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Not the cone of silence

By Tom Toles

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Loose lips

Not enough exercise. That's what got us where we are. I mean mentally. I think one of the problems with our public discourse now is that everybody's brain is out of shape. The consumer culture became just that, our CULTURE, and it consumed us. Thinking about the things we'd like to have, and thinking about where we could get them became just about all that we thought about. There was no embarrassment in this. It started to feel downright WHOLESOME. Then -- oops! -- the economy got obesity and diabetes and heart disease, and we decided somebody must be to blame. First came Shock, then Denial. Now we're all the way to Anger, but we're unsure who to be angry at because we weren't paying attention. We were watching television or out shopping. If we ever get past Anger and move along to GUILT, we may actually be making some progress.

A note: The relentless folks here at The Post have finally succeeded in pushing me onto Facebook and told me I should mention it here. It's been over a week, and I'm still not sure I see the point, but stop on in and help me figure it out. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | July 1, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

People intuitively think in opposites. If it's not black, it's white - not gray. This is our default reasoning process and can easily be induced.

I believe the US gradually went from a society that was pro-democracy, opposing tyranny, to one that is pro-capitalism and opposed to anything that limits it. This shift happened because of the Cold War when "communism", an economic system, was the enemy not a tyrant like Hitler. In an effort to defeat this huge threat to the wealthy and powerful we willingly supported brutal dictators in countries like Chile.

During the 50's and 60's people like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman legitimized radical individualism for the "intellectual" elite. Alan Greenspan was actually a close associate of the radical Rand. It was Reagan, however, that finished the job. This uber-saleman sold the American public on his "greed is good, government is bad, free markets' will solve all of our problems" mantra. This philosophy is a recipe for anarchy, not democracy but it does benefit the wealthy elite who have gained ever more power with Republican help. Now they are free to completely buy our elections thanks to our right wing Supreme Court. All it takes to bamboozle Americans - the media included - is for people who sell this disastrous idology to come across as nice folks they way Reagan, Roberts, and Alito do.

Unfortunately strong democracy depends on a large, healthy middle class. This has never happened without a government that explicitly supports the middle class. Without government policies, a small minority gains control of the wealth and power and uses it to keep everyone else from sharing in the wealth that they have helped produce. That is the pattern in third world countries and is a blueprint for instability. Our free market policies which have prevailed since Reagan have resulted in a steady decline in the US middle class - and not because so many have moved up the ladder.

Just the other day I heard someone (Keith Olbermann, I think but I can't find the quote) report that one financial firm was telling investors that this crisis is a great thing because companies can get all these talented people to work for a pittance. Next thing you know they will bring back the company store.

Posted by: BernieO | July 2, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Looks like a marxist version of scissor hands and lawn mower man all at the insane time?

Posted by: carbonhog | July 1, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

yes it was bobbo2,
and loose lips is also a good song.
So....

Posted by: bertzel | July 1, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the "cone of silence" was the best running joke in Get Smart. Probably the best running joke in any tv series. It worked about as well as President Obama's stimulus plan has with creating private sector jobs.

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 1, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles, do global warmers curse beautiful weather days like the one we are experiencing today? Or do they praise it as another one of Mother Nature's wonders? Blue sky, 72 degrees on the first day of July.

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 1, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

S.o now "we" are suppose to feel Guilt?
come on...how can one feel guilt if one doesn't 'see' anything wrong?? And though I had quite an eyeful yest. eve at the local bandshell I did not feel any guilt...perhaps a "bit" of disgust and plenty of pity.
As for your comment about facebook...I could say the same about your blog---KIDDING !!!
We do so enjoy talking AT you Toles.
course it looks as though the same thing is happening on your facebook page.

Don't care much for ice cream now that I'm "older and wiser"....I will, however, take a tall, cool, drink anyday, especially now since it is so HOT!

Posted by: bertzel | July 1, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Geez. Reading some of these responses are opening my eyes. I thought you were just a cartoonist trying to be funny about the issues of the day every day. I didn't realize you were diabolically trying to subvert our very way of life.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | July 1, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The solution is to a society based not on the "rule of law" but on the rule of the people". Make any legal ruling cancelable by people voting it down.

Yes it has it's issues. But giving lawyers so much power is surreal.

Posted by: hihi22 | July 1, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'll help you out on Facebook if you will tell me the name of your Band, and if you have anything recorded. And I have no guilt about anything. I worked may ass off for the "stuff" I have and I owe nothing on any of it, house, cars, boat TV, thousand of music cds. I own it all. I know that's not normal in an economic system that is based on debt, but then I have always been abnormal, and I'm proud of it. I love your wit and intelligence. Don''t let the Right Wing Reactionaries get to you. Dig on them at your hearts content.

Posted by: bavery1 | July 1, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Toles talks about us being mentally out of shape. He's one to talk. He uses the same demonizations, cliches, and lazy generalizations that the Left typically uses. I know he's a cartoonist (if not a particularly insightful, searching, or creative one) and there's only so much one can fit in one panel, but his responses are predictable and canned and predetermined. I'm not partisan on this: the Right also relies on demonizations, cliches, and lazy generalizations. But that's no excuse for Toles (whose Jesus complex: the poor suffering artist, emaciated and hirsute, chained to his easel, has long since become annoying) to indulge in it.

Posted by: mbrachman | July 1, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Imagine, a society that is mentally out of shape in the information age.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | June 30, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Guilt. Where would the Left be without guilt? Exercise in schools has been thwarted in many places by liability concerns. Thanks trial lawyers. News Flash-kids have always gotten hurt on the playground and playing field. Should we control trial lawyers for contributing to obesity? The housing orgy was caused by giving anyone a mortgage. Government regulators who did not regulate. Thanks Frank and Dodd. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes? You forgot cancer Mr. Toles. Some people unfortunately have heredity dangers concerning these problems. And sure, we can develop these things from not watching our diets. I believe Mr. Toles that you are pushing this food thing because if the Federal Government eventually becomes the sole provider of health care you want to control peoples diet to lower the cost to the government. Everybody in the same boat. Everybody with the same misery. You must have a copy of the commerce clause on your office wall. That must be your hope. Well we found out today about Ms. Kagan's beliefs about food control. Surprise, surprise. Government takes responsibility for something and then restricts cause to save money on effect. Take freedom to save money. No thanks.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 30, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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