Ideas challenging the “ain’t it awful” crowd
By Dan Bodine
Welcome to the site of someone who’s a dyed-in-the-wool, progressive idealist; and a critic, too, to a world increasingly and crudely becoming exclusivist — e.g., the insensitive domain of social minimalists, those who feel they own superior rights to others based on their own personal wealth.
I’m retired from the State of Texas now, but have logged many years in two socially rewarding jobs — Journalist, 20, and Justice of the Peace (a lower court state judge), 17. Because of the public nature of both, yes, I’ve learned to spot a social minimalist, I feel.
My wife, Noemi, and our daughter, Maiya Kareli, soon to be 18, and I all live in El Paso now, in far West Texas. Moved here in 2010 after I retired as JP in Presidio, downstream on the Rio Grande from here a ways. Concurrently I served the community as municipal court judge also for many years.
This site I use then primarily for topics related to this rise in social minimalism (SM), a society condescension disease — what I categorize as a selective air of viewing others as unworthy of certain state rights because they fail a wealth-and-power litmus test, i.e.
SM has been spun off as a mental disease, I feel, by radical capitalism (RC) — e.g. someone’s overly aggressive response to opportunism; or focusing on wealth and power to prop up an enlarged ego.
What foreshadows this attitude is their willingness to denigrate or ignore others who don’t possess wealth or power. Fascism relies on the use of this, i.e.
But a nation’s competitiveness in a global market, i.e. — a high-mark objective that Republicans in particular have seized on the past few decades in hopes to fight poverty and racism in the U.S. without high-cost public assistance programs — depends upon its inclusiveness, if the aim is to make each citizen somehow a contributory member. Fighting SM is a no-brainer! Except in a political system geared by rich lobbyists!
With SM, you become blinded to other attributes and gifts of a person, too. And miss their potential contributions. Both sides lose something.
In the United States until the latter half of 20th Century, i.e., cultural minorities and poor white trash, historically, were restricted from participation in public events largely because of stigma.
SM is that way of looking at neighbors or would-be friends and quickly assessing whether or not they’re really worth your time — e.g. whether to commit any further conversational or social activity beyond the immediate moment.
But how do you achieve optimum performance in a nation with isolated pockets of exclusion, though? Much less run the straits of ethics and morality to claim a higher status of a just society?
We’ve all been there, most of us anyway — have felt the turning of the screw. In our hectic society Time and Friendships both have become more valuable; thus, limiting one’s social involvements often is a necessary.
Being a designated left-out masks seething anger. Not to mention the hurt. And the moral culpability of fellow citizens who stand idly by.
In older societies — in tightly-knit communities of overlinking responsibilities, especially — a discerning social minimalist seldom was worth his/her salt.
Now with explosive immigration around the world, reflecting both rapid communication and unsettling economic changes, it’s often the opposite — as people scramble for a livelihood while others rush to monopolize ways to make new money.
I think what most folks object to in life is for someone to reject them as a possible friend or new acquaintance merely on first impressions.
Reared in Baptist fundamentalism in small churches in North Central Texas in the ’40s and ’50s, I never wanted to go back to a time when conflicts kept tearing people (and their lives) apart.
Imperialism, that vanity rush to stand out, is a bad character trait a nation founded by Christians would know and recognize easily, one would think. St. Paul, i.e., even warns the Philippians at one point in their encounters with Caesar and his Roman soldiers to “come out” of empire-thinking.
Dr. Wes Howard-Brook, well-noted professor of Theology & Scripture at Seattle University, is among some biblical scholars now who uses this argument to counter what the Christian Right has pushed off on the Republican Party.
His “Come Out, My People — God’s Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond” (Orbis Books, 2010) is an eye-opener for someone raised in fundamentalism like me.
My New Year’s resolution for 2017, in fact, is to use some of this research even in posted blogs on this website.
The “social minimalism” (SM) term itself is a behavior descriptive term coined by Canadian Sociologist Rhoda E. Hassmann in her 1995 book, Human Rights and the Search for Community (Westview Press).
She calls SM a “behavior manifestation of radical capitalism in North America,” whereby certain wealthy citizens deny both constitutional and moral economic obligations to help the nation’s poor and less fortunate.
Aggressive corporate expansion, I feel — where powerful corporate lobbying now even threatens our Democracy with oligarchy — has brought us this problem.
Well-known writer and foreign correspondent Chris Hedges described what’s happening in the U.S. now as no less than “Christian Fascism” in OpEdNews.com as far back as early October, 2013, i.e., as the government shutdown in Washington appeared stalemated:
“There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives.”
Many corporate CEOs drawing obscene salaries for axing several thousand employees, i.e., or drug lords who order obscene killings and mutilations to guarantee or protect their profits, both can be linked to this same, frothy-mouth radical capitalism disease.
Dr. Hassmann’s analogy helps to understand our turbulent politics. She also is an expert in international human rights. You can read her assessment of our new president as a ruling “sultan” on this link here, for instance.
Using the two terms she coined for this dastardly movement in a website became the better idea to “wringing hands.” America as a fascist state undoubtedly would be doomed to the same fate as those countries defeated in two earlier world wars.
We welcome your comments.
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