New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Saturday, May 10, 2014

be careful what you wish for


While I have committed that I won't do politics here (I have the Rants for that), I did say I would do cultural issues and I think we are looking at a very big one right now. It is how government is seen by disparate groups. It is what the answer is to unfairness-- assuming there is an answer. It is what do we do now or is it too late?


Yes, Tocqueville put out his treatise years ago while Piketty just put out a book which is selling gangbusters especially to the liberal world as some would say communism is our only hope. And by communism, I mean the philosophy of dividing up the wealth, not the current rendition which frankly proves that communism doesn't last much longer than capitalism-- neither of which are actually in a pure form.

I have not read Piketty's book but from what I have read about it, he's addressing how we got to where we are which is heading toward an oligarchy. The goal of some is to take us back to feudal times where the wealthy control the world for the good of all *cough cough*. The question has to be asked-- if the truly powerful in terms of money are to be blocked from taking over-- how can it be done?

If you spend much time reading comments on any sort of political or cultural issues of our day,  you learn a lot about how the right and left see the country and its problems. One view that comes out constantly from the right is how the federal government is a corrupt and evil body which is trying or has taken over our world.  Federal government is to them an invading force that must be overcome. I thought of an analogy for how I see it and how differently that is from the right.

The government is us. It is who we elected, who we donated our money to put in office. The government is made up of citizens. True, some are very removed from the reality of real life in the United States, but they are not outsiders. They are us. The mentality that they are someone else is how Terry Nichols and Timothy McVey felt it was the right thing to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City. What ended up happening with most of the dead being babies in a day care center, I guess that was just collateral damage to that kind of mindset. Where did that destruction profit their cause, which is posse comitatus? The cause didn't go away as we have seen with Cliven Bundy and his vigilante supporters who are eager to shoot those who work for the government. It has gone underground at various time but again pops up in other equally destructive ways-- like refusing to pay grazing fees on leased land.

The analogy that I came up with for how I see government is the disease of cancer. Some see it as an invasion but it's not. It's when the cells in the body go rogue. Cancer is us. It is inside us. We have to treat it that way to get rid of it. 

We can do that to the government if we see it's doing wrong, setting in place laws detrimental to one of the United States' founding principles-- a government for the people, by the people
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...
When you see the government as outside of you. When you have decided voting doesn't work but terrorism does, when you want to throw out your existing form of government by revolution, watch out for what comes next. When you talk about government as being evil, when you support not voting to change things but those who want a more violent answer, well, in the end you get Oklahoma City bombings or others like it which can come from the left as well as the right. Terrorism is based on killing to instill fear and get your way. It's not about logic.

Logic says that we can vote. That if we convince enough people that our way is right, we can bring about a change because this system of government was created with ways to make changes. But it's not what appeals to the emotions and hence you had right wing yahoos claiming that Cliven Bundy was a patriot. You had him saying he didn't recognize there was any federal government and then turning around and riding his horse with a United States flag on a pole streaming behind him. 

Cliven Bundy became one of those caught up in being a celebrity, a folk hero created by the likes of Sean Hannity, to appeal to those who fear that the 'other' is taking what they have. The fact that it's actually him who has been taking what they have, is not something they consider. He is 'them' even though he's not. 

Personally I think this tactic works because so many have given up on logic and are relying purely on emotion. It's how one of those sheriffs, who they would like to have running everything said-- when they come at us shooting, we will put our wives and daughters out front to be killed first and then the nation will see our cause is just. Seriously, it's the gist of what he said. And a certain right wing mentality supported that. After all what are women-- collateral damage if they can win the cause by having them killed or hurt. Who supports that kind of thinking-- those who believe in posse comitatus-- and if you don't know what that is, look it up. Cliven Bundy was about a lot more than land use.

16 comments:

Rubye Jack said...

The masses need leaders simply because they are unable to use logic and do rely solely on their emotions. In the recent past, our more just and charismatic liberal leaders were killed. For those of us who want something akin to fairness, there is really no leader today. Most people don't know how to vote without someone to tell them what to vote for.

Rain Trueax said...

It is a problem, Rubye. I listened last night to Chris Hayes as they debated this new curriculum, Common Core, that is being debated by left and right for its value. What the lady, who helped design it, said made sense to me. It's about story problems in math. Remember when we were kids. They were part of our math experience. If you have this and that, what will the end be type of questions. It is to use logic and determine what facts will lead to what conclusion. I think too many people today do not know how to do that. They can't evaluate a situation for what they should do because they don't recognize an extraneous fact, which as nothing to do with what is being asked, has been thrown into the equation. We also need adults educated to understand that.

Rain Trueax said...

In college I took a class in logic as part of philosophy. We need more educating of our citizens because right now too many people want to dumb us down for their own purposes.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Considering, from your socialogical point of view, the culture of politics is an appropriate level headed topic. I will read your link. Keep up the good topics here.

Rain Trueax said...

thank you, Diane. I try to keep this blog mostly positive. but there are some issues out there that will impact our lives and we do want citizens who can think

OldLady Of The Hills said...

We have a Primary coming up here in California, and I don't know who any of these people are OR what they really stand for....It's a dilemma. Part of me feels like not even bothering to try and find out----it's mostly because I am consumed by my own physical problems, but also, they ALL sound the same.....I really hate that it has all become who can afford to send out the most poster type mailers that don't really tell you anything. I know what I'm for---I just don;t know what any of them are for!!

Tabor said...

Well, I have been trying to think how I could express my feelings regarding this divide that we have. This lying by some that is accepted as truth while research in Science is considered propaganda. I just cannot get my mind around it, except some people ARE afraid and willing to use violence to make their point. I have been considering a post like this myself, although yours is much better written! Thanks.

Rain Trueax said...

I think there are times we have to put our own health ahead of anything else and nobody should feel guilty for that. The big issue to me will be November when we face the possibility of the Senate being taken over by the right. I hope that people will send money or work for candidates who hold their views. If you don't know who that is, it might be better not to vote. These days I vote straight party.

I am very happy with our Senator, Jeff Merkley, and he's up for election in November. He's worked for a lot of positive progressive causes. MSNBC had a show last night showing some of the extreme right multimillionaires who are trying to defeat Democratic Senators like Merkley. When you hear what these right wing rich guys think, what they espouse, it's not good for anybody's health. I plan to donate to Democratic Senate campaigns as I think it's a loss to try and get back the House. It's important to hold the Senate as it is evidently at real risk. I can just imagine what the next two years would be like if the right takes the Senate :(

Hattie said...

Read the book.

Rain Trueax said...

I am reasonably sure I will not be reading his book but I've read a lot of opinions and analysis of his ideas-- like Thomas Piketty forgets one solution.

Beings I am not an extreme leftie, I will never agree with having a global tax. Who would get the money? The UN? I also would not favor an 80% tax rate on the top income of high earners. I do not agree with communism, the pure sort, and don't agree with the far left on how they see our solution.

My time for reading for pleasure is limited, and this doesn't sound like pleasure reading. The opinions on his ideas vary a lot but I see it as good that so many are choosing to read him.

What I would like to see is that the 50% tax rate actually happened especially for those who can now hide their money overseas. I think we need to look at how the rich hide their money in family corporations and avoid all inheritance taxes while small ranchers often lose their land over trying to pay their tax when the patriarch/matriarch dies. I'd like to have Americans understand unions were the reason so many middle class families became middle class.

I do understand the wealthiest are trying to buy elections and power. The solution (as I see it) is make our elections fair, get the campaign laws into the Constitution so the Supremes can't undo them-- and that takes electing progressives, donating, working for them and not just in their own states. To do anything needs leders first and without that, the book alone won't do a thing. I've heard logic from Reich, Moyer, and Krugman for years and what has it helped? It takes convincing enough people (and yes, resent it or not-- in the middle) to vote for their own self-interests. Not sure that can even be done, but I will be donating to candidates this year hoping it can.

Hattie said...

I agree with you that you don't lean very far to the left.

Rain Trueax said...

Definitely not, Hattie. I am that moderate who does not fit in the box of either side-- also not popular with either. Limbaugh is especially insulting as he implies the middle goes where it's most popular but that is not so. I am pretty set in what i believe but it just doesn't fit what either side wants.

Ingineer66 said...

America is a bell curve with most people left or right of the center. Some how we have arrived at a place in time where most of our political leaders are outliers on either side.

As for campaign finance reform, the nation will not support any law that prohibits the Koch Brothers from donations but allows George Soros money in or vice versa.

Rain Trueax said...

When they had limits on how much they could donate, they had them on Soros as well. The nation didn't end this. Most people favor reasonable campaign spending limits and the measure that the Supreme righties overturned was written by a Republican and a Democrat.

We should also be sure any PAC that calls itself a charity and wants tax exempt status, like Rove's bunch, has to do at least 40% of their work in charities not politically. That was what the IRS thing was all about. I don't like PACs but they should also have to reveal who is in them. If a person does not want their name revealed, it means they are ashamed of what they are doing.

The Supremes are gutting everything that would keep the richest (on either side) from trying to buy elections.

Ingineer66 said...

The politicians don't want to lose any of their power. When California voted in the open primary law, both parties sued to block it and the courts sided with them and not the people. But we are used to judges overturning laws that we vote in here in California.

Rain Trueax said...

Sometimes judges need to do that, ingineer-- when people, a majority, vote for something that takes away other people's rights and goes against the Constitution. Oregon did that in 2004 with all the hysteria about gay marriage and they put in a constitutional ban. Now it's talked about getting it back on the ballot but Monday a judge will decide if that was constitutional. Idaho had their overturned that way and I am hoping so will Oregon. The people can be wrong and if southern states wanted to go back to separations in schools, buses, water fountains, restaurants, etc. that would be something for the courts to hopefully overrule them on.