1. That we permit corporations to advertise to children during children’s television programming. Someone is going to burn in hell for a long, long time, while trying to explain why he thought there was nothing wrong with trying to trick an eight-year-old into giving his money to General Foods or Nabisco or Hasbro. Then a host of other people will have to explain why they had a fit over Janet Jackson’s breast but didn’t mind at all that their children saw 25,000 commercials before they spent an hour in school.
2. Government subsidies (often in the form of tax breaks, which is nothing more than a disguised subsidy) to big business corporations while claiming that programs that benefit the poor create dependencies and constitute a “hand-out”. Some Republicans actually argue that an increase in the minimum wage will hurt the poor because it will force those strapped employers to lay off staff.
3. Free Trade. Free Trade is good. It absolutely astounds me that the press report, at face value, the government’s protestations that it is in favor of free trade when, in fact, it is wildly enmeshed in a host of protectionist measures, and the subsidization of agricultural and other industries.
4. Capital Punishment: there is no way to do it right because it always involves hatred and it always involves a conscious act by a government to take away life. How barbarian, really, are we?
5. The quality of television programming. I don’t think anybody even pretends, any more, that broadcasters will ever do any better than the load of crap they deliver to us every day. And it isn’t even enough that they deliberately produce utterly contemptible smut and call it “entertainment”: they also have to interrupt it every ten minutes to run ads which, unimaginably, are even more mind-numbing. Even worse, none of the major networks show any serious documentaries on anything.
6. Psychotropic drugs. Look around the room at any party. If you could ask all of the people on prescription medicines for depression or anxiety to put up their hands, you might be surprised. Surprised because you can’t remember when our society decided that instead of pursuing happiness and peace of mind we would just drug everyone. But that, in fact, is what we do. We never announced it. We never formally commenced a “program”. We did it quietly, circumspectly, discretely. The result is the same. All of us are on happy pills. We’re all on soma.
7. Third World Debt. You can argue as much as you want about teaching those people a little bit of responsibility– that’s like a 300 pound adult man beating up an eight-year-old kid in order to teach him some “responsibility”. The truth is, we are picking the pockets of the poor. The poor pay us. We wring our hands and send piddly little donations to make ourselves feel better, but the bottom line is that the poor send us more money than we send them because we are stronger and we can make them, and that’s the ugly truth.
8. The contracts the Recording Industry Association of America has been allowed to foist upon young talent.
9. Absurd awards for “pain and suffering” given out by American juries for victims of corporate malfeasance. The juries seem to be under the quaint illusion that stockholders of the recalcitrant corporations will reach into their own pockets to pay these awards. The big sub-scandal here: lawyers taking 30% or more of these awards even when they are in the millions or tens of millions.
10. Media concentration of ownership.
11. Government subsidy of professional sports stadiums.