My Facebook feed has been peppered with articles about 50 Shades of Grey in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, and the discussion doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. I certainly do agree that the books and movie sound like they have some super abusive content, and that they might just signal a larger cultural problem that we aren’t deal with, but I also feel like they’re just a little too easy to criticize.
Instead of preaching to the choir about the 50 Shades series, I plan to make us all feel guilty about the part of Valentine’s Day that is much harder to address: consumerism. This post will focus specifically on the three most common gifts associated with the holiday: flowers, chocolate, and jewelry.
Did I ever tell you about the job I had picking flowers? It wasn’t actually as easy as it sounds.
The organization I worked for paid by the bundle. If you didn’t cut the stems long enough, or if you included any flowers that had already started to bloom, that bunch was thrown out and you wouldn’t get paid for it. At first, I kind of enjoyed the work. It was monotonous, so I had lots of time for thinking, and I loved being outside in the sun. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always sunny. When it rained my shoes would be sucked deep into the mud. Not to mention how being constantly bent-over made my back hurt. Often, at the end of the day, I would suddenly
realize that the money I made didn’t even equal out to minimum wage. As soon as I was able to get another job, I quit.
That experience was probably the first time I started to think about the history of flowers. Where did they come from? Who picked them? How far were they being shipped? Continue reading →
Posted in Canada, environmentalism, government, media, money, politics
Tagged 50 Shades of Grey, abuse, Blood Diamond, books, Cactus Corporation, Cameroon, Canadian mining companies, Côte d'Ivoire, chemical exposure, chemicals, child trafficking, chocolate, cocoa, columbia, conflict free diamonds, creepy, criticize, Culture, dermatological diseases, diamond, documentary, Ecuador, employment, engagement, environmental, Ethical, flower exporter, flowers, gems, Ghana, gifts, guilt, Guinea, health concerns, health danger, human rights violation, human rights violations, incorrigible respiratory diseases, indentured labour, jewelry, minimum wage, mining practices, movie, Nigeria, pesticides, Ricardo Zamudio, romantic, sexual harassment, Sierra Leon, Social, The Dark Side of Chocolate, unethical, valentines day, West Africa, work, worker's rights
…and yeah, that’s from the point of me speaking as a rabid Marxist.
And speaking as a Marxist, this has always been a peeve of mine. With the way politics often gets portrayed, plenty of folks (both liberal and conservative alike) get the misconception that Socialism is just a ‘roided up version of Liberalism and Communism is just a ‘roided of up version of that, with the state getting more and more powerful, larger in size, and more invasive in scope as you progress along that line.
That’s absolutely not how it works, and while that picture’s wrong, I’m not really here today to correct that.
(Though just for the record, this’d be a more accurate picture of the political spectrum…)
I’ve been playing around with this post for a while now, and it’s coming from more than just a desire to clear up my own stance. I truly do think that of the two major forces in American politics and culture, Liberalism is actually the more insidious (I’m not saying that Conservatism is better, but it does seem a lot easier to confront). I’m writing not to just talk about why I’m not a liberal, but why I don’t think you should be one either.
That said, let’s bring up the obvious:
I’m not going to try to address all Liberalism- that’d be a tough task for a book, let alone some blog post. I’m not going to try to attack hypocrisy either, those accusations can always be dismissed with the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Instead, I’m going to try to hit what I think are the core flaws and paradoxes that the ideology rests on. Continue reading →
Posted in America, bizarreness, Economy, environmentalism, Europe, government, history, morality, news, politics
Tagged capitalism, classical liberalism, communism, conservative, Corruption, deepwater horizon, environmental, FCC, FDA, free enterprise, freedom, Green, Green Capitalism, inequality, jeremy bentham, John Rawls, lenin, liberal, liberalism, liberals, Limits of Justice, Marxism, Michael Sandel, mineral management service, nanny state, Nationalism, nationalist, neoliberal, new york soda ban, paternalism, political compass, San Fransisco City Council, san fransisco happy meal ban, socialism, spectrum, sustainable, sweatshop, the greatest good for the greatest number, Theory of Justice, those who walk away from omelas, utilitarian, utilitarianism, welfare