Friday, August 15, 2008

Capitalism The Cult of I

We live in a false middle class world. Many wrongly position themselves in the class bracket that they feel to be socially acceptable rather than where they actually belong.  This is the result of having  a society based in consumerism.  Human worth is not dictated by moral fortitude, educational accomplishment, or even the ability to empathize with the struggles of our neighbours, it based in having more commodities than anyone else.  The shiny new car, the blood diamond ring, the house that is twice as large as needed all outweigh the person who sleeps on the streets, or the young families that nightly must visit soup kitchens for supper.  Capitalism is the cult of I instead of the grace and equality of we.

We have become indoctrinated with a false sense of entitlement as a way of justifying this soulless system.  I worked hard to get where I am, why should I be penalized for this. It's not my fault third world nations are so poor they should do something about their government. I don't give money to the homeless because they will probably spend it on booze. It's not my child why should my tax dollars go to support her or him? There are jobs out there, people just don't want to work. 

Value judgements and justifications are the rule of the day. To face the ugly truth of the system that we are forced to endure would mean realizing its predatory nature. The cult of I envisions the world through rose coloured glasses never recognizing that someone elses tragedy could befall us tomorrow. This blind faith in a system that has repeatedly proven that each and every single person is disposable, is the height of human avarice. It is a disgrace to the potential of humanity.

We can build pyramids, and send women and men to the moon. We are capable of the most fantastic dreams, and the most destructive nightmares.  We posture and preen with the greatest of arrogance, ignoring our dependence upon each other.  The cult of I teaches that achievement is an individual accomplishment whereas nothing could be further from the truth.  We speak about globalization and an ever shrinking world without seeing that our wealth is dependent on the neo-colonies that we have turned the so-called third world into. Still yet the falsehood of I reigns supreme, and is more fervently worshipped than any God, or idle we have ever chosen to sanctify.

The only allegiance the cult of I demands is to the self.  We have naturalized this and created this as normal though for the larger part of human history, existence depended on our ability to compromise, and work together for the common good. Today the idea of communalism is as fantastic as Moores Utopia, possible only as a work of fiction.  It is simply not deemed rationale to see beyond profit. Horde, horde, horde because the logic of worth and value preaches scarcity even in a time of prosperity.  This way of living is harmful to us as a species and to our planet, yet daily the captains of industry disregard this as they seek to increase their strangle hold on resources that belong to everyone.

This is not a time of peace and tranquility, we are at war with ourselves, it is only the declaration that is missing.  The top 1% daily marshals its forces and forever regroups and attacks leaving the global proletariat beaten but not demolished. Your empty bellies are your cry to battle, heed and follow your instinct to be validated. It is time to speak truth to power.  It cannot be natural to commodify food, water, clothing, education and medicine.  Despite the common rhetoric of the survival of the fittest, due to the interdependent nature of humankind this mode of living will eventually be our downfall.  Prosperity for the few, means impoverishment and loss for the masses.  I will not embrace the cult of I to profit from pain and invisibility, will you?

 

 


18 comments:

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

We live in a false middle class world. Many wrongly position themselves in the class bracket that they feel to be socially acceptable rather than where they actually belong.

I know that's right. I read so many people on line who say, "I grew up upper middle class." I just roll my eyes. I got rid of my sociology book from college, but I do remember my professor talking about how people label their bracket wrong. That the upper middle class is very very small, yet hear it told, and everyone who was a cheerleader or had their own car in highshool was upper middle class.

My theory is, that people want to run away from the working class label. It's like uh oh, working class label is too close to poverty, and middle class is too close to working class which is too close to poverty, so we were upper middle class. I truly doubt that many people are middle class who think they are.

elle said...

I read Octo's post at feministe yesterday, saw your response, and applauded you then. Octo had some good points, but so many of the comments read (to me) like, "Thanks, Octo, for articulating why I don't have to feel guilty and don't have to question the system too much." Again, that's my opinion of them.

I don't pretend to know all the answers, but as a woman from a working class background who studies low-wage workers (particularly, women), I know capitalism ain't getting it for millions of people.

Renee said...

@elle actually this post is a direct response to that one I just didn't link to it. I was disgusted with the responses in that thread. I, I, I that was all it was about.

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

I did not have anything significant to add in my comment. I do not routinely read over there so I did not make the connection. I did read yesterday an entry at another popular place that pissed me off. Everyone was praising how great three super rich men were for making a little rich girl richer. It provoked an entry from me. I don’t think I will ever get along or understand most bloggers, particularly the big ones with large followings. Their reality is just not mine.

Tina said...

Renee, you're fantastic, thanks so much for posting this. I too am disillusioned.

AR said...

The top 1% daily marshals its forces and forever regroups and attacks leaving the global proletariat beaten but not demolished.

Actually, things are looking pretty good for the proletariat. Most people in the world these days are in the global middle class. Check this out.

Ms Uppity said...

Renee, I saw that post at Feministe and I nodded along with each of your comments. I'm horrified at most of the other comments. I don't know how to respond, what with all the people patting themselves on the back because apparently capitalism doesn't play a hand in economic inequity.

Renee said...

@Ms Uppity the people responding in that thread simply don't want to own their class privilege and seek to naturalize exploitation. I find it ironic that the same people who scream about womens rights have no problem turning their backs on the poor. It seems to me that they are forgetting that women make up the majority of the poor. Anything that will allow them to justify their narcissism and greed is fine with them. I just want them to realize that it comes at a cost. If they want to tell men to own their privileges then they need to own their class privileges as well.

AR said...

Exploitation doesn't need to be naturalized, as it is already the most natural thing in the world. But hey, that's no problem, because
"natural = good" has always been a complete fallacy anyway.

rachelcervantes said...

Rock on!

jessilikewhoa said...

renee, thank you for this, and for your responses to the post on feministe. it was too painful and i felt like i was in such an unsafe space that i didn't comment there, so it was great to see people pushing back. i cant be articulate in those type of conversations, becos all i want to do is yell "i have a chronic health condition, your fantastic capitalism has left me here to die." but of course, i cant say that, afterall, nobody wants to hear the voices of the sick and/or the poor. if you lead a revolution, i will gladly follow.

Renee said...

@jess I am glad that you feel safer here. Womanist Musings is meant to be a safe place and as much as I enjoy reading Feministe I don't always feel that it is. In fact many feminist places aren't safe at all if you don't fit into a certain category. This makes me all the more determined to speak about the issues that are ignored and point out unacknowledged privilege. I may get shouted down but i certainly refuse to allow myself to be silenced.

Unsane said...

Great post!!!

T. said...

hundreds of thousands were murdered based on the lies of communism.

capitalism isn't working for some because some choose not to work.
it's a vicious cycle--the poor having baby after baby, living on welfare, no education, dysfunction in the family. --of course capitalism isn't working for them--i see it everyday. people making poor familial/life choices and then expecting that the govt will take care of them. THE GOVT IS NOT YOUR DADDY.
yes, the world revolves around interdependence, but you can't keep taking and give nothing in return. it's not the govt's responsibility to take care of 'YOU' and your 20 kids --
get off your asses people.

Renee said...

@T hundreds of thousands were murdered based on the lies of communism.

Really considering that there has never been a true communist state as per Marx the father of communism your commentary is mendacious from the beginning.

i see it everyday. people making poor familial/life choices and then expecting that the govt will take care of them.
More cult of "I" arguments without anything to back it up. You say that the government has no responsibility however it daily makes access to birth control and abortion more difficult yet you have the nerve to complain that the poor are over breeding. More is spent on corporate welfare than is dedicated to the eradication of poverty perhaps this is a disconnect between worth and value.

it's not the govt's responsibility to take care of 'YOU' and your 20 kids --
get off your asses people.

What are you solutions to the poor that are working full-time jobs? Would the government treatement of unions have anything to do with that perhaps? A little thing like a 4% density rate which the government is directly responsible for. Are you even aware that there are homeless people that have full time jobs? The problem isn't people not having a desire to work the problem is companies refusing to pay a living wage.

AR said...

Really considering that there has never been a true communist state as per Marx the father of communism your commentary is mendacious from the beginning.

If we're being like that, there have hardly ever been any true capitalist societies either, since there's almost always at least some public sector.

ripley said...

Thank you for this

I too found the comments at that feministe post to be frustrating. this is such a clear articulation of the problem!

T. said...

@ Renee-

call it cult of I or whatever you will, but people need to start making more conscious choices in their lives. And easier access to abortions is not the answer. i'm an advocate for abused and neglected children caught in foster care and the court systems in virgina.
capitalism IS NOT the problem.
MOst americans problems and poverty are a result of their own mental slavery. always blaming the govt yet never taking responsibilty for their own actions.
www.blackgenocide.org
and considering the fact that 1 out of every 2 african-american babies conceived is aborted, i'd say that access to abortion is anything but difficult. nothing screams cult of "I" more vehemently than abortion--selfishness at its most extreme.
what you pose is typical left-wing socialist rhetoric that doesn't hold up against reality.