Saturday, September 22, 2007

I think we're the frog.

Many people have heard the story/parable about the putting a frog in boiling water (it jumps out) versus placing a frog in cool water and slowly heating it (it stays in and dies). It is a fable, and has been shown to be false. If the story or its debunking are unfamiliar to you, use "the Google".

I'm not going to (re)(umpteenth)-tread the 'U.S. public as frog', 'insidious forces that are eroding our "inalienable rights" as boiling water' analogy, it's been done to death and really, Doin' it to Death is the purview of James Brown.

"But you said we were the frog, now you're not going to speak on that? Where is our 'funky good time'?"

Keep reading.

There is no frog. A lot of people have heard of the frog, people use the frog to get still more people to agree with them about certain issues, and the frog gets a new group of people to disseminate it into yet more minds. But the frog is a story that's false. That is why we're the frog.

There is no us (or U.S.). A lot of people have heard of us, people use us to get still more people to agree with them about certain issues, and we get a new group of people to disseminate us into yet more minds. But we're a story that's false.


Go back to school (no, really, go learn more; but for now, keep reading) in your mind. Hopefully around the sixth grade and through the rest of grade school (12th grade) you started learning how the U.S. government works. For this section I'm not going back before sixth grade because the 'information' you receive prior can essentially be boiled down to 'we kick ass' and 'we're the good guys'. You start learning about the three branches of government, separation of powers, bicameral legislature, The Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, etc... The further you go the more technical the analysis becomes. At some point you get into the Supreme Court cases, you hold mock trials. If you're really fortunate you have class projects that require you to construct a new government and write a new Constitution.

These activities really impress upon you the scope and vision of the people who encoded our laws. They also leave you with a positive feeling that gives you a pseudo-logical reason for accepting your pre-sixth grade conditioning.

Then you are exposed to how our government works in real life. Hopefully you found it abhorrent. I know I thought, "What happened to the graceful execution of reasoned judgment and conflict resolution, or the sense of the historical ramifications of action or inaction?"

On the one hand you have what you've been taught and what you've learned about us, on the other you have what you see us doing.

On the one hand you have the frog that stays in the pot to die, on the other hand you have the frog that jumps out no matter how gradually you heat the water.

Not quite the same image, huh?


Our progenitors were not deific paragons of perfection, they: kept human slaves, actively or passively committed genocide, allowed the robber barons to defraud their way into wealth, and a host of other crimes great and small. Yet, whenever we were at our most tawdry and tarnished, there always seemed to be some person or process that buffed us back into some semblance of luster. Can you imagine the 10th congress spending their time as the 110th congress does?

We might be out of polish.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

No more “time outs”.

First off let me say what I mean by, “time outs”. I’m talking about the process of argument suppression in which one party claims that a discussion is getting too intense and then asserts that stopping the discourse is the only reasonable option. This includes the ‘no religious/political discussion’ rules that you see in different venues (think: your local pub), and the similar conventions (WILLINGLY!) observed at ‘polite’ events and dinner tables all across America (and possibly other earthly places).

We are given this ‘wisdom’ from an early age in the form of admonishments such as: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself”, “I’m not going to argue this with you”, “don’t waste your time with them because they don’t understand”, etc…

This variety of politeness is poisonous. It retards the development of two important life skills: the ability to discover the truth (or at least some reasonable facsimile) through group and/or co-examination of data, and social reconciliation/tolerance/understanding of those who don’t mimic you exactly (you will find this group includes every other human).

What kind of society can you build with a population of socially retarded social primates? A broken one. What kind of government will such a society have? A broken one.

If you never learn how to disagree, you never learn how to compromise. If you never learn how to compromise, then you, by default, live in a, “my way or the highway”, totalitarian reality. We’ve previously visited the polarized mindset so I’ll not repeat that. I’ll just ask, if you live in a totalitarian reality, how could you let anyone else live any other way? You can’t. You’ll either vote for people who represent your totalitarian views, or, if you’re FORTUNE(ate) [yeah I’m saying if you’re wealthy enough] to be in a position to actually dictate policy, you’ll attempt to make manifest your totalitarian reality.

While that concept doesn’t fit your image of a democracy, a republic, or even a democratic republic, I bet it does fit various Democratic and/or Republican agendas you’ve witnessed and experienced.

Now, ask yourself again why our legislature (really our government as a whole) can continuously fail to enact even the simplest and most obvious courses of positive action.