Capitalism: Rule of the ignorant masses


8:23 am  |  I suppose my life these days might seem pretty boring. All I write about, and what I spend my whole day thinking about, is this philosophy stuff. (And when I’m not doing that, I’m doing something to help me relax like playing video games or listening to music. And even then, I’m still always letting something simmer in the back-burner.) Who would want to read any of these journal pages? Maybe someone who wants to track my thinking-process.

Actually, I’m a little anxious and stressed out these days. I don’t have much money left. And I probably won’t be good for hiring, since I am not willing to invest myself wholeheartedly into anything other than philosophy — and people usually want to get their money’s worth. It probably isn’t fair to them, if they aren’t getting the best of me. And neither is it fair to me.

It’s times like these — when I imagine my future self as being utterly miserable — that I wish that an affordable death-center could be set up in my society so that I could go there to get help to die. I am not an expert in knowing all the details of how the human body works, and I would want help to ensure that it is effective, efficient, painless, and hygienic. It seems to me to be the humane thing to do to offer such public services for non-experts; furthermore, it would also ensure that human life and all its activities are completely voluntary and deliberate.

In nature, the selection-process kills off what is undesirable as soon as possible; nature does not tolerate the undesirables to proliferate, the way that a capitalistic society does. Nature also takes no prisoners or slaves. But in capitalistic societies, the so-called superiors are dependent upon the so-called inferiors, which makes no sense to me at all; it is a permanent state of Saturnalia. It isn’t democracy that causes degeneration of cities (since Aristodemus and Socrates were both possible and real); it is a capitalism. Capitalism is the “code name” for the real cause of degeneration: rule of the ignorant masses. Capitalism is the engine that enables the rule of the ignorant masses by means of the dollar-vote. Ironically, it is by means of this dollar-vote that the ignorant masses place ultimate power into the hands of the very people that would oppress and exploit them.

Ah, and this is what Plato was criticizing. And somehow, I’m back to philosophy again.

What a mad world. A mad, free world. And I often wish to be free from it: the ignorant masses and their mad world of cheap, mass-produced goods which aren’t really goods at all. This is my hell on earth. It seems to me as if the world is in the grip of some angry cancer — ever fruitful and multiplying, ever proliferating with no end in sight, requiring ever more leavening of the bread, and ever more portioning up of the fish, until each portion is but the smell and flavor of it, and no more.

And it is here that I think to myself that perhaps the Nazis were more humane in killing their enemies outright, than the British or the Americans who would maintain inferior people in their states as slaves, employees, and customers. Spock would raise a brow, and say that what the British or Americans are doing is “highly illogical.”

What a mad world, and I don’t even wish to fight it and get my soul dirty. This is my current mood. But on the other side of the world, there are people who are struggling to survive, with a different mood. Perhaps it is a more hopeful mood — full of youth and vigor and life and beautiful thoughts dancing on their brows like candy canes dangling on a rope of lights strung over a Christmas hearth. And here, it seems that I am quite ready to resign the world over to them.

If I take a break (though it’s still so early in the day), perhaps I can gather up the courage to fight for my life again today; and instead of resigning, I could try to stand my ground and change the world instead. (Me thinks that this is how wars start….) Harvard, here I come.

O gods of Olympus, help me to change the world. Help me to make it better. Help me to make it worth living in. And if you won’t — have mercy, and end it!


10:13 am  |  To continue from where I left off yesterday on page 97, Scanlon writes: “The alternative, which I believe to be correct, is to hold that being good, or valuable, is not a property that itself provides a reason to respond to a thing in certain ways. Rather, to be good or valuable is to have other properties that constitute such reasons.”

Now, I wonder what this says about which position he takes on the Euthyphro question.

Is he saying that something is good because there is someone who chooses it for their own personal reasons/purpose (and the label “good” is just what is given to whatever a person chooses)? Or is he saying that there is something verifiably-good for the person that even third-parties can know objectively simply by engaging in close and careful observation of the subject and her condition? Perhaps both?

Scanlon says next: “Since the claim that some property constitutes a reason is a normative claim, this account also takes goodness and value to be non-natural properties, namely the purely formal, higher-order properties of having some lower-order properties that provide reasons of the relevant kind…it is not goodness or value itself that provides reasons but rather other properties that do so. For this reason I call it a buck-passing account.” (p.97)

So, this is what I hear when I translate Scanlon into Kendi-speak: Since, when we casually say that “there’s a reason” we mean for others to be able to agree with us to some extent, this line of thinking takes “goodness and value” to be mental constructs, namely beliefs that are truthful representations of reality (ie, “true beliefs”)… it’s not the person herself who simply makes-up whatever reasons for some object’s being good or valuable that makes it so, but rather there’s external/objectively-observable aspects about both the subject and the “good” object that makes the situation what it is. And this is what Scanlon calls the “buck-passing account.”

[And, as I was thinking last night, this was why some think that “happiness” is an objectively-observable “flourishing,” rather than a subject feel of “satisfaction.” But I don’t see why, on a Socratic view at least, it can’t be both?]