Archive for September, 2015
What’s the most frightening thing about UFO’s — Unidentified Flying Objects? After all, it’s common to look up and see birds, aircraft, clouds, and other things flying in the sky.
What’s frightening is the first word in the acryonym: “Unidentified.” We’re scared because certain objects perform maneuvers unlike other things we see in the sky and we don’t know what they are.
Remember the phrase “Going postal?”
According to the Wikipedia article the expression originates in a series of more than 20 workplace rage cases between 1986 and 1997 where United States Postal Service (USPS) workers shot and killed managers, fellow workers, and members of the police or general public in acts of mass murder.
Despite my libertarian suspicion that working at a government post office would be such a bureaucratic nightmare — akin to the 1985 satire Brazil — that psychotic violence is predictable, Wikipedia informs us that postal workers actually have a lower rate of workplace violence than in comparable private-sector jobs. Nonetheless, the phrase entered popular usage to mean a stultifying job site where explosive behavior is understandable. See the hilarious 1999 Mike Judge movie Office Space.
One week ago 14-year-old high-school student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested after bringing a science project to school showing the inner workings of a digital clock. Never mind that the device had nothing in its workings that looked like a bomb — no sticks of dynamite, no liquids like in Die Hard 2 that appeared to be explosive when mixed, no cell phone that could have remotely detonated a charge left in his locker. It was enough that it looked like a clock, a necessary component shown in dozens or hundreds of movies and TV episodes for any time bomb. Zero tolerance, you scared the crap out of us, kid, bring out the handcuffs. In the years after Columbine High School, that a student’s device was “Unidentified” — plus the kid had a Middle Eastern name — was sufficient to assume the kid was going postal.
It’s September 2015, fourteen years after September 11, 2001. The United States has never recovered from what happened that day. It’s still a benchmark for every political discussion about what the government should do to “keep us safe.” Since 9/11 the Bill of Rights — once considered the constitutional centerpiece of American civil liberties — has been made about as irrelevant in practical politics and jurisprudence as the Magna Carta. Congress passes laws, the President issues executive orders, and the courts ignore massive violations of what except for wartime — the Civil War, the two World Wars — would have been unthinkable violations of individual privacy and freedom.
But in terms of the number of U.S. troops deployed in active combat zones, the United States is closer to being at peace than at any time in recent memory. Yet the operations of government are not only premised on being in a state of heightened alert but assume that embedded among the civilian population are enemy saboteurs waiting to repeat 9/11 … or worse.
It has turned our major news media into war propaganda media, not censored by a government office but defining what is an approved talking point — an allowable subject for discussion — entirely as if such a censor had his finger on the dump button.
Orwell’s Big Brother State in his prophetic novel Nineteen-eighty-four would have been overwhelmed by the challenge of running a propaganda operation like the Fox News Channel — FNC — an acronym which might as well stand for the Fox National Committee akin to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Republican National Committee (RNC).
This was my response when my friend Brad Linaweaver told me he thought the Republican Party was more responsive to FNC’s Chairman Roger Ailes than to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
The events of September 11, 2001 — and every day of violence since then — have ultimately left the American people — and often other people outside our national borders — with what I’ll now call Unidentified Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — UPTSD.
Something is Out There. We do not know when it will attack us and bring on an Apocalyptic Day of Judgment. We’re so scared we can’t think straight.
Our movies and TV shows reflect our obsession with Living Dead who still look vaguely human but are in truth hideous monsters living among us.
Our news shows — the commercials on news shows — report on topics that when I was young could not even have been imagined, much less discussed on television. Same-sex marriage? Transgendered people? Pills that produce erections? Fetal body parts? Orgasms?
In the 1960’s Walter Cronkite or Huntley-Brinkley would have been thrown off the air if they had done a story on any of these. Even Paddy Chayefsky’s and Sidney Lumet’s brilliant 1976 movie satire Network — with fictitious news anchor Howard Beale’s on-air screed against “bullshit” — is comparatively tame compared to an average hour of 2015 television.
A comedian such as John Oliver is today as respected a source of investigative journalism as former WW2 foreign correspondent Edward R. Murrow was on CBS News in the 1950’s — this now when there are three domestic cable news operations, four major broadcast networks, and a World Wide Web with 24/7 ability to cover news.
Call this social insanity what authors before me have.
Heinlein writing science-fiction in the 1940’s called it “the crazy years.”
Futurist Alvin Toffler called it “future shock.”
I’m calling it UPTSD — a general social malaise in which ordinary people have a shortened attention span in which eternal verities are buried under the 24-hour news cycle and in which even totalitarian brainwashing has to be refreshed on a daily basis because yesterday’s brainwashing is already history.
Brad Linaweaver sees that as the Death of Western Civilization and the Enlightenment.
Me, I take that level playing field, where their ever-changing daily propaganda is no less crazy than my own anarchist rantings, as good news.
Are you “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”?
Do you think a Christian baker should be fined if he doesn’t provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — or that a county clerk’s job descrption requires providing a marriage license to a same-sex couple despite her own religious beliefs?
Do you think the “right to work” applies only to persons with permission from the United States government or is the right to make an honest living a universal human right that applies both to the person who offers paid work and the person who accepts it?
All of these are current controversies that exist only because government creates them.
“Black Lives Matter” is juxtaposed with “All Lives Matter” on the proposition that blacks are targeted by police powers more than other ethnicities, especially those perceived as “white.”
Obviously a Venn Diagram based on universal human rights would include “black lives.” Whether that happens in everyday life is a matter not of acknowledging abstract rights but of political reality. But there would be no division if there was not first a division between “law enforcement officers” and “civilians.” Just watch an episode of the CBS network series Blue Bloods in which the TV script writers reflect the premise that the killing of a cop is worse than the murder of us lowly “civilians,” the protection of whom is in theory the raison d’être for police departments in the first place.
The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The word” men” in that statement means human, not anatomically endowed with a penis. It’s a declaration of universal human rights.
It took a bit more than a half dozen decades before legal reality caught up with this universal intent to include blacks, and more decades before it included female humans. Today it’s moving in the direction of including LGBT individuals, but still legally excludes persons not deemed by a bureaucratic class to be “citizens” or government-approved “legal residents.”
Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis sits in jail for violating a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses inclusive of same-sex couples. This is a legal controversy only because marriage is licensed in the first place by government bureaucrats. I posted on a website frequented by Christians who side with Kim Davis for standing up for their commonly held belief that marriage requires one-each penis and vagina. My suggestion that marriage arrangements be entirely separated from government was ignored. The website posters were too invested in taking sides in a current political controversy that exists only because it is subject to public policy and not left a matter for people to decide entirely in the private sphere.
Colorado baker Jack Phillips faces massive fines because he’s not allowed to choose his customers according to the principle of both free association and free disassociation. The private sphere of commerce has been invaded by bureaucrats. It was tyrannical when legislators first forced lunch counters not to serve black customers then later made it mandatory. It’s tyrannical now when legislators make it mandatory to violate one’s own beliefs and be a slave required to work for anyone who demands service. The LGBT who were first discriminated against, when they gain political favor, replace victimization with victimizing. They betray the principles of free association and free disassociation. They make themselves just one more class of thugs, dividing us.
The ancient Romans faced off Christians with lions.
Current day Americans face off Christians with lesbians.
Government exists by sucking up all human decision-making into the public arena — our economic and social life — then making us all gladiators fighting for our share of the loot stolen from us.
Government makes us war against each other to the benefit only of those who use government to rob and rule us.
You want to get out from under this mega-scam, stop playing a game rigged against you. Don’t acknowledge their right over your life or property. Refuse to play. Opt out. Don’t demand political privileges granted by force that deprives other human beings of their natural rights. Enact only your right established in the first legally binding document — the Declaration of Independence — to run your own life without the permission from a despot or tyrant.
That belief in universal human rights is the meaning of American Exceptionalism — not as Fox News pundits would have you believe that “exceptionalism” means being the Imperial Power who bullies the rest of the world into compliance.
And if you’re looking for a handle on this, we who stand up for those indivisible principles call ourselves libertarians, voluntaryists, and Agorists.