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Living in a Culture of Cruelty: Democracy as Spectacle


Society & Culture  (tags: americans, society, culture, rights, freedoms, safety, corporate, corruption, dishonesty, business, money, politics, americans, consumers, government, republicans, democrats, Govtfearmongering, lies, cover-up, congress, dishonesty, media, beck, rush )

Tom
- 3480 days ago - truthout.org
What is it about a culture of cruelty that causes many Americans to believe that government is the enemy of health care reform, and to allow corporate and market-driven interests to continue to deprive millions of an essential right?



   

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Comments

Cher C (1426)
Tuesday September 8, 2009, 1:57 pm



THnx Tom hun!

 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday September 8, 2009, 10:12 pm
This jackass - Glenn Beck is just an example of the poor quality of so called news, but he does illustrate that we are becoming or have become a culture that exalts cruelty rather then compassion.
 

Julie van Niekerk (230)
Tuesday September 8, 2009, 11:18 pm
All over in every country there are problems with high authority people who prefers cruelty instead of compassion. I think that Care 2 people will rule this planet much better than any politician.
 

mary f (200)
Wednesday September 9, 2009, 3:32 am
thanks tom i agree with julie and kit
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 9, 2009, 4:34 am
It has indeed become a culture of cruelty, with the protests against health care reform a prime example
 

Marion Y (322)
Wednesday September 9, 2009, 5:39 am
Excellent article, Tom!

" Increasingly, many individuals and groups now find themselves living in a society that measures the worth of human life in terms of cost-benefit analyzes. The central issue of life and politics is no longer about working to get ahead, but struggling simply to survive. And many groups, who are considered marginal because they are poor, unemployed, people of color, elderly or young, have not just been excluded from "the American dream," but have become utterly redundant and disposable, waste products of a society that not longer considers them of any value. How else to explain the zealousness in which social safety nets have been dismantled, the transition from welfare to workfare (offering little job training programs and no child care), and recent acrimony over health care reform's public option? What accounts for the passage of laws that criminalize the behavior of the 1.2 million homeless in the United States, often defining sleeping, sitting, soliciting, lying down or loitering in public places as a criminal offence rather than a behavior in need of compassionate good will and public assistance? Or, for that matter, the expulsions, suspensions, segregation, class discrimination and racism in the public schools as well as the more severe beatings, broken bones and damaged lives endured by young people in the juvenile justice system? Within these politics, largely fueled by market fundamentalism - one that substitutes the power of the social state with the power of the corporate state and only values wealth, money and consumers - there is a ruthless and hidden dimension of cruelty, one in which the powers of life and death are increasingly determined by punishing apparatuses, such as the criminal justice system for poor people of color and/or market forces that increasingly decide who may live and who may die.

The growing dominance of a right-wing media forged in a pedagogy of hate has become a crucial element providing numerous platforms for a culture of cruelty and is fundamental to how we understand the role of education in a range of sites outside of traditional forms of schooling. This educational apparatus and mode of public pedagogy is central to analyzing not just how power is exercised, rewarded and contested in a growing culture of cruelty, but also how particular identities, desires and needs are mobilized in support of an overt racism, hostility towards immigrants and utter disdain, coupled with the threat of mob violence toward any political figure supportive of the social contract and the welfare state. Citizens are increasingly constructed through a language of contempt for all noncommercial public spheres and a chilling indifference to the plight of others that is increasingly expressed in vicious tirades against big government and health care reform. There is a growing element of scorn on the part of the American public for those human beings caught in the web of misfortune, human suffering, dependency and deprivation. As Barbara Ehrenreich observes, "The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement: starve school and public transportation budgets, then make truancy illegal. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Be sure to harass street vendors when there are few other opportunities for employment. The experience of the poor, and especially poor minorities, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks." [1]

A right-wing spin machine, influenced by haters like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter, endlessly spews out a toxic rhetoric in which: all Muslims are defined as jihadists; the homeless are not victims of misfortune but lazy; blacks are not terrorized by a racist criminal justice system, but the main architects of a culture of criminality; the epidemic of obesity has nothing to do with corporations, big agriculture and advertisers selling junk food, but rather the result of "big" government giving people food stamps; the public sphere is largely for white people, which is being threatened by immigrants and people of color, and so it goes. Glenn Beck, the alleged voice of the common man, appearing on the "Fox & Friends" morning show, calls President Obama a "racist" and then accuses him of "having a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." [2] Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh unapologetically states that James Early Ray, the confessed killer of Martin Luther King Jr., should be given a posthumous Medal of Honor, [3] while his counterpart in right-wing hate, talk radio host Michael Savage, states on his show, "You know, when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That's what I see - how do you like that? - a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children." [4] He also claims that Obama is "surrounded by terrorists" and is "raping America." This is a variation of a crude theme established by Ann Coulter, who refers to Bill Clinton as a "very good rapist." [5] Even worse, Obama is a "neo-Marxist fascist dictator in the making," who plans to "force children into a paramilitary domestic army." [6] And this is just a small sampling of the kind of hate talk that permeates right-wing media. This could be dismissed as loony right-wing political theater if it were not for the low levels of civic literacy displayed by so many Americans who choose to believe and invest in this type of hate talk. [7] On the contrary, while it may be idiocy, it reveals a powerful set of political, economic and educational forces at work in miseducating the American public while at the same time extending the culture of cruelty. One central task of any viable form of politics is to analyze the culture of cruelty and its overt and covert dimensions of violence, often parading as entertainment. "

This article should be read through completely to understand that each of us is a victim of this culture of cruelty. It's an attack on humanity and everything democracy represents.
 

. (0)
Wednesday September 9, 2009, 6:08 am
It is so sad... people in general are treated like second class citizens by the governments...
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 9, 2009, 10:58 am
Right on, Tom! Unfortunately, the people who need to read this piece and take it to heart aren't interested.
 

Sheila G (267)
Thursday September 10, 2009, 5:30 am
our gov't spends our money where it damn well pleases with little regard for the common people, I am going to DC to be counted, we have no say in anything, we have to rise to be heard.
mandatory vacinnes are here. we are losing our rights, we have to win them back. it won't be easy and it's always get really bad before it gets better. be up for people, listen to the man in your own head, not the guys on the screen.
 
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