Archive for the ‘POLITICS: talking out of your face and your ass at the same time’ Category

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March 3, 2017

lemons_final

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Is there a “Plan-B”…?

January 23, 2017

themarch_001mount

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Regarding the “MORON”…

December 14, 2016

part of oxymoron and reason number 999 why I hate Facebook….

I don’t go looking for this stuff, honestly. It just seems to jump out of the bushes at me while I’m on the way to something else, like that goddamned Chihuahua that jumped out of a hedge line and sunk his miserable little teeth into my ankle back when I was in college. I tried to punt the snarling coprolite into the next county but he was too quick for me. The upside is that the little shit likely died fifty years ago.

But, I digress. I was talking about those off-the-wall websites and other waste products that some jerk I never met, sitting in an office thousands of miles from here, decides I really need to check out, join, or at least pay attention to so the referral source gets that fraction of a penny for a “hit.” Facebook is one of the worst for presuming the right to dwell in the global mind, heart, soul, and rectal orifice, and it was there that I was threatened with a web-group called…get this…”Libertarian Socialism.”

I’ve been trying to reconcile the use of the adjective “libertarian” in combination with “socialism”, but so far have failed. Perhaps it’s at an intellectual level beyond my reach, but I can’t get past the thought that “Libertarian socialism” has a bit of an oxymoronic ring to it, you know, sort of like “Celibate Prostitution.”

Of course, I had to check it out.

First of all, I have to say that the concept is real, in the sense that such a political philosophy has been around for a long time. I didn’t know that until I looked it up. Being given shelf space in some remote lexicon closet does not legitimize or validate the term, or any other, however. It merely acknowledges that the term had been coined and enjoys a reasonably stable definition, and is therefore, at least on that score, equal to any other “ism.”

That doesn’t belie my assessment, though. I stand by it. My first involvement with Libertarianism began many decades ago, whenever it was that I first read something by Ayn Rand, and later during the seventies when I registered as a Libertarian and voted for Ed Clark for President. My understanding has always been that “libertarian” referred to a concept of community that eschewed force in favor of volunteerism. Liberty.

Secondly, the first thing I encountered upon tiptoeing through the iron gate of the Libertarian Socialist page was the welcoming message:

“this is a place to discuss libertarian socialism. trolls, reactionaries, racists & race realists, etc. are not welcome. ableism, queerphobia, transphobia, misogyny and other forms of reactionary discrimination are not welcome. this includes libertarian capitalists/ancaps/right libertarians and so-called “anarcho” nationalists. violations of these rules may result in a ban, both for the person who does them and possibly the person who invited them to the group as well.

Here again, I was tripped up by my preconceptions regarding definition. I thought I had learned way back when that “socialism” was an economic idea based on social, society-wide, ownership and democratic control of the means of production. I’ve never liked it because it disenfranchises the individual in favor of mob rule over the utilization of one’s assets, and it depends upon force to maintain its form. Despite verbiage to the contrary, it does not represent liberty.

Obviously then, the philosophy of “libertarian socialism“, at least the form offered by the internet group in question, eschews liberty and freedom of speech in favor of an authoritarian, narrowly prescribed menu of permitted sub-philosophies of the newspeak variety. The only reason I could think of why someone would wish to “join” such a group would be (1) if they could be in charge, or (2) could be located near enough to the emperor’s ass to facilitate profitable sycophancy.

Sycophancy has never been my strong suit, however, due in part to an unfortunate lifelong bilateral Tourettes-like tic in my middle digits.

They (Faceplant, et al)really should let me window-shop for my own points of interest and curiosity.  Nine times out of ten while at the end of Mr. Zuckerberg’s tether and choke-collar I find myself misdirected to some flame hole or digital Rubber Room that lacks any compatibility with me or my vapor trail. Just because I spent 30 seconds on Tuesday, 1988 at the urinal next to a guy in a blue suit in the Boston airport does not justify non-stop ads for blue suits or job offers from American Standard…

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the big IF….

November 12, 2016

sam20amp20sam203_zpselzt0syi

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In case of ennui….or…

November 7, 2016

first-thing_1_1-finish

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Septuagenerianism…

November 4, 2016

and socio-political smoothies….

Septuagenerianism, I have heard it said, is the state of looking around oneself and muttering some half century old version of “WTF!?” Personal experience would tend to bear that out.

Or, perhaps it’s a function of being retired, with a capital “R,” and basically not giving much of a fig about much of anything, unless it is an unwelcome mystery-noise emanating from the most inaccessible regions of the car, the furnace, or myself.

Or, perhaps I am absolutely right, thus vindicating my parents, and my grandparents. Ergo, the car, the furnace, and those regions of my person capable of making noises aren’t, and the world really is terribly screwed up, and I have license to hobble around in a sort-of-circle croaking “Told ya so, told ya so …”

Truth be told, it most likely is a combination of the above, in no particularly geometric proportions. I like to think the furnace is just fine. It is. I had it put in when we bought the place ten years ago. We engaged in a couple of mandatory projects when we came here, which is what you do when you buy hundred year old houses, and we have a habit of doing that. The last one was even a bit older, I think. It was right on the river, which liked to visit our cellar each spring at ice-out. Used to be a blacksmith’s shop, and we spent fifteen years hauling interesting old bottles, pottery shards, parts of an old toilet, the front end of a Model-T, and a number of bass, out of that river.

Anyway, about the “WTF!?” stuff. I was scanning the alleged “news” on the computer this morning in search of something to chew on besides Donald or Hillary’s naughty lists and toilet training logs and I came across an article that looked like it might have some interesting if not particularly scholarly predictions about things the younger crowd might see in the future. It was amusing and predictably bland, but what caught my attention was the suggestion on a couple or more items that the predicted circumstance would only occur if “the world” was all on the same page, which was presented as a “desirable” turn of events.

Whoa! Or, more appropriately, “WTF!?

I thought all of this “One World” stuff was just a Right-wing conspiracy theory or something! You mean there actually are people who like the idea of a global North Korea? Is there anybody over twenty five and not looking for free college and tickets to ride the rich ‘til they squeal lak peegs writing these “pajama journalism” pieces? I know I’m an oldie, but like that insurance company commercial, we of the white or absent hair “know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two…”

Remember high school when nobody would sit with you at lunch because of some totally inane but excruciatingly significant social faux pas a million years earlier? Or, maybe you witnessed that happening to someone else. Or maybe you were one of the ones executing the cultural disembowelment. In any event, that’s what it would be like if one person or only members of an elite and privileged group got to make the rules and disembowel those who wouldn’t march in step. Of course, on the geopolitical level, disembowelments are not metaphorical.

I even read the article twice just in case it had been satire and I’d missed it somehow. Nope, I think the writer was “Sanders-Serious”. I’ve seen other articles along the same vein. Somehow, we’ve bred a population of future “leaders” whose idea of how to combine Success with Warm and Cuddly is to stuff the human species into a huge blender and make a smoothie. Naturally, that would exclude the one’s doing the blending. Somebody’s got to stay behind to take care of business, and of course those so sacrificing their “member of the Everybody” standing to be a loner and do all of the hard work would be entitled to lucrative compensation and benefits. The only way to stay out of the blender would be to join the Goose-Steppers and Blender-Operators.

I hope they change their minds before they make too big a mess for somebody else to clean up later. Odd. Seems to me, my parents and grandparents made similar comments.

 

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Melting plots…

October 11, 2016

other tales of derring do….

Who hasn’t heard the term “melting pot” used to describe our American society? I don’t recall the first time I ever heard the metaphor regarding our multinational and multicultural makeup, but supposedly the first time anyone heard it was around 1780 or so when everything we hold dear as Americans was being organized, or thought up and authored. The idea of equating the USA with a melting pot became a sacred part of our persona in the early twentieth century on the heels of a play by that name. It makes for good press, good politics, and good tradition. So does Santa Clause.

So, are we really unique as a “melting pot”, or do most large pieces of real estate with their own flag tend to be so homogenized? Even more interesting might be the question of are we really a “melting pot” at all as the metaphor is intended to convey? I think the vision being suggested is that of a natural process, like melting snow. I’m more inclined to think of it as a “crucible,” where material is stuffed into a container and a blow torch is taken to it to make it change.

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My interest in history, American or otherwise, waned at about the time my peers and I stopped cutting out construction paper turkeys and it really didn’t kick in again until I took a Western Civilization course halfway through college. I had transferred schools and it was a required course. It was a summer semester and I was attending a small private university in Florida. Accordingly, I had arranged my schedule so that I only had classes every other day and I was always done by 1 pm to allow for maximum beach time. Sweet.

Anyway, the history course was taught by a visiting professor who was department head at his home school. He stayed in the dormitory during the week and went home on the weekends. He was reputed to have broken more rules than most students, in the meantime.

Now, as I said, this was a small, private institution. It exuded rather conservative values, had a strictly religious President, and even had a dress code, so when the good Professor showed up on the first day wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, and flip flops, while nursing a large Dixie cup that some swore held Scotch, I kind of warmed up to the guy. When he told us to skip buying the recommended text book and that most of what we had been taught about history in public school was garbage, I started to like history as an academic pursuit.

That’s not to say it was an easy summer yawn between trips to the beach. It was actually  a lot of work, and I was surprised to find I had earned a high grade in spite of myself. He lectured, and all of our homework involved a considerable amount of library research and defending our own original interpretations of, and conclusions about, various topics. We didn’t talk about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree, but we did learn that he had been a master at cooking the books.

So, I became a student of history when my schooling was nearly over, and I’m still fascinated by it. I also still retain the skepticism the Professor instilled in me, and I strive to guard the elusive boundary between feel-good stories and verifiable fact. Of course, as editor of the school newspaper at the time, that may have been part of my persona anyway.

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Back to the matter at hand. Are we a “melting pot”, and have we ever been such? In my opinion, the whole “melting pot” shtick is one of those deniable fibs so prevalent wherever politicians and circus barkers tread. In other words, “sort of but not really,” which is no answer at all, of course, but since I am neither a politician nor a circus barker, I don’t have any qualms about declaring it “untrue”, or some metaphor to that effect.

It is an irrefutable truth that the primary instincts of humanity are survival and propagation of the species, which needs are often, but not always, satisfied by stealing the other guy’s stuff and illicit pajama parties, sans pajamas. While those who have always tended to do so were singing Kum-Ba-Ya, cutting out paper turkeys, designating melting pots, and other such activities, the general population was busy farming, making widgets, and killing people in other countries rather than thinking about homogenizing. I’ve always tended to believe it was more normal for us to play King of the Mountain than to Melt, anyway.

In fact, I doubt the first “Pilgrim” to step ashore had even taken his first dry land dump before plots were underway to screw the natives out of their stuff and mess with their squaws. I suspect the good natives had similar thoughts of their own, once they figured out that Europeans were neither demons nor gods, and had some pretty nifty stuff just ripe for relocation.

Let’s face it, construction paper Doctoral Theses, et al, notwithstanding, Europeans were one-way tourists to North America, and they didn’t step ashore with any intentions of being either Melters or Meltees.

”Nice place you got here….now, get out. It’s mine.”

We worked our way all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific with bullets, not kisses. The only thing melting for the next four hundred years was lead. It still is, and in spite of a rabid uptick in efforts to turn us into 326,000,000 pairs of legs with one head, we’re still melting about as well as Cinderella’s step-sister eased into the glass slipper. Given absolute freedom to associate, homogenize, or anything else as we might please, the majority of people would seek out others similar to themselves, for the most part, with no criteria out of bounds because of some ill conceived rule. You see, there are some intellectually challenged folks out there who have convinced themselves and a steady trickle of initiates that “if we can make it look like a duck, walk like a duck, and smell like a duck…voila! It WILL-BE-A-DUCK! .”

The Politics of Tofu

People don’t “melt” and become “one”, although that phraseology has a certain romantic appeal to it. People compete; both sides don’t win like one big happy family unless someone making the rules cheats. We form alliances, which requires cooperation, usually in order to more effectively compete against other alliances.

I mean, the “melting pot” myth is catchy and all, but I think our energies would be better spent just figuring out how to acknowledge and accept our differences as normal.   It’s a simple concept:  if you don’t stick your foot or your nose where it doesn’t belong, I won’t break it. Neither Kum-Ba-Ya nor brute force has provided the answer, and I don’t know that there is one.   As one of the Unmelted, my best chances for remaining so most likely hinge on my quiet oath to resist temptations to melt someone else.

Human nature isn’t likely to change any time soon, but I don’t have to participate in its less than savory rituals, or lend them my tacit approval.

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