I’ve reduced my political writing for a while. This isn’t because we’ve had a collective outbreak of competence and sanity. (Nor have I suddenly become wise and risen “above it all”.) Rather, it’s timing. Now is a time when politics is just a sporting event. Rooting for a favorite team requires a non-loathsome team and belief that the game matters.
From time to time there’s a moment when multiple courses are possible; when America is standing there with it’s hands in it’s pockets thinking really hard with it’s 300 million competing brain cells and pondering its options. Should it go to work that morning? Or maybe should it just snort some crack and stuff Cheetoes up it’s ass?
I get tense… will there be more stupid? Less stupid? Same stupid but from a different team that pretends its stupid is less stupid than the other side’s stupid? Thelma and Louise are rocketing toward the cliff and I have the feeling that further stupidity might possibly be avoided if they just calmed the hell down and hit the brakes. In such times I rant about politics.
Now is not that time. The national debt is $18,177,643,345,234.85 and I’m the only guy who’ll spare the time to type all sixteen digits. Silly me! In a world where nobody will even make eye contact with that sort of number I think we can all agree that returning to a number akin to zero is simply no longer possible. It makes me wonder if the debt of ten years ago (a mere $7,932,709,661,723.50) was somehow more palatable? Why? At the time it seemed very bad. Are things now 129% more bad? Will they be 129% more bad in the future? How about 10,000% more bad? How does one quantify the unquantifiable?
Since Louise has already launched the car I might as well enjoy the majesty of flight. Possibly welding shit on a wood splitter is the noblest of current activities? Especially since I’m not sure politics of other eras were any less stupid.
Suppose I built a time machine and decided to seek a few decades of sanity and progress in which to settle down and spend quality time. When would the era of non stupid have been?
Would I start in 1776 when we put our thumb in the eye of the most powerful Monarchy in Europe? Yikes! A dude could get himself shot! Would I blog (pamphlet?) about the good man Washington taking a wrong turn pounding civil liberties during the Whiskey Rebellion less than 15 years later? Would I write posts warning of economic bubbles in 1848? Would I cringe at an ugly civil war in 1861? I might bitch the foolishness of driving bison to near extinction by 1890 but by 1914 I’d switch tasks and get jittery about the long term ramifications of a jackoff’s assassination of a noble. Of course my blog, delivered by telegraph(?), would point out that the bigger killer was a pandemic. I suppose then I’d hammer on a typewriter while DC extended the Great Depression by declaring the distance from garden to kitchen interstate commerce. Perhaps I’d write that Europe looked to be doing Great War Version 2.0 and politicians were getting it as wrong as humanly possible. If I were a blogger in 1939 I’d be making comparisons to cars and cliffs right until Pearl Harbor. Two months later when the President was imprisoning American Citizens I’d be trying to point out that concentration camps are a very bad thing indeed. After the Great War Part II a wise man might focus on tail fins on Cadillacs but would I be able to ignore race riots and threats of thermonuclear war? Luckily Communism fell around 1989 or 1991 (as much from economics as from yearning to be free) and so (of course!) we decided to embrace damn near every part of the Socialist agenda right here at home. Because we just love to shove Cheetoes up our ass.
Which brings me to now. Right now, today, even as I type, the NSA is engaged in domestic spying on every single American. I fret that Soviet Russia (or for that matter any number of fallen and current oppressive hellholes) might hint that it’s not a good thing when these things happen. When the State becomes all powerful, when it spies on its citizens, when it controls my doctor as if he somehow chose to be an employee of the State, when it amasses debt that exceeds realistic number theory… when that is true, perhaps it is not the time to stare into the stupid. Which is why things like commenting on gay wedding partners and religious pizza shop owners is really and truly… missing the point.
The point is that right now is a short lull in a long term Galactic arc of people doing stupid and stupid leading to misery. Both sides of our political coin are pretty useless at the moment. Frankly it takes a lot of work to become that fully emasculated. One has to face the stupid, inhale the stupid, become that which is stupid. The evil party is running out the clock having gotten all it can (good and hard). Did they show restraint, humility, the hand of power resting lightly on the tiller? Hell no, to do so wouldn’t be sufficiently stupid. Meanwhile the stupid party is squawking loudly and crapping on its shoe (which appears to be what it does best) while desperately killing any hint of regeneration of mind and spirit within it’s own system. To do otherwise would be to adapt, learn, and eschew the stupid. Both of them are purposely obsessing over matters of little import. (“ISIS does mass beheadings in Iraq? Better go ape over some gay dude’s bakery choice in Indiana!”) That’s stupid. It’s also why now is a good time to write about homesteading errata, livestock, and flat tires.
The only thing I would note is that there is a very SPECIFIC group of people who swore an oath to the Constitution before they pinned on that badge, and that if any significant number of them would actually HONOR that oath, things would be VERY different today.
Things could be very different, but they’re not.
Don’t waste time wishing for people to honor oaths or behave morally. It’s exhausting and counterproductive. Some folks are great, like the kind officer that guarded my woodsplitter. Be thankful for them but don’t expect it. The majority will “go with the flow” right up to the brink and indeed over it. They’ll tap phones, kick in doors, seize assets, tax what they can’t seize, ban what they can’t tax, regulate what they can’t ban, threaten children, shoot dogs, imprison innocents, and pretty much inflict any order on whomever they’re pointed at. Whether it’s a jerk in a suit outlawing a light bulb or a monster with a uniform loading Jews on a cattle car there’s no limit to most people’s capacity to boss other people around.
Evil can, has, and will always be perpetuated by people who have done the easy thing and have convinced themselves it’s the right thing and badges just make the charade easier to swallow. Politicians who accumulate excess power are no different from cops who seized guns over Katrina in 2005 or arrested Japanese Americans over Pearl Harbor in 1942. They do wrong but are not bothered by their misdeeds.
You sir, are a genius.
Reblogged this on wyowanderer and commented:
If you don’t frequent Adaptive Curmudgeon’s blog, please start. It’s excellent.
“Are things now 129% more bad? Will they be 129% more bad in the future? How about 10,000% more bad? How does one quantify the unquantifiable?”
It will become quantified at some point.. when a loaf of bread costs 10 rounds of .22 ammunition and a dollar is something EBT users have, but the store shelves in places where dollars are accepted are empty. Perhaps using the number of people in the daily queue to buy laundry detergent or corn-starch would be a good quantifiable measure of “bad.” Today that number hovers near zero – as debt increases, and the world finds alternatives, that number will likely be much higher. The Stupid is locked in at this point, which is why ” now is a good time to write about homesteading errata, livestock, and flat tires.” because those are the things that will matter when the corn-starch queue number is around 2, 400, 543 – and there is nothing that can be done to avoid that happening now. .
“It will become quantified at some point”
I’m not so sure. It seems to me that the descent into stupid is a spectrum. It happens slow and inexorable and a millimeter at a time. People get used to whatever level of suck they’re in at the moment. Everyone sits comfortably in their world and logically thinks it’s the next step lower on the spectrum that will make the shit hit the fan.
I’ll give an example, an elder I respect once said “when they instituted the sales tax they said it would apply only to luxuries but the first thing they taxed was toilet paper… that’s all you need to know”. He was a wise man. It’s true that some line was crossed when the State took a few cents in tribute so he could wipe his ass. But it was simply crossed and most of us have been paying those few cents most of our lives. Other lines might be crossed too. Perhaps when you’re trading .22 rounds for toilet paper, or (such as in Soviet Russia) when it’s the nastiest quality this side of sandpaper, or when you must wait in line for it at Wal-Mart, or when Wal-Mart runs out and you must buy it on E-bay, or when you resell it on the grey market because you bought it with cash and everyone else has EBT which E-bay can’t process, or (if you’re in Venezuela) you get fingerprinted while buying it, or (also in Venezuela) the police inspect your home in case you’re “hoarding” it. All of these are lines. In one society or another most have been crossed. Soviet Russia didn’t fall because the people said “no more” and rose up, they planted turnips in windowboxes and endured until it collapsed on it’s own.
“…there is nothing that can be done to avoid that happening now.”
Correct. Though, to strain a metaphor, most of us can figure out a way to make our own toilet paper and that’s something.
Revolution will come, and wipe the slate. Stupid may soon have a downside again.
Yah, I dunno’ how great that is. Revolutions don’t always go according to plan. Ask the French.
Revolutions tend to sweep away the good and the bad … just like Forrest Gumps box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna git …
Whatever emerges it won’t be quite what you expect …
Perhaps it’s not the time to stare into the stupid, but we do it. Because we can. And because it’s right.
Rock on, AC.
In case u hav’nt seen it on u tube (cross cut saw firewood).Don’t need power tools.