Blog Archive

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Politics Matters

I Screwed up.
I keep the week’s Pills in one of those things that have the days, and am/pm, on little compartments.
I’ve always had problems with Time…and, in this case, it matters…so I embrace the usual fact…that by 10 am, I don’t remember if I’ve taken my meds…often at 4am. Was that today? Yesterday? Last week?
I guess, on the one hand, this is indicative of the –non-effectiveness of the
…which is what I’m on about…
on the other hand,it is indicative of what all I do to try and feel better.
My Green Box goes from Sunday to Saturday.
Ergo, Saturday is when I fill it.
I screwed up, this week, by forgetting that the Vicodin would run out on Friday.
Every other month, I must call in to my Doctor for a refill.(the Influence of DEA Hysteria, and the resultant inhumane way we do Pain Management)
One cannot call the Doc, or his Nurse, directly…one must press 2, and leave a message.
So , Monday morning, I did so…and she got back to me that afternoon…
They deal with this class of chore at the end of the day(I’m not the only one)…so, it’s Tuesday Morning…and I must wait till around lunchtime for the Pharmacy to get their end accomplished.
Almost 4 days without Vicodin.
Objectvely good for me…I used to go without voluntarily…to guard against the Addiction that one hears so much about…despite the actual Clinical Evidence(folks who take this crap for Pain, are unlikely to become Addicted)
I have noted No, Zero, signs of Withdrawal/
What I have noticed, is PAIN.
The Meloxicam,Mthyl Salycate(sp-2), and even Magic Brownies can’t touch this, it seems.
The Brownies make me want to get up , and move around…nothing unusual, there.
But I find that this is more difficult than usual.
To break up the Monotony of Bed, I hobble down here…to the Library, and sit Painfully in the Massage Chair, at my desk, for a time.
Bed isn’t really any less Painful.
It is a distinctly different Quality of Pain, than the usual…
It’s not the Crushing kind, that comes with Hurricanes, and Cold Fronts…Thankfully, even with the recent rain, we’ve had little in the way of Pressure Differentials.(less that 5 points, between the Highs and Lows).
It’s not the Dull Full Body Ache…the feeling of being Stacked Wrong…of what I term “a Good Day”.
It’s not the Acute, Stabbing Pain in various Joints….like I’m being pulled apart, as on a Medieval Rack… like when I “Overdo” it.
This is Different.
This is both Sharp and Dull…Crushing and Pulling…Acute and Diffuse…all blurred together…Undifferentiated.
Any semblance of Comfort is even more elusive than normal.
The “Restless Leg Syndrome” is back…in every joint.
I cannot Sleep.
The Crazy thing is, I can remember what Vicodin was like….I thought it was bad enough, with it…
Going without is…Untenable.

When I’ve gone without, before…Voluntarily…for 5 days at a time…I have found that the expected effect of “Resetting” has been beneficial. Your body Resets, and the Hydrocodone is more Effective, for a time….until Tolerance sets in, again.
I sure hope that this will be the case, (Hopefully) this afternoon.

I am the Poster Child for our Byzantine, Compassionless System.
Medicaid Expansion is the portion of “Obamacare” that will affect me…I had hoped, in 2014.
The “Christian” Rick Perry has all but shot that down…I guess to appeal to his “Base”…all the Rabid Tea People, and PseudoChristians in Texas, who continue to vote for him…..many of whom enjoy their own Socialised Medicine…in the form of Medicare, or Veteran’s Benefits.

As it stands, the “Income Cutoff” for Adult Medicaid, in Texas, is $231 per Month…for a Family of Four.
Think about that.
The Disability System is set to default on "Deny"....and they are up front,that it is NOT Doctors who make the "Determination"...but "Experts"(!?!)
Even to get Foodstamps, there are myriad Hoops to jump through…the Default Assumption on all state run “Welfare”, in Texas…is the Assumption of Fraud.(of which, I have determined to my satisfaction, there is No objective Proof)
Even the hated IRS operates on the Assumption of Good Faith…with a corresponding Threat of Audit.
The way it’s set up. in Texas…well…they’d be more Honest and Forthright, to just abandon all Pretense, and have No Welfare, at all.
Obamacare is not a Perfect Fix, by any standard….Universal, Single Payer, like in all the Civilised Countries, is as close as we can come to that.
That will never happen, as long as Hatred of the Poor, Distrust of the Injured, Meanness to the Lame, is countenanced in this country.
I am in this unhappy state, today, due to an unhappy Accident, more than 20 years ago….compounded, exponentially, by my inability to gain access to Reasonable Healthcare, when I needed it, 6 or so years ago.(it could happen to You)
When you have the Opportunity to Vote, this November(assuming proper Identification…sigh.)…Remember me.
It should not be the Business of Government, at any level, to Punish the Poor, the Lame.
That is, currently, the Effect of these sundry Policies.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Idiosyncrasy. Adventures in Geekdom.

Soon after my first son was born, I moved to the couch.
I couldn’t sleep, with his every gurgle and coo…he couldn’t sleep with my tossing and turning and weird hours.
I often wonder how much that couch contributed to my current predicament(Pain).
So , I ended up with my own bed, then my own room, as the Pain became more of the reason for all this consideration.
I always remembered that my Grandparents slept in different rooms for the same reason.
So , I had my own tv…and would be up, earlier or later than everyone else…
Sound was a problem.
I began using subtitles, to enable a lower volume.
It dawned on me one day, watching some Natgeo thing with my boy, that this could be a possible, if subtle, tool…to encourage reading.
I began putting subtitles on everything.
Both boys, and even the wife, do this as a matter of course, now. It’s Natural and Normal.
It may have had an effect(both are several grade levels above , in reading), but I have zero scientific Data. Alas.
I watch a lot of foreign films.
Especially since the birth of Netflix.
Subtitles are necessary.
It occurred to me, a few years ago, that I could turn the subtitle as tool thing on myself.
So, I’ll have French or german subtitles on American shows, where available.
The Simpsons(at least season 2) has Hungarian Subtitles.
The stuff I consider “Light Reading”, has always been somewhat…. Esoteric. References in Greek, or Latin….whole stanzas in Italian or French.
I have found that this Cosmopolitan Sprinkling has become markedly easier, more Natural…since I started doing this.
”When we’re all Half-breeds, there will be Peace”- Beya, in (

Friday, July 13, 2012

On the Republican Intransigence, regarding Foodstamps, and other Help for the Victims of their 30 year Economic Experiment.



I am amazed, as usual, at the audacious assholery of these folks.
When did it become Moral to so Hate the Poor and Downtrodden?!
Is there some secret Gospel that I have overlooked?
Mr. King’s Ass-Umptions are widespread belief, in Republican circles.
The Poor are Weak and Lazy, and don’t Want to Work…thereby deserving their Plight….no Pity is required.
These Ass-Umptions excuse their adherents from Compassion…and from shouldering their own Fair Share.(Taxes)
What has become of “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”?
”Walk a Mile in My Shoes”?
Are we to have a Wealthy Elite….an Aristocracy….but without the good old fashioned Noblisse Oblige?
The Facts, as usual, are arrayed against Mr King, and his Ilk.
According to the Numbers, Food Stamps are the second best Stimulus the Government can undertake….second only to Unemployment Insurance(which the Republicans also despise).
The Stimulatory Effects of Tax Cuts are somewhere much further down that list.
But these Facts do not matter to Mr King….they can be safely ignored in the service of his Hatred.
….and he is not alone.
Everywhere, this Hatred of Poor Folks is in evidence….Rick Perry’s decision to eschew Billions in Federal Dollars for Medicaid Expansion…so that the Millions of Po’ Folks in Texas can (Finally) Obtain access to Health Care….this Refusal, according to the Economists…will cost Texas much more Money than the paltry sums needed to implement such a program.
Economics is not on their side…so what is the Excuse?
They make a Moral Argument! To Justify their Irrational Hatred of the Poor!
They use the Trappings of Christianity to shore up this Hatred!
The Christian Community, so loud and vocal, when it comes to denying Contraception, Abortion…so Raucous in bemoaning the decline in Morality in our Nation…where are they on this issue….an issue so close to the Heart of Christianity, as evidenced by the very Words of Jesus?!
After 32 years of Republican Hegemonyin the Economic Sphere(Clinton was no Liberal;”Workfare”,”Deregulation”.etc), 35 years of Wage Stagnation relative to Inflation…after the Economic Disaster of the Bush Darkness….the Ranks of the Impoverished have not been so high, since the Great Depression….a Direct Result of the Policies and Shenanigans of the “Conservative Revolution”….
And their “Answer” to the Pain and Suffering that they have Caused is….More Pain and Suffering….and casting the Blame onto their Victims!
To a Man, they call themselves Christian….they, like Lil George, profess an undying Love for the Person of Jesus….
When they stand before Him, and He says,” ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’”….
When confronted by their Record…what will they say?
”But they Deserved It…..”? “ They were Lazy”?
What will be their Excuse?
Does it really take an Agnostic(me) to ask these questions!?! To point out this Theft of the Mantle of Christ!?!
All you Good Christians out there…who, it seems, invariably Vote Republican…what is your Excuse?
I’d really like to know.

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. ~ Proverbs 22:22

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Midnight in Paris.

You either love Woody Allen, or despise Woody Allen…with perhaps a third, option, like Wife: likes Woody Allen, but can’t get past the whole deal with his love affair with his adopted daughter….pretty creepy, if not technically so.
This film, as I’m a Francophile, has me wishing I would have gotten on that boat.
1990, or so, had the opportunity to work in the galley of a freighter, bound for Spain(close enough…it is rumored that they have rail.). I chickened out.
Since HGW had turned me on to “A Movable Feast”, I had been hooked. I’d read all those guys, of course…starting at just a bit older than my oldest son is , now….but I had, somehow, overlooked, “Feast”. Me and P were apart, at the time…and my first foray to Sam had been less than stellar.(GPA=!.7 ! Something of a feat, in itself…)
I had determined, in my extremity, that the Military didn’t want me(recruiter didn’t show for the “meeting”…it was a brush-off. could it have been the hair? Not That long, compared to now.) I was at loose ends…waiting for classes to end, to slink back home, with my Technicolor Motorhome. I expected to be disowned. And there was an ad, in the Houston Post(now defunct…there can be only one…) for a Galley Slave on a Europe-bound container ship.
I was itching to leave Texas…going anywhere…but Europe would do just fine.
All my Heroes spent time there…the Beats, all of Hemingway's Bunch…and on back. I thought of London, and Italy and Greece…perhaps Egypt and the Levant, as well…But Paris was the Place.
The Language has always been foreign to me…even in my later erudition…but the Place Names flew in a jumble in my mind.
Monmartre,Place du la Concorde, Jardin des Tuillieries, Boulevard St. Germaine….(forgive my lack of French Spelling Skills.)
I’d been to Montreal and Quebec(and Toronto)…but I was too young (16, then) to go running off. I certainly wanted to…but I was with my Brother and Grandparents…The architecture, the lights…the whole Feel…Papaw remarked…a lot…about how it reminded him of France.
So I remembered all of this, and plotted and planned.(read: dreamed.)
At the same time, I feared being so far away from help….and wanted(despite appearances) to please my Folks….go back to College, etc.
So I chickened out…and didn't please anybody....and went gallivanting all over Texas and the Deep South…mostly the southern half of Louisiana, instead. P was gone, after an all too brief 2 more years(?…MIP was long gone…MRL, CH, I had drifted too far off the reservation for them…they had their Lives…
I really had nothing to lose.
Not getting on that boat….
I count it as one of my few…but large, nevertheless…Regrets.

((Picture taken from :(

(Further Evidence of Surreality)(Assertion=Fact)

I usually hear that, since it’s Alternet, we can pretty much ignore what they say…as they are a “Liberal Rag”,after all…. This is part of the False Equivalency, so prevalent, today.
It doesn’t excuse those on the Right from at least attempting to provide substantial Evidence, in support of their arguments.
These Links are just a smattering of actual science, and/or Analysis, that counter a few planks of the Conservative Earth.(That Parallel Version, right beside the Real One).
Isn’t the Military “Big Government”?
“Homeland Security”?
Domestic Surveillance?
Extrajudicial Killings and Incarceration?
Looks like “Big Government”, to me….
One of the much Lionised Founders, Madison(wrote the Constitution), said something about how the US shouldn’t go around “Looking for Monsters to Slay”….
Hypocrisy is so evident in the War Mongering Sector, I don’t really see a way to argue yerself out of it…
…so, they don’t even try.
One of my long-term favorites of Obtuse,Overbearing Government…if the whole “War on Drugs” isn’t “Big Government”, then what is???
Especially the War on Marijuana…where’s the Rational, Emperical!! Scientific Support for the Continuation…and Doubling Down…of these Policies?
Analytical Support?
Negative….under it’s own definitions and assumptions, the War is an abject Failure.
Yet we must continue to put all these otherwise law abiding American Citizens in Jail, abrogate our Constitutional Rights….and the Rights of States!!!(10th Amendment, Righties, surely you remember that one…).


It’s almost too easy.
Define, “Nanny State”, please.
So…we can ignore such treaties,etc as the Geneva Conventions, with legalese gymnastics(“enemy combatant”)…we can withdraw from others when it suits us(see: Bush “Administration”)…but when abrogating on our obligations would help People…end a Great Injustice…it’s No Can Do…Our hands are tied, you see.
The Right can get all worried about “Sovereignty” …Agenda 21, Chinese Ports,UN Troops coming to get us, UN as Antichrist, on and on and on….but they can countenance this.


2 words, “Tea Party”.
Where was all the AntiProtest Fervor during all those Rallies, where folks in Tricorns packed actual Heat…does this mean that Occupy, against it’s Principals,should start Arming itself?
It would be interesting to see how that went over.

Ummm… Nanny State….State’s Rights…imposing Religious Morals on American Citizens….

Supporting “Evidence” for continuation? “Christian Nation”, Pseudohistory. Hysteria. Hyperbole.
Same with the whole Gay Marriage “Issue”…Where’s the evidence?
Where’s the Reasoned Argument? The Rational Refutation of all the (Evidence Based) Claims for just getting out of the way?
Need we mention Divorce?

”It’s on Alternet”, is not an Argument.
All of these articles make specific arguments, backed up by Research.
They demand reciprocal consideration from their respective Opponents.
One more, about the Mendacious Idiot, who is likely to be “my” US Senator…(
This particular Thought Virus is in operation, right here, in Mason….despite the lack of even One(1) Muslim…and, as noted (and Linked) in the article, despite any empirical Fact to back it up.
I find that I must take a little break from all of this….lol…for the time being, I’m with Ten Bears…”I have said all I have to say.”

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Tentative Outline of where I’m Headed

Baudrillard was on to something.

In our Modern(postpostmodern?!) World we have no Meaning, save that Imposed on us.
We attempt to hold on to the Meaning-Systems of our forebears…the various Religions, and Political Divisions…mostly in Vain.
The Conflict, as I see it, Today, is between Certainty and Perplexity. Those who Fear Perplexity adhere to Certainty, however derived…and to feel as Certain as Possible in whatever Meaning they Cling to, they attempt to Impose their System on Everyone.
This is a misapplication of the Categorical Imperative. They Stop Thinking at some point on their Road.
Postmodernism, as it is called, seems to be an Exhaustion…a Giving Up…on the Search for Meaning. Our Collective Sphere of Knowledge increasingly Negates the Logic Systems, the Moral/Ethical Systems that came before…and we Fear Life Without Them.
So, we cling…savagely…to those Old Systems.

We also, necessarily, Stop Thinking.
This is the great Crisis of our time.
I’m with Nietzsche and Camus, in that I reckon it’s Possible…and Necessary…to Create Meaning.
In fact, that’s the only way I see out of our Mess…
For instance, it seems to me, that Hyperindividualism is Dead….
It no longer works in Modern Society. To keep on acting as if it does, is to damn Us to a Hellworld of Pollution, Extreme Inequality,War and Savagery.

There’s very little Trust, in our current Systems, including Government…so we feel the need to “Look Out for Number One”….whole Philosophies have been erected on this…essential Selfishness. Every one of them neglects the Obvious Facts; 1 that we are too many, 2. that the world is Finite. If Unmitigated Selfishness (Greed is Good) is the de facto Meaning of Life…apply the Categorical Imperative… then we are Doomed…we’ll continue on our current track, until there is nothing left to support Life.
The recent re-emergence of Fundamentalisms…both religious and secular, is a symptom of this Fear of Meaninglessness…

I’ve long hollered about the Universalism(Catholic) that the Enlightenment inherited from what came before…Understandable in Physics, and even Biology(RNA and DNA sure seem universal to Life…as we know it(!!!)). But we have a tendency to apply Universalism to areas where it, arguably, doesn’t fit…like Politics and Economics, and even Morality/Ethics….there can be Only One…
TINA(there is no alternative)…if we labour under a common philosophy, that’s it….every school of thought seems bent on imposing itself on the whole world.
This is most evident in Religious Fundamentalism…Islam’s Ummah…Christianity’s “Christian Nation”, extended to the whole world…the “One True God”, manifesting in so many different incarnations, all of them

We see it in Political Economy…Capitalism,vs Communism….My Way, Or the Highway….With us, or Against us…Criticism(even constructive) = Apostasy.

Morality/Ethics….in the US, it’s a Christian thing(despite their myriad subfaiths) ; Nudity=Sex, which is always bad….nonxians are suspect, if not hated…women(and black folks) should get back into their Place, and be happy there…(but , we’re not Misogynist/Racist.(wink))

There’s much wiggling in these, of course…we are ashamed of “End Justifies Means”…but we accept it.(GWOT). Part of Us is ashamed of lots of things that we , nevertheless, allow and encourage.

I’ve held out the counterenlightenment Ideal of Pluralism, as a partial Solution.
Fact; we must learn to live together.
Fact; we believe differently.(each of us)

ergo: we must accept this difference, and focus on our Commonality.

My Worldview doesn’t Depend on You….it is mine. I am Happy with it.
You should be Happy for me….and leave me to it.
I am Happy for you, if you’ve located, or invented some Meaning…and I’ll leave you to it.(with caveats, a la JS Mill)

In our(necessary) Interaction, these differences are immaterial…they don’t matter.
What does matter is the things we have in Common…the Proverbial Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.
I genuinely desire Your Happiness, up until it interferes with My Happiness. I expect the Same, in return.(Reciprocosity)
All the Opaque Philosophical Terms, and Economic, Psychological and Religious, end up Hiding this really simple concept.
This surprises me, because Reciprocosity is there, in every world religion…and in every politic-economic system(except, perhaps “Capitalism”, as practiced, today)(go on, argue that point)

Problems ensue, admittedly, when we try to Educate the Young…what are the Common Foundations of Knowledge? Education is Necessary, I think….and I think no one would argue otherwise. The problem is our individual definitions of Truth.
Reading, Writing and Arithmatic seem to be conducive to Universalisation. Even the most backwards Fundies seem to be ok with these. What about Science?
Here we enter into Psychological Territory. Does Evolution/Natural Selection Undemine someone’s Religious Worldview?

Yes, it likely does….Cosmology, and Physics, too… The Bible is a Bronze Age set of Ideas…Prescientific…Signs and Wonders, and a Worldview in Conflict with what We have Learned.

As much as it pains me, there may be no reconciliation. Perhaps Education should be required in the “Three R’s”, and optional for the rest…leave it for them that want it.
Fundies should be Free to Be Ignorant. Let them, with the Absolute Requirement, that they keep it to themselves…stop the attempts at Universalising their Ignorance.
((Similarly,Another hot button current issue…Frikking Abortion…restrict it to Rape Incest and the Health of the Mother(I’d add ancephalic, or otherwise unviable zygotes, for Compassion’s sake)….Fine. But there must be a Correllary; Free, Universal Sex Education(an anodyne exposition of what happens when a penis ejaculates into a vagina, c’mon, people), and universal availability of Contraception…and we can have an end to all the hubbub….Just an…and I realize I’m contradictory, with the

The Point I’m trying to make…is that Tolerance, and Reciprocosity, and Compassion are likely the Only Things that can be Universalised, without world-ending Strife.
Fundamentalism must be overcome…and our Commonalities must be Emphasized.
I ask the Fundamentalists, religious amd secular….Why does Your Belief depend on what I believe?

To the Corporate Capitalist; why can I not have a communistic community, out here in the wilderness? Is the existence of an alternative destructive to your success?Tell me how.

Similarly, to the fundamentalist Christian: is my Agnosticism somehow threatening to your Faith? Is who I (with mutual consent) Fuck, in any way, your business? Explain.
If I desire to Give away all my stuff(Jesus,lol), does that lessen your belief in Capitalism? If I decide that God lives in that Tree, over there,does it, in any way Undermine your Christian Beliefs?
If it doesn’t Harm You, it’s none of your business….and it’s up to you to make the case, that it does harm you….
and asserting that yours is the One True Faith/Economic System, is not a valid Proof of Harm.
Conversely, I can make a pretty good case that Crusading Xianity does, indeed, do Harm….and that Hypercapitalism, of the Corporate Kind, does, indeed, Do Harm…I can do these things, not with an appeal to my own Faith/Political/Economic Philosophy, but with Pictures, and Stats, and Verifiable Evidence.
That’s the difference.
Those asserting their Right to Hegemony offer only Assertions and Hyperbole, in support of their Right to Hegemony. This is not what the Founders Intended.
This is what Freedom of(and from) Religion, and the Separation of Church and State is all about.
Find reference to God, or Capitalism, in the Constitution….Ha!

Instead of reacting to the lack of Consensus in Ontology, Epistemology, Teleology, etc…with attempts to Impose One Worldview, Universally…
We should, instead Embrace our Diversity, and endeavor to Identify our Commonalities…the rest is up to the Individual(with the J.S. Mill Caveats, above, of course)

I’m not na├»ve enough to think that any of this is forthcoming…we’re poised on the edge of internecine Religio-Political Civil War, after all…

Perhaps after….lol.
Perhaps these ideas will be helpful After, as we’re picking through the Ruins.

I have (thin raft) Hope…even taking into consideration Camus’ and the Greeks’(!), insistence that Hope is likely the most dangerous thing in the world.






( LOL!

Anomie and the Ontological Crisis.

I’ve been throwing the phrase,” Existential Crisis”, at the wall, over there, for a while.

Thinking about Postmodernism, and Post-post modernism…all sorts of things, flowing from these….questions.
I treat Wiki just like I treated my Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Deluxe, back home…wandering in C.F.F.’s and E.G.’s..(in this case, Virtual…) Books all over the bed, the floor.
I’ve been in the Frankfurt School, and what flowed out of their Thinking…and that led to Immanent Critique, and Ironism….down a short set of rapids, to Neopragmatism, Neo Gramsci, Reflective Disclosure, and Richard Rorty. The History of Liberalism, of course, like the bottom of the river.

Keep running into Marx…although not in the way we think of him in America(snort)…more in the sociologicaly revolution he inadvertently launched. Perhaps the Gravel on the river bottom.

Culture Jamming…and , finally, to Capitalism. Dig and Dig, and read all about Milton Friedman, Hayak, and the whole gang. (I like Hayak, btw)

And, as always, I think about this Thing We Do, Now….and identifying it.
Corporate Capitalism? neoFeudalism?
Not adequate.

Better, but still a cast into the bushes.

With all of this in my head, and more…I lie awake(pain, and mind)…and arise for coffee, and Rachel Maddow…watched a show, “Outfoxed”, an expose, of sorts, about the inner workings of Faux News(sic)…
this makes me think of (likely Rove) telling Suskind the difference between History’s Actors, and those who study their Actions, the “Reality Based Community”…of how they the ,”Actors”, Create Reality….by Fiat!. for the rest of us to study and admire.
I ain’t going into the Thicket of Neoconservatism, again…I reckon I’ve learned enough about them. They’ve been replaced, anyway.
The new bunch is the same as all of the old bunches…the Laconophilia of Neocons, the Old Right, and their focus on Economics,however crazily derived, the Fundies.
Even Tea is there, sloshing around…but I don’t think any of this is adequate in Defining just what we’re dealing with , in this Country.
The Right is enduring a Crisis of who they are…Existential Crisis, Anomie….just like the Left did, in the 60’s and 70’s. The Left Fractured into Absurdity, and withered away before the new onslaught of “Conservative Revolution”. The Left was exhausted by their own Purges and Strife…and had no defense against the antiLiberal Propaganda.
Since they are the Dominant Political Outlook of our times…(go on, argue with me on this point)…it turns out that we all are enduring an Existential Crisis…and worse, and Ontological Crisis.

We have a network…with “News” in it’s name…that spews the worst propaganda imaginable. But we can’t do anything about it, because They have the Right to Freedom of Speech and Thought, too.
We have a large segment of the Population who believes that the Earth is 6000 years old, and that Scientists are evil, and that they’re plotting with the Queers, and likely Jews and Black Folks…to turn us into the Soviet Union. That Climate Change, and “Critical Thinking” are Liberal Plots.

Cornucopian Thinking. Magical Thinking. Clinging ever more fervently to Bronze Age Ideas…and making Reality fit their Delusions.
We still tell ourselves stories…about American Dream….about the Shining City on a Hill…and how Things Will Improve.
Cognative Disconnect.
We eat it for Breakfast.

This is why we’re having, not only an Existential…but also an Ontological Crisis.
We can’t determine Truth.
The Nonphilosophy of “Postmodernism” has played a large role, it seems…but, in the irony of the century, it affected the Right more….and made them go mad.
The Fundamentalist Bent, when merged with Economic Philosophy, is a dangerous thing.
Take Fundamentalist Christianity…Literalism,leading to a break with Reality…and marry it to Uber Rational Corporate Capitalism(which, in another Irony, flows from the Enlightenment)….stir.
In the 90’s(I’m remembering this figure), something like 80% of the economists were Friedmanites…

Or at least, cozy with Chicago School.
Politics have Fundamentalised, too…and in much the same way.
In fact, it’s getting hard to distinguish between the disparate realms, here.
Congressmen are Preachers are Economic Pundits are News(sic) Reporters are Congressmen…
We have so many different Narratives in Play, that there’s bound to be contradictions…the inclusion of Literalism into the Mix, fixes this. The Literalist Fundies have had long practice believing in Contradictory Things, at once. As the Merger between them and the others has Gelled, it should have been expected…
Faux has pioneered and developed this into High Art…We Create Reality…and the only Liberals we’ll have on to try and counter the Narrative Mix, are the weak and unheard of types.(Sorry, Alan).

Define Socialism…Capitalism…even Conservatism…there is a whole other Language in play, here…it sounds like American English…except that it says Nothing. It imparts Emotions.

Ontology is the study of Reality…of Being.
The reason that folks like me can’t talk to “Conservatives”, is that they speak a different language.
They’ve built an alternate Reality…and insist that we not disturb their Illusion.
It’s most evident, I think, in the Economics.
Tax Cuts!...analogous to “God Wills It!” (see Kingdom of Heaven, for a somewhat ahistorical romp through Crusader Delusions)

The Enronisation of Capital…just making shit up, and calling it Real…and, somehow, turning that into Billions of Dollars…
Until the Faith of the “Investors” wanes…turns out that Reality has a habit of
But we persist!
More Deregulation! More Tax Cuts!
Extrapolate this,(which shouldn’t seem all far fetched, as it just happened to all of us)…Extrapolate it into the Memespace….into the Zeitgeist of that side of the Collective Mind…
Where do we begin to counter such problems?
Half of the country believes at least some of this Other Narrative Mix….and a largish portion of the relatively Sane Half pays heed to it…uses it’s language and Framing.

As more, somewhat accidentally found, implication that the roots of our Secular Anomie lay in Fundamentalist Xianity…Presuppositional Apologetics.
Here is the denial of any Truth, any understanding, outside of a Literalist Biblical Framework…..asserting(!) that even arguments against are Proof.
Faux ‘News’(sic) is the Political(pseudosecular) Expression of this…and Neoliberal Economics, is the(again, pseudosecular) Economic Expression.
Tea doesn’t hear the evidence presented by those pesky Liberals…because theirs is the One True Faith.
The Certainty I’ve been hollering about….(Van Til:” "(T)he only proof for the existence of God is that without God you couldn't prove anything."”…Circular Logic, at it’s best)

Like Uncle Friedrich, I worry about Nihilism.
I worry that it will lead to other than Neitszche’s preferred embrasure of Man Creating His Own Meaning(!), in an essentially Meaningless Universe.
All of my wrangling, and pestering…is not(usually,lol) mere Partisanship…I think that there’s something afoot. I have searched for an Exegeisis…some inkling that someone else…perhaps better qualified…had noticed this, too.( I am Feral, after all…I do this because I can’t help it…and if I don’t ‘let it out’, I shall surely go mad)
Philosophy is at a Nadir, in America.
Post Modernism Killed It.
Zizek, so far, appears to be the only one worth reading.(I want Links!) The Rest….again, so far…seem to say a lot of nonsense, and call it “philosophy”…Gray is Nihilist, in the worst sense…and I can’t think of any others, off the top of my head….which should say plenty(!).(That Greek-sounding guy, Nick-something….dense, bordering on nonsensical…but with a few good ideas, in spite of himself)
I survey the Media, and a wide range of things online. There’s much Contradiction…much Incoherence.
Reason is on the Run. How can we hope to have what resembles Civilisation if we cannot agree on anything, at all? Rove’s two arbitrary Divisions of Mankind seem to actually Exist…and that’s a Terifying Thought.
See: Antinomy, as in Kant.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

to my Dem County Chair.(a Ramble on Liberalism)


I’ve been thinking about this a lot...wouldnt it be cool to have an actual opposition party? meaning actual Liberal? I think it's safe to assume that most republicans would assert that we already have a "Liberal Party"...then again, they believe all manner of crazy things....and I haven't been able to locate one, aside from the greens, in America, today. Believe me, I've looked…. just a continuum of right wing sensibilities, with no left, at all.

I’ve been mulling, for some time, the prospect that we need a definition for Liberal…the old one having been raped and mangled these past 40 years.

For instance, I can’t count the number of times this has played out…me-“I’m a Liberal”…them-“ why do you idolize Joseph Stalin?”

What do you even say to such things?

The Mythos that the Dark Magicians of the Right have been peddling all these years is so pernicious, so soaked into our every day, mundane lives, and how we think about them, that it’s almost impossible to discuss anything that might help get us out of their mess.

I say “their mess” advisedly…it is their Mythology and the Policies that flow from it that has led directly to our current predicament.

I assume that anyone reading this understands that when I say 40 years, I really mean about 4000, but the “Conservative Revolution” of the 1970’s is the latest and greatest iteration of the Long Struggle against Night.

Why in hell can’t what remains of the Left do that? Build a Movement?

Like the Greens…what holds such an effort back?

If it’s lack of money (likely), what sort of work-around is possible?

I’ve studied the Right for almost a decade, now, starting in 02…to answer the question, pressing then and now:” Who the Hell are these people?!”

Neocons,Religious Right, Dominionists, Club for growth, Fox News…the whole sordid snakepit. Turns out they are all related, along with many more. I have found, surprisingly, that the grunts of the Movement often are unaware of these connections, or of the broader Policies encouraged by such a wide ranging and influential bunch.(much recent research into the “low info” voter’s tendency towards Conservatism/the Right…I’ll get to that later)(

The more I’ve learned about the individuals, the myriad groups and sub-movements, and the Philosophy(-ies) that constitute the American Right, the more I must sit in awe of their achievement, however much I chafe beneath it.
Dark Magicians, indeed…it is Masterful, the Mindfuck visited on the American People, since the 70’s.

Again, why can’t the Left learn from this? Are the remnants burrowed in too deep? Do we, on the Left, simply not comprehend the “opposition”(as Vikings “opposed” the Monks, or the Inquisition “opposed’ Witches)?

….and we’re back again to the need to Fundamentally define what , exactly, a Liberal is…

Wiki says:” Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis)[1] is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights.[2] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, capitalism, and freedom of religion.[



First of all, why is there a yellow flag? I have never seen yellow as representative, somehow, of Liberal Values. From whence does this derive?(gut says ‘yellow=cowardice’)

Second, th3e above sounds good, to me….but is inadequate. The article quickly chaoticises, bursting like a seed pod with all the varieties and sub-species of “Liberal”.

Wiki does much the same with “Conservative”….yet Conservatism has managed to become remarkably Monolithic, even now, during their Great Fractious Freakout(Tea vs Establishment, and others).

Third, of course the very Foundational Principles of “Liberalism”(the above will do, for me as a starting block) sort of lend themselves to Fractiousness…This may be due to the attention to Nuance and Detail inherent,imo, in the “Liberal Mind”. Whales! Amnesty! Gay Rights! Organic Ag! Screw like Bonobos!

Not a naturally cohesive bunch, I’d expect.

Fourth, “Disobedient”, to me, is a Liberal Trait…one of those Foundational Principals. (Thinking of TJefferson, Uncle Walt and Henry David) With this in mind, I reckon that the old adage regarding the herding of cats, may apply.

On the other hand, we must remember how unlikely, at the time, was the Union of “Conservative” and ‘UberChristian Fundies”…or White Closet-Racists, in the South. That said, Conservatives seem to naturally get in line, and goose step right along behind whatever Leader manages to capture their minds…Liberalism does not lend itself to this behaviour, despite the frequent accusations of “Worshipping” Obama.

As a sort of “first draft”…an exercise in Brainstorming…I’ll likely just ramble all over the place…bear with me.

Since the 70’s the Right has been ascendant. This is no accident, but the implementation of a carefully laid out Plan, by 3-5 dudes in a hotel lobby. Paul Weyrich was the brains and whip-bearer; Howard Phillips was a soldier, and Richard Vigurrie was the nuts and bolts guy…the latter, who was key, revolutionized communication with one’s potential “Base”…with direct, targeted mailings of pamphlets, and surveys etc that specifically targeted those all over America who were likely to support the Key Points set to napkin at those early meetings. Mothers, PTA members, etc.This was well before the “Information Age”.

There is no analog for Viggurie, on the Left. I get an emailbox full, every day, from various Liberal Groups…including several arms of the Democratic Party…I fear I’m not alone in saying that I simply delete most of them….Why?

These guys, and their Movement have hijacked the whole country….and I think most importantly, taken over the Language we use to talk about the most important things We, as a Nation, have in common. Grass Roots in the service of Big Business, Big Government, Big Religion, Big Military, and on and on…all the while, insisting that they are a small, beleaguered minority(which they were, in 1975, but at no time since).

The Occupation of the Language has been the most serious blow. As I’ve toyed with many times, even Liberals use the Phrasing, Definitions and Meme-Space of the Right….we conceded this field, for some reason….and that reason will hafta be identified, if there is to be any Hope.

From this core group, grew up the vast apparatus of the Great Wurlitzer, the proverbial Echo Chamber of the Right. They, each of them, were serial Group Founders…Christian Coalition, Heritage Foundation, Club for growth, and hundreds, thousands more…something for everyone…and all connected…by money, and by a rather nebulous, slogan-fired common cause and ideology.

Again, there is No analog on the Left.

The spectacle of the 60’s and early 70’s…the momentum, inertia, of the Liberalism of the time, was turned against us. Shame at the various excesses, sexual, or otherwise, was fomented, cooked and stirred.The parents of the Hippies were goaded to action using this lot of Memes. Remember, that the loudest most visible bunch who made the sixties the “Sixties” were really a rather small minority, themselves….with millions of less enthusiastic and less committed hangers-on. Those Hangers On were courted…the Jesus Freak faction of Hippie-dom,and others, were courted, and steered….the Myths, like Hippies spitting on returning soldiers, the Myth of Mansonism as representative of the Whole Movement,the selective publication of Woodstock pictures, focusing on trash strewn field, and the like( totally disregarding the Peace,Love,Understanding aspects of that event)…it was a subtle Framing Exercise…changing the Meaning of the whole endeavor. The Left was caught unawares by the backlash…at first likely because none of the Movers could quite believe some of the outrageous lies…surely everyone will see right through them….

The Left did, indeed, suffer from excess….from disillusionment, and a sort of Cultural Exhaustion…and, importantly, the introduction of what I’ll call Lizard Brain Drugs into the Drug Culture,(which was largely a CIA Op), that fed the Exhaustion and Disillusionment and encouraged the Excess.

I think the whole Sixties Meme needs to be Reclaimed, by the Left.

We must “rewrite” the Histories, from the perspective of the Revolutionaries…instead of from the perspective of the Old Regime, which is what we labor under, today. There’s another side to that story.

(as an aside, and for instance…when we advocate for Marijuana Reform…we dance all around the Getting High aspect, and approach it from an angle we hope will be “Respectable”…that of Medicine(which is legitimate)…we are dishonest, often even with ourselves(at least in Public) about the Fact that many of us just want to Get High…we act as if we are ashamed of this…and we should stop, and instead embrace it.Is it not our Right to choose our own Relaxant, or must we continue to lie, and, in Public, stick to the approved mind altering drug(alcohol)?This is important. Another example…Sex. The Left left the field, and used wishy washy and ineffective means on the whole Free Love/Sex for Sex’s Sake aspect…we, instead, used the Shame Based language of the Right. How about a little Honesty? Many(most?) women take the Pill in order to have Sex, without fear of Pregnancy. To this day, we fight the fight while ignoring this central Philosophical aspect of the Pill…the Freedom of Women to engage in Sexual Activity, because they like having Sex….and because they reject the whole repression and domination of the Right Wing’s sexual outlook. We must have the courage to be unashamed of these sorts of things…Occupy Puritanism!)

War is Shameful. Inequality is Shameful. Lying is Shameful.

Shame is a powerful tool, and the Right has used it to full advantage…and we sat quietly, in tacit agreement…ashamed of ourselves…why?

The Right, obviously, has used FEAR, in the HS Thompson usage…Fear of just about everything; Hippies, potheads, colorful and unusual clothing, Sex, being Different, Smart Folks,Peace(!), and on and on and on….the core of Right Wingdom is FEAR, of the existential sort, of everything that is “Not Like Us”…
Liberals should endeavor to embrace, and Own, COURAGE!

Be not afraid!

It takes Balls to stand up to often violent reactionaries…We must grow stones and spines. The Right has neither, when ya get right down to it.(witness the knee jerk reliance on ad hominem, when confronted with opposing views that they find unassailable).

Like all Bullies, there comes a point where one must, however reluctantly, Punch them in the Face. Reason has no effect. I don’t like this any more than you do…dear Liberal Reader.

A key feature of Liberalism is Tolerance for differing views. This has been used against us. We naturally seek common ground, abhor unnecessary confrontation and practice, almost automatically, Nonviolence…which is to our Credit.

But what if there is No Common Ground…what if our opponents actually Like Confrontation, for it’s own sake…what if they glory in Violence…and , most importantly, what if the other side is not in the least interested in Compromise?

The Right is Manichean, Black and White…there ain’t no gray. How can we expect them to Compromise with what they regard as Evil, itself?

I am not calling for Violent Revolution…yet…as I think it would be counterproductive and soul-killing. But one has a right to defend oneself, as well as the defenseless, on an individual basis.

We are too nice….and it has gotten us nowhere.

We are accused, as an article of Faith on the Right, of being the instigators of War and Violence…as silly as that sounds, it’s true.(Beck, et alia)

The Right, and their Cops and Troops, engage in Violence all the time…but this is seen as acceptable, and is whitewashed as necessary, against the Left. The Right sees all of this as a War to end all wars…as a holy War…and they feel justified in their own excesses, as a result of this. It is an Existential War…and we should, perhaps, begin to see it that way, as well. After all, they will not be satisfied until they have “Won” the whole world. If that’s not an Existential Threat( a real one) to all those who do not want to live under repression, I don’t know what is. They literally Declared War on Us….and we must stand up for ourselves, short of massacre.

Another Front is the cooption of a significant portion of the Democratic Party. Blue Dogs, and the like. Meanwhile, the other side has purged all dissent from their ranks…as Bill Maher said,”the Dems moved to the Right, and the republicans moved to the Insane Asylum”…Lesser Evilism is unacceptable. I am sick of having, essentially, No Choice. We have lost our party…and must either Take it Back, or rally around a new one…even if, in the short term, it means that we lose power and votes. Those considerations have, again, gotten us nowhere. Ben Nelson, the Odious Lieberman, and a thousand others, have no business being in the Democratic Party. They are Liberal Republicans, and should be run off, post haste.

Bipartisanship is Dead, as the past 3 years under Obama should have taught us.

We must cease compromising with the Right…cease kow towing to the Corporate World…and to that part(hardly monolithic, despite appearances) of Christianity who would sooner have us in chains, than compromise.

We must define ourselves, and stick to our Principals. Enough of the retreat!

If the Democratic Party won’t go along, we must leave it…stop giving it our support(and money!). Go over to the Greens, and insist that those votes be counted.

(I understand the necessity of OWS being headless, hydra-like…but we must get organized, nevertheless. CIA/FBI be damned)

Which brings us to another plank in the gallows that the Right has constructed, and convinced us that it is a mere Porch….”Conspiracy Theory” as a slur, shutting down righteous obstinance.

There really is a Giant, Multitentacled Conspiracy arrayed against All Things Liberal. This is not Fantasy…it is Not Hyperbole…it is Fact…and there is ample evidence for it(Church Committee, numerous others).

We must stop allowing this “slur” to shut us up. The Right believes in all manner of kooky conspiracy theories, that really are unsubstantiated, and Hyperbole and Fantasy…yet they are adhered to, without question, as another Article of Faith.(Liberal Media? Climate Hoax?Founders as Fundamentalist Evangelicals? Etc etc)

We, on the other hand, have at our fingertips, actual evidence of an actual Giant Conspiracy, rather a network of Conspiracies, set up to smear and discredit us, and Science, and Economics, and History,,,and…on and on…..Is this really so hard?

Reason must be able to triumph over Orwellian Doublethink and Right Wing Hysterical Fantasy.. Why is this so difficult?

We must acknowledge the existence of elements in Our Government who are dead set against a Liberal Counter-Counter-Revolution…FBI infiltration of Peace Groups, like the Quakers(!)…and, now, the application(and potential application) of the word “Terrorist” to anything the Gov doesn’t like…again, a very real threat.

Our Government doesn’t belong to us…save for widely dispersed and disparate elements within it…it belongs to the Right Wing; Corporations, Wall St, the God Squad, etc etc…and all those so very Fearful people who, at least tacitly, encourage and enable them.

Head, Meet Wall.

From the Right, it’s Nonsense: I support our Democratic Republican Form of Government, and have Issues with the Libertarian/Pseudoanarchists, and the Tea People.

Is equated to: I Worship the State…Desire the State Communist Takeover of all Private Property…and want all Tea herded into Extermination Camps.

From what passes for the Left: I have Issues with the Over-Regulation of the Little Guy, Eschew the Label, “Big Government Liberal”, Despise Beaurocracy run amok, and reckon the Democratic Party to be only a Lesser Evil.
Is Equated to: I side with the Fascists, am not Pure Enough(?), and “just don’t understand”.


Is there no room, for me?

All of these positions/opinions, were arrived at Honestly, and with as much Rigorous Objectivity as I can muster.

The Flame Wars that have erupted , since Justice Roberts did his little Dance, have resulted in folks who I know are Dems, sounding exactly like those who I know are Reps …The Right’s Mindfuck seems insurmountable.
I went looking for Think Tanks, with a liberal Bent…and what there are, are Economic Policy Shops…well and good…such things are needed…
But how’s that working out?
Where’s the results…when even the staunchest, self-described Liberals, are parroting the Heritage Talking Points? Death Panels? 60,ooo new IRS Agents?

Po’ Folks are Lazy?
For all their acumen in disentangling policy and tax code, these Shops are terrible at Messaging.
I am sick, unto death, of Lesser Evilism…I’ll vote for Obama, again….but not because of his Policies. He’ll get my vote, because the Alternative is so much worse.
Health Care Reform….awesome. Coulda been much better…perhaps without the “Bipartisanship”…
But what about the reversals on Marijuana Decriminalisation? What about the Failure to close Gitmo? The damned Drone Strikes? The Capitulation, if not down-right Cozyness, with Hedge Fund Lizards?
My God! Is this a Choice?!
I talk about the Corporate Takeover of Public Schools…happening, if somewhat stealthily, right here….and no one knows what the hell I’m talking about.
And, remember, Obama has continued the “No Child Left” business of Lil George…
Where’d Occupy Go?
Did we win?
I realize that I’m in Texas…and surrounded by Tea…still…

Chris Hayes talks about how the Left has no Moral Philosophers…to counter the Post Reagan Onslaught…all the Think Tanks and Media Megaphones…the Great Wicked Wurlitzer of Ditto.
We are left with bland centrists,(Brookings), Ivory Tower-ists(Demos), and various repetitions on that theme.
Where’s my PNAC?
Are there no more Philosophers?

The Right has constructed a Narrative that works. It’s self-contradictory, silly, and mostly pretty Dangerous…but it resonates with regular folks…speaking to their Emotions, in Bumper Stickers.
Surely, there is some enclave of Left Leaning Philosophers…toiling away at a Narrative of our own…surely.
Is the American Mind so poisoned, so polluted with nonsense, that there is no effective Counternarrative?
Have we passed the point of no return, where the Surreality of the Right Wing will just have to play itself out?

I’ve a great many Ideas…and I possess the Courage to articulate them into the Face of Power, and it’s hangers-on…
Is there a Forum?
A Community of Thought?
It feels as though we are already well into a new Dark Age…Kafka-esque, Dystopian, Dark, as in Ignorance…Back into the Cave.

Please convince me otherwise.


It’s the same Feeling I had in High School…then in College…and in my very rare experiences in Corporate Environments.
The Feeling one gets navigating some Government Department… or 800 Number, ostensibly provided to ease one’s Imperial Entanglements.(211, in Texas…round and round and round and…)
Like watching some Mindless Thing squirm and ooze it’s way, attempting to navigate the simplest of mazes(a straight line), at the exit of which is a fiery death….
Everywhere is either/or…till it’s all so Meaningless….

Ya think to yourself,”let’s get it over with, already”….

Bring on the Storm Troopers, and the Stake, and the Wasteland.
At least then a line would be apparent.

If Willard wins…I’ll likely count it as Over.
A quick descent, just like under Lil George….
If Obama? Will it be more of the same?
More high minded rhetoric, while the stealth wars continue?

Even the Tex GOP is having misgivings about the “Patriot Act”!
Why is it still there?
Toynbee shines a little light…Corporate Machine is Internal Proletariat…
Took Power from the Dominant Minority, little by little…then 911, and Wham!
Pull out all the Stops!
All the while Funding(!) the External Proletariat…if not Creating it, from whole cloth.
Niccolo says ya can’t put anything past these guys…they’re in it to Win.
I’m afraid that they have….

Climate Change…even Natural Selection!...still blithely relegated to the Conspiracy Theory drawer.
Peak Oil, for which there is abundant evidence…the same. It’s Liberal Plot, to turn everybody Gay.

Nothing substantial can be done, because there’s three(at least) Realities…all running parallel.
Yours, Mine, and the Truth…Machine believes in one, while advocating with deluge tactics, another.
The People…scared, confused, exhausted…seem willing to believe the most heinous insanity…
After Lil George, for a “Conservative” to rail against Executive Orders…against Dictatorial White House Policy…is Insane.
Even more so, because there is little Proof.
When there was ample Proof, they were waving flags, and bristling with belligerence, at anyone who dared to Question.


“I have trod the winepress, alone.”

Or that’s what it feels like.

That’s what I’m tired of…
No One wants to talk Philosophically…
And Philosophy is what we need most.
That , and a Narrative.
What is a “Liberal”?
That’s the Discussion I long to have…hopefully, without it degenerating into nonsense,and backstabbing…and, especially, Unexamined Assumptions.

There are a few who are Thinking along these lines…Lakoff comes to mind, Chip Berlet, and others in the fields of Neuroscience and Psychology…much research into the Cognitive Differences that lead to a Right or Left Outlook.
Chris Hayes, is there, too…with probably the Smartest Show on TV.

What is required, is Thinking that includes all of this Thought and Research…and Economic Evidence…That Unifies it into a Narrative that Liberals(who often don’t know that they are Liberals!) can rally behind.
My God! We should have even Jesus on Our Side!

How’d it happen, that the Screw You Party so successfully laid claim to Him? Who will undertake this task, if not Us?

Currently, in Mason, the Democratic Party is all that’s available to us, as a starting point.
Where are the Democrats?
More importantly, Who are the Mason Dems?
I’ve heard, after the fact, about various small gatherings…on somebody’s ranch.
Where is the Visible Manifestation of Democratic/Liberal Values?
The “News Paper”?
The “Barrio”, where I live(North Side) is ripe for the pickings…25+ years of a Belligerent Sheriff have left my neighbors Silent, and Uninvolved. Apolitical.
The Monumental Task is Education of the Folks…but, in order to accomplish this, there is required an even more Monumental Task…one of Definition, one of Language, and , above all, one of Philosophy.
We have Work to Do.
Let’s Talk.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Questions, Regarding Anarchy. Part 2

(pt 1= (

So. Here we are at Kropotkin….
His wiki: “In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sense – not as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion.

And, commentary, from Sale: “With Mutual Aid especially, and later with Fields, Factories, and Workshops, Kropotkin was able to move away from the absurdist limitations of individual anarchism and no-laws anarchism that had flourished during this period and provide instead a vision of communal anarchism, following the models of independent cooperative communities he discovered while developing his theory of mutual aid. It was an anarchism that opposed centralized government and state-level laws as traditional anarchism did, but understood that at a certain small scale, communities and communes and co-ops could flourish and provide humans with a rich material life and wide areas of liberty without centralized control.”

Great! now we’re getting somewhere…but, again… these men lose me, when I think about History…and so called “Human Nature”…
Suppose that Mason County, all of Us, decide to implement such a system…and assume no interference from the State of Texas, or the Fedgov…the neighboring counties are free to implement their own systems…wonderful.
So we, in Mason…live happily ever after, voluntarily being there for one another, and eschewing coercion and all the bad things States do….until Llano County, due to their mismanagement, pollutes their water, eats all their meat animals, and poisons their soil….
Now Llano County is casting about, looking for help…which is not forthcoming. Mason has not the means, nor the will…sorry.
Now, in Llano, some Strong Man arises…Impassioned Appeals to the People…”I have the Answer! We shall Take what we Need, from our Neighbors…for we are Mightier that they!”

This has happened before.
Many, many times…from the very Dawn of what can even most loosely be termed, “Civilisation”.(see Gimbutas).
Greed seems to be a permanent part of Human Nature…but we do not, therefore, have to bow to it’s influence.
Our System of Governance holds that We, the People, make the Laws, and Enforce them.
It is the attempt, however woefully, to Impliment Kroptkin’s Ideal.
Since we are doomed, it seems, to Live Together….(refute this, please)…We must have some agreement on How to Live Together.
To Mitigate the Bad parts of Human Nature, We come together, and work out our Differences…so as to Agree on some Compromise…
That’s the whole Idea of Government.
And Our Government is , in my opinion, the Best Yet, System of making it Possible to Live Together, and to Mitigate the effects of our more Animal Tendencies.
There is, of course, much Room for
More: “In another of his books, The Conquest of Bread, Kropotkin proposed a system of economics based on mutual exchanges made in a system of voluntary cooperation. He believed that should a society be socially, culturally, and industrially developed enough to produce all the goods and services required by it, then no obstacle, such as preferential distribution, pricing or monetary exchange will stand as an obstacle for all taking what they need from the social product. He supported the eventual abolishment of money or tokens of exchange for goods and services.[citation needed] Kropotkin believed that Bakunin's collectivist economic model was simply a wage system by a different name[19], and felt that such a system would breed the same type of centralization and inequality as a capitalist wage system. He claimed that it is impossible to determine the value of an individual's contributions to the products of social labor, and felt that anyone who was placed in a position of trying to make such determinations would wield authority over those whose wages they determined.[20] He further developed these ideas in Fields, Factories and Workshops.[citation needed]

Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they create poverty and artificial scarcity while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid, mutual support and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.[citation needed]

His focus on local production leads to his view that a country should strive for self-sufficiency – manufacture its own goods and grow its own food, lessening dependence on imports. To these ends he advocated irrigation and growing under glass to boost local food production ability.[citation needed]”

It appears that I must read Kropotkin…Localism, Decentralisation etc…all are things that I advocate…
But preventing
my neighbor, or a group of neighbors from 2 counties over, from invading, and taking my/our stuff….well…what’s to stop them, if not the Rule of Law.
As I’ve said, I agree with many, if not most, of the sentiments expressed in my, admittedly, cursory grazing in Anarchism.
My issue is the How…and my Critique hinges on the All-or-Nothing Tendencies that seem inherent in Anarchist Thought.
Since I support the Idea of a State, albeit a Better One than we have , today…it is Assumed or Implied, that I , therefore, Support Dictatorship and/or Totalitarianism.
This is another manifestation of the Bifurcated, Black/White, Dualism that has been so prevalent in American Politics…at least since Reagan.
”If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrists”…etc.

Once again, We are stuck in the Ditch, on one side of the road…and the Road , itself, is forgotten.

I’ll see if the Library can muster the acumen to borrow Kropotkin, at least, from the State Library System…(unlikely, due to Republican’s apparent Hatred of Free Inquiry). Wiki is inadequate…and opens me to accusations of overeliance…

Comments, as always, are welcome...especially the Thoughtful kind.

Questions, Regarding the Application of Statelessness

I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men and women are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. [2]”; Henry David Thoreau,”Civil Disobedience”

I am interested in Understanding the Anarchic, Voluntarist bent , of many of my interlocutors online.
I’m confronted, almost daily, with the sentiment…the insistence…that “the State is Illegitimate…because it has a Monopoly on Force…and I did not give my Consent…therefore; Do Away with the State.”
Well and good.
I’ve read a little Proudhon…a little Bastiat… a lot of Lysander Spooner…and everything Thoreau produced.
I agree, that the State, as we see it, today, is in bad need of a corral.
What I don’t understand, is how to get to the stated goal of a Stateless, Voluntarist Society of Free Individuals.
In this milieu, even the word “Society” seems suspect.
From Wiki,”Voluntaryism”:” Rothbard maintained, first, that every government "presumes to establish a compulsory monopoly of defense (police and courts) service over some geographical area. So that individual property owners who prefer to subscribe to another defense company within that area are not allowed to do so"; and, second, that every government obtains its income by stealing, euphemistically labeled "taxation." "All governments, however limited they may be otherwise, commit at least these two fundamental crimes against liberty and property."[3]

I cannot argue that this is an Untrue statement.I can argue that I haven't seen a Rational Argument for a Replacement.
Similarly:(same page)…..

In their "Statement of Purpose" in Neither Bullets nor Ballots: Essays on Voluntaryism (1983), Watner, Smith, and McElroy explained that voluntaryists were advocates of non-political strategies to achieve a free society. They rejected electoral politics "in theory and practice as incompatible with libertarian goals," and argued that political methods invariably strengthen the legitimacy of coercive governments. In concluding their "Statement of Purpose" they wrote: "Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate the withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which state power ultimately depends."”

Well and Good, again….
My Problem with this, is the How….and the real world Results of Universalising such a Philosophy.
It seems to me, that this is a recipe for the Negative Definition of Anarchy.
No one seems willing to explain….or to even address these misgivings…falling, instead, into almost-ad hominem, or eye-rolling.
A large part of the Argument against the State is that, it has never worked before…that Government Always ends up resorting to Violence and Coersion…
This has, indeed, been the case…sometimes for Good, mostly for Bad.
I’m still missing a Pragmatic Program to Implement the supposed Remedy….because, it seems, having such a Program, would violate the Tenets of Anarchism/Voluntaryism. I am left to read much, and think much….and try to reconcile , what appears to me as, Nihilistic Absurdism….with what we have, today.
Remove all Government, and we are left with No Laws….aside from whatever we can agree on…individually.
This Nonprogram seems to rely on many assumptions…and harkens back almost 10 Millennia, to an Idealised time when there were no Governments, no States, no “Rulers”.

Proudhon, himself, late in his life, abandoned a lot of his earlier Thought on this…leaning, instead, towards a “Federalism” of Individuals…and Democratic Ownership.
He called for “ a Balancing of Authority by Liberty”…meaning, I guess, something akin to “Limited Government”.

Bakunin, whom I have never read(so many books, so little time)…seems to have had similar, and better thought out, ideas.
From his Wiki:” By "liberty", Bakunin did not mean an abstract ideal but a concrete reality based on the equal liberty of others. In a positive sense, liberty consists of "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity." Such a conception of liberty is "eminently social, because it can only be realized in society," not in isolation. In a negative sense, liberty is "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."[27]

Fits , loosely, with J.S. Mill: paraphrased, “ Your Liberty ends where it meets my Liberty”….
More:” By federalism Bakunin meant the organization of society "from the base to the summit—from the circumference to the center—according to the principles of free association and federation."[28] Consequently, society would be organized "on the basis of the absolute freedom of individuals, of the productive associations, and of the communes," with "every individual, every association, every commune, every region, every nation" having "the absolute right to self-determination, to associate or not to associate, to ally themselves with whomever they wish."[28]

Again, where does this “Organisation” come from?

That is the Nub of my Problem with the Anarchist.
Our long History shows a remarkable trend, over the last 500 years, or so…of better and better Government….better and better relations , between the State and the Individual…
I maintain that this Progress should be continued….despite the Backsliding of the past Decade.
Instead of Abolishing the State, altogether…Take the one, salient Idea of the recent Tea Party…Take the Government Back.
The only place I differ with the Tea, is in who, exactly, we are to Take It From…and Who constitutes the People….
My Idea of the People is Inclusive; All of Us.(and I have been consistent in this…despite a lack of such considerations, on their part.)

I am eye-rolled away, when I ask these questions…folks get mad at me…that I am so “Unimaginative”…lol.
I honestly want to Understand…but a Rational Answer does not seem forthcoming…
Just what I regard as more Nihilism, cloaked in “Liberty”….and much Impassioned Critique of Taxation(Theft)…Authority(Coersion)…and the State, itself(Tyranny).

Under a reinvigorated system of Federalism(see my last post), I can see Voluntarian Anarchism working , at the County level…same goes for Communism, Theocracy, and every other conceivable system of Living Together. This is what I mean by Laboratories….as opposed to the One Size Fits All, that we have today.

Under the nonsystem, as put forth..I’ll spend all of my time defending whatever I have, from Everybody….which is hardly a recipe for Liberty. Or, I band together, with others…for Mutual Defense….which looks a lot like “Government”, to
As it stands, today, even with our poor excuse for Government…I don’t have to do that. Rule of Law, etc

When this Rule of Law breaks down…as under Bush2…and continuing, in some respects, under Obama….there are mechanisms to claw back…
Instead, these failures of Government are put forth as Evidence that we must abandon the Rule of Law… and the State.
I would like someone to explain how Abolishing the State will Not lead, almost immediately, to the Middle Ages. After all, the Fall of Rome was, in many respects, a Test of Statelessness.
Explain how that is not so.