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, prideful, 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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Are our political abstractions killing us?

idolatry

Over the years I’ve increasingly thought it interesting that the first two of the Ten Commandments, in essence, warn against …idolatry.

Sure, murder is bad; but that’s way down at number six; before adultery, stealing, lying and coveting.

From a context of politics, anyway, the first two commandments, something like “In God We Trust,” warn against making abstractions (OK, other than God, if you’re an atheist) real.

I’ve come to think of this as brilliant.

Yes, the way the commandments are ordered, from first establishing proper relationships, to concomitant proper behavior, is eminently logical, proper and wise.

But I’m not writing this about wisdom, logic, morality or even sanity; I’m writing about politics. That damnable abstraction, is, as you should know by now, the opposite of all that is good and wholesome. It is delegated force reflecting and amplifying all our fears, jealousy, selfishness, violence…it’s our sins, heavily armed.  We’d have none of it if we could behave.  But the people in politics tend to behave even worse than the general population.

So, the secular corollary of In God We Trust is, after all, In Politics We Do Not.

So let’s get something straight – there are no such “things” as politics, political parties, nations, “Us” or “Them.” You can’t punch a corporation or tickle a union. You can’t feed an economy to starve a recession because they are abstractions. They exist, really, only in our collective, inherently tribal…and idolatrous, minds.

In real life, human society consists of individual humans and our individual actions.

We may try to delegate away our own part in decisions and actions by claiming some office or duty to a corporation, a government, a racial/societal class, or an army.  But in ultimately accountable fact, we, as individuals, choose and act as individuals.

This is the basis of “Austrian School” praxeology, or action axiom, besides being an important message of the Ten Commandments.

Properly understood, this concept of individual choice and rejection of idolatry (assigning judgment and action to abstractions, and/or pledging obedience to abstractions) fully dismisses as absurd such following rationalizations:

  1. We all must sacrifice some of our own comforts to save the economy.
  2. It’d be better if our President was (gay, Hispanic, atheist, a woman or whatever)
  3. Corporations are bad while unions are good; or visa versa.
  4. It took us a long time to screw up this bad; it’ll take us a long time to do better.
  5. It’s a cruel, complicated world; we need cruel and complicated laws.
  6. Those other guys are scary and violent; we need more missiles and soldiers and wars.

Sadly, most of us surrender to abstraction. We solemnly pledge to obey a flag, while complaining that the politics we’ve voted for over and over again, sucks. We know our chosen political tribe is messed up, but insist it’d be madness to vote for any alternative. We suspect our “nation” abstraction won’t be around much longer; but curiously, can’t even describe what that nation really is or how it works (Social Security? Cops in riot gear? Multi-class basketball?). Some of us even advocate a “revolution” to overthrow a government that, doggone it, we freely chose ourselves.

Even ideology can be an idol.  One of the oddest things, to me as a candidate (another abstraction, BTW), is how voters will ask me how my ideology differs from the other candidates when we should know by now that ideology has nothing to do with our current form of cronyism.  Lobbyists, powerbrokers and bankster/moneychangers rule; ideology has nothing to do with it.  That’s what we’ve chosen.

Our abstractions are so deeply ingrained and heartfelt that it’s in fact difficult to communicate without invoking these abstractions…especially in politics…whatever that is.

We could always choose better. But we very, very rarely do.

So, through all recorded history, humanity’s default state has been oppression, slavery, genocide and war.  It’s only very rarely that humans choose to live in peace, prosperity and that most rare and precious abstraction of all, freedom.

Yes, incremental decay seems historically inevitable. Rapid collapse happens very frequently. But real improvement in societal terms, when it happens at all (can count on the fingers of one hand) much more frequently happens fast; by radical epiphany and action. A single generation, a single war, a single election, can change everything politically important.

All I can do as a candidate is offer a choice that’s different, and I think better, than what we’ve chosen so far.  I’m offering fewer abstractions; a real and dramatic reduction in our reliance on collective abstracted actions that, it so happens, rely on violating much of the other Ten Commandments.  Because without abstractions, you know, taxation is theft and war is murder.  And those are not good things at all.