Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Category Archives: Failure to study history

Thinking about: Democracy

Democracy. From the Greek “demos,” meaning “mob” and “cracy,” meaning rule. Granted “demos” is more traditionally translated as “the people,” but I fail to see any practical difference.*

Yanis Varoufakis is a professor of economics at the University of Athens and has written many insightful articles about the issues Greece faces in these economically troubled times. Currently he’s directing our attention to the question of whether the internet can democratize capitalism.

Professor Varoufakis nails it on the head when he writes that my “qualms about direct people-rule are due to a deep-seeded mistrust of ‘common folk’” Which, indeed, they are. Because unlike Professor Varoufakis I am an ardent fan of that great philosopher George Carlin, who said (at 0:37 or so – and ADULT LANGUAGE):

In short, it’s not a case of “the capacity of the multitude to know what is good and proper for them,” it’s a case of “the multitude are dumber than a box of hair and their participation only lends covering fire to the oligarchs who are running things.

The real solution is not some sort of e’democracy as much as it is getting away from this concept that two wolves and one sheep are allowed to “vote” on lunch. Unlikely, though, because the wolves are not going to give up on the menu until there are no sheep left – and there will be sheep always…until they discover that the bullet box outweighs the ballot box by a considerable margin.

Got popcorn, Remnant?

*Professor Varoufakis says that the demos is “an active community of citizens in which the political sphere, the economy, the State and civil society all co-existed within the Assembly” I still fail to see any practical difference with “mob,” particularly when he talks about the demos “shaping the individual’s everyday life.” Which is what mobs tend to do, whether that individual wants to be shaped up or not.

Thinking about: Change

Simon Black puts a veneer of respectability and adds some depth to the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in a recent article discussing revolutions.

The interesting thing about most human psyches is that, particularly in times of stress and upheaval, they prefer to cling to the known and usual. This is no real surprise – the unknown is a scary place and many of our collateral ancestors who wandered outside of the firelight got themselves eaten by something or other, resulting in a strain of incuriousity and fearfulness in the survivors. Add in a large dose of “it’s not my guy/side/issue that’s the problem, it’s the OTHER guy/side/issue that’s the problem” (see the disparate ratings between individual Congressmen and Congress as a whole, for instance), stir in a dash of greed and a pinch of envy, simmer the whole stew over an economic flame of limited resources and you have a perfect recipe for what we’re seeing in current events.

Is there a solution? Doubtful. So long as the majority of humans insist that there must be Leaders and Led, anyone not fitting into that mold will be quickly stomped down (either physically or socially) by Leaders afraid of losing power, and Led afraid of taking responsibility for themselves. The old adage about leading a horse to water, but can’t make him drink comes to mind – the Led are never going to want to think, particularly so long as the Leaders are willing to do it for them. Regardless of how much of that “leading” is driving the Led to the slaughterhouse.

Got popcorn, Remnant?

Explosives cause harm, fire burns, water is wet…

In the spirit of stating the effin’ obvious, Dr. S. Andrew Josephson, having slept through all of his 20th century history classes, dreaming of how to get a liplock on the public teat (apparently) wants to inform the world that after a study, he has discovered that high explosives “…sends blast waves through the bodies of people even hundreds of yards from the detonation, leaving some nearby outwardly unharmed but disrupting their molecules and inner tissues. Years later, such changes could lead to adverse symptoms…”

Despite this being a family blog and all, there really is no better response than, “No shit, Sherlock!” Why he’s “discovering” this just now, though, leads me to suspect that he’s looking for more tax money to study the “problem.”

I particularly appreciate his fatuous and remark demonstrating an utter lack of education, that, ““This is a totally different type of injury than our troops were exposed to 50 years ago,” given that soldiers and civilians have been exposed to high explosives detonating hundreds of yards away for over a century now.

On the other hand, *I* certainly have been exposed to high explosives detonating within a hundred yards – or less – so maybe that explains my attitude toward ignoramuses like Dr. Josephson.