Je Vous Dis, Merde! 45: Who Enables America’s Collective Mental Illness?
Day by day, week by week, month by month, So-Called POTUS Donald Trump repeatedly and vividly demonstrates what an exceptionally terrible President he is; and, in his exceptional terribleness, he consistently dominates national attention.
But if what I argued last week in “American Exceptionalism as National Anosognosia” is sound, then Trump’s exceptional terribleness is only a symptom of a collective mental illness that afflicts most Americans, namely, a collective cognitive deficit, powered by the myth of American exceptionalism, consisting in the USA’s inability and refusal to recognize the existence and consequences of its own disease, its five morally and politically tragic national failures:
the racist legacy of slavery;
the gun violence legacy of the Second Amendment;
the radical income-disparity and economic oppression legacy of unbridled corporate capitalism;
the healthcare-treatment hell legacy of unbridled corporate capitalism in the specific domain of healthcare; and
the globally catastrophic military, political, economic, and environmental legacy of American imperialism since the ends of World War II and the Cold War.
If it isn’t obvious enough already, what makes all of these national tragic failures so awful and evil is their profound disrespect for and violation of human dignity.
What I especially want to draw attention to this week, however, is how the corporate-driven mass and social media are deeply complicit in enabling America’s collective mental illness, by means of their seemingly endless display of The Terrible Trumpalump’s moronic antics and other mere symptoms of the USA’s disease — for example, whatever showed up as headline news, what’s trending, and what’s hash-tagging, today.
Correspondingly, we need to think long and hard about the corporate-driven mass and social media and their seemingly endlessly effective ability to deflect individual and public attention away from what really matters and the real problems we most urgently must all address and solve, if we as individuals, and the rest of humanity living inside or outside the USA, are to survive and flourish: racism, gun violence, radical income disparity and economic oppression, healthcare-treatment hell, and the globally catastrophic consequences of American imperialism — all of them specific instances of the ultimate moral and political sin of disrespect for and violation of human dignity.
In short, the corporate-driven mass and social media are literally keeping us crazy.
So, what can we do to resist and reverse this attack on our rationality, our sanity, and our humanity, and begin to heal ourselves?
First, we can either stop watching mainstream, non-independent, corporate-funded television and movies, and listening to mainstream, non-independent, corporate-funded radio altogether, or, at the very least, stop watching and listening to these passively.
Second, we can either stop reading mainstream, non-independent, corporate-funded newspapers, other mainstream journalism, and books, whether e-version or hard copy, online or offline, altogether, or, at the very least, stop reading these passively.
Third, we can either stop using social media altogether, or, at the very least, stop using social media passively.
Obviously, short of running away and hiding in a cave, living on a platform at the top of a very tall column or tree, or living in a driftwood shack on the beach (which would be my choice, hands-down, if I had to choose one or the other or the other), it’s going to be very difficult indeed to stop watching mainstream, non-independent, corporate-funded TV and movies, and listening to mainstream, non-independent, corporate-funded radio, reading mainstream, non-independent, corporate-funded newspapers or other mainstream journalism, and books, whether e-version or hard-copy, online or offline, and using social media, altogether.
That being so, then what do I mean by stopping our passive engagement in these activities?
What I mean is this.
As you are engaging in these activities, you can also always be asking yourself these five simple but devastatingly cognitively liberating and mental-health-enabling questions:
Is this complete or partial bullshit?
Precisely what are they trying to get me to focus on, think about, care about, and do, and what might be their self-interested motives for doing so?
How does what is being presented to me line up with my own sense of what is logically consistent or inconsistent, rationally coherent or incoherent, true or false, morally right or wrong, and politically right or wrong?
What really matters?
What are the real problems we must all address and solve?
In short, dare to think for yourself!
So let’s go for it.
And, as always, to anyone who seriously disputes the soundness of this argument,
Je vous dis, merde!
“Je vous dis, merde!” (literally, “I say to you: shit!” or more loosely, “You’re so full of shit!”) is a morally and politically defiant slogan invented and first published by an early 20th-century Catalan anarchist who used the nom de guerre “Miguel Almereyda.” Almereyda, who was murdered in a French prison in 1917, was also the father of the famous French film director Jean Vigo, who immortalized the same slogan in his breakthrough 1933 film, Zéro de conduite, aka Zero for Conduct.
1. Universal Respect for Human Dignity (URHD):
· Human dignity is the absolute non-denumerable moral value of every member of humanity, and everyone ought to try wholeheartedly to treat everyone else in a way that is sufficient to meet the demands of respect for human dignity, especially including (i) alleviating or ending human oppression, and (ii) actively engaging in mutual aid and mutual kindness.
2. Universal Basic Income (UBI):
· Anyone 21 years of age or over and living permanently in the USA, who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and who is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.
3. A 15-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs):
· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.
Thus anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000.00 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.
The rationale behind the three-year gap between (i) being offered an eco-job at 18 and (ii) beginning to receive their UBI at 21, is that every young adult who has finished high school will have the option of pursuing three years of part-time or full-time free higher education without credentialing, i.e., for its own sake, after high school, before making longer-term decisions about what I call job-work and life-work.
Here are a few more details about UBI and eco-jobs.
(i) The UBI is to be paid by a monthly stipend check.
(ii) Eco-job income is not taxed.
(iii) For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.
(iv) For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, the monthly UBI stipend is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.
(v) For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.
4. Universal Free Higher Education Without Credentialing (HEWC):
· Everyone would be offered, beyond their high-school education, a free, three-year minimum, optional (but also open-ended beyond those three years, as a further option), part-time or full-time universal public education program in the so-called “liberal arts,” and also in some of the so-called “STEM” fields, including the humanities, the fine arts, the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences.
· For many or even most people, their HEWC would fall between (i) the end of their high school education at age 18 and the corresponding availability of eco-jobs, and (ii) the beginning of their UBI at age 21.
· But HEWC would be open to anyone with a high school degree, no matter how old they are, provided they are mentally and physically capable of doing the program.
5. Universal Free Healthcare (UFH):
· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.
6. 2-Phase Universal Open Borders (2P-UOB):
· Phase 1: Starting in 2021, there will be universal open borders with Canada and Mexico, and everyone who moves across those borders and then claims residence in the USA, will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the USA, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents to depend on the current availability of (i) adequate funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the USA, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the USA and elsewhere in the world.
· Phase 2: Also starting in 2021, the USA, Canada, and Mexico will collectively form a Global Refugee Consortium (GRC), with three-way open borders to any political refugee, economic refugee, or asylum seeker from anywhere in the world (aka “global refugees”), who will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the three GRC countries, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents, and the precise distribution of new residents among the three members of the GRC, to depend on the current availability of (i) funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the three GRC countries, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the GRC and elsewhere in the world.
7. Universal No-Guns (UNG):
· No one in the USA, including police, internal security forces of all kinds, armies, and intelligence forces of all kinds, has the moral right to possess or use guns of any kind, for any purpose whatsoever, because the primary function of guns is coercion, and coercion is immoral.
· UNG would be implemented by repealing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in 2021 and then universally banning the possession or use of guns thereafter.
I’m also assuming that Universal Public Education (UPE) — universal free access for all human persons of any age to good public education up to the end of high school — already exists in most countries, and needs no further justification.
Where UPE does not already exist, it would automatically become a necessary part of the seven-part WTFU Party package, thereby making it a eight-part package.
Mr Nemo, Nowhere, NA, 20 October 2017