Radical

In this dichotomous world in which we live, in where concession is akin to weakness, and where our own beliefs are sacrosanct, it is impossible to find any meaningful debate. Yes, yes, this is a sticking point of this blog, but when the problem is this dire, it bears repeating.

Wherever I see the embers of debate begin, I usually see someone with a fire hose with a label come running in to quash any hopes of warmth.

“Lefty rubbish” they caw.

“Right wing nut job” they baw.

And then everyone gets on the back foot and defends their philosophy, as opposed to making a point. So, let’s do the moderate thing, and sit on the fence to piss everyone off:

Both left and right ideologies, if played out to their radical extreme, are equally shithouse. At least to my layman eyes. I do not process to be an expert on the subject, but this is how I view things.

Communism sounds nice by philosophy, but when played out to its extreme (as history has evidenced) results in a two-tiered caste system that starves millions and strips away incentive to excel. Also cronyism, nepotism and collusion.

Capitalism sounds nice by philosophy, but when played out to its (globalist) extreme (as evidenced by current day) results in a wealth divide, enslavement of people in distant countries, and incentivises greed. Also cronyism, nepotism and collusion.

This is not to say that either system cannot work. I just think they fall apart when taken to a radical extreme. Smaller communities might benefit from such systems, but when the goal mutates into a pursuit of utopia, then other motivations creep in that are beyond the good of the community.

So, now that I’ve pissed off everyone, like the good little moderate I am, I’ll outline that I’ve long lamented that we seem to focus on politics on national levels, rather than dealing with our immediate communities. By interacting with those closest to us, we stand to make actual tangible change that is literally closer to home.

Trump golfing a lot is an issue, sure, but I fail to see how addressing that benefits anyone at a local level.

Maybe you’ll find that change can be achieved when you’re not trying to push a radical idea across too broad an area. Better you community first and maybe you’ll see others mimicking your example.

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A return, of sorts

After the fallout of what happened in Charlottesville, I noped out, considering the topic of conversation of this blog being far too chaotic and volatile to handle. I still believe this is the case, but I still cannot shake the idea that there’s a game going on, and its players are largely the media, the political establishment, and the useful idiots on the ground.

I see the people lying by omission, the bad framings of reports to skew the reader a certain way, manipulations and games, all for the pursuit of power.

It would be entertaining if the game itself didn’t adversely affect regular people. That’s the twisted tragedy of all this; people with power will play these games to improve their numbers and keep their wealth coming in, packaging up these stories in the media like a lunch box with a label, prime for the public to focus upon, ultimately distracted from the real theft occurring.

The bread and circuses have spread to the chambers of the powerful, and yet they still dictate what we can and cannot see, despite pledging transparency.

I noped out before, but I feel I can still chip in, even if my corner of the internet gets literally zero traffic. This is a fault of mine, as I am terrible at marketing. It would be arrogant of me to think my teeny ramblings on a wordpress site would be subject to the tweaking and channeling that Google et al perform to swerve eyes away from wrong-think.

All these things seem to be conservatives complaining about being shunned or unpersoned, and I find myself agreeing with them. And I’m not even a fucking conservative. I hate that discourse is now this false dichotomy of us and them. Arguments devolve into “you’re one of them” as opposed to “I don’t believe that because x…”

Disagreement is not akin to the worst of humanity.

Arbiters of “debate-worthy”

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply discount all kinds of dissent with a simple hand wave and a scoff? Wouldn’t it be grand if any upstart could be mocked and ridiculed until submission?

Whelp, welcome to today.

Following from the recent mess that was the Google Memo (and I am sure that given two weeks, no one will even recall what this was about), I have seen a number of responses that say something along the lines of:

Not all opinions are created equal.

What a lovely, haughty sentiment. We can’t have the commoners thinking that they have any critical thinking skills, can we? We shouldn’t even engage with their arguments because to do so would be to legitimise their concerns – which are unequal.

I cannot fathom a more arrogant approach to any topic, let alone one concerning politics. It’s an attitude that not only smacks of arrogance, but also treats the population at large as incapable of thought. The notion that people broadly cannot discern honest debate from trolls and ignorance does not give people (or at least the people who matter) enough credit.

When I see someone say something ignorant, I can easily discount them. However to have someone else tell me to discount someone is another barrel of shit. If someone says something that is clearly wrong and have no backing evidence for their views – or they speak in roundabouts and broad sweeps – then I will know the weight of their argument.

For instance, someone says, “Men are physically stronger than women, therefore they are better at x”. I discount this argument because it offers nothing. No rational link. No definite conclusion. The argument lacks nuance and does not account for outliers, broad spectrums of people, and also personal drive. The statements proves nothing and I reject it. I don’t need someone to tell me to reject it.

However, present a more nuanced argument with more considered statements that account for variables, and supplies links to research, then I would review their argument differently. I may disagree with the argument, but I will consider it. If someone has offered enough effort and time to submit something, then I should do a courtesy to review it.

Back to the infamous Google Memo, the author offers a lengthy explanation, makes no rash and blunt conclusions, attempts to attach some research and even offers alternative solutions to the current trajectory, and I see people in certain circles state (and I paraphrase), “The argument does not warrant acknowledgement. It is an unequal opinion. To engage with it would be to legitimise it. So we should mock and bury it.”

This is not how to win people to your side. If something is argued simply, then it can be dismissed simply. It would take no effort and no energy.

If you definitely have truth on your side, then you should fear no debate.

Hollywood: the Useful Idiots

I remember when George W Bush was the President of the United States. Oh lordy how the globe laughed. Wasn’t he such a buffoon? I am pretty sure David Letterman owes much of his career to good ol’ Dubya, and Will Ferrell may not have received as much attention if not for his impression of Bush the Second.

That sure was a fun eight years. While in the midst of an actual war in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, Hollywood, the music industry et al went all out in the mockery of George W Bush. There were some protests over the wars he started, sure, but the role of Hollywood and the celebrities within the cluster were to mock him.

Now we have Trump as the President. Sure, a Republican in the White House was always going to be mocked, but to my eyes, it feels like Hollywood cannot do anything without having to point out what a colossal evil-doer Trump is – and he hasn’t started any wars yet.

I’m seeing anti-Trump sentiment popping up in entertainment news, and on the Ellen DeGeneres show – places of light entertainment where politics probably have very little place outside the election cycle.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel that Trump is worthy of mock and scorn, but I have an unshakeable feeling that there is an exaggerated and concerted effort to denigrate Trump that isn’t what I’d consider “organic”. It’s almost like there’s a genuine attempt to ensure that the people don’t do again what they did in November 2016.

Trump was an outsider. He wasn’t meant to get anywhere near the Presidency. He was meant to just disappear after the primaries. Except he didn’t.

I have a hypothesis that both sides of the political divide in US politics are simply two sides of a rotten coin. Every four years they allow the commoners to have a say in who leads the country, but despite whoever they elect, the agenda is the same. Sure the parties might differ slightly, but I cannot shake the feeling that the elections are simply a bit of theatre to make the people believe they have power.

Watch the below video for an opinion that closely aligns with my own.

Hollywood seems to be on board in following the lead of the theatrical production, and are railing against Trump in the most visible way possible. Now, I don’t suggest that Hollywood is part of the sinister cabal that ultimately controls the President by threatening to “JFK” the person – much like I wrote about Katy Perry, I think Hollywood stars genuinely believe in their cause.

But they are simply Useful Idiots. They are simply influential (ie popular) people who will follow and promote the cause of those truly in power, unthinkingly parroting the party line, either willingly through their own sense of righteousness, or because they fear that their career will end if they don’t say the right words, or espouse the right ideology.

I am wary of using the term “they”. The word “they” is often employed by some conspiracy theorists when they refer to “the Establishment” or “the Illuminati” or “the Elites”. I think it’s good to keep in mind that if you use the term “They” then you should be able to name one person. To some, this might be George Soros, or The Rothschilds. Either way, I am going to simply use “They” because this is only a hypothesis I have.

Trump wasn’t meant to be in power, and I think the election cycle has already started to ensure that Trump doesn’t win again in 2020. “They” are using their Useful Idiots to convince the new generation of voters coming up to not vote for Trump, and/or convince those who did vote Trump that they made a mistake.

When every Hollywood star and likeable personality tells you that you made a bad choice, it’s hard to not think that you’re on the outer. It’s hard to not think you’re a part of the right side. It’s the tactic of isolating people and showing them the right way.

To this, I assure you that you should vote for whomever you want. Don’t be dictated to by anyone – even me – as to who wins your vote. Don’t let the Useful Idiots make you feel bad. They don’t care about you. They care about their cause.

You do you. Forget the Idiots.

When does a celebrity dive in?

The world of being a Creator must be a crazy one. Having never held any success with my attempts to create, I can only assume that the world beyond my zeroed hit counter is incredibly enlightening. Given how many people seem to assume that audience size is tantamount to truthfulness, I can only assume that the moment someone’s numbers explode, a beam of light descends from the clouds, and people are given the enlightenment that many buddhists suffer and meditate for a lifetime to achieve.

Because successful people seem to be given a lot of airtime for their, frankly, stupid views.

It’s easy to pick a target and fire at them with criticism, but frankly it’s pointless. For one, they won’t listen. For two, Youtube exists and has a large number of visible people flailing their arms about with righteous indignation. WordPress is not the best place for such rampant delusions of relevance.

But I were to cast my mind into the faint possibility that I could be somehow notorious for something. At what point do I stop revelling in my own self-congratulations, look out upon a crowd of people and think to myself, “I know better than these people and they should listen to me”?

Let’s bypass the irony of me typing these words on a blog where I seemingly profess to know all, and position myself into the shoes of an actor or singer. I know nothing much about the world, but I am decent at pretending to be other people, or pitching my voice at a resonance that is not ear-savaging. I can perform. I can please a room of people.

But why would I think my opinions on sensitive subjects such as politics and religion are warranted, insightful, or even correct? Moreover, why would I expect anyone to give more weight to my words over, say, Jill the Plumber from Arizona? I have just as much exposure to politics as Jill does, yet I feel I should include my voice to the exclusion of others. Why would I think that?

When Katy Perry demands for love (or “resistance“), or Leonardo DiCaprio preaches for climate change (not that I oppose their opinions on the subjects), why should we nod along with them and pledge money to their cause celebre? Why wouldn’t we listen to actual scientists, or psychologists instead? Is it because they aren’t as pretty as Katy or Leo?

Part of me can understand these celebrities, though. I mean, what would I do if I had nothing to worry about? What would drive me if I reached the top of my industry, had enough wealth to ensure my family’s well-being for generations, and enough food in the fridge for the most sacrilicious orgies that would make Caligula blush?

I’d worry about immortality, or legacy. What better way to ensure that – at least in these mortal bodies – than by enshrining our place in history as “That Person Who Stopped Bad Thing”.

Of course, most prominent historical figures stood up in the face of great danger, engaged their bravery gland, and stood tall. However, in the instance of Katy and Leo, they stand up in the face of popular consensus, have engaged their preaching gland and deliver the most milquetoast of opinions that challenge precisely no one.

The Griffin Head joke

I hate that I need to reiterate a point I’ve already made, but the week’s story that everyone seems to be talking about – for reasons I do not fathom – is the one where comedian Kathy Griffin holds aloft the severed head of the President of the United States.

TJ Kirk’s video effectively sums up my thoughts on the scenario.

I loathe getting into left-right labelling, because it immediately paints people into categories of “them and us”. People will squeal, “Oh the lefties do this” or “those right-wing nutjobs are at it again” trying to convince whoever is within earshot that there is a good “us” side and a nasty “them” side.

When the truth is we’re all the same kind of dumb animals.

Kathy Griffin’s photo in this instance is grotesque and not to my taste. Like TJ Kirk, I think it boring, pedestrian, and unchallenging. Ooooh, you hate Trump? Great. Join the millions of others on the pile. Fucking yawn.

However, I do not feel it a good idea that I be some kind of arbiter as to what kind of speech is palatable for the masses. God knows I hate a great number of comedians, artists, musicians, and would love to have them never perform a single piece ever again, but I am not that kind of person. Not because I am of high moral fibre, or because I am smart.

But because I possess an “off” button on my technology. I can choose to not listen or watch or taste.

Griffin has since lamented the apparent loss of her career, and many have bayed for her dismissal from any kind of public role. As I said in my previous post, I do not think that instances like these warrant attacks on peoples’ livelihoods. If not because that effectively stifles free speech, then because it reduces all discussion into milquetoast inoffensive words that dare not push any boundaries – even if (and especially if) boundaries need to be pushed. Sometimes we need to be confronted with views.

I don’t mean to say that Griffin’s photo was a necessity, either. As I said, it was boring. There are far more interesting and important debates to be had than “I hate Trump”. But if our reaction to an actual debate is to attack the livelihood of those who engage in it, then this is a path to destruction.

“But the other side does it” is a fucking lazy excuse, too. Do better than your supposed “other side”, and maybe then some moderates might come around to actually listening to you.

As I’ve said: the behaviour you exhibit is the behaviour you endorse – even with your opposition. Especially with your opposition.

Populism is not the problem nor solution

I’ve linked to one of Jonathan Pie’s videos before, and I think this one also manages to align somewhat with my thoughts.

The only caveat I would add to anything relating to Populism is something that rings true for most democracies; the majority can sometimes be wrong.

Note, I said “Sometimes”.

I am not, broadly, calling everyone who has voted for the most popular candidate “wrong”.

I’ve sometimes thought that what politics needed wasn’t someone (or a party) that did everything that the majority wanted. That’s pretty much Governing by polls, and I think that’s a blight on the political landscape. When you’re Governing to get re-elected, you’ve immediately sold out your rational thought. You’re willing to do what is popular, which may not be the right thing.

Besides. I think polls are dead anyway.

What I’ve sometimes thought was needed was a party who would come in without the notion that they were going to survive the next election. They would come in, and do a large number of unpopular, but correct, things. A party that owns the issues it creates and says, “This is how we think it’ll get fixed, and we don’t give a shit what you think.”

Some might argue that this is the politician’s current modus operandi, but they do it with a smile and roundabout words. I would probably agree. Which is why I think it would be refreshing to see a single political term with some hard-headed dipshit at the helm. For one, at least they might stand by their convictions, and two, the people might appreciate the blunt honesty, rather than being spoken to like they’re a child.

I know I would.

I would rather be told that a housing market crash is a “necessary bad time” we had to had, than be told that it was “an opportunity to rebuild.”

At least tell me it’s a shit-sandwich, and the politician is paid enough to at least own the fact that they were the chef who wrote it on the menu.