Class inequality is the twenty-first century moral equivalent of the 19th century's chattel slavery. The old master slave-owning class is now the billionaire class--a plutocracy that rules over the people of the United States no less anti-democratically than the masters ruled over the slaves. Even the oh-so-careful-what-they-say academics with their huge data sets and sophisticated statistical methods of analysis come to the conclusion that we live under the undemocratic rule of the rich, not in anything remotely deserving to be called a "representative democracy." Ordinary people know we live in a dictatorship of the rich; the evidence is everwhere .
The old slave-owners had to treat the slaves like dirt to make sure they knew their place in society. Likewise, the billionaire class treats ordinary people like dirt for the same reason. This is why:
- People who work their butts off at Walmart get the minimum wage that is less than what it takes to live ;
- Retail worker are forced to work abusive family-destroying "on call shifts ";
- People are forced to pay through the nose for health insurance, which may not even cover crucial health care needs when they are very sick or very old;
Children in public schools are told that unless they score high on some absurd "high stakes" standardized test (that is designed so that children from poorer families get lower scores) they don't deserve to have a decent-paying job or perhaps any job at all;
- Police treat the poorest people like dirt, as described here; why people are incarcerated for things like smoking marijuana (more than two million people are behind bars in the U.S., and about half of federal prisoners were convicted of drug related--marijuana more than any other drug--but not violent crimes, and are subjected in many cases to utter brutality such as long solitary confinement);
- The rich make decent paying jobs, or any jobs at all, artificially scarce so people who are more than willing to work cannot find work that enables them to support themselves and a family, thus forcing them to rely on welfare or unemployment compensation and suffer being looked down upon and accused of being a free-loader or worse;
- The rich use a combination of lies (like "Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction" and "Saddam was behind 9-11") and the poverty draft ("If you want a job your only hope is to enlist") and the offer of citizenship to non-citizens if they first serve in the military, to manipulate young men and women to join the military where they are ordered to kill innocent people abroad and risk being killed themselves, resulting for many in post traumatic stress disorder, deep remorse and suicide;
- The rich tell people who smoke (who are disproportionately working class) who live in publicly subsidized housing that they cannot smoke in their own home, and (in some towns) have the government give a grant (a bribe, really) to landlords who order their tenants to quit smoking in their home or be evicted. [Working class smokers are being increasingly treated like dirt. Whatever the health argument is for banning smoking in some places (and by the way, there is no persuasive evidence that exposure to second hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, despite the fact that many people just assume it does), the fact is that wealthy people can stay in expensive hotels that have rooms where smoking is permitted, and they can smoke in their own expensive houses, but working class people are increasingly being denied the option of smoking at home and in this way they are being treated like dirt. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) treats smokers like dirt by allowing insurance plans to levy a surcharge of up to 50% on tobacco users' premiums, while not allowing such a surcharge on other "high risk" behaviors or conditions.]
- The rich have hospitals treat working class people with far less respect and dignity than upper class people, as described in this Boston Globe article.
As Bad As the Above Is, Class Inequality Does Something Even WORSE to People
The upper class demeans working class people not just materially but also mentally just as the slave-owners demeaned the slaves by denying even their human intelligence. Here is a striking example.
The Boston Globe newspaper recently switched to a new company to deliver its papers and the result was a catastrophe of Biblical proportions, forcing the owner of the Globe to publish an abject apology , requiring the paper to hire 100 people just to handle (barely) all of the phone calls of outraged subscribers who were not getting their paper delivered at all, never mind on time, and forcing the owner to ask Globe reporters and columnists to help deliver the paper (i.e., use their car to drive to unfamiliar neighborhoods throughout Massachusetts with stacks of papers to throw out the window.) It was a continuing weeks long disaster.
Thousands of subscribers were cancelling
every day. What is the significance of this?
Second, if you read this article you will see that not only are the working class people who actually deliver the newspaper treated like dirt in the sense of being made to suffer, but they are also treated like dirt in the sense of being completely ignored regarding their knowledge of what the main problem was that caused the delivery catastrophe, even though these workers--and ONLY these workers--knew EXACTLY what the problem was--that the delivery routes they were given (by the new delivery company the Globe hired) were absurdly inefficient and stupid.
This entire debacle illustrates a fundamental fact about any society based on class inequality. The upper class must treat the lower class like dirt. The upper class must do this in order to make lower class people "know their place," to make lower class people internalize the notion that they are an inferior lot, that they do not deserve to enjoy life the way upper class people do, and to accept their position at the bottom of an unequal society where they must unquestioningly do what they are told to do by their "betters"--the upper class folks. Forced to treat working class people like dirt, the upper class dares not respectfully ask working class people to participate as equals in figuring out how to get things done sensibly, and for that reason often does NOT get things done sensibly.
One of the main reasons for abolishing class inequality is to
abolish the treatment of ordinary people like dirt, which--and this is perhaps
the worst thing about treating people like dirt--entails treating them like
idiots and ignoramuses.
The main reason for abolishing the class inequality of our society, for removing the rich from power to have no rich and no poor, is so that people will no longer be treated like dirt.
So How Come Progressive Organizations Don't Advocate the Abolition of Class Inequality?
Most progressives would LOVE to see class inequality abolished. In this regard, progressives are the same as all ordinary people. This video shows 68 interviews with random people on the streets of Boston (no cherry picking!) saying if they think it would be a good idea or a bad idea to abolish class inequality. Specifically, they are asked if they think the message ("Let's remove the rich from power, have real--not fake--democracy with no rich and no poor") on a button they are shown is a good or a bad idea. Ninety-one percent say it was a good (in some cases "a great!") idea.
When the author last July went to a pro-Trump rally in Boston organized by the Massachusetts chapter of the National Rifle Association and asked 50 random people at the rally (most of whom were wearing Trump caps or an NRA article of clothing or sporting an American flag, and most of whom were from western rural Massachusetts and all of whom were white) the same question about the same button, 43 (86%) said they loved the button and several pinned it on themselves right on the spot; all of them gladly took a button when I offered them one. Four people (8%) were verbally quite hostile to the button and three (6%) said they didn't know what they thought.
So why don't progressive organizations advocate removing the rich from power to have real--not fake--democracy with no rich and no poor (a.k.a. egalitarian revolution, i.e., the abolition of class inequality)?