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A dead America, scene from movie "Planet of the Apes." In the fall of 2013 with radical capitalism run amok and Libertarian radicals holding the economy in hostage over a health bill, such scenarios of destruction once again were making the rounds.

A dead America, from film “Planet of the Apes.” With President-Elect Donald Trump ascending to the U.S. presidency, democratic progressives fear an oncoming era of new fascism in the world. Right-wing religion as a political, commercial weapon — beating progressives at the ballot box and supporting business ethics once unacceptable or at least widely questionable — has stoked new fears. This site discusses and features some of what is happening in times of swirling economic and social changes, hopefully, to alleviate some of the fear.  

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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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Comments

  1. Dan Bodine says:

    Would that be nail fungus?

  2. Peggy Day says:

    Yes, greed is the name of the game. I’ve been busy handing out the definitions of oligarchy and plutocracy. Who believes in democacy?The 1% insists they got theirs fair and square and what kind of whining, sissy, layabouts claim they are unable to find a job that pays a living wage . . or, indeed any job at all! I recently ran across the movies “Air America” and just this week, “Recount.” I am still mad about being called unpatriotic and invited to leave the US because I deplored the Iraqi invation and didn’t like Bush. I am tired of all the made-up lies about Obama, even though I see his flaws. I don’t want a billionaire who outsources jobs and wants the poor to pay more taxes so the rich can pay less to be our next president, either. Have we ever been such a nation of robber-barons before? I thought we had given that up for decency!Cordially, Peggy Day

    • admin says:

      Thanks Peggy!
      Indeed, sad state we’ve found ourselves in. Radical capitalism and its social minimalism offshoot has been a pet peeve I’ve carried for some time now. Happy to have others mull it over, too. And this coming election will be more than historic, by many yardsticks!
      Dan

  3. […] the Texas Ranger would join in coming to look for her. Maybe social minimalism (more on the disease here) runs rampant in big city waters, but here in the scrubby, dry desert of the Chihuahuan Desert […]

  4. Joe Tosti says:

    Dan,

    You have taken on a mighty task and I hope you are immensely successful. We are in total agreement politically. How can we be so right and still have to convince people who are in the same socio-economic sphere as we are that they must join us in chasing the money changers from the temple?

    My initial intent in blogging was identical to yours and I hope to return to it. Perhaps we can collaborate some day.

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