Archive for the ‘#theresistance’ Tag

The Herd Obeys the Rulers   Leave a comment

From “The State” by Randolph Bourne

 

Image result for image of randolph bourneNothing is more obvious, however, than that every one of us comes into society as into something in whose creation we had not the slightest hand. We have not even the advantage of consciousness before we take up our careers on earth. By the time we find ourselves here we are caught in a network of customs and attitudes, the major directions of our desires and interests have been stamped on our minds, and by the time we have emerged from tutelage and reached the years of discretion when we might conceivably throw our influence to the reshaping of social institutions, most of us have been so molded into the society and class we live in that we are scarcely aware of any distinction between ourselves as judging, desiring individuals and our social environment. We have been kneaded so successfully that we approve of what our society approves, desire what our society desires, and add to the group our own passionate inertia against change, against the effort of reason, and the adventure of beauty.

Every one of us, without exception, is born into a society that is given, just as the fauna and flora of our environment are given. Society and its institutions are, to the individual who enters it, as much naturalistic phenomena as is the weather itself. There is, therefore, no natural sanctity in the State any more than there is in the weather. We may bow down before it, just as our ancestors bowed before the sun and moon, but it is only because something in us unregenerate finds satisfaction in such an attitude, not because there is anything inherently reverential in the institution worshiped. Once the State has begun to function, and a large class finds its interest and its expression of power in maintaining the State, this ruling class may compel obedience from any uninterested minority. The State thus becomes an instrument by which the power of the whole herd is wielded for the benefit of a class. The rulers soon learn to capitalize the reverence which the State produces in the majority, and turn it into a general resistance toward a lessening of their privileges. The sanctity of the State becomes identified with the sanctity of the ruling class, and the latter are permitted to remain in power under the impression that in obeying and serving them, we are obeying and serving society, the nation, the great collectivity of all of us.

Modern State is Irrational   Leave a comment

From “The State” by Randolph Bourne

Image result for image of randolph bourneThe distinction between Government and State, however, has not been so carefully observed. In time of war it is natural that Government as the seat of authority should be confused with the State or the mystic source of authority. You cannot very well injure a mystical idea which is the State, but you can very well interfere with the processes of Government. So that the two become identified in the public mind, and any contempt for or opposition to the workings of the machinery of Government is considered equivalent to contempt for the sacred State. The State, it is felt, is being injured in its faithful surrogate, and public emotion rallies passionately to defend it. It even makes any criticism of the form of Government a crime.

The inextricable union of militarism and the State is beautifully shown by those laws which emphasize interference with the Army and Navy as the most culpable of seditious crimes. Pragmatically, a case of capitalistic sabotage, or a strike in war industry would seem to be far more dangerous to the successful prosecution of the war than the isolated and ineffectual efforts of an individual to prevent recruiting. But in the tradition of the State ideal, such industrial interference with national policy is not identified as a crime against the State. It may be grumbled against; it may be seen quite rationally as an impediment of the utmost gravity. But it is not felt in those obscure seats of the herd mind which dictate the identity of crime and fix their proportional punishments. Army and Navy, however, are the very arms of the State; in them flows its most precious lifeblood. To paralyze them is to touch the very State itself. And the majesty of the State is so sacred that even to attempt such a paralysis is a crime equal to a successful strike. The will is deemed sufficient. Even though the individual in his effort to impede recruiting should utterly and lamentably fail, he shall be in no wise spared. Let the wrath of the State descend upon him for his impiety! Even if he does not try any overt action, but merely utters sentiments that may incidentally in the most indirect way cause someone to refrain from enlisting, he is guilty. The guardians of the State do not ask whether any pragmatic effect flowed out of this evil will or desire. It is enough that the will is present. Fifteen or twenty years in prison is not deemed too much for such sacrilege.

Such attitudes and such laws, which affront every principle of human reason, are no accident, nor are they the result of hysteria caused by the war. They are considered just, proper, beautiful by all the classes which have the State ideal, and they express only an extreme of health and vigor in the reaction of the State to its non-friends.

Such attitudes are inevitable as arising from the devotees of the State. For the State is a personal as well as a mystical symbol, and it can only be understood by tracing its historical origin. The modern State is not the rational and intelligent product of modern men desiring to live harmoniously together with security of life, property, and opinion. It is not an organization which has been devised as pragmatic means to a desired social end. All the idealism with which we have been instructed to endow the State is the fruit of our retrospective imaginations. What it does for us in the way of security and benefit of life, it does incidentally as a by-product and development of its original functions, and not because at any time men or classes in the full possession of their insight and intelligence have desired that it be so. It is very important that we should occasionally lift the incorrigible veil of that ex post facto idealism by which we throw a glamour of rationalization over what is, and pretend in the ecstasies of social conceit that we have personally invented and set up for the glory of God and man the hoary institutions which we see around us. Things are what they are, and come down to us with all their thick encrustations of error and malevolence. Political philosophy can delight us with fantasy and convince us who need illusion to live that the actual is a fair and approximate copy—full of failings, of course, but approximately sound and sincere—of that ideal society which we can imagine ourselves as creating. From this it is a step to the tacit assumption that we have somehow had a hand in its creation and are responsible for its maintenance and sanctity.


Bourne is gradually introducing the idea that the State is a religion that, especially in times of war, people adhere to as if it were a god. The United States is an approximate, if flawed copy of the ideal society … even when we know it isn’t.  Lela

What is the State?   Leave a comment

From “The State” by Randolph Bourne

 

Image result for image of randolph bourneWhat is the State essentially? The more closely we examine it, the more mystical and personal it becomes. On the Nation we can put our hand as a definite social group, with attitudes and qualities exact enough to mean something. On the Government we can put our hand as a certain organization of ruling functions, the machinery of lawmaking and law-enforcing. The Administration is a recognizable group of political functionaries, temporarily in charge of the government. But the State stands as an idea behind them all, eternal, sanctified, and from it Government and Administration conceive themselves to have the breath of life. Even the nation, especially in times of war—or at least, its significant classes—considers that it derives its authority and its purpose from the idea of the State. Nation and State are scarcely differentiated, and the concrete, practical, apparent facts are sunk in the symbol. We reverence not our country but the flag. We may criticize ever so severely our country, but we are disrespectful to the flag at our peril. It is the flag and the uniform that make men’s heart beat high and fill them with noble emotions, not the thought of and pious hopes for America as a free and enlightened nation.

It cannot be said that the object of emotion is the same, because the flag is the symbol of the nation, so that in reverencing the American flag we are reverencing the nation. For the flag is not a symbol of the country as a cultural group, following certain ideals of life, but solely a symbol of the political State, inseparable from its prestige and expansion. The flag is most intimately connected with military achievement, military memory. It represents the country not in its intensive life, but in its far-flung challenge to the world. The flag is primarily the banner of war; it is allied with patriotic anthem and holiday. It recalls old martial memories. A nation’s patriotic history is solely the history of its wars, that is, of the State in its health and glorious functioning. So in responding to the appeal of the flag, we are responding to the appeal of the State, to the symbol of the herd organized as an offensive and defensive body, conscious of its prowess and its mystical herd strength.

Even those authorities in the present Administration, to whom has been granted autocratic control over opinion, feel, though they are scarcely able to philosophize over, this distinction. It has been authoritatively declared that the horrid penalties against seditious opinion must not be construed as inhibiting legitimate, that is, partisan criticism of the Administration. A distinction is made between the Administration and the Government. It is quite accurately suggested by this attitude that the Administration is a temporary band of partisan politicians in charge of the machinery of Government, carrying out the mystical policies of State. The manner in which they operate this machinery may be freely discussed and objected to by their political opponents. The Governmental machinery may also be legitimately altered, in case of necessity. What may not be discussed or criticized is the mystical policy itself or the motives of the State in inaugurating such a policy. The President, it is true, has made certain partisan distinctions between candidates for office on the ground of support or nonsupport of the Administration, but what he means was really support or nonsupport of the State policy as faithfully carried out by the Administration. Certain of the Administration measures were devised directly to increase the health of the State, such as the Conscription and the Espionage laws. Others were concerned merely with the machinery. To oppose the first was to oppose the State and was therefore not tolerable. To oppose the second was to oppose fallible human judgment, and was therefore, though to be depreciated, not to be wholly interpreted as political suicide.


Bourne may not have been the first to point out the distinction between the State (that governmental study that remains from one president to another and the Administration that changes with the occupant in the White House, but that distinction is moot today. Because the permanent administration remains from president to president, it is not temporary, but permanent. I think Bourne would have strong words against it were he alive to see the mess we’ve made.         Lela

Thomas Jefferson on the Folly of Gun Control   Leave a comment

Image result for image of tiananmen square tank studentIn November 1787, while the Constitution was moving toward ratification, Thomas Jefferson – no doubt frustrated at being in Paris while the nationalist forces of America were perverting the liberty he had championed — wrote a letter to his friend, Rev. William Smith of Philadelphia. Jefferson saw clearly that the Constitutional Convention had been an illegal affair that had created a completely new constitution without permission of the states’ legislatures when all that had been needed was a modification of the Articles of Confederation. In this letter, written after the cow had left the barn, but before it was certain the people’s representatives would be duped by the proposed constitution, Jefferson discussed Shay’s Rebellion – the excuse given for the necessity of replacing the Articles of Confederation with the illegally drafted US Constitution. Jefferson’s comments then have bearing on the discussion of gun control now. See my emphasis …

Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. they were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. that comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure. our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts; and on the spur of the moment, they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God, this article will be rectified, before the new constitution is accepted.” Thomas Jefferson, 1787

We’re told that gun violence is a uniquely American tragedy, but we’re not told that rates of non-gun violent crimes in countries where guns have been banned are often higher than they are in America. You’re far more likely to be beaten or stabbed to death in the UK than you are in New York City or Fairbanks Alaska. That’s a per capita likelihood and those are UN statistics. The reason for that should be obvious. In the absence of guns, violent people find other ways to kill people.

Welcome to the human race. Sorry, we’re not all that pretty.

 

Thomas Jefferson didn’t have crime in view when he made these comments. He was focused squarely on liberty. He was concerned about the ability of people to essentially commit treason against their government. He thought it was a good idea … even if they didn’t have all the facts and even if they didn’t win. Why?

Because liberty tends to erode under the coercive influence of the state. Thomas Jefferson believed that if a government wasn’t warned every generation that its people retained the ability to rebel … well, then the government would gradually become tyrannical. And, periodically, America has experienced rebellions that have woken the government up and caused changes. It’s been a while – 40 years since the 1960s and that was conducted by people who ultimately wanted MORE government rather than less. Jefferson would have been perplexed by them, I think.

We are at the crossroads of another time where there is a huge necessity to effect change in the country.

So, the question is, how do you commit rebellion against the largest military on the planet? I’m not advocating an armed rebellion against the United States government. I’m advocating for philosophical rebellion by people who can respond to government violence in kind. There is a difference. I am pointing out that if it ever becomes necessary, it would be impossible without guns like the AR-15, which will only be the initial test case for the removal of all semi-autos and then all handguns from private hands). Just think about how inadequate an AR-15 would be against the select-fire and fully-automatic weapons the military has access to. The only way it becomes adequate is if we have way more than they do and we do, which is why I suspect the deep state is behind a lot of the gun-control rhetoric. Ever so often I remember all those “terrorists” who have been caught trying to plant non-working explosive devices at the “suggestion” of undercover federal agents and I wonder … could we, like the Americans Jefferson commented on, be duped by the press into believing one thing when the opposite is true?

Oh, yeah! I don’t think anything has changed other than the sophistication of the propagandists.

Image result for image of armed rebellionI’m not saying we should conduct an armed rebellion against the US government. I don’t believe in initiating aggression against other people. But we are ripe for a philosophical rebellion, for a great waking-up of the general masses to the things that must change in this country if we are going to continue forward as a free people. At some point, absent a sea-change in philosophy, this government that now so arrogantly thinks it can push around its people will eventually ignite a physical rebellion because that’s what aggression causes. How that turns out depends on our ability to preserve the spirit of rebellion. If we’re disarmed or down to single-shot rifles, that rebellion will be empty words and rocks thrown at kevlared cops and tanks. We’ll be indulged with the illusions of greater freedom as the Chinese are today, but it will be just an illusion. If you don’t have the means for rebellion, the spirit of rebellion is kind of a moot point. But if you have the means for rebellion, the spirit of rebellion may be all you need.

Having the ability to respond violently when violence is initiated against you actually prevents violence from being initiated in many instances while being disarmed and helpless encourages victimization.

Jefferson did later discuss why crime is greater when men are disarmed than when they are armed. From his “Legal Commonplace Book” where he quotes Cicero, who of course was thinking of swords when he penned the following:

“False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from man because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, will respect the less important arbitrary ones….and which, if strictly obeyed would put an end to personal liberty?….Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; They serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Because our media chooses to whip up the true horror of mass shootings while utterly ignoring the half-million times a year people use guns to save their own lives, we get a false notion that guns are the problem rather than human nature is the problem and getting rid of guns will only make it worse because disarmed victims may be attacked with greater confidence than concealed-carry permit holders. We’re told by people who believe they have the higher moral ground that sacrificing real advantage is merely an inconvenience for our own protection. It was the same 2000 years ago when Cicero penned those words as it is today.

So why are we refusing to learn from history? Do we want to repeat the fall of Rome?

Taxation without Consent   Leave a comment

I’m enjoying the larger number of dollars deposited into my bank account every 15 days under the recent Congressional tax reform, but it’s best to remember that taxes are not voluntary and that Uncle Sam acts a great deal like a highwayman robber in insisting that these “contributions” are his by right, as if we consented to such thievery. I didn’t. Do you remember when you did?

But this is nothing new. Check out what the great libertarian writer Lysander Spooner had to say about it more than a century ago.

 

The payment of taxes, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence that any one voluntarily supports the Constitution.

Image result for image of lysander spoonerIt is true that the theory of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay any tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life. And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a “protector,” and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful “sovereign,” on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

Image result for image of uncle sam as a highway robberThe proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves “the government,” are directly the opposite of these of the single highwayman.

In the first place, they do not, like him, make themselves individually known; or, consequently, take upon themselves personally the responsibility of their acts. On the contrary, they secretly (by secret ballot) designate some one of their number to commit the robbery in their behalf, while they keep themselves practically concealed. They say to the person thus designated:

Go to A— B—, and say to him that “the government” has need of money to meet the expenses of protecting him and his property. If he presumes to say that he has never contracted with us to protect him, and that he wants none of our protection, say to him that that is our business, and not his; that we choose to protect him, whether he desires us to do so or not; and that we demand pay, too, for protecting him. If he dares to inquire who the individuals are, who have thus taken upon themselves the title of “the government,” and who assume to protect him, and demand payment of him, without his having ever made any contract with them, say to him that that, too, is our business, and not his; that we do not choose to make ourselves individually known to him; that we have secretly (by secret ballot) appointed you our agent to give him notice of our demands, and, if he complies with them, to give him, in our name, a receipt that will protect him against any similar demand for the present year. If he refuses to comply, seize and sell enough of his property to pay not only our demands, but all your own expenses and trouble beside. If he resists the seizure of his property, call upon the bystanders to help you (doubtless some of them will prove to be members of our band). If, in defending his property, he should kill any of our band who are assisting you, capture him at all hazards; charge him (in one of our courts) with murder, convict him, and hang him. If he should call upon his neighbors, or any others who, like him, may be disposed to resist our demands, and they should come in large numbers to his assistance, cry out that they are all rebels and traitors; that “our country” is in danger; call upon the commander of our hired murderers; tell him to quell the rebellion and “save the country,” cost what it may. Tell him to kill all who resist, though they should be hundreds of thousands; and thus strike terror into all others similarly disposed. See that the work of murder is thoroughly done, that we may have no further trouble of this kind hereafter. When these traitors shall have thus been taught our strength and our determination, they will be good loyal citizens for many years, and pay their taxes without a why or a wherefore.

It is under such compulsion as this that taxes, so called, are paid. And how much proof the payment of taxes affords, that the people consent to support “the government,” it needs no further argument to show.

Lysander Spooner

What If You Passed A Test … And Nobody Cared?   Leave a comment

I like tests. Puzzles fascinate me. I don’t even mind cognitive tests because I used to work for a mental health agency and so they don’t scare me.

Image result for image of trump's cognitive test resultsThe news that President Trump passed a mental acuity test was welcome news. I think the country is better off if the president doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. And a 30 out of 30 score indicates that he doesn’t.

By the way, most 71-year-olds could not score a 30 out of 30. In fact, many people in their middle-years would struggle with reverse serial sevens. I can’t pass that particular one without counting on my fingers. How do I know? Brad, Keirnan and I took the test last night.

Keirnan is 19 and suffers from bipolar, so he’s been through this test once before — and scored a 30 out of 30. The doctor was so amazed that he could do reverse serial sevens from 100 into the negatives that he just let him go until Keirnan said he needed water to continue. The kid has a diagnosed mental illness, but he doesn’t have dementia or any other sort of cognitive disorder. And bipolar, with appropriate medication, doesn’t really negatively affect his life. It’s just something he has to manage – like if you have diabetes or asthma. That attitude toward mental illness as a condition that can be managed comes from familiarity with mental illness.

Brad sucks at remembering sequences of numbers. So do I. I often can’t remember a phone number long enough to dial it — which is why I write them down — and have since I was about 15 years old. I passed the immediate recall on the assessment and the delayed recall because I knew it was important to remember them. Brad, however, flunked the delayed recall question. It doesn’t mean he has dementia. He didn’t flunk the assessment overall, just that one section.

I didn’t do so well on the tap for the letter A. It’s deliberately hard and none of us did well on it, though we all passed. Keirnan almost lost a point on it because Brad was saying the letters way too fast and he made two errors which is still allowable to get a perfect score.

So, the results of our tests mean very little. It was a fun exercise and we now understand what President Trump was tested on. We know that none of the four of us has dementia.

Well, our family knows that, but I think we knew it before we took the test. President Trump’s supporters are probably relieved that what they thought was true has been proven true, but his detractors don’t care.

“Well, this is a really easy test,” someone on the radio said while I was brushing my teeth this morning.

Yeah, if you’re mentally fit, it is an easy test. If you have dementia, it’s not.

“There are other tests that would show his mental fitness better.”

Yeah. there are. If I were President Trump, I’d request a full psychological assessment. They take about two hours and they include some of the same questions as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. They would detect mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression and they would also indicate whether screening for personality disorders is in order.

I don’t think anyone seriously believes a successful businessman in his 70s has been a schizophrenic for decades. But that doesn’t matter to his detractors. Even if he took a full psychological assessment, they’d insist the results were wrong. And of course, they’d insist he be assessed for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

Let’s talk about that for a moment. First, it’s not a disease. It’s a spectrum of personality traits. Most people fall somewhere on the scale. I took the assessment and I scored in the bottom 30. I took the test as if I were Donald Trump and he scores pretty high on the scale. According to the psychiatrists I worked with, so does Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Lincoln, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Angela Merkel, Elon Musk, every psychiatrist except the one you’re speaking to at the moment, and almost all of the actors in Hollywood.

Basically, anyone with any self-esteem at all will score at least at the lower end of the scale. That doesn’t mean they are crippled by NPD. It means they know their worth and there’s nothing wrong with that. If they don’t know their worth, there’s another personality disorder they might qualify for.

People who aspire to be President of the United States typically score in the top 70% of this scale. Why? Because it takes a lot of chutzpah to believe you can be one of the most powerful people in the world and do the job competently. Some of these narcissists were so certain they’re right that they declared independence from Britain and founded a whole new country. Others decide to challenge NASA in the space race or create a company that dominates the tech world. A narcissist found a way to stop the scourge of polio. Some day a series of narcissists will cure cancer. Narcissism, evidenced by the belief that God was on her side, allowed Mother Theresa to minister to the poor of Calcutta and eventually be named a saint.

Look behind almost every successful and well-known person and you will find a degree of narcissism. But that doesn’t matter to Trump’s detractors. They don’t see that their own idols were often as narcissistic or more than the object of their Derangement Syndrome. They don’t care what the truth is, they only want what they want …

Which is itself a sign of scoring pretty high on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder spectrum.

Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s mostly the young and liberal who hate Trump to the degree that they don’t care what the tests say about his mental fitness. Baby boomers, who themselves scored higher than their parents on the scale of narcissism, raised a generation of raging narcissists. Everywhere you turn, you find scores of people who believe they have a “right” to other people’s stuff because they’re “special.” That narcissistic trait is a liberal ideal and I find most liberals to be at least moderately narcissistic. They believe they know better than everyone else how we all should live our lives and they cannot be dissuaded from that belief. They will do anything to force others to comply with what they consider to be best practices.

So, maybe it’s not surprising that they are allergic to everything Donald Trump does. Narcissists usually can’t stand to be in the room with other narcissists. It steals the limelight from them. It explains, to a certain degree, the conservative opposition to Barack Obama, himself a raging narcissist. Conservatives also believe that they know better than everyone else how we should all live our lives. It pissed them off that Obama thought he knew better.

Which brings the question — in this day where nobody knows humility, can anyone actually lead us? And should they try?

My fear is that a society of narcissists would have a good deal of trouble staying out of each other’s business without a government to impose some boundaries and, yet, as long as they have a government, they will seek to use it to insinuate themselves into everyone’s business.

A Trumpian Week   Leave a comment

Image result for image of trumpRegular readers of this blog know that I didn’t vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and that I think politics are not among the solutions to our problems. I try to dish up a steady fare of political philosophy here — to give people an understanding of what’s going on and where we ought to be headed rather than a Republican or Democratic line of bull. I’m a non-partisan, conservative-leaning, libertarian. When I say “conservative”, it doesn’t mean I’ve stepped back from the radical notion that liberty is better than tradition. It simply means my default position is that idiots (otherwise known as politicians) shouldn’t strive to make big changes in society or government without a full-throated consultation with the people, who are the ones who will be stuck with the consequences. If the people want to make changes, we should be allowed to do it, using the constitutional procedures. Change should always be driven by us, not by the elites who would be our rulers.

But sometimes it’s interesting to look at politics if only for the horror movie aspect of all of it.

This week was a Trumpian week and I’ve got good things to say about my observations as well as bad things to say about them.

First, Mr. Trump, STOP fighting with the widows and parents of fallen soldiers (I refuse to call them “gold star”; maybe I’ll post about that someday). It is entirely possible that the wife of La David Johnson got your conversation with her wrong. She had the congresswoman there to help her misinterpret what you said and she doesn’t seem like a person who screens what a trusted elite tells her. I get why that’s annoying, but you’re not doing yourself or anyone else any good by having a public feud with her. Maybe if you’d just go after the congresswoman, who SOOO needs to have a verbal ass-kicking, but leave the widow alone. At the risk of sounding partisan here – when you deal with Democrats and make them look stupid, your polls rise. When you pick on military widows, your polls drop. Be sensible, Mr. President.

Second, Mr. Trump, thank you for taking the opioid crisis seriously and compassionately. Last night’s speech spoke of fighting a disease with treatment rather than incarceration. I suspected you would up to this task, given your family background, but I held my breath, concerned that you would declare another “war on drugs” that has proven to be absolutely fruitless for the past 40 years. I am a little concerned about your announcement that you’ve given all branches of the federal government wide leeway to address this issue. The federal government, more often than not, ignores the constitution and runs roughshod over the rights of individuals. As someone who lives in a state where cannabis has been legalized, I don’t want to see people arrested and imprisoned for partaking of a substance that is no more dangerous than alcohol and there is a risk of federal agencies misinterpreting your executive order to do just that, so I’m going to call that one a mixed bag, depending on the federal interpretation.

Third, Mr. Trump, in case you’re unfamiliar with American history — our Founders fought a war against England in order to secede from what they deemed to be a government that did not represent their values or culture. So, today, when I hear you promise Spain your full support against the people of Catalan who desire to free themselves from a government that doesn’t represent the Catalonians’ values or culture, I wince. It’s just plain wrong! We should be the first nation to step forward in support of liberty as opposed to hegemony.

Fourth, Mr. Trump, I don’t know that you are really the cause of the economic rally that has been underway since you took office. I suspect your presence in the White House, addressing things like the much-needed reform of Obamacare and the tax code; junk-science social engineering like climate change; and overly burdensome economic and environmental regulations on businesses has emboldened investors and other drivers of the economy that have been hiding in underground bunkers during the Obama administration. The growth potential was already there, but you having signaled that you won’t try to crush them if they came out of hiding has given them permission to once more risk.

Nothing works quite like success, so even though your poll numbers are really low, I think if you can stop fighting with people perceived to be underdogs and concentrate on freeing the economy to improve while not inciting wars overseas, you’ll do okay in 2020. I probably still won’t vote for you, but I will applaud your success.

Posted October 27, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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