Language is a valuable (maybe essential) tool for exploring important ideas, ideas about justice in human relations, environmental or life system balance, and consciousness. Those two germs grew in my own intellectual development, you could say activism and metaphysics, in the form of support and exploration of what is loosely labeled “left” politics, and religious-ethical-philosophical studies. The two germs nurture each other, in a way, but language can actually block metaphysics when that is understood not as words about being but being itself.
Drawing, painting, music, dance and other arts language also engage in the metaphysical dialogue and they can, instead of referring to, talking about the subject, bring the artist/audience to the experience itself.
When the 1% gets nervous about its grip on the levers of power they sometimes will trot out a demagogue to seduce citizens their way, blaming this or that scapegoat for the indignities, injustices and insecurities foisted by selfish 1% policies.
Democracy is a high achievement of civilization, providing a means as it does, to settle disputes by reaching consensus, or peaceful agreement. The “losing party” might get part of their platform or can always look to another day, another issue where their view might prevail. This is a preferred option to always deciding the outcome of disputes by who has the bigger club. When the process becomes corrupted, when one party consistently cheats, or is merely perceived to, then the frustrated loser is tempted to reach for the club. If a faction is consistently excluded, even fairly, they too might see violence as useful. In a functioning democracy discontent is minimized so that “extremists” of this type cannot gather enough support to threaten the main body.
The 1% of course is such an extremist faction. They have already though corrupted democracy, by definition, to hold such disproportionate wealth, so their problem becomes masking the fact of their rule by use of scapegoats, media ownership, disproportionate influence in political, academic, religious and other institutional life, allocating relatively small portions of their vast wealth to this end.
I like to quote Arundhati Roy, “Remember, we are many, they are few.” It is true, the interests of the majority are fairly common; food, clothing, shelter, education, health care. The wealthy class’ strength is, obviously money, and that can be (is) used to convince, persuade, muddy the waters, hire thugs, such that many will confusedly vote against their own interests. This is the dilemma Chomsky has recently cautioned about, that a candidate like Bernie will probably unite the 1%, a formidable coalition. And an establishment candidate will likely deflate progressive enthusiasm and will, even if elected, fail to address the climate/nuclear/equity crisis, thus continuing, though with less bluster, the drift toward the falls. For those who recognize that we end war or it ends us, that climate change is addressed or civilization implodes, it seems a Bernie-or-bust stance might be fully justified.
Image credit: Capitalism – man chasing money - is an editorial cartoon by the author, © Tom Ferguson.