Be Subversive: Vote

9 02 2016

get off computer voteGood morning. It’s Tuesday, February 9, 2016. If you live in New Hampshire, you have one, single, task that absolutely, positively must get done today: Go down to your local polling place and VOTE.

Doesn’t matter if you have that Trump swagger. Or if Rubio is your guy (even if Santorum couldn’t think of a single thing Rubio accomplished in the senate, never mind. Santorum is a loser.) Or perhaps you like the cut of Jeb’s jib, Or you believe in Trussing Ted. Or Carson, or Carly , or Christie. or Kasich. Pick your guy and mark your ballot. Think carefully about who you figure would represent you best. Vote you conscience, in spite of all the manure that’s been flung around. Seize an ideal and cling to it. Even if your guy is polling at .02%, it’s your vote and you can use it any way you want. You might as well vote your beliefs.

vote be heardYour vote has power. Why else do you think they keep making it harder to vote, passing new restrictions, trying to trip you up? Don’t let ’em beat you! Go down there, show your ID, and demand a ballot. It’s your right.

Yes, I admit I’d like to see ’em Bern down the polls tomorrow, but I’ll be happiest if we break records for turnout. If you are for Hillary, get yourself down there ’cause she really needs your help!

All the posting, preaching and posturing on social media counts for zilch if you don’t vote. This is going to be a very close one — hell, they were tossing coins in Iowa! Every vote down to the old lady tottering in on her walker and the new-minted voter sending off a text just before heading in behind the curtain. You all count. A handful of votes could literally make all the difference.

fail to voteEspecially you millennials. They’ve been dissing you, condescending and sneering at you. Show those smug old bastards and turn up in droves. Vote. Mark that ballot, let your voice be heard.

If you don’t like what your party has handed you, show ’em you’re not going to take it. Write somebody else in. Re-register as the other guys and vote for one of them. Don’t be bullied and don’t be bamboozled. Don’t let anyone else tell you who to vote for (unless you really trust them). This is your vote. You have absolute power over it.

Even if you cast your ballot for Vermin Supreme (he promises you a free pony!) it will be counted. If enough of you do it, you’ll have the bean counters squawking and the pundits soberly discussing what this new trend means. Suits on camera will wonder why you threw your vote away, but you know better. You got them chattering about what you did. The only way you throw your vote away is if you don’t use it.

bad politiciansLet me say this again, because it is important: The only way you throw your vote away is to not use it.

Vote on your way to work, or on your way home, or on your lunch break. Even if you’ve never voted before, this is your chance to vote in one of the strangest elections in living memory. Savor your moment of participation. Use it wisely.

They try to make you feel small and unimportant, like you don’t count. Hell yes you count! They may ignore you, ignore your face, refuse to listen to your opinions, walk away when you try to talk, but when you walk into the voting booth and mark that ballot, they’ve got to listen. You hand ’em that ballot, and they’ve gotta take it. Your vote counts just like everyone else’s, no matter what airs they put on, how big their house is or how fat their paycheck is. Your vote is equal to theirs. Shove it in their faces.

if 99% showed upBecause, for a lot of you, your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents struggled and protested, got beaten up and killed to get their legal say. For you. So you could stride into that polling place with your head held high and grin. They can’t stop you. You’re gonna vote. Your gonna have your say.

Let’s scare the crap out of all those people who don’t want us to vote, who are scared we won’t vote the way that they want us to vote, scared we’ll upset their applecart by voting our way, not theirs. Let’s turn out in record-breaking numbers and blow things right out of the water.

Maybe you’ll enjoy it so much, it’ll become a habit. Boy, will that mess up their demographics and stereotypes! What are they going to do about all these suddenly active and interested groups that they used to be able to count on staying home?

Not any more. We are going to subvert the system.

We’re gonna vote.

vote future depends on it

Being Right

29 01 2016


“You just want to prove you’re right!”

That accusation gives me pause. Yes, I’m trying to offer proof for my way of thinking, and my adversary is doing the same. But it’s that word “just”. Is proving I’m right, like it’s merely a matter of ego, really all there is to this? And what gives me cause to think I’m right in the first place? As a philosopher, I need to unpack this.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” That adage, made popular by Mark Twain, highlights the treachery of mere facts. Compiling data and statistics are an excellent way to study some problem or assertion, to provide evidence that we are right (or wrong) about something. Science helps us to figure out how things actually are, as opposed to how we think they are. Is the Earth round or flat? Do evil spirits cause disease, or is it something else? Are the heavens perfect and unchanging, or is there a whole lot more going on? Science is the best way we have of answering those types of questions. But there’s much more.

Critical thinking is, well, critical. It’s how we tease out the truth from a sea of facts, and keep the statistics from lying. Has the data been cherry-picked? Was this study funded by an entity that has a major monetary stake in the outcome? Was this analysis of the data politically motivated? Is the authority cited credible? Have the results of the experiment been duplicated by many others? Has correlation been confused with causation?

Finally, wisdom comes in. Science can tell you how to build a better weapon. Wisdom tells you whether or not you should build it.

Acquiring wisdom is a long, complicated, difficult and nuanced process. It is fuzzy, elusive, based on assumptions and unprovable insights. It is damn near impossible to codify, although great minds over the centuries have tried. The best we as individuals can do is read the work of those great minds, see where they come together in agreement, and see how it resonates with our own experiences and knowledge. Many of us aren’t up for the task. We just want to be told what’s right and be done with it.

And there are lots and lots of folks who are happy to do so, particularly self-help gurus, politicians, and religious leaders. Plus assorted other powerful people who want us to believe and act in ways that benefit them. If we don’t arm ourselves with knowledge, critical thinking skills and as much wisdom as we can muster, we are easily taken in by celebrities and assorted charlatans who play on our weaknesses, ignorance, and baser impulses.

We all want to be right. We want to believe we have the truth, that we know what’s really going on. If someone challenges us, we bristle and defend our rightness. We try to prove it. But if we haven’t put in the work to understand why something is right, we won’t have the evidence and reasoning to mount a credible defense. We resort to saying things like, “That’s just what I think” or “That’s just the way it is.” As if an opinion based on gut reactions should have the same weight as an assertion derived from long and arduous work. Or, “It’s true because such-and-such or so-and-so says it’s true.” Appeals to authority are useless if that authority’s credentials haven’t been thoroughly examined and verified.

A person reveals the weakness of their position when, for example, they take it as given that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God and refuse to consider its limitations. Or claims global warming is a hoax, and refuses to acknowledge the science that says otherwise. For them, “being right” is something they have achieved, and sticking to their beliefs against all challenge is a point of pride. The flaws in this attitude are obvious.

Because “being right” is not a state of being. It’s a process. It’s all the steps I’ve described, including taking on all challenges. So, yes, when I assert that something is so, I am trying to prove that I am right. But that is not the only thing I am doing. I am testing that sense of rightness, that conviction that I’m correct about this. And if I am in the wrong, I want to know about it, because I don’t want to be misguided, deceived, deluded, or made a fool of. I want to be right.

Only by accepting the possibility that I might be wrong can I hope to achieve my goal of being right.

Recognizing the Real Danger

22 01 2016

Oligarchy as chess

I’ve finished my article for the Monitor and sent it off. The editor says it will run in Sunday’s paper. Prime time. Nice. (If you want to check out my Monitor articles, I maintain links to the most recent ones on the sidebar.) I usually try to keep the subject matter to topics of general interest: an abandoned farm, my chickens, my dog, hiking, observations about small-town life, that sort of thing. This one is political. Heck, I live in NH in the height of Primary Fever. Politics is kind of difficult to avoid. We get calls just about every day. It gets so we don’t want to answer the phone.

But I generally do, because as annoying as a pollster can be when I’m making dinner, I know the numbers count. People pay attention to polls, and wave them around in support of (or opposition to) various candidates. So I give the numbers my little nudge.

What I’m telling them is yes, I am highly likely to vote in the Primary, I will be voting Democratic, and I very strongly support the candidate I’m voting for. The issues that matter the most to me are repealing Citizens United, enacting sweeping, comprehensive campaign funding reform, and tax reform. And yes, I’ll be voting for Bernie Sanders.

I’ll confess I’m thrilled that Sanders happens to be a socialist, since that is where my leanings are, and that he is a Progressive when it comes to social issues. But that’s not the primary reason I am voting for him. Every other major candidate in the race has taken whopping campaign contributions from banks, corporations, and other sketchy sources. I’ve followed the money, and the trail reeks of plutocracy.

plutocracy defined

Sanders’ campaign contributions have come mostly from small donors. The average amount is something like $27. All the other major candidates are beholden to the wealthy corporate elite. Sanders is beholden to the rest of us. If Hillary Clinton claims she will work to reign in Wall Street, break up the big banks, and institute tax and campaign finance reform, I snort with derision. She is not going to bite the hand that feeds her. (The Republicans don’t even pretend to have this on their agenda.) However, if Sanders says this is his goal, I believe him.

It would be a long, hard battle. The wealthy, corporate elite is not going to give up power easily. They will use every dirty trick in the book, and dig into their very deep pockets to hold onto, and even tighten, their grip on the government. But the choice for us is either to give up and let them have it, let them suck our economy dry and starve us into submission, or fight back the best we can. I’m in favor of fighting back, even if it seems hopeless. Voting for Sanders is a first step.
Corporations are not the people

I hope that a Sanders win would encourage other individuals with integrity to run for office, assured that we would support their efforts at reform. Because just electing a President isn’t enough; we have to give him a congress he can work with. That means paying attention to all the elections, for House and Senate at both the state and federal level, and governors. The focus has to be getting corporate money and influence out of politics. And yes, if I had a choice between a Republican candidate who had no corporate ties, and a Democrat who did, I’d vote for the Republican. That’s how important I think this is.

Eisenhower on warAfter all, there was a time when the Republican party turned out admirable statesmen including presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower (who warned us about the military industrial complex) and Lincoln. There are still many members of the party who are appalled at what the GOP has become. Yes, we might disagree on the role of government as well as on specific social issues. But I think we can agree that the level of corruption that has taken over our government at all levels is unacceptable. All of us, Republican and Democrat, must unite to get our democracy back and get rid of the oligarchy and its cadre of divisive, cynical opportunists. We need to get people into office who will work with each other, cooperating in a way that will lead to effective action for the majority, without hypocritical grandstanding and exploiting ignorance, fear, and hate to advance their agenda.

Then we can have a civilized discussion of our differences and see what we can agree on. Rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. Taking care of veterans and other deserving people in need. Making sure every citizen has clean water to drink and wholesome food to eat. Scaling back our military to something sensible and pragmatic, based on the recommendations of military experts themselves, not the need of the weapons industry to make money.
Michael Moore on oligarchy

I am not optimistic that the majority of Americans have the wisdom, determination, and attention span to win this fight to recover our democracy. The popularity of Donald Trump is demoralizing. But the alternative is despair. To bury oneself in amusements and refuse to pay attention, grumble and bitch but do nothing constructive, pretend nothing is wrong, or allow oneself to become focused on hot-button social issues or blinded by fear of assorted vague threats, distracted from the very real and documented danger to our civil rights, national infrastructure, buying power and ability to earn a living wage.

So I do what I can. I blog, I write articles, I post in social media. And I vote. Because voting is the one weapon we have that they haven’t taken away from us. Yet. And if you’ll notice, they are trying, with voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and other subtle strategies. Just another way of solidifying their power over us.

Don’t let the bastards win.
US Sold

It’s Only a Thing

13 01 2016

breaking glass

The other day I was in a hurry, trying to reach for something in the back on a shelf, and I knocked a glass down. It hit the floor and shattered. I gasped in horror. It had been a gift from a friend, and was special to me.

Tears flooded my eyes and anger at my carelessness boiled up in me. Then I caught myself. “It’s only a thing,” I told myself, and repeated it over and over as I cleaned up the fragments of glass and threw them away. I still have the friend, I still have the memory of the occasion she gave me the glass, I still have the good feelings the friendship and the memory give me.

This past Christmas, we had our tree set up in the living room near the window. Outside we have several bird feeders which inevitably get monopolized by squirrels. Occasionally I indulge in the futile practice of scaring them away. It does little good, so I’ve been trying lately not to worry about them. I was at the table, working on my laptop, and my son came into the room. He noticed the squirrels on the feeder and, knowing how they annoy me, he reached over to bang on the window to scare them away (this doesn’t really work anymore; the squirrels are wise to us and ignore the sound). As he did, he brushed past the tree and knocked a delicate hummingbird ornament down. It smashed to the floor.

He was horrified, as angry with himself as I’d been when I broke the glass.

I choked back disappointment. “It’s only a thing,” I said.

“But it was one of your favorite ornaments, and I broke it!”

“There are lots of others on the tree,” I replied. “It’s only a thing.” And I meant it. In that moment, calming his distress and reassuring him were more important than the ornament. It was only a thing. He is a person and I love him.

We place so much value on things. We collect them, hoard them, guard them jealously. And yet, in a moment, they can be taken away from us. A fire in our home could destroy everything we own. But if the people and animals we love escape, that is what matters. The rest are only things. Difficult, expensive, and perhaps impossible to replace; I don’t underestimate the frustration of having to rebuild a home from scratch. In time, though, it happens. Things can be reacquired.

Some things have deep sentimental significance. An item that has been in the family for generations; an autographed book; a photograph; a ring. But that which makes them meaningful cannot be lost–the love they symbolize, the memories, the connection to other people and times. The loss of a thing cannot sever that connection, because everything that really matters lives within. The relationships that bring us happiness and give us strength do not require a thing to intermediate.

Things can bring us delight. I do not advocate a life without things (although many sacred traditions do). Just keep what they are in perspective and remember what is truly important: People, relationships, the joys that lie within the heart and mind. That which can’t be burned, stolen or shattered.

The rest are only things.

A Sensitive Subject

4 01 2016
Should it?

Should it?

During idle moments, I open up Facebook and do a quick scan. It’s a handy way of keeping up with what folks are doing and talking about. I don’t Tweet. Twitter just seems too ADHD for me. And Facebook is timesuck enough. Sometimes I get alerted to something interesting. Sometimes I just get annoyed. Sometimes it provokes me to thought.

There’s a meme circulating (probably more than one–there usually are–but this is the one I saw. It was about “Offensisensitivity” and this one had a pouting baby with a caption something like, “2015 was the year everybody was offended by everything; let’s make 2016 the year everybody grows up.” The poster added, “Can we all agree to this?” My comment was, “That depends.”

I suppose the poster was referring to the kind of Special Snowflake person who gets all righteously miffed at minor and mostly harmless comments, or comments meant in jest. The kind of party pooper who whines, “That’s not funny!” when someone says something blunt, honest, or is just joking around. The kind you just want to sigh and say “Oh, lighten up!” to.

But this makes me just a tad nervous. Because there was a time not so long ago (and in fact, many would argue it hasn’t yet passed) when that guy at the party would make some egregiously sexist comment, and if a woman objected, she would get the sigh, the roll of the eyes, and “Oh, lighten up, Sister!” Same with the racist. Or the anti-Semite. If you dared call them on an offensive comment, everyone would look down their nose at you. You were supposed to keep your mouth shut, don’t embarrass the person making the comment, don’t spoil everyone’s fun.

We’ve only just recently progressed enough as a society that we can now safely object to offensive slurs to gays, Blacks, or women, and the majority in the room will likely back us up. We are now being made aware that it isn’t cool to make fun of the handicapped, and that it’s insensitive to sneer that people with depression should “just snap out of it and quit whining,” or that parents with hyperactive or learning disabled kids “probably are just bad parents.” And we are trying to make people who blame the poor for their poverty, or the homeless for their homelessness, see that they are being ignorant when they call them “lazy” or “takers”.

There are comments that are offensive in their unkindness and ignorance, and I see nothing wrong in calling them out. I see nothing wrong with trying to understand the suffering we cause with insensitive and offensive comments. In fact, this is what grown-ups do. We put aside our prejudices, acknowledge our mistakes, and try to show compassion.
Stephne Fry Offended

This being said, there is also the extreme where fear of offending stifles speech. For example, universities should cultivate the free expression of ideas, including radical and possibly offensive ones. People who attend such places must be ready to hear, and to respond to, unfamiliar and possibly shocking discussions. We need to have a mature conversation about how we can best accomplish this, probably some version of “You’re free to say it; I’m free to disagree.” This is probably the best way to evolve sensible and compassionate attitudes. To illustrate this very simplistically, a professor says something that a student finds offensive. That student raises their hand and explains, without fury or rancor, why they feel that way. The class has an opportunity to talk about the validity of the complaint. Everybody has their awareness raised a bit, and the virtue of intelligent discourse is illustrated.

If the complaint is valid, but the majority doesn’t agree (as is the case with many things we would all agree are offensive today, but were once socially acceptable) it is the right of the person making the complaint to raise it again and again, whenever appropriate, and endure the rebuffs. In doing so, and in being heard and allowed to make their case, they may succeed in convincing people that society’s attitudes must change. This is how we evolve.

It is not helpful to righteously insult people who honestly don’t realize they are being insensitive. I have been guilty of offending someone entirely without meaning to. In my case, it involved fat-shaming when I had no idea that what I was saying could be hurtful. I deeply appreciate that I was politely corrected, a good case made, without making me feel like a jerk. I know better now.

I also have been the object of righteous condemnation by someone who I felt was being oversensitive, and who did not make a good case. Although I will politely refrain from expressing my opinions in her presence, those opinions are unchanged, and all she accomplished with her injured posturing was taint my opinion of her.

Bottom line, I agree, we should all grow up. But being offended by the comments of others is not necessarily something we ought to keep silent about. And it’s only by discussing ideas openly and politely that we will make any progress.

This is how grown-ups should behave.

Happy New Year

22 12 2015

Solstice light

No, I’m not jumping ahead. I mean right now. Solstice. The long cold night, after which the days begin to lengthen. The annual cycle of light begins again. It feels like a proper place to declare a New Year, not some arbitrary date based on a man-made calendar that has been fiddled with repeatedly over the years until its connection to any natural event has been completely lost.

Solstice this year is rather damp, brown and sad. Where I am, we normally have snow on the ground. The sun rising on Solstice morning sets the world sparkling with icy beauty. But the temps have been averaging well above freezing and all that has been falling, rather steadily, is rain.

Regardless of the weather, the Earth’s axis continues to tilt, and in the Northern Hemisphere, the ratio of daylight hours to night shifts in its predictable way. It’s the reason for the season since long before Christians imposed their holiday on it, to take advantage of the existing reverence folks have for this time of year, not to mention the festive mood.

And no, this isn’t going to turn into a rant against Christians or Christmas. Let them have their holiday and be very merry I hope. Why not? What harm does it do me to smile and return the greeting when they wish me a Merry Christmas? They had the season to themselves for so long, being the powerful majority in this country. And their holiday still dominates, despite all the others that fall during the month of December. It has grown to bloated, obscene proportions. If anyone is conducting a War on Christmas, it’s Big Retail.

But Christians always had the clout to put up their Nativity scenes in the town square without question, and even if they gave a condescending nod to their Jewish neighbors, they were still smugly secure in their primacy. Now they are being forced to acknowledge that not everyone cares about their holiday the way they do. They have been challenged in their primacy. They don’t like it. And believe it or not, I sympathize. Nobody enjoys having their world view challenged.

I don’t either. I am a firm believer in science and have no use for the supernatural. There is plenty of joy, wonder, and awesomeness in the world without having to resort to fairies, gods, angels, or any of the other assorted spiritual flotsam that folks like to believe in. So I get cranky when theists try to impose their world view on me.

So I think it best if we all agree to keep Christmas in our own ways. “But you don’t keep it,” I hear you object. Au contraire. How could I not, with the cultural pressure around me? I don’t get Solstice vacation. I get Christmas vacation. Christmas carols are played (ad nauseam) in every store. Sometimes I feel that Christmas is making war on me. But never mind. There is a secular aspect to the holiday that can be appreciated by anyone. And I don’t mean the materialism or overindulgence.

Look at it as a day to celebrate kindness, generosity, joy and delight. Use it as an excuse to open up your heart and give to others. You don’t have to be Christian to take a wish star and buy a poor child a gift. Compassion is something we all share regardless of religion or lack thereof. Christmas makes people happy, and happiness begets kindness. How can I possibly object to that?

So back to Solstice. My holiday. As the Light returns and a new year begins, let me resolve to be kinder and more tolerant. Let me practice humility, and remind myself that others’ beliefs do me no harm. Sometimes they may act on those beliefs in ways that are harmful, and I can condemn those actions. I am entitled to defend myself and others from what they might do. When they preach hate and advocate intolerance, I can speak against their words. But their beliefs are none of my business. And my beliefs are none of theirs.

I have been guilty in the past of atheistic evangelism. I have come to think this is just as obnoxious as religious evangelism. Yes, I think my beliefs are closer to the truth, or else why would I hold them? Do I think theists are misguided? Yes, I think they probably are. By the same token, they likely feel the same way about me. We aren’t either one of us going to convince the other, and it makes no sense to try. All it does is create animosity and resentment when we attack each others’ beliefs.

Let us go into the new year resolved to figure out a way to live in peace, striving not to belittle each other for our beliefs. Let us judge one another on speech and actions alone, and only object when we see harm being done. Then let us talk about that.

Bring on the Light. Happy New Year. And, what the heck, Merry Christmas.

The problem of Shkreli

18 12 2015

ShkreliSo the Internet is all a-Twitter about “the scumbag” (that’s all I generally need to say and folks know who I’m talking about) being arrested for fraud. Martin Shkreli was launched into the headlines last September when he hiked up the price of Daraprim, a drug used by AIDS patients among others, by 5,000% – from $13.50 to $750. He justified it as merely a smart business move. Yes, like Marley, he’s a good man of business. It seems that his schemes have come back to bite him on the backside. (Details here)

To all appearances, Shkreli is a classic case of Machiavellianism, a personality disorder characterized by total lack of empathy, cynicism towards moral or social responsibility, and behavior focused totally on personal gain and power. Psychologists theorize that it may have a neurobiological basis.  In other words, an actual miswiring of the brain causes these anti-social behaviors. People with this disorder (what psychologists call the “dark triad”, along with narcissism and psychopathy) see themselves as the center of the universe. The rest of us are just things to be manipulated for their gain and amusement.

Okay, so what this boils down to is a sticky issue in moral philosophy. If people like Shkreli are medically diagnosable with a sickness they have no control over, can they be held responsible for their actions? I’m not suggesting Shkreli be set free with a “Tut, tut, he couldn’t help himself.” Far from it. It isn’t the fault of a rabid dog that he is dangerous. But he can’t be allowed to run free biting people.

My point is that as much as we emotionally react to the Shkrelies of the world with fury and a desire to punish, to “see them get what’s coming to them”, it is not a logical reaction. Understandable, yes. We do feel empathy. We do react in outrage to the needless suffering of others caused by an individual who feels no remorse. This is good and proper. But when it comes to dealing with these rabid individuals, we need to take a deep breath, hold our noses and our anger, and realize that they are very possibly just the products of some toxic mixture of nature and nurture and not responsible for what they do. Punishment is not the appropriate response.

Shkreli has been arrested and does need to face a trial for his crimes. But like a schizophrenic, he should be judged mentally incompetent and sent for treatment, not to prison. At the present time we don’t have a cure for these sorts of disorders, but he could be useful for research purposes. Study him. Put him to good use as a subject for tests.

The next question this begs is, should we intervene when a person like Shkreli shows his colors, before he breaks the law? If we see obviously psychotic behavior in an individual, especially if it tends towards the violent or suicidal, we are justified to intervene. We are obliged to try to help the person before he does harm to himself or someone else. We shouldn’t wait until he goes into the shopping mall with four loaded pistols and an assault rifle. When an individual shows obvious Machiavellian traits, and a willingness to act out of complete self-interest with no regard for the harm it might do to others, should we intervene? Hospitalize them before they have a chance to savage the innocent?

Well, for one thing, our economic system would collapse. Here in the United States, anti-social behavior is not only tolerated, it is honored. The rugged individual who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed is admired, and the casualties tend to be overlooked. If the rogue pulls off a successful swindle, well, his victims should have been more careful; people need to look out for themselves. Their loss; his gain. As long as his methods aren’t illegal (and here’s where Shkreli made his mistake) he can be as ruthless as he wants and nobody will try to stop him. The poor are blamed for their poverty, the homeless for their homelessness. The wealthy are not condemned for their success, even though their methods frequently have agonizing human consequences. (Acknowledging, of course, that there are the occasional success stories that do not involve climbing to the top at the expense of others, and these business models should be praised, publicized and emulated.)

This is America, where someone as obviously warped as Donald Trump is celebrated and supported as a candidate for president. (Fortunately, by only a small, but very vocal, minority.) Shkreli merely exploited a system tailor-made for him, and no doubt thinks the only thing he did wrong was get caught.


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