The guy who opened fire on the Congressmen at baseball practice, and the guy who made the armed investigation of the pizza parlor said to be the base of the Clintons' sex slave ring, are nuts.
But on the other hand they are only taking seriously the rhetoric we hear all around us every day. If Republicans are really Nazis, if Democrats are really out to destroy America, then we should take up arms against them. If half the things that Breitbart published about Obama were true, then we should all have been trying to assassinate him. If Ted Cruz is right that America is "sliding off the cliff," opening fire on the opposition seems like the least we should do. If corporations really want to enslave us, blowing up their headquarters and killing their CEOs should only be the first two steps.
If we took seriously the rhetoric that pours forth every day from both the right and the left, then we ought to be having a civil war.
And yet so far only a few lunatics have drawn these conclusions. I am not sure what to make of this.
I suppose that at some level sane people understand the extreme rhetoric is bullshit. The savage words express frustration and give vent to anger but don't really mean what they naively seem to. So long as most people understand this, we will be ok.
But I don't like it. I don't like the fulmination, the cultivation of anger and hate, the denunciations that lump ordinary Republicans and Democrats together with Nazis and Bolsheviks. I don't like it that the route to wealth and fame is through saying things that, taken literally, should lead to mass slaughter in the streets. I worry that at some point not just a few crazies but a few hundred will turn to guns and bombs, or even a few thousand. What then?
All the broadcasters spouting anger and hate, all the prophets of doom, all the spreaders of dark conspiracies, and all the rest of that damnable crew should stop.
If we continue to believe their our neighbors are our worst enemies, we will end up killing each other.
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We could take action against people who spout hatred and anger. We could impose real consequences on those who choose to employ extreme rhetoric. We could pass laws, put regulations in place, or even just start campaigns designed to promote a culture and society that rejects such behaviors. We don't have to tolerate any of this.
But unfortunately, we're a highly capitalist society and outrage sells. Civil discourse doesn't make for good television, after all. The media knows that crap is king, and they deliver. Why are loathsome miscreants like Bill O'Reilly household names across the nation, while the majority of people don't even know the names of their own senators and representatives in congress?
We have a system that is built from the ground up to value the acquisition of wealth over everything else. Exploit, exploit, exploit! Companies don't exist to provide a public service or good - they exist to maximize profits, and line the pockets of the owners and investors.
Pay your workers as little as possible! Extract as much value as possible! Nevermind the costs in human misery or societal injustice! Promote stupidity, emotionality, impulsiveness, and short attention spans in the public at large! The more intelligent, rational, prudent, and patient a person is, the less readily they'll give you money for things they don't really need, and the worse of a customer they are for you! It's a dog-eat-dog world, and if you aren't out there maximizing those profit margins no matter what, someone else will be, and you'll be unable to compete and thus go under!
Don't let politicians make laws restricting your power to exploit people! Support corruptible, controllable politicians, so you can use them to better entrench your own position! Do everything in your power to obstruct those who would seek to limit your ability to profit off others! Always remember, greed isn't just good - it's the ONLY good! What good is a moral or idealistic leader if they undermine your business interests?
Oppose every new technology or changing social philosophy for as long as possible without compromising your interests! Then switch sides once public support makes it impossible not to! People are talking about the need for renewable energy over fossil fuels? Muddy the issue and draw out the debates for decades, so you can milk your existing oil and natural gas business models and infrastructure for all you can before they become fully obsolete! There's a growing societal acceptance for homosexuality, paired with a reactionary backlash by conservative elements? Play both sides of the issue, profiting off everyone! Spin it into a recurring news topic that you can report on for years to come! Incite controversy over the subject, inflame passions, and divide people into different camps, the better to subject to targeted marketing strategies, and to create enduring brand loyalty within opposing demographics!
Always push the envelope as far as you safely can. Always walk all the way up to the line of public outrage, while being careful not to cross it. Never do anything for free or out of principle - merely pretend that you are doing so, when in reality you just stand to make more money via the new method of business. Always lie, cheat, and steal, so long as you can get away with it.
Fabricate demand. Invent new markets from thin air. Make people discontented and insecure, and then turn around and sell them palliatives for their manufactured woes. Sell lifestyles, not products. People can realize they don't really need to buy a new car when it's just a car, but it's much harder for them to say no when that new car is a validation of their identity and values. Don't just sell pickup trucks - sell the lifestyle of a tough, independent, idealized maverick of a man, and convince people that the best or only way for them to live such a lifestyle is to buy your company's pickup trucks.
A fool who thought he could kill an idea with a bullet.
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