Soapbox; my voice and opinions on various things. Read at your own risk.
These are kept fairly short and to the point, and of course are not the last word on the subject. Feel free to communicate to me your opinions. I am always learning!
1. Labels, isms and ists.
2. We DON'T need political parties
5. The Nonexistence of Chaos
Labels, isms and ists
'Oh, you're one of those...'
Labels, '-isms' and '-ists'- we see them everywhere, in print and conversation, on radio and television, on forms we fill out. And the damage they cause is everywhere - within and all around us, in every situation. They are nearly impossible to avoid, as many are common, useful words.
I dislike labels of any kind, because they are defined mostly by those who use them. Just ask ten people to define 'liberal' and you'll get ten different responses. If I then tell you I'm 'liberal' (or 'conservative'), immediately I am put in a box, the boundaries of which exist in your unique mind, containing your concepts, views and experiences of which I have no clue, and which instantly modifies your perception of me. The label represents a construct you hold in your mind that may be utterly false concerning me, and therein lies danger. Everyone, including me, holds some of these label constructs. I'm trying to get rid of mine; hopefully you will see yours in a new light after reading further.
Labels are subtle and perilous because they can cut across cultural and political lines. They are belief systems, like religions. People use them to separate themselves and others into groups, which naturally results in comparisons between those groups, and subsequent judgements and friction as those involved take up and defend the (often) disparate beliefs that come with the label!
The problem that I have with belief is that it may not be fact.
I would rather know something than believe it. When one believes something it means that it has been accepted. But has it been tested and found to be true, a fact, or knowledge?. This is an ongoing process, and is much more difficult than it seems at first glance if you are honest with yourself. I try to take everything with a grain of salt, so to speak, and it must pass through many tests before it becomes part of things that I know. This testing can take a long time; unfortunately for some things it may take more time than I have left on this earth. Far too many people accept what they read or what others say at face value, and it costs us all dearly. World wars provide us with one of the best studies in human loss - it is dreadful to think that people can be so prideful or desperate to be above their own kind that they will kill them based on beliefs. What shocks is that despite this terrible lesson, people still do this today! Most of our societal dealings with others would go so much more smoothly if everyone questioned or proved what they were told or thought they knew, before acting on it. Why are we so easily led? Why do we choose to be deceived so easily? Because the truth is often not what we expect, and is not what we want to hear.
I shy away from 'isms', or 'ists' e.g. racism, environmentalist, et cetera, because these too are ill-defined , quasi-religious belief systems to which I do not subscribe. The color of someone's skin means nothing to me. What matters to me is how and what they think, and the resulting effects.
And religion, it's out, too. The world's religious systems, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them, are encrusted with ritual, dogma, politics and bureaucracy, which lie as a dead weight and hindrance to one's progress with God. Look how much time they spend fighting amongst themselves. There is much worthwhile being done by dedicated truth-seeking people in all religions, and I commend that, but it has nothing to do with all the corporate baggage. Speaking only of my own experience, I know God exists; this was proved to me, and He has made available all that I need (not necessarily what I want), and my hope rests in Him. Though I have failed Him often, He has never failed me. Not much to know, is it?
So: I'm not 'liberal' or 'conservative', nor am I 'white', 'caucasian' or any color. Not Democrat or Republican or any other 'party'. I am neither 'straight', 'bisexual', or 'gay'. Nor am I a 'fundamentalist', 'moralist', 'right-wing' or 'left-wing' or 'moderate'. Neither 'Catholic' or 'Protestant', 'pagan' or 'atheist'. Nor am I a [go ahead, make my day, label me]. If you see or talk to me and for some reason think I am any of these or other things, you're working from a risky belief-system mindset.
If all this sounds like philosophy to you, well, I'm sorry you wasted the time in college on that concept. You can keep it. Just give me the facts.
So what am I?. I am a man, a being. Living, thinking, breathing, interacting right now with you, and others of our kind. Let us question, be wary of deceit, and combine our skill, experience and knowledge to our mutual benefit, not to divide or conquer.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this. More importantly, don't 'believe' it, test it for yourself, think about it.
We DON'T need political parties
Some of the advantages of non-party elected government:
Each Senator and Representative would be more accountable to the people for how they vote.
Lobbying influences and vote trading would likely still take place, but would be made more visible.
Those elected representatives would be unable to blame partisan politics for their actions, or lack of same.
Those running for office would have to do so on their own merit and record.
No time or money wasted promoting party political views instead of doing the job they were elected to do.
There would be no court battles over which party's voters filled out more ballots, and no whining over procedure or who or what was 'fair'.
Your representative would have no viable reason to pre-judge your voice in a matter important to you.
Legislation could not be viewed through politically rose-colored glasses.
A party system is ideal for the destruction of a country. Each party can blame the other for the mess they cause. Each party can refuse to clean up said mess because the other party won't do their fair share. Legislation is passed, or passed over, for political and not lawful reasons. Party platforms are NOT part of our founding documents, yet seem to be treated as such. Party platforms change over time and are inherently unstable - the Independents of today behave more like Republicans of a century ago, The Republicans of today are the Democrats of the last century, and the Democrats (and some purported Republicans!) of today have become Socialists or worse. Even the party name turns out to be just a cover designed to sound good in the ears of the people.
Political parties are not parties. They are political conspiracies, people banded together for acquisition of power, wealth, and advancement of the party cause over the will and interest of the people and/or the law. Politics and Law/Justice are antithetical. One advances only at the expense of the other. Either way, you get to pay the bill, so what would you rather have?
Liberty demands constant vigilance. And remember - America is NOT a democracy, it is a Republic. Does it not make you wonder why our leaders keep blabbing about democracy instead of the Constitutional government we are SUPPOSED to be? Hmmm....
1. Guns, like wealth, are power. Whoever has them, or the most and/or biggest, makes the rules.
2. Guns are here to stay, whether you like it or not. Worldwide. If you don't like it, see #1. Relax - nobody can make you have a gun if you don't want one.
3. There is no rational reason to fear a gun, of itself. A gun, like a car or a stove, is an inanimate machine. For a gun, or a car, or stove to do what it does, a human being must be involved. Caveat: Beware the human with a gun.
4. Ignorance about guns and how they work is a bad thing. Even if you won't or don't have one, you should at least know how they work and their limitations. At least teach your kids so they know and don't do something stupid. Caveat: Beware the ignorant human with a gun.
5. Guns aren't designed specifically to kill things. They are designed to shoot bullets. Humans determine where the bullets go. Caveat: Beware what humans with guns are thinking (or not thinking).
6. Gun rhymes with fun. At least I know how to have fun with one. And so do many of my friends. Without endangering anybody or breaking any laws. Imagine that! You needn't fear me, I am on your side. And no, I am not obsessed with guns nor am I a 'gun nut'.
7. Guns, like cars and alcohol, can be misused. People who misuse them get no sympathy from me.
8. Criminals don't care about gun laws. They will always have guns even if guns are outlawed entirely, because they know the truth of #1 and #2.
9. The thug breaking into your house has a gun. Luckily, you were able to call the police (you know, those guys with the guns (#1) ). Who will get to your room first?
10. Relax. So what if you don't have a gun. Just do whatever the thug says (#1), and maybe you'll get shot anyway (#3, #5, #7, #8). Criminals don't seem to have any respect anymore, like in the old days.
11. The police filing the burglary/death report all have guns. You don't have to fear them, ideally at least, they're on your side. They know ALL of the above. Oh, but you're dead. Never mind.
The recent events at the former World Trade Center expose a very serious weakness of modern society - the tendency to concentrate population, energy and food distribution systems, and manufacturing, into what can be termed targets of great opportunity. This tendency to centralization is driven by convenience and greed, not prudence, and the time has come to evolve to a society which is widely distributed both physically and in the manner in which it operates. The Internet, and telephone systems, are good examples; it would be very difficult to bring down the entire network at one time, and it is designed such that if one portion is rendered unusable, communication is routed around the damaged area. Yet even the Internet is not immune to humanity's desire to follow the easiest path. Certain parts and subsystems of it have indeed become massively centralized and thus more vulnerable.
A few areas of extreme vulnerability that will benefit from decentralization:
Power distribution systems: The electrical systems of America are tied together into massive grids. These grids must be micromanaged around the clock by skilled operators and sophisticated controls in order to function. Several years ago a tree fell over on a transmission line in Oregon and the resulting domino chain of faults resulted in power outages across several states, including where I live in southern California. Does this sound like a smart way to distribute power? It is fine to sell power onto a grid system for redistribution, but each locality must be able to provide power to its own region if the grid goes down for some reason, natural or man-caused. Which is more difficult to incapacitate - ten one-hundred-megawatt plants spread out over the countryside, or one one-thousand megawatt plant? The answer is obvious. The more decentralized utilities become, the less effect a disaster has on them and the customers they supply. Every county in America should be able to operate independently on its own power systems. Large cities should have several systems widely distributed, the more the better, and not all of them in town.
Skyscrapers: While it is admirable to aspire to the heavens with architecture, the fact is that tall buildings are deathtraps. The World Trade Center should never be rebuilt - it would be the epitome of stupidity to do so in my opinion, as it would probably be targeted again. If there is no room to build except upward, a limit should be placed on how large such structures may be, and their spacing. Or, simply build it elsewhere where there is room! Why humanity crams itself together into big cities when there is so much land available is beyond comprehension. Again, if the WTC had been a large plaza of a great many 'smaller' buildings, how many less lives would have been lost?
The subdivision of oil, food, and water supply, transportation and storage systems, and also the distributed stockpiling of resources, will also have similar benefits.
The strategy of decentralization is everywhere - nature subdivides so as to limit the spread of damage or disease, and to ensure survival. Caveat: If cockroaches were the size of dogs surely we would have ensured their extinction by now! We have abandoned simple natural truths for the wonders of technological progress. We can integrate both. America must become much more independent within itself to avoid the kind of economic impact such as that resulting from the WTC attacks. That event should not have affected us as much as it did. It shows to many eyes and ears how weak and vulnerable we really are. What would happen in a real, nation-wide emergency? The WTC was a wake-up call. And we'd better heed it - starting NOW.
The Nonexistence of Chaos
There is no such thing as Chaos - only infinite, undiscovered Patterns.
I have come to the conclusion that chaos as such cannot exist. Humanity has discovered time and time again that things which on their surface apparently have no rhyme, reason or order do in fact have an underlying pattern. The death of chaos to me was heralded by the discovery of fractal geometry, which reduces the characteristics of seemingly 'chaotic' things, such as the shapes of coastlines, to elegant formulas. Those things that remain inexplicably 'chaotic' to us simply have yet to yield to deduction. Every atom, molecule, thing, storm system, or being, is a pattern, which has a blueprint, a wonderful design and equation, most of which are beyond our comprehension at this point in time.
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Copyright © 2000 by David McNamee
This slice of Tungsten's Castlepage last revised October 18, 2000.