Crowdists insist who we are is our assigned or circumstantial external features: an investment portfolio or lack thereof, a residence in a particular neighborhood, a paper indicating educational ranking, our skin hue which by the way doesn’t mean anything so why bring it up, a favorite sports team and the products we buy.
Since there are several available external variables, the “everyone is a unique individual but nothing else” assertion fools many. Yet, because this set of variables is truly limited and often categorized, a euphemism for stereotyped; middle class, Raiders fan, master’s degree, not infinite, the assertion cannot be true in every case.
Once you conform to the demands of these social reality police, externalized traits become their way of saying you’re “just another white person like us and shame on those who indicate otherwise”. That is to say, they’ll accept you as one of us, but only on the crowd’s terms and always, always when you are within listening distance.
The goal of this crowd is to expand itself indefinitely so that each individual is better able to hide his or her fearful self – afraid of struggle, adaptation, life and history – within it as camouflage. They want to draw you in, at your expense, to add to their numbers which then creates a louder chorus of hyperreal assertions; the crowd’s method of operations.
In the face of cultural pressure, the thinking goes, conformists relax their hair, and rebels have the courage not to. In some corners, relaxing one’s hair is even seen as wishing to be white.
“For black women, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” said Ingrid Banks, an associate professor of black studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “If you’ve got straight hair, you’re pegged as selling out. If you don’t straighten your hair,” she said, “you’re seen as not practicing appropriate grooming practices.”
Conformity is too obtuse of a term to tell us what is really going on here. Hair straightener is one of those external features serving the crowd camouflage symbiosis.
It is also the chains these slave masters offer you in exchange for your going along with them. What you give up in shame, who you are inside as an organic being with a biological lineage, is something they could have never taken away.
The greater struggle is the battle for the integrity of our true selves against a bureaucratic industrial society that wishes to homgenize us all and therefore better control us to serve its own purposes. In trade, we are expected to whore ourselves to it in exchange for its promises of conditional acceptance and a secure and easy future.
When these promises are broken time and again, we are left adrift and betrayed in search of meaning. The search turns from the outer world’s betrayal, which held our attention captive, to a discovery within: who am I, who are we, where did I come from and where are we going?
When the lesser battle of transient external features is lost to us, or we elect to abandon it, the greater struggle again calls us to arms to protect our natural, but very different intrinsic values.
“He told on a righteous person years ago,” she said. “He told me that.”
“I beat him to death. … I killed him and cut him up,” she said.
Simpson told Wingate she dismembered Neely’s body and stuffed it into a trash can, which she then torched. The burning trash bin was found outside a North Phoenix church on Aug. 5. Police arrested Simpson for the murder on Aug. 19.
Simpson, who was already in jail when police caught up with her, told Wingate this is not the first time she’s killed.
“I believe informants and child molesters should be killed … period,” she said.
Simpson said she was “kind of relieved” that police arrested her. She also said she takes medication and might be considered mentally ill.
“I think something’s wrong with the world that I live in, but, according to other people, yes, somethiing is wrong with me.”
Wingate asked Simpson if she felt guilty about Neely’s death.
“Guilty? For ridding the world of a snitch? No, I don’t feel guilty,” she answered.
Isn’t it time for a second emancipation proclamation? This time, you liberate not your body from physical chains on your limbs and your miserable living conditions all around as in the past.
This time, you cast off the mental bindings of the crowd which are its social expectations, its integration, and its transient categorizations that are as easily received as taken away again. As trends, they also change like the breeze, enslaving your attentiveness, your confidence and your time.
That which is not transient about us is where the greater struggle – greater because its value exceeds transient extrinsic things but demands more from us – takes place. Among these we find our natural selves which are expressions of our lineages, families and close communities of those like us and its values held invisibly but kept in common for generations.
To abandon the battle for this greater value in life is to instead whore ourselves as slaves, outnumbered by millions of memes and trends beyond our control that exist only to push us around as if we were thoughtless cattle fattened for scheduled harvest. This is both an economic and a political trap set to snare us in a hundred ways to serve the ends of an impersonal social system that acts as our master.
Following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy earlier in the week, one writer used the event to deconstruct one of the most ludicrous metaphors surrounding death: the idea of “losing a fight with cancer”:
The fighting metaphor, especially when applied to cancer, drives me nuts. Cancer is not a war or a football game. It’s an involuntary dance with a partner you didn’t choose. The fighting metaphor is insidious because it not so subtly implies that if you fight, you can “win.” And that if the cancer takes your life, if you “lose,” it is to some extent your fault. It’s not only patients and their loved ones who fall into this battlefield thinking, but doctors, too, who often see death as a failure. Their failure.
In truth, cancer doesn’t care whether you fight or not, whether you win or not. It’s simply there, just like all the other horrible, debilitating, scary, painful, life-wrecking chronic diseases that millions of Americans deal with every day.
The challenge, it seems to me, is to do precisely what Ted Kennedy did. He sailed his boat. He spent time with his wife and kids. He found good doctors, and trusted them. And he kept doing the work he loved, right up to the end.
Whatever your feelings on the now deceased Senator, if it’s true that he accepted his fate and spent his time settling up his estate, sailing his boat, and spending time with family, the man at least had a decent attitude toward death. Then agan, doesn’t this just go to show that people don’t live full lives until they’re given a death sentence by a doctor?
The writer of the op-ed raises some good points above: other people treat death as something that’s not inevitable until the bitter end, so we like to label a body’s battle with cancer as a fight that can be won instead of embracing the reality of death and moving on from there. There are walks with pink ribbons dedicated to this idea: find a cure. Everyone has a story; my mother, her sister, that guy’s aunt all died of “Cancer Of The [fill in the blank]”, and can somehow try to change that by walking a few miles and raising money to give to a research institution. I’m more interested in why the person who is given the death sentence suddenly lives a full life when they should have all along.
Since most people know that hardly anyone truly lives a full life these days, we consider it more tragic if someone gets hit by a bus and is otherwise young and healthy when they die, vs. having brain cancer at an old age and suddenly becomes enlightened during those six months to one year when one has time to plan the closure of one’s life.
If there’s time involved, we can call it a fight, we can hope for a miracle; we can melodramatize about death and call someone who accepts it a valiant man of honor, and that makes us feel good about our own mortality – if briefly. In reality, death doesn’t discriminate, so we get upset when it strikes unexpectedly. Death will take you any time, and the best thing you can do is to plan ahead for your family’s future while living the fullest life you can with them today.
This would include, perhaps, an estate plan, life insurance, a trust fund, and other measures to ensure your legacy – meaning your family and loved ones – are protected in the event of death. In our modern society, unfortunately, the government will absolutely rape your estate clean if you’re caught without a safety net after death, so this just makes common sense.
Live the year that Ted Kennedy just lived, but earlier in life, by planning for death if there are people who depend on you, and it won’t matter whether you’re hit by a bus or have slowly growing cancer in your brain which gives you just enough time to set up an estate plan and “sail your boat”. Then, if you do happen to become stricken with a fatal disease which gives you time to reflect before death, you can laugh at people who don’t see any change in your demeanor as you tell them, “I had great perspective all along – or didn’t you notice?”
There are many people – some of them well-respected scientists – who have been talking about overpopulation for decades.
Dr. Albert Bartlett, even Isaac Asimov – intelligent men who see through our complex social structure and boil it down to the simplest form, so it can be seen for what it is.
Most people in modern society don’t like talking about overpopulation because they don’t want to admit that not every single human life is precious and worth saving – which denies the simple reality that death happens; either at old age or infancy, it’s inevitable. It can happen under tragic or not-so-tragic circumstances. The most profound part of our existence is the fact that it ends, and yet we still can’t really grasp it. If every human life isn’t worth saving, the thinking goes, then maybe my life isn’t worth saving, and this is unacceptable to just about everyone. Instead of simply admitting that we are a society of narcissistic morons who parrot about individual rights and entitlements while hoarding and consuming all available resources, though, we project that thinking into, “no one’s life is anything but precious, therefore anything that reduces or limits anyone else’s entitlements is a direct attack on humanity and life itself.” Of course, this is silly as it relates to overpopulation, because the simple fact of the matter is that the less people we have, the more resources there are for everyone.
The point that’s being driven home by those who believe overpopulation has and will continue to be a real problem in our world, can be expressed in this equation:
Number of people * Average resource consumption per person = Total resource consumption
The simple beauty of this equation really begins to shine when one considers what humanity can control and what makes sense to control: the average consumption per person, or the number of people on planet Earth? The answer is obvious, but cutting through social norms proves a bit more difficult:
This is a column I don’t want to write. Its subject is ugly; it makes me instinctively recoil. I have chastised people who bring it up at environmentalist meetings. The people who talk about it obsessively have often been callous about human life, and consistently proved wrong throughout history. And yet … there is a grain of insight in what they say.
The subject is overpopulation. Is our planet overstuffed with human beings?
Are we breeding to excess? These questions are increasingly poking into public debate, and from odd directions. Phillip Mountbatten — husband of the British monarch Elizabeth Windsor — said in a documentary screened last week: “The food prices are going up, and everyone thinks it’s to do with not enough food, but it’s really (that there are) too many people. It’s a little embarrassing for everybody, nobody knows how to handle it.” He is not alone.
Further complicating this issue is the manner in which overpopultion is becoming a problem for everyone. Of course, planet Earth is still a big place, so the problem isn’t evident everywhere, and many people are now used to the idea of living in crowded cities so they scoff at the idea that infrastructure could collapse if yet more people were added into the fold. This is another layer of our social reality that most people refuse to see through, but when you look at the facts from a birds-eye view, you realize that something unpleasant has to happen – even with the first-world relief valve of immigration (legal or illegal) continuing to allow populations nearest the equator to continue to grow:
In 2008, world population is 6.7 billion: 1.2 billion people live in regions classified as more developed by the United Nations; 5.5 billion people reside in less developed regions. “We will likely see the 7 billion mark passed within four years,” said Carl Haub, PRB senior demographer and co-author of this year’s Data Sheet. “And by 2050, global population is projected to rise to 9.3 billion. Between now and mid-century, these diverging growth patterns will boost the population share living in today’s less developed countries from 82 percent to 86 percent.”
“The differences between Italy and the Democratic Republic of the Congo illustrate this widening demographic divide,” said Mary Mederios Kent, co-author of this year’s Data Sheet. “On one side are mostly poor countries with high birth rates and low life expectancies. On the other side are mostly wealthy countries with low birth rates and rapid aging.”
Worldwide, women now average 2.6 children during their lifetimes, 3.2 in developing countries excluding China, and 4.7 in the least developed countries. Lifetime fertility is highest in sub-Saharan Africa at 5.4 children per woman. In the developed countries, women average 1.6 children. The United States, with an average of 2.1 children, is an exception to this low-fertility pattern in the world’s wealthier countries.
Interestingly, my perspective is one of a father-to-be. People grasp at straws when it comes to the supposed “irony” of my reproducing vs. my feelings on overpopulation. What they don’t understand is the process by which this problem is shared by everyone, and that fertility rates are higher in places they have no business being high at all (whereas, in places where fertility rates are low, average resource consumption tends to be high). The overflow comes home to roost in places like Portland, Maine when developed nations provide the aforementioned relief valve for overpopulation, when it would be better to simply reject massive waves of immigrants into towns and cities that not only don’t want it, but certainly don’t need it.
Since our economies are based on the idea of ever-expanding growth, though, we once again hit the wall of social reality and have a hard time saying “no”. The simplicity of Dr. Bartlett and Asimov, among others, states that it’s about time we say no not only to more immigration waves, but consumerism as well. The first step is admitting there’s a problem, as the saying goes, and for society to admit world overpopulation is a concern would be a great first step.
As humans we learn to distrust early. First we are told that there is a process, and so we go along with it. Then we figure out that while the process has a goal, some people have changed their goal to be the process itself, which lets them have other more selfish goals.
For instance, rules about discipline. You’re not supposed to cause conflict. So some kid starts whispering nasty things about your mom until you finally turn around and tell him to shut up. Then his hand goes up. The teacher, distracted and barely in control of 30 students, needs to make an example of someone to keep the herd in line. He sees the raised hand. You’re the bad guy now.
This is where Americans and Europeans especially split: Americans have learned to fear bureaucracy more, because in a “melting pot” society we cannot rely on common reference points, so everything must be done with very specific rules.
And rules, which work as absolutes without any consideration of context, tend to be overreactions in their mechanical blindness. A central body decides what is “right,” and then forces us all to comply. Do this or you face bad consequences. Rules also reflect the utilitarian error of assuming that what most people think they want is what is best for us all.
Even worse, rules are administered by governments. If you want an unchallenging career where you can almost never be fired, and where you’ll be valued because you are from a group that traditionally has not succeeded in business, government is a good place to be. As a result, although not all government workers are this way, many are incompetents bristling with revenge — and rules give them the ability to tell more successful people to STFU.
This is why many of us distrust government. We don’t like bureaucracies, and we don’t trust the rest of you. We know that most of you are like the kid who insults our mother and then informs on us to the teacher-bureaucracy. If most of you weren’t this way, humanity would not require so many rules, regulations, legal debates, and oversight. But it does because when we remove these things, situations really get out of control.
Those of us who have accepted reality have also accepted that most of you have changed your goal to be the process itself, because you have no goal except yourself. You are irresponsible. You don’t care about your effect on others, nature, or the world at large. You want whatever it is that has popped in your little heads, and you don’t care what you have to do to get it. If you get caught, you’ll blame the person who caught you. You’ll blame anyone but yourself. It’s never your fault, and we should always pay for your mistake.
That’s the root of our hatred of socialism — the idea of equality in schools, the welfare state, the nanny state, socialized medicine, no child left behind, you name it — we see how socialism makes more bureaucracy necessary and gives more power to the people without goals who take over the process, instead of having a goal like those of us who are more realistic.
Instead of life being a game where finding the right federal agency or right social policy is the way to win, people like me would argue, life is a game of picking the good people and promoting them, and kicking out the bad, lazy, criminal, irresponsible, opportunist, stupid, etc. That’s an analogue to natural selection, and natural selection is the only reason we’re not still covered in hair, flinging poo and living in trees.
It’s funny how people are so quick to freak out about someone who denies the theory of evolution, but if you bring up the other part of natural selection — that we’re not equal, and that for us to improve, we need to weed out the stupid and reward the best — they freak out because, tautologically, that doesn’t support equality and they equate equality and tolerance for all people with The One True Moral Path.
Here’s why we hate bureaucracy:
A County Londonderry pensioner who has lived without electricity for 27 years has been told NIE will charge him £67,000 to link his home to the grid.
John McCarter, 74, has no central heating at his Downhill home and uses bottled gas and candles for light.
The electricity company said the cost was so high because cables would have to go underground because he lives in an area of special scientific interest.
“Special scientific interest” shows there was clearly once a reason for what’s happening here. But in the hands of a bureaucracy, it becomes a knee-jerk absolute reason that cannot be argued with except by, of course, getting public attention to it. Yet what about the people without the luxury of so much time they can devote themselves to fighting this one aspect of thousands in life? That’s right: they just STFU while the bureaucracy gloats.
We don’t want this to happen to our health care. We don’t want this to happen to our society. We also don’t want it to become part of our values system.
Now look at who’s cheering for socialized health care. Big media, as you know, reports what it can but also must make its advertisers happy. So some stories are “news” and others are basically advertising. They can easily fool us by re-districting categories to include unrelated things with one thing in common, in order to prove a point. See this in action here:
Critics of President Obama’s push for health care reform have been whipping up fear that proposed changes will destroy our “world’s best” medical system and make it like supposedly inferior systems elsewhere.
The emptiness of those claims became apparent recently when researchers from the Urban Institute released a report analyzing studies that have compared the clinical effectiveness and quality of care in the United States with the care dispensed in other advanced nations. They found a mixed bag, with the United States doing better in some areas, like cancer care, and worse in others, like preventing deaths from treatable and preventable conditions.
The bottom line was unmistakable. The analysts found no support for the claim routinely made by politicians that American health care is the best in the world and no hard evidence of any particular area in which American health care is truly exceptional.
What a lovely sleight-of-hand! First they tell us we’re doing better in some areas; then, they say that we’re not doing enough to “prevent deaths from treatable and preventable conditions.” But they don’t assess whether the patients have done enough to help themselves in that category. After all, a patient has to ask a doctor for help, but if we believe these Urban Institute geniuses, the doctor should be prescient and find patients with treatable conditions and force them to get treatment — to keep our numbers up, of course.
The conclusion these rocket scientists draw is that our health system is not the world’s best, because — and it literally hinges on this — we don’t do enough to prevent deaths from “treatable and preventable conditions.” Like what? Smoking? They’re trying to convince us that the results of patient + medicine are entirely dependent on medicine alone.
Never mind that different countries have different people. Never mind that not every person takes a responsible attitude toward health care. We want to have someone to blame! And so they cook up this “study,” which like all things fits under that old saw (“correlation is not causation”) expanded to our new rule here at Amerika.org: “considering effects but not causes lets us blame the last visible actor in a complex situation.”
Like the kid who snaps back at the kid who repeatedly insults his mother. The (passive) aggressor is the insulter, but the blind and stupid social bureaucracy blames the snapper, and then calls it justice, and then tries to rally all of us to crush the snapper if he protests. That’s why we distrust the rest of of you: society’s problem isn’t that it’s unequal, but that it’s unjust, especially to those who insist on order that the system itself has not made a bureaucracy out of.
The Patients Association said its report showed that appalling standards were more widespread than just at that trust.
Relatives described how they found their loved ones dehydrated or lying in faeces, blood and urine, and told of problems in getting help from nurses.
Ron Kirk said his father, Leslie, was admitted to hospital in October 2007 having suffered a stroke, but his treatment at the hands of some nurses amounted to cruelty.
His father had been fitted with the wrong catheter, leaving him in pain, but nurses took away his bedside alarm because they thought he was “pressing it too often”, Mr Kirk said.
As William S. Burroughs says, bureaucracies are a cancer. I doubt he voted Republican. My guess is that this issue should be bipartisan, but big media and social figures have convinced leftists to cowlike support anything tinged with “socialism,” even though socialism itself is a substitute for the goals of the left. If you’re the provoker, socialism is good; if you’re the independent who doesn’t want to hear his mom insulted, it’s bad.
Maybe this would have a consequence on such numbers. But we don’t want to consider that. We want a single point of blame, so we’re going to blame the rich for continuing to succeed while we flood this society with home-grown idiots, migrant day workers, college-educated fools sired of strippers by fat businessmen, and so on. We, the people, want someone to blame so we can go back to ignoring all the problems because …look what’s on TV!
The problem is not that inequality exists, or that our health care is bad. Our health care is the best in the world, for those who are willing to be alert, responsible, and proactive about finding care. Life here is better than anywhere else, if you’re willing to find a good job, work hard and effectively at it, and be responsible in your personal life. But that key concept, responsible and attentive, is what pisses wannabe socialists off. They want a bureaucracy to spoon-feed them, and even while they mew like babies about state control, they won’t mind if that state control is both free and easy.
At the end of the day, I — and many others who are now discontented in this country — are from the other group. We want to tell that kid to shut up about our mother and if he doesn’t, we’ll pound his ass and if we lose, he’ll know that next time it won’t be easy. We want to work hard on making ourselves responsible and taking care of our families, and we want the clueless and irresponsible people to die out, if possible, but at the very least we don’t want them perpetuated on our dime. We like both evolution and natural selection and don’t go into denial about them for religious or political reasons.
We are the group that has made the USA what it is. We don’t require state support. We don’t need subsidies. We don’t complain, we just do what we do to take care of what we believe in. Europe also has many of these people, but since 1789 and even more since 1917, they’ve been in decline. This is why to everyone except the Western media, it’s clear the West is in decline.
The health care debate is just a small part of our attempt to reverse that decline, not by political solutions, but by retuning our spirits and outlooks toward rugged independence and distrust of the parasitic majority, so that we can begin rewarding the excellent among us again instead of spending all of our energy trying to help those who will not and cannot help themselves.
Summary: Why we don’t want socialism — we distrust the irresponsible majority who blame us for their own problems
Just when you thought advertising couldn’t sink any lower than suspicious packaging intended to push a cartoon of animated junk food items, companies like McDonald’s have now turned to the realm of corporate sponsorship. They were already there in many forms, but this is a new one: hidden cameras in classrooms intended to catch students’ true reaction to a new coffee product. If it were me paying $40,000 or more per year at this private university, be it during an advertising class or philosophy class, I might be just a little rattled at the idea of being taped and then pressured to sign a release to allow the images to be used on TV. Sadly, these advertising students were all too willing and eager to sign the release for what amounted to $10 worth of crappy music, excited that they had a fun story to tell their other classmates:
The commercial was filmed last month in a lecture hall at BU. Crews from Redtree Productions, the company that Arnold worked with on the ad, fitted three hidden cameras and built a set inside the classroom. Behind the guest speaker, workers added a chalkboard that turned out to be a one-way mirror that filmed the students head-on to capture their real reactions. Another camera was placed behind the class as they listened to guest lecturer Robert Deutsch. He purposely rambled to make students tired, officials said.
In the commercial, the students appear tired, dazed, and yawning until a crush of chipper uniformed McDonald’s workers, some actors and some real employees, swarmed into the lecture hall. They served everyone cups of iced and hot coffees. On camera, the students perked up and sipped their drinks.
After the commercial was taped, students featured in the ad signed a release so that their images could be used. For their participation, the students were each given a $10 gift card for Apple iTunes. Typically, a union actor featured as a principal in such an ad could earn $592 a day while an extra can get $323, according to Boston Casting Inc.
This is a bit baffling on many levels, so let’s deconstruct:
Students in an advertising class are bored with the material, even though their parents are paying about what a BMW 3-series costs in total, per year, for them to go.
In ironic hipster fashion, McDonald’s comes barging in and shoves sugary, watery coffee drinks down the throats of these bored students.
Students react with glee as a new, shining product in the form of coffee in syrofoam cups (what a novel idea) pumps caffeine into their bloodstream and wakes them up from the inevitable coma of not having enough flashing lights and dancing figures in front of their eyes.
McDonald’s will undoubtedly spin this as, “look at the positive reaction we got from students drinking our coffee!” What everyone knows, or should know, however, is that free food and beverages are always a welcome distraction from pretending to be a good listener in a lecture hall for far too many students (and professionals…and just about anyone these days). This series of events should be a lesson in how easily people crammed into a lecture hall to listen to a moron go on about product advertising are swayed by a distraction – any distraction, especially one that will fill their bellies and leave them with something pleasant to think about as they daydream their way through the rest of the lecture.
Modern marketplace thinking destroys our sense of community and solidarity, leaving us alone against predators who will do anything for our money. We’re now fiercely individual competitors selling each other memes, tricks, and gimmicks to get ahead of a teeming crowd who might have otherwise been friends and neighbors.
With the severe economic downturn comes the opportunity to review some of our basic values as a civilization. Utilitarianism cannot work because it is consistently undersupported.
This ideology was never needed for having friendships and community. It is after all only such collective solidarity that can both build and maintain a utilitarian ideal.
Diversity makes solidarity more difficult in all things save ruthless commerce. Collective is presently treated as a naughty, unfree word.
As individuals, few people are both mentally wired for charitable compassion and bear the means to deliver this sentiment across a densely populated society.
The greatest good for the greatest number of people has however become a commonplace marketing slogan. Therapeutic solutions abound for what were always ordinary woes in life. It seems no part of our isolated lives is untouched by someone else’s sales pitch.
Even what used to be sacred ideas representing something more important than mankind are infected with marketplace thinking.
We want to show how God meets their needs, makes them happy, and how religion makes them nicer people and how religion will make the world a better place. In other words, we have a marketplace mentality. If we can just show people how great God is and how super dooper religion is we’re sure they’ll buy the product.
Now nothing is higher than mankind, or rather, an individual man’s free pursuit of self-interest. What are considered national heroes easily take a back seat to the struggling financial profiles of millions.
Underfinanced memorial construction for national unity against foreign enemies grinds to a halt. Maybe our economic fixation will help us forget them all so we can get on with our commercial anticulture and individual diversions.
IN September 2004 Gov. James E. McGreevey used a ceremonial shovel to break ground for the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial called “Empty Sky.”
But more than four years later, little has happened at the 1.6-acre site on the eastern edge of Liberty State Park that is now ringed with an 8-foot fence. Because of a pending legal dispute, a larger-than-expected price tag and a daunting fund-raising challenge, the future of the memorial could even be in doubt.
Former assurances of a secure future cannot be delivered upon and everyone knows it. The utilitarian ideal is also set for failure with the decay of social security. Our giant impersonal bureaucracy is unable to deliver us ease in our retirement years in exchange for a life of taxed labor.
Detached social systems reduce living people to records in database entries. These systems are no sure replacement for the role once served by family, friends and close community before the New Deal era.
Social Security is also facing long-term financial problems. The retirement program is projected to start paying out more money than it receives in 2016. Without changes, the retirement fund will be depleted in 2037, according to the Social Security trustees’ annual report this year.
The expense of foreign adventures to maintain our commercial way of life continues. Here we find ourselves in the latest of sixty years of nationally divisive military expeditions abroad.
American spirits have not been overwhelmingly dedicated to the last several foreign adventures for sustaining the modern way of life. Such uniform commitment is however what kept our outgunned opponents from Korea, to Vietnam, to the Middle East tenacious and persistent against us.
Mullen said the security situation in Afghanistan needs to be reversed in the next 12 month to 18 months.
“I think it is serious and it is deteriorating, and I’ve said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated,” he said.
Just over 50 percent of respondents to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this past week said the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.
Where did this marketplace thinking that replaced our ages-old native traditions and commitment to our nation come from?
Although we like to think of ourselves as civilised thinkers, we’re subconsciously still driven by an impulse for survival, domination and expansion. This is an impulse which now finds expression in the idea that inexorable economic growth is the answer to everything, and, given time, will redress all the world’s existing inequalities.
The problem with that, according to Rees and Hern, is that it fails to recognise that the physical resources to fuel this growth are finite. “We’re still driven by growing and expanding, so we will use up all the oil, we will use up all the coal, and we will keep going till we fill the Petri dish and pollute ourselves out of existence,” he says.
But there’s another, more recent factor that’s making things even worse, and it’s an invention of human culture rather than an evolved trait. According to Rees, the change took place after the second world war in the US, when factories previously producing weapons lay idle, and soldiers were returning with no jobs to go to.
American economists and the government of the day decided to revive economic activity by creating a culture in which people were encouraged to accumulate and show off material wealth, to the point where it defined their status in society and their self-image.
Rees quotes economist Victor Lebow as saying in 1955: “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate”.
Attacking diversity is not an attack on any minority group.
Why? Because we would be committing a fallacy of division. If purple people and green people together compose a system called diversity, and diversity has a property called failure, we have not at any point stated that purple or green people are failures. Most people have a problem comprehending design scope because to learn this tool, they must posses enough spatial IQ.
However, it is a method our beloved hipster uses in an attempt to argue with humans:
Human, “Multiculturalism isn’t so great. What good is it?”
Hipster (knocks down strawman), “So what’s your problem with the new Orange People in town?”
Some critiques against diversity are snared by an inversion of the logic failure given in the foregoing examples. But, rather than insisting an attribute of a whole system must then be found in any of its parts, the opposite occurs.
These critiques will single out one corrupted part of the system (old white men, dancing Latinas with fruit basket hats and frilly dresses, or gray skinned Zeta Reticulans with ray guns) as a way to demonstrate multicultural system malfunction.
Such a fallacy of composition, the flip side of division, is equally a failed argument. Moreso than sensationalist politics, logic is everyone’s ally.
To maintain irony, the people selling Shredded Wheat cereal decided to mock progress. After all, some foods are eternal. What else can we do to shredded wheat, besides ruin it by adding marshmallows? This mockery of the modern notion of “progress” also mocks the idea of adding unnecessary complexity to products just to make them trendy and saleable.
Here’s another example: our gasoline-powered cars may be causing pollution, so we imagine a better car powered by both gasoline and a battery, storing energy each time it brakes so it’s less of a threat to the environment. Great, that sounds like a brand new easy solution, so the car is bought. No one in the process is wonder: what happens in seven years when this thing heads to the junk heap?
When enough time has passed for the purchase to be forgotten, the furry little human monkeys will send the car on for salvage. Never mind the questionable quality of construction, or that there’s not much one can do to recycle all those batteries, because back in 2009, the car sold and sold well. You may have saved some gasoline, but the whole process — from manufacturing to grave — may be less efficient and “green” than you think.
Anyone reading this knows I describe the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. Interestingly, BMW and Mercedes (luxury car makers who’s buyers normally don’t care about hybrid or non-hybrid) are actually the most truly progressive among concept hydrogen-powered vehicles and production clean-diesel solutions, not to mention vehicle safety. But because these cars aren’t considered “vehicles of the people” in cute marketing gimmicks, we ignore reality and give lip service to progress where it suits our social needs.
How about not building our cities around the automobile, having only one per family, and designing systems of travel not reliant on dangerous and nonrenewable energy sources? Modern progress is dependent on the idea of individualistic rights: rights to open up plastic packages and throw them in the trash when buying something new; rights to drive anywhere
and everywhere (so of course we NEED a car that’s not dangerous to the environment, even though the act of making one is worse on the environment than driving one).
The video resonates on several levels: taken at face value, it’s pretty easy to see that they’re advocating their simpler food which also has the benefit of lots of fiber, something lacking in modern diets. Then again, if you look deeper: where is the paper being sourced from to wrap this up in a box? I’d be willing to bet there’s a plastic sack inside to protect the cereal. And what about the machines used to gather the wheat, cook it, process it, and shred it, and all the energy that requires, not to mention the gas and truck maintenance in
distributing the product?
Maybe if Shredded Wheat was truly about ending “progress” as it’s currently viewed, helping quell landfill and resource consumption concerns, it would distribute its surely wonderful product as follows:
Stop wrapping the product in plastic bags
Use as little energy as possible in processing the wheat, maybe even
shipping the product raw so one can cook it on its own (like dried
oatmeal, but instead, dried “wheatmeal”)
Use only post-consumer recycled content on the box
Use only hydrogen powered vehicles to distribute
Since the cost of hydrogen powered BMW 7-series seems a bit much,
try initially using an army of foot soldiers to target heavily populated
areas to maximize profitability, selling the product on the street.
I have a modest proposal for the marketers and Board of Directors at Post: the solution to all this gimmicky “progress” would look something like a handful of seeds to plant wheat and a set of instructions printed on recycled paper on how to process it and make your own cereal. Now that’s progress.
America is a giant marketplace. We who live here now should heed this, because it saves us the pointless political debates.
While the poorest may not have health care, those who can afford it get better care.
While this is ass, it’s the best we’ve come up with because it is both disorganized and organized. The market needs few central controls, and most of those are impotent. But it is organized because it gives each individual a clear path to follow, and a goal to shoot for.
The other option, which is having more centralized control, which means bureaucracies and panels reading over a few pages of our case files and then telling us what to do, is a lesser option because:
(a) Bureaucracies are detached and impersonal, and apply uniform rules to a non-uniform population
(b) Bureaucrats tend to be the worst abusers of power because they are both impotent and can enforce rules absolutely
(c) Without the ability to distinguish themselves personally, people go with the flow for a mediocre result
(d) Centralized bureaucratic controls rapidly produce elites of those who manipulate them
(e) People quickly learn to “game the system” or obey the rules without putting forth honest effort
As a result, the places with bureaucratic control tend to be less competent, while those that rely on a self-organizing system like capitalism tend to be more flexible and more competent, even if we all agree they could do better.
Like nature, this type of order is not perfect. Injustices happen; however, in every system injustices happen, and in a more flexible system, there’s “more than one way to do it” and determined people can work around setbacks. In a centralized control system, there’s only one way to work around, which is going through the bureaucracy.
Decentralized and self-organizing systems are like natural selection in a weird but mostly viable form. They don’t always get it right, but they get it right more often than a central bureaucracy, and if something goes wrong, it’s easier to fix them and keep going.
Even in societies with light bureaucracy, we have all had horrible experiences with rather dumb people behind counters who pay more attention to rules than reality. The rules become more important than the goal of the rules; then, all sense of the goal is lost and as soon as one person starts gaming the system, so does everyone else, to compete. Bureaucracies produce entropy.
Right now, America is torn up over this universal health care issue. One side doesn’t see why we don’t just give everyone health care; the other side wants government to back off, and does not want to support those who cannot make it on their own. The former side tends more toward wanting central bureaucratic order, and the latter wants more of a “natural selection” scenario, where the rules are reasonably fair and those who can organize themselves to survive well will rise.
As stated in another post, there’s more sense to the natural selection side because it never reaches a moribund state in and of itself, while bureaucracies do. If you insist on subsidizing everyone, you must have a central agency to implement that, and so you get an unruly mob ruled by an iron hand. On the other hand, if you let self-organizing forces work, there’s less need for control.
In addition, by accepting injustice, you create a more realistic view of society. In any age and every age, injustice has existed; this is the nature of a chaotic environment. If we accept it, and also accept that some will rise above challenges and survive well, we have a healthy outlook. If we bemoan injustice and invent “progressive” notions to compensate, we are rejecting reality and become very negative toward life itself.
Mobs united by negativity toward life become destructive. In this split over health care, which isn’t really about health care, we see a mob forming like a hurricane in the gulf, and then we see the people who don’t want that to happen trying to resist. They know, on some instinctual level, that empowering a mob will cause destructive, negative psychology to become the norm. That in turn will lead our civilization into internal conflict and decay.
The downside of a marketplace is that it consists of people who are trying to sell you stuff by convincing you that they, the sellers, are good people. They do this through the universal methods of politeness: they approve of whatever you want, and will tell you how great it is in order to make you like them. This is why big media, your friends, even local businesses tend to be “liberal”: they approve of and encourage the crowd.
Let’s use critical thinking to deconstruct some of this marketing/propaganda:
“I don’t understand why the people who have stuff are enraged, and the people who have nothing are warm and hopeful.”
Well, of course they’re hopeful — they’re about to get something for free! And of course the people who have stuff are enraged, because they’re about to have something taken from them, and given to their ideological enemies. It’s flamingly obvious. But these people don’t want you to see it that way. They want you to see that “everybody else is doing it” and go along with the plan. Really high school, isn’t it?
Here’s another one:
“Most of the ‘green’ stuff is verging on a gigantic scam,” Lovelock told the New Scientist shortly before the release of his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia. “Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It’s not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it’ll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning.”
Of course it’s a giant scam. The real solutions — fewer problems and humans using less land — are taboo because that means shutting down someone’s dream, whether to open a McDonald’s or own a 13,000 square foot house in the suburbs. “Not everyone can participate” is the message of responsible environmental change, but that makes each person fear for themselves, so instead we get harmless or pointless actions that are popular. Profit is made.
How do we turn this around? An interesting idea:
Another is that we should stop comparing national economies as if they were running a race. Plainly, they are not. Supply and demand do not respect borders. For one country to have a surplus, another must be running a deficit. It is imbalances between economies that puts prosperity at risk; the way different nations structure their economies within the globalised market probably matters less than we like to think.
If we stopped comparing the “competitiveness” of national economic models, we could devote more attention to what kind of society we want, and what economic policies will get us there. That, indeed, is probably the economic equivalent of another famous Socratic injunction: know thyself.
In other words, if we don’t want to be ruled by the market, we have to give it goals which requires all of our society agree on what’s important. And that is what this healthcare debate is about: one side wants values that reward good people, and the other wants to subsidize everyone. One side wants natural selection, the other wants social acceptance. Until these values are reconciled, we’re at the mercy of the markets forevermore.
Modern life is a place of illusions, missing information and increasingly miniscule individual roles in society helping to keep our understanding of reality as a whole system at bay. Among these many misperceptions is the Civilizing Effect.
Society provides a market, people wander in, money crosses the point of sale, an item magically appears as if by conjuration and everyone is happy. But, much is hidden from the consumer. The total cost is not summed up on the price tag of a given item for sale.
Groceries are one example. Industrialized farming and product distribution relies heavily on fossil fuels, a byproduct of our diplomatic and military might; our taxes at work.
Agriculture itself transforms fertile land from self-sustaining biosphere into an artificially sustained cropland patchwork of less fertility. With its constant expansion, planet Earth is moved aside to make way for a costly and redundant human monoculture.
“Anthropogenic biomes, also known as “anthromes” or “human biomes”, describe the terrestrial biosphere in its contemporary, human-altered form using global ecosystem units defined by global patterns of sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems, offering a new way forward for ecological research and education.”
With profit as the driving force behind modern agriculture, crop yield must be maximized. Pesticides come into use to keep insect and disease predators in check. These poisons act like nerve-attacking agents that accumulate and persist in the environment.
In our panic to stuff every belly on the planet, we make ourselves sick with crippling neurological disorders. But, even as it dawns on us that our first snappy technological fix was in fact a bust, we have genetically modified crops with all its missing information to the rescue.
“Used widely in the United States from the 1950s through the 1970s in agriculture, the chemical was also found until fairly recently in the insecticide lindane, used as a treatment to kill fleas and ticks on pets and lice in humans. Even if you’ve never treated a dog or cat with lindane or worked in agriculture, the odds are you’ve still been exposed to the toxin. Banned in the l970s, B-HCH is a dangerous contaminant that won’t go away — it is still found as a contaminant in water and soil.
Now a team of researchers have found it in human blood. What’s more, they’ve identified elevated serum levels of the pesticide in patients with Parkinson’s disease, strongly raising the possibility this specific pesticide is tied in to the development of PD.”
Soil fertility on such land is propped up by a manmade crutch called fertilizer. This fertilizer, which changes the natural fertility cycle into a cycle dependent on the reapplication of fertilizers also turns into a runoff pollutant that enters fresh water courses.
Since streams and rivers are bound for civil populace consumption, we have water treatment facilities. These facilities have their own operating costs, an expense that is roughly kept in check for a while by having non-stop growth of paying recipients.
The majority of consumers only see what they immediately pay. But, that $3.49 loaf of bread was more than just compensation for its production and distribution.
It came at the cost of biodiversity now lost to future generations because their predecessors demanded constant, instant gratification and endless growth to keep prices low. Everyone could have as much of anything as they desired. All they ever saw were some digits on a price tag stuck to a plastic package.
“But in the past three centuries, exponential human population growth has led to a 500% expansion in the extent of cropland and pasture world-wide (see box 1, figure a). In Europe and North America, unchecked agricultural development has already transformed many natural habitats and depleted their biodiversity. Similar transformation is now underway in the tropics, where most of the world’s biodiversity is found, with huge implications for both wildlife populations and ecosystem functioning. Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs), globally important centres of biodiversity, are under above-average threat from agricultural expansion (box 1, figure b). As tropical forests are the predominant natural habitat in EBAs, this tells us that they too are particularly threatened by agriculture.”
Maybe it was the prior centuries of mass deaths from wars and famines that have caused a more destructive humanist overreaction where we are bound for more of the same, but on a global scale.
Unlike so many species that thanks to our careless expansion have recently vanished, mankind was never endangered in the past, leading us to understand our overreaction is irrational.
Following the age of industrialization and emotional panic, world population on its tiny incline suddenly shot straight upward. Now it is clear that excessive food production is not needed for anything and is costing us dearly.
“Over the past 20 years a dramatic transition has altered the diet and health of hundreds of millions of people across the Third World. For most developing nations, obesity has emerged as a more serious health threat than hunger. In countries such as Mexico, Egypt and South Africa, more than half the adults are either overweight (possessing a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher) or obese (possessing a BMI of 30 or higher). In virtually all of Latin America and much of the Middle East and North Africa, at least one out of four adults is overweight.”
The proposed global Carbon Tax to prevent climate change and thus human deaths has been making headlines. This idea is like trimming a tree by clipping only one outer branch.
The trunk, our overproduction of food, is an insane reaction against our fantasy of too many human deaths.
The trunk is where a more effective control mechanism can be applied. One proposal is to apply a tax at the mass industrial food production source and let the damage mitigation flow outward to all points from that primary source point.
The Carbon Tax controls only an end point far from primary sources of output, only adjustable after damage along the way has occurred.
Worse, the Carbon Tax only indirectly impacts, and only after the fact, so many of the symptoms outlined above that are caused by overproducing: pollution, overpopulation, obesity, poisoning people, destruction of the biosphere and the dieoff of species.