5 thoughts on “

  1. I think it’s a joke, Susie. I submitted the text below, and the answer came back that I write like H. P. Lovecraft, :author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction,” according to Wikipedia.

    Americans have been had.

    A few rich families have mounted a 30-year propaganda campaign to convince us that selfishness is good and that laissez-faire capitalism is the best economic system for all. As a consequence, too many Americans have been convinced to vote against their own self-interest and in favor of the self-interest of the richest and most powerful among us, again and again and again. Many billions of dollars have been spent to put Republicans in control of the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the media. More Americans than ever identify themselves as political conservatives, even as they continue to express their preference for policies traditionally considered liberal or progressive.

    The ship of state now tilts so far to the right that to put it back on an even keel, we must tip it in the other direction, toward what is now considered the left.

    One underpinning of the greed-is-good campaign is that selfishness is a built-in trait, so why fight the urge? While it is true that human beings have intrinsic selfish tendencies, the latest studies show that we also have intrinsic altruistic tendencies, which means we are born with a built-in conflict. And how we resolve that conflict is a reflection of our maturity, both as individuals and as societies.

    The other main underpinning of the drive to justify greed is the assertion that Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, proved that selfishness is good. In fact, Smith showed that there are restraining forces to greed. To him, the most important moderating factor was what he called the “invisible hand” of competition. But today’s crony capitalists have shown us how easy it is for powerful people to tie up that invisible hand. It is for that reason that business has to be regulated, as even many business-friendly commentators are now willing to acknowledge.

    Off Balance discusses the methods of persuasion used to convince Americans to deny their own self-interest in favor of the best interests of the very privileged, and investigates why those methods are working. It explores some of the consequences of the greed campaign’s success. Finally, the book proposes that it is time for someone, Democrats perhaps, to learn to counter the advocates of greed by appealing to the other, some might say better, part of human nature.

    The result could be a happier, healthier, and even safer society.

    Carolyn Kay

  2. I write like Arthur Conan Doyle, and I’m perfectly happy with that. Daughter submitted a page from one of the Harry Potter books, and it told her she wrote like J.K. Rowlings. So there.

    It would be fun to find out what’s behind the curtain.

  3. I submitted 3 items and got 3 answers. Jack London, Isaac Asimov and Kurt Vonnegut….. must be a mood thing. I thought it was fun!

  4. I also submitted three samples and got three different answers: David Foster Wallace (author of “Infinite Jest”), Stephen King, and, yes, H. P. Lovecraft. All complimentary, to be sure, but I don’t imagine I actually write like Lovecraft. Although if it nailed the J.K. Rowling excerpt that speaks well. Here’s the excerpt that came up Lovecraft, from something I posted elsewhere a while back:
    — —
    Marijuana use, in particular, is a victimless crime – it’s demonstrably less harmful than alcohol, yet we dont have SWAT teams busting down the door and shooting down the family dog just because Dad has a fifth of bourbon in the cupboard. It’s a ridiculous state of affairs. There are in fact actual medical uses for marijuana (which is far less true for alcohol).

    The counterargument we hear to this is “Ooooh nooo! Marijuana is a “gateway drug” (That’s a technical medical term, right? “Gateway Drug”. Er … well, ok, maybe not. Maybe it’s a political propaganda phrase with no actual connection to reality.) Gateway drug = bunk. Most people drink booze before they smoke pot … is alcohol therefore a “gateway drug? Moreover, there are plenty of skid row drunks, and people who die from alcohol abuse … how many skid row potheads are there? How many people have actually been killed by smoking pot? Whereas alcohol is a hard drug which sometimes kills people. Pot just ain’t. Pot decriminalization is a no brainer.

    The alcohol analogy is very pertinent, because as we know there was a time when booze was illegal (and when pot was legal!). Prohibition gave rise to gang warfare and illegal smuggling and … hmmm, sounds familiar somehow.

    As for other, harder drugs, I view that as a separate, though related, issue. What we do know is that the “war on drugs” is full of massive corruption, both domestically and in its international componenet.We know that it’s been going on for decades, costing us billions and billions of dollars, distorting the very fabric of our society, and achieving … what? Nothing. The Drug War is a failed policy, and a failure on the street. The evidence on this is overwhelming. As I said before “war on …” is just an ineffective paradigm for addressing social issues. The moment a politician starts spouting “war on …” talk, substitute the words “bull shit …”.

    I won’t even get into the racial components of the War on Drugs just now, there’s enough there to write a book on it. I’ll just say that we need to try another way. In all honesty, I think hard drug use is somewhat self limiting – how many of us want to start shooting heroin or smoking crack? Those that do either learn it doesn’t work for them, or die. That’s just the nature of it, no matter what the laws are, as has been demonstrated in countries with decriminalization policies. At a minimum, we need a saner approach than this SWAT team/prison industry boondoggle.

  5. Yep, the enormous prison costs are a huge factor that the prohibition proponents conveniently ignore.

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