node created 2019/09/29
Pick any problem our country faces. At some point it will intersect with Walmart. Whether it's gun violence, a widening economic gap, environmental issues, outsourcing manufacturing, lack of health care access etc. Walmart is right there on the wrong side of history.
This kind of "meritocracy" is more like if we held an arm-wrestling tournament, declared the victor to be our new feudal lord, the next 6 runners up to be knights, and everyone else to be peasants. Our position in this new society was based on "merit", but that can't necessarily justify the difference between nobles and serfs.

We could even re-run the tournament every year. We could make sure no child gets extra time in the weight-room because of her noble parents. We could decide that arm-wrestling is stupid and brutish and so, in a glorious revolution, switch to speed chess. None of it would address the question of justice.
We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and – in spite of True Romance magazines – we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely – at least, not all the time – but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
SaaS is more closed than closed: you control nothing, not even your data, and can trivially be spied on and monetized in other questionable ways. The fact that some of the pieces of a SaaS site are open source is meaningless and changes nothing.
There is, simply, no way, to ignore privacy. Because a citizenry’s freedoms are interdependent, to surrender your own privacy is really to surrender everyone’s. You might choose to give it up out of convenience, or under the popular pretext that privacy is only required by those who have something to hide. But saying that you don’t need or want privacy because you have nothing to hide is to assume that no one should have, or could have to hide anything – including their immigration status, unemployment history, financial history, and health records. You’re assuming that no one, including yourself, might object to revealing to anyone information about their religious beliefs, political affiliations and sexual activities, as casually as some choose to reveal their movie and music tastes and reading preferences.

Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. Or that you don’t care about freedom of the press because you don’t like to read. Or that you don’t care about freedom of religion because you don’t believe in God. Or that you don’t care about the freedom to peaceably assemble because you’re a lazy, antisocial agoraphobe. Just because this or that freedom might not have meaning to you today doesn’t mean that that it doesn’t or won’t have meaning tomorrow, to you, or to your neighbor – or to the crowds of principled dissidents I was following on my phone who were protesting halfway across the planet, hoping to gain just a fraction of the freedom that my country was busily dismantling.
"Permanent Record"
But when they plunder from these miners, these children, my fellow citizens, countrymen, thrown out on the highways and mother insulted — do you think that they will be good citizens when they grow up? I don't. The revenge and resentment will be buried there if they grow into manhood, it will develop, they will kill, they will murder to get even with those who robbed them. I want you to stop that. I don't want it to go on. Your Governor may, but I don't. I want the children to have the best of influence, I want the children to have good schooling, I want women to know nothing but what is good, I want to leave to this nation a nobler manhood and greater womanhood. Can I do it? No, I can't, boys, with the administration you have got, I can't do it.

I can do it if you men and women will stand together, find out the seat of the disease and pull it up by the roots.

Take possession of that state house, that ground is yours. (Someone interrupted, and the speaker said "Shut your mouth.")

You built that state house, didn't you? You pay the public officials, don't you? You paid for that ground, didn't you? (Cries of: "Yes," "yes.")

Then, who does it belong to? Then why did the militia chase you off? You have been hypnotized. The trouble has been that they wanted the slave system to continue. They have had a glass for you and your wives and children to look into. They have you hypnotized.
And the cover of Vodafone's Digital Parenting is a picture of three lovely-looking little kids, about eight years old, all sat in a line on a sofa, where they're all absorbed by handheld devices and computers and screens, and they're not interacting in any meaningful human way. And all through Digital Parenting are all these disguised advertorials about "edu-taining" software that you absolutely need to buy. Vodafone's Digital Parenting. It's like the fox's guide to chicken security.
In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
Remember this. The people you're trying to step on, we're everyone you depend on. We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner. We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep. We drive the ambulances. We direct your call. We are cooks and taxi drivers and we know everything about you. We process your insurance claims and credit card charges. We control every part of your life.

We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we'll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won't. And we're just learning this fact. So don't fuck with us.
"Fight Club"
How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason? You have been given the principles that you ought to endorse, and you have endorsed them. What kind of teacher, then, are you still waiting for in order to refer your self-improvement to him? You are no longer a boy but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary. From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now, you are at the Olympic games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. This is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be Socrates.
The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.
The straight line is ungodly.
Notice the American focus on individuals and figureheads, single people who you can attack and onto which you can offload your problems. Couple this with partisan feuding which is being fuelled and is causing the left-right divide to grow even more rapidly, you end up with precisely this: Americans bickering and engaged in vitriolic argumentation over whose side is better, without the key issues ever being addressed. Without stopping and thinking about holding your country to account/doing anything about it.

That is the manipulation. And the deception is as you say, those old/young, left/right, tacitly sold on the lie that this perpetual state of war is somehow necessary and driven by anything but your country's massive military industrial complex. A complex which most Americans I've seen don't even deny, but at best shrug/laugh off as "haha, maybe we're the bad guys" but internally justifying and convincing themselves otherwise.

And because of the "us vs them" dichotomy that you've been fed, that internal justification is automatic when thinking about any situation involving America and the Middle East: "are we the bad guys? Well it's us vs them, and they're the bad guys so no, we're the good guys".

And it's that that I believe has lead to your current physical inability to empathise with the killing of innocent human beings in the Middle East. Not tiredness or burnout; just "us vs them".
If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.
People don't like seeing others in pain, but instead of comforting them or letting them vent, most people try to make it stop. Stopping isn't always the best solution. Just like my doctor trying to hook me up with meds. I need to vent and cry and curl up in a ball and refuse to eat and then eat everything in sight and listen to sad music and angry music and sleep in his t-shirts and be anti-social and overly social and figure it out.
It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.
Speech to the Michigan legislature, in Lansing, Michigan (15 May 1952)
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.
No individual gets up and says, I'm going to take this because I want it. He'd say, I'm going to take it because it really belongs to me and it would be better for everyone if I had it. It's true of children fighting over toys. And it's true of governments going to war. Nobody is ever involved in an aggressive war; it's always a defensive war - on both sides.
If only we organized. And worked together. And stopped thinking of success as something that individuals obtain, for their own self-interests.
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.