Je Vous Dis, Merde! 47: So Where Do We Go From Here?

This is what the front page of The New York Times looked like on Saturday 5 November 2016, just 3 days before the truly appalling election of So-Called POTUS Donald Trump on 8 November.

You’ll notice the big smiley mug of a presidential candidate, flanked by two adoring and talented Beautiful People, who was running “her final lap” and clearly thought she had the election in the bag.

Alas!, it was not to be; instead, the election bagged Hillary.

She wasted time and then time wasted her.

Now in fact, as many, many, many people on the Left have very, very, very rightly pointed out, voting for Hillary Clinton in that presidential election was at best the lesser of two evils.

So even if you were truly appalled by the election of The Terrible Trumpalump, you might very well also have privately or even publicly heaved a heavy sigh of relief that even though you voted for her, Clinton was not actually elected.

Bernie Sanders? Jill Stein?

— Whatever their political flaws, either or both of them together would have been infinitely better candidates than Goode Olde “Punch” Trump and “Judy” Clinton.

But I digress.

What I want to focus on, for the purposes of this essay, is the present and the foreseeable future, not the past.

I want to ask: where do we go from here?

In a series of six essays, “Freedom From Fear in The Age of Trump,” published between 5 and 13 December 2016, I focused successively on these topics:

(i) poverty and economic oppression,

(ii) the job dilemma,

(iii) healthcare hell,

(v) cultural conflict and closed borders,

(v) gun violence, and

(vi) everyday forms of political resistance.

And correspondingly, manifestly, these are the very problems that most directly afflict and plague us today, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future —

How can we end poverty, end oppressive income disparity, and transform the killer-juggernaut of global corporate capitalism into a humane, just form of economic activity?

How can we avoid the contemporary worker’s dilemma of either having no job at all — unemployment — or having to do a shit job, no matter how badly or well it pays — a job that alienates us, bores us, demeans us, disrespects us, hurts us, makes us mentally ill, or for any other reason we simply hate doing?

How can we create a system of universal free healthcare?

How can we defend, nurture, and protect the natural environment so as to end its degradation and destruction, and alleviate, prevent, or reverse the catastrophic effects of global climate change?

How can we stop dividing the people of America, North America, and the rest of world into Us and Them, end American racism, end American imperialism, end the disastrous, faux-liberating politics of identity, and create a truly emancipatory politics of empathy here in the USA, North America, and everywhere else in the world?

How can we stop killing each other with guns, and bring about the abolition of gun-ownership and use?

And how can we engage in serious political resistance to the cultural , economic, or political status quo, the power elite, or the State without being coerced into obedience, punished, imprisoned, tortured, or killed?

Now I passionately believed back then, and continue passionately to believe now, that our collectively enacting the seven-part platform of The WTFU Party would effectively solve, or at least seriously address and ameliorate, our fundamental problems.

But, back then, I wasn’t nearly as cognizant, convinced, or “woke,” as I am now, of the fact that the Ur-problem, the biggest Big Kahuna of all our difficulties, and the wintriest winter of our discontent, lies in a collective mental illness of the American people, namely, a form of anosognosia, powered by the myth of American exceptionalism and enabled by the mass and social media, consisting in most Americans’ inability and refusal to recognize that the USA is suffering from five morally and politically tragic national failures:

the racist legacy of slavery;

the gun violence legacy of the Second Amendment;

the radical income-disparity and economic oppression legacy of unbridled corporate capitalism;

the healthcare-treatment hell legacy of unbridled corporate capitalism in the specific domain of healthcare; and

the globally catastrophic military, political, economic, and environmental legacy of American imperialism since the ends of World War II and the Cold War.

In other words, our most fundamental problem is a mental problem.

It’s a problem about self-awareness, about facing up to self-deceit, about criticizing those corporate-driven mass and social media super-ideologists who so effectively enable our collective mental illness, and, finally, about learning how to dare to think for ourselves, thereby change our lives, and then change the world for the better.

In short, we all need to engage in a radical personal and collective cultural, moral, and political process of critical, dialogical, reflective, synoptic, self-education and self-psychiatry.

Now philosophy is a more than two-thousand-year-old intellectual and moral practice, in effect a full-time, lifelong calling and existential project, that was originally created and designed in order to do just this.

But I’m not talking about contemporary professional academic philosophy, which, absurdly, colossally, and tragically, mostly fails to do what philosophy was originally created and designed to do.

I’m talking about real philosophy, namely, the kind of philosophy done by Diogenes the Cynic, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans and the Stoics, Aquinas, Augustine, Descartes, Spinoza, Pascal, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Thoreau, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, De Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein, Russell, Whitehead, Peirce, James, Dewey, the Frankfurt School Critical Theorists, Weil, and Arendt — to name only some of the most famous ones.

But you don’t have to be a full-time, lifetime real philosopher in order to benefit palpably and significantly from real philosophizing and real philosophy.

Anyone and everyone can write, read, talk, and more generally do some real philosophy.

Moreover, in the age of the free-access worldwide internet, a universal communicative medium for writing, reading, talking, and more generally doing real philosophy, is right there, right in front of us, like everything else that really and truly matters: yet how often we simply look through these things and cannot see them for what they are!

Therefore, I’m passionately of the opinion that, by using this universal communicative medium, we can all engage, to an important extent, in the radical personal and collective cultural, moral, and political process of critical, dialogical, reflective, synoptic, self-education and self-psychiatry of real philosophy, and thereby begin to heal and overcome our collective illness, change our lives, and then change the world, for the better.

Real philosophy is our transformative engine, and the free-access worldwide internet is its universal vehicle.

And, as always, and finally, to anyone who seriously disputes the soundness of this argument,

Je vous dis, merde!

***

“Je vous dis, merde!” (literally, “I say to you: shit!” or more loosely, “You’re so full of shit!”) is a morally and politically defiant slogan invented and first published by an early 20th-century Catalan anarchist who used the nom de guerre “Miguel Almereyda.” Almereyda, who was murdered in a French prison in 1917, was also the father of the famous French film director Jean Vigo, who immortalized the same slogan in his breakthrough 1933 film, Zéro de conduite, aka Zero for Conduct.

Here is the seven-part platform of The Wake The Fuck Up! Party, aka The WTFU Party, aka Up Against the Wall, Philosophy-Fucker!, aka UAW/PF —

1. Universal Respect for Human Dignity (URHD):

· Human dignity is the absolute non-denumerable moral value of every member of humanity, and everyone ought to try wholeheartedly to treat everyone else in a way that is sufficient to meet the demands of respect for human dignity, especially including (i) alleviating or ending human oppression, and (ii) actively engaging in mutual aid and mutual kindness.

2. Universal Basic Income (UBI):

· Anyone 21 years of age or over and living permanently in the USA, who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and who is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.

3. A 15-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs):

· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.

Thus anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000.00 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.

The rationale behind the three-year gap between (i) being offered an eco-job at 18 and (ii) beginning to receive their UBI at 21, is that every young adult who has finished high school will have the option of pursuing three years of part-time or full-time free higher education without credentialing, i.e., for its own sake, after high school, before making longer-term decisions about what I call job-work and life-work.

***

Here are a few more details about UBI and eco-jobs.

(i) The UBI is to be paid by a monthly stipend check.

(ii) Eco-job income is not taxed.

(iii) For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.

(iv) For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, the monthly UBI stipend is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.

(v) For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.

***

4. Universal Free Higher Education Without Credentialing (HEWC):

· Everyone would be offered, beyond their high-school education, a free, three-year minimum, optional (but also open-ended beyond those three years, as a further option), part-time or full-time universal public education program in the so-called “liberal arts,” and also in some of the so-called “STEM” fields, including the humanities, the fine arts, the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences.

· For many or even most people, their HEWC would fall between (i) the end of their high school education at age 18 and the corresponding availability of eco-jobs, and (ii) the beginning of their UBI at age 21.

· But HEWC would be open to anyone with a high school degree, no matter how old they are, provided they are mentally and physically capable of doing the program.

5. Universal Free Healthcare (UFH):

· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.

6. 2-Phase Universal Open Borders (2P-UOB):

· Phase 1: Starting in 2021, there will be universal open borders with Canada and Mexico, and everyone who moves across those borders and then claims residence in the USA, will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the USA, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents to depend on the current availability of (i) adequate funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the USA, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the USA and elsewhere in the world.

· Phase 2: Also starting in 2021, the USA, Canada, and Mexico will collectively form a Global Refugee Consortium (GRC), with three-way open borders to any political refugee, economic refugee, or asylum seeker from anywhere in the world (aka “global refugees”), who will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the three GRC countries, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents, and the precise distribution of new residents among the three members of the GRC, to depend on the current availability of (i) funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the three GRC countries, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the GRC and elsewhere in the world.

7. Universal No-Guns (UNG):

· No one in the USA, including police, internal security forces of all kinds, armies, and intelligence forces of all kinds, has the moral right to possess or use guns of any kind, for any purpose whatsoever, because the primary function of guns is coercion, and coercion is immoral.

· UNG would be implemented by repealing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in 2021 and then universally banning the possession or use of guns thereafter.

I’m also assuming that Universal Public Education (UPE) — universal free access for all human persons of any age to good public education up to the end of high school — already exists in most countries, and needs no further justification.

Where UPE does not already exist, it would automatically become a necessary part of the seven-part WTFU Party package, thereby making it a eight-part package.

***

Mr Nemo, Nowhere, NA, 3 November 2017

***

The Wake The Fuck Up! Party, aka The WTFU Party, aka Up Against the Wall, Philosophy-Fucker!, aka UAW/PF, was a sub-project of the online mega-project Philosophy Without Borders, which is home-based on Patreon here.

Please consider becoming a patron! We’re improvident, but cheerful.

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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