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rrneck's Journal
rrneck's Journal
July 28, 2013

Because the population in general

and liberals in particular aren't hungry enough yet.

Do you think only conservatives were flipping houses and investing in questionable securities during the last bubble? How many leading liberal thinkers have spent more time ensconced in university chairs pontificating than actually interacting with the people they are ostensibly trying to help? How much liberal political capital has been squandered on the culture wars instead of the class wars?

People didn't get nothing since 1980, they just didn't get as much as they deserved for their efforts. So, for example, women expanded their role in the workforce and now it takes two people to afford a middle class lifestyle. Wage stagnation is only half the reason. The other half is that a middle class lifestyle has become a hopelessly inflated orgy of consumerism. Both of these causes profit corporations and the 1% that controls them.

The United States is just another empire in a long line of empires, and we are in decline. Over consumption of resources, an economy based on finance rather than manufacturing, the conversion to a service economy (a thousand years ago it would have been a slave economy), and dependence on a bloated military to defend the profits of a greedy oligarchy are all part of the same pattern. Between the greed of a few here and a shortage of resources caused by actual depletion and competition for same around the world our population is being squeezed into the corner of a contracting lifestyle. Get ready for it, it's on the way.

No matter who you are or what you have, your lifestyle will contract. For those who are blessed with a surfeit of resources, that contraction will be unpleasant. For those just getting by, it will be painful. It will be disastrous for the rest simply because they have nowhere to contract to.

The terms liberal and conservative refer to rates of cultural change. Most people think they refer to certain issues of the day, but that just turns them into products that enrich the wealthy. That's how they get people to vote against their economics interest. Ideology has become little more than social plumage. Sooner or later liberals will have to get down to the business of actually changing a culture that simply doesn't work any more. To do that, they will have to be hungry enough to want to make those changes rather than simply pontificate about them and living off the royalties. The sad truth is that generally speaking, people don't climb into the trenches willingly. They generally fall into them. Or get pushed.

July 27, 2013

I agree, but it makes me wonder.

Why own something you're not willing to fight for?

Is it a sign of our decadence that we are willing to write off property that is worth more money than half the population of the planet will see in a lifetime of labor?

It's easy to say "my stuff isn't worth a human life" because your stuff doesn't keep you alive either. And it would be the height of decadence to be willing to kill for property that is little more than an affectation. But there is a middle ground, and that place is found a lot closer to having just what you need than where we we are now. The fact that we can speak in terms of the disposability of all material goods is a sign of our decadence. Our survival is so assured by our infrastructure it has become invisible to us although certainly many have died because of it.

July 23, 2013

It's not the liberal elite. It's liberals.

Ideology has become a sort of affectation or social plumage. On the right that affectation is manifest in libertarian ideology. On the left identity politics makes money for those who make a living at it, but the practice of it by the rank and file isn't profitable at all. So people who claim to be liberals, (there ain't many) wind up expressing emotional solidarity with any number of culturally oppressed groups and then telling their accountants to squeeze another 1% out of their investments no matter what. Do you really think teabaggers were the only people flipping houses and buying esoteric investments during the housing bubble?

People need resources to live. That need has been turned into a product to be sold to them. People also need to be recognized as people who are unique and have unique desires and goals. That has become a product too. The marketplace of ideas has been turned into a weapon to be used against us. When we stop behaving like ideological consumers and start behaving like citizens the tide will turn. Unfortunately, I expect that we won't start doing that until we run out of money to pay people to tell us what we want to hear.

July 14, 2013

Aquittal and privelage.

Well, Mr. Zimmerman is off the hook. Six citizens good and true determined that the prosecution failed to make it's case. I can understand how they came to that decision, but I don't like it or agree with it. I think I know what happened that night.

Trayvon Martin was minding his own business, not bothering anybody. He was young and impetuous, perhaps even foolhardy in temperament, qualities not unusual in young men and under more favorable circumstances can become heroism. But at the moment he was spied by George Zimmerman all he really wanted was something to eat. Zimmerman's ambitions ran to something more.

Zimmerman, through his fumbling association with law enforcement, martial arts, community service and weapons, reveals a disregard for anything like civic duty but rather a desire for the exercise of power to support privilege. His father was a minor functionary in the legal system, able to be referred to as a "magistrate" but without the power usually associated with that title. While his father may have, and probably did, discharge his duties as honorably as anyone, it is sometimes the nature of the sons of those with even a little power to be infatuated with the trappings of it than the responsibilities associated with its exercise. George's incessant calling of emergency services to report suspicious activity seems to have less to do with the defense of private property and more to do with the ingratiation of himself with the local police force.

Zimmerman, through his infatuation with the trappings of power, claimed privilege which he did not earn or deserve. He is a grasping toady and a bully who doesn't feel bound by the concept of civil behavior beyond how it can be used to curry favor with those who can feed his ego through praise, or others who could do the same through fear.

The night Trayvon Martin died he was confronted with the trappings of privilege in the service of George Zimmerman's petty egotistical desires. The trappings of privilege - property, a vehicle, race, a gun - were used to cruel effect to attempt to harass and intimidate the youth. Martin was harassed but not intimidated in the least. Had Zimmerman not shot him Martin would probably have pounded him into the ground then and there.

But we can't prove it. There is ample evidence of hate and fear, avarice and jealousy, but we have no actual evidence of how they were used as a fulcrum for injustice. And the tragedy of our ignorance makes a mockery of the law.

July 4, 2013

The flag.

I rather like the flag. I don't feel embarrassed or self conscious at my pleasure at the sight of Old Glory. I don't like to see it mistreated or damaged. I don't like to see it disrespected. The flag symbolizes something very important to me and to all of us. It doesn't symbolize concepts like freedom or democracy. It certainly doesn't symbolize a political agenda. It's not a symbol of any ideological abstraction. The flag is you. The flag is my tribe. No matter who you are or where you are, if you are a citizen of the United States, I'm on your side.

Have a happy Independence Day.

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