Saturday, May 01, 2010

And While I'm At It...

The people who "make the laws" in this country are totally divorced from reality. They have no first-hand experience of the consequences of their self-interested, politically-motivated (in-)actions which are simply designed to maintain their rice bowl at all costs, with no thought given to what happens tomorrow. So long as this basic necessity (how do I best maintain my office and power today?) is met, who gives a crap what the Proles think? So long as they pay their taxes and vote the right way in elections, and their emotions can be appealed to, they're not important. When the Proles finally discover they've been had, the reaction is not to reconcile them or change tactics, but instead to insult them by calling them racists, Nazis and ignorant clods. Which is not far from what they think about us in the first place. The Political Class then wonders why it gets nasty voice mails and death threats, and are --in poll-after-poll -- rated as just slightly-less-popular than Ebola.

The Ruling Classes of the United States are under the mistaken impression that they Know Better. This Paternalism comes in two flavors: For Your Own Good (Republicans) and For All Our Sakes (Democrats), and neither is a very good philosophy, nor is either very amenable to modification. In years past, this was not a difficult system to maintain, as the lines of communication and dissemination were restricted, and often bought-and-sold adjuncts of either party. Not so now with the explosion of the Internet, blogging, cell phones, and Social Networking.

The technical ignorance (not to mention the reduced mental capacity) of the Rulers is astounding. The People of Official Washington still live in the technical atmosphere of the 20th Century, while the rest of us have advanced into the 21st. We are more aware, as they become less so. It explains much of the recent dissent (which used to be patriotic before it was directed at a man who represents the greatest hopes and aspirations of a formerly-oppressed minority who can't keep race out of anything he does -- then it's somehow blatantly unfair) and much of the apparent disconnect between Governor and Governed. We know what they do now; the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle make this possible, but the politicians have not seemed to grasp this fact, and it gives us Regular Folks access to the weapons which no ideology or government can withstand; Facts and the ability to disseminate, organize around them, and focus attention upon them...quickly. This is the virtue of the New Technology that they haven't grasped; it makes mass political movements -- and the ability to change the habits and activities of government -- possible in a way that the Old Methods could never hope to achieve. This why Tea Parties are "dangerous bigots" and why state laws against illegal immigration are akin to "Apartheid and Jim Crow". The New Technology, and the ability to organize political movements with it threatens the Statist view of the purpose of government, and their rank within it.

It's my belief that had Chinese dissidents been equipped with cellphones, portable video cameras and the Internet that Tiannamen Square could never have happened, and the China might actually be a fledgling democracy rather than a dictatorship in Capitalist clothing right now. Why do you think the Chinese government hates Google so much?

This inability to recognize and reconcile the effects of New Technology is perhaps the sole reason why politicians keep trying the same tried-and-failed "solutions" to the same, persistent problems they never "solved" the first seventeen times around, always convinced of the (eventual) efficacy of their efforts. In a world of greatly expanded communications, their channels still only go one way -- outwards from the center of power. You only have to notice that in a day and of age of ubiquitous cameras, microphones and instantaneous debate on the Internet, that most politicians seem to forget themselves (an awful lot) and say the stupidest things over open mikes or in snippets that wind up on YouTube, which serve to give insight to us all about their innermost feelings and attitudes. It's the reason why the President of the United States can announce his hostility to Capitalism and Economic Freedom by saying "at some point, you've made enough money...", and half the country knows about it three minutes later. Not only does half the country know about it within three minutes, but they're debating it in chatrooms and forums on ten thousand platforms, and posting their defenses or refutations in a million blogs! And that Regal Pronouncement was made at a carefully-staged event where SWAT teams were called in to keep protesters at bay, presumably a 'safe" place for President Odickhead to chat with some of his most rabid cohorts and confidantes.

It's as if they assumed that every camera and microphone in the room was on their side --and accounted for -- and that these snapshots of Obama's stupidity would never leak out of the hermetically-sealed room. This inability to get any "feedback" from the greater public -- or more accurately the inability to listen to and interpret dissent when it makes itself known -- results in a ruling class which finds itself absolutely stunned that The People resent and reject the unchecked immigration, government bailouts, vast expansions of bureaucracy and a chilling vision of the future in which Private Property and Free Markets no longer exist. This vision is absolutely vital to the Political Class' continued survival -- the Parties play off each other in a Pro-and-Con arrangement in a ballet of power, voting blocs and campaign contributions which can only work when both sides are able to control the means of communication -- but which does not serve any greater public good. They are simultaneously aware of what they're doing, and unaware that anyone is watching. This new paradigm perplexes and vexes them to no end, and their only retreat is back into their cocoon, an the cycle of Bad Government Run By Bad People continues apace.

Many of the issues we face today are not so much about Right vs. Left or Pro- vs. Anti-, as much as they are about communication. One side of the Great Debates of Our Day -- the people who pay the taxes and supply the votes which support the political structure -- are not entirely certain the Other Side is hearing what they say, or worse, is quite happy to go on ignoring their wishes and concerns. You can pick from a multitude of reasons why this is; They don't care. There's too much money in Washington to be made. Ideology. Stupidity. Politics. All of the Above.

I'm reminded of an old saying (the origin of which I can't recall) that states -- paraphrasing -- that if YOU refuse to engage in politics, you will be ruled by those who will engage in it. Politics is perhaps the dirtiest and basest of all human endeavors, because at it's foundation, it involves the ability to manipulate and coerce people, often against their wills. It's become clear that those who will engage in politics are far from being the best and brightest people available and we're now ruled by a class of craven, manipulative people possessed of a bulletproof-stupidity, an unwillingness to listen to what The Rest of Us are saying, and an arrogance that can only come from complete separation from the greater part of society, and which blames us when their failures run full-circle.

This bunch of idiots -- people who live and die by the methods and ideas of the past, who seem more concerned with their personal status and comfort, who couldn't find their own asses with both hands and a flashlight on a good day -- have almost succeeded in creating a system wherein every activity you engage in has a political significance; filling up your gas tank, mowing your own lawn, what your children are taught in school, what you buy or sell, right down to the very food you eat and what medical care you should be entitled to, is somehow controlled, directed, taxed, sanctioned or prohibited by some layer of government.

Somewhere in all of these processes, Government has a hand -- mostly because it gave itself permission to do so while you were not looking. This has been achieved by both parties for their own, often contradictory, reasons. They have taken away, in many cases, your right of choice -- and we're not talking about "Choice" in the sense that you have the right to an abortion as Birth Control of Last Resort as an adjunct to a hedonistic and irresponsible lifestyle, but your right to decide for yourself, on any subject. The few true freedoms you have left are already in their crosshairs. We have the Right, and the Means, to ensure that it doesn't progress any further, and beyond that, to begin to reverse the process by which we're all discounted, ignored and abused by an unresponsive and irresponsible government run by the least productive and self-obsessed.

We have this power because we're all firmly grounded in reality. We're all talking to each other, and exchanging ideas. We're holding those in power to account. We're organizing and informing ourselves with the new technologies which the Politicians don't fully understand (and which they don't yet control, but they're working on it!), and we're making sure that even the meekest amongst us has a way to express their opinions, and find like-minded individuals for mutual support. In the 1960's/70's, these were the activities of the Political Left. Today, they are the activities of the Political Center, and the Not-Really-Political-Just-Really-Pissed-Off. What the Flower-Power-Stop-The-War-Impeach-Nixon crowd hoped to achieve back then, is now technically feasible, but it's now being directed in a more positive direction (the great flaw of the ideological and political movements of the Left of Days-Gone-By is that they were all, without exception, about negatives) by advocating on behalf of the Great Middle.

Just my $0.02.

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