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When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. Frederic Bastiat
I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence. Eugene V Debs
That cursed society in which one may see a single man spending uselessly enough to feed thousands of families, an infamous society which permits a few individuals to monopolise all the social wealth while there are hundreds of thousands of unfortunates who have not even enough bread that is not refused to dogs, and while entire families are committing suicide for want of the necessities of life. Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays ***** audiobook 6.57.08, part III
What they are doing is extracting from us. Chris Hedges, lecture Seattle University 2018, Corporate Totalitarianism: The End Game *****
It has the capacity to commodify everything. ibid.
They are taking from us our constitutional rights by judicial fiat i.e reinterpreting the right of unlimited corporate power through a distorted interpretation of the constitution. ibid.
The disintegration of these social bonds plunges individuals into deep psychological distress. Chris Hedges, lecture Sanctuary for Independent Media, New York 2018, ‘American Anomie’, Youtube 2.01.07
Our corporate coup d’etat and failed democracy has freed the oligarchic elite from all legal and moral constraints. ibid.
Mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence ... The electoral process is a facade. ibid.
A third of the American workforce earn less than $12 an hour and most of them do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. ibid.
Empires in decay embrace an almost wilful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateralism, bombastic threats and the blunt instrument of war. ibid.
An aggressive criminalisation of the poor … The poor are thrown into prison and must forfeit all their property for being caught with small amounts of the same drugs. ibid.
The self-destructive pathologies that plague the United States: opioid addiction, morbid obesity, gambling, suicide, sexual sadism … hate groups and mass shootings, rise out of this anomie. ibid.
Capitalism: you don’t want this greed to dominate society. ibid.
We are a society awash in skilfully manufactured lies. Solitude that makes thought possible – a removal from the electronic cacophony that besieges us – is harder and harder to find. We have severed ourselves from a print-based culture. We are unable to grapple with the nuances and complexity of ideas. We have traded ideas for fabricated clichés. We speak in the hollow language we are given by our corporate masters. Reality, presented to us as image, is unexamined and therefore false. We are culturally illiterate. And because of our cultural illiteracy we are easily manipulated and controlled. Chris Hedges, speech American Political Science Association 3 September 2016
I would argue it’s not Trump who has accelerated the deterioration of our democratic institutions but by all of those forces within the political establishment and I would argue the press that are tasked with defending an open society – they’ve failed us … We are a deeply diseased society. Chris Hedges, interview Abby Martin, The Empire Files, Youtube 2020
Phone for the fish knives, Norman
As Cook is a little unnerved;
You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes
And I must have things daintily served.
Are the requisites all in the toilet?
The frills round the cutlets can wait
Till the girl has replenished the cruets
And switched on the logs on the grate.
It’s ever so close in the lounge, dear,
But the vestibule’s comfy for tea,
And Howard is out riding on horseback
So do come and take some with me.
Now here is a fork for your pastries
And do use the couch for your feet;
I know what I wanted to ask you –
Is the trifle sufficient for sweet?
Milk and then just as it comes, dear?
I’m afraid the preserve’s full of stones;
Beg pardon, I’m soiling the doyleys
With afternoon tea-cakes and scones. John Betjeman, How to Get on in Society
All societies have had need to find an explanation of the way in which human beings came into the world. David Attenborough, televised interview
Modern societies march towards morality in proportion as they leave religion behind. Paul Bert
There is no such thing as society. Margaret Thatcher
The basis of any truly civilised society, true democracy, is Justice. Truth and Justice. John Pilger, interview Alan Hart
We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster. Carl Sagan, with Anne Kalosh, ‘Bringing Science Down to Earth’, 1994
But an extraterrestrial visitor examining the differences among human societies would find those differences trivial compared to the similarities. We are one species. Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: Who Speaks for Earth? PBS 1980
An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth – scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books – might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it, and through constant repetition many of them finally get it. What kind of society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope? Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. Isaac Asimov
Scepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism – and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency. Stephen Jay Gould
That world has gone. The anchors have dissolved or are dissolving. There is neither a monetary nor religious anchor. The pound floats; Catholicism is mired in the horrifying sexual antics of its priests; CEOs pay themselves salaries without limits. The great visions of how one might associate with others – in an Empire, a Commonwealth, a socialist economy, a commune, a religious community, a trade union or even a company – have become implausible. We are individualists in a not very sovereign nation state being buffeted around by economic forces beyond our control. We madly find meaning in cults and celebrity, overinvesting in family as the last redoubt of meaning, while reconciling ourselves to fewer public services and cynical companies even while the country is very much richer. Will Hutton, The Baby Boomers and the Price of Personal Freedom
My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. Albert Einstein