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The Middle Class Quest for Immortality & the Psychic Benefit of Superiority

Nov 8, 2008
Michael Hogan

Alot of folks try to pack much into a day (time is money). Is it the stress of modernity? Is it because real income (adjusted for inflation) has been declining for over 30 years? Can anyone remember the 1950\'s or 1960\'s when one income supported a family? Are folks rushing trying to avoid their own mortality? Perhaps the people of modernity developed large egos and are consumed by themselves, with little interest in listening to others? Folks in the Pascack Valley have little time for meaningful conversation and no time for contrary views. Let\'s hope conversation continues to exist in other parts of the world.

Do you talk about the past exclusively? Is there any discussion of the present? Does your conversation venture beyond the bounds of the mundane? Middle class man normally remains within the secure boundaries of the mundane. Are there any critical intellectual discussions beyond anecdotes about ones life or the lives of others? Do you discuss ideas, history, the social sciences, social critics and books you have read?

Freud\'s theory is that folks work hard to achieve a memory of themselves (fame) that will immortalize them. Perhaps the whole middle class thing is about avoiding mortality?

The middle class seem to view importance (the road to immortality) as a zero sum game. That is, the possible importance (prestige) of others is seen as a threat to their immortality. This may account for the super competitiveness of the middle class person.  Freud himself has a basic building block of his world view called fear. This fear factor is based on what Freud viewed as scarcity. Freud was a victim of being an economic illiterate. Rather then scarcity, there is an unjust distribution of income and wealth. In other words, there is more then enough wealth on the planet for all to live decent wholesome lives with more then enough food, clothing, shelter, health care and education.

Why do middle class Americans view income and wealth as a zero sum game in the context  of scarcity? Why do other societies view it as important for all to live well? On a psychosocial level the American middle class can be viewed in the context of work done by psychiatrist Dr Thomas Szasz. Dr Szasz\'s research and books claim misers attack family members to avoid having to share income and wealth with them. On a national level, the American middle class have attacked the poor and less fortunate with a vengence all of my life. The most dramatic attack was by Democratic President Bill Clinton when he stepped on mothers and children by gutting Aid to Dependent Children. The other aspect of the middle class attack on the poor is also psychological. By keeping a large segment of Americans in poverty, the middle class derive the psychic benefit of superiority. This is why Americans prefer charity to human rights and dignity guaranteed by the society as a whole. Christian charity provides Christians with the psychic benefit of superiority.

How is it in other countries? Let\'s look at Holland where all aspects of capitalism were created: stock markets, commodity markets, insurance, international trade, crop rotation, etc. The great wealth of modern Holland was created since WW II. Dutch capitalists view the nation as a whole. Rather then serving one small segment of elites (the wealthy) as in America, Dutch culture sees a need for all to do well in order for there to be a greater Gross National Product (GNP). The poor are not disparaged as in America. There is no welfare. Rather there are human rights and dignity. People pay taxes and receive rights and dignity in return - affordable housing, affordable transportation, universal free health care for All superior to that on offer in America, high quality free education, stipends (rights) for all families with children, stipends for young students, etc.

No American politician could advocate human rights and dignity for all. He or she would be painted with a red brush of Marxism, Socialism or Communism. Meanwhile, in Eourope all countries have Marxist parties in their parliaments. Spain has a Socialist Prime Minister. The Socialist Party is Hollands third largest party. Germany\'s Communist Party (Die Linke) is gaining strength and will be the key to new coalitions. The Socialist Party is the second largest party in France. To understand how well the French live, please rent Michael Moore\'s "Sicko." He interviews a dozen American ex patriots living in France. Listen to these Americans extol the great benefits available to them in France as they sit around a large conference table. This is why American media attacks France regularly and often. France and other Europen countries with Marxist traditions are a threat of a good example.

Last Sunday the arch Conservative Pat Buchanan lauded an American Socialist named Norman Thomas. Buchanan said Thomas ran for President 6 times. Pat said he received over 1 million votes during the Great Depression and was responsible for pushing the Republican and Democratic Parties to the left to enact Social Security (Thomas\' idea) and the Progressive Income Tax (destroyed by Senator Dollar Bill).

If the American economy goes into the tank taking the middle class into the destitution long known by the poor, what will they do?
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