Tag Archives: materialism

It’s incredible, but lots of people don’t know the difference between right and wrong!


It’s evident from today’s discussions around Confederate monuments, white supremacy marches, and free speech. President Trump, that fountain of wisdom, says that we have to take down the Washington monument if we’re opposing Jefferson Davis. Some of my liberal friends, gritting their teeth, say they will defend white supremacists’ right to march and speak out “to the death.”

The racists in Boston today say they aren’t rallying for bigotry, but for “free speech.” They’re trying to frame the argument so that anybody opposed to their disgusting views is against freedom.

There’s a good explanation for the confusion

The confusion over right and wrong today has the same root cause as a tremendous lot of confusion — people have no standard of measurement. With no actual standard, they are going by their feelings. No one would admit that, but it’s true. People are trying to decide very important questions simply by the way they happen to be feeling.

All philosophies are branches of idealism versus materialism. Idealists believe that the standards for everything exist only in their minds — in their ideal world. All the stuff that we see, touch, and smell, is only an approximation of the perfect ideal.

Materialists believe in the real world. We believe that any concept of a perfect ideal would have to be generalized from all the stuff we can sense. The material world comes first, and perfection is just something to talk about when we have extra time.

What standard would work?

The good of humanity is an excellent standard. “Good,” then, is what helps humanity. “Evil” detracts from us. “Right” advances us and “wrong” pushes us backward.

If everyone used that simple standard, the arguments would be over.

Getting back to the present situation, tax dollars should no longer be used to honor the Confederacy. Racism should be suppressed. It’s not a moral issue nor a difficult philosophical problem. It’s just knowing the difference between right and wrong.

–Gene Lantz

You can hear me on “Workers Beat” on or 89.3FM in the Dallas area, 9AM central time every Saturday

A New York Times article on December 15, 2016, “Bots at War For Your Soul,” explains that some of the arguments on twitter are actually generated by, and carried out by, robots!

What kind of jobs

We never ask “What kind of jobs?” Will we fall for anything and everything?

How could anybody fall for such an outlandish scam? A lot of us do, according to the article. I’d be a little more sanctimonious about it if I hadn’t also fallen into a stupid “flame war” on email just yesterday.

We’re being told in yesterday’s newspaper that Russians actually guided the 2016 elections into the Trump win column. People fell for that. We’re told, all the time, that “fake news” stories, especially on social media, confused the electorate and the general political scene?


Some of the answers are obvious. For example, we tend to believe things that we see over and over, and, since almost all of our Facebook and Twitter friends believe the same things we do, over and over is how information is presented to us. But that’s not the fundamental problem.

The fundamental problem with belief in America is that we have given up our objectivity. We’ve ditched the scientific approach. We’ve become addicts for information that suits us and fits into the frameworks we’ve already established. We’re suckers. We don’t believe our own senses, and we don’t check facts.

Just to prove my point, I offer you the 2016 election results.  Snake oil consumption on a mass scale!

If we ever sober up, I am hoping that we re-evaluate the fundamental difference between all philosophies: some of them are materialistic and the rest are idealistic. The idealistic people can believe almost anything. Their only test for truth is whether or not it “feels right.” The materialistic ones favor facts and science. The idealistic ones believe that “truth is in the eye of the beholder.” The materialistic ones believe that truth is truth — it may be hard to discover, but it’s still truth.

Scientists, when they’re being scientists, are materialists because it’s the only way they can make progress. At home watching TV, they may become romanticists and superstitious fools, but that’s just for recreation. All of us are materialists when it really matters, when it comes to getting our cars to run or our computers to work, but we are constantly subjected to the boss’s philosophy, idealism, in all our movies, all our TV, nearly all our books, etc. Idealism is the philosophy used by Voodoo religionists, crooked politicians and our employers.

–Gene Lantz

If you’re interested in what I actually think, click here

I appreciate everybody in the progressive movement for anything they say or do.


But the “armchair socialists,” who don’t actually do anything, and the “knee-jerk activists,” who try to do everything imaginable, worry me.

The main problem with the knee-jerkers is that they won’t last long. A lot of the things they try won’t work out, and they will tend to get discouraged early. Burnout. Years later, we’ll hear them saying, “Oh I used to be full of piss and vinegar, but…”

As they don’t think through any plan nor program, they just grab anything that comes up. In fact, if something seems pretty outrageous, then they figure it’s more “anti-establishment” and consequently even more attractive to them.

If we don’t think through what we’re doing, we’re leading other people down wrong paths. Some of those paths are dangerous and some of them are just wastes of time. That’s why I keep arguing for people to make up their minds what strategies they like and how those strategies relate to what they are actually doing.

If you think the next president is going to set everything right, then why are you spending all your time on something else? If you think organizing is the key, why would you go “rabbit chasing” all over the political spectrum? If you agree with me that single purpose coalitions (click here) are far stronger than those that try to do everything, why would you try to turn every meeting into a convention of a New Communist Party that will solve all ills?

The best activists are those that take action, then re-evaluate in terms of an overall strategy for what they want to accomplish, then take more action. Action and thinking have to combine. The knee jerkers will be whatever help they may be, do whatever damage they’re going to do, and will be seen no more — unless we can convert them into rational activists before they burn out!

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas

Like a lot of unionists, like all materialists, I’m not really so crazy about the Democrats nor the Republicans. So why not vote Green Party?


After all, they’re a progressive party on environmental issues and environmental issues really matter. Since I don’t know much of anything about their candidates, I don’t know anything bad — and the 2016 campaign is smearing both of the major party candidates terribly.

It’s not because, not exactly because, the Green Party took enough votes away from Al Gore in Florida to make George Bush president. It’s not exactly because Texas Greens took half a million dollars under the table from the  Republicans in 2010. By the way, I ran across a good old friend the other day who didn’t even believe it, or maybe he couldn’t remember back that far, so I had to look up a bunch of references for him. I’ll put them down below.

So What’s My Problem?

More than anything else, my whole purpose in doing this blog is to get people to think through their strategy for progressive change. What’s your theory?

My theory is that the entire progressive battle can be boiled down to employers against employees. The employers are what’s holding us back, and the employees are what’s impelling us forward. It’s a matter of choosing sides and sticking with it.

Voting for the Green Party in 2016 is not going to help the employee side. If it means anything at all in this awful two-party system we’re straddled with, it means some help for the wrong side.

People are confused because they don’t know the difference between the American two-party (ugh) system and the parliamentary systems of Europe and other countries. In those other countries. one votes for the party that one loves, and that party gets offices roughly in proportion to the votes they get. In the American system, that isn’t what happens. One of the two parties takes power; the other loses out. Everybody that votes their heart (or their stomach or their endocrine glands) instead of their brain has, at best, wasted their time and everybody else’s. Actually, it’s worse than that.

You’re a leader, even when you don’t want to be. Please realize that whatever you decide is going to affect others. We’re all listening to one another. People are listening to you.So — think!


  1. We’re in a two party system
  2. One, just one, of those two parties is going to take the critical offices
  3. Other people are watching what you do and are influenced by it
  4. Therefore, the right vote is the vote that will advance your theory of progressive change

As I’ve said before in this blog, it isn’t the candidates and it isn’t the parties that matter. It’s the progressive movement. It’s the workers.

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas

Some old articles about how the Republicans financed the Greens in Texas

Texas Democrats take Green Party to court over ballot funding

Judge blocks Green Party candidates from Texas ballot

  • By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News

Published: 25 June 2010 06:33 AM

Updated: 26 November 2010 02:41 PM

A state judge blocked Green Party candidates from Texas’ general election ballot Thursday, ruling that illegal corporate money was used in a Republican attempt to put them there to benefit Gov. Rick Perry.

District Judge John Dietz said he expected his injunction would be stayed by a higher court.

He issued the injunction after a day of testimony in Austin that implicated a former top Perry aide in efforts to field Green Party candidates in November.

The Green Party’s efforts to get its candidates on the ballot for the 2010 elections was challenged when it was revealed that the Green Party’s petition drive had been funded by corporate interests linked to Republican operatives.[1] Republican operatives linked to the reelection campaign of Governor Rick Perry helped to fund the signature drive for ballot access.[2][3] A court challenge resulted in the Green Party candidates being allowed to remain on the ballot, and the near 92,000 signatures gathered in support of the Green Party from registered Texas voters were validated.[4][5]

GOP ties bind Green Party candidates in Texas case


Published 5:30 am, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 

AUSTIN — Even if allegations about an illegal petition drive are true, knocking Green Party candidates off the November general election ballot before they can be proven imposes “a death penalty,” lawyers for the party argued Monday in a written appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

The party has until Friday to certify its candidates for the fall election, but a judge last Friday ordered it not to proceed because of an “unauthorized illegal contribution” by a corporation with Republican links.

“This case matters because voters should have an alternative to entrenched career politicians. Despite the signatures of over 90,000 Texans, entrenched career politicians and their lawyers want to deny voters the right to choose in November,” said David Rogers, one of the Green Party lawyers.

A GOP front group — with help from Texas Republicans — raised $532,500 in anonymous contributions to help the Green Party get enough signatures to make the ballot. Democrats assume the liberal Green Party gubernatorial candidate, Deb Shafto, would siphon votes from Democrat Bill White and help GOP incumbent Rick Perry.


A good friend of mine just told me that he could walk through a brick wall. “Nothing’s impossible!” he informed me.


Disney was a major anti-worker and anti-communist


It’s easy to see why people think they can do impossible things like unassisted flying and walking through walls. Books, radio, TV, and movies continuously tell us we can. Walt Disney’s theme said, “When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!”

Everybody loved Uncle Walt, except maybe the unions (click here) and the progressive activists in the film industry (click here). In 1941, he threatened a union man, “If you don’t stop organizing my employees, I’m going to throw you right the hell out of the front gate.”

Disney believed in the Red Menace, and in concert with other leading industry executives, formed the anti-communist Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA). In addition to serving as the MPA’s vice president, he testified in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee…. Disney also accused the Screen Actors Guild of being a communist front, and claimed their 1941 strike was a socialist plot. (10 Things you Probably Don’t Know About Walt Disney)

I’m leading up to something here.

Don’t Use Daydreams for Strategies

Walt Disney was a hard-fisted executive who led his business into a billion dollar empire. Do we think he did that by wishing on a star? No, that’s not how he thought, but it’s how he wanted us to think. In general, that’s how all our bosses want us to think.

Rational, scientific thinking is how things actually get done. Its philosophy is materialism (click here). The opposite philosophy, the one popularized by the bosses, is idealism. It is characterized by daydreams and superstition.

When we talk about strategies that are bread and butter, life and death matters for real people, we should be using our materialistic thinking. We can be idealists in our off time.

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas

How do you decide whom to vote for? How do you decide anything? I’m reading postings that say “If Bernie isn’t the candidate, I will never vote for Hillary.” or “If my candidate doesn’t get the nomination, I’m not voting!” and things like that. How did they decide those things?


How Do We Decide Anything?

Once, I was astounded when I was taking a class in business finance. The homework assignment was whether to buy factory machine A or machine B. It dumbfounded me. The astounding thing was when I found out how the decision was made in business. They figured cost, production, and expected life of each machine. Whichever one made the most money over a period of time was the right answer.

In other words, the decision was made based on the probable outcomes of the choices. If you support this person and he/she wins, what do you think will happen? If you support that person and he/she wins, what do you think will happen? If you support some other person and he/she doesn’t win, what do you think will happen?

It’s Not Whom You Love

It’s not a question of whom you love or whom you hate, who gives you the creeps and who makes you feel all sunny. None of the candidates are perfect, but you still have to make a decision. Your decision will have likely consequences, outcomes. Some of those outcomes are better than the others. That’s rational decision making.

Progress Comes from United Working People

The best political advice I ever got was “think of the class.” How will the working class fare under this or that political leader. And don’t try to convince yourself that the working class has no interest in elections. We have an interest in every arena of struggle, a big interest — and it’s usually the opposite of the bosses’ interest.

End of Sermon

Put your emotions aside, make a rational decision about what to do, then do it. Afterward, you can re-evaluate and do the same thing or something else. Whatever you decide, rationally.

–Gene Lantz



Barbara Ehrenreich examines dangerous flaws in America’s thinking

Bright-Sided. How the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2009

The author of “Nickel and Dimed” and fifteen other socially conscious books dares to attack the preachers and hucksters of “feel good” America, and she does it successfully. For some, her steely iconoclasm might be hard to take at first. Almost gleefully, she reveals that preachers lie, God doesn’t necessarily want you to be wealthy, losing your job is not necessarily the best thing that every happened to you, and that pleasant thoughts will not cure cancer.

In other words, positive thinking as expounded by Norman Vincent Peale (Power of Positive Thinking), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), televangelists, and the Human Resources expert in charge of layoffs is a crock. Further, all of them are essentially working for the bosses who owe their own happy thoughts to material comfort and to their confidence in their ability to pay somebody to manipulate the rest of us into a world of delusions.

The big lie of positive thinking is so pervasive that it would be difficult to read through Ehrenreich’s book without thinking of some of our own misconceptions. Do we sing with sincerity, “Dream, and it might come true…”, “Pretend you’re happy when you’re blue…”, and “Put on a happy face…”?

If we leave the TV on while reading, we’ll probably notice dozens of examples leaping right off Ehrenreich’s pages onto our television screen! All of the religion spokespersons, all of the commercials, most of the dramatic content, and much of the news promotes the same “don’t worry, be happy” misguidance.

Ehrenreich is right on, and the book has considerable value. But criticisms come to mind as well. A damaging lack in Ehrenreich’s work against positive thinking is that it doesn’t go nearly far enough. She doesn’t emphasize the millions (billions?) of dollars being spent to buy “scholars,” “newspaper columnists,” and “think tank experts.” Modern society is not merely seduced by the positive thinking preachers and gurus, the bosses actually drives us into a false philosophy much larger and stronger than that – idealism as opposed to scientific materialism. Idealists make easy victims for positive thinking hucksters and the bosses who guide them. Check out materialism versus idealism.