Enlightenment and Social Hope, Part 4

For Enlightenment by Kathie Malley-Morrison

By Stefan Schindler

The recent triumph of anti-democratic Republican Party politics was made possible with the criminal complicity of the Democratic Party, the mainstream news media, and the rise to political power of Christian fundamentalism.

In the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, the Supreme Court halted the counting of votes, and then appointed George W. Bush the winner, in what was nothing less than a judicial coup d’état.

The Cheney-Bush Administration then launched a lie-based war against Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost of which now exceeds two trillion dollars, hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the Middle East, and widespread Muslim hatred of America. In 2008, the Cheney-Bush Administration climaxed its reign of deficit spending and global terror with a domestic economic meltdown which saw American citizens suffer the greatest recession since the  Depression of the 1930s.

Meanwhile, America’s homegrown economic apartheid becomes more extreme with every passing week; the Pentagon budget blooms to finance more wars; fifty percent of university teachers are slave-wage adjuncts; more than fifty million Americans are deprived of healthcare; and the planet careens toward nuclear war and ecological apocalypse.

Hence we might conclude that Immanuel Kant implicitly points to a national motto that ought to read: “Treat all people always as ends in themselves, rather than merely as means” to personal gain.

Hence also – as Voltaire, Rousseau, David Hume, Mother Jones, Emma Goldman, Dorothy Day, Helen Keller, I. F. Stone, Buckminster Fuller, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Dot Walsh, Kurt Vonnegut, Lewis and Meg Randa, Howard Zinn and John Lennon would applaud – we should revise America’s Pledge of Allegiance to read:

“I pledge allegiance to the planet, and to all the people and creatures on her; one ecosystem, universally sacred, with nourishment and beauty for all.”

 

Posted in Armed conflict, capitalism, Economy and war, Media, Military-industrial complex, politics, Poverty, Propaganda, Protest, racism, Terrorism, Understanding violence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Enlightenment and Social Hope, Part 3

For Enlightenment by Kathie Malley-Morrison

by Stefan Schindler

Standing before Michelangelo’s statue of David, the poet Rilke said: “I must change my life.”  A Catholic bishop, after reading the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, said in his New York Times book review: “We must change our lives.”

Norman Mailer noted the contradiction at the heart of America’s ethical schizophrenia. As a largely self-defined Judeo-Christian nation, America pretends to worship the Prince of Peace, yet forgets that Jesus chased the money-changers out of the temple. America sacrifices its moral integrity on the altar of a perpetual and frenzied pursuit of profit. Today, the gap between rich and poor is larger than it was in the 1920s.

America’s unregulated banking system was the primary cause of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, causing the Great Depression of the 1930s, the devastation of the European economy, and the rise of fascism resulting in World War Two.

Justice Louis Brandeis said: “We can have great concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few, or we can have democracy. We cannot have both.”

Brandeis and Mailer point to democratic socialism as the only viable way to save America’s soul. Democratic socialism – roughly defined as egalitarian economics and a politics actually “for the people” – was embodied in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” FDR’s “New Deal” included a nation-wide system of Savings and Loans banks prohibited from the stock market gambling so insidiously inherent on Wall Street and resulting in periodic recessions ranging from modest to extreme.

The Savings and Loans were systematically destroyed during the Reagan presidency in what was called the S&L crisis, as part of the Republican Party’s counter-revolution against The Spirit of The Sixties and FDR’s legacy of economic justice.

 

Posted in Armed conflict, capitalism, Champions of peace, Democracy, Military-industrial complex, politics, Poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look what’s happening right in MA

Anti-nuclear Protest, Boston, MA, USA. 1977. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: Derzsi Elekes Andor.

By  Cole Harrison, Massachusetts Peace Action

Note from Kathie MM: Massachusetts Peace Action is very active on behalf of peace and social justice. Here are some of their upcoming activities.

Palestine to Detroit-Flint Photo Exhibit

PARALLELS EXIST BETWEEN THE REGIONS of Palestine and two Michigan cities regarding water rights, namely access, testing, purity, pricing, sanitation, distribution, and disposal….Find out more »

March 25 @ 12:15 pm – April 30 @ 12:15 pm

Cambridge Friends Meeting, 5 Longfellow Park  Cambridge,  Google Map

 

 

The World Is Over-Armed and Peace Is Under-Funded

April 14 @ 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Walpole Common, 5 West st  Walpole, MA United States + Google Map

Walpole Tax Day Rally for Peace and Economic Justice:  the   will hold a Tax Day Rally at the Gazebo on the Walpole Common. Find out more »

Tax Day Rally

April 14 @ 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Cambridge Common, Garden Street and Appian Way  Cambridge, MA 02138 + Google Map

Time to stand up for our values and priorities! President Trump’s tax bill is ensuring billions of dollars in profits to large corporations– and peanuts to working people…. Find out more »

Rethinking the Nuclear Weapons Issue

April 15 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

First Church in Cambridge – Harter Room, 11 Garden Street  Cambridge, MA 02138 + Google Map

Come and hear a stimulating talk on a life-and-death issue. Dr. Elaine Scarry will present a basic review of the current US policy on nuclear issues.… Find out more »

Discussion of the Poor People’s Campaign

April 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St  Watertown, MA 02472 + Google Map

What is the Poor People’s Campaign? Why is there A National Call for Moral Revival? Find out more »

Shout Heard Round the World

April 16 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Lexington Common National Historic Site, 1875 Massachusetts Avenue  Lexington, MA United States + Google Map

SHOUT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD Or just a whisper at Hanscom Field as drums and fifes sound patriotic tunes elsewhere this coming Patriots Day?  …Find out more »

Recognizing Ourselves in Today’s Migrants and Refugees: The Need to Take Action Against Racism and Xenophobia

April 22 @ 1:00 pm

Cambridge Friends Meeting, 5 Longfellow Park  Cambridge, + Google Map

A Talk with Oscar A. Chacón, Executive Director, Alianza Americas….Find out more »

Rally for Palestine!–Education Under Occupation

April 22 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Boston Common – Park St, Tremont & Park Streets  Boston, MA 02108 United States + Google Map

As students living in the United States on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, we raise our voices and our fists in solidarity with our student counterparts in Palestine….Find out more »

Walk for Water 5K in Support of Palestinian Refugees

April 28 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

450 Kendall St, Cambridge, MA

In times of crisis, a healthy environment provides a sense of stability. 1for3 is a Boston-based non-profit organization working to promote health, education, and the environment for Palestinian refugees….Find out more »

Combatants for Peace

April 28 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Belmont/Watertown United Methodist Church, 421 Common St  Belmont, MA 02478 + Google Map

In 2006, Israeli and Palestinian former combatants laid down their weapons and established Combatants for Peace….. Combatants for Peace were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, 2017. Two Combatants… Find out more »

Workshop on Nuclear Ban Treaty Compliance

May 6 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

14 Sterling St, Newton, MA

Good news!  There’s a new Nobel Peace Prize-winning Nuclear Ban Treaty, already agreed by 122 countries, that makes these WMDs illegal.  Come learn how YOU can compel divestment, legislation, and enforcement here in the US. For more information: Call Joan Ecklein: 617 244-8054  Find out more »

Peace Partners 2018: 22nd Annual Mother’s Day Walk

May 13 @ 8:00 am

Town Field Park, 1520 Dorchester Avenue  Dorchester, MA 02122 United States + Google Map

22ND ANNUAL MOTHER’S DAY WALK FOR PEACE DIGNITY AND COMPASSION FOR ALL MAPA/WILPF registrants: Follow this registration link and find “Peace Partners 2018” in the Teams field. Contact Claire Gosselin at claireg53@gmail.com for questions.   Donation Page: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/lbdpeace/campaign.jsp?campaign=33&fundraiser=26525&  The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is a celebration of our potential to create more peaceful communities. Find out more »

Visit our website to learn more about joining the organization.

Massachusetts Peace Action, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 617-354-2169  • info@masspeaceaction.org • Follow us on Facebook or Twitter

Posted in Armed conflict, Champions of peace, Commemorating peace, Democracy, environmental issues, Nonviolence, Pacifism, Perspective-taking, Poetry and the arts, politics, Protest, racism, Reconciliation and healing, social justice, Stories of engagement, Understanding violence, War tax | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

POLITICAL MIND GAMES: How the 1% manipulate our understanding of what’s happening, what’s right, and what’s possible

 

Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What’s Happ ening, What’s Right, and What’s Possible Mar 17, 2018 2 by Roy Eidelson

Note from KMM: Are you satisfied with the way things are going in this country today?  or wondering what the heck went wrong and why we seem to be in such a mess?  if you want some answers and want to know what to do about everything that has gone awry, read D. Roy Eidelson’s new book: POLITICAL MIND GAMES:  How the 1% manipulate our understanding of what’s happening, what’s right, and what’s possible.

Bonus feature: you can click on the image of the book and order your copy through Amazon.

Post by Roy Eidelson

Giant corporations are raking in record profits, while millions of Americans remain scarred by  nk and a recovery that has left them behind. Mammoth defense contractors push for more of everything military, while programs for the poor are on life support. Global polluters are blocking effective responses to climate change, while the disenfranchised suffer disproportionately from environmental disasters and devastation. Influential voices ridicule those who are disadvantaged by prejudice, by discrimination, and by dwindling resources. All the while, our middle class is shrinking, imperiled, and insecure. This is not the America most of us want.

It’s really no secret that certain individuals and groups — the Koch brothers, Walmart heirs, some Wall Street CEOs, prominent politicians (many Republicans, and some Democrats too), big-business lobbyists, right-wing think tanks, Fox News — use their wealth and influence to pursue a self-serving agenda that betrays the common good. Indeed, they’ve been doing it since long before Donald J. Trump moved into the White House. But what often flies under the radar is the extent to which they rely on psychologically manipulative appeals to advance their narrow interests at the expense of the rest of us. Examples include “The dangers of global warming are overblown,” “Voter fraud is a rampant injustice,” “Workers protesting low wages are devious and dishonest,” “We’ve earned every dollar and deserve your praise, not criticism,” and “Everyone will be helpless if gun reformers have their way.”

 In my new book, POLITICAL MIND GAMES: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What’s Happening, What’s Right, and What’s Possible, I explain the psychology behind the success of today’s plutocrats in marketing their false claims — and what we can do to counter them. Offering a research-based framework, I show how the 1% exploit five fundamental concerns that govern our daily lives: issues of vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness. These concerns are soft targets for manipulation because each is linked to a basic question we ask ourselves as we try to make sense of the world around us. Consider:

Are we safe? Whether as passing thoughts or haunting worries, we wonder if we’re safe, if the people we care about are in harm’s way, and if danger lurks on the horizon. Our judgments on these matters go a long way in determining the choices we make and the actions we take. But we’re not particularly good at assessing our vulnerability. Among the ways that the 1% use this shortcoming to their advantage is by promoting alarmist accounts of the perils associated with change.

Are we being treated fairly? Cases of mistreatment frequently stir our anger and our desire to bring accountability to those we hold responsible. But our perceptions of what’s just and what’s not are far from perfect. This makes us ripe for exploitation by those eager to shape our views of right and wrong. That’s a key tactic for today’s plutocrats, and portraying their own selfish actions as efforts to address injustice—on our behalf—is just one of their ploys.

Who should we trust? We tend to divide the world into people and groups we deem trustworthy and others we don’t. When we get it right, we can avoid harm from those who have hostile intentions, while building valuable relationships with those who enhance our lives. But here too our judgments are sometimes unreliable. Among the ways the 1% exploit our doubts is by intentionally fostering distrust in order to divide the ranks of their adversaries.

Are we good enough? We’re quick to compare ourselves to others, often with the hope of demonstrating that we’re worthy of respect or admiration. But the impressions we have about our own worth—and the positive or negative qualities we see in other people—are intrinsically subjective. As a result, they’re susceptible to manipulation. One way plutocrats capitalize on this is by insisting that those who are struggling to get by are simply inferior to the rest of us.

Can we control what happens to us? Feelings of helplessness can pose a substantial obstacle in both personal and collective initiatives. When we lack confidence in our capabilities, we’re more inclined to give up and abandon our goals, and less likely to show resilience in the face of setbacks. The 1% take advantage of this inclination in several ways, including by telling us that stark inequalities are the result of powerful forces beyond everyone’s control.

In responding to these questions, today’s plutocrats are masters at using duplicitous mind games—like “It’s a Dangerous World,” “No Injustice Here,” “They’re Different from Us,” “Pursuing a Higher Purpose,” and “Don’t Blame Us”—to lead us away from a more equal and more decent society. Their answers are designed to manipulate our perceptions and emotions while distracting us from careful evaluation of arguments and evidence. Rather than viewing concerns about vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness as guideposts for improving the general welfare, the 1% exploit them to advance their interests and derail effective opposition to their rule.

Political Mind Games was written with a clear purpose: to help inoculate the public against the 1%’s self-serving appeals. When we expose and debunk their mind games, the plutocrats’ empty rhetoric loses its allure, their selfish motives are laid bare, and everyone can see clearly how a privileged few have fleeced and forsaken the country—and the people—that made their enormous wealth and power possible. In turn, this recognition lays the groundwork for the coalition-building and collective action that can restore and reinvigorate our democratic principles and commitments.

Dr. Roy Eidelson has been a practicing clinical, research, and political psychologist for over thirty years. His work focuses on applying psychological knowledge to issues of social justice and social change. He is the former executive director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania, and a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He is also a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, which advocates against complicity in torture and in favor of restoring psychology’s commitment to do-no-harm ethics

 

Posted in Armed conflict, Book reviews, capitalism, Champions of peace, culture of violence, Democracy, Donald Trump, Human rights, Military-industrial complex, Nonviolence, Peace studies, Perspective-taking, politics, Poverty, Propaganda, Protest, racism, resistance, social justice, Stories of engagement, Understanding violence, Weaponry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments