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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 04:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

Journal Archives

Yes. People make and change laws every day.

Usually we do that because we see something that needs to change. Laws are things we make and change and unmake all the time.

Yes, we have a Constitution in this country, which outlines principles and rights and to some extent circumscribes what laws we can and cannot make. The Constitution is also a law made by people, and as such is constantly interpreted and re-interpreted. It can also be changed and has been several times.

A problem arises when people think something they hold dear is some kind of mandate from God. America is not a theocracy. We have laws -- including the Constitution -- based on what we all think is right. We have notions of individual rights, but we reconsider them constantly. We have changed and re-arranged those rights many times.

"We" once thought people could own other people. That women couldn't vote. That alcohol should be banned nationwide. All of these things were upheld as "legal" and Constitutional.

Now they aren't.

Food for thought?

That's more an argument for evil, isn't it?

I don't know if this was meant ironically? Sorry, the link is blocked for me, so I can't see where the rest of the essay goes.

You can't rise and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom they provide and then question the way they provide it, okay?


But that's not Orwell. It's a bit from Jack Nicholson's entitled, amoral, fascist tirade from a A Few Good Men, wherein he tried to justify having a recruit tortured to death for incompetence on the theory that no one can question anything done in the name of "guarding the walls."

This is the mistake Republicans and other zero-sum thinkers make routinely. It's why they want torture programs and spying on political enemies and journalists. It's why they make up false arguments for war, no matter what price the rest of us pay for it. It's why Cheney bragged about "going to the dark side."

The "dark side" doesn't actually work, in the long run. Sure, you can pull a few things off in the short run with brutality, ruthlessness, callousness, and cruelty. You can make a few people afraid for a while and get them to shut up or go away.

But then comes the backlash. The sons and daughters grow up thinking of nothing but revenge. No one trusts your word, because you have proven yourself cynical and ruthless. You can't build anything or cooperate with anyone. You can only dominate briefly through brute force before it all turns to shit because evil doesn't actually work.

We don't need the kind of would-be "protectors" who brag about the people they've killed and cultivate the identity of being a scary bad-ass.

When we fight, we do it without malice and without taking joy or pride in inflicting destruction. We do it because we must, only because we must, only as much as we must. People -- even those who have really 'been there' -- who think war or violence is a strutting game of counting coup aren't actually very good at defending anything. They only know how to destroy, because they don't understand what fighting is actually for.

So, yes, we judge, even when roughness and violence are involved. We call it honor or ethics or just plain intelligence. Those in a rush to justify dumping all of those things out of "necessity" don't really understand the world, and don't believe in the values they exhort us to jettison in the first place. They are embracing evil, and they will lose.

If we allow them to represent us, we will lose as well.

We keep ignoring the forest for the trees.


Increasingly, it seems like a part of the diametric division we have in our culture is deciding whether problems -- like "terrorism" -- are due to individual bad people or a situational dynamic. That dictates how we address the problem, and so far we're not doing well.

At heart, all of this "stuff" is just another resource / territory contest, isn't it? The West interferes with the Middle East for strategic reasons -- largely oil but also control of certain ports in that part of the world. The response in that part of the world has been the rise of radical Islam -- take away all the Western interference, and what support does it have?

But once things get nasty, everything gets characterized on the basis of whatever horrendous thing happened last. Sure, we annihilated hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq, but then those guys cut that man's head off, so let's go back and do it again. And again ...

What's more, all of this has become a business for the combatants on both sides. McCain / Cheney et al. apparently get paid by the bullet or by the American body bag, so they will beat the drums of war at every opportunity.

But Al Quaeda and Isis are in "business" too. They're the Coke and Pepsi of jihadism at this point. They recruit on the Internet; advertise on social media. Hold prisoners for large cash ransoms. We are being manipulated into a cycle of war because it's making people on all sides MONEY.

We have built this beast, and we're not going to take it down by whack-a-mole-ing every group that arises to take advantage of the cash and the chaos to be had.

We're certainly not going to stop the cycle with drone strikes or another war in the desert or with more rhetoric over whose version of a 2,000 year-old religion is better.


More empty Republican identity politics.


While living a certain way or being in a certain group may grant a useful perspective, Republicans / American conservatives try to substitute identity for ideas all the time.

It's what people do that matters, not who they are or where they come from. Being poor is no guarantee of understanding what needs to be done about poverty, just as being a woman has not helped Ernst understand what's wrong with the "personhood for zygotes" law she supports.

Rather than show sympathy for the poor, or for women, or for people of color, they simply find "one of them" and put them in front of a microphone, so long as they're willing to say that the status quo is fine, fine, fine.

Ernst didn't talk about helping the poor. She didn't talk about solving the issue. She didn't even express sympathy or empathy. She just claimed ownership of it, to lend credence to whatever nonsense she was spouting -- I really couldn't even tell what she was blathering about through her horrendous, staring, blank-eyed tour bus cadence.

This is a person who called Obama a dictator, and claimed that the U.N. has a secret plan to kick Iowans off of their farms. Her claimed qualification for office was some kind of creepy joke about castrating hogs (so she will be able to "cut pork?".

Republicans get creepier and creepier. This one is some kind of shiny sockpuppet with the same glittering sociopathy in her eyes Mitt Romney has.

She may have grown up poor (or not?) but she has a an entitled rich white man's grasp of the world.
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