They come out to play, when the coast is clear, like mice, scavenging in the dark, seeing what there is to find, encouraged by the lack of light.
Clattering across counter tops, drumming tiny claws on hard surfaces. Leaving traces of themselves, as they go.
Many fear them. Some are fascinated by them. A few care for them, realizing that they, too, are a part of whatever it is that goes on, all around them, all the time, even while they sleep.
What happens to all those hours, days, weeks and years, that once were, but are no more? Where do they go when they are no longer now? Do they live on, somehow, or are they extinct, like vast dinosaurs, whose fossilized bones remind and strike awe into the unsuspecting?
All those things you might have done, but didn’t. All those people, whose lives you might have touched, but chose not to. Those women you might have loved, but were afraid to, imagining rejection. The chances that lay there, waiting for the bravery that you didn’t have. Now all that remains are the memories of vague regret at things that might have been, but never were.
When was the last time you got up, too early, in the knowledge that this was going to ruin your day, filled yourself with coffee, in the vain hope it might help you function, while knowing it wasn’t going to, and by eleven o’ clock, you were going to seriously regret this foolhardy decision?
When was the last time you sat in the grey light of the pre-dawn, wondering how many more dawns were going to be yours, to see?
When was the last time a curious mouse skittered up to see you, and you simply let it, without doing something to, or with it?
A life, even inexpertly lived, is a long, long thing, indeed. It is nothing like “too short”, as is so often claimed. Too short for this, too short for that, when really, it is nothing of the sort. It is, in fact, eternal, and even at its very shortest, is exactly long enough. For what? you wonder. For living, comes the reply. Since living is not a length-of-time-dependent thing. It is life, for as long, or as short as it is life. Leaving only the question of what it is when it goes away.
There is a gateway, between this world, and the next. Between this life, and the next. Cunningly designed and constructed, so that none may pass, who remain unprepared. And life is this preparation. Just long enough. Are you preparing for your inevitable rendezvous? Don’t worry. You have time. Always just enough of it. But be sure to do it, before that time is passed. Because, although there is never any hurry, it is a one-off deal.
Do, or die.
Have you learned, yet, to face what comes? To exceed the urge to panic, and run? To relinquish control, in the face of the uncontrollable? Can you do that? You’ll need to.
You’ll stand, one day, at the gateway, where the identity-crusher waits. Will you face it down, calmly, or will you run, screaming, begging for mercy, desperately hoping to wake up? What will you do when you discover that, this time, it is not a dream?
The eye of the needle. Anyone can squeeze through it. Like a mackerel through a net. As long as they are prepared. As long as they have shed their identity. Their ego. And submitted to reality. As long as they have become the life they live, rather than running counter to it.
The ghosts of the early morning.
There to be met with, chatted to, shared with, once in a while.
There for a reason. Like it, or not.
Good, bad, beautiful and ugly: all things to all men.
The lives we lived, still present, like the tail of a comet.
Never catching up, but never left behind.
Our modern social systems all begin with democracy, and democracy has a fundamental problem: it is based on popularity with humans, and not reality.
Where an individual leader can become deluded some of the time, a group can be deluded nearly all of the time, simply because as social creatures we want to believe what our friends want to be true is true.
With enough people together, as in a committee, a socially coercive force emerges called politics. Will my friends still like me if I vote this way, or that way? Will I stand out enough to attract friends, mates and business partners if I vote for the same stuff others do?
Even more, popularity rules us through what people purchase. If you want an A+ grade product, and 51% of the market is satisfied by a C+ grade product, the C+ grade is what will be the norm and the A+, if it exists, will be a luxury and cost proportionately more.
In addition to this basic conceit, there are at least two major problems with popularity-based systems:
- Recognition. The voters/buyers only approve of what they recognize, and they only recognize what they already understand. Anything beyond the capacity of the majority might as well exist on another planet, because it’s moonman speak to them.
- False assessment. In order to make a hierarchy of ability that is recognized by the crowd, such societies rely on tests and measurements that generally assess your ability to take the test, not to do the job itself.
The result is a massive dumbing-down where the realistic range of necessary possibilities is reduced to a simplistic, one-dimensional surrogate because that is palatable to voters/buyers.
Most governments now achieve this through public schooling. They reason that school should address the needs of a mythical “average” student, and create a lowest common denominator out of that and force everyone to conform to that low standard.
The result is walking zombies who throw around words like logical, science, rational, clearly, etc. and random scientific facts as if these were in themselves arguments.
On the surface, their goal is to educate and enlighten, but underneath the surface the method is much clearer: eliminate anything above the level that the voters/buyers are comfortable with.
Such a society can fool itself but no one else. While it reduces its own standards, and produces its new elites, these elites aren’t actually elites. They’re just socially elite.
As always in the barnyard, the herd takes a vote, declares itself to be reality, and uses that new “official” designation to do whatever it wanted to in the first place, creating a disaster that takes a long time to detonate.
They always blame someone else. In the beginning, they blame the most visible enemy; in the end, they blame paranoid conspiracies. It is by this method that great empires pass into irrelevance.
If the right-wing has a fatal flaw, it is that it is not an external ideology but an internal one.
External ideologies are a series of logical statements that you approve of, and assume that their results are identical to what they say their goals are. Such as “all people should be equally, so we’ll use law to make them equal, and then they will be equal.”
Internal ideologies are based on a desire for good results, which requires understanding of (a) a sense of what is good (b) how reality works and (c) the consequences of any given act. They are far more complex than external ideologies, although you’ll never hear that from external ideologues!
The right-wing is composed of different people who arrive at the same conclusion through experience, gut feeling or inherent outlook. They don’t trust external ideologies because such things are inherent control mechanisms, like advertising, propaganda and social fictions.
The left-wing, on the other hand, is composed of people who are united in their obedience to a certain simple idea. They all believe in absolute equality of the individual wherever possible, and naturally “possible” gets stretched farther than is realistic.
Liberalism/leftism (all degrees of the same: anarchism, Democrats, socialism, Communism) are eternally popular because they pitch an idea which has universal appeal.
This idea is victimhood. It starts by saying: you should be able to do whatever you want. However, what limits you in that is not reality itself, but those who interpret reality for you, namely kings, institutions, experts, police, etc. Therefore, these people are mean and horrible, and they owe you a living, and you should fight them so that everyone is equal and has the same free living.
Its secondary manifestations are all the issues we’re familiar with: socialized medicine (free care), no national borders (free movement), sexual liberation, welfare and entitlements, unionization, lots of rules to protect the little guy, etc.
If you oppose any of these things, it’s because you’re a meanie.
If you say something they disagree with, it’s wrong and stupid and they don’t have to listen.
It’s back to schoolyard ethics: everybody needs to find a gang of friends who will support them, and if anything happens to any one member of the gang, the people who did it are wrong and the whole gang will attack.
And they call us tribalists!
The leftist victimhood idea is totally polarizing. You are either for it, or against it. If you’re not for it, you will be socially ostracized by those who support it. Worse, it proselytizes; its converts are rewarded for making new converts. Those will only include other converts in their reindeer games. Thus it spreads like a cancer.
Opposing this chaos is difficult because no realistic ideas are as simple as external ideologies. Despite all the secondary issues, leftist voters are single-issue voters in a yes/no context. Does this plan increase individual equality? If not, destroy it.
The right is fragmented because it is composed of many different viewpoints, for whom any one particular issue is not polarizing, and thus like all majorities it is slower to mobilize and vulnerable to attack from the more radically polarized single-issue voters:
In the theories that fail Olson’s test the fact that it would be in the collective interest of some group to have a particular result, even counting the costs of providing the result, is turned into the assumption that it would be in the interest of each individual in the group to bear the individual costs of contributing to the group’s collective provision. If the group has an interest in contributing to provision of its good, then individual members are (sometimes wrongly) assumed to have an interest in contributing. – “The Free Rider Problem,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
In cases of external ideology, the voters are unified on that issue; in cases of internal ideology, what the voters want is indefinable, which is a certain type of civilization or way of life, and this cannot be quantified in issues; it’s a whole.
The result is that the external ideologues chip away at this whole by attacking it through “issues” that they deconstruct and isolate from their immediate and long term consequences on the whole.
Individuals deserve this, they claim, and to oppose it is to “hate” those individuals. And if it causes a way of life to fall apart, a culture to be destroyed? Not on their radar and they’ll use their individual freedom to refuse to admit its validity or even parse it. They will push it away like a threatening thought.
If you wondered why failed societies tended to grow powerful, grow smart, grow technology advanced, grow humanistic and then implode, leaving behind third-world kleptocracies whose leaders are straight out of Idiocracy, now you know.
For those of us on the right to succeed, we need to get behind our equivalent of a single-issue: we want an internal ideology, which is our enjoyment of a lifestyle.
I suggest we use the keyword Mayberry, after the fictional town in the Andy Griffith show. It’s the classic American (and European) ideal: innocent, natural, honest, moral and proud.
We want, independent of technology, a certain way of life: family-centric, traditional morals, sanctity of life, conservation of nature, skepticism toward human notions, reverence for the eternal, and an incentive to challenge ourselves personally so we grow morally, intellectually, spiritually and physically.
This returns us to the question of this writing. The left is unified on a single issue, and the right tends to fragment when opposing them. We pick too many different candidates, where they have one. We have too many different issues, where they have one. When it comes time to vote, they all do the same thing, and we do not, thus they get a plurality.
There are people now who are telling you that voting is useless, like checking six of one versus half-dozen of another. Others insist that you vote for Ron Paul or other fringe candidates who are admirable but don’t have a whole platform. Still others think you should drop out and do nothing and wait for the collapse.
My response is simple: vote for whatever candidate is closer to Mayberry, and then put the pressure on that candidate to go increasingly in that direction.
Mitt Romney and the GOP have already responded to Ron Paul by adopting many of his ideas, as they’ve responded to social conservatives and paleoconservatives by adopting Paul Ryan as his running mate, and now they’re about to respond to paleoconservatives and nationalists.
They won’t do that if paleoconservatives and nationalists threaten to fragment the vote. Instead, paleoconservatives and nationalists need to get behind the Republican party, put a respectable face on their beliefs, and demonstrate how these beliefs offer a better way of life to the majority.
This strategy is currently working for Marine Le Pen, and it works everywhere we try it. Anything else — extremism, drop-outism, fragmentation, radicalism — has failed everywhere it has been tried. Our opponents don’t want us to realize this, and send people among us to encourage factionalism and disunity.
If you want triumph this election, realize that it will not come on a plate. You need to find what is closest to it, promote that, and then in the next election, get even closer. Anything else is giving up before the fight.
The best way to win an argument is to poison your opposition with assumptions.
After an assumption is introduced, all future discussion is limited by what that assumption suggests is the truth. Where you were debating the whole field, now you’re debating how to apply the assumption.
It is so in academia, media, social settings and politics with the assumption of human equality.
We assume that all people are equal, and therefore if someone is poor or criminal, a social institution or policy was at fault. Maybe they just didn’t have enough money and that did it.
By saying that, we insult every person who has fallen on hard times and not let their lives fall apart or turned to criminality.
Even more, however, is that we permanently pare down the argument. We prune it to being a discussion of the equality of people and its violation, not the possible causes for behavior.
It’s a sneaky way of controlling minds without any tinfoil-hat style technologies. When you have a public voice, use it to insist on some assumptions which will then control all debates afterward.
Unsurprisingly this has a calcifying effect on political discussion. The two sides are literally talking about different things; one side is discussing the assumption while the other side hasn’t figured out the assumption yet. That lets them be mocked for not knowing the insider knowledge.
Instead of facing this problem, politicians try to change other others’ assumptions with memetic jihads that do little except obscure the issue.
This pushes the two sides closer to open combat, without either one having understood the other. Even as they think they win, the frustration of a controlled debate makes a violent collision certain.
American schools receive a ton of money and produce few useful results.
In fact, they seem to be cranking out inflated grades and zombie students. And it’s not cheap: the US spends more per student than any other industrialized nation, but its students rank 9th and 10th in math and science.
Depending on who you ask, you will get plenty of reasons as to why our schools are not succeeding. Some will point out that our schools for the gifted and motivated are doing quite well.
Others will point at ethnic data. The liberals will blame the Creationists, and the Creationists will blame atheists. Many will blame teachers or administrative bloat.
A simpler analysis this: the US educational system is failing because it has a confused goal.
It is too many things to too many people. To most parents, it’s free daycare. To sociologists, it’s a way to keep kids off the streets. To others it’s a chance for government subsidy to right social wrongs. Many view it as a force for equality.
What is missing is a simple statement like “our goal is to offer education to those who can take advantage of it.”
If we switch to that statement, our current policies start to become ludicrous.
First, there is no longer a reason to keep everyone in school. Keep the kids in school who want to learn, and get the others to non-academic instruction in the chores and pitfalls of life.
Second, don’t teach to the lowest ability kids in the class. Push everyone to higher levels. Teach to a level of achievement, not a level of compromise.
Finally, get rid of all the do-gooder policies, unions, bureaucracy and other parasites that have sprung up in the absence of a clear goal. Put that money back into classroom time.
Teaching methods would also have to change. Get rid of the detail memorization and what-are-your-feelings type stuff that has appeared since the 1970s.
Replace it with challenging lessons that reward problem-solving and analysis. Recognize that not every student can do this, and for those that cannot, give them facts and some ability to interpret.
Throw out all those propaganda-laden textbooks and replace them with well-written reality-based books.
Stop teaching the wrong stuff, which is always trite fodder designed to make a social point. Stop teaching via the social method, where students use each other as resources. Stop teaching so that those who memorize the bulk of the details come out on top.
As a result, school will be competitive again. There will be a goal and a plan, not four-year segments of incarceration in boredom. We already know our current schools don’t work, so let’s experiment.
Beware prevailing wisdom because it’s rarely wisdom. The reason it is prevailing is that there’s an urgent need to make it official, because it won’t actually last.
What’s happening is that people are using it to draw attention to themselves, because it’s the trend of the moment, which makes them de facto temporary sociopaths who have put truth and the best interests of their subject secondary to their own enrichment. This is a common human failing.
The prevailing wisdom among the Republican party and the Christian faith is that “new converts” can be made by approaching the Other Side with a hybrid of its beliefs and your own.
Eternal wisdom says instead that doing so is suicide.
Think it through: the Other Side disagree with what makes you what you are. They already have what they are. If you mix the two, you offer them an additional burden (what you are) in addition to an adulterated form of what they want (what they are).
Churches incorporate rock music, drift leftward and endorse liberal issues, and try to essentially be secular and liberal instead of mystical and conservative.
But at that point, they’re dead in the water. I can get secular and liberal from McDonald’s or Obama, without the burden of having to think about morality and my soul. Pass the fries.
The more Christianity has drifted to the left in order to “stay relevant,” the more it has lost the people who are its bedrock: young middle-class families.
In the same way, the more the Republicans have drifted leftward in order to “reach the young,” the more it has lost the people who are its bedrock: 20-and-30-something families that are interested in building prosperous lives for themselves.
By appealing to the “new” audience, the Republicans and Christians signal to their faithful that they are being abandoned. In addition, the new audience will never buy it, because they already have what they want with fewer obligations.
Even more troubling is that by reversing your position, or appearing to while hiding it behind your back, is to signal that you are dishonest. It’s the equivalent of saying “just kidding” or performing a bait-and-switch sales job, and is recognizably dishonest from a distance.
A Republican party that offers gay marriage and welfare is in effect cloning the platform of the democratic party, thus makes itself irrelevant to people who vote Republican while offering nothing new to Democratic voters, who already have Democrats.
In the same way, turning a church service into a rock concert fails because it drives away those who are fleeing the madness and want something for the whole family to enjoy, while failing to attract those who’d rather just go to a rock concert — there’s no message of troubling transcendence of individualism there.
The mindset of Democracy — pandering, manipulation, deception and flattery — is anathema to any conservative. It’s easy to see through and seems ridiculous at its core. However, because they don’t understand it, Republicans and Christians bungle it.
What they need is to realize why people like them in the first place, and to unite all of those people on what they like and use that as a weapon against the masses. We don’t want to take over; we want a place for our people (think: Moses).
People like religion because it is the antithesis to valueless, material, I’m-OK-you’re-OK society. Religion says there is a reason to live a moral life and that it offers a reward of peace of soul.
People like Republicans because they offer solid functionality and a family-oriented values system. This includes facing hard truths like the fact that world peace will never exist, war and poverty will always be with us, and that the best thing to do is salvage the good and push away the bad.
These are not simplistic moral systems. For simplistic moral systems, try the “there is no truth, everything is OK, there are no consequences” of egalitarian progressivism.
However these are comprehensive worldviews. They cut through the chatter and chaos, and give people a reason to live as their instinct says they should. This is the audience to whom Republicans and Christians should appeal.
The data back up this statement, since everywhere the prevailing wisdom takes over, Republicans and Christians pander, and lose out because liberals already have everything they want in liberalism. Thus the numbers decline.
Conservatives need to accept that we are the underdogs in this fight, and to stick together on the basis of what we agree on, not what we wish we could believe in order to be popular with the deranged masses.
“And everything is free!”
This is usually how government programs and extra services from corporations are explained.
Sign up for this program, get free welfare; it’s free. Get a free toaster. You can always come back for a free consultation.
Like the best lies, the word “free” relies on an ambiguous definition. Free as in easy, as in natural, as in no restrictions or as in you can do it without interference? And to what degree?
Obviously, nothing is truly free. Everything you do creates consequences. All things must have costs. Free means — well, whatever they want it to mean, and whatever they can get you to think it means before you sign the dotted line.
Let’s put it this way: no great advertising campaign ever worked by making sure you were fully informed. They work by creating visions in your head that are better than what is actually delivered. That way you buy and, with your vision unfulfilled, come back to buy more to hope to reach the vision next time. It’s like gambling, drug addiction or fishing.
Over time, you find out that nothing is free.
The free toaster is to lure you in to sign up for a bank account, which then charges you fees that would buy you 100 toasters over the course of a year. The free consultation is free in that you listen to advertising for free under the guise of helping you. The free government social program is paid for out of tax money, which then can’t pay for other things.
That’s the crux of the issue: nothing is free, because the money could have gone to something else.
Life is a zero-sum game. Until there is infinite free energy, and infinite free resources, there will be a need to make choices. Even with infinite free everything, there’s a more precious resource — time — which forces us to make choices. For anyone but the gods, life is a coercive system designed to force you to make choices and make them right the first time.
There are two types of cost.
There is direct cost, where something costs you money in the relative short term. When you trade the toaster for high service fees, this is an example.
Then there’s socialized cost. When you vote for a “free” government program, the cost of it is distributed among all of us as taxes.
It seems insignificant, in that it’s usually $7 to any one citizen, if you divide the cost of the program by the number of taxpayers. But almost half of the population pays no taxes, and a good deal more pay very minimal taxes, so the cost is higher. But even that is not the point.
As said above, the point is that taxes are a zero-sum game. If you vote in a program to paint the toenails of postal employees, the money spent on that can’t go to education, the military, or even what many of us feel is its best use, which is back into the pockets of those who know how to create wealth, products, services or leadership. (They then distribute this money more intelligently than the average.)
Other choices also incur socialized cost. Drug-taking, prostitution, gambling, and rehabilitating criminals may seem like victimless crimes. Until you realize that each time these happen, society loses the chance to have something else: stability, happy families, well-adjusted people, freedom from constant recidivism.
In life, by the nature of time and space, every choice represents a choice not taken.
Free programs aren’t “free,” but a choice to avoid other uses for that money, including not raising taxes and not taking it out of you.
Imagine living in a place that recognized this unlike most democracies. Government would be pared down to its basic functions. There would be no welfare or social programs. Activities that cost money or distribute cost to others would eliminated. Those who commit crimes would be exiled. Those who want to engage in behavior that doesn’t support a family-centric, conservative lifestyle would have to go elsewhere.
The result is that the residents would pay very low taxes, have no parasites around them, and be able to pursue the lifestyle that they like most majorities are interested in — normal, wholesome, productive living — without being interrupted by the dysfunction that societies create, and the subsidies that government uses to keep dysfunction alive.
It’s a tempting vision and a realistic one. But many people, usually neurotic, oppose it because they fear it will hurt someone. Hurt who? Someone productive, or a parasite? And why would you argue for a parasite, unless you see it in your self-interest to have parasites? I don’t imagine the host wants fleas, but I’m certain the fleas want the host to have fleas.
Nothing is free. But some people want us to think that some things are free. To what end? Are they host, or parasite?
There are no facts, only interpretations; a wise man once said this.
What is an interpretation?
It can be many things, but the most basic type of interpretation is how much information you include in your decision-making.
If you “boil down” a situation to one or two factors, it gets easier to make a choice, but you run a greater risk of unintended outcomes or band long-term aggregate results.
One great example comes to us from the auto industry, which sometime in the 1970s began manufacturing specialized “donut” spare tires.
Instead of including a full-size wheel and tired as an extra, the car companies “saved” money and reduced costs by specially manufacturing smaller, flimsier spares.
On the surface, and if we’re only looking at a single factor, this is a great decision. $10 saved per million cars sold adds up to quite a bit of money. Over time, it’s a massive fortune.
There’s also science behind it. Most people never get flats. If they do, they’re usually close to home and the places they normally go for tire repair. Also, people like paying less for cars.
In every detail, it’s correct to use a donut spare. Most people do not notice. It saves money and space. Your average person doesn’t care whether they have a full spare or not.
That’s one perspective, or interpretation. Another says we should look at not as few factors as possible, but as many. We want to look at them all simultaneously.
Possibly we could describe this point of view as the “whole experience” outlook. What is the whole experience of the end user? What is the whole experience of society by having this product in its midst?
Although most people do not get flats, when someone does, it’s a bit of an unreal shock because they’ve pushed the possibility out of their head.
If their experience begins with a donut spare, they will remember it badly. These tires are so flimsy and miserable that they require you to stop what you’re doing and go immediately to a tire repair.
From the whole perspective, the experience of the individual with a donut spare is alienating and negative, in part because at that moment the decision to save $10 on a fake spare will seem absurd. The experience of civilization at large is that discontent, rage and ill will spread and people distrust industry even more.
The whole approach takes into account many more factors over a greater span of time. The surface assessment, that uses as few factors as possible, predicts immediate results only in the context of the factors it concerns itself with.
In this sense, it is the result of deconstruction. As good post-modernists, we “deconstruct” objects, ideas and people by removing them from their context and breaking apart their factors, then looking at those one at a time.
As the whole view shows us however deconstruction separates us from reality as it is, which is a broader and deeper experience. The numbers make sense on our spreadsheets, and science tells us to go ahead, and yet something is missing.
That something is not a part of the whole, or a forgotten factor, but the whole itself: the connection between all the parts that reveals the hidden form behind the manifestation we know as physical form.
Our society misses out every day as its deconstructed ideas make people more alienated, distrustful and resentful. In addition, we miss out on a greater experience of life we might enjoy.
People think of the world through a one-way filter in which whatever they want is most important, and everything else comes secondary.
As a result they are blind, deaf and dumb to the thought that the increase in their “rights” — a marketing term, like “maintenance-free” — will also displace someone else’s right to something beyond the individual.
For example, many of us would like a return to an America from a healthier time. Nuclear families, socially conservative values, a world presence that reflected a moral not political goal field, and generally quiet living.
As one pundit put it, “More Mayberry, and less Gotham.” Say no to the dystopia pre-apocalyptic wasteland, and embrace the boring and stable society that was like a canvas for us to create vivid lives within.
The modern leftist — no, it’s at a lower level than leftism. The modern hive-mind lynch mob popularity herd wants to obliterate any discussion except that which gives more things to the individual.
These people want the individual to make choices without oversight, for self-gratification only, without regard to consequences beyond a narrow legal sense. This gives the individual ultimate freedom.
However, this assumes that the individual needs the option to do just about anything. The fact is that most people do similar stuff, as they have for centuries, because that stuff is a reasonable adaptation to the demands of being human.
The freedom we want is the ability to have families, live well, learn from life and develop ourselves.
The crowd fools us into thinking that, in the name of the 0.10% of people with anomalous needs, we need absolute freedom so that we can feel like our lives have possibility.
In reality, we don’t need any of that, and most of us will move away from people exercising “freedom” in ways that conflict with our biological and social roles.
There’s an argument that we need liberty, which is non-interference by people who know less than we do about what we’re doing, but that mostly requires getting parasites off our backs. Bureaucrats, unions, nannies, anti-smoking activists.
In the name of freedom the modern hive-mind sends us on a one way street toward more permissiveness, fewer standards, and less social organization. This displaces those of us who see our lifestyle as contingent upon a stable civilization that supports our values system.
Imagine two people. One wants a society where the individual can do anything. The other wants a society where the individual gives up unnecessary possibilities in exchange for a stable life so that the individual can get to know himself/herself, and grow in the most important ways, which are all internal and occur through nothing more complex than meditation, prayer, idle moment woolgathering, you name it.
These two people are incompatible. If either gets what he or she wants, that will displace what the other person wants. Our society accepts the one-way road to permissiveness, so we’re accustomed to see the first person’s demands as rational and the second person’s demand as fascist and evil.
While our government and liberal media spend their time chasing after various tiny groups to make sure that their rights are represented and tax dollars spent on sustaining them, middle America has a different agenda.
These are the people who keep our nation strong. They lead at their jobs and in having stable families. People look up to them.
Their idea is something like this: they will “tolerate” another person’s desire for a permissive society. But not everywhere. Middle America still wants its Mayberries for itself because that’s what it likes.
Its goal is not to exclude others, but to exclude itself. Let others have their permissive and exciting world. Middle America wants its quiet existence.
However, it has been displaced by the notion that only more permissiveness is moral, fair and acceptable. As middle America realizes that “tolerance” is a keyword for its own elimination, watch this oblivious attitude get replaced by a strong vigilance.
Like ballet dancers on a frozen lake, we often have no idea how sturdy the support under us really is.
In the case of modern society, we rely on thousands if not millions of transactions daily to be consistent. Even more, we rely on the presence of a social order: rules, identity and shared purpose that keeps our society from fracturing along the lines of internal divisions.
As if it were a jumbo jet, our civilization stays in the air because all of its parts work together. When even a small part becomes discoordinated, the whole thing can come crashing down in a ball of fire. Or just end up 500 miles of course, seeking a destination it will never find.
We trust that the parts are held together by enlightened self-interest. Everyone wants to be free; everyone wants to be comfortable; as a result, they act in predictable ways. This is only correct for as long as people believe in the value of what they’re doing.
However, such assumptions create a fragmentation of behavior. Comfort and self-interest become mundane, so people fetishize risk and the outlandish. Even worse, such minimal shared values allow people a blank slate on which to project their neuroses.
As a result, we have a society that (a) on the surface is stable, harmonious and thriving and (b) underneath the surface is bored, perverse and frustrated.
There are periodic hiccups.
Sometimes, it’s a school shooting; other times a murder-homicide, or particularly inventive suicide. The people we think of as strapped in to a system of compulsion and reward may in fact self-destruct.
In the same way the institutions and processes we trust to be consistent are illusions. Police departments are run by human beings who can have bias and err. Scientific studies are commissioned by wealthy backers to find results, and adjusted until they do.
The guy who pumps our gas or makes our food is only as consistent as his own stability. His girlfriend breaks up with him, a life tragedy happens, or he simply gets mad at his job, and he may turn on us.
People we walk among in crowds: what are their stories? Some are sociopaths or other dangers. There is no way to see, since all are anonymously equal. For all we know, these people will lash out at any moment.
Our politicians are rich guys who made enough people like them to get elected.
Employees are barely vetted at most employers. They call a reference, skim the resume, and hope it’s true. The guy helping you try on shoes may be a murderer, or worse.
Most government employees took a test and had agents ask questions of neighbors. No one actually knows them. And yet we rely on them and their private counterparts for an array of services.
Behind the scenes, oligarchs and organized crime divide up the spoils. Government buys votes with benefits programs. Leaders in remote nations pander to their constituents as well, sometimes leading to advanced irrigation and sometimes to holy war.
To seem confident, personally important and interesting, we must walk through this world as if it were stable. Yet it is not. It is inherently unstable and yet is excellent at covering up that instability.
However, to act as if it were stable is to indulge in a waking dream. We want to do it; we want to believe that everything will turn out OK, so we ignore problems and project our emotions onto life itself.
In the back of our minds a contrary thought blooms, no matter how many times we try to suppress it. We do not live among stability; it is an illusion. Again will come the day when we must fight to achieve stability, no matter how afraid we are.