“The NFL and what’s wrong with America”

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

I’m a fan of professional football and I’ve followed it for almost 60 years. Many of those who come to this site, especially our Proprietor, are football fans as well. The game is exciting to watch lending itself perfectly to television viewing, as compared to the other professional sports. However, this is not a post about the sport, the players, its violence or its merits. This is a critical look with the overarching corporate structure of the National Football League. The NFL has become the most lucrative sports business organization in the United States, receiving approximately $8 or $9 Billion a year from TV networks and its revenue from all other sources, including licensing, radio and satellite TV. On average each of the NFL’s 32 teams earns an average of $175 million per year which includes ticket sales. Under the collective bargaining agreement, won after a threatened “player lockout” in 2011, each team has what is known as a “hard salary cap”, which means that the total each team pays to its players is capped at a fixed amount which cannot be exceeded. Currently the cap per each team is about $130 Million per year. Therefore the average NFL team probably makes a profit of at least $30 Million per year after other expenses. Given the state of business, any corporation of medium size that would receive a guaranteed net profit of $30 Million yearly must be considered very fortunate.

The NFL has a rule barring corporations from team ownership:

“Ownership groups must contain twenty-four or fewer individuals, and at least one partner must hold a thirty percent or greater share of the team. The Green Bay Packers are an exemption to the current policy, since they have been a publicly owned stock corporation since before the rule was in place.”

At first glance this may seem a salutary policy, but in operation the League’s ownership consists mainly of billionaires, who are either football fans, publicity seekers and/or both. In fairness I must admit that some of the current owners are descendants of their teams’ founders, such as the Rooney’s in Pittsburgh, the Mara’s in New York and the Halas family owners of Professor Turley’s beloved Bears. Mainly the teams are run by people who made their money in other professions and decided that a football team would make a great hobby. The problem is that the “hobbyists” have and are exhibiting the type of business philosophy that seems to have taken hold in America, which is a ruthless model, in which their employees and even their customers, the fans, are merely pawns to be run over roughshod as they satisfy their egos and their greed. After the break I’ll explain my thinking on this and show why I see the NFL as a metaphor of what’s wrong with our country.

What brought this to mind for me was the “lockout” of NFL Officials and Referees, which ended this week after a debacle on Monday Night Football: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/09/25/foul-ruling-replacement-refs-blow-call-and-given-seahawks-unjustified-win-over-the-packers/  By Thursday a contract had been signed and the regular Officials were on hand to referee the Thursday Night Football Game. The sticking point in the negotiations had been over the NFL’s insistence that the official’s pension plans be converted into less lucrative 401k’s. This would have saved the NFL about $3. 5 million. With the $8 or $9 billion yearly that the league generates, this at first would seem silly. However, Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner admitted that this wasn’t about money:

“From the owners’ standpoint, right now they’re funding a pension program that is a defined benefit program,” said Goodell, who was in Washington on Wednesday attending a luncheon hosted by Politico’s Playbook. “About ten percent of the country has that. Yours truly doesn’t have that. It’s something that doesn’t really exist anymore and that I think is going away steadily.” What we agreed to do and offer as ownership,” he added, “is that they would have a defined contribution plan, in the form of 401(k), so they’ll still have a pension plan but the risk, like {for}  most of us, would be on individuals.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/nfl-referee-lockout-pensions_n_1879049.html

So this “lockout” by the NFL was over principle? This struck me as very strange. Since only about 10% of the country has pensions (according to Goodell) and they are becoming “a thing of the past”, the NFL sought to take away the pension plan that their officials had had for many years. This struck me as a political viewpoint that has become all too common among America’s elite. While most sports columnists and broadcasters were careful not to be too disparaging in their comments, lest the run afoul of the all-powerful (in their field) NFL, there were some who did analyze what was happening correctly. One was Roger L. Martin, the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, the author of “Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL.” In an OpEd piece for the NY Times he wrote:

“But why the lockout, and why did the N.F.L. fight so hard? Because the league was fighting a bigger fight, one that is representative of a war beneath the surface of the modern economy — the war between capital and talent. Since the Industrial Revolution, two groups have fought for the spoils of their joint production. On one side is capital — the owners and investors who provide the means of production. On the other side is labor — the workers who turn invested capital into profits. Traditionally, capital wielded disproportionate power.

 As late as the early 20th century, capital brutally suppressed labor and ground down wages to subsistence levels. But labor fought back, aided by Congress, which passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935. The act paved the way for big increases in unionized labor wages, and union participation tripled. Inevitably, capital fought back. Through the 1970s, owners moved jobs to Sun Belt right-to-work states. They automated, outsourced and worked to diminish the power of unions. When Ronald Reagan crushed the air traffic controllers’ union in 1981, it was a clear signal: labor had finally been forced to capitulate entirely.

 But around this time, a dangerous new adversary to capital emerged: talent. Talent, in contrast to the more generic labor, is highly skilled and portable. And in the 1970s, talent began to flex its muscles. In Hollywood, artists demanded “percentage deals” rather than straight compensation (see George Lucas’s profit share on the “Star Wars” films). On Wall Street, investment managers demanded 20 percent of the upside on top of the traditional 2 percent of assets under management. In executive suites, C.E.O.’s accrued stock-based compensation so that they could share the upside with the capitalists. And, in 1975, baseball players won free agency, which led to the explosion of athlete salaries across professional sports.

Generally, capital was not amused. Yet capital capitulated because this was a different kind of labor, with unique, specialized skills that consumers want and need. Replacement air traffic controllers were O.K.; but not replacement N.F.L. players, or a replacement Harrison Ford. The war between capital and labor became a three-way battle, with talent wedging its way onto the proverbial playing field. The biggest loser has been labor. Capital has given so much to talent — because it has no choice — that capital is even less inclined to give any quarter to labor. Capital is outraged because it is being beaten up by talent — whether C.E.O.’s, investment bankers, consultants, movie stars, players — and it takes out its anger on the easiest target: labor.”http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/opinion/the-nfl-strike-and-modern-economy.html?_r=0

I included, rather than paraphrase that really long quote because I think Dean Martin brilliantly sums up the schematics of what has become the attitude of many of America’s Corporate Class. However, while I agree that Dean Martin has gotten the schematics of what is going on correctly, I feel he is lacking in detailing the psychology and the mindset of our corporate elite. The NFL as an organization is a member of the corporate elite, as are most of their team owners. They vie for Corporate wealth to buy luxury boxes at their stadiums and they mostly share an educational and social background with those plutocrats. What I think the Dean misses in analysis is that “Capital”, (i.e. the 1%) doesn’t really hold “Talent” in high regard either. “Capital” loathes talent because “Talent” has skills that allow them to treat “Capital” without the deference “Capital” thinks is due them.  How dare these “upstarts” try to get the better of me and my money they think?

Think about it. Why do billionaires like Bob Kraft (New England Patriots) and Woody Johnson (NY Jets) buy these teams? Sure they probably love football, but I believe there is also a psychological factor at play. To put it into somewhat gross terms human males have spent eons obsessed with whose penis is larger. We all know that this is mostly a metaphor for who has power over other males, or who is the Alpha? When you own a football team you are the boss to at least fifty male behemoths, who wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t been exceptionally Alpha males. When you’re the “Boss” that means that all your employees are subordinate to you. After awhile or maybe even initially, given the egos at play, the “Boss” begins to see himself as the central figure on his team. Players and Coaches come and go, but the “Boss” remains in control. Players and Coaches are seen as just as “disposable” as the “Labor” Dean Martin talks about. The demands of this “Talent” strike the “Boss” as effrontery and the “Boss” begins to believe that these “ingrates” to his munificence should be taught a lesson. This was really what the threatened “lockout” in the NFL last year was about. The leagues income kept rising, even terribly managed teams are being well rewarded and yet the NFL demanded “givebacks” from its players and to some extent got them. This was more than greed. This was a demonstration of penis size and a reminder to “Talent” of their place in the hierarchy.

A second area in this, that I think Dean Martin himself is guilty of, is the notion that mere “Labor” is ultimately replaceable and interchangeable cogs in the corporate wheel. This has been a dominant Business School theory for a long time and even goes back to when I was a business major in college.

What is behind it is the view of the working class as being merely dumb bodies to be manipulated to meet the needs of the Plutocrats. Thus has it ever been, this disparagement of Labor (the working class) by the Elite and by those with elite pretensions, who grovel at their feet hoping to be given some elite attention. “Labor” is hardly as interchangeable as many of the elite and the business schools think them.  In the past few years we have seen a company like Circuit City, fire its most experienced and higher paid sales people to increase its profit margin, only to go into bankruptcy and close months later as sales fell.

What’s wrong with America, which I think the NFL as a corporate entity represents, is that a psychology of entitlement has taken hold in those who would rules us, or manage our affairs. While it is true that this has always been the case throughout human history, America emerged as a powerful nation because there was at least a pretense that it was the nation of the “common man”. Our Plutocracy has rediscovered the false notion that it is really all about themselves and their needs. We are hearing the “common folk” talked about in a way that hasn’t been socially acceptable since the 19th Century. We are seeing the Corporatocracy try to deprive most of us of good wages, good benefits and a security net. They are doing this not out of economic necessity because their lot has never been better. They are also projecting their own sense of entitlement onto us to justify their actions. Their fault, and the wrong they are trying to do to America, is their need to dominate us all. Its not about power or money so much as it is about the psychological pleasure of seeing oneself as the “Boss” and therefore possessing the bigger penis.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger.




41 thoughts on ““The NFL and what’s wrong with America””

    1. Juris,

      Thank you,
      Bill’s article was a great contribution to the discussion. I’ve had extended stays in St. Louis four times in my life. It is a city of great food, entertainment architecture, parks and yet many negative contrasts. The Cardinals have been one of the most successful teams in baseball for many years, with an extremely loyal fan base and great attendance. Given the fiscal problems that exist in the city, it is shameful that politics uses the love of the Cardinals to provide a bonanza for a greedy and “entitled” owner. Same is true for the Cubs which Bill also pointed out.

  1. Retirement Heist: How Firms Plunder Workers’ Nest Eggs
    Steve Denning

    In December 2010, General Electric [GE] held its annual meeting in New York City for analysts and shareholders. CEO Jeff Immelt reported on GE’s financial health and said that GE’s pension plan was a problem. “The pension has been a drag for a decade,” he said. It would cause the company to lose 13 cents per share the coming year. In order to control costs, GE was—regretfully—going to close the pension plan for new employees. The implication was that workers’ pensions were dragging the company down.

    What Immelt didn’t mention was that GE’s pension plans had actually contributed billions of dollars to the company’s bottom line over the last 15 years, earnings that the executives had taken credit for. Nor did he mention that GE hadn’t contributed anything to the workers’ pension plans since 1987 and still had enough to cover all the current and future retirees.

    Nor did he mention that the executive pensions for GE executives were a burden. Unlike the plans for the 250,000 workers and retirees, the executive pensions had a $4.4 billion obligation that steadily drained cash from the company’s coffers, including $573 million over the past three years alone.

    Why was GE closing its fully funded pension plan, while continuing its financially burdensome executive plan? This is the question to which Ellen Schultz’s incisive new book, Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers (Portfolio, 2011) offers a powerful answer.

    A carefully planned heist

    She explains that the current retirement crisis is “not a demographic accident. It was manufactured by an alliance of two groups: top executives and their facilitators in the retirement industry—benefits consultants, insurance companies and banks.”

    Executives are viewed “as beleaguered captains valiantly trying to keep their overloaded ships from being sunk in a perfect storm. In reality, they’re the silent pirates who looted the ships and left them to sink, along with the retirees, as they sailed away safely in their lifeboats.”

    In 2000, most pensions were fully funded

    Two decades ago, pensions were well funded, due to laws and regulations passed in the 1970s and 1980s. By 2000, pension plans at many large companies had large surpluses that would have covered all current and future retirees’ pensions without them having to contribute anything.

    Yet US firms found ways to siphon off billions of dollars in assets from the pension plans. Verizon used assets to finance downsizings. GE sold pension surpluses in restructuring deals, indirectly converting pension assets into cash. Many firms clandestinely cut benefits, using “actuarial sleight of hand to disguise the cuts.”

    1. “an amazing article about pension robbing.”


      I second Larry’s kudos and appreciate that you so aptly expanded the topic to where it needs to be. Also David B. I agree with your take too.


      Thank you so much for bringing up the monopoly aspect of the FL. I had planned to but failed to include it. I also agree that there should be a free market in football. Prior to their merger with the American Football League, the NFL had become stodgy in its play, disparaging innovation. The AFL had adopted a more wide open style of play that was gaining ground with fans. I started out as a New York Titans (later became the Jets) in 1960 because the play in the AFL was more interesting, with wide open passing. The merger of the two leads is actually what caused pro football to really rise and become the national pastime that it now is. It would be almost impossible now, but a little outside competition would be great for the sport.

  2. David blauw,

    Of course, let me make myself perfectly clear—as Obama says: I did not go to Cspan first to see the Hot Ellen Schultz, but that was just chance and not lack interest in hot ladies.
    To be honest in this link, a radio program, with a guest interviewer, some of the pressure is taken off her—meaning you liked her on Cspan, then try her here.
    It had incidently perhaps the advantage of presenting the basics: What are the two most common pension arrangements, etc etc. Which helped me and presumably the other listeners.

    In the Cspan she is nervous, but on the PLUS side provides a wealth of info, which can be followed.

    Haven’t listened to them all, either one, but plan to do so.
    Let me summarize the whole by saying that the years since Reagan, the whole direction of the commercial enterprize has been directed to finding ways to screw the public, in spite of “protection laws” enacted by Congress***. These “rape and raid the pension plans” schemes were not pioneered by small flybynight, no it was GE and Bell Atlantic, Lucent, etc.
    I’ll just recommend letting her explain it.

    the point being that most “new” enterprizes which in some cases matured into “industries” (retirement industry, security industry, correction system industry, war industry, “milk the war industry by contracting”, CIA contracting industry which in all likelihood is providing the opeation delivering the drone kills, etc etc.
    Sorry if I lost you.
    My one line point: Corporate profits come from milking us, not from what we produce. Got it?

    Here’s the relaxed, really hot Ellen Schultz in the radio show.


  3. Not a mention anywhere (that I noticed) that the NFL is a monopoly. The referees are whoring their gains from the monopoly, just as the owners and players are, and consumers are footing the bill. What’s wrong with America, in this case, is there is a tad too much hero worship (idolatry), and thus for a chance at the bragging rights, the monopoly, made legal by Congressional exemption from anti-trust laws, is tolerated. A better system would be one where any city, like Green Bay, is permitted entry into the football league, and professional football would be an occupational field in a free market industry open to anyone who acquired the skills to participate. Teams would fail and succeed based on managerial acumen and not by monopolistic control of the market.

  4. lottakatz
    1, September 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    WOW !! Brilliant. Thank you.

    I talked to a metal salesman yesterday, he makes a lot of money when the military uses lots of ammunition. War is profitable to him. This is a simple human statement he made. I think many people benefit personally from war, and it puts food on a lot of tables. Sadly, in other parts of the world, war takes ALL food off of ALL tables. ….And it takes the family away from the tables, and the tables no longer have purpose. An empty table is sadder than Clints empty chair. W created many empty tables. A “W” 3 will create more than an Obama 2. F-War, bring them home. Lets heal ourselves. When we thrive in peace, maybe others will seek our example.
    Maybe Obama will stop blowing up innocents.
    Maybe pigs will fly, and silk purses will come from sows ears.

  5. David, The looting of pension funds, while never explicitly illegal, was seldom done because of the bad publicity. That was before the Reagan administration threw its weight behind changes to the law which proved to be a road-map to how to do it. The rules were codified in 1984. Below is a 1989 article about it. It was the death-knell for defined benefit retirement plans:

    “Pension Funds Become Bonanza For Companies”

    “…. Until the guidelines came out, only a few companies had taken back large surpluses: 9 did so in 1980, 35 in 1981. In 1983, 167 firms took back at least $1 million each; in 1984, 329; in 1985, 582. Overall since 1980, nearly 2,000 companies have taken back some $20 billion in chunks of at least $1 million each. Nearly 10,000 others took smaller amounts.

    The spate of pension fund terminations created an upheaval in the employee-benefits industry, spawning a new generation of retirement plans that effectively killed off a lot of traditional plans.

    Still, 270,000 defined-benefit plans remain in place. But 80 percent of them are overfunded, meaning there could be many more reversions to come.

    Some workers in new plans will end up with more money, some with less, but no one really disputes that the system has inalterably changed. …”


  6. PS. I saw her on C-span, couldn’t find that link. Diane is premium….. my opinion.

    As a blue collar person, I have been and seen others that are loyal to their bosses. I have had three that I respected awesomely prior to my career in the PO. Upon entering the PO. in 1978 maybe 3 or five or ten were bosses I respected … sadly none recently.
    This is simply my personal opinion.
    I have known and seen and experienced many employees that are loyal to their bosses and business. There is no bottom line that measures employees loyalty and commitment to the business they work for. Unless it is a one on one relationship to the boss, and a day to day understanding of business realities. The corner stores, the gas stations, the small business services that exist have some of the BEST employees in the world. …… The bottom line, has no respect for devotion to, and loyalty to, day to day business. But we all have the ability to recognize and appreciate these fine workers.

    This is what sucks in reality.

    Respect and validity of service is now measured by numbers and computer. Human effort and sacrifice has become insignificant to the button pushers. …. The postal service now serves the budget numbers IMO, not the customers needs.

    K sera sera, Button pushers are becoming more important than loyalty and sincere devotion to duty. …. What is a sincere worker to do.

    The true job creators are the workers that satisfy customers, and encourage them to return. The product stands up to use and scrutiny and the customers are pleased.
    It is late for me, I have returned from my safety meeting, When someone Pees on my back and tells me it’s raining I voice my opinion. Does Romney and ilk know, anyone that has been a devoted blue collar worker to the business they have enhanced or destroyed for profit.

  7. Mike S, I see a direct tie-in to the national-business model of very high unemployment resulting in citizens being made superfluous and some of our most Orwellian trends. What after all do you do with people that are young and young-ish but not needed, that have no traditional social path for living their life, which starts with a job? Endless war, a pretextural point of entry to incarcerating them (war on drugs) and terrorizing them (stop and frisk, increased vioence against citizens by police) to keep them in line as well as funnel them into prisons.

    People look for patterns, the brain just goes to order out of chaos naturally, that’s what makes conspiracy theories ubiquitous. But the more I observe our culture and the destruction of work as an option the more I become convinced that I am watching a large machine at work that has tentacles snaking throughout our society into places not initially apparent. One can always argue cause and effect. but considering that there is an enormous amount of money to be made in endless war and for profit incarceration (and all of the support that requires) I don’t see a downside for business, or any motive to change the status quo.

    The again, maybe my brain is just in revolt against a society that seems to be devolving into a chaotic state driven by ignorant and self-serving policies and decisions and is looking for a plan that makes sense of it.

  8. MikeS,

    I echo the comment: More would have been nice. But time, space and our capacities set limits.
    You and the person you cited at length break it down into understandable portions. Even for one who has not been there and done that since 1965.

    401Ks, don’t know what they are, but sounds from my niece and the sufferers here to be a bunco scheme.

    Watch your savings evaporate in the market, Fun.

  9. jbrianharrisphd,

    I hope the responsed and recognition that David and I offer will be accompanied by many others.

    As in all matters, I will express my differences, even tho the merits of our minds do not compare.

    While in general agreeing with you in regard the self-correction and thus no guilt/shame should exist idea has merits.
    Here you say:
    “Therefore, in one way or another, everything that actually happens is actually right as it happens. Nothing that happens can ever actually be wrong.”

    Then we come into whether wrong for us means loss of life. Primarily our own and of our substrate. But also of this earth. I can not support ideas which damage us, our animal peers (not only human ones), and destroys the substrate which supports life in general on this planet.

    Before we commit the suicide of climate warming, there should be something left to accomplish.

    What you want to accomplish has for the moment escaped me. It likens too well Buddhism.

    It will be interesting to see if your comment generates a discussion, and if you will participate in it.

    Thank you for the mind expander, as David said I believe.

  10. jbrianharisphd,
    “To effectively respect myself, I find that I need to respect my substrate at parity with myself.”

    My brain stretched reading your post,… thank you, brain exercise is good to keep the brain active. My skull is generally too thick to let all of your points to illuminate the interior of my brain, I did hear a knocking from many of them.

    The one above that I lifted, shines within me, or more realistically is a path I try to stay on. Thank you.

  11. Useful perspectives may be found within and among some publications that are in my library, including and not limited to:

    1. Mander, J. (2012). The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint.

    2. Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U., Seifert, C., Schwartz, N., & Cook, J. (2012). Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing.Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13, 106-131.

    3. Louie, A. (2009). More Than Life Itself: A Synthetic Continuation in Relational Biology. Frankfurt: ontos verlag.

    4. Bloch, H. (1952). Disorganization: Personal and Social. New York: Knopf.

    5. Young-Bruehl, E. (2012). Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children. New Haven: Yale.

    6. Ariley, D. (2012). The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We LIe to Everyone—Especially Ourselves. New York: Harper.

    7. Hayes, C. (2012). Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy. New York: Crown.

    8. Benson, R. (2008). The Interpretation Game: How Judges and Lawyers Make the Law. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic.

    9. Redl, F., & Wineman, D. (1957). The Aggressive Child. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.

    10. Smuts, J. (1926). Holism and Evolution. London: Macmillan.

    11. Mander, J. (1991). In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations. San Francisco: Sierra.

    12. Rosen, R. (dec.) (2012). Anticipatory Systems: Philosophical, Mathematical, and Methodological Foundations: Second Edition. New York: Springer.

    13. Petroski, H. (2010). The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems. New York: Knopf.

    Corporatism is a “clinical sign” of an aspect of human biology that is of the dlalogue of human nurture (as a proper subset) with human nature; the essence of which I find to be human brain plasticity, aka, human capacity for learning.

    I recall a story (or anecdote?) about Galileo, who, when asked why no one else had found what he had found (in his work as a scientist), replied to the effect that all the others had been looking in the wrong place.

    To actually find something, it surely is necessary to look where the something actually is.

    To actually have an observation of something, it is not only necessary to look where it actually is; recognizing and noting it are both also necessary because the substance of every observation is what of what has been noted, such that it can be remembered, and, through being remembered, shared with others.

    “… the NFL as a metaphor of what’s wrong with our country?” There may be a way, in the manner of biological holism and evolution, to unriddle “what’s wrong with our country,” for those unafraid of the frontier of theoretical, and applied-theoretical biology. a way that is not to be found within the methodology Cartesian mindset of analytical reductionism, because it exists only within the domain of holistic relations.

    For a given organism to exist, the substrate of the organism also has to exist, for no organism can actually exist in the absence of any substrate. This holistic-relational model of organisms may be a useful foundational model of life itself; for any specific individual organism, the entire remainder of the grand totality of all existence (including any and all parallel, perpendicular or other-oriented universes) is the individual organism’s substrate Using myself as an example of an individual organism, everything other than myself is my substrate.

    To effectively respect myself, I find that I need to respect my substrate at parity with myself. That appears to me to effectively imprison me in the magnificent freedom that Mander,in “In the Absence of the Sacred” describes as characteristic of “Native Peoples.” While I am unaware of any purely genetic ancestral lineage that can plausibly be traced back to the First Nations of North America, i have no such difficulty with the people of Africa.

    On pages 214-221 of “In the Absence of the Sacred,” Mander has a “Table of Inherent Differences” between Technological Peoples and Native Peoples. The first paragraph on page 221 is:

    Throughout the world, whether they live in deserts or jungle or the far north, or in the United States, millions of native people share the perception that they are resisting a single, multi-armed enemy: a society whose basic assumptions, whose way of mind, and whose manner of political and economic organization permit it to ravage the planet without discomfort, an to drive natives off their ancestral lands. That this juggernaut will eventually consume itself is not doubted by these people. The meet and discuss it. The attempt to strategize about it. Their goal is to stay out of its way and survive it.

    Anthropologists I have consulted have rather consistently regarded the societies of Native Peoples to be “shame societies,” whereas the societies of Technological Peoples have been comparably regarded as being “guilt societies,” such that shame societies are deemed more “primitive” and guilt societies are deemed more “advanced.”

    Because I exclude both shame and guilt from my actual life, because I find shame to be an affective response to the presence of significantly harmful misinformation, and find guilt to be a social-cultural-mandated belief that some misinformation can really be transformed into not-misinformation through social consensus, I simply do not, and cannot, live in an imagined community in which shame and guilt are of other than ignorance, and, when made social mandates, are of other than grave errors of understanding human biology.

    So, what about that, “what’s wrong with our country” thing. Nothing is wrong with our country.

    I observe that what is hurtful is what is wrong as what is wrong is what is hurtful, and I observe that what is helpful is what is right as what is right is what is helpful; and I observe that, in a socially-evolving species such as homo sapiens sapiens, everything that happens which is wrong because of being hurtful is right because it is helpful to learn what is hurtful as a way of eventually learning how to avoid doing hurtful actions. Therefore, in one way or another, everything that actually happens is actually right as it happens. Nothing that happens can ever actually be wrong.

    In terms of the historical process(es) of human civilization, a decent way of representing my innermost weltanschauung may be to recognize that it is totally and profoundly pre-aboriginal. The basis of my entire life understanding is simply that whatever happens,as it happens, is necessary and sufficient. Why so? Simply because whatever is not what happens is simply non-existent.

    The observation that what happens happens, and what does not happen does not happen, is, for me, a useful illustration of plausibly viable pre-aboriginal Existenzphilosophie.

    I do not live in a world made of temporal-impossibility hypothetical events which never actually happen, such as a foreseeably avoidable incident that actually occurred.

    It has always been completely impossible for anyone to teach me to believe in shame as a viable social organizing principle because I have always vividly experienced the affective aspect of shame as an indicator of misinformation.

    Tell me that you find me to be guilty and I will state as fact that you have been misinformed. Tell me that I should be ashamed because of something I did, or did not do, and I will state as fact that you have been misinformed.

    Punish me for not accepting being ashamed or guilty, and I will state as fact that you have not only been misinformed; you are also attempting to make me comparably misinformed, and I will state as fact that I will not accept being misinformed.

    Actually command me to accept believing in shame and guilt as other than misinformation indications under penalty of death for my not accepting such belief, and, if you do not remedy your misinformation, such that you really carry out the penalty, you will have to kill me without my ever accepting your command that I accept being misinformed.

    Draft me into an army and command me to kill my enemies, and I will kill no one, for no person or collection of persons can ever have an iota of a phantasm of the power required to be my enemy.

    The whole of existence, in every aspect and detail, no matter how allegedly profane, is to me, perfectly, absolutely, and inescapably sacred.

    Were there actually anything wrong with our country, it would be, at the most, believing that there is actually anything wrong with our country.

    In the presence of the misinformation of ignorance, learning is unavoidable and inescapable.

    Belief in guilt is an example of the misinformation inherent in the error of attributing to a person’s disposition aspects of events which are entirely situational. To better make useful sense of this, if it is not already vividly clear, please study and understand the social psychology work of Fritz Heider, Lee Ross, and others, with particular emphasis on the fundamental attribution error, correspondence bias, self-serving bias, and mirror-neuron-based observational learning.

    Until someone actually demonstrates the actual existence of at least one mistake actually made which was demonstrated to have been actually avoided before it was made, such that it did not actually happen, I shall regard the notion of criminal and tort liability as being among the most tragically destructive of all the wildly impossibly fairy tales to ever have come to my attention through their having been inflicted upon innocent children.

    What made the replacement referee’s decision functionally impossible to correct? Shame, the fear of being found to have made a mistake.

    If anyone will demonstrate to me and others that my doctoral finding to the effect that no mistake ever made, regardless of the nature of the mistake or its consequences, could or should have been avoided, I will promptly admit my mistake and set out to make amends to the limit of my practicable capability. However, forms of authoritarianism (like, “Because i said so!”) inform me that I am being threatened with serious brain damage if I allow say so to be so merely because it was said to be so.

    I persist in what I do about child abuse because, as a member of the ordained clergy, I observe that Wisconsin law requires clergy to report child sexual abuse, and I find that teaching children that they made mistakes they could have avoided is the real basis of child sexual abuse.

    Why is it so much easier to recognize a mistake when it is about distinguishing an interception from a touchdown than when it is about traumatizing children for their own good, whatever that “good” supposedly is.

  12. I worked for one company for 20 years before corporate raiders tore it apart (it was profitable just not profitable enough). I moved on because the outfit I was sold off to slashed wages 20% and eliminated benefits.

    I had a defined benefit pension that would have given me a small but significant income when I retire. But a leveraged buyout of the new company by a different set of raiders needed to be paid for. The took away the pension and gave me an account with $18500 in it. I can’t touch it till I turn 65 & they pay me some Federal bond rate – so basically nothing while they get to use the money as they see fit – a very cheap loan. I suppose I have to worry they won’t f that up & I lose it too.

    This is not an uncommon story in todays America. What I find strange is people attitude “well I don’t have it, why should he?” What we should be saying is “WHY DON”T WE HAVE THESE NICE THINGS?”. I’m mad when billionaires break unions, mad when they screw over workers. I don’t think everyone should be dragged down to the least any of us will accept, we should all be supporting people trying to get just compensation for their labor.

Comments are closed.