Politics and the Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham MaslowTwenty-five years ago, Margaret Thatcher’s infamous poll tax (officially known as the Community Charge) was put into effect. It was the beginning of the end for the “Lead Lady.” But I’m afraid that Americans don’t much understand what it was all about. Until that point, the tax was basically a property tax: the fancier your digs, the more you paid. So it was fairly progressive. Thatcher had it changed to a flat tax. This is a standard conservative desire to flatten the tax code. This is always portrayed as a matter of fairness, but it is nothing of the kind. The more money people have, the less taxes effect their live styles. The real point of such taxes is to push money from poor to rich. If conservatives ever got their beloved flat tax, two things would be obvious. First, the rich would pay less because they have the resources to hide income and wealth. Second, conservatives would immediately work to make per capita taxes equal, rather than tax rates. Margaret Thatcher was an evil woman who was not only bad for the people of the United Kingdom, she was terrible for the United States in how she inspired Ronald Reagan. I wish there were a hell where they could both rot for eternity.

I’m not very keen on my choices for birthdays today, so I guess we just go along with last year’s man: the great psychologist Abraham Maslow who was born in 1908. It actually makes perfect sense, because I’m on a bit of a political rant. You see, Maslow’s great contribution to psychology was the Hierarchy of Needs. The idea is that some needs are more basic than others as you see in the following illustration:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

The reason this is political is that modern conservatives don’t seem to accept this fundamental concept. Look at Paul Ryan who goes around proclaiming that self-esteem is more important than food. Of course, notice where “acceptance of facts” is in the top level of the hierarchy. It would appear that conservatives are stuck down on the bottom level where they are afraid that someone may steal their food from them. I’m quite serious about this. If you listen to the rich whine about society, you would think they were starving and the poor were trying to steal their last piece of bread.

It’s sad that conservatism has sunk so low that something as uncontroversial as the Hierarchy of Needs is now controversial. But that is modern America, ain’t it? Nothing seems to be given because conservatives will abandon absolutely anything (Including especially democracy itself!) in the name of pushing their ideology that is (1) unpopular and (2) unproductive. I hope that hell saves a place for them along with Maggie and Ron.

Regardless, happy birthday Abraham Maslow!

Afterword

For the record, I would never wish the standard Christian conception of hell on anyone—that includes people even worse that Maggie and Ron. I just hope they are forced forever to hang out in the company of fellow conservatives. After a century of that, they might be begging for the flames. It does make you wonder about Christians who believe in that kind of hell though. How could anyone worship a god that would consign fellow humans to that kind of torment for the sin of not cracking the code or just being born in the wrong place. I can’t imagine ever worshiping an evil god. I don’t understand why Christians do.

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