[Marxism] How bad is it?
knhiebert at shaw.ca
Tue Jun 5 11:00:00 MDT 2012
Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 5 09:16:14 MDT 2012
How Bad Is It?
By George Scialabba
Pretty bad. Here is a sample of factlets from surveys and studies
conducted in the past twenty years. Seventy percent of Americans
believe in the existence of angels. Fifty percent believe that the
earth has been visited by UFOs; in another poll, 70 percent
believed that the U.S. government is covering up the presence of
space aliens on earth. Forty percent did not know whom the U.S.
fought in World War II. Forty percent could not locate Japan on a
world map. Fifteen percent could not locate the United States on a
world map. Sixty percent of Americans have not read a book since
leaving school. Only 6 percent now read even one book a year.
According to a very familiar statistic that nonetheless cannot be
repeated too often, the average American’s day includes six
minutes playing sports, five minutes reading books, one minute
making music, 30 seconds attending a play or concert, 25 seconds
making or viewing art, and four hours watching television.
* * * *
I must confess that I watch more television than any of the other activities, although now that i am retired I do spend some time in choral groups and swimming.
If in capitalist society, the majority of workers were well-educated and enabled to express themselves in music and art, I might be persuaded to support capitalism.
What lies behind belief?
A group of sociologists (or was it anthropologists?) studying fishers around Lake Baikal in the Soviet Union found people who believed that the lake was populated by the souls of martyrs of the Paris Commune. They appealed to these spirits for help in their fishing.
This suggests to me that insecurity prompts belief. And if, in the U. S., there is a greater number of people who adhere to fundamentalist churches, it may have to do with the insecurity they experience. Even by comparison with the weak and inadequate welfare state in Canada, workers in the U. S. are insecure. The absence of medicare is one aspect of this.
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