Flag day on Sunday may be too much…

Flag Day, like Independence Day and Constitution Day, has become, for me, anyway, a predicament.

MAGAI want very much to enjoy the feelings of pride and mystic oneness with untarnished heroes of yesteryear.  I’d like to sing our anthem with joy.  I’d be delighted if I could feel that nationalism was about righteous unity and a shared experience of liberty and justice for all with my fellow citizens.  I wish I could hoist a flag and feel I’m expressing equality under constitutional rule of law, with truth, transparency, peace and prosperity now and forevermore.Support

But, dang it…

The flag is a symbol that, to me, and very sadly, has become an emblem of corruption and self-deception.  Our Pledge to obey it (written by an apostate socialist, BTW) was considered idolatry by Christians a hundred years ago.  Adding “under God” to it in 1953 changed what, exactly?

Bellamy2

Do we stand in church with our hands on our hearts and solemnly pledge to obey God?  I’ve not seen that happen.

Besides, how CAN we obey a flag?  Are there any rules?  Who decides what the flag is telling us what to do, and how far we’re to go in obedience?

Do we mean what we’re actually saying?

Our Anthem is a similar self-deception.  Do we still believe we’re “the land of the free and the home of the brave” when… aren’t we struggling against liberties lost to fear of everything from impoverished Arabs, to marijuana and viruses?

IdolatryOur nation is a corporate abstraction not so different from other corporate identities, tribes, corporations, clubs or clans.  We should be acutely aware that the difference between crime rings and nations is often more matter of scale than culture or law.  When Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel beat the Mexican government in a straight-up military engagement, wasn’t there at least a little confusion about who’s really running the country?

Governing is always by force.  But very, very rarely, a government rules by some authority higher than just brute force.  The USA’s national government was created, authorized and very literally delimited by constitutions, state and federal…that, unfortunately today, nobody reads, and most dismiss as outdated.

Yet it’s to constitutions that soldiers, police, politicians and new citizens are to pledge their support and defense against all enemies both foreign…and domestic.

And it’s to those constitutions that we all turn at some point when we want at least the parts we like (maybe a few of the Bill of Rights) when we feel we need defense from…our own government. Thugs

Yes, our government.  You know…the people with the flags on their uniforms, “Under God” on their money, and big bald eagles topping flagpoles guarded by soldiers.

You know…the people a lot of us are protesting against today for their injustice, lawlessness, corruption and brutality.

I get that flags are powerful.  Anthems are powerful.  Slogans are powerful.

But carried through generations, they become a religion unto themselves.  Tribal/corporate membership identity is powerful right down to our DNA.  We crave the feeling of belonging to a pack…often most when opposed to some other clique, clan, club or country.  Historically, and today, that tribal fervor becomes violent at the whisper of a rumor.

We actually tend to WANT us versus them, with all the emotions, symbology and triumphant, martyr-making images that go with that scenario.

My dad was a decorated WWII pilot and POW.  He weighed just over 90lbs when freed, and I believe all of his kids were deeply affected by his unspoken trauma.  The triangle of flag presented after his death means a lot to me.  But that particular flag is about my dad and not about our imperiled nation.distress

A lot of people see the flying flag more like a disgraced celebrity than a proud aspiration.  Others have good reason to see it as a symbol of class struggle and injustice.  Those who see it as a physical embodiment of virtue are history-whitewashing romantics…which must be pleasant – but is ultimately a destructive self-delusion.

I have a suggestion.

I believe we should drop the abstract, arbitrary symbols associated with our ungoverned, corrupt and dangerous government, and make this really, really simple.

We should make sure that what we espouse and pledge to support is written in black and white constitutions that we’ve read and actually do support, and not to feelings inferred from symbols no longer related to those words.

We need to be, in my opinion, razor-sharp in focus, and completely serious in our dedication to truth, justice, and …something better than what is now the American Way:

I propose we pledge our allegiance not to a bit of cloth made in China, but to constitutional rule of law under our existing state and federal constitutions as written and amended, full stop.

Hang onto your hats, folks…

We The People never actually did the constitutions as intended.  We never extended the freedoms we cherished to those we disliked (Injuns, Darkies, Micks, Wops, Chinks, Bohunks, Catholics, Jews, etc., etc., et cetera…), and so the whole point of constitutional rule of law was compromised from the start.

In empowering a government to degrade or oppress anybody, we created a baby monster.  That monster would grow up, of course.

Well, maybe not so much a baby monster.  I think for present purposes I’ll ignore our government’s first centuries of slavery, native genocide/oppression, what happened with Civil War and Jim Crow, and move on to what we think of as our more pleasant selves.

coming-money-trustFrom 1910-1912, we feared occasional interruptions to history’s greatest economic expansion, so we surrendered our successful monetary/financial system to central banking and fiat currency through a political system of monetized debt.  This was also, not so coincidentally, how we could “pay” off previous wars and prepare for “modern warfare” in the future… by robbing the future.

Not long after that, our fear of drunkenness led to the prohibition of “…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.”  While this first prohibition of any sort of trade didn’t involve prohibiting consumption or purchase of anything, those additional prohibitions came as if by magic, along with rampant “civil asset forfeiture,” police and judicial corruption, and the presumption that government can prohibit other trade even after the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st.

From WWI to WWII, our fear of Germans, Arabs, Italians and Japanese temporarily distracted us from our hatred/fear of Native Americans, Negroes and Jews, so our government took away our gold, rationed and prohibited a bunch of stuff, raised taxes dramatically, started “socializing” the heck out of stuff, and imposed lots of laws against speech and movement and so on.  But we were pretty proud after kicking some @$$…though we did, of course, fear commies (our allies just moments earlier) after that.

So some more liberties had to be curtailed, naturally.  That’s war, you know. Sometimes past mistakes rationalize making more in the future.

But by the 60’s we no longer feared alcohol, because we now fear drugs.
So we got SWAT teams, Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” and a thriving black market in …drugs.  And all without amending the constitution this time!
Police forces grew exponentially in size, armament, and since the 1980’s…immunity.

By the 80’s we feared black markets and drug dealers so much that we got more sting operations, spying, unlimited “civil asset forfeiture” and no-knock raids.

From the 70’s, when we tied our money to Saudi oil trade, through the 90’s, when some uppity Muslims challenged our petrodollar system, we decided that the people we’d been relocating for a hundred years, then overthrowing and manipulating with the Saudis, were “terrorists,” and THEY became our biggest fear…for which we’ve had to sacrifice innumerable freedoms of travel, privacy and finance.
Then after 9/11…ho boy!

Now the NSA has replaced Santa Claus as the keeper of lists, and you really don’t have any constitutional freedoms at all anymore.  You’ve got only conditional privileges with ever-more conditions on ever-fewer privileges.

Strangely, instead of thanking our nation’s founders, constitution’s authors and civil rights heroes for the freedoms we’ve been throwing away, we thank soldiers fighting foreigners in foreigners’ own homes.  …Fighting wars that rationalize the loss of more freedoms.
(how can we make this make sense?)

HwDrYuSo now we’ve got this really bad case of cooties, and we’re snitching on each other like CoroNazis, and trying our best to shovel even more power onto the authoritarians when that’s now becoming a very hard thing to do.

CoronaVirusNot to minimize how deadly a pandemic can be, of course.  With my first political campaigns, I tried to make an issue of our lack of preparedness for just such things (my first real job in healthcare was an internship at the Indiana State Board of Health, after all).

If you really want to live scared, communicable disease actually is a worthy terror.

ChynaApparently that’s not enough fear, however, because we’ve lately replaced our fear of Russia with the fear of China.  In some ways, that makes sense.  China’s much more dangerous now that we’ve given them at least close equivalence in economic, industrial, entertainment, information/ education, engineering and of course military/espionage might.  They could danged-near build a human bridge across the Pacific and kick our @$$.

But what you really should fear is that, as China has to an effective degree emulated our industries and market economics, We The People have emulated Chinese brutality, deceit and authoritarianism.
We’ve thus thrown away our economy, and our freedom.

…Oh, and our security.

Sure, we’ve angered the whole world by putting our forces in half the world with the guns pointed at the other half.  Our wars never end…even after our President/General Eisenhower warned us about the danger of a military industry.

But worse, all the preceding has rationalized more enforcement, more force, an increasingly adversarial relationship between us and the police and our “National Guard” forces.

Bad laws drive away good cops and encourage bad cops.  Too many laws mean selective enforcement, which is a major foothold for corruption and racism/tribalism.  And corrupt, continuously re-elected and therefore arrogant and unaccountable politicians want thugs and the fear they spread…it’s what gives politicians power over us.

Our collective fear, ignorance, tribalism and hate is leading us to a very, very, historically, epically bad place.  Only politicians thrive on our division, hostility, fear and hatred.  They feed and grow more powerful on our discord the way a tick drinks blood.

Our nation’s founders would be ashamed at not only the destruction of their gifts to us, but also that we’ve not come up with any better vision by now.  They’d be horrified that we’re fighting each other instead of the forces that divide us against each other.

We could easily fix things at least to fundamental principles.  I’m not the only one who for decades has proposed simple ways to govern our government, regulate our regulators, police our police, and make our justice system just.

HeroBut it seems us Cassandra types have naught to do now but prepare for what’s now inevitable, and maybe prepare to help pick up the pieces… …If people become any more amenable to reason after catastrophe than they are now.TheEnemy

Sigh… We can’t be the Land of The Free if we’re not also the Home of The Brave.  I’m afraid we’ve become the Land of the Sheep and the Home of the Fraidy Pants.

As demonstrated every Election Day, including the next one, by all the evidence I see, We The People don’t seem to want any regulation of our government at all.  We want authoritarian rule and we want it good and hard.

SaveUs

Over 90% of us incessantly blow electoral kisses to the Powers That Be…and then whine about the consequences.

And those consequences have only just barely started to show…

Hang onto your hats.
They may be all that’s left after we’re done doing to ourselves what we have always feared from others.

Desperate Times call for …Rational Thought

I get the whole “desperate times call for desperate measures” shtick, though that phrase has typically been mere rationalization of political corruption and usurpation.  But I get it.  And I sympathize with our tendency to fall for it.  A pandemic really is a more serious threat than are “terrorists” and our incessant and horridly expensive game of global Whack-A-Mole.  Fear is a real thing.Jobless graph

But at some point, deaths resulting from our forcibly-imprisoned populace and arrested commerce (lack of HVAC, medicine, food, for example), rising suicides, domestic violence, neglect, and of course, deaths by less-popular and therefore untreated diseases, could surpass deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 disease.  (see Venezuela)

Very few talk about such deaths caused by our sequestration, and the suppression of our economy, perhaps because it’s impossible to know exactly at what point the death graph lines would cross, and our government actions would become much more harm than help.  It seems unlikely since we seem to be doing so well right now, all things considered.  But then, the effects of current shutdowns won’t be fully felt for months, or maybe years if this is the straw that breaks our house-of-cards economy
It’s really the same “unseen” opportunity cost problem so well described by Bastiat in his excellent “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.”

PlagueDoctorIt’s also the case that these poverty-caused deaths would be almost entirely in the lower half of our socio-economic bell curve.  And despite the Democratic Party’s loud crocodile tears for less-fortunate humans, it’ll be mostly in areas where the D tribe is already in control, and therefore nobody in either crony party camp, really cares.  Poor people don’t contribute to reelection campaigns, after all…but dead people do vote, so… 

SaveUs

Keep in mind how Social Security works: 1. Politicians keep increasing the benefit age because it’s their inherent desire that you die before you can claim benefits.  2. They keep whatever money they don’t give back to you, personally (it doesn’t go to your family, of course).  3. They tax the benefits that they already taxed.  4. They don’t actually have to give it to you anyway.  When times get really tough, it won’t be there.  And that will be when most people depend upon it most. 

This is a very simple example of central planners destroying options for individual planners.  In other words, people can’t serve themselves when politicians, claiming to serve everybody, suck up all the resources and take away all the options, leaving individuals sucking for air…proving once again that we humans have no disease more deadly than the collective’s Caesar.

Of course I wish our culture would rise to a better vision

But we’re already suffering a pandemic of debt, corruption, monetary madness, Orwellian war, fascism/corporate socialism and cultural division that will soon make the fall of Rome look like a lady’s gentle sneeze.  No mask or gloves or sanitizer can protect us from it.

Only a revolutionary change of heart and mind, and action, (and that’s likely only by Divine Intervention) can save us now.

 

The TRUTH about Excelsior…on Amazon

My brother Greg published a book about three years ago.  I don’t think of myself as particularly competitive, but doggone it, I couldn’t let him beat me!  So I wrote one too.

He also has a website for both his book, and a bunch of stories from my mom (she wrote and illustrated some hilarious stuff).

…Anyway, The Truth about Excelsior is now available in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0849X45LQ?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860.

I don’t like the way it looks as an eBook, but I’ll likely publish that, too, in a couple of weeks or so.  It’ll be cheaper, of course.

Coversmall

But since some stuff gets lost in the eBook version, I’m resisting it as long as I can.

The blurb is, “Far more than the usual fanciful tale of precocious children, fire-breathing dragons, disastrous monetary policy and World War, “The Truth about Excelsior” offers a unique perspective on today’s cultural madness, and a glimpse into a world of peace, prosperity and …freedom.

I mean it to be fun, but you know me…I had to insert some serious stuff in there, too.

Anyway, let me know what you think of it…and if you like it, tell everybody, and leave a review!

Tribalism Sucks

MAGA.gif

Unless you wear a MAGA hat to bed, you know our government is headed in the wrong direction.  Unless you’re crazy, you know our government is corrupt.  Unless you’re a genuinely rotten person, you want much, much more peace, prosperity, security, and doggone it…freedom, for both yourself, and all your fellow citizens.

But unless you’re in the less-than-10% (typically more like 3-4%) who ever vote for third party or independent candidates, you chose this complicated, legalistic/ rule-fraught, unfair, dysfunctional and globally violent corruption. All of it.

I don’t mean to be an insulting knowitall, but this is very simple in a nation with elections:

Bernie

Either you use your power of peaceful revolution to oppose what’s not working and replace it with new guards for our future security, or you’re actually supporting the bad guys. If you’re not actively firing the bad guys with your vote, you’re as much as hiring them; either by direct choice, or in vapid inaction.

Now you may not disagree with that last paragraph. That may be while you’re still reading.

But there’s also simple logic in determining just who the bad guys really are.

And that is likely where 90% of voters will disagree.

Our constitutions were written in large part to prevent politicians from granting “to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.” (Indiana Constitution Article I Section 23)

This applies to everything political; from fair trade, housing and corporate laws to …ballot access.

Yet everyone with a living brain cell knows that our political scheme is all about special deals for special people.  Politically favored corporations get special rules that ensure protected profits without fear of competition.  Politically favored people get special legal/tax exemptions, or Get Out Of Jail Free cards.cropped-liberty

I contend that a fundamental part of the problem is the recent, self-appointed, tribal, monopolistic and genuinely stupid “Two Party System.”

Since WWII, and mostly since the 1970s, and varying state-to-state …ONLY Democrats and Republicans can be on election-related commissions, and have special election status that grants them more money, more ballot access, and more power in government.

Not only have these private clubs granted themselves special powers, but they have also imposed special hurdles and handicaps on any group or individual who’d challenge them.

Most of us understand that if there was by law only one manufacturer of coffee, or shoes, or cars, that costs and quality would be horrendous.  Most of us could imagine that even with two options, there’d soon be so much collusion and price-fixing to squeeze out any other competition that, in effect, there’d really be only one option with two faces.  Many of us disdain the rapidly clotting mergers of media, pharmaceutical and healthcare empires just the way many thought it right to bust up the old monopolies in telephone and power service.

And all of us benefit from the profusion of choices in food, clothing, electronics and other, relatively lightly-regulated industries.

So what’s up with the “Two Party System?”

Not only is it not ordained by constitutions, the Bible or physics, it’s actually anti-constitutional, by both state and federal constitutions.

You’ve got to be blind and deaf to miss the collusion and corruption of this monstrosity. You’d have to be either part of their crony crime ring, or crazy, to actually like this almost-universally-detested tribal ruling class.

TheEnemyBut you’d be a rare and precious person to actually vote against it.

I’ll just say it. If you vote for any part, any candidate of the Two Party System, you’re at least sustaining the problem.  Even the best (D) and (R) candidates represent the false hope of fixing a tribal system that doesn’t want to be fixed, and is well-organized against anybody who’d try.

More to the point – if you never vote for any alternatives to the status quo power structure, you ARE the problem. 

All the issues of incumbency – entrenchment of power and money, influence of monied connections, corruption – that goes double for political parties.  While politicians eventually die, their power structures too-often live on…and on…and on.

It’d be simple and easy to fix it all.  But you’d have to:

1. Understand the problem, and

2. Change your choices.  YOUR choices.

Come one, my fellows and friends. We’ve all but ended institutional slavery. We’ve extended the vote to every citizen (both living and dead, along with non-citizens, too…but that’s another story).

Nearly everybody says, “I don’t vote for the party, I vote for the candidate,” and up to now, they’ve mostly been lying.

Nearly everybody says, “Yeah, but look at the choices they give us…” as if we have no choice in that.lucy-charlie-brown-football

Well-over 90% of us keep doing the same stupid thing and never see the connection between bad choices and bad outcomes.

What’s really sad is that there are just as many great people as ever.  Many could be Founding Fathers (and founding mothers and/or non-binary whatevers) of a new and better age; learning lessons of the past and creating a better future.   

It’s just that now such people are pushed aside in favor of body-painted tribal savages and criminal clowns.  Too few ever throw their own hat into the ring, and yet love to complain.

So let’s snap out of that and finally use our votes as intended…as weapons of peaceful, orderly revolution, and end the rule of clans and tribes and gangs at last.

 

Yeah, he was a socialist.

cropped-libertyI give up trying to convince people that most of the various -isms are divisive bunk, and that, really, the spectrum of -isms from authoritarianism to libertarianism boil down to a very simple principle: primacy of the state, versus primacy of the individual.

But let us at the very least put to rest the idea that Nazis weren’t socialists.

Here is a ten-year-old article, which is, I think, just about the correct distance from the present to be more clearly separated from today’s tribal hysteria and concomitant “Democratic Socialism” blindness.

The core argument is that Hitler called himself a socialist of a sort derived from Marx, and that his deviation from the USSR’s variety of socialism (“Jewish Marxism” in Hitler’s words) was in two key forks that made it, in Hitler’s opinion (as well as that of Mussolini, who wrote much on the subject) more workable.

  1. National Socialism relied on geography and race to avoid the needlessly divisive self-destructive civil war as the Russians had suffered. Hitler felt that Germans shouldn’t fight Germans, so he elevated race above pure socialist dogma in an effort to unite more to his general cause. In Hitler’s words, “…find and travel the road from individualism to socialism without revolution.
  2. Recognizing private property rights is necessary to economic success and social unity. In Hitler’s own words (not from the article), “Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. …Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.

I can understand some confusion, as Hitler had over the years said many things that could, in isolation, fuel the notion that he was anti-Marx; certainly he was anti- “Jewish Marxism.”

But I believe that’s only when viewing Hitler through a partisan lens. Because he made it abundantly clear in his own words that he was a socialist.

In a critique of Mussolini’s newly-coined “fascism,” Hitler wrote of his own economic plan, “Point No. 13 in that program demands the nationalization of all public companies, in other words socialization, or what is known here as socialism.”

To more or less summarize my argument, as well as that in the article and referenced book, I’ll end with Hitler’s own words, and let you think on where we are today, and why so many Americans admired the man back in the day:

The Germany of today is a National Socialist State.  The ideology that dominates us is in diametrical contradiction to that of Soviet Russia.  National Socialism is a doctrine that has reference exclusively to the German people.  Bolshevism lays stress on international mission.  We National Socialists believe a man can, in the long run, be happy only among his own people.  We are convinced the happiness and achievements of Europe are indissolubly tied up with the continuation of the system of independent and free national States. Bolshevism preaches the establishment of a world empire…

 

By any name, it kills

First, here are the classical definitions of socialism:

  1. Government (not “communal”) control of property, and ownership of the means of production.  That means politicians control property…not you.  Politicians own the means of production…not you.
  2. Some definitions include the complete elimination of private property, but this overlaps with communism, and somewhat contradicts Marx’s definitions.
  3. In Marxist theory, an intermediary/transitional form of government between capitalism and communism distinguished by unequal distribution of property and income. “Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.” – Karl Marx

Socialism

Now, the use and public, common intention of the word “socialism” has changed a LOT recently.  So I’ll contrast it to communism, as defined by Marx:

  1. The state is eliminated (true anarchy) and all property and means of production is owned equally by the people as a collective.
  2. No private property. “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” – Karl Marx
  3. Distribution of goods and services by: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” – Karl Marx

People can of course believe whatever they want.  Marx was vague and contradictory in his use of terms (surprise?), but mostly, he proposed socialism as a violent takeover and transition to forcefully-imposed communism.  And generally it’s useful to consider communism an endpoint, since the theoretical social arrangement could be theoretically achieved by either libertarian or socialist means.  Opposite means to get to the same political-government-free, self-governing society.
Theoretically.

But if people want to call themselves “socialist” and then redefine socialism to be something they like better than the old definition…well, who am I to argue?

Words change all the time. The English language hardly resembles what it did before the Vikings and French and Shakespeare started messing with it.  Marx himself redefined what the earlier New Harmony socialists called socialism.

But let’s not fool ourselves with our words, either.

Words are extremely powerful.  It’s by words, and the actions we apply to words, that we turn corporate abstractions like “tribe,” “gang,” “army” and “nation” into deadly forces of oppression, slavery, genocide and war.

I know a lot of decent, well-meaning, well-educated and very intelligent socialists.  But they all perform the same, subtle, self-deluding linguistic/mental alchemy:

They trans-substantiate politicians/rulers into “The People,” the way Catholics turn wine into Christ’s blood.  And they are, in their clearer moments, advocating communism without the inevitable bloodshed.  They fail to understand, however, that the stateless dreams of felicity, equality and peace invariably come in the person of a despot. Atheists

In other words, today’s socialists dismiss the inevitably corrupt, violent and impoverishing despotism of an almighty government, and transmogrify the realities of authoritarianism into the detached dreams of a Marxian Kumbaya.

Now, to a degree and in a way, we all do that.  We like to imagine a nice utopia and don’t care about how to actually get there.

That’s a problem.

All government is by consent of the governed.  Politicians, elites and even the legions of bureaucrats all put-together, are vastly outnumbered by the people who in one way or another consent to be ruled.  So even the most oppressive tyrants reflect The People’s willingness to submit, if nothing else.

We’re tribal, pack animals, and we tend to Follow The Alpha.  But even the most well-armed and entrenched ruler can be thrown down when the actual human populace (and not an abstraction like “The People”) get mad enough to finally act.

So it’s true, though we act like it’s not: ALL government is by consent of the governed.  ALL government is a reflection of the people.  Politics/government is the collective’s avatar.

But socialists aren’t thinking of We The People as a republic with representative politicians.  Even more strangely, when they’re asking politicians to take over every aspect of life, they’re imagining this will lead to freedom, not being subjugated by an authoritarian poobah.

I really do understand this.  It sounds great.  In fact I used to do this mental trick on myself, and I fell for a good bit of Marx and Engel’s rhetoric:

If you’re unhappy with the way things are in general, or the way your life is working in specific, doesn’t this sound appealing?  “We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. …Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and … the alteration of men on a mass scale is, necessary, … a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.” – Karl Marx

And how about this one: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.  Workingmen of all countries, unite!” – Karl Marx

And this one from Marx is absolutely true: “A nation cannot become free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations.

I’m not sure why “socialists” don’t just come out and openly announce what they really want.

Again, here’s Karl Marx: “It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.

But let’s consider the label “Democratic Socialist” (which is itself very Marxian: “Democracy is the road to socialism”).

Problem #1 – Democracy is majority rule.  Majority as opposed to any minority.   Another name for it could be “mob rule.”  Democracy is, as Benjamin Franklin asserted, “Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”  In both form and effect, this is not at all what any “Democratic Socialist” I’ve heard of actually promotes.  They really don’t want democracy.  They couldn’t, and still claim any concern for minorities.

Problem #2 – We’ve already got what they want, and they’re still not happy.  We may not admit that we have what we vote for, but I can easily prove that we do.  We may whine a single-digit-approval rate of our congress, but those politicians enjoy a >90% reelection rate every Election Day.  Constitutions don’t matter, we have what we vote for, so we’re much more a democracy than a constitutional republic.

And about the “socialism” part…

A few hours ago I read a rose-colored “Democratic Socialism” article that said “Socialism can be defined as ‘a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.’

OK, fine. But what the heck is “social control” if we don’t have it already?

What doesn’t our government control right now, today?  Are socialists somehow saying that our government is not the social organization of our society?

You can argue all you want about the benefits of income redistribution and that mysterious ether “social justice.”

But if you’re using “social control” of property and income as the definition of socialism, then we’ve already got it, and socialists should be delighted.NoGun

But they’re not, are they?

So, what do they really want?

Well, actually, I think most want, in a broad sense, what I want.

  1. They may be angry at people, and even violent toward their political foes; but all the “socialists” I know say they want peace.  World peace.  As in …quit bombing people.  That’s a fine wish.  I’d be happy to work with them on this.
  2. They want prosperity, however they define it.  I may strongly disagree with their ideas on economics, but our goals are the same.  People should prosper.
  3. They know our current social order is corrupt, and want that to go away.  Me too! Oh man do I agree with them on that.
  4. They want something like “fair.”  OK, they do tend to categorize people and have special classes of rights and privileges for special people, and I hate that anti-individual, cliquish and racist tribalism.  But they still have a sense that things aren’t fair now, and that something has to be done.  I’m cool with that basic concept.
  5. While I think they’re calling oppression down on their own heads, they think they’re working toward freedom…personal freedom.  I’m totally for that goal…just not their means.

So, my problem with socialists isn’t their goals; it’s their chosen plan to attain their goals.  I don’t think they’re thinking straight about their “social control” versus authoritarian corruption, poverty and violence.  I think they’re grabbing onto the same, ancient snake-oil political promises and imagining that they’re the newest Get Rich Quick scheme.

lucy-charlie-brown-footballWe’ve done this before.  We’ve done it to death.  We keep believing the promises of dreams and ending up with the nightmares of yet another despot.

I know the arguments about western intervention in socialist nations like North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other descendants of the Russian revolutions of 1917.  They have some merit.  Our lefty Presidents T. Roosevelt and W. Wilson did tremendous damage to the world in making war into a grand adventure of Empire instead of self-defense only.

But the arguments that socialism quickly tears itself to bits are much stronger, in my opinion.

Strong enough, I think, that the real peace, freedom and prosperity lovers among us should keep offering a much, much better way for a better life, and try to convince our fellows that what didn’t ever work as advertised before…still won’t work; and that the ideology responsible for the death of hundreds of millions, isn’t as good as it sounds.

ADDENDUM:
Since I wrote this just a couple of years ago, I’ve had to change my opinion of the average self-professed socialist.  I’m afraid our leftist indoctrination centers (K-12 and universities) have done their job well.

So now the silk glove has come off the iron fist, and socialism’s inherent violence is showing.  It’s not just AntiFa militarists who’re promoting (and using) violence as the means to their political aims.

There’s a whole generation of young people who’ve been raised in a militarized culture, weaned and jaded on violent games, movies and images, baptised in the faith and fealty to Caesar, and increasingly have less and fewer objection and qualms with beatdowns, silencing, using police to round up people of alternative views, and putting them in gulags and re-indoctrination programs.  …Feeling the Bern indeed.

This, more than our impending fiscal calamity, scares the +!#$ out of me.


I think we could fix this fairly quickly and easily
…if we wanted to.  But there’s the rub.  What people want, increasingly, is vastly worse than what we’ve already got.A society can pretty easily recover from financial meltdown.  But there’s only pain and suffering from a culture gone stupid.

We need a better vision for the future.  A much better vision.  Here’s mine.

Coversmall

 

Fearing our own shadow

The Land of The Free has been surrendering freedom hand-over-fist because the Home of The Brave is scared of its own shadow.  Almost literally, its own shadow.

wwii-rubbleWe’ve for generations been the arms dealer and political destabilizer to the world.  Our CIA and armed forces have interfered with elections and even violently taken down one dictator to prop up another for over seventy years.

Our government has lied about its wars, warmongering, entangling alliances and foreign interventions for much longer than that.  Our CIA and NSA have been spying on the whole world, including every person within our own borders, as well as prying into foreign elections (and our own) for long enough that it’s disingenuous to complain about foreign spies and foreign interference in elections…unless we claim we’re the only ones who’re supposed to do all that.

To everybody.

All the time.12362834_10153703528535280_3712867037536160998_o

We are the most heavily-armed, most globally nannying and bullying, domestically intrusive, imprisoning and militarized nation of all time.

It is our own shadows that both terrify and genuinely threaten us now, and, surprisingly, in the past, too.

You think our soldiers are fighting for freedom?  Which freedom?  How many freedoms must we lose to get that elusive freedom we’re fighting for?  At what financial/future security cost?  At what moral/social spiritual cost?

We have literally reordered and molded our society’s defense/military, monetary and legal and political structure to our collective trembling nerves.   Why?

While nobody ever says it exactly like this, the predominating justification for the USA’s violent, costly Fear-Aggression Syndrome is:

lucy-charlie-brown-footballOur past screw-ups necessitate today’s screw-ups.

Rational people can look at the USA’s past mistakes reasonably.  Our government made horrible, murderous, costly mistakes when it was far smaller, less powerful, less secretive, less snooping, and vastly less heavily-armed and militarized both globally, and domestically, than today.  But ironically, the closer we get to the present, the more wrong we call right, and the more we justify today’s wrong by yesterday’s wrong.

We all know that slavery and native genocide was bad.  Only the more educated among us know that the wars against Mexico and Spain were motivated by greed and desire for empire, and had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting American liberties and land.  But very few consider how Teddy Roosevelt stimulated the Empire of Japan and the USA helped create the Soviet Union, however, so we tend to think of WWII as a wholly Good War, where the USA wore white and saved the world for liberty and justice for all.

Bellamy2The point is that, the closer we get to the present, the more our views of USA government become disconnected from reality.
Even after we learned that the Vietnam War was justified on, at best, a screwup, we tend to think of USA government as a benevolent god of peace and love, incapable of wrongdoing (though we keep seeing new wrongdoing every day).

This is a freakishly weird phenomenon.  But it’s also the nature of tribalism and idolatry.  We love our team, and we hate the other guys.  We can’t see the wrong in our idols, teams, champions and leaders, but we know that the other peoples’ idols, teams, champions and leaders are pure evil.Testing football helmets, 1912

And it’s also just human: People of the past were THEM.  People of today are US.  We can easily admit that our ancestors did horrible, stupid things; but we sure don’t want to admit that, today, right now, WE are screwing up.  We’re blind to our own errors.

In other words, we see the past more clearly than the present.  And we see other sinners more clearly than we see ourselves.

So, as a result, we exemplify, even if unintentionally, the exact opposite of The Golden Rule.

This is self-immolation.  We have so many impending disasters of fiscal, social, monetary and military nature, that we desperately need an epiphany and revolution of heart and mind.

You can’t be the Land of The Free if you’re not the Home of The Brave.  But no nation can survive at all with this kind of stupid.

Realistically, we’re doomed.

All of the most self-defeating things I ever hear begin with something like, “Realistically…”

At least in a political context, whenever I hear words and phrases like “pragmatic,” “the way things are,” and, of course, “realistically,” I know what comes next is a lame rationalization of wrong.

Right?

Instead of saying, “That’s a great dream! Let’s make it happen,” the “realistic” person’s got to say, “realistically, you must choose the ‘lesser of two evils;’” or, “Whoa there; these things take time.  Realistically, you’ve got to ‘take baby steps,’ ‘work within the system,’ and ‘you can’t fight city hall.’”

Even so-called “third parties” concentrate on “winnable” races, even if that means that they sacrifice a statewide televised platform to discuss real differentiating issues.  It also means the most visible races go unchallenged or are contested by lesser candidates who put their party in a bad light.  And, of course, when they do win a “winnable” race, that means it’s such small potatoes that nobody will ever hear about it anyway.

“Realistically,” they’ll say, “you don’t stand a chance.”  “You have to,” they tell me, “play the game.”  “Start at the bottom and work your way up,” they say.

TheEnemyI am pretty certain this is why human civilizations have a 100% failure rate.  There are too many unwitting servants of the status quo, and far too few revolutionaries.  Too many people think like plodding, duty-bound bureaucrats, and too few think like passionate, principled visionaries.

I am sure we have a sufficient number of dreamers;  it’s just that the dream-squashing Powers-That-Be puppets outnumber them, parrot the officially-approved talking points, run the media, and are currently in charge of pretty much everything on the planet.

This so unnecessary, so sad, so self-destructive.

To cave in to odds is to shuffle toward societal collapse.  To accept even mediocrity, let alone “lesser evil,” is to voluntarily, actively, choose failure.  (see aforementioned failure rate)

And that, is a denial of our very real power and accountability to do better.

I’ve spoken to more than a few voters.  I see what they do every Election Day. Collectively, we really did choose exactly what we’ve got.  We’ve chosen badly, and keep re-electing the badly-chosen.charlie-brown-and-lucy-with-football

We can’t blame anybody else for that.  But we sure try to.  The “Two Party System,” corruption, lobbyists, and “there ought to be a law” all get blame.  And those things are, granted, terrible. terrible.

But we chose it.  All of it.charlie-brown-football

And it looks like we’ll do it again this November.

We do this over, and over, and over again.

We never learn.

My enduring hope (and I believe our culture’s only hope) is that we’ll snap out of our madness and choose better.

Now, I do understand the roadblocks.

  1. There’s a vast, nearly-diametrically-opposed difference between a good candidate, and a good politician.  We expect a good candidate1 to be a market phenomenon; sort of like a movie production with a cast of hundreds.  The very “best” candidates are usually much less impressive as individuals than they are as a puppet figurehead/mascot of a team.  You rarely hear or see the politician as a person, actually.  You see a managed message crafted by professional staff.  A good politician, on the other hand, must be an honest, scrupulous statesman; hardly the sort of performance artist who’d be a media hit in this climate…amiright?  The job of a candidate is to get elected and reelected.  The job of a statesman is to serve his fellow humans by holding a leash on that dangerous abstraction we call “politics.”  And that apparently doesn’t sell well today.
  2. The best candidates are bought.  We all know it. But we never follow the money and come to the correct conclusions, do we?  In fact, we do the opposite.  We see our candidates in order of odds and money, not in order of principles and actions.  We treat this more like pro sports, and less like real life with you as a key actor.  And that’s at least partly because…
  3. All the major media are bought, and not just by the best candidates.  The major media are wholly owned and operated by the same military industrialists, financial services moguls and kingmakers that own and operate all the best candidates.  Look at how they cover campaigns.  Look even at the order in which they list candidates in articles.  It’s not alphabetical, is it?  And try to look for what doesn’t even make it to your eyes and ears.  Almost all of the very best statesmen are rendered invisible and voiceless by our incessant, loud and omnipresent media – both old and new.  Your senses are overloaded by their choices such that you may never get to hear what would be better choices.  That leaves you too numb and worn-out to scour the fine print, rumors and internet for better choices.
  4. The rules we now call election and campaign finance “laws” were written by all the best candidates, so of course they’re unconstitutional, corrupt, and serve to stifle better options.
  5. We don’t want to admit that we’re responsible for our choices, and that our choices really do matter, and that we could change our choices, because that’d be the same as admitting that we’ve screwed up for years!  I get it.  I’ve been there, done that…and in ways I still don’t want to admit.

But now let me describe your opportunity.

  1. You get what you choose.  If you choose better, you get better.  If you decide to vote against evil entirely, what’s “lesser” or “greater” won’t matter.  You really do get what you, personally, choose, because you are not as alone as you’ve told yourself.  Not everybody else is an idiot.  More people than you likely think, are thinking, and acting, just like you.  Most people are just looking for somebody else to make the first move.
  2. It doesn’t take a majority to change things.  In fact, it has never worked that way.  The passionate few have always determined the course of history.  Always.  The “masses” follow the leader.  That’s how our species, and most others, work.  You want to be among the passionate few?  Then choose to be.  Be a Political Alpha that others can follow.  It’s just another choice.
  3. Politicians hire themselves if you let them; we do NOT have elections to hire politicians.  Our founders and prior generations bequeathed all of us (all races, all creeds, all genders…even the new ones) the hard-won right to vote not as a numb approval of the status quo, but as a weapon of peaceful revolution.  You are SUPPOSED TO vote AGAINST some things (evil, entrenched incumbents, bad choices).  You are SUPPOSED TO vote to FIRE the best candidates, and replace them with the best politicians.
  4. Picture this.  On a single day in November, you upset the status quo.  Instead of reelecting almost everybody (over 98% of House Reps were reelected last time, you know), you fire almost everybody, and replace them with people who’ve not sold you out.  It’s a choice.  Your choice.  Imagine how bright the sun would shine on that next day when the gobsmacked media pundits realize that you figured it out, and won.  Just picture it.

Would it be so scary to, just for once, use your vote more like a sword than a poker chip? Wouldn’t it be invigorating and wholesome to walk into a voting booth with the Spirit of ‘76?lucy-charlie-brown-football

Realistically, we’re all going to die, and our culture and nation will collapse.  It’s a certainty, actually.

But we choose how we live our precious lives.  We don’t have to keep doing the same things over and over again.   While history demonstrates very well that we humans keep screwing up over and over again, we personally don’t have to.

We can choose.

Don’t we want to strive for a really great life in a great country?  I say let’s dream on that, and make it so.

1A candidate is a corporate abstraction consisting of a figurehead, several key executive members, and a bunch of supporting staff all dedicated to winning elections…often as a full-time job for many campaigns, year after year.   A politician is, when done right, an actual, moral, honest-to-goodness human being who’s trying to make politics the noble art of getting along.

The Truth about $#!+holes, and the people thereof

We’ve got “immigration” all wrong

I’m not an “open borders” libertarian.  And borderless anarchy isn’t possible with humans (see I Samuel 8:6-20).  So at least for some degree of control over communicable disease (we’ve been lucky so far), human trafficking, etc., we need to have some border security.  If you allow that you’ve got a political government, and other states/nations have theirs as well, there have to be borders and jurisdictional limits to politicians’ rules.  And I’m more about actual law and order than 99.999873% of the planet. 

So don’t get me wrong.

But our current problems aren’t with illegal aliens, immigrants, or any of the laws and policies thereof.

  1. We are luring illegal aliens here with free stuff. Free healthcare. Free education. Special rights, privileges and immunities unavailable to even legal citizens.  There are lots of reasons why we’re doing it…but I propose we stop doing this.
  2. We’ve made “legal” labor so expensive, complicated, legalistic and impractical that “illegal” labor is a very attractive option, or sometimes the only workable option.  I propose we reverse this.
  3. We’ve been tormenting and destroying other nations with our “War On Drugs”, CIA crime rings and coups, oppressive policies/embargoes and direct attacks, such that We The People have, both directly and indirectly, made some $#!+holes that don’t need to be $#!+holes.  In other words, we’ve made other people’s countries practically uninhabitable, driving them here for survival.  I propose we stop doing all this.
  4. Our ever-changing, unpredictable and absurdly unfair immigration laws and policies force illegal aliens to lay low, force employers to keep secrets and break laws, and generally force the realities of illegal aliens under the rug.  I propose we make our immigration laws and policies fair, consistent, and focused on our domestic security, health and interests…and then just enforce them!
  5. Do you know how hard it is for potential immigrants to get visas?  Pretty much impossible.  So smugglers make a great business getting tens of thousands of dollars for every person they get to the border illegally.  But if it were easier/possible to get visas, then the sort of people we want here, the ones who’re desperately wanting to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones, could hop a plane for tens of thousands less, go through controlled checkpoints with drug sniffing dogs and people wearing blue gloves, and go legitI propose we make it much easier and cheaper to come here the right way.  That’d welcome the good folks and put the squeeze on only the bad ones.
  6. There actually is, since the 14th Amendment, a constitutional stipulation that anyone born in the USA is automatically a USA citizen.  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”  So, really, there’s a powerful incentive for pregnant women to dive over the national goal posts to deliver a baby in the citizen end-zone.  It’s not their fault if they succeed.  However…  Think about how the rules of monitoring “documented” citizens and trans-border “security” would be enforced.  Given the sort of nazi/commies we continuously re-elect, this could get really ugly.  “Your papers please” is already a problem.  Spying on us all is already a thing.
  7. Besides…if you know you live in a $#!+hole, can’t make it better, and want a better life for you and your loved ones, you’d be a fool not to find a way here, where you’ll find life better than you’ve ever known. Right?  Wouldn’t you do the same?

The first four bullets above exist only in breach of the federal constitution.  In other words, those problems would be solved if all we did was affirm and enforce the Constitution for The United States of America against our government. 

In other words, if we’d just quit making “legal” labor so costly, quit making illegal entry the only door, quit giving away freebies to illegal aliens, and stop messing up other countries, we’d not likely even talk about a wall. 

In fact if we were to just DO the constitutions, state and federal, as written and amended, we’d not likely be constantly fiddling with our immigration laws, and we might even legally, legitimately welcome people looking for a better life as our friends, coworkers and neighbors.

While The US of A is no longer the freest, wealthiest or healthiest nation on earth, we are among the most accommodating to foreigners.

Is that really a bad thing? We can discuss that.  LadySomethingOrOther

Of course, if you’re one of those “‘Merica – Love it or Leave it!” people, you’ve got a little ‘splaining to do…

Sure, there are the “Reconquistas,” the criminals, the terrorists. But their numbers are tiny compared to the home-grown murderers, rapists and thieves (even outside the DC beltway); and their numbers are tiny compared to the regular human beings trying to do better for themselves and their loved ones.  They didn’t love what became of their country, and they left it.

The discussion we’ve been having over illegal aliens in major media and political discussions is stupid. We play word games, divide ourselves against ourselves, and place blame and propose punishment for our screw-ups on people who’re doing the best they can to get by in a world gone mad.

Think of the people you know that annoy or plague you the most. Think of the worst people you can think of. Are they immigrants? Illegal aliens?

Probably not.  Illegal aliens actually comprise a much lower per-capita percentage of crimes and criminals than native-born citizens represent.  Most don’t want trouble.  Most just want a better life than they had, and they get it here. 

So, let’s try to think both in context of reality, but also think as if we’re all just humans trying to do our best. OK?

Liberty or Bust!

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