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AdLib On June - 4 - 2012

American history is replete with noble and principled men and women who stood up, protested and fought for issues that they fervently believed were for the benefit of our people and society.

There are such people in America today, most of whom do their good works in relative anonymity (and some of whom we’re honored to have here at The Planet as members). Despite the pseudo reality that is projected around us by and through the media, people of conscience are not as rare as it might seem. What does seem to be rare is the exhibition and even recognition of conscience by those who dominate the public arena.

In politics, the media or business, an unspoken rule seems to be that accomplishing one’s proprietary goals necessarily means discarding the quaint notion of being influenced by one’s own conscience. The question of, “Is this the right thing to do?” that such people may ask themselves only pertains to best accomplishing their agenda and not concern for the welfare of others.

It certainly hasn’t helped matters that the corporate mindset has so invaded American society. The single-minded proposition of greed being self-justifying and wealth and power equaling success is detrimental to the very fabric of a functional and constructive society. This is not to say that on their own, wealth and power are negative things but simply extrapolating out this proposition brings about morally corrupt concepts that have been mainstreamed even by our Supreme Court, such as money equaling speech (thus those without money have no speech…that is what The Founders intent was in the Constitution?).

Our Supreme Court, dominated by conservative ideologues, have openly rejected the concept of conscience and have instead hidden behind convenient interpretations of a Constitution to claim that unfairness and inequality are justified.

Our corporate owned media outlets target themselves for demographics on the left and right, unapologetically presenting falsehoods and/or whipping up manufactured controversies with no exhibition of conscience over their exploitative and damaging tactics.

Our political parties take or don’t take actions due to calculations that will benefit their re-elections or public images.

Our corporations mislead and manipulate the public into supporting them and buying their products (including the politicians they own), knowing full well the negative impact they may have on the public in the end.

This absence of conscience in the public arena is like a deafening silence. It is corrosive and has deteriorated the level of public discourse and even the ability for our government to function. Of course politicians feel free to shout out “Liar!” at President Obama in the State of the Union Address and Tea Partiers feel free to spit on historic civil rights leaders and carry racist signs at rallies…when one has abandoned one’s conscience, self-righteousness over every horrible thing they’re capable of is assured and unimpeded.

When human beings, whether corporate CEOs, politicians or media moguls, operate independently of a conscience, with no recognition of the legitimate humanity of others and how their actions wrongly harm them, then they are indeed capable of profoundly awful things. The converse is true as well, if people who disagree also carry a conscience about doing what is best for the many, constructive conversations, compromise and resolutions can be reached.

A conscience is a regulator, like a thermostat, which keeps one for getting too hot or too cold. Tearing that out of one’s consciousness allows one to go to damaging extremes.

It is easy for money and/or power to wither one’s conscience away. For some in the top 1%, being so makes them believe they are superior to the majority of Americans. That feeling alone devours a great deal of conscience, one can then justify selfishness much more easily by rationalizing away most others as inferior. And there is also the group think factor, when surrounded by others who affirm, whether expressly or through inference, that those with more money or power are above the majority and above any responsibility to “their” society, then even those who view themselves as liberal can fall into the ego-gratifying trap of elitism.

One need not explain at length the lack of conscience of the GOP, duping their voters to vote against their own interests by pandering to religious beliefs and offering pie-in-the-sky assurances of how they will become wealthy and their lives will all get better if Obama is defeated and the GOP has total power in DC. Mitt Romney lies prodigiously and unrepentantly about anything and everything to the voters in his party while he seems to view them as inferior and dumb animals…and their blind allegiance to the GOP and him doesn’t help to dispel that perception of them.

When it comes to corporate America, here too one need not go into great detail to convince others how lacking they are of any conscience about the destruction they may perpetrate upon the health and savings of Americans, the environment, the future stability of this nation and on and on.

The corporate-owned media is perhaps the most offensive of the lot when it comes to having no conscience. It is expected that the wealthy, politicians and corporations may be self-serving and have no conscience to restrain them but the press has historically been regarded as the public conscience of America. The Founders and especially Thomas Jefferson saw the press as the unofficial fourth branch of government which would keep a check and balance on all others, the figurative conscience of American democracy which would act as the last, best defense of the public.

Today, we have three main “news” networks in this country, a Republican propaganda machine shamelessly smirking about being “Fair and Balanced”, a hapless network that fell from being the originator of 24 hour news to stooping to partnering with the corporate sham of The Tea Party on GOP debates and an “all of the above” news channel that spends half of its day pandering to people on the Right then turns around and spends the other half of the day attacking those same people.

As referenced above, the very idea of being a successful American has become divorced from having a conscience. Inheriting a great deal of money and power, as Donald Trump and Mitt Romney have, makes them a “success” in the minds of many. How is it a success to simply be born into a family that is in the top 1%? Was Martin Luther King unsuccessful because he didn’t have a multimillion dollar empire he inherited but Donald Trump is successful because of that?

Isn’t the possession of and the use of a conscience part of being a successful human being? And is the reverse true, can someone truly be a success as a human being without exhibiting any conscience? Wouldn’t that be someone who has not succeeded as a human being?

So we have this whole world of media, business and politics revolving all around us, where conscience is not typically in evidence…how does that impact us and our society?

There is no doubt that the coarsening of discourse and the outright hatreds of the Right, through surrogate racist views like Birtherism, anti-immigrant fervor and voter suppression are the results of people without a properly functioning conscience. They have adopted, from their parents/environment/political party, the casting aside of conscience and the pride other self-centered people take in doing so.

Others however are not influenced by the lack of conscience in others and are instead, more convicted to relying on theirs. There are many people out there who are very conscientious and are willing and ready to act upon it.

This year, during the hate-encrusted GOP Primary and watching the mercenaries of the Right Wing pool hundreds of millions to buy the upcoming election, we’ve also seen many thousands of people act upon their conscience to make a difference.

There was the huge public support for pursuing the brutal Joseph Kony, bringing the murderer of Trayvon Martin to justice, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protest against the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s attack on Planned Parenthood, the boycott against Rush Limbaugh for his vicious sexism against Sandra Fluke, the Wisconsin recall against Scott Walker, the public rejection of Ohio’s anti-union SB5 and many other actions of conscience.

There are people of conscience working in every state to make things better for the majority on the environment, our democratic system, economic justice and equality for all. It is a battle against those of little or no conscience, some battles are won, others are lost.

What would create a real national renaissance though and cut straight to the heart of what’s afflicting this country, is for Americans to require their leaders to be people of conscience or else become unemployed. We need to get the wealthy out of dominating our democracy, we need Repubs to work with Dems and compromise to address the vital issues we’re facing, we need the vulnerable to be taken care of and the very wealthy to pay their fair share…just about every key issue that’s plaguing our nation could be resolved reasonably if worked on by people of conscience.

The whole “greed is good” corporate mentality that lured people away from their consciences has bottomed out for most. Perhaps more than ever, many Americans have awoken from the corporately promoted “American Dream” delusion that they will be a millionaire one day (only about .10% of Americans earn $1 million or more, so the odds are 99.90% against). Does that mean they have no power and can’t be as much of a “success” as Donald Trump?

No. The examples above show the great power all Americans have, even though they’re not millionaires, when they come together over matters of conscience. And the remarkable works and sacrifices of people here and serving in our military abroad reflect a kind of success as human beings that a Donald Trump or a Mitt Romney will never have.

We grow up looking to our leaders to exemplify the traits we value most, courage, integrity, wisdom and conscience. Though I would argue that President Obama has stood tall in all of these areas over the last three years, the kind of profound change that we need in this country won’t come unless it comes from the majority of Americans joining together in good conscience, to insist that things get better.

Though the power, wealth and influence of the wealthiest 1% grows every day, we should never lose sight of the fact that no matter how wealthy the Koch brothers or Wall Street is, no matter how much they spend to subvert our democracy, they’ll never be able to stop hundreds of millions of Americans of conscience from marching right over them.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

19 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    Well, AdLib, I always said the GOP motto was “Forward to the Past”. They relish the good ol’ days when there were no weekends, no retirement, and you worked until you dropped then your family cared for you. No health costs, no pensions, no nothing.

    The steel industry used to employed people on “the long turn” -- 12 hours on, 12 hours off, SEVEN DAYS PER WEEK. Then every other week -- the Long Turn of 24 hours on thereby rotating from day to night and night to day. So every two weeks you’d get 24 hours off -- just enough time to get JUST enough rest that you’d be a higher danger to yourself and others when you did go back. You could set your clock by the escalation of deaths and injuries every other Monday.

    Yup -- labor became just another fungible commodity to make the maximum for the investors and as little as humanly possible for the person doing the job. Voila! Labor is just a bottom line calculation. It’s why to this day, eradicating skill was so important. People with essential and not quickly replaceable skill could -- gasp -- strike and hold the company by the throat for decent wages.

    To get rid of skill, besides the obvious mechanization, shift work has become the norm in even professions. Keep people on shifts, make even lawyers, doctors, architects, computer techies etc. punch a clock and have to show up at one of three shifts on the new 24/7 rota, and you diminish their collective ability to organize or resist the degredation of their jobs and lives and pay.

    We have reduced every non-upper management job to calculable inputs. Thomas Edison, Alexader Graham Bell, anyone with the creativity of the past High Tech world -- gone. We train doctors and lawyers and everyone else to make money FIRST, do professional standard things last. Creativity? Don’t be silly. Every single thing is reduced to cost benefit analysis, and having ideas is not beneficial to tomorrow’s immediate bottom line.

    So all your kids’ dreams of professions and aptitude in action? Well, sure -- but at the bottom of their dreams lies one question: how much money did you make for us, the corporation that owns you, today.

    THAT is the reason business people never should be president. Government is what stands with us when business screws up, economies fail, society has problems -- and business people who “like firing people” have no role in that. Government is NOT a business nor should it run as one -- it is not there to make a profit -- but to hold us safely together in good times and bad, to mediate between us and Mr. Moneybags, to offer us chances to succeed even NOT in a money making capacity but to serve others and fulfill dreams.

    The love of money is the root of all evil. That is especially true when the creation of the thing loved -- bucks -- is at the expense of human beings, of creativity, of democracy, of justice. Putting a lot of money in only a few hands and putting that acquisition above all else? Brave New World.

  2. SueInCa says:

    Adlib

    Thank you for this piece. I have been debating over this scenario for a long time. It is very disheartening to see people(especially people who are visible) to show very little enthusiasm for values. We have so many who claim they are values driven but they lie or they just plain do not know what real values are and when they fail in following those values, they want people to look the other way.

    I have to agree with you about the right and even some of the left. It was very obvious as soon as President Obama was elected that some on the left thought he was elected just to satisfy their needs and wants. What none would admit is that they heard what they wanted to hear and not what he was really saying. In some ways I think there is also some disrespect from the left because he is a black man. I know Dems who claim to be so liberal but when it comes down to the nitty gritty they will utter racist comments. We have so much further to go but I must say the African American community has been amazingly controlled when you think of all the disrespect that has been shown to the Prez.

    I wrote this piece here about a year into Obama’s administration.
    I would also recommend the book I quoted in the piece. I bought it 4 years ago and when I need a lift or to be reminded of the lessons of life I scbscribe to, I pull it out and usually find something good.
    http://planetpov.com/2009/12/28/never-forget-the-dark-days-could-come-again/

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks for the link to that article, Sue, I remember it well and that letter is a wonderful work (which I recommend folks to read).

      Your point and Dr. Meyers’ is that one can place any label on oneself but it is just a label unless one acts with the principles that label describes.

      We have people claiming to be Progressive and Liberal who act as selfish and narrow minded as Tea Partiers. There are people who exclaim their Christianity but exhibit behavior completely in conflict with what Jesus spoke of.

      Being Liberal or Progressive IMO, requires an open mind, looking forward, seeking truth and wisdom and possessing compassion for others. The types of self-proclaimed liberals you mention who harbor racism…are simply not aptly described as “liberal”.

      And they have more in common with Tea Partiers than with genuine Liberals.

      I learned this a while back, while Bush was President. During that time, many in the blogosphere banded together against this common enemy. However, once Obama was elected, without that common enemy, some alleged “liberals” turned on Obama for not embodying the mythical Obama that they had deluded themselves into believing he was.

      In their minds, he was going to be both the Angel of Vengeance against the Republicans, a Czar who would change our entire economic and political system with a wave of his hand and a Santa Clause who would bring them all their heart desired.

      When he turned out to be who he had always been, they turned on him for betraying their fantasy.

      Then, there were the ones who hated Bush and voted against him but later realized that they had helped put a black man in the highest office in the land…and the latent racism inside them, after seeing a black man succeeding to such a degree while they struggled…rose up in a disguise that they conveniently cloaked it in.

      On the flip side, there are people like you and our fellow Planeteers, millions of people across the country who live by the principles they believe in and make a difference in other people’s lives.

      As I say, once enough people stop looking to our “leaders” to be paragons of conscience, the people can indeed take this nation back for themselves.

      • Well written article AdLib. It reminds me of an old George Harrison song, “Beware of Darkness.”

        The final stanza;

        “Watch out now take care
        Beware of greedy leaders
        They take you where you should not go
        While Weeping Atlas Cedars
        They just want to grow grow and grow
        Beware of darkness (beware of darkness)”

        America has a serious spiritual problem. We are so materialistic and self absorbed, for the most part, (Planeteers being one exception). I don’t mean everybody in our nation, but there are far too many that are like this.
        I haven’t attended church since I was a child, but it seems to me that far too many pastors and priests have failed to teach the meaning of spirituality. Sure, they go on and on about morality and sin, but I think many of them have failed to teach the simple lessons that Christ supposedly taught. Instead, they spend a lot of their time condemning others and creating more and more division among our fellow men and women. They seem to worship Christ the “martyr,” and not Christ the man and teacher that he was said to have been. Our nation suffers from a sort of spiritual illness, that blacks out what should be so easily seen. The basic, practice of caring for each other, regardless of race, religion, gender and sexuality.
        I sometimes think that this spiritual sickness may well be the cause of our demise as a species. The importance of the concepts within the Social Contract is being greatly underestimated, to a dangerous level. There is no good reason that America, the wealthiest nation in the world, should allow sickness and hunger and homelessness to persist. There is no good reason why we can’t take better care of our seniors, as well as our children. All of this could be fixed if genuine spirituality was taught in our churches and temples. Not just the occasional mention, but every day, or every week. We should let the martyrs of our past rest easy, and simply practice the wisdom and spirituality that they taught us, many of them paying the ultimate price to help make the world a better place for all.
        Our politicians and corporate kings and our members of the highest court in the land suffer from a serious spiritual sickness. Money and power have replaced the supposed goal of forming “a more perfect union!” The phrase itself is a basic description of genuine spirituality.

  3. AdLib says:

    Just saw this article, more proof of the lack of conscience going hand in hand with the wealthiest and greediest:

    A seemingly off-hand remark made by Robert Benmosche the CEO of AIG (AIG) has become a bit of a viral online debate, as people of all ages and walks of life weigh in on the idea of bumping up the retirement age to 80. While Benmosche’s comments to Bloomberg suggest the age increase is needed to maintain the level of benefits we have been promised and are accustomed to, not everyone is on board with the idea.

    AIG robbed taxpayers of billions when they were about to be forced into retirement, this CEO will no doubt retire in his 60’s and of course, the solution to the problem of people other than him getting retirement money, is to propose that they don’t get to retire like him.

    People should work until they’re 80? That could only come from the mind of someone as morally vacant as the CEO of AIG.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/ready-until-80-172821954.html

    • That is so absurd. Some of these uber wealthy misanthropes aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they want to use people until they drop. This guy clearly does not want employees to retire at all. Many people don’t even live to be 80 years old.
      Fortunately, I don’t think congress would ever pass a bill that would raise the retirement age to 80! Talk about the radical right wingers! Sixty five years is long enough. These simpletons will just have to come up with a better idea regarding Social Security. (I won’t hold my breath waiting though)

    • SueInCa says:

      You know what I would say to him if I could see him face to face? Wank off asshole when I see you work until you are 80 then I will maybe agree with you stupid fuck. And that is the truth, I am so tired of these people.

      • AdLib says:

        Sue -- I would only add that he needs to work a manual labor until he’s 80. I mean, seriously, what does “work” consist of when you’re CEO of AIG? Meetings, phone calls and emails.

        Let’s get this weasel a construction job and see how he does at that until he’s 80?

        I too am tired of these people and I’m hoping more and more Americans are feeling this way.

        • SueInCa says:

          Adlib

          That is true but I would still like to tell him to eff off and then when he is not looking trip him. Then play conservative with my hands in the air, “what id I do?”

          • AdLib says:

            If you really wanted to play Conservative with him, first you’d say, “This is for your own good, trust me.” Then you’d push him down, take all the money out of his wallet and “trickle down” on him.

      • SallyT says:

        Sherlock, I am with you! There are many jobs that people can’t do much past 55yrs. Physical, mentally, or emotionally. Truck drivers develop a condition in their hands from the vibration of the steering wheel that doesn’t let them open their hands completely, for one. And, there are so many others. Can you imagine an 80 year old person driving a garbage truck? I don’t like them driving a compact car in traffic let allow a vehicle that could kill you! The guy is a stupid fuck, Sherlock!
        Dr. Watson is on call.

        • Nirek says:

          Sally, I climbed telephone poles for 32 years in Vermont (winters too) and had to have both knees replaced. I’ve also had both elbows operated on and my left hip. Physical work does limit how long you can go. I bet there is not one exec or CEO who can keep up with a lineman all day long.

          You and the others are making real sense to me.
          I worked hard for New England Tel&Tel. The disparity of pay is objectionable to me. Compare how hard some work while others sit in meetings and write emails.

        • SueInCa says:

          Watson you sure are, you keep up that research soon you will be better than I am

        • AdLib says:

          Sally, the real goal here though is not so much having people working longer as much as it is getting many to die before they can receive retirement money…that AIG could instead drain out of government.

          Class warfare is real and we have been losing, time to fight back without apologies.

          • SallyT says:

            Well, AdLib, if that is the real goal, they just have to get rid of Medicare. Medicare has helped the aging live longer, too. Having the aged work longer could endanger others (as I stated above) and takes jobs from those that haven’t paid into Social Security, yet. Keeping older people working longer will take twice or more jobs needed to keep all employed. We don’t have enough jobs now to build the economy. This wouldn’t even be an issue if we allowed them to let Wall Street control our Social Security like the 401K’s. Like that worked out! Another thing, corporation don’t want the aged working for them. They encourage early retirement so they can hire for less and get rid of the older employees benefits. (Aged cost more on their healthplans, too.)

            • AdLib says:

              Sally, all your points are on the mark.

              If companies wanted to hire the elderly and the elderly were somehow able to work full time jobs (which most aren’t), it would create a generational war between younger people and older people fighting for too few jobs at too low pay.

              But as you say, companies don’t want to hire the elderly and they sure don’t want to pay for their health insurance so if this POS got his wish, we would have a flood of millions of elderly homeless and in poverty and that as an inescapable future for many if not most Americans.

              These people are sociopaths. They clearly have no regard for the lives of other human beings and would just as happily see them suffer and die prematurely if it meant they could pay less in taxes.

              Scum. They will have their comeuppance because this degree of greed and disregard for the lives of the majority is unsustainable.


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