The dangers of forgetting

A recent post on the Black Issues in Philosophy blog explores the dangers inherent in forgetting this history of violence perpetrated on black people. The authors, Desireé Melonas, professor at Birmingham-Southern College, and Alex Melonas, and independent scholar, note that society’s forgetfulness in this area can cause “black people [to become] subjects thought existentially to inhabit the realm of the ‘unreal,’ having therefore no legitimate claim on reality….” Needless to say, this has negative consequences for black people:

“We know that keeping intact historical accounts that blot out or minimize the severity of black terror violence perpetuates the idea that black people aren’t human beings whose lives are worth preserving, that they aren’t human beings at all. Reality, then, continues to conform itself around this idea.”

Melonas and Melonas have been addressing this existential threat on a local level by “confronting historical erasure.” They do this through a community remembrance coalition, one of many such coalitions across the U.S., to memorialize the victims of racial terror, educate local communities about instances of racial terror that have been effectively erased from community memory, and then advocating for racial justice in the present day. They say: “By renegotiating the boundaries of our collective memory, we invite into our consciousnesses an alternative view of those whom we ought to consider valuable.”

Their blog post, titled “Why We Forget,” is thoughtful and readable, both in exploring some of the philosophical problems that arise from communal forgetfulness, and in suggesting concrete and practical ways to address those problems.

What is religion

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been intensively writing a curriculum on world religions for middle elementary grades. Most of my time has been spent in developing activities for children to get inside the stories that are the basis of the curriculum — so my home office, and my office at work, became workshops where I was making prototypes of paper bag puppets, mobiles, board games, masks, and so on. And the rest of my time was devoted to writing up those activities. Yet all the while I was producing material aimed at second and third graders, and their volunteer teachers, I was thinking about what religion is. Because when you’re trying to make something clear to second and third graders, you first have to make it clear to yourself.

Here, then, are some of my thoughts on religion:

First of all, it is widely accepted among current religious studies scholars that religion is not a thing; that is, there is not a “thing” out there that you can point to and say, “That’s religion.” Some religious studies scholars will say that religion is at most a social construct. Other scholars argue that there really is no such thing as religion; that what we call “religion” is actually the West trying to impose the characteristics of Western Christianity — belief in a transcendent being, hierarchy and clergy, weekly meetings, exclusive adherence to one religious group, etc. — on other societies. Still other scholars point out that religion is a valid category within Western jurisprudence, because the West holds dear something we call “religious freedom”; but that defining what constitutes a religion which can receive the legal protection under laws pertaining to religious freedom is often problematic (e.g., Scientology is defined as a religion in the United States, but not in some Western European countries; Mormonism was allowed to become a religion in the United States in the legal sense only after it renounced the tenet of plural marriage; etc.). Finally, still other scholars argue that “religion” is really merely a tool of colonialism; this may be seen, for example, when the British Empire took over the Indian subcontinent, and, for ease in colonial control, defined something called “Hinduism” that didn’t exist before; though then some newly-created “Hindus” figured out that the Western concept of religious freedom could give them some autonomy in which to resist colonial oppression, making everything far more complicated than it might appear at first.

In short, religion is at best a social construct; at another extreme, it might not even exist at all.

More importantly, when talking about “religion,” we must be very careful to avoid imposing Western definitions and criteria. This means that talking about “faith communities” is problematic: “faith” implies that Western-style belief in a transcendent being is the central feature of a religious group; but many Therevada Buddhists simply don’t have a transcendent being; certain strands of Judaism emphasize correct action (orthopraxy) over correct belief (orthodoxy); etc. Indeed, talking about “communities” is problematic, because it assumes Western-style voluntary associations called “congregations”; but many strands of Daoism in China have nothing that remotely resembles a congregation; the Buddhist sangha, usually conceptualized in the West as a congregation, in other parts of the world is a small grouping more like what we in the West would think of as monks.

Nor should we talk about “adherents,” a common term in the United States to designate persons who are associated with a religious group. The word “adherent” carries connotations of Western-style Christianity, where you get to choose which religious group you want to adhere to; but in many parts of the world, you are born into a “religion” and it’s not a choice, such that religious affiliation is closer to ethnic identity. We wouldn’t say that someone born in Ireland who emigrated to the United States is an “adherent” of Irish-Americanism; the same is true for many religious affiliations.

Even as a social construct, religion — considered carefully — challenges many of our preconceptions. We are accustomed to making broad, sweeping generalizations about a given religion: for example, all Christians believe in God. But that simply isn’t true: there are today a good many Christian atheists in the United States, people who embrace many of the teachings of Christianity, but who simply don’t believe in God. When I have pointed this out to some non-Christians, they become offended, because they “know” that all Christians believe in God, and therefore they didactically proclaim that a Christian who doesn’t believe in God isn’t a “real Christian.” But this kind of statement cannot be accepted: how can a non-Christian presume to dogmatically declare who is and who isn’t a Christian? — indeed, this kind of statement helps us understand how “religion” was used as a tool of colonial control: an outsider proclaims that what a colonized person is doing is religion, and therefore that colonized person has to do it a certain way, or else…. If we remember that religion is a social construct, and specific religions cannot be defined by broad sweeping generalizations, we can save ourselves from attempting to control other people in this way.

Along these lines, we can also remember to let religions speak for themselves, rather than trying to speak for religions. As I was looking at older world religions curriculums, I was struck by how often the curriculum writer was willing to take a religious story and turn it to their own ends. This most often happens when a curriculum writer takes a story, removes some specific religious content, and repurposes the story as a moral tale. A common example of this is the way curriculum writers (and children’s book authors) use Buddhist Jataka tales. Most Jataka tales take the form of a story-within-a-story: the framing story is an incident happens within the community of monks surrounding Gotama Buddha; next the Buddha tells the story-within-the-story, an incident from one of his previous incarnations; finally, we return to the framing story where Buddha and the monks talk over which of them was which character in the story-within-the-story. But curriculum writers (children’s book authors) tend to strip away the framing story, rewriting the story-within-the-story as a simple folk tale; but this imposes an outside (probably non-Buddhist, probably Western) interpretation on the Jataka tale.

When we let religions speak for themselves, we also have to remember the internal diversity within religions. One Christian cannot speak for all Christians; not even if he’s the Pope, for the Pope only speaks for Roman Catholics (and maybe not for all Roman Catholics, as we seem to be seeing in the resistance of conservative Catholics to the current pope’s reform efforts). When you look at the internal diversity of the “religion” of Christianity, it boggles the mind. How are silent meeting Quakers the same religion as Eritrean Orthodox Christians? How is the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints the same religion as the Church of the Lord (Aladura)? It is true that they all share a reverence for Jesus; but there are Muslims and Hindus and Baha’is who also share some kind of reverence for Jesus (perhaps a lesser reverence, but how can we measure that?). It is true that the wildly diverse groups refer to some of the same books as a shared religious scripture, but these books are translated and interpreted differently, and some groups add other books, or leave out parts of some books. Moving beyond Christians, what about the internal diversity of Hinduism: what do Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism have in common, aside from all being rooted in the culture of the Indian subcontinent, and aside from all being grouped together by British colonial rule? In today’s political climate in India, it might be said that Hindusim has become more like a politicized ethnic identity; but where does that leave the large Hindu community in Bali?

We must also consider how religions vary over time. Today we thinking of all evangelical Christians in the United States as wanting to outlaw abortion; yet there was a time, not so long ago, when many or even most evangelical Christians supported the right to abortion. The Sikhs at the time of Guru Nanak’s death did not have the “five Ks”; yet they were nevertheless Sikhs. Mormons didn’t practice plural marriage, then did practice plural marriage, then didn’t practice plural marriage (except for a few small splinter groups); yet who am I, a non-Mormon, to say who was and who wasn’t a Mormon?

To recap, here are some of the things I had to wrestle with as I was writing this curriculum:
— “Religion” is at most a social construct, and may not even exist;
— We have to be careful not to use the social construct of “religion” to impose our will on others;
— “Religions” are internally diverse, sometimes wildly so;
— “Religions” vary over time.

Trying to embed these concepts in a curriculum such that middle elementary children can get some sense of them was challenging. Trying to embed these concepts in a curriculum so that adult teachers would challenge their own (Western, colonial) preconceptions seems almost impossible….

“God” and monotheism

I have found the concept of god to be useful, regardless of whether one is a theist or atheist; God as a concept has a long history in Western philosophy, at least as far back as the ancient Greeks. But in order for the concept of god to be useful, you can’t have an anachronistic understanding of god.

These days, a typical anachronistic understanding of god is one where “god” is equated with the God of conservative and traditional Christians. Christian theologians have used many ancient Greek philosophical concepts to build widely varying theologies over the past two thousand years, and while it is usually clear that someone like Aristotle was not a Christian, it’s easy to forget that Aristotle was also not a monotheist.

Yet in his Metaphysics, Aristotle famously refers to the “unmoved mover,” which Western tradition has typically equated with the Christian God. If Aristotle was not a monotheist, what then did he mean by the “unmoved mover”? Amod Lele explains in a post on his blog “Love of All Wisdom”:

“Some translations of Aristotle have him referring to capital-G ‘God,’ but this is misleading. What these translations render as ‘God’ is to theos, literally meaning ‘the god,’ in lowercase in the Greek. The ‘the’ in ‘the god’ is used here in a generic sense, as classical Greek so often does — a universalized singular to represent the plural class of particulars, as when they might make general statements about what ‘the boy’ or ‘the dog’ is likely to do. Plato in the Laws, for example, said ‘Of all animals, the boy is the most unmanageable’; it is a classical Greek idiom that could also be translated ‘Of all animals, boys are the most unmanageable.’ If we were to render to theos as ‘God,’ then this passage should instead be rendered ‘Of all animals, Boy is the most unmanageable.'”

Thus, according to Lele’s reading, when Aristotle speaks of the something that is often translated “God,” what he really means is “the gods.” To say Aristotle was a monotheist would be an anachronistic assertion; Aristotle was clearly a polytheist who acknowledged several gods and goddesses (Zeus, Hera, etc.). Lele, citing Richard Bodeus’ book Aristotle and the Theology of the Living Immortals, writes:

“Aristotle mentions ‘the god,’ the generic term for the plural gods, only as an analogy to help illustrate his point (against Plato) that the unmoved mover has a real presence in the physical world rather than being an abstraction.”

The useful aspect of the concept of god is not so much in metaphysics, but in ethics. How do I lead the best life? In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle suggests that the highest good is contemplation — not contemplation of the Christian god, but perhaps contemplation of the highest good. Lele reads the Nichomachean Ethics in this way:

“…There is a supreme good beyond the finite, but that good is not to reach a final end identified with the goodness of a single god. Rather it is to be godlike, to live the kind of infinite life that the many gods live — and it is quite questionable how achievable Aristotle intends this goal to be for humans.”

What I find most interesting about this discussion is that “god,” in the Western tradition, need not mean the Christian God. (Even if “god” could be equated with the Christian God, Christianity is wildly diverse with so many different understandings of the nature of the Christian God, that you couldn’t assume that “god” meant what the conservative United States Christians of early twenty-first century mean.) Mind you, it may be difficult for many Westerners to think beyond the confines of Christian definitions of God; but doing so can provide access to the philosophical tool kits of Aristotle, Socrates, Heraclitus, Spinoza, and many others.

Political correctness and moral dogmatism

A new podcast from the University of Macau, featuring philosophy professor Hand-Georg Moeller and doctoral candidate Dan Sarafinas, focuses on “virtue speech,” which is Moeller’s philosophical term for political correctness.

Moeller connects virtue speech to civil religion; in the United States, civil religion begins with the fundamental dogma contained in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” According to Moeller, this dogma is written so you can’t argue with it; all you can do is interpret it. (Although as Moeller points out, there are all kinds of ways you can argue with this statement; for example, Europeans like Moeller are not likely to believe in a Creator, let alone a Creator who endows human beings with unalienable rights.)

Virtue speech — politically correct speech — starts with this fundamental dogma and interprets it by applying it to specific situations, such as the MeToo movement, or Black Lives Matter. While Moeller says he’s generally supportive of the MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter, to someone who believes in the Enlightenment ideal of the use of reason, virtue speech is going to be just as much of a problem as fundamentalist Christianity: both are founded on dogmas that require you to accept them without reasoning. Moeller points how virtue speech subverts well-reasoned argument:

“Most of these people who are attacking virtue speech, who are attacking political correctness: in the beginning they’re just appalled by this virtue signaling. They’re appalled by this self-aggrandizing moralism or the moralists. But then they start thinking, ‘OK, I’ll prove that their morality is wrong.’ And then they get drawn into a moralistic, dogmatic discourse, because they start talking about the issue. They come up with very indefensible positions, even.”

Moeller’s title for the podcast is “The Issue Is Not the Issue.” He doesn’t want to get involved in moralistic, dogmatic discourse himself. Instead, he wants to point out the problems with dogmatism:

“The point is not to deny the values of liberty and equality, but to understand and critique dogmatic speech, no matter what the issues are. That doesn’t mean that these things are wrong. It’s just to point out the problems of engaging in dogmatic speech.”

While I highly recommend this podcast, I think it will be very challenging for many religions liberals. In their religious life, religious liberals studiously avoid dogmatism, but in their political life too many religious liberals engage in dogmatic speech with little consciousness of what they’re doing; indeed, many Unitarian Universalist congregations, while eschewing religious dogmatism, are hothouses of political dogmatism.

You can listen to the first episode of “The Issue Is Not the Issue” here.

What is a species?

What is a species? In a field ornithology class, I was taught that a species is a unit of biological classification (a taxon), a set of organisms whose members can interbreed with each other; but if one species interbreeds with another species, they will produce either no offspring, or infertile offspring. A species, then, is defined (so my professor said) by the possibility of successful breeding.

There are other ways to define what a species is. In his book The Social Amoebae: The Biology of Cellular Slime Molds (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ., 2009), John Tyler Bonner outlines two other ways of defining a species:

“The tradition for cellular slime molds’ classification is entirely based on their morphology. I can remember way back discussing this point with Kenneth Raper, who himself discovered many of the new species, and he was quite adamant that the classification of the group was for the purpose of making them easy to identify; it said nothing about their phylogenetic relations. This is in the spirit of Linnaeus, who thought each species was created by an act of God, and who has been the basis of taxonomic keys beloved by some (not me!) through the centuries.” (p. 19)

In other words, a species is a conceptual tool for making classification easier for the scientists who study organisms. Or, a species gives us insight into the act of God which created that species; it is a kind of category of theological ontology.

And there is yet another way of looking of species: a species is defined by common ancestors:

“For taxonomists, the ultimate goal is to classify every plant according to clean monophyletic clades, in which each group contains all the descendants from a common ancestor and none from parallel lines.” Thomas J. Elpel, Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification 6th ed. (Pony, Mont.: HOPS Press, 2013, p. 22).

In other words, organisms within a given species will share a common evolutionary ancestor; and the further classification of that species into genus, family, order, etc., gives us insight into how that species evolved. This helps us understand that a species is not a static category. A species is not, as Linneaus thought, a static insight into the way things were created in the past and always will be in the future. For example, the Iceland gull (Larus glaucoides) complex, comprising subspecies L. glaucoides glaucoides, L. g. kumlieni, and L. g. thayeri may represent speciation in action: subspecies that are evolving perhaps into becoming full species. More broadly, the genus Larus consists of closely related species some of which have only recently evolved into separate species. Thus, sometimes species give us a look at evolution in action.

Generational viewpoints

Zoe Samudzi, doctoral candidate in sociology at UCSF, on class and race:

“I think it’s really telling about the kind of limitedness with which we understand wealth redistribution because of the ways we refuse to understand white supremacy as a necessary part of capitalism and race as the kind of anchoring structure through which resources are inequitably redistributed.” (interview in Geez magazine, winter, 2018, p. 42)

Adolph Reed, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, a Marxist who specializes in race an American politics:

“Anti-racism — along with anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, etc., as well as diversity as the affirmative statement of them all — is a species of a genus of social and economic justice that is utterly compatible with neoliberalism: parity in the distribution of costs and benefits among groups defined by essentialized ascriptive identities.” (interview in Platypus Review #75, April, 2015)

I feel that Samudzi represents a younger generation of thinkers and activists who have abandoned traditional Marxist critiques of capitalism in favor of critiques based on identity politics; Reed represents an older generation of thinkers who continue to extend Marxist critiques of capitalism and who criticize identity politics as neoliberalism, which is to say, another form of capitalism. As someone who had training in the Frankfurt School as an undergrad (under a black Marxist professor, interestingly enough), I’m aligned with Reed’s generational cohort. But the zeitgeist is now blowing in the direction of Samudzi’s generation.

Clergy hit a new low in perceptions of ethics and honesty

Gallup has been polling people in the U.S. since 1977 about perceptions of the honesty and ethics of various professions. These Gallup polls rate the perceived honesty of professions as “very high/high,” “average,” or “very low/low” (with the obvious addition of a choice for “no opinion”).

In Gallup’s most recent poll about perceptions of the ethics and honesty of various professions, the nursing profession again tops the list, with 84% of people giving them a “very high/high” rating, 15% giving them an “average rating,” and 1% giving them a “very low/low” rating.

By contrast, only 37% of people give clergy as a profession a “very high/high” rating for honesty and ethics; 43% give an “average rating,” 15% give a “very low/low” rating, with the remainder offering “no opinion.” In their report, Gallup made a special note of the decline in the perception of clergy honesty and ethics:

“Gallup has measured Americans’ views of the clergy’s honesty and ethics 34 times beginning in 1977, and this year’s 37% very high/high rating is the lowest to date. Although the overall average positive rating is 54%, it has consistently fallen below that level since 2009. The historical high of 67% occurred in 1985. Positive views of the honesty and ethics of the clergy dropped in 2002 amid a sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, and although positive ratings rebounded somewhat in the next few years, they fell to 50% in 2009 and have been steadily declining since 2012.”

However, although the Catholic sexual abuse scandal is foremost in many people’s minds, evangelical Christian blogger Warren Throckmorton notes that there are other clergy scandals affecting some people’s perceptions of clergy. Throckmorton specifically mentions the recent accusations of clergy financial misconduct at Harvest Bible Church, an evangelical Christian megachurch near Chicago: when some whistle-blower bloggers made those accusations public, rather than addressing the accusations, Harvest Bible Church sued the bloggers for defamation. Throckmorton contrasts Harvest Bible Church with Willow Creek Church, another big evangelical Christian megachurch which recently ousted its founding pastor after credible allegations of misconduct; subsequently the entire leadership team resigned, realizing their leadership had been compromised by their poor handling of the allegations, and realizing that the church needed to get a fresh start. (Throckmorton’s most recent blog post about Harvest Bible Church, which links to the Gallup poll, is here.) We could add more examples from outside evangelical Christianity of how organized religious groups respond poorly to accusations of ethical lapses and dishonesty: the many accusations against the Church of Scientology and their opaque responses come immediately to mind.

One thing that I get from Throckmorton’s post is that poor governance goes hand in hand with decline in trust in clergy. And we should distinguish governance from polity. The hierarchical polity of the Roman Catholic Church should in theory be more effective at removing unethical clergy than our Unitarian Universalist congregational polity; more than one unethical Unitarian Universalist minister was able to continue their unethical ways because the Unitarian Universalist Association cannot prevent a local congregation from hiring whomever they want as minister. However, all too often the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy covered up clergy misconduct. The Unitarian Universalist Association, by contrast, has recommended that search committees carry out careful background checks of potential new clergy hires; in Unitarian Universalism, the failures in governance too often take place at the local level, representing the biggest weakness of congregational polity is dealing with ethics; but on the whole, despite the weakness of its polity, Unitarian Universalists have a somewhat better record of dealing with clergy misconduct than the Roman Catholic Church. Again, my point here is that no type of polity is immune from ethical lapses; the real issue is good governance practices within whatever polity a religion might have.

I suspect, therefore, that the decline in the perception of clergy honesty is linked to a wider decline in trust of organized religion — a decline that in many cases is deserved. Lay leaders and clergy, regardless of our polity, need to be scrupulously careful about maintaining good governance practices that are transparent and that strengthen accountability; and when ethical violations arise, we need to address them quickly and transparently.

Your CEO has already earned more than you

According to the BBC:

The date of 4 January is marked as the day when CEOs of Britain’s biggest companies already earn what it takes an average worker to make in a year. But British CEOs are not the only ones who out-earn their workers so quickly. An analysis of the wage gap between CEOs and workers in 22 countries by the financial and media company Bloomberg shows that executives in the United States and India can get the average worker’s yearly wage even faster.

In Great Britain, CEOs make 201 times the average workers salary; in the United States, they make 265 times as much as the average worker. So if you live in the U.S., Great Britain, or India, your CEO may already have made two or three times your annual salary.

Silicon Valley has a high concentration of CEOs living here (that is, one of their many houses is located here). We also have a heck of a lot of homelessness here — people living in RVs, people couch surfing, people living in tent encampments, people living on the street, people living in homeless shelters — because of the high cost of housing, which has been driven sky-high in part by demand from people who have lots of money to spend on housing.

Which means if we want to solve the homelessness problem, it’s not enough to build more housing (the supply-side solution). Cutting CEO salaries, and the salaries of all the top 1/10%, is a good first step; Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, is not worth $40 million a year, nor does she need that much money, nor does she deserve it when her salary means that lots of people have to live on the street.

This also means that it’s not enough for Democrats to get angry with Donald Trump. The Democrats have been trying to ally themselves to Silicon Valley, but in terms of inequality of wealth the Silicon Valley execs are just as evil as Mr. Trump.

Kinds of atheism, kinds of theism

Elisa Freschi, a philosopher specializing in Indian-subcontinent philosophy, has written an interesting post about atheism, in which she says: “in European history, atheism is the refusal of theism as conceived in modern times, with God as one ‘thing’ among others.” Thus if you refute a theism in which God is a “natural cause” — which is mostly what modern atheism does — you wind up with modern atheism, which can be defined as atheism-as-naturalism. However, such atheism-as-naturalism doesn’t have much to say about the God of Meister Eckhart.

In Indian philosophy, according to Freschi, when people talk about God, “God” may have at least four different meanings: the devatas (the mythological gods); the isvara (the God of rational theology); the Brahman (an impersonal deity); or the bhagavat God (the God of personal devotion). Freschi contends that “atheism in India is mostly targeted at two concepts of god, on the one hand the gods (devata) of mythology and on the other the Lord (isvara) of rational theology.” Freschi goes on to outline how in the 13th to 14th centuries C.E., Indian philosophers such as  Venkatanatha responded to the atheism of the earlier Nyasa school by developing new forms of theism, which Freschi calls “post-atheism theism.”

This discussion becomes relevant to Unitarian Universalism when one considers that many current arguments against theism in our congregations are arguments for naturalism; that is, arguments for modern atheism, which considers God as a “thing.” These arguments become less intelligible when considered as arguments against, e.g., Martin Buber’s conception of God as “Thou,” or God considered in panentheist or pantheist terms.

Another way of saying this is that when using the English-language term “God,” you have to be careful to define in what sense you are using that term. When you argue against God as a thing which is a natural cause, your arguments will have little effect on those for whom God is defined in terms of a personal devotional relationship.

Furthermore, if a modern atheist winds up arguing with a mystic, someone like Henry David Thoreau or me, they might find they’re arguing with a religious naturalist who agrees entirely with their naturalist arguments, but who does not define God as a thing which is a natural cause. If we don’t clarify which definition of God we’re using, the argument is going to get confusing very quickly.

Why capitalism sucks

You’ve been trying to explain why capitalism sucks, but when you use the term “alienated labor,” people just roll their eyes and appear bored. So maybe you should say “shitty jobs” instead, which is what Natalie Wyn does on her Youtube video “What’s Wrong with Capitalism, Part I.” Wyn gets extra points for being funny, for knowing her Marxism (she dropped out of a PhD program in philosophy, so she really does know Marxism), and for having a good eye for the medium of video.

Maybe Wyn loses points because Youtube sticks an advertisement at the beginning of her video. Or maybe she gains points, because it’s so ironic: an advertisement preceding a video in which advertising is revealed as a tool for irrational manipulation. In any case, Wyn does lose points for comparing capitalist overlords to reptiles; I happen to like reptiles, even snapping turtles, more than I like Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg. Though even I have to admit, her reptiles are hilariously funny.

Bottom line: if you’re trying to explain to someone why capitalism sucks, don’t hand them Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, show them this video.