Welp, back to work.
Back to punching a clock and slinging boxes.
I’m not bitching. Work’s work. But it’s hard. It’s thankless. And I work with a lot of people that struggle with money issues.
I used to listen to Adam Carolla’s podcast. Thinking back on it now, the man lives in a different universe which is why I quit listening to him. He’s part of that “persecuted millionaire” mindset….constantly whining that he gets taxed too much. Mind you, he’s the king of gripe and seems to embody this “first-world problems” image. That’s what he made his name on.
But the man is 6’2. White. Lives (and was born and raised) in LA. And genuinely seems to hate poor people.
He claims that he was born poor. Which I don’t doubt, but both his parents were (are) college educated. They just seemed to have neglected him growing up. Nevertheless, this seems to be the source of his disdain for anyone that makes less money than him.
Millionaires and billionaires share this common gripe…they get taxed too much. And then you see their 20,000 square feet mansions, their Aston Martins, private jets, private education for their children, and Tom Ford suits and wonder “what am I missing?”. Meanwhile, there are those that work 60 hours a week and can’t pay the rent. The rich bitch about those people, saying “If only they spent their money on other things”. Then the poor sees the rich spending their money of frivolous shit, and wonder why they can’t pay their employees (who actually make the money that goes into the pockets of the rich).
I won’t say that capitalism is a religion…but it certainly mimics it. The “Invisible Hand” as this spirit that makes all things possible. The worship of money that blessed the ruling class over the workers.
The American Doctrine states that everyone SHOULD pursue wealth. Anyone can be made rich, given enough “hard work” and “dedication”…the two pious virtues on which this country was built. In fact, it’s every American’s civic duty to pursue this end. To pursue that yacht, to pursue that private jet. That’s why this world turns.
We don’t need “for the betterment of all”, that’s for the idealists. Progress is only initiated through self-interest. Under this Doctrine, everyone can win.
But someone has to lose.
We can justify these losers in several ways….through an in-house system of economic theory (“there has to be some degree of inequality for economies to flourish”), they weren’t pious enough in their hard work and dedication, or they just weren’t innovative enough.
This doctrine is hard-wired into our Western mentality. Seeing a world that isn’t driven by this capitalist ethic is nearly impossible. John Lennon was right, “I wonder if you can”.
I wonder if I can.
But I think we might be turning a corner. In our post-Cold War world, the stank of Marxism in both communist and socialist forms have lifted a great deal. Especially here in America. It’s hard to believe that Bernie Sanders ran a strong campaign while touting Democratic Socialism.
But these are just more “isms” to grapple with. Or another reason to turn theory into religion. We don’t need a theory to not be assholes to one another.
But back to Adam Carolla.
I appreciate his disdain for things in general. It matched my own crankiness. But I had to quit listening to him when Donald Trump’s campaign picked up. For whatever reasons, it seemed to have made his gripes about taxation much more potent and delusional.
He believed himself more important than everybody in LA because he paid more in taxes.
It’s acceptable to hear rich people get pissed about “entitlements” to the poor. But entitlement to the rich gets glossed over. Adam Carolla, at that time at least, seemed to have embodied this form of entitlement, even though he often bragged about his vintage cars and other frivolous objects.
But what bothered me the most about Carolla was his feelings of self-importance. Like he was providing a valuable service to the community. The man told fart jokes and griped for a living. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things in themselves, mind you, but it’s not like he’s a doctor, engineer, or a producer of any goods or services that benefit his community as a whole.
Jason Stapleton is another example of this. He has a company that teaches people how to use the stock market. Plus he spews nonsense on a podcast.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with these things in general. And I don’t dispute that they work hard to achieve their wealth. But when you work 40,60,80 hours a week doing something you love (yet serves a frivolous purpose) and get to go home in a Lexus to a 40,000 square foot mansion…and then think of a nurse, factory worker, truck driver, etc who work similar hours minus similar benefits…then it makes the gripe about taxation much less sympathetic.
But these are the myths we tell ourselves in this country. The rich are rich because of their own genius. They’re the true movers and shakers of the world. This is why Ayn Rand and other similar libertarian ethics are so popular among the wealthy….because it validates their own selfish pursuits. It tells them that the rich deserve to be rich and the poor deserve to be poor.
Steve Carell said it best at the end of The Big Short. We just look for reasons to blame “immigrants and poor people” (paraphrasing) when we have an economic crises. Although I believe the tide is turning, we have rarely in the past pointed fingers at those have the REAL power…the wealthy.
This might just be a rare occurrence of optimism for me, but I believe that the capitalist ethic has seen its best days. Thanks in part to the information age, the internet, the proliferation of higher education (although I see higher education as a holdover from a bye-gone era, that’s a story for another day), and a host of other factors…we have become more aware of “otherness”, for a lack of a better description. The internet itself has contributed both positively and negatively to this “post-capitalistic” wave. The bombardment of technology has not only made us more knowledgeable, but it has also disconnected us from ourselves and each other.
The pendulum might be swinging towards a more “minimalist” movement, which greatly works against the extravagance and excessiveness that capitalism fosters. I guess the whole “tiny house” fad is an example of this. But when the appeal of consumerism and material gain is taken away, the capitalist ethic ceases to be convincing.
But if capitalism is anything, it’s crafty because it appeals to our worst instincts. It’s probably only a matter of time before it “capitalizes” on this “post-capitalist” movement.