Posts Tagged ‘politics’

From the Editor’s Perch…

September 2, 2014

Teenager3

Question Rebellion

 

It has been found that when blind-from-birth persons have had their sight restored by operative means, they don’t automatically ‘see’ like you or I.  These newly sighted people have to learn what the various colors and shades of light coming in through their eyes mean.  They must walk around and explore the world in order to recognize what a ‘chair’ is, for example.  Then, they can understand what a chair ‘looks like’.  It seems experience of the world is necessary before we can understand what the perceptions we have mean.

 

It has been widely recognized that as people age, they generally become more conservative.  It has also been noted, in this recent article “Why Won’t They Listen?” by William Saletan in the New York Times, (which is a review of the book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt), that “Conservatism thrives because it fits how people think, and that’s what validates it.”  Minds are like eyes.  They must ‘learn’ to ‘think’.  They must learn to ‘see’ what is there.

 

Saletan goes on to note that whereas Conservatives tend to base their convictions on 6 moral foundations (including faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order), Liberals “focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression” (my italics).  Because of this, he goes on to note, Conservatives most often can understand what Liberals are arguing (because of their wider moral stance), but Liberals often cannot make sense of Conservatives (because of their narrower moral stance).

Teenager1

In my own world I’ve often heard liberals scorn the ‘hypocrisy of Conservatives’.   They would do better to scorn the hypocrisy of thought – or of reality in toto.  A true evaluation usually contains a dark side.  Nearly any effort suffers ‘unintended consequences’.  Liberals seem especially poor at discerning this.  They are like actors who cannot grasp the subtext.  They seem to prefer living in a world where if there is a problem hole, filling the hole will solve the problem.   In the real world something caused the hole, and will cause there to be a hole again.  This is what Conservatives would like to discuss with them.  But a Liberal will say, “You say you hate holes, but here you are, refusing to fill them.”  To which a Conservative might answer, “Filling the hole will not make it go away.”  This dumbfounds the Liberal.  ‘How can filling a hole NOT make it go away?  A child could understand this!’
Teenager2

Exactly.

 

In lieu of gathered wisdom, Liberals often dismiss Conservatism as representing a particularly nasty side of humanity.  Rarely a day goes by that I do not hear the grumbling of some Liberal that they are just giving up on talking to any more idiotic, brutal, blind, closed-minded, and greedy, Neanderthal Conservatives.   And if I am lucky enough, within the same day, to meet with a fellow Conservative, I’m mostly likely to see a shake of the head, whenever they speak of Liberals with chagrin, and a response somewhat of the retort, “They are like children!”.

 

Living as a ‘declared’ Conservative can be lonely, isolating and quite trying experience, rather like a beleaguered parent.   You feel like a piece of hanging meat being pestered by flies.

 

 

And trying to get on in a world where there are people, who would fashion themselves as Progressives  – shopping for their politics at the only the best stores – this is the Conservatives burden.  ‘Progressive’  is a name brand which declares its own infallibility.  Progressives walk around in designer thoughts, bemoaning all of the unwashed; while swearing at the odd Conservative as if stubbing their toe on a chair they cannot comprehend and spilling their Kool Aid.  They don’t care that you don’t agree with what they think – or drink.  What offends them is that you can’t recognize extremely fine fashion when you see it.

 

But we Conservatives DO recognize fashion.  We just feel that life requires practical, tested measures.

 

A Conservative might hope Liberals would take advice from their own ecological laments and realize culture is a profoundly complex thing best left to grow organically; that culture is an accretion of collected individual wisdom best tended within a wisely structured environment of what lawyers call ‘natural law’, and is not something to be corrected and rearranged at intellectual whim.  That you can kill things this way; completely destroy a habitat.  (As Ronald Reagan noted, civilization is fragile as an eggshell.)  But they don’t.  They keep importing their intellectual kudzu and disseminating it as far as able.  As Saletan points out in his article, they destroy ‘moral capital’.

 

After a day of trying to get through to these modern day knuckleheads, a Conservative can be sorely tempted to wander off by themselves for awhile, sit on a rock and pray.

Pictures taken from Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 10, 2014
Reichstag 1932

Reichstag 1932

How Large Should Government Be?

First.  Here is a smidgeon of history from “Bismark’s Legacy” by Tom Palmer:

“The welfare state in its modern form originated in the late nineteenth century in Germany in the political maneuvering and “state building” of the German statesman Otto Von Bismark…  Bismark ushered in the German welfare state through a series of compulsory insurance schemes for accidents, health, disability, and old age…”

“Whoever has a pension for his old age is much more content and far easier to handle than one who has no such prospects.  Look at the difference between a private servant and a servant in the chancellery or at court; the latter will put up with much more, because he has a pension to look forward to.” – Bismark

“It was the collapse in the 1930s of the over-extended welfare state of the Weimar Republic (Germany), widely known at the time as the most advanced welfare state in the world, that ushered in dictatorship, war, and the most predatory and vicious welfare state the world has ever seen, the Third Reich.”

Hitler promised “the creation of a socially just state”.  Have any of us been hearing these words repeated lately?

So.  How large should the government be?

Well, a little smaller than the above, I’d guess.

White House

White House

But, easier decided than done.   For as long as I’ve been alive and literate, a debate has raged over how large our government should be.  Democrats have generally been categorized as the “tax and spend party”, who would cast government as our ‘friend’ and helpmate.  Republicans have generally been cast as the party of “fiscal responsibility” who would pursue “limited government”.  And yet, throughout the leadership of both parties our government and national debt have ballooned.

So, it seems to me that the continuing debate over the proper size of government, is rather like two Africans arguing the proper size of a hippo.
(Which I’m guessing most Africans are too smart to do.)

All the while they argue, and no matter the conclusion they might reach – the hippo continues growing.

Hippo1

hippo3

 As Buckmeister Fuller noted, “to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  This is what happens when a cheetah eats a gazelle.  And this is what happens when the Internet and Fedex feast on the business model of the Postal Service.

So, it seems to me, what is needed in our situation is a predator.  Our government by its nature – (just like the hippo) – grows.  So what we need is something which preys on government; something which uses government for food.  So that a natural balance of government versus citizen is maintained.   And the government’s growth is made ‘sustainable’.

Here I propose that a good model for such a citizen creature would be Anarchists, who would thrive on chewing through a little government each day.  More on this later.  (Where I imagine all of us – a diverse motley of anarchist/citizens, with our little backyard anarchist bins – mulching government).

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). - from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). – from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Photos from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 7, 2014

anarchism2

Anarchists:  You Probably Are One

           

            Rush Limbaugh, (to start right out on a polarizing note), used to gleefully point out that even the most successful liberals were more than likely 95% conservative in the matter of their own affairs.  They were conservative in their business dealings, in their financial matters, in how they raised their families, and in matters of education, where they lived, how they worshipped, how they comported themselves, and generally in how they managed their day to day affairs 24/7.  And this was because conservatism ‘worked’.  Conservatism worked because it bore the collected wisdom of countless generations of human beings when dealing with much the same matters we deal with today in different guises.  In his combative way, this was actually Rush Limbaugh ‘reaching out’.  He was saying, “Conservative thought is not your enemy.  And if you consider your own lives for a moment, you’ll agree.”

Now think of all the moments of your day when you are not being coerced, nor coercing someone else.  This includes all those periods when you are exhibiting self-discipline; when you are meeting an obligation; when you are conducting yourself as you would prefer.  This can include family time, work time, recreational time, …just about any time.  These times of the day, are those times when you are living as an anarchist.  They are not without structure.  They are not without pleasure.  They are not without effort.  But they are rewarding, and comprise those moments which give meaning to a life.  And these are the periods and moments of your day when you are living as an anarchist.  So I would say to you, “Anarchism is not your enemy.  And if you consider the wealth of your own life, you’ll agree.”

 

Oftentimes, a main objection to anarchism is the question: “Well, how would it work?”

My answer would be: “Well, how does your day work?”

Anarchism is already successful.  Anarchism is already popular.

But what most people might say to this answer is, “Yes.  But how would an anarchist government work?”

And the answer would be:  “Only coercive entities can describe to you how something will be; how something WILL work.   Anarchists are against coercion.”

“Well then,” the response might be.  “I don’t see how an anarchist government could do the things a government has to do in order to sustain law and order.”

And I would point out to you that the anarchism we already practice in our daily lives sustains law and order – much more so, than there is in the power of our government to do so.   In fact, it is widely held that if just 10% of the populace refuses to obey a law, then the law is unenforceable.  10% is the effective power of coercion.  More than 90% is the effective power of natural (anarchistic) living practices.

 

About here, most people will lose patience and say, “This is ridiculous.  We just can’t do away with the government lock, stock and barrel, and expect anything but chaos to ensue.”

To which I would heartily agree.  The only thing which can be done overnight is daylight.  An anarchic society must be created brick by brick.  To kick away government safeguards overnight would be catastrophic.  But what the anarchist can say to the government ‘statists’ on a day to day basis is, “I would rather do that activity myself.”

Take the U S Postal Service for a prominent example.  Every time a citizen uses Fedex, or UPS, or e mail, or faxes something, or goes on Facebook, or the Web, or handles his financial matters or purchasing online – he is in effect saying to the government, “No thank you.  I would rather attend to this myself.”  RIP Postal Service.  The government shrinks.  Liberty expands.

And this is just one example.  There are hundreds of examples of anarchists (whether they know so or not) at work each and every day, telling the government in one form or another, “No thank you.  I would rather attend to this myself.”  This is how anarchism gradually replaces government.

 

Image from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 1, 2014

 

Sing along!

Sing along!

Anarchism: Give it a Look

 

            Most people, myself included, have glided right past the Anarchists when searching for a group of like-minded political minds.  Anarchists are represented in history and the media by bombings, assassinations, societal disruption and chaos.  Ironically, anarchists themselves – including founders such as the Frenchman, Proudhon – almost embrace this misperception, though it’s hard to imagine how the tenets of anarchism would support such behavior.  Anarchism itself is about establishing society through voluntary, personal arrangements, and flattened – as opposed to hierarchical – organizational structures.  Anarchism is not about chaos, but rather it is about organization through organic growth, personal connection, local rather than global activity, civic rather than state involvement, all with an accent on the adjective “voluntary”.  The roots of the word anarchism mean “against government”.  Governments are coercive.  Governments have definite structure.  Anarchistic arrangements are voluntary; they have mutable structure.  People change what they want.

Most strange of all, anarchic communities function well all around us.  In fact, we are probably part of several.  Anarchism has already been shown to work.  So, it is strange that we act as if the movement were something we couldn’t associate with.   Because we do.  Successfully.  Already.

There are already established threads of anarchism which are very strong, such as the free market, where a voluntary exchange of goods between individuals has created an incredible amount of wealth and efficient distribution of goods.   The family might also be considered a very successful anarchist structure which creates extremely tight bonds between members of what begins as a voluntary arrangement.  Neighborhood activities, bowling leagues, associations, clubs, theater and sports groups, etc… these are all voluntary activities which create a rich civic structure.  The moral basis of anarchism stems from the legal concept of natural law: that the best laws we can enact are outgrowths of what comes to be accepted behavior between two or more reasonable adults: ‘rules of order’ they might be called.  Anarchism is a wholly ‘grass-roots’ phenomena which creates its community as it grows.  It claims no territory, but can inhabit a vast area.

Probably the first question usually asked, once people have decided to consider the question is: How would an anarchist form of government work?  Well, unlike other governmental arrangements, an anarchist government cannot be described until it has evolved and matured to the state where we might refer to it as ‘something which could perform the tasks of a government’.  An anarchist government, because it is not coercive, cannot be initially conceived.  It must grow.  We might as well ask, “What can water do?”

Better to just pour it on the ground and see what happens.

Here are some books which have begun to address what ‘water might do’:

“The Art of NOT Being Governed” by James C. Scott

“The Vountary City / Choice, Community, and Civil Society” a series of essays edited by Paul Johnson

Pictures from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

July 29, 2013

Criticism

Criticism is Always of Freedom

 

            Recently I happened upon this North Korean video which a visitor to South Korea claimed was clandestinely slipped to her.  http://superchief.tv/leaked-north-korean-documentary-exposes-western-propaganda-and-its-scary-how-true-it-is/  As you can read from the title, this is a “leaked North Korean documentary which exposes Western propaganda and it’s scary how true it is”.

Well, I’ve watched this one video (there’s a package of them on the internet), and I wouldn’t call it Western propaganda.  I’d call it snippets from a Western lifestyle.  And I wouldn’t call it scary.  But, aside from a rather twisted view of racial matters, I’d say a lot of the footage is accurate.  The United States – at least in the media – often looks like this.  They talk a bit about Paris Hilton.  I’ve never met her.  They criticize Madonna, (three cheers!).  But I’ve never met her, either.

            How can the North Koreans know us so well?  It’s not like they get out and about so much.  I’d say it’s most likely they are repeating what the Left Wing has to say about the United States on a day to day basis in our own media.  The North Koreans find much to admire in the Left Wing’s criticism of the United States.  And the Left Wing, in return, finds the North Koreans’ criticisms uncannily accurate.    You have to smile.  The Left Wing and North Korea share so many beliefs.  Why can’t we all just get along?

Indeed.

            It’s been said by parasitologists that if you somehow did away with the flesh and bones of most animals and only saw the parasites that inhabit them, the animal would still be readily identifiable.  This probably could also be said about human beings and their sins.    Given unlimited freedom, a human being could probably be identified as much by the innumerable sins he/she commits as by their fingerprints.  Sin thrives in flesh like a virus.  It’s in the nature of being human to sin (or, if you’re not a Believer, to ‘act poorly’).

When you have a ‘free’ country, it would be unnatural not to see all the sins of humankind flourish and be displayed widely.  When our worst natures are given free reign to flourish and to describe us, they do – to a point.  The beauty of the United States is that a person can see themselves – and others – as they descend to become, or by determined self-criticism and effort can make themselves to be, and collectively, through self-imposed laws, continually re-create the free nation we enjoy.

The Left Wing would criticize us and our freedoms until we are beyond something lifelike… until we have become something that only criticism can create, like North Korea.  The Left Wing would take the term ‘puritanical’ to a new level… a North Korean level.  And why not?  They have so much in common.   It’s uncanny.

Cartoon taken from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch

January 30, 2012

Editor’s Note:  My last posts really left my numbers flagging.  So to kill off my readership altogether, I thought I’d share some new thoughts:

I’ve Been Wrong Before.  I’ll Probably Be Wrong Again.  And I May Be Wrong Now, But…

I’ve recently been called a Troglodyte (not personally, just my relations) because of my views on ‘Climate Change’.  It used to be because of my views on ‘Global Warming’.  But that moniker has changed, since there hasn’t been any for the past ten years.  Now we’re supposed to be very frightened because the weather is changing.  

               “Doesn’t the weather always change?”

               “No.  This is Climate Change.”

              “Well, why are we experiencing ‘Climate Change’?

              “Because of ‘Global Warming’!”

(Return to beginning of article…)

We’re supposed to be getting even more frightened as the days pass, because Climate Change is supposed to be occurring along an exponential curve.  This is what all of the august scientific bodies tell us. 

               “Are you sure it’s all.”

               “Yes.  All credible sources.”

               “And these are the same sources who warned us about Global Warming?”

(Return to beginning of article…)

             “But aren’t these the same sources which warned us some 30 years ago that we may very well be entering a phase of Global Cooling,  and might have to consider spreading coal dust on the ice caps to absorb more of the sun’s energy.”

             “We’ve learned a lot since then.”

(Return to beginning of article…)

It used to be that CO2 was just something plants used to grow, and animals produced when they breathed.  Now, however, it has been declared a ‘pollutant’ by the EPA, and needs regulating. 

(Start holding your breath here.  And we will try to make it to the end of this piece before you are forced to break a future federal regulation.  Think of it as being like pushing in a DVD and seeing that FBI anti-piracy warning that flashes on.  No biggie.  You can DO this.)

Apparently CO2 is one of the determining causes of ‘Global Warming’.  Which, though it does not currently exist, is the cause of Global Climate Change.   Which DOES exist.  You got it?   (Or are you just STUPID?)   …because of Global Warming. 

(Return to beginning of article…)

CO2 does this through a process called the Greenhouse Effect, wherein excess CO2 causes more of the sun’s energy to be trapped in our atmosphere.  This extra energy in turn produces more violent storms…. but apparently not Global Warming.  At least in the last 10 years.   Even though it apparently did so before this.

All credible Scientific sources apparently agree on this, even though the evidence apparently does not.

For example, fossil evidence and geological measurements indicate that in the past, levels of CO2 twenty times the current level did not accompany the extremes in temperature currently predicted.

In this case scientific sources apparently disagree on this, though the evidence agrees.

Alright.  We’re done. You may duck around a corner, out of sight.  Small breaths, now.  And don’t be greedy!

Photo by Carl Nelson

Travelling Expenses

January 18, 2012

One Upside the Head, from Paul

"You can take this to the bank!"

“John Huntsman would have made a good President. He would be a good Vice President. Mitt Romney on the other hand has proven he likes money, he is supported by money, and as Wall Street as shown over and over again, making money doesn’t require an IQ, nor does it require an allegiance to the American flag, or the society it preys on. I am an observer but my guess is that Romney is the biggest mistake this country could make. Thank God he has no chance of winning the Presidency. Unless of course The Supreme Court gets involved. Your Incumbent has fought tooth and nail against an obstructionist republican hate machine, because he is black and he is smart and he is a democrat. I am grateful to this country for offering me more opportunity than any other I could live in, but really? Romney equals wall street and corporatism, he is a vacuous slug who has flip flopped on every principal that the better man would have taken a stand on. Do you really want a man who will stand for nothing? If so you will fall for anything.” – Paul Eenhoorn

Photo taken from the movie, The Dead Men

 


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