Sunday, September 17, 2017

Two Paths Leading Backwards

Let me suggest that it is impossible to have just one bad political party for any length of time. If you had a good party and a bad party, everyone would vote for the good party and the bad party would be forced to be competitive if it wanted to survive. The good party would push the dividing line further towards the bad party, forcing the weaker of the two to incorporate stances held by the winning party. At some point, the dividing line would land roughly halfway between the will of the people.

One political party can move the line left or right, but it takes both of them, one standing at either end, to raise or lower the bar. What you are witnessing now is a limbo contest of epic proportions.

I used to vote for Democrats, not because they were what I wanted but because they were at least moving forward. As someone who defined himself as progressive, that was the logical choice. Or at least the justifiable compromise. But with the advent of Bill Clinton, it was pretty obvious that they were no longer even standing still, they were going backwards. All right, it wasn’t so obvious to me, since I voted for the man, at least the first time around. But doing so made me feel cheap and used the morning after, an effect he had on a few others, I imagine. I don’t remember the particular incident, but I truly remember in the first week after him becoming president, the regret sinking in. Sure, presidents once they’ve transitioned from candidate to office always disappoint, but this one really made me realize I had to change my behavior.

When someone can no longer identify with the party they have voted for all their lives, they typically switch to the other, but that is not a viable option in this case. Though Democrats have ceased to be Democrats and moved way further to the right, Republicans are still in the lead and running as if the devil himself was trying to overtake them.

You see, it doesn’t matter which side of the line you are on so much as where the line is. And if someone keeps dragging the line to the right and you follow along but do not cross it, that doesn’t make you a progressive. The very fact that you follow every time the line is positioned further to the right indicates you are not an answer nor an opposition.

But enough of the x axis, it is the y axis I’m more interested in. And the bar has been falling. It is continuing to fall. It is in the negatives now, retreating with no signs of abatement. And while each party is going backwards in its own special way, they are both doing so in tandem.

Conservatives are attempting to go back to the way it (never was but they believe it) used to be, for white and white-identifying people. Cultural myths are comforting, because they are both idyllic and simplistic. They want to go back to Mayberry, they want the little town that is not influenced by the outside world that is so corrupting (and different). They want a world that is black and white. Mostly white.

There would be a few modifications to the Mayberry blueprint, however. For example, the first time Sheriff Andy Taylor tried to take the bullets away from Barney’s gun, they’d call in the NRA and have him driven out of town, to be replaced by David Clarke or Joe Arpaio.

Better yet, the new sheriff would be played by Charles Bronson, and each episode he’d be sure to pop a cap in someone’s ass. Tax payers supporting Otis’ life of addiction? A bullet’s cheaper than the cost of putting him up for the night (unless, of course, the jail was privatized, in which case Otis’ stay would be indefinite).

But it would be justice, only the bad guys would get hurt. Of course, the definition of bad guys would be very liberal, encompassing anyone who was not a conservative.

Conservatives want to venerate and preserve the past, no matter how crappy it might have been for many Americans. Japanese Americans, African Americans, migrants in general. It was pretty bad for poor whites ignorant of their history too, but that’s a stratum of society that seems to repeat the same mistakes over and over. At any rate, conservatives want to keep the memory of America’s glorious past alive, they just don’t want to think critically about it or discuss it. It is not history they wish to remember, it is myth. But one has to wonder how people who cannot face the complexity and unpleasant truth of the past see the present for what it is. If you cannot see the racism in the past, what makes anyone think you see it for what it is now?

Hard work is what built this nation, that’s the rallying cry of the conservatives, neglecting to mention whose sweat and labor that was. It was the labor of immigrants and slaves, of children as young as 8 working 60-hour weeks as breaker boys, sometimes losing their limbs and even their lives to the dangerous machinery they were more familiar with than their own beds.

Work hard and don’t expect to be given anything. That’s the advice I would give to my child if I were a wealthy capitalist. Work hard and don’t expect to be given anything. That’s the advice I would give to my employees if I were a wealthy capitalist too, but for entirely different reasons.

Conservatives want to go back to the era of fewer restrictions for business, without ever looking back at that era and the misery created by it. The thinking of conservatives is that they are going to succeed because they are hard-working and things will work out for them. They figure since they were the one sperm out of a million that fertilized the egg that they are special, not realizing everyone alive was created that way.

If conservatives have regressed into a sort of tribalism, then liberals have regressed into infantilism. They don’t want to build mass movements to take power into their own hands, they want Daddy Deep State to make the Big Bad Trump-Monster go away. They want Mommy Media to hold them in her arms and tell them she’ll keep them safe from the Russian hackers under their bed.

Never in my life have I experienced a doe-eyed child whole-heartedly swallow a story an authority figure has told them the way liberals have the Russian hacking story. And I’ve been around to witness the Benghazi conspiracy theories.

The liberals believe because they want to believe. No, they believe because they need to believe. They need to believe that our nation has not come to this, even though it has quite clearly come to this. They need to believe that Donald Trump was not at the end of the road we’ve been walking for a generation and more. DAMN IT ALL, ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS ELECT HILLARY AND EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE IT USED TO BE!!! And how it used to be was pretty good for those not losing their jobs, watching their paychecks get stretched further and further, or being incarcerated for minor drug offences. Or dying on foreign soil.

Liberals are looking for a quick fix to make life the way it was before. Not a hundred years ago, just last year. Somehow the idea that the present flowed logically from yesterday doesn’t seem to occur to them. There was no natural progression from the world they helped shape to the reality they now experience. Trump came out of nowhere, a deus ex machina to a cheaply written novel. It is a story involving one-dimensional villains wearing black but always white. If only there was a Condoleezza Rice or Collen Powell to stand up for truth, justice and the American way.

We needed a villain to blame, since we weren’t in the mood for looking in the mirror. Blaming terrorists was getting old, and more than a little awkward since Hillary was helping them overthrow nations. Besides, it’s politically incorrect to blame people of Middle East descent for all that has gone wrong, though oddly enough it seemed permissible to kill them and take their oil to fuel our SUVs. We needed to tie Donald Trump to the most reprehensible people imaginable, those forces that from our earliest memories were the symbols of all that is evil in the world. Let’s see, who could we get?

Putin! Yes, the leader of the Evil Empire.

Never mind that Russia is not the Soviet Union and Evil Empire was Ronald Reagan’s term, not one those on the left ever used. Ronald Reagan and Joseph McCarthy. The Republicans liberals used to hate are their friends now, at least those who are willing to dis on Trump. And while we’re dipping into the well of our deepest subconscious stereotypes, let’s add fascists to the list. Never mind the mixed metaphor, never mind the fact that there is nothing so abominable in the collective memory of Russians as fascism or Nazism. Never mind that the U.S. is supporting far-right regimes on Russia’s borders.

And so liberals simplified the narrative enough that they need not do anything beyond hate everyone that disagrees with them as they await further instructions from anonymous sources from intelligence agencies we’ve never heard of.

And where are the adults in all of this? At the margins, the far end of the right and the left who seem to have more in common with each other than they do with those closest to them. They sit on the margins not because they are that distant from what the majority of Americans want so much as they are there because the story they tell is not the one the mainstream media wants. At the edges sit those who 40 years ago would have been mainstream Democrats and Republicans, but have been kicked to the curb by a cancer that has grown in between them. It is a cancer that both margins see clearly, though each from its particular vantage point. The right sees a bloated government trampling on the rights of the individual, while the left sees bloated corporate power that needs to be reined in. But that bloated cancer in the middle is what is paying the big money to get those in the middle elected, those politicians willing to allow that festering bag of corruption into the hallowed halls of our government.

Thus there is no dividing line between the two parties anymore, not in any true sense. They have both been absorbed by that pulsating evil at the center of our society, the big money that controls the big government. To squabble about the minor differences as seen from the left perspective or the right perspective is foolish.

And thus we have two paths, both leading downward through their unrealistic desire to revert rather than advance. But even while there are differences in the two political approaches of the liberals and conservatives, there are many similarities. Both have chosen hatred, division and self-delusion as their responses to the problems we now face. The irony being that the most dangerous problems we now face are hatred, division and self-delusion.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Simplistic Philosophies Are Bad For Us

Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man
-King Crimson

When the Soviet Union fell, the capitalists were ecstatic. Capitalism had triumphed over socialism. At least that’s what the story as they saw it was. And since the capitalist class was the most influential voice, that was the story that was primarily told.

What actually happened was a blended economy with strong unions won. A blended economy that had been historically building towards a more socialistic and Democrat way of doing things. But the capitalists were high. They figured if some capitalism was good, more was better. They thought if a fire in the fireplace would keep us warm, why just imagine how cozy we would be if we lit the whole house on fire.

And they did. Slowly at first, but quickly the flames spread. The forces of capitalism were not content to remain one aspect of our society but THE dominant force and power. Whereas the market was one part of how our society functioned, those with money who wanted to make more money insisted that the market was not only the most essential aspect of our nation but should be THE ONLY arbiter of human interaction.

It was a simplistic philosophy, and simplistic philosophies are always bad. Simplistic philosophies are unable to grasp the subtler realities of life and so they use lies, sloppy logic, and brute force to put forth the fundamentalist mindset. Show me a simplistic philosophy, and I will show you ignorance and hatred.

Simplistic philosophies always end up concentrating power and wealth into the hands of a few. Societies where a few have immense power and wealth are miserable for the vast majority living in it.
That’s where we are now, and I think it’s safe to say the vast majority of us are basically unhappy with our lives, especially politically speaking. Everybody is angry even if we find different political parties or politicians to feel angry about. Like I said, simplistic philosophies breed hatred.

They breed ignorance too.

No side of the political spectrum is interested in figuring out what is wrong, they’re only interested in who to blame. We have become children complaining to mommy and daddy that the other side started it, the problem being that there is no mommy or daddy to sort things out for us. Those who are willing to step into the role of parent are demagogues and fascists, not very nice people at all and definitely not looking out for your better interests. They feed upon your childish needs and their greatest fear is that you might achieve a level of maturity and so not need them anymore.

We live in a society with a simplistic philosophy, and every idea or observation that does not fit within that narrative must be mangled in order to fit that philosophy, ignored, or attacked in the strongest of manners. Christianity was once a major force in American society, but now it has been mangled to fit the overarching narrative of the market economy in the same way it was mangled to fit the government’s narrative in Nazi Germany. The Democratic party has been mangled to accept the idea of market uber alles, just as it has been mangled to accept whatever war is proposed by those who stand to profit from it. Anyone suggesting limits on the power of the wealthy capitalists is either attacked or ignored.

We once had a nation with a relatively influential working class. Democrats needed union support and they knew it. Hell, even Republicans proudly supported unions.

The very fact that labor had a degree of power made it necessary that more voices were heard, more perspectives were considered. But now the voices of labor are silenced, as are the voices of all who do not echo the official narrative given by a media that is concentrated in a few hands of like-minded people. The official story is for the government to stay out of a system that will police itself, that every other consideration be removed from the simplistic philosophy that is their religion.

Capitalism and market theory states that we are in competition with every other person and that nature exists to be exploited. That’s it. All else is explanation or rationalization. To see things any differently is to see beyond the parameters of capitalism. To that end, religion must be co-opted from the teachings of Jesus to the teachings of the capitalists. To that end, the lives and messages of great statesmen and leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King must be neatened up and abridged in order to fit nicely with the capitalist narrative. Nice, simple, stupid.

The religious fundamentalist is so convinced of his simple creeds that he believes any action is justifiable in its defense. The free market fundamentalist, too, believes anything is excusable in the pursuit of profit. Widows evicted, children starved, rivers and lakes polluted, it is all absolved in the greater good created by the free market.

Of course, the proponent of a simplistic philosophy, in the end, reveals himself to be not a true believer after all but merely an opportunist. It was the wealth and the power obtained in the support of the cause, not the cause itself, that was the true goal. Rare is the proponent of the free market who isn’t willing to act against the principles he espouses when there is money to be made. Likewise, there is not a single corporation unwilling to go to the government for help when it is needed.

The belief that anything is permissible in the pursuit of profit and that anyone successful in this pursuit is a person to be admired has given birth to abominations. Look at this:

Our founding fathers would weep at this, our forefathers cry out from the grave against it. But it has become our new normal. And this, this is the obvious result of a society that basis all its decision-making on what the market dictates, no consideration for religious, political or cultural leaders. No interest in art for art sake but merely for what sells. Am I wrong? Let us see if the free market has an answer for the spiritual rot that exists deep in our society.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Random Political Thoughts Part 8

It is said that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Politically, we are in a similar situation. We are having the same political conversations over and over and hoping to come up with solutions. It hasn’t worked, it continues to not work, one would surmise from this that it will continue not to work. We are in a box, the Democrats being the left wall, the Republicans the right, the media the wall in front of us, and fear at our backs. We need to transcend.

It’s gotten to the point where when I hear an intelligent and thoughtful political statement, I rarely know whether it’s coming from the left or the right, though when I hear a stupid one I immediately know.

I live for the day when we learn to fear our institutions more than we fear our fellow man, for on that day war will end.

Show me a nation with mineral resources where the people profit from those resources, and I’ll show you a nation that’s in our crosshairs.

Humans have shown time and again throughout history that they are capable of incredible self-sacrifice and have the ability to band together when the times demand it of them. But—and here is the big qualifier—the desperateness of their situation must be made plain to them. This is the stumbling block we now face, an entire nation looking for a quick fix for those troubles they dare to admit, and denying altogether the problems that seem too large to contemplate. For just as humans are capable of greatness when it is needed, they are also capable of incredible amounts of complacency, distraction, and denial.

Beware those who venerate the rebels, prophets and spiritual leaders of yesterday while putting to death those that now walk among us.

Do not point out the insanity of the opposition but prove through your actions that a sane path is possible. The only cure for insanity is a commitment to sanity. The only answer to lies is the search for truth. The only thing that can save us from hatred is love.

I called myself a liberal, but then a bunch of people beholden to corporations rather than the people began calling themselves liberals. So I started calling myself a progressive, but then those same people started calling themselves progressives. So now I’m just going to say I’m for peace, since I’m pretty sure those people will never utter that word.

There are three different errors that people can make regarding conspiracy theories. The first is that all conspiracy theories are false. The second is, once one becomes convinced that a conspiracy does exist, believing every conspiracy one comes across is true. The third is becoming so lost and confused by the myriad details that one abandons the search for truth altogether.

We need to tear down the entire edifice upon which our society is based. And when I say edifice, I mean narrative. I don’t advocate tearing down the structures and institutions, that would be foolish. It is only the narrative that makes our institutions so dangerous and destructive. And the narrative that needs tearing down is this, that a society prospers best when greed is not merely the primary motivator, but the one god that must be worshipped.

The difference between liberals and conservatives is the sophistication of the con man they fall for. I’ll just mention the names Jim Baker and Donald Trump and see if you can guess which group requires a little more convincing.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Two Parties, One Failed Political Process

Interesting times we are living in. We have two parties and no vision for the future coming from either of them.

In any other age, any war that was fought was sold with the promise that it was fought to bring about peace, justice, and renewed prosperity. Not so, nowadays. War is now fought to punish bad guys. And since dropping bombs on people tends to bring out the worst in them, we are merely creating more bad guys. There is no end to the wars we fight, because we fight wars on behest of the weapons manufacturers, not for a better tomorrow. We fight wars for corporate interests, and corporate interests run contrary to the interests of the citizens of the countries we bomb. Therefore, we will never be able to bomb them into seeing our country’s point of view.

There is no path to peace, only rationalizations for the next war (which does not replace but is added to the pile of wars we are already fighting). There is no path towards prosperity, other than cutting taxes for the very wealthy, and signing trade agreements written by those same tax-avoiding corporations.

On the issues where the two main parties agree—the federal reserve, never opposing war, never doing anything about climate change, bailing out failed banks without demanding accountability or changing the rules, increased surveillance, etc.—they are both firmly on the side of powerful interests against the citizenry. Where the two parties disagree, each of them floats into some fantasy world detached from the realities the common person cares about. (Transgender use of bathrooms? Why did that suddenly become the dominant news topic for months on end?) Or else they label the other in the most absurd and extremist way by disallowing any middle ground. Most people sit somewhere in the middle on issues such as gun control and abortion, but Republicans and Democrats would make you believe that there is no middle.

Somehow, some way, Republicans managed to get themselves elected not only to the Presidency, but a majority of both houses of Congress, and most of the governorships, on issues that most people find repugnant. Voters had very genuine issues with the Affordable Care Act and were hoping for the Republican opposition to replace it with something better. And yet the Republicans could only come up with something worse, could only imagine stripping the better parts from an otherwise terrible idea.

Republicans are in charge and are incapable of doing anything. And they’re incapable of pushing through any of their ideas because they know there will be nobody to blame but themselves. For the last eight years their whole identity was to be a resistance to the Democrats and that foreign-born President of theirs. It’s really easy to tear down what someone else is trying to build up, it’s a lot harder to do the building up.

Now it is the Democrat’s turn to be the party out of office, the ones who oppose everything the other party does. Not in a rational, principled, or constructive manner, but in a knee-jerk sort of way. Find an issue you can exploit and drive the wedge in deep, regardless of whether such distractions harm the populace.

As the Republicans are unable to do anything because they have no one to blame for their failures, so to do the Democrats seek to avoid actually taking a position while hurling vitriol at all things Republican. To take a position of their own, to promise to actually work for the American people should they be elected, is a bridge too far. Unlike Trump who was willing to promise anything and everything to get elected, most Democrats have been around a while and know it’s safer to offer platitudes without actually saying something that might come back to bite them in the butt. They have yet to appreciate and mimic the genius of Trump, which is to speak so absurdly that supporters can only see what they wish to see in the candidate.

But what has the resistance accomplished so far, other than making itself look ridiculous? What is the Democratic strategy to defeat the ignorance and hatred they see in the Trump movement, other than showing themselves capable of an equal degree of ignorance and hatred? Their one hope seems to be to play nice with the deep state in hopes that it will eventually exert its power and rid them of Trump.

There is not an adult in the room, other than the deep state. And the deep state is quite willing to have the focus be on the warring children rather than themselves. Politics as it stands now is a Jerry Springer Show and we simply cannot permit ourselves to take seriously anyone who would walk on that stage. New outlets must be established, our trust in the media outlets and power structures that have led us to this point must be redirected into people and groups who prove worthy of trust. We must finally realize that any institution taking vast sums of money from powerful interests are innately unworthy of our trust.

We must divert our energies from the large institutions that have only their own interests at heart. And perhaps even more important, we must divert our mental focus from the narrative that such institutions have woven for us. Until we can free ourselves from the perspective and world-view that now box us in, we cannot help but be part of the machine that is busily tearing down humanity, our resources, our environment, and our future.

Monday, September 4, 2017

What Labor Day Means To Me

Like most all of our major holidays, the meaning and history of Labor Day has been forgotten and replaced. Whereas Christmas once celebrated the birth of One who placed spirituality above materialism, who said things like “cast your bread upon the water”, it is now the biggest excuse for superfluous spending our nation has. Where the 4th of July was once a day to commemorate our decision to rid ourselves of a government that was not responsive to the needs of the people, it has now become little more than another day to celebrate wars fought on foreign soil for a government that is not only unresponsive to its citizens’ desires but criminally murderous abroad. Likewise Armistice Day, a day that was established to mark the cessation of violence and the beginning of a new peace, changed into a day to honor those who had fought and continue to fight. Using veterans much like human shields, Veteran’s Day has become another tool to silence dissent of military adventurism.

Labor Day—its name very succinct in its subject, was harder for the powerful of our society to subvert—is nothing more now than a day off for those fortunate to have an employer willing to give it to them. No mention of the roots of Labor Day or its significance is given by the corporate media, nor even as of late by Public Broadcasting. For to speak of it would bring attention to the fact that labor was once a power unto itself, that common workers managed to band together to advance their shared interests against the monied interests who pooled their resources into keeping the working people divided and powerless.

But there was a time--and it was really not so long ago, my grandfather was a part of it—when conditions for the average workers were so bad that they felt it necessary to band together to demand in strength what would not be given to them otherwise. They demanded they receive a fair slice of the pie, a fair share of the profits that had been created by their labor.

The struggle was real, it was intense, and it was quite often deadly. Such was the righteousness of the cause, however, that ordinary working-class people were willing to put aside their fear as well as their religious, ethnic, cultural, and racial differences and see their shared interests. Words like brotherhood, sisterhood, and solidarity were used, were meant, were believed in. People, recognizing their shared interests and shared humanity, banded together to take what was rightfully theirs from an elite class who lived in luxurious mansions and never dirtied their hands doing the actual work that transformed the U.S.A. into the wealthiest nation in the world.

Such was the power of the labor movement that it was able to secure from the federal government a token of the power and value of labor: namely a day of appreciation of, and rest from work for, labor.

This was the first holiday ever designated for the common man. No longer did we merely celebrate the notion of great men and great leaders, we now celebrated the contributions of all who contributed to society. And not only did it celebrate the common laborer, it celebrated the shared goals and the feeling of commonality amongst us. Labor Day was a shared holiday, a holiday for everyone, a recognition of our shared humanity, dependence upon one another, and strength in unity.

But this was not a good thing for those who paid for other people’s day of rest from out of their profits. Never mind that those profits were generated by someone else’s labor in the first place, they wanted all they could get. Especially power. Labor had shown for a time its power, but those who profited off of labor had many skillful planners, lawyers and propagandists in their employ, people willing to work against the common good in order to make a handsome profit for themselves. Considering themselves great men and the common laborer as nothing more than resources to be maximally exploited, the war against labor continued even as workers were winning their greatest victories.

Divide and conquer. That’s been the game of every ruler from even before the time of Sun Tzu. Scott Walker was caught on camera uttering that exact phrase to a wealthy donor:

It was necessary to construct the debate in the media--which is owned and sponsored by the wealthy capitalists--around the things that divide rather than unite labor. Play up the differences that exist between the rural worker and the urban worker, the blue collar from the white collar, public workers and those who work for private employers. And by all means, do not discuss labor as though it had an identity of its own. Do not mention labor rights, labor concerns, labor solidarity. When workers complain about losing their jobs to overseas factories, make sure that the blue collar workers hate the workers replacing them rather than the person who made the decision, and make sure the white collar worker blames it on the blue collar worker’s inability to learn the kind of skills that are (at least for now) in demand.

Commonality, that’s what Labor Day means to me. It means power shared broadly rather than concentrated in the hands of a few who have managed to gather about them an inordinate amount of wealth. It means unity rather than division. It means working together for the benefit of all, rather than suffering under the delusion that the human race can progress through selfishness and ruthless competition.

It means common goals for the common man. There are some who would say this is antithetical to freedom, but when they speak of freedom they speak of a rich man’s freedom. It is a freedom for a few paid for by the servitude of the many. Those without power can never expect to be free. Freedom will never be given by those with power, just as an equal share of the wealth will never be given by those whose only interest is profit. Labor Day is a day to remember the effort required for common workers to get what is rightfully theirs. Labor Day is a day to celebrate the average person, the common person, the working person. That person is me, and I’m willing to bet it is you too.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Are You A Conservative Or A Liberal?

Are You A Conservative?

Do you think you can adequately determine a man’s character by the size of his flag?

Do you feel there is a conspiracy to overturn the Second Amendment? Are you afraid of people without guns coming to take your guns?

Do you believe the fact that Nancy Pelosi looks like a skeleton with a facelift is a relevant topic of political debate?

Do you believe that people voting without I.D.s are out to overthrow your government?

Do you believe the corporate owners of the mainstream media are secretly socialist?

Does the idea of abortion somehow not seem so bad if performed with a gun?

Do you feel jealousy towards the illegal immigrant who cleans your pool, thinking he’s somehow getting the best of the deal?

Do you believe every black man with a job votes Republican?

Do you believe that Benghazi?

Do you believe the fact that George Soros contributes to Democrats justifies all the billionaires pouring their money into Republican coffers?

Do you believe an unborn child is not a choice but accepting the scientific evidence of climate change is?

Do you believe all racist Southern Democrats moved North and became liberals?

Would you spend $100 Million on a painting for investment purposes but disown your child if they spent $300 on an Art Appreciation class?

Do you hang out with a bunch of white people who feel the need to remind others how not racist they are?

Do you think someone yelling “Don’t shoot!” at you is a provocation?

Do you believe “Taxation is theft” is written in The Bible somewhere?

Do you believe the Chinese student who stood in front of a tank was a hero yet hope they pass a law that says you’re allowed to run over protestors?

Do you believe saying "black lives matter" somehow implies that other lives don't?

Are you a Liberal?

Do you think the age of 8 is too young to apply gender stereotypes to, but support a child of 10 who decides he or she is transgender?

Do you think all you need to qualify for a Nobel Peace Prize is to not be Bush.

Do you believe the fact that George Soros owns the Democratic Party is okay since even more billionaires contribute to the Republican party?

Do you believe that the only way to keep Republicans out of the White House is to adopt nearly all of their positions?

Do you believe Vladimir Putin is the reason your son lost his bid for class president?

Do you believe any person of color who votes Republican is selling out to the man?

Do you believe the best way of overcoming racism is to be acutely aware of race and base your politics around it?

Do you believe wearing a pussy hat is the best way to get taken seriously?

Do you hourly check your phone for the newest self-identification names for various minority groups to make sure you’re not offending anyone?

Do you believe White Appalachian men are keeping Hillary Clinton down?

Do you believe Woodward and Bernstein were patriots for their work but Julian Assange is a traitor for doing the same thing?

Do you like Donald Trump better with every bomb he drops?

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Slow Strangling Of Our Consciousness

Asking the experts of today to solve the world’s problems is like asking the priests of the volcano god how to end the drought. All they will tell you to do is sacrifice a virgin, it’s all they know. Today’s experts are little different, there are just more of them. Ask them what their solutions are, and they will tell you to bomb it, privatize it or medicate it.

Everyone in a position of power in a corrupt system is de facto corrupt himself. In bowing to a corrupt authority, they have surrendered their conscience, have proven themselves unable to choose between right and wrong. They cannot save us, they can only hurt us. We must help ourselves, there is no other power we can turn to.

Those in power, those whose job it is to inform the public, are more herders of opinion than people interested in expanding our understanding of the circumstances we now face. Their job is to limit the view of those who must toil for the present system in the same way horses are blinkered to prevent them being distracted from the task demanded of them.

And in blinkering others, they blinker themselves. Intent on their task, they are so focused on it that they lose sight of their larger obligation to humanity. Not constricted themselves, they yet become even more myopic than those they blinker because, as it is said, none are so blind as those who refuse to see.

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. A rock rolling downhill not only continues to roll downhill, it picks up speed as it does. Media that is more concerned with directing thought than it is opening new paradigms and providing greater context for its viewers will not merely maintain the status quo but will continue to narrow the window through which the world is shown. This has been occurring for decades now, though it has happened just slowly enough that we somehow have not become aware of it. The imperfections of the human mind are many, and the study of how those imperfections can be exploited has been well funded. Kind and decent human beings can be manipulated into supporting the most inhuman of systems if they are led to believe that the “experts” know more than they. Research the Milgram experiments if you have any doubt.

There are two ways thought can travel: outward and inward. We can expand our understanding of the world we live in by permitting ourselves to hold more than one possibility, one paradigm at a time. By not demanding hard and simplistic answers we can drift off into seeing facts and events from multiple perspectives. This requires a degree of faith, a relative absence of fear. In this way we can acquire a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the world and our place in it.

But fear is a barrier that bounces such understanding back upon ourselves. The media has erected a curtain of fear that causes us to seek simple answers in order to deal with immediate threats that may or not be real. The media would have you believe that ISIS, fascists, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and people of the party opposite yours are right outside the door. The crisis is perpetual, though ever-shifting, and in such a situation, you have little recourse but to trust those who have been kind enough to alert you to the threat. They have to run the media this way, it’s good for business.

Once your thoughts and perceptions begin to peer inward, once you begin to discard possibilities and embrace simplistic solutions, the lens through which you see the world continues to shrink. And like the teeth of a predator, the tools of the media are designed to grab hold of you and constantly direct you towards its awaiting maw. You sit transfixed, staring with fear and incomprehension at the world outside which is actually the world inside the media’s constricted narrative.

It is worth reminding yourself that the media is not your friend. What they do they do for money. There are ample examples easily found on the internet where those who are in the know admit as much. The CEO of CBS himself said of Donald Trump’s presidential run, “It might not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” Are these the sort of people you want guiding you, guiding your nation? Are these the sort of people in whose hands you want to place your emotional and spiritual well-being? The future of the planet?

They do what they do for money. They do what they do for self-enrichment. Oh, I know, the mantra of the day is that the free enterprise system that rewards individual greed ends up being the ultimate delivery system for all that is good for us. It is repeated to us constantly until we accept it uncritically, indeed unthinkingly. And who is it delivering that message to us night and day? The media, a conglomeration of corporations that not only seek profit for themselves but seek a cultural milieu that justifies such profiteering for themselves and their sponsors.

The result is ultra hi-def television that nonetheless offers us only black and white broadcasting, the contrast level turned so high that there is little to no gray area. The definition our televisions are capable of is nothing short of miraculous, and yet so little detail is ever provided. Instead, instances of violence are looped continuously and the narrative that accompanies the video must play to the beat.

In short, the media is a Frankenstein monster created by powerful corporate interests and faithfully obedient to the Military Industrial Complex, the more direct weapon of those same corporate interests. It has a job, and it is not to inform you. It has a mission statement, and it is not the search for truth. It has an obligation to someone, and it is not the viewer. Unless you truly believe you live in a free society, you must know this is true.

You do know it is true. On some level you are unable to accept the lie. In your calmer moments, those moments where the media is not busily herding ideas that have strayed too far from the official narrative the way a sheepdog herds the flock, you have admitted as much. But then the powers that be find some new unsavory business to attend to and the media is put into motion once again in order to justify some great evil, such as destroying the environment or bombing nations that have done nothing to us. Then the fear sets in and you cling to the narrative the media spins the way Harlow’s lab monkeys clung to their cloth mothers.

It's time to step away from the artificial zone of comfort the media has constructed for us. Not only is it a trap but it is one that crushes us once we are inside it.

It will seem like madness at first, because you have been conditioned your whole life to think within the box. Those paths to death and destruction are the only ones we’ve been shown, and you’ve been corrected every time you’ve strayed too far from them. But one only has to look honestly at the ever-shrinking mindset that the authorities present to realize they offer no hope to humanity. They offer death, fear, environmental destruction. Their hope for the future is a technology bereft of all morality or humanity, Their hope is that perhaps we can export a few fortunate ones to some new planet to begin again this dysfunctional system. Hope for tomorrow is just another product or viewpoint they’re trying to sell, not a guiding principle.

We’re on our own. Humanity must evolve or perish. The system that exists today, the one all the authorities and institutions promote in order to advance themselves, is a death cult hell-bent on wasting Earth’s precious resources to make weapons in order to blow up more of Earth’s precious resources. Where are the voices in government, in business, or the media that decry the insanity? They are not merely silent, they are loudly crying for more.