We (Americans) live in a culture of violence. This is the last argument from gun nuts that don’t want to pass any legislation to stop the killing fields that our country has become. The first argument is (of course) that banning certain types of weapons won’t do any good, since criminals will always be able to get them. This argument is easily debunked by looking at Australia, Japan, and a number of countries that have managed to bring down their death tolls by tightening legislation around fire arms.
Once all of the empirical facts are presented, the gun nut invariable changes their tactic to make hypothetical arguments that are less easy to disprove. Arguments like, “we are a much more violent culture so you can’t compare us to other countries”. To this, I say bullshit! The idea that other countries don’t play violent video games, or watch violent movies is absurd. I’ve got some news for you, Rockstar Games has enjoyed huge sales numbers all around the world for Manhunt, which consistently tops the list of most violent games. And if you don’t think that the Japanese (one of the most technocentric cultures in the world) aren’t playing Mortal Kombat en masse, you’re not paying attention. They’re building and embracing companion robots, for god’s sake! I promise you, that Django Unchained is going to be the #1 box office blockbuster in every country that plays it. You’re batshit crazy, not to mention intellectually lazy, if you think that we’re just inherently more violent than the rest of the world.
But I do agree that we have a cultural problem. We used to be a culture that believed we could do anything. We used to be a culture that saw our bankers robbing the country so blind that they caused the great depression. We believed we could stop it, and we did. We passed legislation that worked very well for 45 years before those laws started to be systematically repealed by both democratic and republican legislatures.
We used to be a country that decided that having parents working side by side with their kids for twelve hours a day, six days a week was wrong, and that we could change it. And guess what? We changed it by passing legislation. In fact, we changed it so effectively that it was possible for a family to thrive on a single income. That changed when we slowly let our wages flatten or decline, and accepted that two incomes were necessary to feed, clothe, and house a family.
We used to be a country that cheered when the president said that we will put a man on the moon within 10 years. We’ve become a country that would laugh with cynicism at such a statement today.
We used to be the country that cured polio and small pox. Now we’re a country that accepts a lifetime of “treating” illness with pharmaceuticals.
We used to believe that we could accomplish anything we decided to accomplish. We, as a society, don’t believe that anymore. We don’t believe that government can accomplish anything good. Worse than that, we don’t believe that we can push our government into doing anything good.
I will admit that I am among those who don’t believe that our current system of governance can’t produce good results for its people. It doesn’t much matter if you’re on team democrat or team republican. Neither work for you. They work for the corporations and billionaires that feed the system with their money. The only difference between the two parties, is the speed with which they will get us to the inevitable endgame. Republicans want to put the pedal to the metal and turn us into wage slaves as soon as possible, so that their corporate benefactors can exploit our labor. Democrats are okay with this plan, they just want to go slower and throw us a few crumbs along the way so that we go along willingly.
But I differ from the defeatists in that, I believe we can change the system. I don’t believe that we’re doomed to live with this corrupt government whose only objective is to serve it’s multinational corporate masters, at the expense of is country. I understand that we’re pretty screwed right now, but I don’t believe that we’re completely fucked. We do have one (and I mean only one) option available to us.
I’m going to go more into what I think we can do in the next blog post (and most of the blog posts next year). For now, you can check out Wolf Pac for a preview.
This post is about identifying where we’re going wrong in our thinking. We have a cultural problem, but not the one that most people think we have. We’re not more violent than anyone else. We just have a defeatist attitude that is fucking crippling. It’s crippling us from stopping the killing epidemic, and it’s stopping us from having the equality of opportunity that we once had. It’s time to stop defeating ourselves. We need to see where our country has been, and we need to realize that we can do good things.