Tuesday, June 28, 2022

On Foolishness, Ignorance, Idealism, And Walking Back A Post

 Originally, today's post was my semi-annual "plea for a peaceful separation" post, which I usually seem to put after significant political happenings.

I wrote it.  I prepared to post it.  And then I walked it back.

It is not that I do not believe in it.  I still do. But as I thought about what I had wrote, I realized that at this point, pleas for thoughtful consideration are as dust blowing in the wind.

I do not write this with any great sense of pleasure - the historian in me sees where things are leading, and where they are leading is nowhere people - thinking people - want to be. And while part of me frets about the sorts of things that come out of this, and part of me is angry (truly) at those on both sides that flippantly discuss the option as if it were a video game where - if things go badly - we can just restart it, neither of those particularly serves a useful purpose.  Because - to quote the Elder Von Moltke - "No plan of operation extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength", and there are plenty of ways the "match of the century" for either side can go terribly wrong.

In the past I have been noted as being "foolish" or "ignorant of the times" or - the one I am most proud of -  an "idealist".  I accept this badges with honor, although I will dispute that I am neither foolish nor ignorant of the times - I am quite aware of what is going on; it seems that sometimes very few see where this is actually going, not the fantasy of where people think it is going.  

To that end, I will continue in my foolish, ignorant, and idealist ways.  Hopefully, at least here, come what may, you will find something divorced (on the whole) from ongoing events and perhaps even a thought or two. After all, outposts of civilization are becoming rare indeed.  To whatever end may come, this will remain one.

Here, at least, Don Quixote continues to charge at windmills with every hope of success.

15 comments:

  1. I'm just waiting for this to blow over as all things do. The media will grow bored of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth on one side and jubilant celebrations on the other and move onto the next topic which they can overblow with breathless soundbites for nights on end. Then the serious discussions can start.

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    1. Ed - my only thought is that the rhetoric on both sides seems to slowly continue to ratchet up, not down. I would love to see you suggestion borne out.

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    2. Anonymous5:19 PM

      "blow over"????? Rokey Dokey!
      Things are going to blow up, not over, and once they do the world order will be completely different. Just pray you're in the right place.

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    3. It will blow over. I am reminded of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Asian hate, power grid failure in Texas, the acquittal, of Kyle Rittenhouse, etc. All were breathlessly talked about and filled weeks of news cycles in 2001 until suddenly there were more pressing things to fill the news cycle and now they have been relegated to the dust heaps of our history books, as this will be too.

      I'm not trying to diminish the importance of what happened and I'm not saying it won't be in the news in the future. Just that this initial hubbub will blow over and we will move onto other things in the coming weeks. This issue will reduce from the flame it is now to an ash coated ember until some future thing will kindle it back to life.

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    4. To Ed's point, often what is pushed in the news cycle seems simply done to move forward someone (either sides') agenda. When that no longer has impact or purpose, it mysteriously gets de-escalated.

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  2. Well tilt at the windmills TB. Whadda I know?

    But, from where I sit, the political centre (where our stability, reason, and institutions reside) - has fallen. It's not doing its job, its tilting at windmills too. Nobody's even listening to them anymore. That leaves a power vacuum that the political edges are going to fight for. Our political centre refuses to defend itself and instead points fingers at everyone else and scolds. You can't run a country like that.

    You can preach and scold to people that are not going to listen to you - but I'm loading my guns, filling my jerry cans and watching the players like a hawk. For me the preaching is over, and fight or flight time is coming soon.

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    1. Glen, I would concur that it at least appears that there is no center. At the same time, I would propose that part of the reason the center is ineffective at best is that both sides are now more interested in their vision of the future - accurate or not - and are rapidly moving in that direction. We are going farther apart, not closer together. Unfortunately when people move farther apart, it becomes easier to dehumanize the other side. And history generally suggests how we as a species treat the dehumanized other side - and it it not kind.

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  3. I watched a couple girls verbally spar in front of the SCrOTUS. One was proving their ignorance, the other was working hard to educate. There is no one so blind as he who will not see. A lot of this reminds me of digging trenches after a battle stalemates...

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    1. STxAR, one has to want to learn to be taught. I fear for many, there is no more "learning" to be had. Which is odd to me, because in theory we live in a society where we are to never stop learning. Just, apparently, about certain things.

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  4. I understand your reluctance to publish the "peaceful separation" post, but I rather wish I could read it. Glen makes a great point about the political center. I think it still very much exists, but because the crazies are the most active on social media, sensible folks who would have civil discussions get drowned out.

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    1. Bob, thank you, although I fear it was no essay to sway the masses, more of try to manage the best way we can.

      It is odd to me that even the Red And Blue parties no longer actively try for the center. They both play to the fringes/ideologically driven ends and somehow just assume everyone on their side will be dragged along with them. It is certainly not a recipe for a sane society.

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  5. It would be best, but Leftists cannot abide by that idea at all. They are fixated on the idea that they must rule, and always will be fixated on that idea. Why? Because they want to burn the world, and rebuild it with their ideas. There is no compromise. We want separation, we want to be left alone. They want to rule us. How do you compromise with someone who will only be happy when you are under their rule?

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    1. John, agreed that totalitarian tendencies make it hard for people to not choose a side. But honestly, the Right is no better at it. At the same time, no one seems to make much of an effort to reach the people who are not in that far totalitarian camp, but do have a vested interest in a functional society.

      The point of the article was, if helpful, exactly what you suggest: as we no longer have a shared culture or experienced, to peacefully separate. Honestly, I would like to see that discussed practically and, on record, have someone with the opinions you suggest questioned as to why we need to continue to stay together. I truly would love to see that.

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  6. Anonymous3:05 PM

    What if all of this is "current situation" is simply a newly liberated AI dissecting, experimenting and learning how it can manipulate us?

    Paraphrasing the old quote (from Twain?), about knowing a great many troubles, most of which have never happened seems poignant.

    There is clearly something very wrong with all of our communities in Australia, Canada and the US at the moment. I am a uni-educated Australian, mid-career in a profession. I am a married man on the wrong side of 50. I consider myself reasonably intelligent, of sound mind, and content with my lot.

    Yet I cannot have a normal conversation about current events with most of my own society - or family.

    Even my own parents, who are late 70's & early 80's about anything current in the media. They have watched the news on TV at dinner time for my entire life, and believe everything the Australian national broadcaster ("Aunty ABC") tells them without question. They genuinely believe it all; the deadly pandemic, the need for absolutely mandatory experimental medical injections whether you consent or not, they are certain that "boogaloo boys" are real, there was a genuine "insurrection" in the US White House, the most recent US election was open and fair (despite being shown that video of Biden admitting what they did AND the "2000 Mules" documentary), they believe that women are always underpaid & held back from leadership by our society, we are all on the verge of irreversible run-away climate change devastation, Trump is an egotistical maniac and a complete fool, that Putler is a dying mad-man who wants to nuke the world, it is critical to save Ukraine, and they absolutely LOVE a TV show called "The Project".

    The opinions about current events my parents hold are deeply and strongly held as near to absolute truth and they simply are not capable of listening a different view - let alone having a simple conversation about these topics.

    The most easily observed difference between us is a life spent consuming mainstream media; ie watching TV, reading newspapers and listening to TV. I bought my first TV last year. It's for streaming movies and is not even connected to an aerial.

    I have never understood "Twitter", and why anyone would claim anything "tweeted" there has any importance whatsoever to anything at all. Yet again and again and again I see the mainstream media quoting it like some sort of fountain of truth. Even our politicians care deeply about their Twitter. And when Elon tried to buy it recently, it was found to be mostly composed of "bots" rather than humans. To me this absolutely reeks of AI . . .

    I have seen with my own eyes, 20 something year old Australian "adults" literally lose their minds with anxiety when they were on a university field trip to a remote area of NSW where there was no mobile phone coverage. Out of twenty students, two women and one male - all legal adults of voting age - had to be taken home because of it. And these brave kids are our "future leaders".

    The more I see of this bold new country where even our Bunnings hardware stores and our K-marts are running facial recognition software "for our safety", the more I want to run away to the country, and escape this madness. Back in the 1980's & 90's there would have been protests in the streets about this. Now the average person shrugs and says, "Well if you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide" like a good little sheep.

    I am feeling more and more like Slippery Jim, the Stainless Steel Rat in Harry Harrison's kids books.

    Le Sigh . . .





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    1. Thanks for the comment.

      I do not have answers per se. I, too, am on the wrong side of 50 and in many ways, this world seems very mysterious to me. At the same time, there is a counter movement of sorts going on. It is just going on in the shadows, where it cannot be seen unless you look for it. People are learning to quietly go about their lives and establishing independence and sustainable systems beyond the purview of the great Society and social media.

      Modern civilization has brought with it its own reality, and it is one in which it often seems that individuals trade their rational minds for the ability to exist within a world of virtual luxury. That works, of course, until the world starts to fall apart. Sadly, those that live in such a society are very dependent on any number of people to make it work for them - what happens, I wonder, when the systems start to fail and the people can no longer be found to make it work?

      I fear we are on the cusp of finding out.

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