7 inherently illogical (and often dishonest) things about life in the United States.

1. Capitalism creates permanent ethical dilemmas for all parties, as it encourages and relies on selfishness, corruption, and irrationality. Who can “cheat” who the most wins under capitalism. And the entire system is imaginary. Money always complicates. 

2. Being “young and dumb” and going to public school has often been criminalized. Police officers (who are only required to have one semester of college; although, many have much, much more) are now constantly present every day in public schools (and colleges) around the nation. Being tardy or getting into a fight no longer means detention and a talking to but often real criminal charges. For instance these three middle school students are facing felony charges for putting red pepper in their teacher’s drink.

3. We argue about what the governments “can” and “can’t” afford when the government prints and controls said money and can (to large degrees) set corresponding prices. Money is, after all, a social construction. What governments want to do, governments do.

4. Laws prohibit restaurants and grocery stores from donating leftover food in all but very selective cases. Laws in various places criminalize being homeless. Other laws criminalize helping the homeless. None of this helps solve the problem of food deserts

5. Society has allowed a Military-to-Prison Pipeline to develop. Jails and prisons are filled with those who answered the “highest” patriotic calling by serving our nation. Many of those formally or not formally incarcerated face various psychological incarcerations, including depression and homelessness. We seldom recognize what veterans actually look like. To save money, the military has been kicking those out who display psychological symptoms.  

6. People ignore global warning/climate change and forget that the Earth does not need to be saved (except from us!). The issue is keeping an Earth that can support life, as we think of it. The Earth, like all planets, has transformed many, many times and will continue to do so, long after the Earth will not be able to support what we call life no matter what we do. The latest studies show that our planet was originally two planets! We also seldom question efforts to recycle. We don’t consider or even have conversations about the economic and environmental expense of recycling. It takes gas, oil, and pollution to recycle. Some products, like paper, are arguably better off being thrown away, given how quickly they biodegrade. 

7. Some politicians (including judges) argue that the Constitution must be interpreted as “originally written”. This would void all of the amendments and reinstate enslavement to just get started. An original interpretation would mean virtually no one gets to vote except the very richest. And of course, an “original” interpretation is simply not possible for all kinds of reasons I don’t need to rehash. But, ultimately, an “original” interpretation is code language for saying only the very richest White men should have a voice. 

Andrew Joseph Pegoda

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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18 replies

  1. The U.S. is full of double standards. The U.S. is supposed to protect “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” However, number one, “Life” is not protected in the U.S. Cops kill us every day, and our government does not provide universal equal health care for all.

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  2. Sad, but true. And it seems like we’re moving in the all the wrong directions.

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  3. there is so much stated here that is absolutely and demonstrably untrue. police departments require nearly 2 entire years of training. And I always know a student in police academy because they know civil rights, the bill of rights, etc like the back of their hand.

    secondly your statements on capitalism are a profession of ignorance. I hate communism. However I don’t hate communism at all compared to how much the people who lived under it hate it. Look at China before Nixon went to China, and look at China today. Capitalism has created the richest class of poor people in human history. Communism just doesn’t work. Socialism works inside of a bubble like in NATO and defacto NATO allied countries in Europe. NATO grantees their safety. It is very easy to give out free education and free healthcare when you don’t have a military. It is very easy to have lots of money when you don’t have to worry about your safety because NATO guarantees it. We live in a Unipolar world where you are granted the freedom to even have this blog because the unipolar hegemonic power of NATO allows you to. NATO isn’t free. NATO allied forces have a budget of more than 1,000 billions or 1 trillion USD a year. America is currently paying 80% of that. If we didn’t have that expense we could do anything. Unfortunately the west, liberalism, and enlightenment depend on our continued military supremacy.

    So in your fishbowl not real countries that only exist because someone else pays for and guarantees their security socialism seems to work. They are a class of security moochers who exist in prosperity because of their security mooching. Other countries that existed outside our protection such as the Former PRC (when it was communist), Cuba, Former USSR, and etc. saw utter failure and collapse. The PRC has exploded since it decided to become capitalist. And its people are living better lives since then. They have food, and money, and homes, and clothes. I’ve seen documentaries on the lives of the Chinese people and how well they are living now. Wherever capitalism goes it creates the richest class of poor people. That is just true in objective reality.

    There are laws of capitalism that are more real and more observed then laws of physics. These laws benefit man. Laws like competition that make products overtime more abundant and cheaper. Look at technology. Look at when electricity was deregulated and made into a competitive market and the price went to nothing. Look at any competitive market. Capitalism has produced amazing products, and made them affordable. People are selfish. Capitalism is a system that forces them to serve their fellow man for their own selfish gain.

    There are anecdotal examples of extremely out of the norm problems in the system. But they represent such a small scale of real world examples. Go read all the prospectuses filed in the last month with the government. see the engine of the global economy. They are stories about people with dreams to serve their fellow man. And there are people willing to risk their money to make those dreams come true with the hope they might make a reasonable return. I just clicked a prospectus at random. It tells the story of a group of people looking to raise $9mil to increase the size of their company that purchases distressed abandoned homes, remodels them into nice houses, and rents them at competitive affordable rates. That is beautiful to me. They are providing a service. People need a house to rent, people deserve to live in a nice home, they are doing it. That sounds fantastic. There are thousands of these prospectuses filed every month that tell the story of real people working to solve real problems with the hopes of making a return to real investors. Capitalism is about people helping people.

    you will never escape the fact that alternatives to capitalism fail. All communist countries failed, and the only place socialism works is in artificial countries. Bernie and Michael Moore say look at Norway, look at Sweden. Those countries exist because a US submarine will fire a trident ICBM out of the water and blow up anyone who would dare invade those countries. If they weren’t our western NATO allies (or defacto allies) the Russians would have destroyed them decades ago. They exist because they don’t have to spend money on security. Its easy to give out free crap when you don’t have an Army.



    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for your detailed comment. Let me followup on a few things:

      Police are only required to have a high school diploma (or GED) and one semester (or the equivalent) of community education to earn the Peace Officer Certification. Many do go on to get a full degree of some kind but not all.

      I’ve never advocated for abolishing capitalism. In our society, we live with all kinds of on-going ethical dilemmas. “Communism”m is one of those words and concepts that like “democracy” has its various official theoretical definitions and then how it exists in reality.

      As far as paying for things: the governments in the U.S. already “pay for” all kinds of things (P-12 education, roads, health care for various groups, etc).

      Capitalism has only existed for a very brief time in the scope of human history.

      And we have to remember that in many communities in the U.S. today, those our economic scales classify as among the poorest, already largely live outside of the theories and practices related to capitalism.

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    • I have to question some claims by Jerry. For example, the claim of two-year training applies to Texas, but not universal in the US. Pegoda’s argument does not specify for the location. Further, we have to be specific about “police” or “policeman” because of course the certification depends on the expertise. But I assume Jerry means patrol and beyond.

      I disagree, however, with police academy as an expert of constitutional law (Jerry’s sentence is a bit confusing). Obviously, police are not experts of constitutional law; we assume that the district attorney would be an expert, else relying on the police for constitutional law seems to invalidate separation of branches (even at the state level). Obviously, since we see appeal processes with myriad of complaints against police, court systems seem that police are not experts with constitutional practice.

      I am confused with the sentence,”There are laws of capitalism that are more real and more observed then laws of physics.” This is a false analogy fallacy. I believe that Jerry is more astute about economics, history, and civic law. But I doubt you’ve studied physics over the past five centuries. The analogy is simply fallacious.

      Briefly, I agree with Pegoda re: capitalism. Nowhere does he claim communism [sic] is the answer. Jerry’s intrusion of communism into the discussion is a straw man fallacy. On the other hand, I agree with Jerry that Soviet-style economics was horrible (which was not communism; talk to a real communist and you’ll see that Sovietism as merely a facade of totalitarianism in the guise of Marxism, but that’s another discussion). But capitalism is clearly defined as “selfishness, corruption, and irrationality” by Pegoda. Even Adam Smith argues that in essence (he argues for self-interest, a synonym of selfishness). Capitalism is merely the transfer of body worth to someone else’s profit. Of course, capitalism — like all economic systems — may often mediate by mercy and altruism. What we see in 20th-21st centuries capitalism is failure of the center elements of greed and corruption, the very seeds that lead, ironically, to totalitarianism.


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    • Hey Bruce!

      Thanks for your comments!

      One thing I’ve noticed consistently is that conversations that critique capitalism are interpreted/processed as suggesting that communism or socialism, full on, are necessary.

      I agree with you re: physics metaphor. Physics is a “hard” science, while capitalism and money are totally subjective and human-made.


    • More shortly but I just double checked. The Basic Peace Officer Licensure Certificate Program, which is the only requirement beyond a high school degree, can be completed in one semester. e.g., http://www.brazosport.edu/programs/LawEnforcementAcademy/Pages/default.aspx


    • The assertion that socialist countries don’t have militaries or invest in militaries is a bizarre claim to make, as it is categorically inaccurate. A number of European countries have mandatory military service for their citizens, so clearly they have a military. The degree to which organizations like NATO are involved in maintaining those things, I can’t say as I have no knowledge of that. But you can take a look at the budgets of, say, the Scandinavian countries, and see that they do budget money to their militaries. They just don’t dump the majority of their resources into their military like America does.

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  4. I agree with most of your sentiments, I am curious about the one regarding recycling: certainly some items do biodegrade quite quickly, as you pointed out, paper. But isn’t the process of harvesting the trees and processing then ultimately more resource-consuming than processing recycled paper? Shouldn’t the oil and pollution and deforestation (even in areas that are well regulated) be calculated in as well, and do the resources/pollution invested in recycling really outweigh the expense of producing new paper?

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  5. You all use the same argument tactic of liberals. I am left of anyone. I am more liberal than you can imagine. But being around academics has made me consider joining the GOP and going to the right. You all use the same flawed argument tactic that attempts to conflate narrative with reality.

    Your tactic is tantamount to taking a cherry picked sample population of data and claiming it reflects all of the data. You say someplace somewhere there is a cop with no education. Ok… and? HPD for example goes to San Jac North all the time to look for minorities to hire. They require what is equivalent to two years of education. Most police forces require this. I want you to find the average number of college hours policemen have to have go get hired (or do have) and compare it to some notion that policemen are uneducated.

    As for your argument that Europeans have some sort of military is again absurd. It is undeniable that NATO is the hegemonic military power on planet earth. It is undeniable that NATO is supreme because over a trillion dollars is spent on its force every year. And it is undeniable that the majority of that (some sources say 80%+) is spent just by the USA. In typical liberal fashion you all point to some sort of socialist European country and say it is succeeding. Look at their percent of GDP spent on military. Find how much the USA would save it only spent that percentage of its own GDP on military, and you will find the USA could afford to give everyone free crap too if it spent as little money as percentage of GDP on the military as the countries. Unfortunately if the US did that the world would descend into chaos.

    There are economic laws that are more sound than physical science. Physical science for decades taught hundreds of thousands of students that the world exist as it does today because of seafloor spreading. Then one day academics changed their mind to plate-tectonics. Who knows what it will be next week. However it is undeniable that if the Apple Iphone’s price was changed tomorrow to $120,000 a unit. Demand would be reduced. That is just fact. And certain economic principles of capitalism support a better society.

    There is a reason people have disdain for academia. Its because you all live in a bubble called the ivory tower. If socialism is so great. Go live in a socialist country. I promise you that the people who hate communism the most are people who live in communist countries. They don’t sit around saying, “THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!” and cry tears of joy. They all sit there and wished they lived in a place like America.

    Any notion that some anecdotal evidence that some cop somewhere has no education, or some socialist country has a tank. It just absurd. Look at the big picture, and you will see the flaws in your arguments.


  6. Jason Perry isn’t a liberal. Liberals aren’t wed to the notion that progress is only had through the gates of greed (capitalism).

    His ranting is nothing like what you would hear from any liberal. He is a poser engaging in psychological warfare.

    If dude is a liberal, where is his focus on general welfare over the accumulation of wealth and power for a minority population? Do liberals assume capitalism provides equal opportunity for all people everywhere.

    His claim that “economic laws” are “more sound than physics” is just plain asinine. Economy is at least 50% subjective because it isn’t retractable from human opinion, nor are many of these relationships directly measurable. Measuring the pull of gravity is in no way like measuring the value of work or capital allocation.

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