Tagged: government

Lemme Tell Ya What’s Stupid

You want to know what’s stupid? Using visual aids or graphics to describe COVID-19.

You want to know what’s stupid? Boosted pro-vaxxers, who finally got it and now say, “This time everyone’s gonna get this s—-!”

You want to know what’s stupid? Self-policing mask usage/fit.

You want to know what’s stupid? Children declaring that they don’t want to get “COVID”.

You want to know what’s stupid? Adults feeling ashamed for getting COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Variants.

You want to know what’s stupider? Sub-variants.

You want to know what’s stupid? Saying “He/she/they died of COVID.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Fearing death.

You want to know what’s stupid? Fear.

You want to know what’s stupid? Pandemics.

You want to know what’s stupid? Buying and using a home test whose result you know isn’t going to be definitive in your eyes.

You want to know what’s stupid? Signs above sinks that read, “Wash your hands for 20 secs.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Using your eyes to read a test to discover if you feel sick in your body.

You want to know what’s stupid? Using short animated videos to explain/defend/justify the need to lockdown.

You want to know what’s stupid? Bubbles.

You want to know what’s stupid? Worrying.

You want to know what’s stupid? Telling a child to worry.

You want to know what’s stupid? Mankind testing animals for COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Restricting travel during a pandemic.

You want to know what’s stupid? Runs on toilet paper.

You want to know what’s stupid? Emails explaining COVID plans that may change.

You want to know what’s stupid? Feeling like you can (and should) do something to help during a pandemic—like explaining things in emails.

You want to know what’s stupid? Email pronouncements that describe the last two years without using the word “stupid”.

This hasn’t been interesting, strange, complicated, challenging, scary, wild, or any other of the many safe-for-work adjectives.

Lemme tell ya what’s stupid. The last two years—that’s what.

An Example of Tuesday’s Post

The Twin Cities have announced that January 19th begins a new rule for restaurants. On that day you gotta provide proof of vaccination or negative test from last 72 hrs in order to receive service.

It’s being decreed by Mayors, as it is only for the two cities (and mayors are kings of political units called “cities”…)

So now what? Who do the folks affected seek relief from? Another government official? Say, the governor? I doubt that would result in the desired relief.

The politicians are backed by doctors.

So to whom do we petition as we seek relief?

A judge?

Peter Drucker handily explains in his tome on management that the reason written, or even spoken, propaganda never actually works is that eventually people lose faith/ignore it. He suggests that there is just something inmate in us that recognizes the difference between experiences and false descriptions of experiences. “You’re happy! Believe me!”

I can tell you that even 6th grade boys know whether they really beat me in a game of basketball, or whether I threw it.

In any case, this new situation in the Twin Cities is just another example of the definitive reason we can’t stop talking about the pandemic. Who can be called upon to provide relief?

The Definitive Reason the Pandemic is THE Most Compelling Conversation Topic

One of the ways a distant king garners direct power over his distant subjects is by offering and providing them protection and relief from their more immediately located feudal rulers and their policies. This “offering protection” doesn’t have to mean much more than “hearing constant petitions and seizing convenient opportunities to increase his power.” In other words, the low-level ruler, whether exercising legitimate or illegitimate power, does it poorly and so creates a need for relief in his subject. The subject petitions the far away king and the rest falls into place. The king gains loyal subjects until he has enough to clearly have real power, while, at most, the low-level ruler continues to rule in name only. (And at worst, war precedes lasting peace.)

Hold that thought for a second and follow me from kings to doctors.

Who among us hasn’t been fed the idea that going to the doctor is a good thing for our entire lives? We may not have wanted to go sometimes, but that wasn’t because we didn’t believe in the doctors ability, it was because being ill clouds judgement.

From the earliest times, our parents may have helped us through minor illness or trauma, like a fever or a scraped knee. But there was always a possibility that we would need to go to see the doctor. Hear me carefully here: once we hit a certain circumstantial threshold, the doctor was the only solution. So if one doctor couldn’t help, there was no other solution, just a more specialized doctor. It wasn’t ever, “I can’t help ya, let’s get you to a lawyer (or a plumber, or a pilot).”

From another angle, if you have ever needed legal help, you were advised by all to see a lawyer and eventually went to a lawyer. And if the first lawyer proved incompetent, then you went to a better lawyer etc.

But when you’re with the best lawyer and about to win whatever the dispute is, if in that moment you get sick enough, then you enter the doctor realm and remain there. A failed doctor visit only leads to a different doctor, not a visit to a different profession. Again, once certain situations unfold, you never leave the doctor realm.

And another angle: if you need to travel, you call up a pilot, or some specialist delegated by the pilot, to book a flight. But while on that flight, if you get sick, you are diverted to the doctor—and at no point will you, in the process of solving the sickness problem, be diverted to anything other than doctors.

Put plainly, we all have been living, pre-pandemic and now, under the belief that doctors-as-problem-solvers were meaningfully all-powerful.

And the trouble with this can be made clear with the analogy to kings gaining power. Serfs and others needed protection or relief in a way that they couldn’t achieve from their direct rulers, so they went to the next level up. They eventually went to what had to appear like an almost mythical character called a “king”. They brought, more than anything, hope to the king, hope that no matter how inept or unqualified he had proved to be thus far, that he would be able to help me now. The position itself, rather than the individual holding it, turned out to be the thing that mattered in many cases.

Fast forward to 2022 and even the “king” (POTUS) defers to the doctor when faced with a challenge.

Consider that.

The President defers to the doctor.

And that’s what makes the pandemic the most compelling conversation topic. The king didn’t provide relief. The pandemic is not over.

We serfs still have pressing problems.

Putting this all together, then, the definitive reason why the pandemic is the most compelling topic of conversation is we have no one, literally we don’t even have a position or concept of a position, to help us. In the analogy I’ve used, we are the serfs being harassed by the Lords. Who is our equivalent, distant king? Who can we write to? Who can we appeal to?

The definitive reason we can’t stop talking to each other about the pandemic is because it has made evident the lack of a relief valve/person/position.

We want relief. We know that. But to whom do we address the letter?

(For my Christian readers, surely Jesus is our deliverer. But He was still on the throne when the serfs petitioned the earthly kings of old, too. So I’m suggesting that even if all prayer was directed to Jesus, we still are not set up for earthly relief. Remember that even the Israelites appealed to their neighbors’ having kings when they asked for a king. It wasn’t like Yahweh is in the business if inventing political systems.)

And, for better or worse, this seems worth discussing.

After Lies

Oooo. January 6th is tomorrow! The one year anniversary of… What? What exactly happened one year ago tomorrow?

As usual, while that’s a compelling question, it’s not the most pressing question. A better question is, “How many people died due to the events at the capital on January 6?” If you have time to spare, figure that answer out. The rest of the answers will fall into place.

But even that very specific, particular, and on some level should-be-simple, question is not the best question to ask right now. The problem we face is made evident by asking this, the best, question:

What do we do after determining we’re being told lies?

What do we do after lies?

Some people are quicker than others at recognizing lies. Other people lie with gusto. But that’s not the problem that faces us. The problem is, “What next?”

The problem that no one is directly addressing, but in priority needs address immediately, is, “So we’re being told lies. Fine. What next?”

Plug our ears? Blot out our eyes? Neither of those would seem to motivate the truth to come out.

Direct requests? As in, “Please stop lying.” Would that work?

Commanding language? As in, “STOP LYING!” Anyone think that would have the desired effect?

Maybe a shouting match? They lie, and we tell the truth, but a little bit louder, hoping to drown the lie out through force. Would we be wise to place hope in that strategy?

What do we do after lies? How can we know what to do? What method even helps with the choice? Is there an analogy or a small-scale example?

After being lied to in a relationship, friendship or romance, there is often a breakup or cooling off period at least. Accepted wisdom for those situations includes the need for “time” to be taken.

Fair enough. But what would “taking time” look like between a government and its citizens? Or even on a smaller scale, a group of leaders, say at a business, and its employees? Does anyone have any experience at that level? Initially, I want to say that “business” is measured by performance, so as long as the business can perform while on a “break to re-establish trust/truth” it could proceed.

But in volunteer organizations, it seems like wholesale change of personnel usually accompanies lies from leadership. Those caught lying have got to go.

The performance measurement of a nation is security. Security in business, security in home, security in diversions, security in economy, security in law, security in institutions, security in defense, security in contracts, security, security, security. Security = no questions. Security = I know what’s next. Security = predicability. Security = stability.

Are we any closer? What do we do after being lied to? What do we do while being lied to?

To stop paying attention isn’t a fix when it’s government officials.

To tell the truth louder isn’t a fix.

To ask them to stop isn’t a fix.

By process of elimination, the fix isn’t becoming any more clear.

This is why I say, the problem that faces us, the problem that the events at the capital on Jan 6, 2021 reveals, is made evident by the fact that there is no manifest answer to the question, “What do we do after lies?”

The Future of America

My wife just passed her “interview” within the naturalization process. This was the last step, not counting the formal oath ceremony, along the road to citizenship of our beloved United States of America. As she accomplished this goal, (just for clarity—she began this process before we met—marriage to me has nothing to do with it), I couldn’t help but wonder, “What was the point?”

Practically speaking, the big benefit of citizenship is travel. As an Ethiopian, you can’t just travel at will. As an American, the world has no borders. Her mom can also come to America as near “immediately” as the world of immigration allows. And her son, my step-son, is now also a citizen. Good for him.

(If you aren’t aware, I wasn’t, a green card suffices for staying in America for ever, it just has to be renewed every 10 years, but there’s no chance it doesn’t get renewed. The travel element, again, is the great difference.)

(Or is it?)

My wife is very spiritual, within the biblical meaning of that word. She prays more in one day than most Christians I’ve met pray in a lifetime. She also knows the answers to the questions for the interview, but the spirit of GW doesn’t really live in her like it does me.

Yet, she’s excited she passed the interview.

For the first year of our marriage I assumed the citizenship thing was about her siblings back in Ethiopia. I figured/planned that once she was in, they’d be able to come over and my house would be full of life and injera for a few years. As time drew near, I learned that that isn’t the case at all. I learned that it’s a very long process to bring siblings over here. And, despite all the bad press about Ethiopia’s civil war and resultant human rights violations, her siblings are very proud of their country and want to live there forever.

To be “ho-nest”, I generally think my wife is a bit naïve to think that her citizenship means anything. And I think her siblings are simply nuts for wanting to stay in Ethiopia.

As for how Americans view our relationship, old people are nice to us, but with effort. Our peers are disarmed by us, assuming that our mixed-ness means something big about our focus in life, and they are very ready to approach us and expect to have a normal, nonthreatening conversation, like those of yesteryear. Young people don’t seem to notice anything but their screens.

As for me, I sought my wife because Ethiopia is called the “Island of Christianity”. Look it up. And the Muslims are already here. ‘Whatever flavor of Christianity she brings, it must be stronger than what we do in America,’ was my thinking. Jesus is more important than any political designations.

****

Biden has admitted to tracking online dissent, with the intent to silence it. A fool’s errand, firstly. Secondly, immoral on every level. But I can turn off this phone, turn off my laptop. I probably would be happier if I did. (I finally did start actively telling YouTube to stop recommending channels that only caused “I can’t believe this garbage is happening” reactions. Now I get broadcast/podcast microphone reviews, Jomboy breakdowns, and movie previews. Perfect.)

This small town we live in is inundated with Somalis. I’ve seen things with my own eyes that I cannot believe.

Fully covered women posing for their boyfriend at the lake, like they’re in a bikini.

Muslim centers packed on Fridays. Packed.

Little girls still wearing the gear.

Older youth girls still wearing the gear.

The Lutheran churches have an outreach ministry, if the yard signs can be trusted. But they suggest Ramadan is related to Passover and Easter.

****

The government is attempting to censor the internet. Islam is here and growing. I am no fear monger. I’m not afraid of Islam anymore than I’m afraid of a lie. You shouldn’t be either. The answer is know your Bible.

Now, I am also always on the lookout for a new political philosophy that accounts for current reality. As much as I love the classics, the situation has changed such that they do not suffice. Population size, to name one variable, is a completely new element and therefore unaccounted for in their theories.

What do I think about the future of America? I hope this post’s biographical content provides insight.

In short, I can turn off the internet.

I am powerless against invasion.

Packed.

Final Thoughts On The Pandemic

I finally contracted COVID-19. Obviously I didn’t die.

Honestly, it wasn’t even bad. About ten years ago I used to get “strep throat” every winter. That would take me out for two weeks during which I would have have a horrible sore throat that made life pretty miserable. I eventually decided to have my tonsils removed and voila! No more strep throat.

I wanted to write this post to record how ridiculous this disease behind the whole pandemic was. To begin, I’ll share that I often comment to my family that the “West” is simply depressed. We are in a great “psychological” depression, nothing more, I say. I share this assessment here because it may help paint the picture I have of this disease. The worst part of the disease is psychological.

I never felt that bad. Sure, I had the fever. And I wished it would be gone every day. And it wasn’t. But that was it.

The very odd, and I mean unconscionably odd, part was that no one—not one medical professional I spoke with—offered me any help. As in, I would call this number for work. And they asked some administrative questions. Then I would call this number at the hospital. And the doctor asked some clarifying questions and scheduled a test. Then at the test, I took the test. There was some small chitchat. That was it.

No one ever suggested Tylenol or Advil. No one asked if I needed something stronger than OTC drugs.

The world is going to shit over this, I thought?

No, I answered, the world is going to shit over fear. Some generation of absolutely weak-minded and untested humans, spread thoroughly around the globe, gave up their minds to so-called “experts” and “science”. They gave up their minds.

I can’t be more clear here. The worst I ever felt was when I saw the email notification that the test result came in. I really had wanted to stay clear of all the nonsense. I only took the test because I figured work would want to know. And as I read “positive” I can’t deny there was a haziness to my vision. I mean, what should I expect? This was a killer disease. Just fatal. A plague by all accounts. And I had it. I stared at my phone screen, having logged into a newly created account (store that pw same place as the others), and the word stared right back at me. After lingering in this interaction of mind and language for a bit, I got bored. Then I remembered. What the fuck am I doing? I have a fever. That’s it.

This whole thing started because…because… Why did this whole thing start? Because a generation of absolutely weak-minded and untested humans, spread thoroughly around the globe, gave up their minds to so-called “experts” and “science”. They gave up their minds.

To all you “anti-vaxxers” and generally free-thinkers who never gave an inch: Well done. To the rest of you, never again. Never again will I even show cordiality when you try to shame me into compliance with groupthink. Stay outta my way.

Remaining Unmolested in the Time of Perversion

My title comes from the fact that I’m an Eagle Scout. I was in the Boy Scouts of America since 4th grade, and I was awarded the highest rank shortly before my 18th birthday.

This achievement is probably the biggest reason I was accepted into USAF pilot training—plenty of fellas have good grades and a pilot license. Nowadays, if I’m at work and in front of a television set I can’t help but be struck by the amount of commercials having to do with how the Boy Scouts were apparently the second worst organization in human history as measured by how many little boys the adult men in charge molested.

I was never molested. None of my friends were molested.

Also all over the news right now is the Oprah interview. Hopefully it’s Oprah’s last. I refuse to watch it, but am confident the folks at Charlie Hebdo have summed it up quaintly.

We live in the time of perversion.

Meghan and Harry are not royalty any more than LeBron is king.

Oprah didn’t “conduct an interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”, anymore than Trump “incited the January 6th insurrection.”

America is not a democracy—nor an oligarchy—anymore than Somalia is under rule of law.

When my friend and I had cars and driver’s licenses, we were sure to enjoy the newfound and rare freedom to linger whimsically after Monday night Scout meetings ended. The rest of the boys were picked up by their parents in timely fashion with little say about the matter. Most leaders were themselves parents, but there often would be one thirty year old single dude who just liked camping and giving back to the organization that formed him so strongly.

One night, this thirty year old and my friend and I were chatting in the parking lot. The Scoutmaster came over and stood for a bit—almost seeming impatient. Finally he did seem impatient and I said, “We’re okay. You don’t have to stay.”

I’ll never forget the feeling in my gut when the Scoutmaster gave me a look that said, “How stupid can you be?”

As we turned to get in our respective vehicles, in an attempt to save face with my friend, I think I overcompensated and actually said, “I still don’t understand why we have to have two adults,” even though I knew darn well that child molestation was a thing.

For this post, the aspect I’m drawing attention to is the silent shame that I was made to feel for being stupid, for ignoring reality, for trying to pretend there are no patterns in life.

My life is overflowing with men and women who made me feel shame for being stupid.

And my-unmolested-self couldn’t be more grateful.

How about you? Feel like you learned anything here today?

Re-Engaging With the Study of Politics

I’m working through a guided reading of the Great Books of the Western World, as you know. Sometimes, not often, certain passages are not compelling. The author’s divisions feel forced and the destination blurs.

Because of my high literacy, I began noticing that the more I read the more I learned. And the more I learned the more I began wondering, more clearly than ever before, why am I studying this so fervently? I don’t want to be in politics. I don’t want to be a politician. It’s an interesting field of study, but there are many others just as interesting that may prove more practical, I couldn’t help thinking. But I kept coming back to the fact that Locke said that man first existed in the State of Nature on his own and only later, when it benefited him, gathered into political society. Aristotle, on the other hand, had started with man as a political creature. There was no isolated man. For Aristotle, no man was an island.

Obviously, Locke is right. But whichever side you come down on, the reason to study politics as a hobby is that everything (except religion) is post-politics. Your politics influence your decisions in every other facet of life (except religion). And the only thing that influences your politics is your religious beliefs.

Want to chat about the weather? Me too. But that’s not half as interesting as why you believe America is or should be a democracy. And it’s not one hundredth as important as why you believe that Qu’ran:Bible::Black Ink:Red Ink.

Will my study of politics help me in any measurable form or fashion? It might. That’s why I do it.

And Another Thing

The other day, I read the same type of argument I have been hearing for many years now. In this case, it was Rich Lowry who did the writing. He wrote, “A key difference between the Greeks and Romans and the rest was that their writers critiqued and lampooned their own societies. This willingness to engage in self-criticism became one of the hallmarks, and strengths, of Western culture.” He wrote this within a piece which lamented the removal of the “Classics” from curriculums around the country.

At first blush, anyone who makes the same lamentations as Mr. Lowry might find his statement to be true. But ultimately it is not true. A key difference is not that the Greeks and Romans lampooned and critiqued their own societies (though other societies may, no doubt, have accomplished less of this). The key difference is that we, the West, conversed with our own societies.

Make no mistake, the Left believes it is carrying out the staunch and noble tradition of “criticizing and lampooning its own society” that Mr. Lowry mentions. But they, the Left, were never the West.

The West is something you choose to become, not something you’re born into. You’re not the West because you’re white. Or because you’re an American. Just like you’re not a man because you’re male. Or a woman because you’re female. Do you see? The West is built of men and women of a certain quality. But the Left never learned this. (This, too, can help explain why they behave like children.)

Regarding the activity of criticism and lampooning, the Left believes that when they remove the classics, they are doing what Copernicus and Galileo did to the geocentric model of the universe when that pair introduced the heliocentric model. The Left believes that when they revise history, they are continuing the tradition of replacing superstitious falsehood like Darwin. Don’t miss this point: Mr. Lowry would have us think that the West’s great tradition and singular tradition is to “critique and lampoon” itself. If that was accurate, the Left is surely in the right. But it’s not accurate.

The tradition is to converse, to discuss, to ask each other uncomfortable questions. And this is certainly not what the Left is doing.

So stop. Stop pretending that there is any other reality unfolding than shaming, that there is any other fix than violence—and most don’t seem to care to take it that far.

If the Left was the West, they’d talk to us. They’d debate us. That they don’t, even as they believe they are continuing the progress begun by the West, simply teaches us that we need to elevate our strategy.

To conclude, the question is not, “Are the Classics Racist?” as Mr. Lowry and his ilk like to express. The question is, “Should the Left be stopped?”