“Real selfishness — real greed — comes not from those who pay the bills, but from those who benefit from the obscenity of drawing excessively from the government.”
— Mechanical Engineer, Dennis Lund (Benicia Herald Forum, Wednesday 8-31-11.)
My local friend has hit the nail squarely on my head. I see my guilt and thereby know my responsibility. Sadly, as only one person, I can scarcely make a difference to our nation by exercising that responsibility by myself alone, but I must try at least by speaking out about how to fix our financial mess. Clearly, I have done something really obscene by accepting monthly Social Security payments as typically more than half of my retirement income. Probably I never deserved retirement, anyway. I should still be working for somebody or running my own, little business maybe into receivership.
Anyway, sure enough, the real issue is a matter of “Taking Responsibility” for oneself and others. Throughout history, Taking Responsibility has been has been expected and relegated either to those appointed to bear it or to those most senior and experienced as naturally best equipped to exercise it. Adults are responsible for children. Elder citizens are responsible for political neophytes. Police keep order in the town, or restore it.
Myself, I took minimal responsibility all my life. I deluded myself early into thinking I had something more important, responsible and worthy to do than sell cars, insurance or denim shirts, teach grammar to grade schoolers or convince judges that my dishonest clients’ destructive plans should be foisted on cities against public interest and popular will. I managed to get by in an assortment of lowly jobs that often required as much focus, creativity and effort as running the very factory or agency I worked in.
From the time I left school I felt that all paths from there on out were about equally difficult. I determined to do, not teach save indirectly, by the quality of my lifework. The way of poetry and I had chosen each other. Paid employment, then, was simply a matter of what sufficed my needs and let me get my family by, whatever that was at the time, from month to month. I lived “from hand to mouth” most of my life, just a narrow margin keeping me off the street, with help at times from parents or Unemployment Compensation and from a wife whenever I had one.
But, I survived to my eightieth year. Now, I can see how wrong I have been. Had I made other choices, assuming I could have decided differently, I might have become a corporate CEO, state governor or president of the nation now honorably retired in prosperous comfort. But, I wanted to do the one thing that nobody else could do, namely, make my magical, little word-machines to nourish, medicate people and operate in or on them beneficiently. This may have been too high a mark to set for myself. Maybe I should have gone into medicine or taught history.
The quotation above from Mr. Lund shows me what I must do, though it may not be quite what he had in mind when he wrote it in the context he gave it. The statement appears rich with meaning beyond his intention. What I have now to propose will not be popular but nevertheless yields a sure-fire solution to what ails our country, today. People in Congress are too confused, positively mistaken or divided against each other to be able to accomplish what needs to be done. The corporate heads, top bankers and ultra-rich are unwilling to take responsibility for fixing our problems. People in, or left over from, the Bush administration made sure the big money fixes surged straight to the top of the economic pyramid instead of to the population base where it would have done the most good. This let the bankers divert federal aid to everyone but themselves. It let them absorb trillions in National Socialist-style fiat money to buy up more properties, stocks and bonds than they ever owned before, or ever should have been allowed to acquire. Let’s believe the backwardite lies and blame Obama for everything. After all, didn’t he initiate too small a fix and fuel all the far-right attacks on him?
Therefore, it is up to us, the old, the poor and unemployed, the unproductive sick and disempowered union-workers to bear the burden. This was the wise plan of the upper-crust and their wonderfully obedient Tea Partiers from the start. Let’s all accept it. Let’s assume, five years on the public dole drawing Social Security is enough. Let everyone past seventy years of age stop eating food, drinking liquids, driving cars and using fuel of any kind. Stop using electricity. Lie down quietly. Breath as little as possible, and die with smiles on our faces, knowing how we help unburden the bad economy. Let all of us who used up all our unemployment benefits and now past sixty are too old to get a worthy job again, lie down and die. Death is not bad, you know. As Walt Whitman wrote, “Death is a far luckier thing than we had thought.”
Let women have to bear the children they in their best judgment decide they don’t want or can’t care for properly, then load those infants with the incurably sick on to worn-out, antiquated barges or ships, tow them into deep ocean and scuttle ‘em. Poetry has next to no value in the United States unless it’s written by the offspring of admirably wealthy people and appeals to the rich by offering no reflection of reality other than what glimmers in their most wishful fancies. So, gather up all the under-employed poets. Put them to work as nannies, maids, butlers, housekeepers and cooks. Leave them no time or strength to write their nonsense. Give them continual visions of the rewards of right thinking wealth and the choices they should have made before age sixteen. Treat ‘em like dog-shout and let ‘em suffer. That will entertain the non-empathetic wealthy folks and give the low-class, littering drones of literature what they most deserve. If they don’t like it, let ‘em lie down and die with us oldsters! Can’t you imagine how easy that is? Talk about low roads and easy ways!
Ah, I’m channeling a vast vision out of Spiritus Mundi! Caput minus Corpus, I see a huge head apart from what should be its body. It’s self-blind eyes cannot see the true order of things. They see their head as able to do without this body, this working body of organs and institutions, myriad cells and tissues. Their head would graft itself on to foreign bodies as it pleases and live in a financial stratosphere with no bowels, no arms, no legs. It can import these or export itself. Caput-alism in league with Corpus-oration. Revelation from the Latin roots? Yes. This is the way for Capitalism to go caput! This is the way for corporation to fly headless on the wind, a Winged Victory! A body of pure oratory and hortative bookkeeping, a thing of fur and feathers. Mindless. Heartless.