Do Black Friday Shoppers Care About Starving Children?

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Recently
by Karen De Coster: 21
Days Away From Dumping the Federal FoodPyramid

I can’t help
but pay attention to all of the sound bites and visual propaganda
that are passed ’round the Internet without a thought, especially
on Facebook. The latest “visual” that has stirred the senses of
the “give me a sound bite I don’t have to think about” crowd is
a new take on a very old theme — “Define Necessity.” Here’s version
#976, for those who think this image is a new discovery:

This feel-good
image is promoted by the same folks who spend countless $$$ on iPhones,
eating out, endless purses and clothes and video games and $10 movie
tickets, and other so-called “unnecessary” items.

The photo on
the right is probably taken during a Black Friday, credit-card-and-bankster-fueled
spending spree. No one has been more critical of the Fed-fueled
and therefore crazed consumerism typified by Black Friday than I
have, much to the chagrin of some of my readers. After all, as individuals
and as a society, we need to save much more and spend much less,
if we want prosperity. Keynes was wrong here, too, of course. But
are spenders, even nutty spenders, responsible for poverty, starvation,
and degradation here or in other countries? Of course, not. However,
these two images, as spliced together, convey an inconsistent meaning,
one that the simpleton folks who promote the image can’t seem to
grasp.

The image of
the shopping frenzy, on the right, may not be very appealing, at
least to me, because the people in the picture are pursuing plastic
toys and other useless crap. My own personal opinion is that
most kids have too much junk — needless toys that sit around on
the floor and become the broken remains of someone’s hard-earned
dollars. Thus the mass of consumer bozos, on the right, may deserve
much criticism for their behavior, financial recklessness,
and addiction to subsidized credit, but they live in America, a
country where, in spite of the oppressive statism and economic tyranny
from Washington D.C., and the pillaging of Main Street from the
Wall Street banksters, they can still utilize enough of the (limited)
free market forces to bring comfort, leisure, some excess, and previously
unaffordable luxuries to their lives. This is, and should be, the
goal of any enlightened society experiencing technological advancement
and increasing productivity.

Unfortunately,
so many people are taken intellectual prisoner by cheap images and
dime store sloganeering. What the image-driven masses don’t understand
is how people become poor and stay poor. The photo on the left certainly
seems to invoke all kids of emotional impulses and knee-jerk reactions
prior to the brain cells kicking in. We see grotesque, malnourished
children reaching for … something … probably food. The
folks who spend approximately 10 seconds processing this image,
and draw the wrong conclusions, don’t take into account the fact
that the world is awash with food. Too much food — especially grains
— is subsidized by governments (especially the U.S.) to produce
high profit margins for corporate state giants, and then this very
profitable slop is paid for with government tax plunder and shipped
overseas to Third World countries.

These Third
World governments, usually comprised of gangs of self-serving tyrants
at perpetual war with one another, have no mechanisms for the distribution
of food to the masses in need. There is little infrastructure because
there are few, if any, private interests willing to take on the
financial risk that is necessary to acquire and sustain long-term
business interests. Capitalist production is not attracted to an
economy that offers no infrastructure and no private property, and
where the threat of currency risk, political violence, and the expropriation
of assets will exceed the potential for doing business in the region.
Moreover, the most valuable human capital that is churned out in
the Third World will often migrate overseas to countries where suffering
is less rampant and freedom is more accessible.

Children in
Third World countries, as shown in the photo above, suffer from
malnutrition and death because of perverted political practices
that influence purchasing power, food prices, and distribution practices.
Additionally, government policy purposefully engenders discriminatory
inequality that starves and enslaves the masses while the elites
in power retain and grow their prosperity. Meanwhile, US intervention
abroad supports and sustains these corrupt Third World governments,
while military and economic punishment is used against those who
oppose US foreign policy ideals.

Still, the
propaganda about starving children is run on late-night television,
in short-term time slots, telling people they “must do something”
to solve all of the chaos in the world. These images are permanently
stamped into the minds of the public-schooled masses who succumb
to the pressure to feel guilty for their “luxuries” — cars, toys,
iPads, and Swedish massages — while other people elsewhere don’t
seem to have the bare necessities of life.

The unruly
Black Friday spend-a-thon brigade, as pictured in the poster, has
absolutely nothing to do with the malnourished children on the left.
The two scenarios cannot be properly used, one against the other,
in order to convey that the excessive shopper should feel guilty
for his spoils. The shopper who suddenly develops a guilt trip and
thus spurns purchases of superabundance does not benefit the starving,
shelter-lacking children because he foregoes the Animal Planet mechanical
dinosaur or Nintendo 3DS. The economic life of participants in the
global economy is not a zero sum game.

Yet, Facebook
defenders of the mindless posters claim that it is constructive
to remind people of their excesses while others around the world
suffer. I'll quote one commenter on Facebook whose statement about
the meaning of the poster was very representative of what I have
seen on all of the poster threads:

It is recommending
that we reexamine what we “need” in light of how people in other
parts of the world are in “need” of the basics (food, water, shelter)
to survive.

This would
only be true from the point of the image-maker who directs the visual
propaganda at the uneducated and hype-stimulated masses. Folks who
are not knowledgeable of the complexities of global economics and
political systems don't understand why these people in the Third
World are in “need.” They don't understand that governments drive
these needs that go unsatisfied due to the state's monopoly on power
and coercion, and the use of these tools to oppress and enslave.

It is indeed
unfortunate that the advancement of our standard of living has come
to be reflected by gaggles of sheeple busting through the doors
of Best Buy at midnight on Black Friday to fight for TVs, bluetooth
headsets, and puerile video games. But this mentality is borne out
of a culture in which government monetary and political policy has
long discouraged long-term planning among individuals while cultivating
a society of immediate gratification.

Another version
of the same puffery comes courtesy of the Apple Haters who use a
computer, the Internet, and probably a Photoshop program — or similar
— to publish posters online about how technology is not a necessity,
especially considering all of the starving children in the Third
World.

In spite of
being a huge Apple fan, I only recently got my first iPad, almost
two years after its initial release. I purchased it because I knew
it would be an indispensible tool — a path to better productivity
for writing, blogging, and reading. Accordingly, since "necessity"
is subjective to each individual, and since I have fulfilled all
of life's basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), the iPad can be
viewed as a necessity for my particular lifestyle and needs. My
mother doesn't "need" an iPad, but I did need one.
But then again, I don't need a medical ID bracelet, as she does.
Each time I pick up my iPad I am reminded of the fact that entrepreneurs
like Steve Jobs, in spite of oppressive regulation, taxation, and
political redistribution in the First World, took their visions
from inception to reality by working through the market process
and serving the customer and benefitting civilization overall.

As I began
to think about purchasing an iPad, I admit that I never gave a single
to thought to starving children in Africa, or how owning an iPad
would somehow render my heart cold and cruel, removing me from examining
the real world through a necessity lens. One thing I do think about
every single day, however, is the monopoly that governments have
on power and coercion, and how they use this to initiate force;
inflict violence; suppress human initiative; extract and redistribute
wealth; and generally, create conflicting social classes by way
of political scheming and powerful propaganda.

When Steve
Jobs passed away in October of 2011, a surge of anti-Apple literature
quickly circulated on the Internet, regurgitating the old theme
on a new platform. The purveyors of the image were perturbed that
so many people could care about one man — a visionary, artist, creator,
entrepreneur — who had done so much during his short life to slice
through institutional barriers and political systems to bring us
one of the first commercially successful computers. Whether or not
you like Apple products, Steve Jobs has enriched the lives of millions
of people, and his products have inspired functionality and elegance
that is unsurpassed in the world of technology.

Due to the
omnipotence of government on a universal scale, we, as individuals,
are not able to feed, clothe, and shelter all of the starving children
in the Third World, no matter how much we are moved by images of
exploitation abroad. Private efforts frequently do rally around
defined causes, and sometimes they are successful at providing incremental
comfort to small bands of an impoverished population. But, on a
larger scale, these efforts do nothing to strike at the root of
evil and corruption borne by unlimited government power on a worldwide
scale.

So the lesson
is not whether or not your shopping binge is a necessity
— need is subjective to each individual, and need cannot be assessed
collectively. And the lesson is not to reexamine our needs and measure
them against the needs of others to assess and compare practicality.

The lesson
is that we, as individuals, have to recognize that we should not
bear any load of guilt concerning the prosperity that we acquire
in spite of the economic barriers that are placed in front
of us. Instead, we should continue to work outside of the political
system to dismantle stifling regulations and political impediments
that keep people poor, and we can assist in this effort by first
emphasizing and delegitimizing the root cause of poverty and oppression
in all parts of the world — the state. To quote Wendy McElroy, from
her article "Why
I Would Not Vote Against Hitler
."

A state’s
power rests on social conditions, such as whether people will
obey its laws and how many resources it can command to enforce
obedience. A key social condition is how legitimate the state
is seen to be. For without the veil of legitimate authority, the
people will not obey the state, and it will not long command the
resources, such as taxes and manpower, that it needs to live.

The folks who
attempt to build opinion based on the careless spreading of hollow
imagery are merely duplicating the tactics of the puppeteers who
desire to keep them ignorant. They are enforcing the legitimacy
of the state by helping to spread propaganda that claims the world's
most complex problems are explained by simple solutions — thereby
eliminating the need for further introspection as to the origin
of human misery and institutional barriers to freedom and abundance
around the world.

Our time and
energy is better spent on exposing the depravity of state power
rather than claiming that spendthrift shopaholics are degenerate
cretins for rising above the living standards of the world's impoverished
peoples.

December
31, 2011

Karen De
Coster, CPA [send
her mail
] is an accounting/finance professional in the
healthcare industry and a freelance writer/blogger. She writes about
the medical establishment, Big Pharma, Big Agra, the Corporate State,
health totalitarianism, lifestyle fascism, industrial-medical-pharmaceutical
complex, and essentially, anything that encroaches upon the freedom
of her fellow human beings. She is a proponent of ancestral health
and the natural, eco-ag farming community, and she opposes the Fed’s
anti-food choice totalitarianism. This is her LewRockwell.com
archive
and her Mises.org
archive
. Check out her
website
. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.

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