The Other

scorchedearth89We stand upon the scorched and crushed ashes of cultures and societies and call it civilization. We call it progress and cherish it. We glory in the sanitation of our surroundings. The identification, segregation and ultimate elimination of the OTHER is the inertial and celebrated goal of civilization, our’s being simply the latest iteration. And nothing good will come of it. All of our potential good offerings to the world will ultimately come to naught as we breathe our last breath of defiance against the wickedness that lays at the heart of humanity. (more…)

The Need To Ditch The Me First Syndrome

Without distinctions, without declarative and vigorously defended ideologies and traditions, there can be no diversity and by consequence, no dialogue either of the intramural sort or the kind one imagines should carry on between parties of diverse opinion and position in a society of intellectual rigor.

But those are things which matter little when your ears itch. You need it scratched and quickly. (more…)

We Are Engaged In A Great Civil War

I think that all political conservatives should hate, I mean HATE, Abraham Lincoln with an abiding passion. The kind of contempt and furious anger that Rush Limbaugh has when his oxy dealer is out of town. But it isn’t a hatred born and fueled by racism, though that is certainly mixed in the clay, it should come from the realization of what the actualization of these words would look like, (more…)

Prospects For Democracy

The Internet is an odd edifice, sort of a public square that only exist insofar and as long as we will it. It isn’t real in the traditional sense, it doesn’t require presence, attendance and yet it remains there, somewhere in the ephemeral ether of caffeine and insomnia fueled consciousness. We log in and out, completely unaware that we are participating in the life, death, and internetrebirth of society, community and democracy itself. The internet is our Zen moment and the point at which our mortality strikes with all the same force that the dawning of the nuclear age struck our predecessors. Everything. Has. Changed. (more…)

Nice Observation

In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy. (more…)

Zinn on Global Liberty

Today everybody is talking about the fact that we live in one world; because of globalization, we are all part of the same planet. They talk that way, but do they mean it? We should remind them that the words of the Declaration [of Independence] apply not only to people in this country, but also to people all over the world. People everywhere have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government becomes destructive of that, then it is patriotic to dissent and to criticize – to do what we always praise and call heroic when we look upon the dissenters and critics in totalitarian countries who dare to speak out.
~ Howard Zinn, Artists in Times of War and Other Essays

The Politics Of Loving Your Neighbor: A Commitment To People and Place

I dislike political ideologies, in fact they make me cringe. Whether it comes from the Left or The Opium Den the Right, they have the unintended effect of often disregarding the actual context of issues for the sake of the fidelity of the paradigm. When ideologies take precedence over people, real issues having to do with real people have the tendency of being submerged by rhetoric, up to something like 47% percent.

Now, the one or two people who have read my posts here with any consistency might remember the guiding principle of Loving Your Neighbor that I have suggested as a corrective to rabid nationalism parading as patriotism and ideologies of personal wealth success as the primary goal of the responsible citizen.

But my intention today is take a further step and suggest that it is more than simply an idea that frees patriotism from the bonds of radical nationalism, but that it is a guiding principle that not only explicates the primary purpose of the blessing that is wealth but also displays the impoverished state of Republican politics.

The slogan of the New Conservative seems to be that wealth is the great indicator of personal success, a measure of your contribution to society and the personification of the American Dream; when in fact it confuses upward mobility with liberty. What they fail to appreciate is that on the one hand this marginalizes and disenfranchises some 47% percent of the population (there’s that figure again) and overlooks that fact that rightly understood, as I shall endeavor to explain, wealth proves to be the most burdensome of all the potential possessions of the denizens of a just society.

Justice is what separates society from anarchy, it is the fundamental distinction and possession of government which distinguishes it from mere brigandage. To quote St. Augustine, “In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?” Society is something which elevates us above the mere beast, but justice is what separates us from the madman, from the tyrant, from oppression.

But the pursuit of justice, if it is the primary obligation of society, must begin with the individual and ripple outward to infiltrate the deepest and darkest crevices of society, yet failing that, government becomes the institution of last resort, where justice is maintained and exercised as the essential right of the people. This is also an indication of where the Right has got wrong and Left has got it right, it’s why I’m a Democrat rather than an independent. For all of our flaws and internal disagreements, of which there are many, we are united by the essential conviction that the calls for justice begin with the people and become the responsibility of government when the demand for justice falls on the deaf ears of the elite; justice is sovereign.

So how exactly, you might ask, are justice and wealth related that it causes wealth to be burdensome rather than liberating? Well, as our President has rightly pointed out, personal success is not simply the result of individual effort but instead is the culmination of a symbiosis that, whether regarded or not, produces the environment and opportunity for personal achievement. When we admit that success is an irreducible element in the tapestry of our people and place, we must also admit that our blessings gift us with the burden of becoming the opportunity for those without that others were for us. To do otherwise is unjust and unpatriotic. Yet it is not a burden that is oppressive. Instead, it is an opportunity to be a true patriot, to exercise intimate concern and care for our People and Place.

America, come election time, we have the opportunity to show the world what a real patriot is. We can show the world that we can band together, setting our difference aside, not to combat terrorism or foreign powers, but to care for the People and Place which birthed us and gave us all that we have. To be a people who care more about eliminating poverty and ignorance than about victory and profit. And Democrats, we have to be both the conservatives and the liberals, the Republicans have committed suicide, it’s up to us now.

Let’s not fail.

America And Our Little Toy Brain

At this moment, all across America, your neighbor, friend, or perhaps even you, are making or affirming a declaration of war against Islam and often by extension, your average Muslim.

And you know what? It makes my head hurt. And if this describes you in any way, get your head out of your ass and knock it off, your mucking up my America!!!

Now then, since we’ve gotten that out of the way, perhaps we can do a little big boy talking.

It’s easy to blame religion for the atrocities that its adherents commit, generalities make it easy to not have to address real problems or invest any time in learning and understanding the context and history which act as incubators of cultural and sectarian violence. We have either forgotten or it simply never occurred to our navel fixated little brains that America and the socio-political climates we are born and raised in is fundamentally different then most everywhere else, especially in comparison to middle eastern and north African nations whose people are more accustomed to totalitarianism and a state controlled media than a free press and the right of self determination.

The Economist puts it this way,

Ignorance of the way the West works in many Muslim countries makes rabble-rousing easy. Protesters at the American embassy in Cairo on September 11th erroneously believed the offensive film to have been shown on “American state television”: in a place with a weak tradition of independent broadcasting, that claim is not as absurd as it might be elsewhere.

The casualties of such outbursts are not only innocent lives and lost livelihoods. The truth suffers too. A reluctance among many Muslims to accept that America could be a blundering victim of atrocities rather than a wily perpetrator meant that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers were widely reported from the outset as an inside job, facilitated by Israel’s intelligence service, to stoke up Western hatred of Islam. Three-quarters of Egyptians now believe that conspiracy theory. It is a headache for their new president, Muhammad Morsi, as he plans to visit New York for the United Nations General Assembly…. For many Americans, only an explicit disavowal of his past support for such theories would signal that he is a decent man worth dealing with.

So let’s be frank, the recent spate of protests and violence that culminated with the assassination of a U.S. Ambassador, who I might add, was defended, though without success, by Libyan Muslims and taken to a Hospital by Libyan Muslims, was not caused by a movie clip. A movie clip that, though insulting and denigrating to any Muslim, was also amateurish and manipulative, had been available since June of this year and was only recently publicized in the Muslim world. And by publicized, I mean that it was used to stoke the flames of resentment and mistrust towards the West by Salafist hardliners looking to sow discord in order to consolidate and strengthen their position. In a sense, all the protests and violence need to be understood as the battle ground between radicals and those intent on the democratization of the middle east. That, I am convinced, is the subtext to all that is going on over there. There are unintended consequences to revolutions, to uprisings and the costs are often ignored in the face of victory. Revolutions are not simply an opportunity for freedom and liberty to be recovered or in some instances, tasted for the first time, but they are also avenues for the introduction of radical elements intent on domination and power. They leave power vacuums that often are filled by those quick enough to capitalize on the moment. The Arab Spring should have made us both optimistic about the future of people in those countries and pessimistic about the stability of life in the entire region. The pursuit of democracy is one fraught with danger and deception, revealing that the desire for freedom does not always translate into the ability or fortitude to make it a reality.

As a final thought, never accept violence as an appropriate response to insult, never silence the public display of your faith for fear of vilification or retribution and never accept that for the sake of peace and safety in our time that we must privatize those things which constitute our self identities. It’s time to put on our big boy pants and become comfortable in a world of topographical tolerance overlaid by byways and avenues of cultural sameness which bind us as a people yet make allowances for our differences, both great and small.

Religion isn’t the problem Lebowski, it’s the Nihilists, because they believe in nothing.