Too stupid to know we’re being stupid?

Socialism

I’m pretty sure that my wisest, most clear-headed moments have been when I fully, accountably realized that I was being an idiot.

And I think the wisest of those moments resulted from somebody else pointing out to me that I was being an idiot…and I listened.

There is that saying, “A wise man learns more from a fool than a fool learns from a wise man.

OK, so I hope the preceding was a sufficiently humble preface, since I’m about to call hundreds of millions of people idiots.

You see, having been to innumerable political forums where politicians outnumber regular folk; having participated in scores of public debates; having authored hundreds of articles published in major media and reading the angry retorts; having stood at the center of hundreds of protesters with a megaphone in my hand; having been to hundreds of public meetings where policy is purchased; being fairly well-acquainted with the best political minds in at least Indiana; and having warned everybody I know about our current national predicament when there was still time to fix it; I feel unusually well-qualified to make the following statement:

We The People, that arbitrary, abstract and problematic mob called a “nation,” in the Year of Our Lord 2017, are at least acting like idiots.

Unite the Right rally violence

I’ll support that statement in four ways:

Number 1. Our society’s deceptive use of language, and level of conversation, has plummeted to embarrassing depths.Pride

Here is a small excerpt from the “Federalist Papers” number 10, written by James Madison and published November 29, 1787:

A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for preeminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.  

…The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.”

Now, who in public life today thinks and talks like that?

Here, by way of comparison, is some of our current President’s writing (unedited and in full):

Written by Donald Trump on May 8 2013: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,it’s not your fault

And another, perhaps more famous writing by the same person 31 May, 2017 said, in its entirety and verbatim, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe

 

Number 2. We know everything about stupid stuff, and nothing about important stuff.

Allen IversonHow much do I need to elaborate here? How many men can quote baseball stats back to ‘ought-five, yet can’t name our Vice President? How many women read thousand-page romance novels hours on end, and say they “don’t have time” to read the US Constitution (it takes about an hour)? Our kids lack basic life skills even after spending a quarter of their lifespan in classrooms.

 

Number 3. We’d never hire anybody else the way we hire politicians.

Let’s say you need to hire a janitor. But instead of reading applications, calling people in for interviews and checking references, you just sit back and see who puts up the best yard signs, billboards and TV ads. You’re not looking for qualifications in the conventional sense. No; you’re looking for the best odd$; you’re looking for who’$ got $upport.KeatingFive

“Give me the keys to your building and relax,” says one candidate, “I’m the Janitor You Can Trust!” Another candidate has run a great ground game, handing out literature and freebies to your other employees, with the slogan “Make Janitorial Services Great Again!”

There are lots of other candidates, of course; but all your interest goes to only the two Major Janitorial Candidates. The media tell you that you’d be a fool to waste your choice on other candidates, no matter their superior qualities and actual qualifications, because the Major Janitorial Candidates are…well…they’re Major.  (oh, and they also contribute a large percentage of the media’s ad revenue)

When everything else these days can be “nonbinary,” only your choice of candidates must be from only the two given to you by who exactly?

Interestingly, you never ask where all the money comes from for the expensive campaign materials and professional managers. If you exercised any curiosity at all, you’d realize that the people spending millions of dollars to get a job that pays a salary pittance have other reasons to get access to your building and all that’s inside.

We don’t think about anything else the way we think about politics. I only wish I had as much faith in my “religion” as people have in their political idols. I only wish I could be so lackadaisical in my daily life as we are with the power of money, police, prisons, spies and war.

 

Number 4. We have collectively and intentionally rejected that functional system of moral civil behaviors called “culture.”

CultureNo, what we call “multiculturalism” isn’t a culture – it’s divisiveness in the pretense of enlightenment. A functional culture doesn’t require an official, uniform religion, style of speech, dress, food or customs. But it does require some basic commonality and uniformity in rules of behavior, consequences, methods of conflict resolution, and, most importantly, letting people pass on the left instead of parking your big fat black Cadillac Escalade with Hillary bumper stickers in the left lane matching speed with the blue Prius in the right lane going east on Hwy 46 toward Bloomington …for example.

Now, I’ve for decades fought our corrupt political scheme; which is based entirely upon Special Deals for Special People. But that corruption is just a reflection of our corrupt civilian culture.

Instead of looking for common ground, we’ve obsessively divided ourselves into opposing factions of LGBT versus straight, socialist versus fascist (as if either’s any !@#$ good at all), male versus female, poor versus middle class, and…more than at any time since I was just a kid…black versus white.

Antifa Portland
Why?

Do we not all want peace, prosperity, freedom and maybe a little love? Do we really LIKE the violent, hateful posture we’ve instead chosen?

Maybe we do prefer hate. I was recently told that because I’m a white Protestant male (a “WASP;” the West’s most reviled, and even self-loathing, minority), I should not even be allowed to speak. Seriously.

 

So, you may think I’m about to propose a solution. Sadly, no. There is no solution to idiocy other than humility, and its beloved companion, accountability. But that is a rare and precious thing. It hardly ever happens in significant numbers.

America, as a culture, needs to realize that it’s being an idiot, and snap out of it.

But what are the odds of that actually happening?

I of course hope We The People will have a collective epiphany, and back away from the self-obsessed, hateful, self-destructive madness we’ve chosen, and plot a new course that in some way incorporates at least a little peace, prosperity, and (is it too much to ask?) freedom.

My hopes have alway exceeded my expectations.

Sigh…

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There are two parts of this I feel could be rounded out a little, just for the sake of information to consider. The first one is when you mention socialism. I would agree that state-run socialism would lead to major problems, however, most people don’t realize that a form of socialism not only existed in this hemisphere for some time, but thrived. Maybe by today’s definition, it may not fit, but the societal structure of many indigenous tribes in North America certainly included some characteristics of socialism, based on descriptions I’ve read. That doesn’t mean I’m advocating that our government switch to socialism, I’m just pointing out that socialism hasn’t always had a negative effect.

    The second involves multiculturalism being divisive. I’m aware that some people may wield it as a weapon or conflict flashpoint, but overall I’d say multiculturalism has a positive effect. Different perspectives can, and do, assist and strengthen our lives. Looking back on our history, American culture is a living mixture and absorption of multiple cultures. I think the problem of divisiveness, with regard to multiculturalism, comes from an overbearing sense of pride, almost to the point of being chauvinistic. That may just be human nature. But I don’t believe multiculturalism on its own to be divisive. At any rate, I don’t believe you’re suggesting complete homogeneity or assimilation, only the equal adherence and application of rules and consequences between the multiple cultures that make up this country.

    Sometimes in text, things may be lost in translation, so I hope I haven’t misinterpreted anything while commenting on these two particular points. I enjoy reading your viewpoints, sir!

  2. Good points!
    And they bring up the importance of language and agreed-upon definitions.
    The USA has had lots of good examples of true communism (arts and crafts communes, etc.), and “socialism” was pretty well exemplified by the Owenites – who didn’t invoke government power and used their own money to try their social scheme (OK, so it failed quickly). But in common, recent practice, socialism quickly becomes re-branded authoritarianism, and the “public” is actually just the same Obey-The-Alpha stuff humans have suffered for millennia. The “socialist” countries we call successful are actually more free-market than the USA in important ways…but it’s still too early to tell if they’ll last longer than the three score years and ten of the USSR.
    And, yeah, I wish multiculturalism could be what it sounds like. The idea as marketed to us sounds great. But that’s not how it’s working out, right?
    Melting Pot isn’t homogeneity at all. It’s evolution. It’s taking the best and moving forward…just like technology.
    Thanks again!


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