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 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…

This ain’t about religion, folks

I’ve got no idea what was going through Omar Mateen‘s mind when he decided he was a terrorist.  But I do know how people tend to justify anger and violence.  I know that the justifications sometimes become motivation.  And I’m certain that our modern culture of global, politically-inflamed and monetary-policy-fueled violence should be discussed.  

It’s easy to see why people react against “The Religion of Peace,” and why people of that faith want to defend their faith.

But with so much obvious ignorance and disastrously bad policy (have ANY of our government’s promises or justifications for warfare turned out to be true?), we’re past-due for a look at both OUR history, and our allies…including the one that seems off-the-table, taboo, and the Name Never Spoken: Saudi Arabia.

Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab (1703 – 1792) was a Sunni Muslim cleric who rejected modern culture and technology, and sought to purify and distill Islam to the faith and practices of the Salaf.  In other words, he wanted people to live in the year 700.

This was not a very popular idea among the very many Muslims who liked the advances made in the intervening thousand years.

Putting it more plainly, many wanted him dead. So the cleric sought out the protection of a well-known desert warrior/ emir, Muhammad ibn Saud.

It turned out that Wahhab’s ideas of religious discipline and zeal fit very well with Saud’s ideas of military conquest and political domination. They legitimized each other, in effect; and so they created a dynasty that endures to today.

But this militarized religion in the form of Wahhabism and the House of Saud had pretty powerful enemies within the prevailing Ottoman Empire. So the Ottomans eventually (albeit violently) contained Saudi Arabia’s inherent military expansionist zeal.

Through all this, however, Ottomans and Europeans were also fighting each other. It was mostly the British who started a practice of deceit and division to ally with opposing factions to disrupt the empire.

After the Young Turk Revolution and during WWI is when the young archaeologist T.E. Lawrence was pushed into Britain’s assymetric engagement to bring down the Ottoman Empire.

765px-Lawrence_of_Arabia_Brough_Superior_gifThomas Edward Lawrence, CB DSO FAS, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” was an amazing guy; and not just because the multilingual soldier/ archaeologist/ writer liked motorcycles. Mostly, it’s because he was both a key historical figure, and a Cassandric chronicler of our current problems in the Middle East.

During the revolution/fall of the Ottoman Empire, Lawrence tried to help the Egyptian-led Hashemite forces make a stable, peaceful transition to the modern world. But England was, at first unbeknownst to Lawrence, also subsidizing the opposing faction of Muslims in Riyad…the House of Saud.

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster.” – “Report on Mesopotamia” The Sunday Times (22 August 1920)  (does this seem familar somehow?)

Lawrence’s axis of Egyptian/Syrian Arabs did most of the real dismantling of the old Empire while the House of Saud/Wahhabis pretty much rebuilt in the background (and certainly avoided the forces helped/led by T.E. Lawrence).

With the increasing importance of oil, and the ready sources of it in his grasp, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdul-Rahman al Faisal al Saud became more than just a military force.

So the British then did in that conflict what the USA has done ever since…they funded, equipped and aided two sides of a revolution against a third entity, and ended up picking the worst side.

So it was the Wahhabist Saudi faction that gained the real power from the post-revolution/ post-WWI power struggles…because western powers took their side.

To make the long story short, Saudi Arabia became nobody’s friend, but everybody’s ally; especially since FDR signed a deal with the Saudis, and Nixon based the dollar on their oil trade.

Richer by far than the dissipating Rothchilds, as heavily armed as they want to be, and to seal their imperviousness to our domestic production, we just gave the Wahhabis our biggest oil refinery in Port Arthur Texas.

Global imperialism and concomitantly devalued currency wrecked the British Empire, so the USA has now taken on Britain’s role of self-destructing meddler-bully.

We’ve become both puppet and puppeteer, both thug and serf. The middle east is a divided, angry wreck because we made it that way over the past one-hundred years.

What’s next? What would you do if you were a non-Saudi in the Middle East? What should you do as a USA citizen?

Consider what Lawrence wrote as applicable to all of us:

With_Lawrence_in_ArabiaWhether they are fit for independence or not remains to be tried. Merit is no qualification for freedom. Bulgars, Afghans, and Tahitans have it. Freedom is enjoyed when you are so well armed, or so turbulent, or inhabit a country so thorny that the expense of your neighbour’s occupying you is greater than the profit.” – “Letter to the Editor” The Times (22 July 1920)