Throughout my life, I have been told by many people to be grateful that I live in America. We constantly say such things during prayer, speeches, and conversations. I am told that I should be delighted and feel privileged to live in a place with so much wealth. I am told that being happy and proud to live in America is what should be praised; that appreciating our current state of indulgence is truly “patriotic.” However, I am going to challenge this notion altogether.
Let me start off with an analogy which I usually use to respond to people who tell me this. My hope is that you read this with an open mind and think deeper than just surface-level. Warning: This article is not a happy one, and there is a good chance you will be offended.
Imagine that you were born into a violent gang in LA called the Bounty Hunters. Ever since birth, you were a part of the Bounty Hunters. You had no choice; you were a part of this team. Every afternoon, the leaders of the Bounty Hunters would go outside of town and roam the streets of LA. These leaders would find the most innocent and helpless women and children on the streets, and shoot them. After they kill these innocent bystanders, they would routinely steal all of their possessions and bring them back to the Bounty Hunters’ town.
Once your leaders returned, they would distribute these stolen goods (food, clothing, etc.) to the members of the Bounty Hunters (while keeping the most valuable things to themselves). After years of growing up in this gang, you begin to accept the culture within your gang. Everyone is extremely grateful to be a part of the Bounty Hunters, and they happily accept all the “wealth” (scraps) given to them by their leaders.
However, this obviously created bad consequences. After doing this on a regular basis, the families of those innocently killed began to get pretty pissed off (aka blowback). Once and a while, there would be small uprisings against the Bounty Hunters. The mothers and fathers of these children had an extremely bad outlook towards this gang, demanding them to stop.
With this newly formed hatred towards the Bounty Hunters, the gang leaders felt threatened. They were afraid that the members of their gang would realize what was truly going on, and that their stream of wealth would eventually end. So, they devised a plan to highlight the hatred towards the Bounty Hunters of the families of the innocently killed. They were able to provoke one devastated family (out of hundreds) to run into the the Bounty Hunters’ town and shoot the one man who killed their children. As a result of this uprising (the inevitable consequence for their actions), the leaders of the Bounty Hunters convinced the gang members that these innocent killings were necessary, and that these women/children killed were merely dangerous savages/terrorists. The oligarchs told the members that these routine murders were necessary to maintain peace and happiness. They went to extreme measures (ie. making up statistics) in order to keep them divided over menial distractions, united under their leaders, and diverted from the truth.
Eventually, the gang leaders began to progress in their actions, and were able to gather together the Bounty Hunter members to do the routine killings for them (which was viewed as an honorable job). After a while, they were able to become even more disconnected from these killings by merely controlling unmanned killing-machines via video game controllers at home. To fund these killing-machines, they took money from the members of the Bounty Hunters at gunpoint (however, they obviously were brainwashed to comply). More and more people were being killed, more and more wealth was being transferred to the leaders, and less wealth was being given to the members of the Bounty Hunters (just enough to keep them feeling grateful).
After years of this behavior, you begin to open your eyes. You begin to ask questions: Is our wealth really something to be grateful of? Who is really in control? Why do all of these people hate us so much? Do these killings really result in peace? How can we be grateful when others consequently suffer? Fellow members of the Bounty Hunters respond to these questions with statements such as: Be grateful that you are a part of the Bounty Hunters! Look at all of our wealth we have! You could be living over there (a result of the regular shootings/thefts)! Join our winning team – the Bounty Hunters, hell yea!
Hopefully by now, you have seen some resemblance to America in my analogy. By making this analogy completely transparent, direct, and perhaps slightly exaggerated (when compared to America), one could easily connect the dots and see the whole picture. I could add a lot more to this, but this should highlight some big points to consider. Would you be grateful for this wealth if you were in the Bounty Hunters? What if this analogy is closer to reality than you think? Is it possible that this is the case? Does having a great abundance of resources and wealth available automatically mean that you must feel grateful and proud of this? What if these concerns regarding the system are left ignored?
After researching and thinking for myself, I began to question if this feeling of entitlement and pride for the country we happen to be born is actually moral and justified. In many cases, if you follow the money, our wealth is a direct result of slave labor, war profiteering, and temporary money creation/manipulation.
While we, as Americans, (the members of the Bounty Hunters, the “Inner Party” as in 1984, the “bourgeoisie”) continue to work under our coorporatist/fiat-money-based crony capitalist leaders – government and big business – (the leaders of the Bounty Hunters, Big Brother in 1984), we tend to look down upon those less fortunate (the innocent families, the proles in 1984). Just because we were born between certain arbitrary lines dividing countries does not make us anything more than a human. Drone strikes are brushed off as necessary evils to maintain “peace.” (Here is a visualization of drone strikes in Pakistan over time.) You are called un-American and unpatriotic (and even labeled a terrorist and go to jail) if you ever question how our system works. You are looked down upon if you cease to be grateful for this immoral wealth. Nonetheless, don’t get me wrong – I am a strong believer that appreciating things is not as commonplace as it should be. However, one should not use this as an excuse to be ignorant of reality.
“No one is free when others are oppressed” (Author Unknown).
The unfortunate truth is that if you wake up to these events, you will be shunned by most of society around you (especially by those who are close to you). By questioning everything and criticizing the system, you will begin to not fit in (like in Idiocracy). However, hopefully you will be able to use this knowledge to share with others around you (in a reasonable manner). Just keep in mind – The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
PS: Here is a relevant depressing video to go along with a depressing article like this