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Persuasion versus Domination, Aggression, and Oppression

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Persuasion versus Domination, Aggression, and Oppression

When peaceful protestors rose up to make democratic changes in their governments, Tunisia and Egypt bowed out, however ungracefully, while Qaddafi of Libya and Bahrain with Saudi Arabia are trying to overcome the protests with military coercion.

Let’s not forget Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker, who also used government machinery against democratic protest, and the word here does not refer to the Democratic Party, but the basic rights that working people have long struggled for and should apply to private and public working people alike. Governor Walker used political machinations to decimate the power of working people farther, when employers “enjoy” almost 10 percent unemployment: that means five working people are standing in line for every one job opportunity. How brutal to use the budget deficit as a weapon against the unemployed, the underemployed, and those working people, who have gone off the radar screen, because they have lost all hope for employment.

Blame the victims, go ahead. We all do share in some of the blame. Wall Street greed colonized the housing market, but it is obvious that the brokerage houses and banks have been robbing the people, while it used to be the other way around. How can people in charge of financial institutions make such incredible bonuses and salaries, when industrial production in this country continues to diminish and millions languish in unemployment? Shouldn’t bonuses and high salaries apply to providing common prosperity rather than private gain at the expense of common interest? Some of us did do credit card surfing for low interest payments on our debt, but what society allows credit cards to charge 32 percent interest on some charges?

Back to Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, et al. Governments exist by the consent of their people and people do not exist by the consent of their government. How would Washington go about electing a different people every four years? [Of course gerrymandering their districts helps.] But the political and economic systems exist for the sake of the life-world and not vice versa. (Habermas)

Reasoning, argumentation, and negotiation are non-violent ways to achieve the truth of justice. Violence, coercion, dominance, manipulation are all ways designed to short circuit these positive actions. This truth also bears on taking away the bargaining rights and the power to negotiate in Wisconsin. Gov Walker pits a weak government against the power of the unions, while refusing to see the larger picture, which is the backdrop corporations exporting jobs and making undemocratic and unpatriotic decisions to close factories and open them where workers are much more easily exploited. Dominion depends on dividing and overpowering people, so the private workers had to be pitted against the public workers, so that all working people would become too weak to protest the injustices perpetrated upon them. Meanwhile the disparity between the rich and poor in our country gets ever wider. Let me quote Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, “We can have democracy [in our country] or wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both.”
What I want to underscore is that reasoning together and negotiating is non-violent action and countering it with violence and aggression brings social regression and oppression. Reasoning has to be supported by rhetoric and rhetoric should not be used to contradict reasoning. Qaddafi’s rhetoric is so blatantly false that it can only be called propaganda. When his forces retook a city, it was easy to see how the people were forced to step back into the lies that he wanted told. The words of Groucho Marx come to mind: “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

For critical thinking, thinking is critical. Rhetoric and more blatantly propaganda are designed to overturn reasoning, while rhetoric should support and bolster reasoning, whose weakness is really its strength. Secondly, anecdotes should not be used to overturn serious studies and systematic investigations. The basic tendency of what is really happening in a society should not be obscured by a minority of anecdotes that are an exception to that tendency. For example, “happy” people paid off by a dictator, people who know on what side their bread is buttered, should not be allowed to contradict the oppressed masses.

Finally I ask in the face of all the trouble conservatism is bringing into our world, why so many people want to outdo each other in becoming more conservative? I know that this label covers many different folks, who have very different convictions, but ask yourself, if one of them is little government for the sake of big corporations? Corporations are very necessary and positive in our economic system, but corporate power is not democratic. Money and power should be used for the sake of common interests and not used to advantage the rich at the expense of the livelihood of the poor.

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Written by peterkrey

March 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

One Response

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  1. I think you are on the track of it Peter. There are, however, different personalities in the corporate structure. It is an old story. There are people born to be rich who do take social responsibility seriously, but in America the corporations are not all that old, and the middle east political groups you have referred to are the same, so they follow The Prince. They are the cliché neuvaux rich. They work for themselves and whatever they can get from the other guy they do. They call that scratching and crawling their way to the top. Recently I received an email at work that was aimed at educating the CEO. In that email one of the main themes was about who to hire and who to fire in sales. It seems that, according to these prophets, if you have a guy in sales that is out there making freinds of customers, you should fire him, because it is supposed to be his job to be out there making profitable sales, not freinds. Still there are people around who will help the other guy along where they can. Some of them even turn out to be leaders in Corporate America. Don’t give up hope! Be there to let God work through you and His message of salvation for all will have a venue.
    Bill Isakson

    Bill Isakson

    March 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm


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