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Why Send It To Washington When You Can Send It To Baghdad? - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Why Send It To Washington When You Can Send It To Baghdad?
An article on the sort of speech George W. Bush is likely to give for his State of the Union address this evening provides the following insight:
President Bush is certain to focus on the economy on Monday night, reiterating his faith in Americans’ enterprise and work ethic, arguing for a short-term shot in the arm and repeating his call for low taxes as a permanent way of life. Mr. Bush believes deeply in Americans’ “keeping more of their hard-earned money, rather than sending it to Washington,” as his spokeswoman, Dano Perino, put it the other day.
Will there ever come a day when this Administration acknowledges the gap between rhetoric and reality? It would seem not. Then again, after doing everything in their power to sustain and strengthen a demographic either unwilling or unable to make that distinction, the powers behind our President may have lost the capacity to recognize that there are still people out there who lack that lack of insight.

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From: babyiwasshot Date: January 28th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron"--H.L. Mencken (1920)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 28th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sometimes H.L. hits the nail on the Dummkopf.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 28th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"Sometimes" is the key term; he simultaneously illustrates the pros (freedom of thought) and the cons (taking that freedom of thought so far that it lands in politically 'dangerous'* territory) of libertarianism.

*Whether or not I think an idea is "dangerous" or not really depends on it's plausibility and truth content AND a "gut check"; if Mencken's conclusions are deductively/empricially valid AND bode well with my conscience, then I say "fuck the political implications; the truth shall set you free" (e.g. that whole Steven Levitt/Abortion thing)....then again, I'm still reluctant to be as reliant on logic/reason as hardcore libertarians are; sometimes things re shown (deductively & empirically) to be "true," yet they're STILL patently false on a gut level (e.g. social darwinism)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 28th, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well put. For my part, my biggest issue with libertarians is the fact that most of them still believe in the sanctity of the nation state -- a la Ron Paul -- even though a truly free market, impossibility that it may be, is a market free of differentials produced by border restrictions.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 29th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Moreover, "free" doesn't necessarily imply "fair," meaning that competition that's COMPLETELY unbridled enables individuals on top of the heap to occlude the advancement of others†. Competition and market freedom only work when it's ILLEGAL to enact policies that hamper the advancement of others.

The thinking of those who believe the market solves the world's problems is flawed insofar as it views "progress" as something infinite and unilateral (forward-moving)--ie. you can ALWAYS improve your circumstances, even when you're the richest fucker in the world, and you're ALWAYS looking forward in competition rather than backward--and utterly FAILS to take into account the complete lack of ethics and indolence that are (sadly) innate characteristics of LOTS of people.

IN other words, it views the market like a track meet; in truth, however, if the market were a track meet, it'd be one in which the guy in the lead throws tacks behind him in order to gain a competitive advantage, hence the NECESSITY of regulation.

Not to mention the fact that one has no control over the circumstances into which an individual is born, which makes moving up in the world difficult (if not impossible) for some (which would be like only permitting some racers to start after the rest have lapped them).

For that matter, most modern day capitalists don't even understand that progress can only occur when the masses are kept EDUCATED, which is why corporations USED to establish laboratories and grants and what-not, and the modern capitalist's definition of "competition" has shifted from something based upon "innovation" to something based on "ADVERTISING."

People who manufacture products no longer innovate, per se; nobody's looking for an alternative to the automobile, for instance; rather, they're just adding lots of superfluous "features" to an already existing technology. Everything has stalled; nobody wants to "win" by creating something "new" so much as they just want to DEFEAT competitiors who are creating the same thing. Hell, those who HAVE innovated in the past half-century have been people ON THE FRINGES (silicon valley) of the corporate establishment.

Advertising has ruined "capitalism" as guys like rockefeller/carnegie (Who had the wherewithal to understand that education is important and founded university of chicago and carnegie/mellon, respectively) defined it.


†Clarence Thomas is such a great/perplexing example of this, given his opinions AGAINST affirmative action when he, himself, wouldn't even be a justice were it not for those programs. It's chicken-shit, and behavior endemic to lots of humans, I think (e.g. chicano resentment towards illegal immigrants/"chingons").
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 29th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, although I agree that a lot of capitalists have given up on the efforts that made previous generations show progress, there are still those "super capitalists" like Buffett, Gates and Soros who spend heavily on the future. The problem is that, whereas individuals like that would once have supplemented what the state does, they now have to substitute for it a good deal of the time. It's great that the Gates Foundation is tackling the problem of malaria, but it would be better if the United Nations, led by countries like the United States, were fully engaged in that task alongside Bill's billions.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 30th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like to think of myself as a marxist, but I'm NOT a leninist and I do not believe that the "step" of industrialization/capitalism can be skipped in creating a socialist government. The best "socialist" governments in the world today were once wealthy and INDUSTRIAL; hardcore capitalism is a NECESSARY step in a society's development towards socialism. The progression is feudalism--->capitalism--->socialism, and the middle step CAN'T be skipped.

Lenin, for all his faults, had the brilliant motto: "the worse, the better," meaning that the indignities of each social system prompt the populace they govern to lash-out for the change (buzzword alert) that helps them "hop" to the next level of development. Thus, what countries in africa and latin america NEED is capitalism, and the only way they get capitalism is through EDUCATION.

In light of this, then, we see that the money of the super-philanthropists and the NGOs is misplaced anyway; focus of EDUCATION! That's the only way people in feudal societies "advance" to capitalism (and, later on, to socialism*). Before a country can have an infastructure MANAGED AND MAINTAINED by the people whom it effects, said people need to (a) truly comprehend the value of good infastructure and (b) KNOW how to build/maintain one.

Neo-colonial subversion/meddling notwithstanding, the reason that regions like Latin America, for instance, do so poorly is that the leaders who CARE about the people aren't educated enough to run a government well (Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez, etc.)--which, most importantly, entails DELEGATING tasks to EXPERTS in specific areas (transportation, economy, social policy), rather than managing it ALL (no matter how educated; one can't know everything about EVERY aspect of domestic policy well-enough to run a government) on their own. Even when said experts/administrators are well-educated (most of the "higher ups" in latin american governments were educated at prestigious american schools; those in africa were educated at prestigious BRITISH schools), that won't mean ANYTHING until THE PEOPLE are educated enough to realize that going along with the proposals of the phi-beta-kappas is the best possible course.





*America, in fact, is arguably on the cusp betwixt capitalism and socialism; there's a general indignation so widespread that the government will be forced to become somewhat more socialist (e.g. the push for universal health-care).
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 30th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I agree with your argument here, though I might choose different points to argument. A long time ago I wrote a piece along similar lines. It occasioned my favorite "fan mail" ever, a terse note of approval from sci-fi author and then-Wired columnist Bruce Sterling, from his "well.com" address.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 30th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
though I might choose different points to argument

hahahah THIS is the problem underlying my whole academic career. I don't think in an ORGANIZED fashion. I can come up with good ideas lightning quick, but it's often difficult for me to trace the path by which I arrived at my conclusions. To me, the conclusions are key, not the argument; when I analyze other arguments, for example, I don't do so based on evidence presented so much as whether it LOGICALLY makes sense (TO ME) after pondering it for a bit. I mean: look at my SYNTAX: commas everywhere, CIRCUMLOCUTION....It really feels like speaking another language sometimes; some people just can't understand my writing.

It's a really "german" affliction. I'm like kant/hegel; I'll "stream-of-consciousness" an argument and leave the burden of organizing/collating it into something fluvial and cogent on the reader, which BACKFIRES (big time) with certain instructors--over the years I've learned to DROP any class taught by teachers who laud Strunk&White; I can't conform to the ENGLISH manner of presenting an argument;

I'm dialectical; I don't think in a straight line like some instructors; I think in oscillation, back-and-forth, verbally arguing with myself, which (fortunately) is a "Style" of thinking guys like you can comprehend.

...not to say I can't write a cogent essay, but it takes a TON of time/labor.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 30th, 2008 02:28 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Within this culture, however, there is a subgrouping particularly invested in this 'edge'. There are number of potential names for this category, but I think Adam Parfrey's 1987 collection Apocalypse Culture provides the most appropriate, since it embraces the extreme within the supposed extremity of alternative culture and includes cultural productions fascinated with everything that seems to herald the disintegration of civilization as we know it (including their own fascination!): serial killers and mass murderers, eccentric David Koresh-like prophets of the apocalypse, abnormal sexual practices, the emergence of nostalgia for a pre-civilization tribalism, the unapologetic fringe of the drug culture, conspiracy theories that explain, however bizarrely, how everything is coming apart, etc.

You should apply this to Palahniuk, particularly Fight Club (other examples; Twelve Monkeys, anything unique to the whole "portland" subculture)

Frankly, the whole anarcho-primitivism thing fascinates me, probably because it's a quasi-philosophical expression of my subconscious desire to "transcend" (or rather just DO AWAY WITH) traditional morality--pure Nietzsche.

Really, Nietzsche's the go-to source that enables one to understand EVERYTHING postmodern or "hyper-marginal."

All really RADICAL fictional characters are aspirants to the state of the "übermensch": Mr./Col. Kurtz, Tyler Durden, Dexter (from the showtime series)...even the recent character of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 30th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hell, I mean--examining things DIVORCED from marxist/theoretical discourse--education has to PRECEDE even the disease prevention that dudes like buffet/gates are attempting to palliate.

WHen people KNOW how AIDS "works," they can avoid it; when people KNOW how malaria is propagated (And how to avoid it) they act accordingly.

KNOWLEDGE precedes all of this stuff.


Look at America, even; most people (on both sides of the spectrum) assert that America is failing. Why? Mismanagement of EDUCATIONAL policy/budget. The education system in this country is fucked; consequently, our public schools pump out dumbasses who, were it not for the grievous amount of wealth their parents/families accumulated in the past, when people WERE smarter, would be damn near USELESS.

This is why I'm so hard on my peers; they're fucking idiots with degrees/diplomas†. The standards by which one attains those merits have been lowered so exorbitantly that kids can become ostensibly "qualified" to do shit like, say, manage companies, but they don't really KNOW/UNDERSTAND how to do it well, and then you end up with FAILURES like enron. Nobody who TRULY understands good management would've permitted the shit that went on in Enron to transpire. Only unethical/uneducate dipshits would've agreed to the shit they did at that company.

†What makes me different? I'm an autodidact. Really, when I think about it, everything OF VALUE that I know I taught myself (or, rather, I taught/convinced myself to VALUE enough to listen to teachers when they taught it).

"I taught/convinced myself to VALUE enough to listen to teachers when they taught it"

THIS is the ROOT problem; my generation doesn't VALUE education; before one can be taught anything, he/she must first TEACH HIS/HER-SELF that to acquiesce to being taught is valuable



‡Which may seem hypocritical given my recalcitrance relative to the tutelage of my college instructors, but all my classes aren't really "teaching" me stuff I don't already know ('cause i taught myself), thus making finding a real MOTIVE toward getting a bachelor's (which, I'd assert, I already HAVE, sans the MERIT/DOCUMENTATION) difficult for me; I blew off assigned readings in one of my classes this week, for example, to read SHelley on my own, for FUN. I'm learning; only I'm learning what I want to learn, at the PACE at which I want to learn it. I'm not stupid, but lazy. Sadly, a diploma (evidently) reflects BOTH one's intelligence AND his/her work ethics (which is bullshit, in my opinion).

Another thing is that some of my instructors can't even CONCEIVE of how I taught myself this shit, as if a knowledge of Foucault or German Idealism HAS to obtained from a classroom.
cpratt From: cpratt Date: January 29th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Excellent, excellent subject line. I don't get it. When I want to keep more of money, I pay down debts (to reduce interest payments) and watch my spending more carefully. I don't cut taxes for the wealthy and run up massive debts starting entirely unnecessary and not even remotely cost effective wars. What a tool.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 29th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That speech was awful, too. I can't wait for him to be gone, even though the euphoria will be short-lived, given the terrible shape this country is now in.
flw From: flw Date: January 29th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You know they had to fly extra secret service agents over to Saudi Arabia during Bush's recent trip to guard the PILES OF GOLD that the Saudi Princelings were heaping upon him. The goal is to lower taxes so that people have more money to give to them. Again, they do not care how rich they are. They do not want people to be wealthier. They take pleasure in forcing the masses to grovel. They want feudalism.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 29th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It sure does seem that way. The fact that no one made a serious attempt on his life over there is ample proof of how things are really run. I know Michael Moore plays fast and loose, but those scenes from Fahrenheit 911 still resonate.
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