The Four Stages of Revolution

Supporters of Obama go through the classic stages of grief after they realize that they’ve been cheated.

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  • It’s a good cartoon except the last frame. Acceptance is OWS protesters living in tents, hoping sympathy will change the minds of the elite. Acceptance is OWS protesters chanting “Hey Hey Ho Ho, Barack Obama’s got to go!”. Yeah, that’ll do it.

    The violence (if you can call it that) alluded to in the last frame is completely illusory. OWS just had it’s teeth kicked in by a DHS-organized assault and the response? “Nothing will derail our peaceful movement!”. That was an actual response from one of the OWS protesters. Nice. Well done. Way to let them know there’s nothing to worry about.

    Here’s the deal: Elites only speak the language of violence when it comes to changes they don’t want. They are EXPECTING violence, and if they don’t get it they’ll be engaging in champagne toasts from here to Paris. Meaning, they’ve already planned their responses to varying levels of violence, yet OWS remains (and WILL remain) militantly peaceful.

    In the end OWS isn’t about change anyway. They’re about taxing others to get out of their debts. Thanks, but no thanks OWS. I’m not paying for your shitty decisions. Your cowardice is bad enough, your whininess is unbearable.

  • Ex,

    Okay. Most of that, I can get behind. But I think you’re being wildly one-sided in the last part. “They’re about taxing others to get out of their debts. Thanks, but no thanks OWS. I’m not paying for your shitty decisions. Your cowardice is bad enough, your whininess is unbearable.”

    Let’s look at what people are told. From practically the moment they depart the womb, children in the U.S. are told that they must go to college. Okay. Let’s take the contrary position. Let’s take someone who decides all that debt and so forth isn’t for him. What’s he going to do? The factory jobs are evaporating. Retail positions, ditto. Wherever you look, a job that has no higher-ed requirement is pretty much just about to disappear or has already. So college is pretty much a requisite now, even for subsistence wages.

    Sidebar: Two exceptions exist: 1. Creatives, that is, people who have a talent that cannot simply be taught. Anyone can learn to cook, very few can learn to be chefs. Anyone can learn to play a guitar, very few can be Segovia. 2. Entrepreneurs. Despite all the bullshit we’ve had crammed down our throats, for every Facebook, there’s thousands of failed start-ups. Lots of people pour huge amounts of energy, money, and time into small businesses and they fail, fail, fail. Just like you can’t expect someone to be brilliant at something as some sort of Randian Act of Will, you cannot expect a business — or a person — to succeed just because they worked hard. There are lots of starving people who worked hard. There are plenty of terrible painters who simply will never become good.

    Okay, so college has become a requisite. So, how to pay for it? Take out loans for all of it, and spend most of your life paying back interest? No. That’s ridiculous. Have the taxpayers (of which the student will become one, someday) distribute the costs among themselves, just like with a thousand other goods and services we all pay for that most of us never use (how many house fires does the average person have? But there we all go, having to subsidize those lazy firefighters). We’re all used to the idea of free schooling to the end of high school. Why? Because up to a certain point, a high school degree was all you needed to make your way in the world. The rules need to catch up with actual life.

    It isn’t making a “shitty” decision when you have no choice? It’s called being screwed by the system. And making teenagers choose between working at McDonald’s for the rest of their lives and taking out $60,000 in loans so they can squeak through college between slave-wage jobs ought to be obscene, just as an initial premise, not something we’re debating in the first place.

  • alex@: You make the argument that a college education is mandatory. Additionally you say there are only two alternatives, creatives and entrepreneurs. I wholeheartedly disagree. I will give up some personal info, which I don’t normally do. I do this to explain my position.

    I have absolutely zero sympathy for any takers of credit who find themselves under a crushing debt burden. None. Zero. Especially college debt.

    When I was young my father gave me a piece of advice that has served me incredibly well my entire life. It was “never live beyond your means”. I haven’t and I have basically had zero debt my entire life.
    The bottom line is that when you take credit YOU take the debtor’s risk.

    I went to a great high school. I was expected to go to college and get at least a bachelors and most likely a masters. I did neither. I dropped out of college after one year. Why? Multiple reasons, but one was that I simply was not willing to go into the debt required to complete a bachelors degree. That was MY choice. That was MY risk. Adults under the weight of the opposite risk (taking on debt) need to stop whining and accept the results of that risk. If MY risk had gone wrong (no college education), would all these college grads be demanding that I get compensati­on to make up for my lack of employment­ (if I were unemployable)? Of course not, they’d be chiding me for not getting a college education.

    As it turns out I taught myself software engineerin­g and have spent the last 15 years in a lucrative career. With zero debt. That was MY choice. I have no desire to bailout college grads and pay for their education. That was THEIR choice.

    (A brief side note: The thought of a college grad – whose education I paid for with my taxes – telling me I’m not qualified for a job I’m applying for, because I don’t have a college education, well ….. let’s just say that thought sickens me to the point that I guarantee you – I would go postal).

    Listen: Life is difficult. Sorry to sound like Grandpappy or something, but life is a long, hard haul. It doesn’t necessarily get easier with time. That was a post-WW2 illusion, that you get a nice house by 30, retire at 60, play golf and never have to worry about a thing. That, my friend, is an illusion people are going to have to learn to let go. Whether you get a degree or not, life is going to be hard. Man up, make a choice, and stick with it. I was neither a “creative” nor an “entrepreneur”, yet I made it work. How did I do that? I gave things up. A LOT of things. I worked very hard to get my software career going, and I stuck to it while others were out partying all the time and getting laid. (There I go again, sounding like Grandpappy).

    I have no interest in this “debt relief” revolution. If these people were engaging in a meaningful revolution, one which strips the very system of its power by refusing to participate, I’d be right down there with them. But they’re not. They’re protesting their right to become more ingrained in the system, to become “players” in the system. The hell with that. I want no part of it.

  • alex_the_tired
    November 28, 2011 4:00 PM

    “If MY risk had gone wrong (no college education), would all these college grads be demanding that I get compensati on to make up for my lack of employment (if I were unemployable)? Of course not, they’d be chiding me for not getting a college education.”

    I don’t know that they’d be chiding you for not getting a college education. That’s not their point. Their point is that someone, anyone, should not be penalized for trying to get an education. And they’d be saying, “Hey, maybe if you go to school, you’ll have more luck. And we don’t think you should have to sell your soul into wage bondage to do it.”

    In your system, you speak from the position of one who worked hard and was lucky. As has already been mentioned, many people work hard and are UNLUCKY. I’m sorry we can’t all be rugged individualists who are always able to earn our own keep and never be a burden to others. I thought I was self-sufficient, too, until I got laid off for 30 months. Ever gone down to the welfare office to obtain some of those benefits you’ve paid into the system for all those years? Jerry Sandusky would be treated with greater civility in a pediatrics ward than I was treated by tax-paid people with high school-equivalence degrees who made sure I understood at every turn that I was stealing the bread out of their mouths by not quietly dying in a corner. Oh, yes, I must be one of those lazy freeloaders who works for 25 years and then, as was always planned, sprang my clever, socialist plot.

    So yes, you’re absolutely right that life is hard. You left out unnecessarily cruel and horribly demeaning. Like when someone who’s missing half her teeth starting lecturing you about how you need to shower before going to an interview, and when you’d like to tell her to shut the hell up and get her goddamn teeth fixed before she starts telling anyone anything about how to make a good impression at a job interview, you realize that if you want to still be eating in two weeks, you’re going to have to sit there and take the handful of shit she’s shoving down your throat.

    But isn’t the whole point of the exercise called life to make it less hard? I mean, should we bring back polio and smallpox because children are no longer learning the valuable lesson of being grateful for surviving waves of plague? What about child labor? Really teach those whippersnappers the value of a dollar. Not that they should be paid, mind you. They should be grateful for the experience.

    I’m not trying to start a fight or anything, but demanding that education not be a bankrupting experience is not particularly outrageous. We support the elderly, those no-good parasites, with their constant whining about how they’ve paid their dues and they’ve worked hard. Sure, maybe when they were MY age they worked hard, but what about now? Why aren’t they doing something? C’mon granny! Work smarter, not harder. Why should a 75-year-old be getting valuable medicines? She’s only going to die soon, anyway. Why, one of my neighbors is in her 80s and she still gardens every day. My God, she grows cucumbers the size of zucchini. I should pay taxes for her to eat? She’s eating better than I do. …

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree, I guess.

  • alex@: I can see I’ve hit a nerve.

    “Their point is that someone, anyone, should not be penalized for trying to get an education.”

    No one is penalizing anyone for trying to get an education. You want to take on the debt to get that education, YOU take the risk. If you cannot accept that reality, there’s nothing I can do for you. Your answer is that you want someone else to take on that burden. Not me fella.

    “In your system, you speak from the position of one who worked hard and was lucky.”

    I would say that everyone has a certain amount of luck, but I’ll stick to the 80/20 rule. 80% of my success was the work, 20% (and that’s being VERY generous) was luck. I repeat: I know many people who had the same opportunity that I had, but they pissed it all away during the dotcom boom. I know exactly who they are, because I can hear them hanging around the bar around the corner from where I live. I’m not paying their way, no way no how.

    “But isn’t the whole point of the exercise called life to make it less hard?”

    No, it’s not. In fact human excesses have made the world a pile of shit for almost every other creature than humans. I have no tolerance for human excesses. As noted, my “don’t live beyond your means” axiom has served me well. Perhaps others should wake up and accept a new reality. One where you don’t have “40 different types of cheeses” everywhere you turn. (I don’t know if it was you that made that quote).

    As far as government bankrolling education, well ….. where do we stop?

    Food is an absolute essential. Why not have the government pay for all food?
    Transportation today is an absolute essential. Why not have the government pay for all cars and gas?
    Heat and hot water are absolute essentials. Why not have the government pay for them?
    Proper clothes? Nanny state should pay.
    What about my home? I can’t live without a home, right? Where’s my nanny state?

    In fact, why not just have the government pay for everything except entertainment? Wait a minute. Without NASCAR, most rednecks would go crazy. The government should pay for all NASCAR tickets too.

    In all seriousness, I’m well aware that hard work alone doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you don’t live in reality – but a super-reality, where at any given time your worth as a person can be flushed right down the fucking toilet. I get it. Perhaps a system where you never had to worry about your ability to provide value would be better. You know, reality.

  • @exkiodexian: Yes I see your view, and I agree with certain parts of it whole-heartedly, I have never let myself go into debt for exactly the same reason. But you misunderstand where the rage comes from for these people. The key to society is cooperation. While society is always moved forward by those who “think differently”, the creatives, entrepreneurs, ect… that Alex pointed out, it needs a slew of people who are willing to line up and fill the various standard support rolls at all levels and positions. These people provide the functioning infrastructure that others can make use of in society including the creatives, entrepreneurs, ect… However, for this to work society is supposed to provide a guide by which people can follow to fill its various standard support roles, help maintain it, and in return receive a livable and modest amount of success as was the case in the Post WW II era. These people, the masses, aren’t in any day or age interested in changing the system, EVER, no matter what the system looks like or how it works, they just want to support it and be supported by it by following the rules and stated instructions. You can’t be mad at such people, these are the meat and bones of society and they have always and will always be that way. The changers of society are its movers and shaker and thinkers, everyone else fills a support roll that make these rolls possible, and in return they just ask to live a fairly happy modest life by the standards available for such in the society they support. The masses only ever want society to work the way they are promised it would and you can’t be mad at them for it, it is simply a fact of life.

    However, currently the stated social instructions for the masses are: spend like crazy, and go to college (among a few other heavily self destructive instructions). Is it naive if not outright stupid to believe these would work in this day and age? YES VERY. But the rage comes from the fact that this used to work, could work (if things weren’t so botched), that they were lied to and told it would work, and they now it can work again if things get unbotched. Therein lies the rage: the standard social prescription for mutual social support in this day and age has become a lie and people buy it because people always want to believe in the social prescriptions of their respective societies. Indeed society is supposed to provide them with a truthful social prescription so they can mutually support one another. The masses want to get a set of instructions, follow it to support their fellow man, and get their fellow mans support in return. This is very little to ask, and so when they are lied to about it and have this taken away from them rage is understandably and justifiably their response.

    Certainly people like you took a risk by following a path differently from the standard social prescription and for some, such as yourself, it paid off immensely. Your success would not have been possible without your own hard work, diligence, and focus, I don’t think anyone questions that. But there is also a little bit of chance involved. Software engineering happens to be potentially profitable and viable now, and may be forevermore, who knows. But what of the other people as passionate and dedicated as you are to your own trade but about one of the other numerous important social rolls that are no longer a viable means to live by in this day and age despite their social necessity? For every one of us who are successful or even just comfortable by taking the road less traveled, there are many many more who are just as smart, just as hard working, but who didn’t make it.

    Software engineers are important, but society needs many different people in many different roles to function properly. We can’t all not go to college and become software engineers just to get by. We need janitors, mailmen, and numerous other basic, and not so basic rolls filled. But American society no longer makes all of these necessary rolls livable anymore. America lies to the people who want to be good little citizens and do what they are told is good to do because they think it should work, and in any decent society what they are told to do should work. But they are fed lies and believing in them and their society leads them to ruin when they wanted so little in return for dog-like loyalty to the society in which they are born. Therein is the peoples anger.

    Few if any of my friends got laid all the time or partied at all, they all worked very hard yet not all of them maid it. Chiding people for not taking your exact path less traveled to get your exact success in America’s destroyed society is hugely unfair and short sited of you. People survive nuclear blasts too, but they don’t go around talking about how useless the dead were and how they brought it upon themselves for not being clever enough to be in the same place at the same time that just happened to be safe. This is especially true if the deceased were mislead and were promised safety somewhere that was not in fact safe.

  • Nice summary, “someone”.

    Ex-K, I’m also a self-taught programmer. It’s a good living, but you have to have a math aptitude… if you aren’t good at symbolic logic you will never be a good programmer… and possessing that aptitude is a matter of luck (well, genetics and upbringing, but since you can’t choose your parents…)

  • @someone: “However, currently the stated social instructions for the masses are: spend like crazy”.

    If the average American, or the “support roles” as you call them, cannot make and own their decisions then I have no sympathy. TV tells you to “spend like crazy”, so you do? And then when you’re in over your head you blame “the stated social instructions”? This is, in a word, bullshit. (See the book, “On Bullshit”). It really is. It’s total bullshit and that attitude is what makes progressives/liberals look like the namby pamby whiners OWS is starting to sound like. I’m a “progressive”, but I can tell you this: I don’t like the “blame society” meme. You have a hell of a lot of blame going on in your statement, ALL of it at someone else. You should re-consider that outlook, especially with respect to “the stated social instructions” telling people to “spend like crazy”.

    You repeat several times that people are “lied to”. In what respect? If a bank has committed fraud, then they should be held accountable. However, telling people to go to college, and take loans to get there – only to find out the job market is soft and the loans can’t be repaid – that’s not being “lied to”. There’s no guarantees and the way you structure your argument (I’m sorry to sound like a jerk here, but …) really sounds whiny. It’s as if there’s some rule book that says, “Just do A,B,C and you will have the American Dream!”. There’s no such book, there never was. How can ANYONE be so delusional as to think things just automatically work out if you do A,B,C. Good god.

    “But there is also a little bit of chance involved.”

    I addressed this, and agree – to a reasonable extent. Anyone’s shit can fall apart at any time, I get that. It’s not pleasant when it does, I know. I’ve been there.

    “Chiding people for not taking your exact path less traveled to get your exact success in America’s destroyed society is hugely unfair and short sited of you.”

    I didn’t chide anyone. What I will chide people for is trying to penalize me for playing by the rules and succeeding. If you can’t understand that, I can’t explain it to you. Let me say first, that I believe in progressive taxation, a social safety net, and so on. I draw the line at my taxes paying for others’ college debts, or debts of any kind.

    You gave stories, I could give many. I was basically told to “go fuck myself” at the college financial aid office when I was in my first year. My father had died when I was a high-school senior, and my mother had to save her money to keep herself afloat. I had nothing going into college, and the a-holes there basically said “tough shit, go fuck yourself. Too bad for you”. I dropped out at the end of that (first) semester. So, that’s MY sob story. I made the choice to say “fuck you” right back to the college system, and I won. Now you want me to bail out everyone else, when I made decisions on MY terms to take my own risks? I say again: If my shit had gone all wrong, NO ONE would be rushing to bail me out. College grads would be telling me to go fuck myself, that I should have gotten a college education. The shoe is on the other foot, and I have no sympathy. Again, the notion of some college grad whose education I paid for telling me to shove off because I DON’T have an education (a very real possibility), sickens me to the core. I didn’t pay for my own education, I’m not paying for anyone else’s education. (And yes, I know state schools are somewhat subsidized already, which is bad enough for me.)

    @Russell says: “you have to have a math aptitude (to be a software engineer).”

    First off, I only used my story as an example. I don’t expect everyone to become self-taught software engineers. There’s plenty of examples of self-taught people I know in a variety of trades. You don’t need a degree as an absolute, that’s all I’m saying.

    Secondly, I’m no math wiz. You’re attitude is EXACTLY what causes people to set goals that are too low for themselves, to not try in the first place. I have known many engineers that were not great with math, but good enough. They were great engineers because they worked hard, and were very reliable. Anyone in the industry knows, you always take a reliable and easy to work with team player – over a rock star asshole.

    Anyway, to quote a character from Runaway Train: “You don’t know what you can do and can’t do.” Don’t tell people they can’t be engineers because they’re not hot shots at math. It’s not true.

  • “I say again: If my shit had gone all wrong, NO ONE would be rushing to bail me out. ”

    And I say again, that’s the whole problem. You aren’t describing a society, you’re describing a mine field. Take your PTSD and get it sorted.

  • “And I say again, that’s the whole problem.”

    And I say again, you’re the fucking problem. Get over your “the lady at the welfare office judged me” whining, get a fucking job, pay off your debts and quit asking other people to do it for you.

    Take your “feel sorry for me” bullshit and get it sorted. You’ll feel better when you pay off your own debts and take responsibility for your decisions.

    (As a side note: Fuck you.)

  • Wow, Ex.

    I’m angry because I got screwed, and you’re angry because you didn’t?

    Well, one of us is wrong …

  • “They’re about taxing others to get out of their debts. Thanks, but no thanks [Wall Street]. I’m not paying for your shitty decisions. Your cowardice is bad enough, your whininess is unbearable.” (I corrected your typo for you here. Hope you don’t mind.)

    I’m with you Ex, conditionally:

    I want to know how I too can—as you seem to have done—plan to avoid making payments to these Wall Street jokers who made bad investments, went broke, and then had their imaginary trash paper investments transformed into spendable US currency, in the trillions, by the Fed, by way of the IRS.

    That’s the only part of your argument I missed. Surely this is only a minor oversight on your part.

  • It is sad to see the trolls writing their rambling diatribes here, and then finally “dooking it out” on their keyboards. Get past it. Suggest something useful. What’s past is past. Not asking you to forget it, in fact, never forget how we got here, unless you want it to happen again. Like Ted said – those bankers and investment people should have been taken to task, and a lot of them belong in jail. I encourage people to support identifying the worst banking creeps and investment conmen, and put them in jail! Unless there is some punishment for what they wrought, then they and their substitutes will and are continuing their greedy manipulations. Over in Lithuania, the largest Lithuanian bank, Snoras, just went under, and the state here took it over to saver the depositors. They are now trying locate and drag back the CEO, who will face jail time if he is caught. This doesn’t happen in the USA, instead they get bailed out, and then they award themselves millions in bonuses and golden parachutes as the bail out themselves! Maybe we should have been bankers or investment people. Unless it’s a flat-out Ponzi scheme, you can do just about anything without risk of retribution!

  • Ex-K, “good enough” still means some aptitude. And frankly, I’d like to discourage the marginal coders. I’ve spent too much time combing through other people’s bad code digging out the bugs.

  • @exkiodexian: I am doing fine, I haven’t overspent or taken any of the lies to heart, I am not mad about what has happened to me personally as I am comfortable, my concern is only with others. I fully agreed in my first post that following the instructions handed to them (not just from TV presidents, and not just GW have said the same thing) was profoundly stupid thing to do these days. But the point is not all of us can save ourselves by being contrarians. A society of contrarians is not a society at all. For society to function it needs the majority of people to play by the rules and social prescriptions otherwise it collapses. I am simply concerned for all those who did play by the rules and got screwed because of it even though this time the rules were abusive and stupid to follow.

    People are lied to because they are told that going to college will make them successful, this is a lie. When they ask how to do it they are told to take out loans and that they will make the money back in their new successful carriers post graduation, this is a lie. People are told to barrow money to buy a house it will pay for itself, this is a lie. People are told that if they spend more it will stimulate the economy and they will get more in return, this is true to some extent but people have to be very wealthy and have much unspent income for it to be true, for everyone else (those to whom it is primarily addressed) it is a lie. ect…

    For society to function people have to be able to trust each other. Society slows to the speed of molasses in January if not collapsing outright if they have to sit down and research at length to determine if everything they are told to do to be happy and successful is a destructive lie or not. Society simply cannot function unless their are viable social prescriptions for living that the masses can follow. If you look at things like counties that rank high on the Gross national happiness index they all have this even the destitute impoverished ones. People are perfectly happy in the countries where they are given the social prescription “get a goat, build a hovel, have fifteen kids to help raise your goat” so long as this social prescription is actually a rout to a promised level of modest success and not a lie.

    I am sorry you got treated the way you did by the college financial aid office and so I understand your rage against wanting to bail them out after no one wished to help you in your time of need. My point, however, is that a functioning society would have bailed you out in your time of need as a down payment on your future assistance to others. Its this mutual support that allows society to exist and makes it function.

    I am not saying people can’t all become engineers (although I think that is true as well). I am not saying people are incapable of math and should give up and I don’t think anyone should try to sell themselves short because that is destructive. My previous statement was more to the fact that society ONLY NEEDS so many engineers, or anything else for that matter. If we all became engineers who would feed us, maintain the roads ,and deliver our mail? For those of us who were civil or other physical engineers who would build the things we designed? We would starve to death in a society with collapsing infrastructure in spite of an endless supply of ingenious software programs and blueprints for brilliant feats of construction and design that would never exist off of paper.

  • Sad – this is exactly where they want us to be. Arguing and ranting at each other, because we are too scared and weak to take the fight to them. As long as we are scared of our government, and we are to oppressed by our debts and “what can happen to us” if “we slip any further down” into a horrible system that only rewards the top percentile and ignores the poor, less fortunate, and those unable to get out of the way of a legal system that grinds people up, then it will simply get worse. If you really do feel angry – then don’t rant and rage against each other, whiners – stand up on your own 2 feet, walk out the door, and DO something about it. If you don’t – then they have won, and they can keep you down and put you where they want if you bother them.

  • I’m impressed at the discussion here and surprised at the length of it. I think you are all partially right and won’t take any veiled jabs at any of you.

    exkiodexian, I will just agree with what you said of OWS because I could not put it better. They want to continue to work within the system that has screwed them and it is pathetic. In addition, they are so delusional that they think things are accomplished without leaders and hierarchies. Yeah, only in TINY groups.

    “Jerry Sandusky would be treated with greater civility in a pediatrics ward than I was treated by tax-paid people with high school-equivalence degrees who made sure I understood at every turn that I was stealing the bread out of their mouths by not quietly dying in a corner. Oh, yes, I must be one of those lazy freeloaders who works for 25 years and then, as was always planned, sprang my clever, socialist plot.” Very powerfully said…it’s disgusting that our government routinely treats people in such a way. There just aren’t enough jobs for everyone even for those who are well-qualified and willing. That they assume you don’t have your head screwed on straight…well you demonstrated the irony. What do they want you to do? And as if you don’t know the very basics of getting a job.

    I don’t think of things in terms of “whining” because it always seems like any reasonable frustration gets labeled as such. exkiodexian, couldn’t people say you are whining about paying for others’ education? What the others are saying here is that society should have worked for you too. I don’t know what financial aid is for if not for you and others in your situation. As “someone” said, the main societal prescription cannot be untrue in a healthy society. And if we were all contrarians, then, well, we wouldn’t be. Most people don’t have it in them to be contrarians anyway. exkiodexian, you do know that at one time college was not astronomically expensive right? We are talking about making education affordable, but making taxpayers pay for it is probably not the best way. I agree that college graduates would be telling you that you made the wrong decision if you had failed. And it is disgusting to think of one of them telling you that you are not qualified because you don’t have a piece of overrated paper. But most jobs that need “doing” don’t provide subsistence wages anymore. Why should anyone have to work multiple jobs just to survive?

    At the end of the day I believe in self-accountability, self-reliance, and self-reflection, and so on because the society won’t help us at all. It is our enemy. It deceives and breaks promises. All of us shouldn’t have to sort through so much bullshit. But we have to break the rules to have any hope of happiness because the rules are there to drain us of our hope, effort, time, and money. Even in a good society I still would stand by these virtues because as you said, exkiodexian, they are valuable in themselves.

    Actually, this is another dictum of our society. Despite all the hoopla of “hard-work” very few people seem to believe it leads to success, except successful people. Most people just believe in talent. And exkiodexian, I’d think you’d be on board here. It is the society that does not value the virtues that led to your success. Shouldn’t that be changed? People with very little talent and a whole lot of will succeed.

    >On the other hand, it’s been scientifically proven that people tend to attribute their own successes to merit, their failures to fortune…and do the opposite when assessing others.< (Something I think everyone here should consider.)

    The bottom line, exkiodexian, is that you are talking about the way society works and everyone else here is talking about making it work better. rikster is correct. The corporate elite counts on the "divide and conquer" strategy. People who are concerned about what other 99%er they are subsidizing with their taxes are too preoccupied to fight for the better wages they deserve.

    I'm much more disgusted that my taxes pay for drone bombs than the prospect that I might help a few kids pay for college.

    Alex and ex are too emotionally invested in their arguments. They ended up attacking each other instead of realizing they both make valid points.

  • Spacious Specious
    November 29, 2011 2:05 PM

    I started out my life poor and have always lived that way. It has turned out to be a good strategy, but luck has also played a large part in how my life has progressed. I realized a long time ago that life in this country is a game of musical chairs. The music stops, we sit down and we discuss those lazy wastrels that don’t have a chair. Then the music starts up again.

    This would be a fine way to live but for the fact that I have friends. Few of them have been so lucky as I have been. Perhaps I should kick them all to the curb and make newer, luckier friends but I am certain that the process will simply begin anew in a short time.

    While I’ve watched my friends struggle, I’ve noticed something: The deeper in financial trouble they get, the more expensive they become to society at large. At the very least, they’re going to ride the bus to work while they’re sick as a dog with pneumonia – spreading their illnesses deeply into the pool of the Great Uninsured. I would happily pay more taxes to be guaranteed that I will not encounter Tuberculosis during my commute, but I am informed that that is an irresponsible expenditure of tax dollars.

    When the government started an expensive war in Iraq, it was believed that the mysterious disappearance of $9 billion in cash was a sound investment in our future safety. When the government dropped $7 trillion ($13 trillion??) in the hands of financial institutions that had committed large-scale fraud, it was believed that the alternative would be even more expensive. Apparently the government has octillions to invest in the safe conduct of fraud, but must carefully audit every penny spent on homeless, unemployed sick people.

    So why not ask for loan forgiveness? Why not ask for free food and shelter? As long as the government is giving free money to criminals, why not ask for a Shetland Pony and a house painted with rainbows? I don’t care if college-educated kids get a break on their loans just so long as they get my order right at Wendy’s.

  • The more I read of exkiodexian’s posts, the more sceptical I become. I have a Ph.D. in informatics. I have written several programs that no one else could write. And I got zip. Zero. Zilch.

    It’s salespersons who get the big bucks. The people who can say, ‘IBM, you must buy this DOS or your PC will be a spectacular failure,’ and who can convince IBM to buy half of DOS, then give the IBM half back to the salesperson (who was just the salesperson, not the programmer).

    Where I worked, they rewarded the salespersons who could sell programs that DID NOT run. Any fool, they said, could sell a program that ran, and getting a program to run is too risky and too expensive. What they rewarded was those who could sell programs that did absolutely nothing.

    Brilliant programmers who are older than 40 get nothing. Brilliant salespersons who can sell programs (especially programs that don’t work) get zillions.

    Economics rewards what sells.

    Hard work and technical skills count for absolutely nothing.

  • michaelwme, I’ve always found that it helps to be assertive about what you want.

    And working for an outfit as corrupt as you describe… best to try to move on as fast as you can.

    Finally… “that no one else could write”? Is it possible you’re a prima donna?

    I’m a software engineer… mid-forties… not getting rich, but certainly comfortable. That and 4 weeks vacation each year is enough for me.

  • michael…. You got nothing? You don’t get a salary, paycheck, benefits, anything, you just write the codes out of the goodness of your heart?

  • Great cartoon, Ted – thanks !…


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