Zombies Are Blameless, and So Are We
Excerpted from “How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts.”
If you voluntarily buy burritos from Chipotle or pay for TV programs owned by Discovery, companies whose CEOs earn 1,000 times more than the average employee they oversee, then you probably don’t have any problem with wealth and income inequality. You’re certainly not going to have a problem with all the other corporations, like, for instance, Disney, where the Executives-to-Workers ratio is in the hundreds. Indeed, you recognize that corporations do so much good for the world in their relentless pursuit of profit and growth that you’re willing to overlook the naked greed of the (mostly) white men siphoning off millions in profits for themselves and their precious families while everyone else does the actual work. On you shop, not exactly oblivious but more-or-less unbothered.
If you love America, then you believe in capitalism. If you love capitalism, there’s never been a better time to be alive. You’re presently in a state of something akin to modern nirvana. The machine is working perfectly. The worthiest, most valuable members of our society are being rewarded lavishly for the greatness they refract among the rest of us. Money is flowing upward – and has been for decades – the way it’s supposed to in a system that operates outside of the Laws of Nature.
Money wins. Capital triumphs. Industry vanquishes sloth.
For many of us, the truth about how we’ve allowed ourselves to be organized is too painful. We can’t look at our beloved husband or daughter or grandson and see a pig at the trough. We can’t look ourselves in the mirror and cop to the fact that we participate every day in a society that systematically (and predictably) relegates many of our brothers and sisters to a life of indentured servitude and second-class citizenry.
So we watch zombie shows. We tweet about zombie shows. We “like” someone’s comment about themselves watching a zombie show, appended to an IG selfie, “Can’t tell who the real zombies r anymore!” #couchspud
We fill the holes in our soul with triple-stuffed-nacho-burger-wings (and “organic” burritos that are making fellows in an office very rich). We scream at the television when the sub-literate genetic freak drops the ball and “our” team fails to be the best. We vacation somewhere fabulous, where the locals are exotic and grateful for American consumption. We “relax.” We take care of ourselves, because lord knows the American healthcare gulag won’t.
On some level we kinda sorta understand that all the money we spend on weapons of mass mayhem could be spent on other things, like education and healthcare. But on another level we feel a vague sense of relief that there’s a productive use for all the bad students not smart enough to sit at a desk and issue directives.
Are things perfect? Not quite. But we must acknowledge that no one is breaking any laws. (OK, at least no one is going to jail for it). Everyone is playing by the rules. And the rules say that our society is built like a pyramid. We all need to find two or more people below us so we (and our dear children) can have more than the losers who stir the beans at Chipotle.
Maybe illegal immigration isn’t such a bad deal after all…