Everything You Know Is Wrong

expertsagree_croppedOr more precisely, most people have been misled about most things. The truth is:

  • The greed and violence all around us are not in our genes, but in our culture, which we can change.
  • The USA is not “the land of the free.” We have more people locked up than any other nation. And punishing people does not heal them.
  • Most Muslims, atheists, Hispanics, gays, socialists, etc., are nice people, who do not want to hurt you, rob you, or force you to do anything. You should get to know a few of them.
  • Capitalism and competition are not good, efficient, or necessary. Just the opposite, in fact.
  • If you have food and a roof, more property will not make you happier. More friends will, but property separates us: You’re my rival, so I can’t afford to care about you. We’ll only be safe in a culture of sharing and caring that leaves no one behind.
  • The so-called “Defense” Department is a lie. Our wars are mass murders to make the rich richer.
  • The government and the corporate news media lie to us all the time. Yet we honor our rulers, like some national Stockholm Syndrome.
  • The USA is not a democracy. Gilens and Page (2014) proved statistically that, despite elections, the rich get the laws they want and the rest of us don’t. The only way to avoid rule by the wealthy class is to not have a wealthy class; that requires a different economic system.
  • Representative democracy is not an ideal form of government. It’s a hierarchy, concentrating power in the hands of a few. And power corrupts, as the Stanford Prison Experiment proved in 1971.
  • Anarchism does not mean chaos, disorder, and destruction. It means replacing coercive authoritarian hierarchy with cooperative horizontal networking — i.e., replacing bullying with friendships. Of course, that requires a big change in culture.
  • Capitalism is killing the ecosystem. Global warming is unprecedented. It’s coming bigger and faster than most people understand: Feedback causes exponential growth. Exxon knew and lied for profit for half a century, and its congressmen still do.
  • Capitalism can’t last much longer. Perhaps the simplest reason is automation, which is unprecedented. Faster than most people realize, jobs are being taken by robots, all owned by a few people, leaving the rest of us to starve. The question is whether we will end capitalism before it ends us.
  • The internet is billions of people in an unprecedented global conversation, which may finally make understanding and consensus possible. If we do have any future, it is not going to be like the past. Join the discussion.

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firesignthe_everything2017 May 16, version 1.03. I will be glad to consider suggestions for alterations to this list, but I want to keep it small enough for a leaflet that fits two sides of a half page. The title is taken from the 1974 comedy album by Firesign Theatre.