CNN just reported on a burglar who broke into a church and stole Christmas presents intended for the poor.
(First posted on Open Salon December 21, 2010)
No the burglar didn’t turn out to be a group of CEOs; and furthermore if you’re looking for some one to blame quickly and say that is wrong and he should be punished fine; punish him if you think it will do any good. I agree that it is obviously wrong but if you think that is all that needs to be done then my question is why do you think this type of stuff is still happening on a regular basis? If looking for the immediate cause is all that is necessary then these kinds of problems should have been solved long ago.
A closer look clearly indicates that the CEOs, stock holders, lawyers, politicians and media people are the ones that are far more responsible for this kind of problem. This isn’t a quick simple answer; so if that is what you’re looking for you’ve already read to far.
Expressing shock at the mysterious evil of this burglar will do no good; he was almost certainly raised in a troubled environment. I’ve read one book after another that tells about Mass Murderers and other violent felons have been raised and one time after another they have all been raised in violent homes. This violence has almost always escalated and the response has almost always been more punishment and it almost never works in the long run, although it may seem to in the short run in many cases. The latest one that I read is “All God’s Children” by Fox Butterfield, who was a contributing reporter on the Pentagon Papers. He traces the Bosket family back to the civil war and how they learned their traditions in the South before migrating north to NY City. One time after another they repeat a pattern of beating their children from an early age to teach them discipline and this violence only escalates from their. It’s like their trying to say “I beat the crap out of him over and over again so he should have learned his lesson; I don’t understand why he turned out so bad.” They are providing their own answer without realizing it. There are also many researchers like Alice Miller Philip Greven, Joanne Scaglione, James Garbarino and many others that have done an enormous amount of work to explain how violence starts young and escalates from there.
So why is this the fault of the CEOs stock holders, lawyers, politicians and media people? To put it in the simplest way possible they are the most powerful people in society and they are in the best position to implement solutions; but in stead they pursue a course of action that is much more concerned with making money no matter what the cost to the majority. They spend much more time promoting demagogues like Nancy Grace, JVM, Beck and many more than they do giving attention to serious credible academics. In some cases they even sabotage efforts to educate the public about the how to solve problems. When some researchers investigate media violence or other social contributing causes they often rebut them with an enormous amount of propaganda and since the corporations control the media they reach a much larger audience and saturate it with crap.
When sincere charitable institutions attempt to obtain funding for their causes they are often the first ones to be cut even while the powerful institutions are spending billions bailing out failed banks or other corrupt corporations. Christie’s attack on the teachers union is one of the most blatant examples of this. At the same time they are saying that the rich should be able to keep what they “earned” without even considering the possibility that a large percentage of them may have earned it through fraud.
On top of that they use an enormous amount of hype to convince the public that Christmas is all about buying presents for people to show you love them even if there is little practical use for many of these presents. Modern Christmas isn’t about figuring out how to have a good time with the family; it is about selling as much merchandise as possible as part of a Capitalist cult that is more concerned with maximizing business that with doing much if any thing to improving the quality of life. Whether it is wasteful Christmas spending, government corruption, or many other forms of corporate fraud, subtle or not, if the quality of life is shot to hell year round they aren’t going to be too concerned with a good Christmas. Good Christmas’ are reserved for those that can afford it; if some people live in misery year round they don’t have much to look forward to.
Then they show footage of this guy, who is clearly wrong breaking in to a church to steal presents and shock the public, perhaps in another attempt to encourage the building of more prisons for those that never had a chance in the first place.
There is of course much more to this than could ever be explained in a relatively short blog post. Those that are not inclined to think it through for themselves will probably never understand but those that can, surely should see that.