Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ November 16. 2020
One of the invidious diseases eating away at the post-modern wreckage of Western Civilization is the abandonment of moral judgment in the public realm. The disasters experienced or narrowly escaped in the US election still in the purgatory of deceit, and conspiracy makes the absence of any ethical consciousness among a large part of the population crystal clear.
Facing the implications of 40% of the US voters willing to support crude racism, attacks on the basic forms of representative government with the support of a mentally challenged and incompetent criminal is devastating. How could this happen?
We are already into the endless parade of the usual suspects. Polling was wrong, people have been hiding their racist anger, the Trump supporters are misunderstood, the Democratic Party failed even though it won, and the Trump Party won even though it failed. People voted for Biden but went with Trump’s party down-ticket because of confusion, fear of leftward (whatever that means) movement by the Democratic Party, or some massive conspiracy.
The reality sometimes alluded to but incorrectly identified is the complete absence of anything resembling moral standards among the people vying to represent us. With some notable exceptions among the youngest on the progressive side, there is no pretense of anything but greed, ignorance, and racism.
While the oligarchic elite's professional representatives maintain a facade of compassion and concern for people’s welfare, Biden and Harris won the election based on this; they are not at risk of having to deliver more than a pittance. But we are being primed to understand that it is not their fault.
With one of the two allowed national parties fully committed to the destruction of democratic norms and the oppression of all but the billionaire elite, the other party maintaining some public concern is the best available. While I want to believe they really are concerned, the system is so broken that they can easily justify that nothing can be done beyond superficial gestures.
The moral disaster is a broad cultural failure to support anything other than profit, greed, and exploitation in the face of suicidal consequences to all life on the planet. This is despite our evolutionary social altruism and six thousand years of philosophical development.
The weight of that failure is on the antiquated religions of the West. This has been understood for several hundred years. The modern scientific world's rise chose to ignore everything but a minimal view of physical reality when overwhelmed by an infinite universe's shock.
That choice led to great success in developing our nature’s better angels. The social and philosophic changes to increase welfare and reduce violence were not produced by the old religious systems but by rational education and broad science applications.
Not all the failure was the abandonment of religion as anything other than a mythic relic continuing to exist as a cultural museum and, at best, a neighborhood mutual benefit society. The acceptance of the bizarre definition of physical reality and all other life forms as ‘dead’ with no value other than as objects to be owned drove Western Civilization into the death trip of slavery and capitalism.
This produced the unsolvable dilemma we face with no allowable goals other than exploitation and ownership. With all objects other than a ruling subset of humanity to be treated as things and with no value other than that assigned by financial ownership, the desire after decades of gradual loss to own everything and take whatever they can get is very understandable.
The most problematic part of the population, specifically in America, was also the part that was left with the old religions as the only things they could be sure to own. By the 21st century, the great US middle-class share of the modern, scientific-based wealth had been stolen and replaced by debt. After three generations, lifetime debt was normal and their right to own just as they could own intellectually bankrupt religions. Their estate is a combination of ignorance and debt, but by God, it is theirs, and they will fight to keep it.
As we know, a serious percentage of the rest of us are beneficiaries of this system. The billionaire elite owns the capital that produces wealth without work and attracts all available wealth in the capitalist system owning at least 70% of all wealth. Still, about 15–20% of the population has a precarious hold of some assets. This is increasingly at risk as the headlong rush to exploitation accelerates the planetary climate disaster.
This neatly answers the question of why privileged white women vote for a criminal, misogynist, and rapist. Awareness of the impending social and economic collapse over the remaining decades of the 21st century transfixes any mother. Holding on to their tentative position in society and access to some wealth can easily be prioritized over saving the planet and all those other people.
That this is a morally bankrupt statement could only be questioned from a strongly held ethical belief in the commons and value of all life forms and the material reality around us. But that is denied. The only moral value is to maintain ownership and control.
Yes, many people refuse to be trapped this way, but they are also in the dilemma of family and friends. As mammals and social animals, we may spontaneously risk our lives to save another, but our socialized intellect forces us to check the future and what we see as valuable. In a world increasingly ruled by criminals and the ignorant dedicated to the crudest form of the ‘ideals’ that have been taught for three hundred years, we should be amazed that a majority have drawn the line in the US. But can that line be held?
We need to define and implement a strong spiritual philosophy based on the scientific knowledge that tells us that reality is a mental construct that is our responsibility to make harmonious and just because no one else can. If someone else claims they can, they are trying to exploit you. That lesson seems to have been learned by courtesy of Donald Trump and his party.
There are frightening hyperobjects barely within our ability to understand that we have brought into being and must survive. One aspect of those hyperobjects is their complete integration with all life and material things. This is completely beyond the traditional Western world view. It exists in forms within the Asian philosophical tradition, and that has been brought into the modern and post-modern age and is helping us. But these moral ideals must be internalized to give us a place to stand to move the world.
Fortunately, the predominantly Buddhist based spiritual tools are not exclusive and emphasize the great diversity of ways to achieve a universal balance. These tools can work within the evolutionary ethics that are the foundation of all spiritual and religious traditions, so fast adaption and evolution are possible. But it takes a committed public movement to say that responsibility for everything around us is not a political choice but required by the universe of which we are part.
This spiritual transformation is the battle in which we must give no quarter. Hatred, ignorance, racism, oppression, and denial are not the means of survival, and we have little time. It doesn’t matter why people followed the wrong path, but only that they must understand there is a correct path, it is not the old paths, and we are all responsible for managing and sharing that path with all.