten million monkeys running around a scrap yard.:

    THANK YOU for that, 9:59.
    One of the best lines anywhere in ages.
    Made me laugh like hell…..

  40. walt
    April 19, 2012 at 6:08 am | #40

    And who made the monkeys (who are too busy singing to put anybody down)?

    Richness seems to be caused by a recessive gene: the children of rich tend to OD, ski into trees, and run their airplanes out of gas. That’s because, if richness is “what it’s all about”, as is it for Hi Fi, then clearly the less you consider the interests of other creatures, the better off you will be.

  41. monkeytotem
    April 19, 2012 at 7:15 am | #41

    hoo hoo hoo hoo hee hee hee

  42. Gil Yule
    April 19, 2012 at 7:42 am | #42

    I think if there wasn’t really a High Finance here on the Herald we’d just have to invent one.

  43. Mitch
    April 19, 2012 at 8:00 am | #43

    OK, Gil. Get your million monkeys ready and I’ll get the typewriters.

  44. Goldie
    April 19, 2012 at 8:40 am | #44

    My own personal theory is we are talking about two different belief systems. There are some who believe that life is better for them and others when the commons is considered in choosing one’s actions. These people will tend to develop empathy towards others and consider the far reaching results of their actions. For many in this group their well being, wealth, safety and future is in their community. Their ‘America’ is the ideal of helping your neighbor, barn raising, fund raising, and living in neighborhoods were neighbors interact.
    There is another set people with the belief that by creating personal wealth they are doing the right thing. Because their attention is on their personal wealth they are not so likely to consider the far reaching effects of what they do. Empathy is not a strong point with them as it does develop when all attention is based on self. They seek homes in neighborhoods where they can be private and not interact with neighbors. Morality in this group is based on how the self is served and will look different than a morality that is based on considering how others are served as well.
    These two philosophies are like religions. Each believes strongly that their ideals are correct and will lead to salvation.

  45. Plain Jane
    April 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | #45

    “Liberals may owe their political outlook partly to their genetic make-up, according to new research from the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University. Ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4. The study’s authors say this is the first research to identify a specific gene that predisposes people to certain political views.

    Appearing in the latest edition of The Journal of Politics published by Cambridge University Press, the research focused on 2,000 subjects from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. By matching genetic information with maps of the subjects’ social networks, the researchers were able to show that people with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults, but only if they had an active social life in adolescence.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027161452.htm

  46. Mitch
    April 19, 2012 at 8:57 am | #46

    Goldie,

    The study (not just the abstract) is linked in one of the comments above. One of the most interesting sub-studies found that people’s behavior changed depending on whether they were “primed” to compare themselves with people of lower socioeconomic status or with people of higher socioeconomic status (People were randomly asked by a computer program to rank their distance from the bottom of a scale or, alternatively, their distance from the top of the same scale.)

    The researchers found that when people are primed to compare themselves with people of lower socioeconomic status, they literally took more candy from little children (read the study) than when they were primed in the opposite way. It’s really very interesting reading.

  47. High Finance
    April 19, 2012 at 9:03 am | #47

    You should thank me Gil for without me there would be nobody calling you all out on your foolishness.

    So who are the wealthy ?
    - About 80% are first-generation affluent
    - 1 in 5 are retired, 2/3rds are self employed
    - Typical is age 57, married w/three children.
    - 4 out of 5 are college graduates.
    - than 20% inherited 10% or more of their wealth

  48. High Finance
    April 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | #48

    More from the Washington Post article about Millionaires.

    - Only 19% receive any income from a trust fund
    - More than half never received even $1 from inheritance
    - Nearly half never received any college tuition from their parents or other relatives.
    -

  49. High Finance
    April 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | #49

    And finally;

    - about 2/3rds work between 45 and 55 hours per week.
    - About 95% of millionaires in America have a net worth of between $1million & $10 million.
    Thomas J Stanley, PHD & William Danko PHD
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/millionairenextdoor.htm

  50. Goldie
    April 19, 2012 at 9:26 am | #50

    Mitch, I can understand why some would take more candy after being reminded of people with less than them. Such a reminder would inspire them to increase their own personal stash of candy (personal wealth} so that those of less refined nature would not waste it by foolish sharing or in some cases their continued existence. Having some candy would increase the god given right to have more. According to them it is our wealth that makes us human, to be unwealthy is to be less than human. Any reminder of those less than human, the unwashed, and unblessed, would naturally require that taking of more candy. It is not stealing. It is correct action. HiFi will back me up on this.

  51. Mitch
    April 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | #51

    HiFi,

    Yes, I don’t doubt that 95% of millionaires have less than $10 million in assets. I’ve never been a fan of the 99%/1% framing, because it obscures the reality that the actual division is closer to 99.99%/.01%. Just try getting people to call themselves members of the 99.99%, though, and you’ll see the difficulty.

    The people controlling our society are not millionaires, they are billionaires. And, mostly, you don’t get to be a billionaire in our society in one generation, starting out with nothing. (You might conceivably get there, like Bill Gates, if you have well-off parents and a bit of luck in addition to a work ethic.)

    You could take that 95% of millionaires and just consider them the high end of the working class — they have more toys than most of us but are just as controlled by the top twenty or 200 families as the rest of us.

  52. High Finance
    April 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | #52

    Thank you for your response Mitch.

    If billionaires are the real target of the left, lets look at them.

    According to Forbes Magazine, in March of 2012 there were only 413 US billionaires with a combined net worth of $4.6 Trillion.

    Keep in mind that is net WORTH, not net INCOME.

    Increasing their income tax even by 10% would be a pittance compared to the national deficit.

    You would have to seize 25% of their entire net worth in order to pay even one year of Obama’s national deficit.

  53. Mitch
    April 19, 2012 at 10:32 am | #53

    I don’t expect increased taxes on billionaires to solve the nation’s budget problems. I never said I did.

    I do recognize that something needs to be done to prevent billionaires from using their money to warp our political system.

    If you can spend $100,000,000 to buy TV advertising to destroy any enemy running for Congress (with lies if necessary), there is no true democracy. Just a political system owned by the 413, and in which the rest of us get to vote, knowing that the 413 will have determined the outcome in advance.

    Billionaires are not a “target,” of mine or, so far as I understand it, “the left.” My goal is a level playing field. I’d be quite happy with a resumption of the regulated capitalism that did so well for thirty years after WW2. That’s nothing like what exists today.

  54. Mitch
    April 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | #54

    And no matter how much you repeat lies about the source of the national debt, the nation’s budget was in surplus by the end of Clinton’s term.

    The economy was in shambles by the end of W’s term, thanks mostly (not entirely) to the policies of the GOP, and it has been incredibly expensive to pay for the damage.

    I understand why you want to blame Obama, but you might as well understand that nobody here takes you seriously when you do. Save the BS for your commentary on the Fox News blogs.

  55. Anonymous
    April 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | #55

    “Their ‘America’ is the ideal of helping your neighbor, barn raising, fund raising, and living in neighborhoods were neighbors interact.”

    Not really…most people are “live and let live”…don’t step on anybody’s toes while walking your own path, play fair and honest etc. But since you polarized the issue, to which “side” do you feel you belong?

    Fact is itt starts at the top and works it’s way down. Our government made (and makes) other people build this country for them based on brutality, lying, corruption etc. etc. etc. Those peopel are still in control of the government. It’s never even been a secret.

  56. RefFan
    April 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | #56

    Here is a quote I saw on a yahoo comment section and thought it was great!
    From: Dave St Lawrence · Top Commenter · Stewartville Secondary
    “The gap between rich and poor will continue to grow as long as the poor are dependent on the government. Being dependent, they are no longer productive therefore leaving more for the rich to produce and profit from. The producers will always be richer than the nonproductive.”

  57. suzy blah blah
    April 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm | #57

    Anonymous says:
    April 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm The worst of it is, they ‘pretend’ to be nice…they work to gain trust that they don’t intend to honor. They become your friends for the sole purpose of using you.

    -good point. The “nicest” people are highly suspect. Like “friends” on facebook, blogs, etc. They are the one’s who will lie to you, cheat you blind, and use you til youre used up. Don’t be a sucker. That kind of people will be there for you and pretend to stand behind you until you may get in a little jam and maybe need them. Then all of sudden they act like youve “changed” and presto theyre not your “friend” anymore.

  58. Jack Sherman
    April 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | #58

    Imagine how fearful the right-wing must be, surrounded by the collapse of empire and worldwide protest, having to look back 15 years to a Washington Post article “proving” that “millionaires” are just regular self-made folks, in a feeble effort to resurrect the 150 year old Horacio Alger myth!

    You can smell the desperation.

    This old canard is essential to maintaining the right-wing base of “millionaires” who remain completely deluded that their net-worth with two rental homes earns them a close kinship to America’s billionaire shot-callers, (despite a generation of billionaire’s divestments from America and its “millionaire” communities).

  59. Plain Jane
    April 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | #59

    There is also the pervasive belief that those who prosper do so with “god’s” blessing. What man has the right to take away what “god”:has given? Similar to the “divine right of kings.”

  60. Anonymous
    April 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | #60

    “The producers will always be richer than the nonproductive.”

    Don’t you mean “owners” not “producers”? Otherwise, all those child-laborers producing most U.S. goods would be rich…as opposed to living in crowded Chinese dorms, paid $0.25 an hour with their food and housing deducted from their pay.

    It is the lack of government regulation that has condemned them to lifelong toil and poverty, widening the gap between rich and poor in China, and the U.S..

  61. grackle
    April 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | #61

    The actual research is behind a paywall but the supporting evidence, describing the studies the authors did seems to indicate that all of the studies were self reported. If so, then a possible interpretation is that those described as upper-class are more honest in about their foibles.

  62. Anonymous
    April 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm | #62

    The many landlord “millionaires” I know in Eureka, and their “millionaire” realtors, brokers, and rental agencies, lose any sleep over benefiting from the human misery of a 25% home affordability rate.

    If it feeds your family, America’s dark-side will pass legislation imposing feudalism tomorrow.

  63. Mitch
    April 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm | #63

    grackle,

    There’s a link to a PDF of the study in the comments above.

    Your assumptions are wrong.

  64. Anonymous
    April 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm | #64

    ” If so, then a possible interpretation is that those described as upper-class are more honest in about their foibles.”

    Did you read how the tests were conducted? The test set them up to either lie or tell the truth…participants had no idea it would be known they were lying. In fact, they had to go out of their way to lie, because the answers they gave were impossible within the confines of the test.

  65. High Finance
    April 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm | #65

    Jack, those millionaires you despise are the ones paying for your Social Security. And, long ago, when you used to work for a living, you either worked for the government or you worked for a rich person.

    Only the uninformed and envious hates those landlords you rent from. Being a landlord is a tough job, a low paying job that forces you to see the worst of people. The only way you make money owning rentals is in the long term.

    And for the envy ridden haters out there, what is more important ? The gap between the rich & poor or that everybody is better off ? Some I see are so consumed with hate that they would be content to drag the rich down to their level instead of improving their own lot in life.

  66. suzy blah blah
    April 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm | #66

    Some I see are so consumed with hate that they would be content to drag the rich down to their level instead of improving their own lot in life.

    -way kewl, High Romance paraphrases a troubadour … and dylan’s a millionaire, or billionaire too or something … i think …
    Bent out of shape from society’s pliers. Cares not to come up any higher. But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in

  67. tra
    April 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm | #67

    Jack, those millionaires you despise are the ones paying for your Social Security.

    No, Social Security benefits for current retirees are paid for by payroll taxes taken from the paychecks of current workers. Yes, this includes some millionaires, but the vast majority of the money that is raised by these payroll taxes is coming from everyday wage earners. In fact, there is a cap on how much of one’s wages get taxed to pay into Social Security, so once they pass that threshold, high earners pay a much smaller percentage of their income toward Social Security than low or moderate-income earners. And then there’s the fact that capital gains aren’t subject to Social Security taxes at all. So, I’d have to rate that one a triple Pinnochio.

  68. Jack Sherman
    April 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm | #68

    “Jack, those millionaires you despise are the ones paying for your Social Security. And, long ago, when you used to work for a living, you either worked for the government or you worked for a rich person.” (Highly Mistaken).

    It was just yesterday High-Liar claimed he/she is not a liar when claiming the Chamber of Commerce financial records are public, or when the City of Eureka could not apply for the same grant to buy Jefferson school, or that the 1999 Walmart-sponsored measure was “not about Walmart”, or the LNG debacle was “only about a feasibility study”, (not a MOU), AND NOW, High-Liar claims my social security check (that I funded myself and am NOT yet receiving), is funded by my millionaire landlord, (I own my home), who I worked for, (I have my own business), who I hate, (questioning the parasitic/feudal nature of rental units under an oppressive 25% housing affordability rate is a simple fact, and is not “hating”).

    I agree that being a landlord was “hard work”…..before every other realtor in town became a property manger!

    It’s no use “debating” “Highly Mistaken”, he/she is a highly disturbed, habitual liar with no credibility whatsoever.

    Call him/her out again and again on “mistakes”, and expect a regurgitation of personalized lies and the ever-tiring, simple-minded hate-card.

    This sad character should be pitied.

    The only joy High-Liar seems to get, is from having “mistakes”/lies repeatedly exposed for all to see…

    A 21st century “blogmasochist”.

  69. Dick Wad
    April 20, 2012 at 8:07 am | #69

    Sherman, is that you richard. you are a pitiful ass. Ya H, deny it, as if you have any credibility.

  70. High Finance
    April 20, 2012 at 9:57 am | #70

    Be nice to Jack, he is a lonely, bitter old man.

  71. Jack Sherman
    April 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm | #71

    Surprise!

    More hateful satire from a weary, witless buffoon.

  72. What Now
    April 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm | #72

    That’s actually a rather generous summation, Jack.
    I commend your restraint and generosity on that subject.

  73. Blogmasochist
    April 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm | #73

    You people just don’t get it.

    Eureka’s “2-home” millionaire landlords ARE in solidarity with the republican majority, they made their fortune the same way your nemesis Arkley had, with honest, determined hard work parked in front of the courthouse with binoculars waiting for the next foreclosure.

    You anti-growth people will remain in the political minority until you get over your hate and envy of Humboldt County’s few remaining successful industries: those who pay your wages, fund your social security, buy bobbles from your tiny shops, fund your churches, clubs, and charities, they represent Eureka’s exploding growth opportunities for our youths in the popular fields of landlording, big box associates, rental property management, storage facilities, Rent-To-Own, neighborhood rehab homes, bail bonds, pawn shops, check cashing, job scalping, and the professional careers that spin-off from these industries in social services, welfare, Food Stamp distribution, public housing, mental hospitals, drug interventions, psychiatric counseling, reverse mortgages, emergency services and law enforcement.

    You folks don’t seem to understand history.

    Since the time of the pharisees, people have needed work! The pyramids created a sustainable economy for millions of Egyptians and their families.

    You’d better stop hating, and start supporting the economy you have!

  74. Anonymous
    April 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm | #74

    “honest, determined hard work parked in front of the courthouse with binoculars waiting for the next foreclosure”

    Like vultures circling a wounded animal. That’s not work, that’s profiting from others’ grave misfortune. Not only that, the motive is specifically and entirely to raise our most basic cost of living. It’s not honest, it’s dirty.

  75. Mitch
    April 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm | #75

    Um, 7:22, I think 3:12 might have been funnin’ ya. But 3:12, is right, it’s time for Humboldt’s college grads to learn how to be an up-and-coming sales associate at a major international retailer. I understand there are major advancement opportunities — after six months of regularly showing up, you can become a Sr. Sales Associate, and that’s just the first step on the ladder. Who says there’s no opportunity in Humboldt outside of the pot industry!

  76. walt
    April 21, 2012 at 5:44 am | #76

    What else is a degree in English or Political Science good for?

  77. Mitch
    April 21, 2012 at 6:44 am | #77

    walt,

    The degree? As opposed to the “education”?

    The degree is today’s entry ticket to pretty much any job. I suspect that people applying these days for jobs digging ditches are expected to present a resume with a four year degree, so that HR departments needn’t feel overwhelmed with applicants.

    The modern B.A. demonstrates that you have cooperated with the system in keeping yourself out of the job market until 21 or 22. If in a field like English, it further demonstrates that you’ve learned how to please a wide variety of bosses. (With a degree involving math or science, odds are better that you have to have attained some more objective capabilities, like determining correct answers to particular questions.)

    The education might still be valuable, even if not valued.

  78. walt
    April 21, 2012 at 6:53 am | #78

    Do they have degrees in Property Management? That’s the current growth industry. Same with Prison Guarding and Merc-, sorry, Defense Contracting.

  79. walt
    April 21, 2012 at 6:57 am | #79

    Seriously, though, back in The Day, you could get a job working nights to fund your college education. Back when taxpayers thought an educated populace was a good investment.

  80. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm | #80

    A lot of us have to be property managers. Houses aren’t selling well and they are still renting well. People need to live somewhere. Most managers I know are decent and kind human beings. Some are jaded from renters who try to get away with a lot of damages or pot grows. Mostly it is a positive job to have. Sorry for those here who hate landlords. It really isn’t the easiest or most profitable job.

  81. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm | #81

    Don’t feel too bad for landlords. They are fortunate to be able to sell their product but still own it and usually even see it increase in value as their renters pay for it.

  82. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm | #82

    Landlords don’t have it all bad. They are fortunate that they can sell the same product repeatedly and not only still own it, but see it increase in value .

  83. April 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm | #83

    Said in the Militqry:” Rank hss it’s priviliges!’

    Is that a level playing field?

  84. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm | #84

    I have no problem with landlording, until it becomes “feudal” in a county with a 25% home-affordability rate.

    It is at that point that all shelter profiteers become unethically complicit.

  85. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm | #85

    Have you seen the prices of homes recently? You have to be willing to not make a good living for a long time and then risk your value going down. It’s a risk that is not for the faint of heart or those on the edge of being solvent. For those of us who did it for our retirement, it means make it or break it. We have a decent retirement or we break even and have to depend on Social Security. I am not sure those of you who hate your landlords really get it. It’s another type of investing, and no more secure than many types of investing.

  86. Amy Breighton
    April 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm | #86

    It’s a disgusting, parasitic, unethical business when 75% of local incomes cannot qualify for home loans. It’s no surprise that this community is drenched in parasitic industries. It is unsustainable, rapidly collapsing, and with the next “correction” in the market, home owners who are today desperately moving out and renting their big home while moving into a single-wide, hoping the renters will pay the bills, will eventually be dragged down like everyone else.

    It’s the inevitable result of an imperial culture turning on its own.

  87. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm | #87

    wow. barf, Amy. good luck with your life.

  88. Amy Breighton
    April 21, 2012 at 11:17 pm | #88

    Understanding history (redux) is a choice. Keep your head in a dark place and everything will be fine.

  89. Thorstein Veblen
    April 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm | #89

    I dunno, Amy, seems a little harsh, even to me. There’s good landlords and bad ones, just like there’s good tenants and bad ones. The activity itself is not immoral, it’s more how a person goes about it,seems to me.

  90. Amy Breighton
    April 22, 2012 at 1:33 am | #90

    So, with “good, decent landlords” a 25% housing affordability rate is “OK”? How about 5%? (As in 5% of the U.S. population on Earth consuming 25% of all the world’s resources, nothing wrong there, right?).

    Imperial cultures have always justified their privileges, all immorally predicated on others going without!

    Otherwise, who would pay $300/mo. plus utilities for that single room for rent in your 4-bedroom rental business? In rural areas, (especially Arcata), there’s a good chance your landlord is also your teacher or employer…the feudal realities are more stark.

    But, you already knew that.

    Every imperial economy in history had its “wake-up call”… denied until the bitter end.

    I wouldn’t want hourly reminders of the unprecedented human and environmental costs of our immoral, unethical imperial lifestyle, like the Dow Jones report.

    However, those seeking the truth won’t find it anywhere in mainstream media…and until the average American can understand what an imperial culture means….changing it will, once again, be by force, not by choice.

  91. Mitch
    April 22, 2012 at 7:04 am | #91

    Amy may sound a little harsh, but I think she’s basically got the analysis correct.

    For me at least, it’s totally understandable why someone would choose to participate in our economy as it is rather than as we’d like it to be — I certainly participate. The charge that this is hypocritical is both true and largely irrelevant. Yes, it’s hypocritical, but that’s because it’s simply human. Nobody I know is a saint, and I’m anything but.

    It’s one thing to participate and deny the big picture, it’s a different thing to participate while recognizing that we are all being forced to choose between participation in a fundamentally immoral system and the more courageous but perhaps foolhardy path of complete refusal to cooperate.

    The only path I see forward is the creation of a parallel economy, with organizations like the Coop, the Farmer’s Market, and Provident Credit Union (certainly NOT Coast Central) being examples of the sort of alternatives that need to be available to people before anyone can realistically expect many people to withdraw from the existing hellish economy.

    That’s a large, difficult, generations-long project.

    The challenge is for us to forgive one another for our imperfections (and especially to recognize our own and forgive ourselves), while devoting what energy we can to building solutions for a future. It’s always going to be an experiment and a very subjective process to figure out, each for ourselves, how much we are willing to participate in the hellish economy while trying to create something better.

    If you are a young person and cannot understand why people don’t immediately do the right thing, here’s a suggestion that may help you understand, at least if you are old enough to drive. Try driving for a week at a consistent ten miles below the posted speed limit. You will save a great deal of gas while delaying yourself on most drives by only a couple of minutes. It’s totally beneficial to you, the planet, and causes you a bare minimum of “sacrifice,” but the “sacrifice” is totally on you. There’s no one else to blame if you speed yourself back up.

    See how well you perform at that project before casting stones.

  92. walt
    April 22, 2012 at 7:47 am | #92

    “The only path I see forward is the creation of a parallel economy. . .” Mitch, you nailed it again. Beyond little gems shared through Heraldo, how could this be ORGANIZED? Online chats like open mike conference calls? Public meetings at some place like the UUF? Clearly we have to do more, with a wider base than DUH, to bring this about.

    As for sainthood. . .I’m not a saint, but I’m a Muppet. Isn’t that the same thing?

  93. Mitch
    April 22, 2012 at 8:20 am | #93

    walt,

    I suspect it can’t be “big picture organized,” just “done.”

    I worked briefly in my twenties as a community organizer.

    Organizing was great for protests, and the protests DID get results when they had specific targets who would be embarrassed by the publicity given to their treatment of others. For example, I bused a group of people living next to a rubber factory to the suburban home of the rubber factory’s owner, because the owner would not clean toxics from around his factory. The owner was shocked that the “trash” that he regularly assaulted had shown up in front of his house, and the “trash” got to see how its “betters” lived. Educational all around, and the toxics got cleaned up quickly. That’s what direct action can accomplish, but in my opinion, that’s ALL it can accomplish.

    In my own experience, organizing to produce constructive projects beyond protests has never met with success. You just have to do the work yourself and encourage others to join you.

    When I’ve attempted to “organize,” or involve myself with other groups “organizing,” I’ve ended up in a crowd of people who are mainly interested in hearing themselves talk. It’s never led to any accomplishment whatsoever. The only solution I’ve found is to skip that step entirely and just do work. If the only time your group meets is to do work, you will attract a different type of person.

    Others may have had better experiences, and I dearly wish there were ways to do large-scale organizing of constructive projects. From my own experience, though, what looks like a constructive project organized by a large committee is almost always 90% the work of a single person or two or three friends.

  94. Mitch
    April 22, 2012 at 8:40 am | #94

    walt,

    I should add that the particular protest I referred to above was emotionally extremely draining. It did work as a tactic, but I’m not sure it’s very effective as a long term strategy.

    That sort of activity identifies a “bad person,” and exposes them. When someone’s behavior is directly screwing a community, and when that person is concerned about their reputation in their own peer group, that sort of exposure can work wonders.

    The problem is there’s no such thing as a “bad person,” just a person getting away with screwing others. Targeting one “bad person” after another just leads to the activist equivalent of “older cop syndrome,” the assumption that everyone else is a schmuck, based on spending too much of your life interacting with schmucks. Every human I know has some schmuckitude, so if you’re just looking for that, you’re guaranteed to find it. Good luck with what you do with that.

    You cannot build a happy life by exposing one schmuck after another — at some point you have to begin trying to build things. The only risk there is discovering how much harder it is to build than to complain and/or tear down.

  95. walt
    April 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | #95

    Interesting points. And story. I keep thinking the paradigm has changed and is failing (except for Rob and Co). . .and no one seems able to invent a new one that people will magically sign up for. The “parallel universe” idea is the only alternative I’ve heard of, at least until large numbers of people start missing meals and dropping dead in the streets because they can’t afford medical care. In the meantime all we have is Obamahope, which is Bushope with nicer language., and that’s NOT solving the problem.

  96. Mitch
    April 22, 2012 at 10:11 am | #96

    walt,

    I’m not sure how old you are. As far as I can tell, there have been at least two exceptional Presidents during my lifetime: Carter and Obama. (Of Carter, Molly Ivins once said, “he’s enough to give Christianity a good name.” We voted him out for Reagan, a GE spokesman and mediocre actor who looked Presidential to fools. We did that, as far as I can tell, because Carter valued human life, even the non-American kind, and because some sand got in helicopter engines.)

    The problem is not finding good Presidents. The problem is that Presidents don’t have that much power, and when they try to do the right thing, they get immediately discredited and voted out of office.

    The only power I know of is in individuals finding ways in which they think they can lead happy and creative lives while being of service to themselves and others. When that happens for enough people, and not a moment before, we’ll suddenly be amazed at how wonderful our political leaders have become.

    As long as we are waiting for the political leaders to pass, for example, true universal health care, as exists in other countries, we are going to get — at best — the sort of stuff that Obama’s initiative became… a creation whose main goal was to not displease any player with enough power to sink it.

    Enough of that and it’s hard to remain excited about the political process.

  97. 2 cents
    April 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | #97

    Ay yi yi!

    I agree with Amy’s analysis pretty much in the large sense – but don’t think most small scale landlords are the best example (they’re 99%ers, whether they know it or not). Good and bad landlords, good and bad tenants……people.
    But the idea a ‘parallel’ economy of co-ops and such is really SO silly (don’t get me wrong – support small local businesses – but don’t think that’s gonna solve THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS). It gets lots of play around here – but really! Is each community along the road gonna be responsible for paving ‘its’ section of highway? Doing the things the population as a whole requires, such that not everyone need be self-sufficient is the point of society. NO? This solution is ultimately about as realistic as young ‘anarchists’ who think that life ‘after the revolution’ is gonna be a party. It won’t. Think no power (electricity I mean – your solar panels won’t save you, they’ll wear out or need parts you will no longer be able to get); no travel except foot, bicycle, donkey or perhaps for a while we’d be able to keep some bio-diesel powered stuff going (but we’d have to learn to share!). And with no fast-food restaurants, I dunno how long we’d be able to manage that. No more musicians except those who live next door; the 100 mile food club wouldn’t be a hobby …….And like some dystopian novel, some of our current super-rich (and the gov.) might have been able to stockpile enough ammo, food and land to survive in enclaves and maybe even be able to travel between one another’s compounds for a bit.
    NOT a solution. I too despair of ‘fixing’ our system – but if we don’t (and I mean from within – I AM a liberal, I guess) we are toast. Do NOT disengage, VOTE and OCCUPY EVERYTHING. The venerable Tim Leary did the repugs the biggest favor EVER by convincing much of a generation to “tune in, turn on, and drop out’. We HANDED IT ALL to them, withdrew ‘back to the land’ and then didn’t have the power of our convictions or simply could not follow through with our children. We got caught back up in MEGA consumerism when pot got so profitable……….ay yi yi – I can’t even think about it anymore.
    And the article what started this thread is a no-brainer! Who needed a study? Look at the world!

  98. Mitch
    April 22, 2012 at 11:47 am | #98

    2 cents,

    I understand your point of view.

    I’m a fan of the front section of the Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook, which is, I think, about as un-hip as it’s possible to be. IIRC, it’s called “Keys to the Kingdom.” I’m not sure anything summarizes my beliefs better than that front section. Wendell Berry speaks from a similar perspective, and he has a lot of superb essays out there.

    In my own words: better to make the little changes that you can than to dream about the big changes you’d make if you could. The big changes are a deadly illusion; they are nothing more than the result of taking a broad view of all the little changes after they’ve accumulated. There are no short-cuts directly to big. Small is better. Lots of small is how you get big.

    The trick is, “history” is all about the big changes, so people spend a lot of their energy trying to make one happen. That’s just not the way they happen, at least as I understand the way the world happens.

  99. Hangem High
    April 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | #99

    I too must agree with Amy’s “harsh” analysis…in a world of deceit the truth is revolutionary and, thus, extremely uncomfortable.

    No change takes place before the language of change becomes ubiquitous…

    And without a community-interest media willing to explain the costs of an imperial-economy, nor even mention the word “imperialism”, (now looting the U.S. Treasury, ie, consuming its own), we await dozens of potential catalysts to force change upon us…marking the historic end to every imperial tyranny before ours.

    Mitch is also correct.

    When that catalyst unfolds, 300 million Americans will be scrambling to rapidly adopt all those “hippy” , coop, localism, script, farming, barter, in-fill, smart growth, straw-bale homes, and manufacturing incubator ideas…

    Hopefully, we’ll still have enough cheap oil to mass-develop, distribute and train millions of citizens how to rapidly change lifestyles.

    “See how well you perform at (driving slower) before casting stones.”

    Better to understand the stones now, than await the boulders tomorrow.

  100. 2 cents
    April 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm | #100

    Mitch -

    I’m not familiar with the ‘cookbook’ you’ve referred to – but I think voting Carter out falls right into the ‘tune in, turn on, drop out’ timeframe and wouldn’t have happened if so many hadn’t, in fact, ‘dropped out’ right about then………

    I know it’s hard to keep voting – not speaking to Mitch specifically here – (esp. after the Bush/ supreme court farce) but it is just one of the many, many small steps required to get to that big shift that must take place if humans wish to inhabit earth for many more centuries.

    I would so prefer incremental change to war and/or the plagues that will be the earth’s solution if we don’t change pretty damn soon….

    And don’t be tools of Fox News – there is a difference between the Repug.s and the Dem.s. Bigtime!

  101. walt
    April 23, 2012 at 6:04 am | #101

    Some would argue that, instead of reading Laurel’s Kitchen, we need to start reading the Anarchist Cookbook. Did you know you can get it a kindle version for five bucks? In looking at the Amazon ad for it, a review by the author, William Powell, distancing himself from it appears, and makes for interesting reading. He says “The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.” After Timothy McVeigh who can blame him?

    Maybe we should start reading Foxfire books. . .

  102. Mitch
    April 23, 2012 at 6:16 am | #102

    2 cents,

    If I came off as saying “don’t bother voting,” I did not state my position clearly. On the other hand, I can’t pretend to myself any longer that voting results are a representation of “the people’s voice.” They simply demonstrate the ability of money to fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time.

    walt,

    I’m unfamiliar with the Anarchist Cookbook. I’ve always imagined, based on the title, that it consists of bomb-making instructions. Perhaps I’ve been completely wrong. If so, I’d be interested in hearing more about it. Wikipedia confirms my assumption, though, and even includes this quote from the author of the Anarchist Cookbook:

    The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in

    Maybe the author learned some things as he grew older, or maybe he just “sold out.” It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?

    Are you familiar with Laurel’s Kitchen? You might find that front-matter extremely interesting, whether you’d find yourself agreeing with it or not. I find it more thoughtful and useful than 99% of what “sophisticated political analysts” have to say.

  103. Mitch
    April 23, 2012 at 6:35 am | #103

    2 cents,

    Yes, we agree that there is a difference between the R’s and the D’s.

    The best description I’ve read of the dynamic between the two parties is an online book-once-in-progress called, ironically enough, “Stop Me Before I Vote Again.” (I do agree with you that voting is a critical responsibility for each of us.)

    I highly recommend this book, and hope Michael J Smith gets back to finish it some day:

    http://smithbowen.net/linfame/stopme/

  104. Thorstein Veblen
    April 23, 2012 at 9:32 am | #104

    I’ve known many rental owners, firemen, maintenance workers, etc. Most are just people trying to prepare for retirement for the most part.

    If you want to get to the engine that drives the ‘imperial culture’, look no further than the moneychangers. Jesus knew it. It amazes me that even way back then, unfettered banking and usury had been identified as big time problems.

  105. 2 cents
    April 23, 2012 at 10:18 am | #105

    Mitch – no, I did not take you as advocating eschewing the vote. It was just a stream of consciousness kinda thing, from elections to voting. I fear there are many, many likely non-voters in Hum. Co. and they aren’t Republicans……….

    As for the Anarchist Cookbook – I have it on pretty good authority that you may well blow yourself up following its bomb-making recipes. The author should have copped to that – as well as disavowing the violence.

    Good day to all…………….

  106. Anonymous
    April 23, 2012 at 11:35 am | #106

    How is it parasitic to rent properties at a rate that does not make much money for my own living? You should see the parasitic behavior of some renters, Amy. As Thorsten said, there are good and bad people in every line of work. Your attitude, Amy, is your handicap. Open up, there are nice people everywhere, as well as those few who ruin it. To be a parasite we need to at least be living off the work of others. I have been working hard and barely breaking even. Where would people live if there were no rentals?

  107. tra
    April 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm | #107

    Re: The Anarchist’s Cookbook -

    DOg-eared, photocopied versions of that book made the rounds at my high school, many, many years ago. Even as a high school student, it struck me that it would be very foolish to follow bomb-making instructions from a book that also contained a large section on dubious recipes for do-it-yourself psycoactive pharmaceuticals.

    As far as I know, none of my fellow students availed themselves of any of the any of the bomb-making recipes. But I know for a fact that more than a few made themselves sick, or at least got a nasty headache, after smoking banana peels or something like that.

  108. Allen Bazemore
    April 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm | #108

    If there were “no” rentals, or, if owning rental houses were regulated to one per person, housing prices would become affordable to millions of Americans as prices plummet.

    To “harsh”?

    Then, return to America’s subsidized housing investments of the 1970′s where small U.S. towns like mine with 25,000 people had plenty. I rented a one-room SRO for $80 and shared it with one roommate, ($40 each!). It was bare-bones, but allowed two youths to enroll in college with a part-time job, allowed working families to save capital, and the elderly could afford their meds.

    Run a Eureka city council or county supervisor candidate promising to lobby hard for affordable housing subsidies and watch Thorstein’s “good people firemen and maintenance people” rediscover why they vote republican.

    The unprecedented local boom in property rental agencies and landlords is evidence of an economy failing so badly that there’s little else to conceive than predation.

    I noticed that Thorstein avoided Amy’s question…at what point does this boom become unethical?

  109. anonymous
    April 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm | #109

    It is misleading to assume that the opposite of working toward peaceful change is bomb-throwing!

    Well planned, persistent and determined occupations, strikes, sit-ins, shut-downs, monkey-wrenching, boycotts, etc, have historically been called violent and were met with physical violence and state-sanctioned murder.

    If we can achieve a single major social change peacefully today, it will be the first in U.S. history.

  110. Thorstein Veblen
    April 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm | #110

    Sorry, missed the question, or didn’t understand it, which boom?

  111. walt
    April 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm | #111

    OK, I’ll be the exception that probes the rule: someone who disagrees with the majority of posters here.

    First, the difference between Ds and Rs is diminishing. . .oddly enough, just when they seem least likely to agree on ANYthing, they’re both becoming puppets of the 1%. When the 1% gives money to Bill and Hillary (how ELSE did they amass a fortune of $100 in eight years?) they get something back, every time. . .or they’d stop “giving”.

    Second, I don’t see voting really makes a difference anymore. Most of the time, when money speaks, the people listen. For every REAL liberal in elected office, there are five Blue Dogs. . .and that’s just among the Ds. Case in point: our local congressional race. Huffman is an insider and now The Annointed. The others make interesting noises, but the final “choice” will be between Huffman and the R. Look at the Obama cabinet, and tell me about what a pack of socialists they are.

    Finally, things have changed. The economy has fallen and can’t get up. The poor are being driven to MacDonald’s and Walmart, and, unlike the old days, they can’t live on collard greens and grits. . .the TVs tell them so. The kids are having to move in with their parents because the parents own their home and the kids can’t move out on $8 an hour. There are a LOT of folks making do (and, in some cases, more) on bootleg dope, but soon the various Mafias will drive them under. Then there’s Crank. . .

    The 1% are making sure of the Permanent Republican Majority, in Congress, in the White House, and, increasingly, in the courts. . .in BOTH parties: there are right wing Rs and middle-of-the-road Rs, and we can only dream of Single Payer healthcare, peace, or change.

    Eventually, things will get so grim there WILL be Real Change: Occupiers and beggers on every corner, home invasions, and Tim McVeighs are just the first skirmishers. . .it won’t be pretty.

  112. walt
    April 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm | #112

    Oops. . .Bill and Hillary worth $100 MILLION four years ago.

  113. 2 cents
    April 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm | #113

    Well, I’d rather dream on than accept doom and just turn over for ‘em……………..
    And, if enough people did do something (even voting!But not just voting, either) instead of despair or withdraw we MIGHT – just might, have a chance.
    I said earlier that it won’t be a party……if – we don’t make many changes.

  114. walt
    April 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm | #114

    I guess I don’t think of it as doom and despair, but a recognition that SOMEBODY ELSE has control of our political system, and I see no way of changing the system USING the system. The game is rigged, and trying to win will just lead to frustration. We need another game.

  115. High Finance
    April 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm | #115

    Losers always have an excuse.

    The system is “rigged”. My side only lost because the other side had all the money from the “good old boys”, blah, blah blah.

    You guys lost big in Eureka last November because a majority of the voters were tired of the liberals ruining Eureka.

  116. tra
    April 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm | #116

    Except “liberals” didn’t have the majority on the City Council in the first place.

  117. Mitch
    April 24, 2012 at 6:15 am | #117

    There’s an easy way for people like High Finance to consider themselves “winners.” Always side with the team with the greatest resources, rather than worrying about which team is headed in the right direction.

    Then blather on about how much better your side is.

    If you are a particularly narcissistic, shallow, and self-centered individual, you may even make it to your death bed without realizing you spent your entire life anxiously stepping up to be someone’s pawn, so that you could bask in your value-less “success.” If you have a shred of integrity, though, it’s liable to sneak out when you confront your mortality, and you’ll find yourself wondering what the hell you were doing with your time and talent. A deathbed is a lousy place and time to ask that question. If you are absolutely without integrity, you needn’t worry. Just “win.”

    When the team of volunteer players whose average height is 4′ 11″ (rarely) beats your team made up of highly paid players with an average height of 6′ 9″, just explain that the volunteers got “lucky,” and lie that your team hadn’t been allowed to play anyway. Cowardice at work.

    In a functional democracy, the resource that matters is votes. When votes can be bought (because the electorate can be swayed in predictable ways by the deployment of unlimited advertising money), the democracy ceases to be functional.

    The same can happen even without huge money — history is largely about people being convinced to work against their self-interest. The techniques vary from direct threats — if this shop goes union, I’ll have to move the business — to indirect threats — if we don’t bribe American Airlines, we’ll never have a second airline; if we don’t bring in the hazard of LNG, you’ll never get a job — to calls for racial or ethnic solidarity — Aryans, unite to protect yourself from the Jews; Jews, unite to protect yourself from the Arabs — to scapegoating of the powerless — America is being destroyed by dirty illegal immigrants — and the sowing of fear-of-the-other — those commies don’t even believe in God; if gay people can marry, how will you know how much better you are than gay people? Combine those well-worn techniques with vast sums of money to construct and broadcast effective propaganda, and the game is over.

    Don’t worry if the propaganda is nothing but lies — the Swift Boaters got Kerry, trashing someone who was objectively heroic in war and after, in order to elect a silver-spoon frat boy who had dodged service in a Texas unit set aside for the children of powerful Texans. Mormon empire money bought Prop 8, despite the absolute inability of my marriage to affect yours or anyone else’s in any way. People may eventually figure out the truth, but not in time for the election.

    That’s what Citizens United was, and is, all about. The ruling was made by the same supreme court that declared that counting Florida’s ballots accurately would be discriminating against George W. Bush.

  118. Anonymous
    April 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm | #118

    “You guys lost big in Eureka last November because a majority of the voters were tired of the liberals ruining Eureka.”

    Example?

    The only city locally run by liberals has the highest per-capita sales tax income, industrial parks, mfg. incubators, state-of-the-art waste water treatment, and in-fill affordable housing.

  119. Thorstein Veblen

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