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What a year it was: The 1999 Darwin Award Winners!

How about a flashback to some pre-millennial insanity, as nobody did crazy like they did in the old days before Bush II... This mandatory annual dose of morbid humor was always the moment we'd been waiting for... so Read, Enjoy, and Pray that you aren't related to any of these people, as it's the 1999 Darwin Awards!

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The nail that stands up, gets beaten down.
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Capitalism, the Elite, Majority and Minority... have democratic laws and the free market furthered society? Or are we simply tools under a less discrete oligarchy?

Note to the reader: This article sounds angry; however, I am not an angry person. If anything, I am concerned. I am fearfully concerned because (as Moby so tactfully put in his latest release 'Are you lost in the world like me') "These Systems Are Failing" and no one seems to care. People today are blind, disillusioned, apathetic, and numb; they live within a lie created by a self-interested, loveless society not looking for truths. I write not to create arguments but rather to promote thought. Argument creates war but discussion can create friendships.

This is a story about the fall of freedom in the 20th century and how a small and corrupt group were able to seize back power a majority had finally possessed. This group worked through capitalism and an industrialized free market to bring the population under a crushing reign while creating a picture-perfect illusion that things had not changed from the original ideas of freedom.

Through the need for district managers, marketing professionals, and in some cases, factory workers, capitalism and the free market have led to the rise of a so-called "middle" class, but when the truth about the free market economy finally surfaces, it will reek of oligarchic rule.

Creating a government claiming to be democratic in nature did more to create a public blindfold than any true democracy. The reality is that power has only shifted into a new class of corrupt elitists who control the government through campaign funding. The media has played its part, satiating people with images that mean nothing if only for propaganda. The result is that everyone thinks that everything is okay when it is not.

There once was a country that was almost free from centralization. This country's cultural aspects differed greatly from region to region and yet in those regions, small business and land ownership flourished. The elites could no longer use religion or divine right as control devices over a population majority. But with the industrial revolution came new ways to attain rulership, through factories and the commercialization of society. With mass production, mass distribution, and mass financing as their weapons, the elites quickly squashed the rise of small business and land owners. 

In The Perennial Philosophy, Aldous Huxley observes the effect of this takeover: "...thus reducing the sum of freedom among the majority and increasing the power of a minority to exercise a coercive control over the lives of their fellows. This coercively controlling minority is composed of private capitalists and governmental bureaucrats with both classes of bosses acting in collaboration, and, of course, the coercive and therefore essentially loveless nature of the control remains the same, whether the bosses call themselves 'company directors' or 'civil servants.'"

Over the past 500 years not as much has changed as we have been led to believe. Aside from being more technologically advanced as a whole, and thus less poverty ridden, the oligarchy remains. However, this time the power is derived from wealth rather than position, and maintained through the media and its influence on the common mind rather than through divine lineage. With small businesses and land owners eliminated, the minority needed a way to strengthen the illusion created by the word 'democracy,' to keep the entire public at its mercy.

Television became that perfect fabricator; a device which could instill an image of dissatisfaction and create superficial problems in the minds of the capitalist serfs. If the majority could be convinced by images on a screen that they were ugly until they resembled a super-model, that they were incomplete without a Toyota Land Rover, that Miller Light = Good Time, or that money is the sole path to happiness, then the majority (who by now would have lost what control they had anyway) would never notice that most senior citizens and people on a lower income use the emergency room as their "family" doctor, while the heads of health insurance companies become more and more filthy rich. 

Nor that wars are being waged over the price of oil, or that our forests are being depleted for paper because the country refuses to legalize a plant that might make you "high." Athletes and performers get paid ridiculous salaries for ridiculous efforts while scientists searching for cures to fatal diseases beg for government funding probably would not make an impact either. If the majority can be convinced that TV is the standard by which to judge reality, then the wealthy can keep them diverted with frivolous actions rather than the pursuit of a true democracy wherein the people stand equal.

The answer to these problems is not in name-calling. The answer lies in opening eyes and unmasking the source for what it is. 

The author Neil Donald Walsch uses the example of smoking. "The law says you cannot grow and use a certain kind of plant, hemp, because, as the government tells you, it is not good for you. Yet the same government says it is all right to grow and use another kind of plant, tobacco, not because it is good for you (indeed, the government itself says it is bad), but, presumably, because you've always done so. The real reason that the first plant is outlawed and the second is not has nothing to do with health. It has to do with economics. And that is to say power." 

This is by no means a marijuana legalization plea, the point of this quotation is two-fold. The first is that most of the built-up ideas on the subject are exactly what the oligarchy have driven into our thoughts since we first submitted our vision and hearing to the influence of the media. Thus, people generally are not aware that hemp makes a stronger, more outlasting and generally superior cloth compared to cotton, offering an abundant supply of paper so rich, that cutting down trees would cease if it were legal to grow as a cash-crop.

Rather, people refuse to allow the legalization of the plant because the they have been told that its only use is to get high and 'high' is bad. This implanted moral has two purposes: to insure that the majority continues to throw their money at the feet of the oligarchy and that they do so blindly. And the 'company directors' (mentioned by Mr. Huxley) remain hidden from the eye of the public, behind a curtain of commercials, magazine ads, and the common belief that the word democracy is synonymous with freedom.

To broaden on this idea, when one pays a ridiculous price for a basketball ticket or for health insurance, or even purchasing a hamburger at McDonalds, the fire of capitalistic control is fueled and burns with more and more heat. The danger is not in enjoying a sport or wanting to be insured for physical injury or health misfortune. The danger lies in turning a blind eye to where the money goes. If you support the oligarchy by purchasing their products, then you support their decisions regarding how you will be governed by your laws.

Your cooperation ensures that the elites will creat and enact laws to ensure that wealth defines power. Your power to be free will depend on your own wealth, but your wealth will be limited by those same laws you just supported by supporting the oligarchy or 'company directors.' The company director's money makes political decisions for the politicians through campaign funding and if not by that, through the use of their most powerful weapons: namely television and other forms of media.

The media seems to be able to tell the minds of a bewildered public exactly how to think about their government officials. As Mr. Walsch said perfectly in Conversations With God, Book Two: "Your laws, therefore, do not reflect what your society thinks of itself, and wishes to be - your laws reflect where the power is."

The answer I see most fitting is decentralization. There must be an extreme resurgence of production on a small scale along with private land ownership. New laws must be initiated to encourage entreprenuership while completely abolishing monopolies and cartels on most levels. Corporations could exist for services such as utilities and medical care but only in a social manner with charity as the primary concern for profit. In other words, people would have to care about other people and instate a government to ensure that their concern for the less fortunate would be carried out thus keeping society from being returned to the blight of a loveless oligarchy. 

"these social rearrangements [referring to decentralization] would do much to prevent ambitious individuals, organizations, and governments from being led into the temptation of behaving tyrannically." 

Distribution of wealth would occur but not in communist terms. Most of the distribution would be from the profit of the few remaining corporations and from taxes that would affect only the most wealthy citizens of the population.

Thus, even those with a "bad work ethic" or "unsatisfactory education" could choose to join society without the hardships of starting below a poverty line. Small business would insure that the public could exist on different economic levels, but no one individual would reach an excessive amount of wealth while no one person would be stricken with poverty.

In closing, while these words are my own, many of the ideas behind them did not originate in my mind alone. I would like to thank my friends for the philosophical talk we have engaged in over many beers and would like to specifically thank Erin Behan, Tom Beck, and Grant Wentzle. If you are interested in the ideas regarding decentralization, or that an oligarchy does exist please read:

The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley. If you want to explore how television has bewildered and controlled the public, please read: Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.

If you are concerned with the loveless nature of today's society and peoples' general disregard of those around them, read: Conversations With God, Book Two by Neil Donald Walsch. If you want to see a direct but amusing reality check about how things stand today politically, socially, and economically, see the movie Bulworth starring Warren Beatty.

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