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Chapter 29
Us versus Them

There are a lot of people in the upper economic minority directly and indirectly doing much evil to people in the lower economic majority. But there is not some monolithic conspiracy among all wealthy people to hold everyone else in a state of bondage and exploitation.

No doubt there are wealthy individuals and groups that rationalize their evil deeds using the now-debunked, self-serving notion of Social Darwinism in which the powerful elite, by virtue of its being the elite, is “the fittest” and has every right to use lesser or less capable people as beasts of burden. But it is seriously doubted that many among the wealthy believe this. There are certainly people who are not really into politics or ideology that are willing and working very hard using every means they can manage—all our current system permits and more—to put the economic screw to everyone about and beneath them.

Everyone at every economic level has some good and some evil within them. No one has a monopoly on either quality. While there are some among the powerful wealthy that have done and continue to do great evil, it is not because they are inherently more evil than others but only that they are in a position to do greater evil when they choose to do so.

Likely most wealthy people are not even that political. Like everyone else, they are just going about their business and living their lives. Can they help it if the system under which we live rewards them so handsomely for just going about their business? Many people probably never even think about it, never think to question the political and economic structures that permit and so dramatically affect the results of their actions. To them the rules of the game are just there like the world and life, and that is that.

Many recognize that our society is unfair but feel too powerless to do anything about it: “I would rather things were not this way, but who am I to change them? I am just one person. Well, if that’s the name of the game, I will play it as best I can. I just don’t want to end up at the painful bottom of the economic heap.”

It is popular in America today to see oneself as the victim of this or that person or situation. While it is true in our carnivorous, plutocratic society that many people are indeed victimized, too many people shirk responsibility for their own actions blaming everyone around them. We are a ridiculous chaos of lawsuits. One could look upon all of us, even the dehumanized well-to-do locked within their gilded prisons, as victims of the political-economic system created by the founders. And, bringing the notion of victimization to its absurd conclusion, since authoritarianism and plutocracy are merely the blind cultural expression of our biological male dominance hierarchy, perhaps we are all the victims of evolution or of God.

For lack of a better or a higher vision or in comparison to the many deeper horrors around the world, many people consider our current state to be perhaps flawed but sufficient. Current practice comes to be felt as normal. New, young workers, never having mastered their history lessons in school and never having known in their jobs the times that their elders knew when labor was stronger and more prosperous, do not miss the now-gone rewards and protections, think their work conditions normal, and can’t see any use for unions. Worldwide and historically, even the abused, the enslaved, and those who are defined as untouchable have come to believe their situation and their lot to be normal when they have never thought deeply or known anything else.

None of this can make morally right that which is truly wrong in its essence. That something is the way of the world does not mean that the world should be that way. Other life forms are the slaves of instinct. We have the ability to choose to live together in many different ways. In our having this ability to choose, we have both the capacity and the moral duty to rise to our highest selves.

Even if the intent from above is at times actions for the good, we still have the problem of paternalism: the system, principle, or practice of managing or governing individuals, businesses, nations, etc. in the manner of a father dealing benevolently and often intrusively with his children. “We the people” are not children. We are fully capable of participating directly in the most central decisions that fundamentally affect our lives.


One could fruitlessly haggle over such issues forever, each person merely embracing a self-favoring or self-justifying view. It is best to toss indignation, self-righteousness, and blame aside, take responsibility for our situation, join together in united action, and improve our lot by altering our government and society.

The central problem is not particular people or their actions but the political-economic system under which we live. We are products of the world in which we live and our experiences within it. If that world, if the system in which we live is changed, then we and our actions will change too. The struggle is not merely between good people and evil people but of all of us to rise above our current human condition, to transcend our current relationship and enter into a new more humane, loving, and spiritual relationship. We must rise above our biological dominance and our cultural, authoritarian expression of it. Through culture accumulated and modified through the millennia, we have already stepped well beyond our biological roots in many aspects of our behavior. It is time and over time for us to step beyond our primate dominance hierarchy and establish a more perfect relationship, a more perfect union.

Although there would no doubt be opposition to and a struggle preceding the establishment of a demos and the other changes discussed here, this work is not about anyone dominating anyone else. This work is not about one group winning and another group losing. It is not about crushing the elite or taking revenge for past wrongs. It is about forgiveness and transcendence.

The goal of this work is to bring about the diminishment of dominance by our coming together within a new body, the demos, capable of achieving a profound and perpetually evolving consensus among all of us concerning a few issues that are central to our relationship. In our achieving a more just and equitable political-economic relationship, we will have achieved a more democratic and moral footing on which to stand while we debate and discover in other areas of government and society common ground and greater tolerance of our varying beliefs, values, and ways. True democratic deliberation cannot occur until we achieve a just relationship.

Our goal as a people should not be to establish some common image that we all strive to mold ourselves into but only to establish a small, vital body of consensus and common understanding. Political and economic inclusion and a fair and just society will enable everyone to earn at least a modestly comfortable living free of the desperation caused by the unbalanced political-economic system that we have today. Each person will have the resources to fully develop and express his or her unique being. We as a society will be in a position to flower into the fullest expression of our most wondrous and delightful quality, our cultural diversity. We are gathered here from the entire world, and we have the potential to demonstrate to the entire world how loving and beautiful a people can be, if only it finds its right way.

It is by our achieving our correct balance of power and some common ground via our consensus on issues within the demos that we will maximize the justice, freedom, and happiness of everyone.


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