This Salon article is a good read and could be starting material for a much deeper discussion, one we should be having among ourselves and also publicly. I’m sharing it because I had a short but rewarding conversation with a friend on Google Plus around this article.
It’s usually a surprise to me when I realize people are treating me differently because of my age. It just feels strange to be seen differently because I’m 20 or more years older or younger than someone else. I try to avoid seeing others this way, but it’s a natural tendency.
As humans, we love to label things, people included, and that includes labeling others according to age. This is particularly problematic because physical age captures so little of a person’s essence.
Becoming ageless by living for timeless goals is a worthy goal for life. For most of us, that means playing a small part in making the world better, dedicating ourselves to improving the lives of at least a few people.
One thing I love about the internet is that people, for the most part, perceive you according to the traits you express, rather than as an age, a race, a citizen of some place. The technology allows us to abstract away (to some extent) the innate aspects of those we meet, letting us focus on their character, intelligence, and general persona. I see this as a wonderful advance.
The Hogewey Dementia Village is a wonderful example of putting humanity first, before profit, before petty differences. I would love to replicate this here in the United States. Greed and tribalism is all that’s holding us back from bringing this care to the US.
I earn a good salary as an engineer and we (family of five) live comfortably on my income. We sacrifice some to live on my income, but I would gladly pay more taxes if it means:
1. Everyone can have good health care, feed their families healthy food, and live in an adequate home in an area with low crime.
2. We fix and maintain our infrastructure and invest in a future with renewable energy and modern transit.
My wife disagrees and thinks we sacrifice enough, and the wealthy almost never pay their fair share, but I think anyone living well (not necessarily wealthy) has a responsibility to support the nation that provides so much for them.
People are morally bound to contribute to their society according to their benefit from it. The poor benefit very little and so owe very little in return. Ideally we would create a society in which everyone benefits and is invested in maintaining and improving it.
As it stands now, those who benefit the most generally contribute the least in return, making them parasites. The right wing loves to call people parasites, but this is largely a measure to put their opponents on the defensive and minimize the number of people who realize the right and their patrons are the real parasites.
There’s a great quote by Jason Read floating around that describes the situation in terms of biology, in which successful parasites are not recognized as such by their host, which is exactly the case with the very wealthy in this nation. They thrive by preventing the majority from recognizing their true enemies.