Monday, April 30, 2012

Expectations, Compliance and How to Rebel

We've written before on the three things that system expects of its citizenry.  In brief, they are the following:

1)  Pay Taxes
2) Obey the Law
3) Consume

Beyond those three things, no Western government cares what you do.  Drink whatever soft drink beverage you want...  Wear any local sports team apparel...  Tattoo and pierce your body from head to toe..

You are free..

You are free because the system doesn't care.

We thought we'd spend a few moments to expand on what is expected of each and every citizen.  Some things may be super-obvious, others not.. but we don't assume, and what is to one person 'Duh!' is to another person 'Ahh!'
1)  Pay Taxes

The individual is expected to pay taxes to keep governments going.

Not corporations.. just individuals.

General Election posted a $30bill profit last year-- paid no taxes.  GoldmanSachs has been able to successfully divert paying 95% of the taxes it owes in the UK until 2013.  On and on..

Super-wealthy aren't expected to pay the same amount of taxes either.  They're too important.  "Trickle-down" nonsense is based on a principle that if you take from the wealthy, you take away their incentive to acquire more wealth and thus they're not creating businesses i.e. jobs for the everyday Joe.

Of course we know this to be nonsense because you could tax an egotistical money-driven person 95% and he/she would still be motivated to have nicer things and more $$ than his/her neighbors.  But this is the theory behind 'Trickle Down', which is why people like Warren Buffett pay less taxes than their secretaries.

So as we said, you the average person is expected to pay the brunt of the taxes.   We can talk about civic duties and patriotic responsibilities, but there's another component to this principle as well.

Taxation is control.
The system sells the dream of wealth acquisition. Anyone can be a multi-millionaire...  Except here's the kicker-- It just doesn't want that to become reality.  Government needs people constantly working; plugging along.  If everyone had real wealth, a level of true financial comfort in their lives, the system would break down.

Who would dig the ditches, clean the hotel rooms or 10,000 other thankless jobs people do daily to etch out a living, if no one had to?

So rags to riches stories are super as long as they stay the exception.

To keep money circulated in the economy, it needs people working, paying taxes and of course consuming; something we'll address shortly.

2)  Obey the law

This seems pretty obvious and for most cases make a lot of sense.  We certainly do not want to live in a world where people can hurt and kill each other with impunity for any or no reason.  And we certainly do not want to drive on streets where traffic lights and proper turn indicators are ignored.

So most laws make perfect sense and should be obeyed.

Of course we're not concerned with that.  We're talking about laws put in place not to protect the individual but the system itself such as restrictions on where and how one may peaceably protest and voice dissent.

The system doesn't care what an individual thinks or feels on anything unless that person is a raving loon looking to do harm to others or the system itself.  When people start agreeing with that peaceable individual looking to protest or make change, that's when the system cares.

The more followers in the group-- the more they care; the more eager they are to stomp it out.
So laws are passed to impede dissent.  If you want to protest, you are placed in cordoned off "zones" which are nothing more than the equivalent of human ostrich-like 'pens' and kept 2 miles away from earshot of what the target of the protest may be.  If you want to march on the streets, you need permits which is a professional way of saying you need government permission to express dissent.

Like we said, the system does not give a damn about one person.  Write a letter to your congressperson.. Vent out loud in your bedroom to your teddy bears.. As long as you're not threatening to harm other people, no one in a position of power or authority really cares what one thinks or feels on anything.

Successfully start a movement, like for instance, to have a "pizza party" on a specific day to take place on the steps of Wall St blocking entrance, and expect goons in full riot gear to beat you with clubs, spray tear gas in your face and drag you away.

That's simply how the system 'rolls'...

3)  Consume

Think of consumption not specifically in terms of buying frivolous luxuries but more as the basic concept of buying things, whether you really have the money to back up the purchases or not. The government can not force people to consume but it does everything humanly possible to make it so.

Want a $40k car when you have no money?  Just put 3% down and finance the other 97% on credit at very low interest rates thanks to your friends at the Fed.  Or lease something nice and after 2-3 years have zero ownership.

And aren't homes just wonderful?  With a down payment and 360 more monthly payments (30years) you can own one free and clear, possessing clear title... And just in time to start taking your Viagra and Geritol.. or to think about a reverse mortgage.
~ Elderly: "Did you know I am only 1 payment away from owning my home?"
   Caregiver: "That is super Mrs. Krickle.. time to brush your teeth.."

Want to go to college to make a decent life for yourself?  Just take out Federal student loans for tens of thousands of dollars.  But you say you're "Good Will Hunting"-like intelligent and could easily acquire knowledge by reading on your own?  Too bad.. need that diploma.  The system wouldn't have it any other way-- it certainly can't profit from your jaunts to the local Free Library, can it?

The system does not want homes, cars or education to be affordable or easy to obtain.  If they were, you wouldn't work as hard or as many years, and you certainly would need to borrow which means no entity could profit off your hopes and dreams.

That's why prices are kept artificially high and as long as there's available credit, wages can continue to be stagnant while people tolerate the inequity.

And let's not forget the psychological component to consuming-- shopping is therapeutic.  Makes you feel good.  Buying things in a store has become the 20th and 21st century version of a stress releaser.  And when you shop and walk around with bags in your arms, you're not so angry about things; not so conscious of the greater world around you.

A consumer is happy, content and docile.
If a person was inclined to be a sincere Rebel WITH a Cause and express him/herself as a True individual, it wouldn't be by smoking, drinking, drugging, piercing, tattooing or dying their hair purple.  It would be by rebelling specifically against the system in the following ways:

1) By working less and saving more
2) By consuming less and avoiding debt at all possible
3) By being content with what you have & who you are
4) By getting your point of view out into the world

The system can control your body; it can't control your spirit...

Unless you allow it.

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