Tag Archives: conservatives

Why are bombs ok, but not condoms?

3 Mar

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of how the conservatives held a one sided “hearing” on birth control where not a single woman was able to testify. Here in America, reproductive health is not viewed as a legitimate issue, and women are not women, rather they are a sum of parts to be regulated. (At least in the eyes of our politicians) One such sum of parts was a Georgetown law student named Sandra Fluke. She was supposed to go to the hearing to testify on why reproduction is part of human health (seems obvious) and thus should be covered by healthcare. Unfortunately the conservatives barred her from testifying.

Bombastic conservative icon Rush Limbaugh the proceeded to call this woman a slut and a whore for wanting healthcare to cover contraceptives. He went further to say : “if we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

I’m not sure if Rush is aware, but it takes two people to have sex. Actually, Rush might be aware seeing as he was stopped when trying to re-enter the US after a trip to the Dominican Republic because he had a massive quantity of Viagra. What were you doing in the Dominican Republic with all that Viagra Rush? You weren’t married, and according to you, unmarried women who have sex are sluts and whores. Were you on a sex binge with prostitutes? Of course not. I’m sure it was somehow related to a church mission to help the poor.

Conservatives are decrying contraception coverage as symptomatic of the nanny state, a big government waste of tax payer money so others can have sex.

Lets exam this:

1) The government isn’t paying for the birthcontrol. Healthcare companies are.

2) If healthcare companies covered contraceptives, it would save you money. Pregnant women are expensive for healthcare companies. The fewer pregnant women in your healthcare pool, the less a healthcare company has to charge to pay for them and you.

3) It is ok for healthcare to cover Viagra so old men can still get a hard-on and have sex, but it is not ok for healthcare to cover birth control, which some women take as a hormonal treatment and not just so they don’t get pregnant?

Why aren’t conservatives calling men sluts and whores and decrying how healthcare is paying them to have sex? Why aren’t they demanding sex tapes of these individuals online? Like Rush Limbaugh for example. (Hint: Answer starts with H and ends with ypocrisy)

Viagra is used to treat one thing, limp dick. The pill treats a number of issues besides preventing pregnancy.

4) Why is it not “nanny state government” for the government to regulate who can marry, who can have what types of sex in their private homes, and what a woman can do with her body, but it IS “nanny state government” for healthcare to have to cover contraceptive?

5) Conservatives claim that they want to stop abortion. Birth control stops unwanted pregnancies which lead to abortions. If A=B and B=C, A=C, thus birth control stops abortions. (That’s a liberal conspiracy called logic)

A rational person would think that if someone truly wished to lower the amount of abortions per year, you’d invest heavily in birth control and stop the problem before it starts. Surely that would be the most effective use of resources.

6) Lastly, if conservatives can refuse to pay for life saving healthcare, can liberals refuse to pay for their bombs? Why is it ok for us to be forced to pay for you to kill people, but not ok for you to be forced to pay to make people’s lives better?

I’m sure a conservative will try to counter that last point with “national security. Killing people overseas makes us safer” but that’s extremely debatable. A liberal could easily counter with how fewer unwanted pregnancies = fewer unwanted children = fewer crimes = safer America.

Let’s be honest. This isn’t an issue of tax payer money going to fund wild sex parties. This is an issue of conservative sexism, hypocrisy, and disdain for women.

Are colleges liberal indoctrination mills?

28 Feb

Last week republican presidential candidate Rich Santorum said Obama was a snob for wanting all Americans to have the opportunity to go to college and get an education. He said this to the cheers and applause of a crowd of happy idiots.

The fact that higher education is good is almost axiomatic. (Don’t worry, we’ll wait while our conservative readers take a moment to google that big word.)

Got it? Good. Moving on.

Why do republicans like Santorum despise higher education? Simple. They view colleges as indoctrination mills where faithful, pure, and impressionable young people go to be brainwashed by a bunch of godless Marxists.

I would say the problem is that they are unable to accept that reality has a liberal bias, but I think the issue is deeper than that.

I don’t think they understand the concept of reality in the first place.

Without understanding the concept of reality, any argument made to stress the importance of reality might as well be in an alien language. They simply aren’t capable of comprehending. This isn’t because they’re bad people, or that they’re inherently stupid, just that they’ve never been exposed to the concept and have consequentially built up their entire world view on a foundation of ignorance.

I think this lack of an understanding of reality is the driving factor behind not only their disdain for education, but their mistrust of science and fervent religiosity. (But I’ll get to that in a moment)

How to do you about explaining reality?

Well, right now you’re in reality, whether you know it or not. It is the same as a fish that might not realize it is in water, but nonetheless is swimming in it. This place you’re in, it has laws. We don’t know every law there is, but we’ve been steadily finding out. So far we know this about the laws: You can’t break them.

This is not like a law against speeding where you can break it, and then get a ticket. You are not physically able to break these laws.

This place you’re in, it does not care who you are, how much money you have, or how strongly you feel about something. It will act in accordance to its laws and if you refuse to play along, you do so at your own peril.

So how do we know how to act in this place that has its own laws and doesn’t care about us? We watch. We test something and see how it works. If it does work, it fits with reality, if it doesn’t, then we must abandon the idea because it doesn’t fit. This may be extremely uncomfortable because people often have a lot invested in an idea, only to find out that it doesn’t fit. (And then a lot of them try to ignore that it doesn’t fit, only to eventually be destroyed for not playing along)

The richest, most powerful man in the world can stand on a beach and command the tide not to come in, but reality doesn’t care. If he refuses to move, he will drown. (That’s called natural selection, but that’s a different topic)

Unfortunately, republicans grow up being told that the world they live in is a certain way, even though that’s not how the world really is. Again, it’s not because they’re evil, or stupid, they are simply misguided. The older people telling them how the world is were also misguided by their parents, and their parents before them. Nevertheless, the children are taught to respect authority and that not questioning (faith) is a virtue.

The big disconnect comes with the idea of testing your views against how reality works to see if they stand up. This notion of testing is the heart of the scientific method. This disconnect also explains why conservatives are hostile to science. They just don’t operate that way.

College is a testing ground. People go to college in order to test ideas and see how they work. It is safer to test ideas in college where people outside won’t be impacted if something doesn’t work. Would you want a bridge builder testing a new design on an actual bridge that your family had to drive across? No. You’d want them to test it elsewhere to make sure it works, THEN come build the bridge.

College is a free market of ideas. This is possibly the only place we can make an analogy that conservatives might understand. What is the free market? Companies that are able to adapt survive, companies that don’t, fail.  (Also a form of natural selection!)

In college, ideas that work succeed, ideas that don’t, fail. So with this in mind, lets look at colleges.

Yes, colleges tend to be more liberal. A conservative would look at that and think “well obviously that’s because all the teachers are Marxists.” The truth is, it is not that the professors are Marxists, it is that conservative ideas fail the test against reality. If they passed, if ideas like “less access to birth control=fewer pregnancies” held true with reality, then you’d see colleges backing that.

Colleges are instead a reflection of reality. If colleges look liberal, it’s because reality is liberal.

So what’s a conservative to do? Change and adaptation are antithetical to conservatism, so instead the buckle down and shove their fingers in their ears even harder. They denounce education, denounce learning, and try everything they can to undermine the threat to their understanding of the world. This usually is in the form of disuading people away from education, like Santorum just did, cutting funding to education, or even building up their own bubble.

It is possible for a child to go from home school, to a private evangelical college, to the job place without ever having to come in contact with a new idea. Naturally, the results are disastrous, but since they’ve been brought up to believe that the conservative  world view is unquestionably correct, the fault for failure must always rest with some foreign enemy or saboteur.

The real tragedy is that, with these people in control of the country, when they refuse to move for the tide, we all drown.

Permits, protests, and pepper spray

19 Nov

In the above video you can clearly see a police officer walk up to a group of students who are sitting down, and casually hose them with pepper spray. Unfortunately, this seems to be a common police response to peaceful protesters. Some of the more famous victims include an 84 year old woman, a 19 year old pregnant woman, a priest, and a small group of women who were just standing there before being penned in by police and misted with perfume de fuego.

A common argument I’ve personally seen and heard used to defend the officers is “They are just following orders…” and “the protesters did not have permission to be there.” Since when did the Nuremberg defense excuse someone from their behavior? Secondly, requiring “permission” to protest defeats the whole point of protesting. No shit we don’t have your permission to protest you, we’re protesting specifically because of you!

State and local governments have long been employing various tactics to crack down on dissent. Let’s not be coy here people. Bloomberg didn’t really send in the storm troopers to zuccotti park because he was concerned for the health and safety of the protesters occupying it. No, he wanted them gone and just needed some bullshit excuse since expressly crushing a protest because you don’t like the protesters is bad press.

No, permits and requiring permission from the authorities before you protest violates the freedom of assembly. Some might argue that permits and permission are needed so business as usual isn’t disrupted. Well what if the point IS to disrupt business as usual? What if the point IS to bring the whole system to a screeching halt? To make people be inconvenienced? What? No? We can’t have our protest in the first place? I’m sorry, you seem to be missing the point of the first amendment. It’s not there to protect people you agree with, it’s there to protect those you disagree with, no matter how fiercely you disagree with them.

Lastly, I just have to wonder about the contrast to how the police are treating the OWS protesters and the Tea Party.

The OWSers tend to be more liberal.

The Tea Partiers tend to be very conservative.

The OWSers show up with drums and tents.

The Tea Partiers show up with guns.

The OWSers protest the deregulated banks and corporations that destroyed the world economy and doomed my generation to a life of wage slavery, debt, and unemployment.

The Tea Partiers protest the half-assed regulation of the above mentioned banks and corporations along with universal healthcare.

The OWSers are a grass roots movement with no leaders.

The Tea Partiers are bank rolled by some of the largest corporations in the country.

The police do nothing to the Tea Partiers.

The police protect and serve the shit out of the OWSers.

I really have to wonder, how would everyone who is defending the police brutality respond if instead of liberals, the police were crushing the Tea Party? I bet they would be singing a different tune…

A final note on cynicism

27 Jun

I say a final note on cynicism because the last handful of posts I’ve made over the past few months have been me letting go of the edge and beginning the free-fall into cynicism with acceptance. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer and so I’m going to try* and limit the outrage posts. It really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference if I link to some new fresh outrage. Yeah, I could raise awareness about some issue, say pregnant women being sent to prisons for miscarriages, but it doesn’t matter. I’m mostly preaching to the choir and the whole thing is just a big circle jerk.

I’m not here to list any more reasons for cynicism, I have plenty of posts about those. What I’m here to say this time is in response to a sentiment I seem to encounter a lot in response to my cynicism.

A week or two ago I was at dinner with a bunch of friends and I mentioned how I had finally accepted my cynicism; that I had no hope for the future of this country, and how I wanted to get out while I still could.

One of my friends agreed with me, though another said that while they fully understood my reasons for feeling this way, that they “had nothing to gain from that philosophy.”

This struck me in a strange way. I felt like my friend was admitting to knowingly deluding himself simply because he did not want to face the alternative. Several other people who I’ve talk to about this have voiced similar sentiments.

What I found really perplexing was that my friend who told me this was a fellow atheist. “I have to believe there is a God because the alternative is too terrible to imagine” is something we atheists hear a lot. Now replace “God” with “bright future for America.” It’s just as ridiculous.

When the evidence predominately points in one direction and yet you refuse to accept it, you’re deluding yourself.

Interestingly enough, just as existence without a god is not as terrible as theists imagine, existence with cynicism also is not as horrible as deluded optimists imagine.

Just because you’re cynical doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. It doesn’t mean you can’t be hopeful for some things. It just means you’re more realistic about how the world works.

The cynic can never be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised. 

Since I embraced cynicism I’ve often felt like people dismiss me out of hand as being a “the sky is falling!” loon.  They point to the people on street corners with signs warning that the end is near and ask me how I am any different.

I understand where they’re coming from. A while back I would have said the same thing. Things have always been changing, we’ve always pushed the envelope further and further. Who’s to say we’re finally near the breaking point?

To a certain degree they’re right. The world is not going to end, society is not going to collapse, the end is not near. That’s never been what I’ve been saying. I’m saying things are getting worse.

“But things have always been getting worse!”

That’s a very myopic view. In my hopeful, naive, firebrand liberal days I always believed in the “steady march of progress!” There is no such thing. Things sometimes get better, things sometimes get worse.

From the middle ages to the 19th century things got bad for western women. Slowly over the last century things have been getting better. Now it looks like the trend is reversing again, at least in the US. Things in Germany were going well at the turn of the 20th century and then took a turn for the worst. Afterwards things slowly got better.

I guess my cynicism is just a realization and acceptance of this cycle of human existence.

All I know is that our situation with regards to the economy, environment, education, civil liberties, etc are all getting markedly worse in this country. We’re facing another trough in this human cycle. Sure you can be upset about it, but it’s perfectly natural, like seasons. The US is going to have to face the consequences of its decisions sooner than later.

I just don’t want to be around for the winter that precedes the spring. By all indications it’s going to be a harsh one.

America is a lost cause

11 Jun

A little while back my friend greengeekgirl wrote a post expressing her anger and bewilderment as to why all these horrible things keep happening in American politics. I sympathize completely with every sentiment echoed in that post, but my rage is more of one of silent acceptance. I lost my faith in humanity a few months ago, but I lost faith in American politics long before that.

From the standpoint of everyday Americans (those not making $250,000 + a year), things are bad and they’re only going to get worse. You see, the problem is with the very institutions themselves. American style representative democracy does not work. 

Ideally the masses would elect individuals to go and represent their interests in government, but nothing in this world is ever ideal. In reality, we create a political caste system. Only the rich can afford to run for political office. In the 2008 election, $2.4 BILLION dollars were spent by the two parties. In the 2010 mid-term elections it was close to $4 billion. People go into government to represent themselves and to get rich. It’s just the way things are. Once they network and form contacts, they leave office to become lobbyists or company executives. Government officials don’t even try to hide it anymore! Perfect example: Meredith Attwell Baker. She was the head of the FCC that regulates telecom companies. She approved a massive merger between two huge companies and then quickly resigned to become the Vice President of the new super company she just approved.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how the world works. It’s not pretty, it’s not right, but it is reality.

The biggest underlying flaw with the American political system is that it is a one party system.  Democrats and republicans are two sides of the exact same coin. They’re both controlled by special interest groups, and both are filled with the elite political caste of the rich. Our one party system is a totalitarian “democracy”.

What do we get to vote on? We get to choose between shit and shit to go to Washington and get rich. We don’t get to vote on important issues like the war, or the bailouts, or healthcare. 70% of the American populace wanted a public option for healthcare. Did we get to vote on that? Fuck no! Big insurance made damn sure we didn’t get to vote more competition into the market. Joe Rogan has a great* bit on all of this. *(Up until the last minute of the video where he goes off the deep end)

If the time between the 1960 and now taught us anything, it’s that change can’t come from the inside the system. It just can’t. What happened to all the idealists of the 1960’s that were going to change the world by going to college, getting degrees, and entering into government to make the world a better place? They all got swallowed alive. The system is too big, too powerful to be altered from within. If you don’t play ball with the blood suckers, then you get black listed and stonewalled. Think “Mr. Smith goes to Washington”, minus the happy ending.

The other day I was watching an a video by The Amazing Atheist on idealists when he said something that blew me away: Skip to 1min 40secs. (The rest of the video is good too, but what I’m trying to get at starts there)

My entire life I always viewed progress as this slow, grinding advance in one direction up a hill. Whenever the conservatives one some legislative victory for their draconian social agenda, I took comfort that the only thing constant was change, and that progress would surely over come them in time. But that’s not how reality works. Change, just like evolution, is not a straight line, a ladder to climb. Sometimes things go backwards. We very well could be entering into a period where that change starts taking us backwards.

But a big part of greengeekgirl’s post was asking “What can we do about it?” Well the short answer is nothing. Unless Americans fight for a parliamentary system, or at least something different than the one party system we have now, nothing will change. Since we know that the people won’t actually act unless they run out of bread and circuses, we can rule that out. My solution? Leave.

You can’t fight it, it won’t get any better. Get out while you still can. For the rest of you, however, I leave you with this song by Alabama 3:

How do you know when you’re slipping into fascism?

28 May

I was never really a WWII nut. Growing up with living history/reenactment groups and then going to college for history, I was surrounded by people obsessed with WWII. There is something about that war and the American civil war that just seem to bring out the armchair generals in older white guys. The one thing, however, that has always fascinated me about the war is fascism and how it took over Germany like a virus takes over the brain.

How did a democratic nation (albeit a very young democracy)  go from that to fascism, secret police, war, and the systematic murder of over six million men, women, and children?

Answer? Slowly.

Hitler was democratically elected to power in Germany. He was able to very gently and carefully nudge the country into fascism by exploiting the fact that the country was going through hard times and by masterful manipulation of base human instincts. Sitting atop a sky scraper or watching the space shuttle launch, you may thing that we’re an advanced species, but we’re still beholden to barbaric instincts. These instincts best come out when we’re gathered in a crowd. The hive mind takes over; we revert back to panicky, superstitious, violent animals.

So how does a people know when fascism is taking over a country? In Germany there was never a big announcement declaring: “Attention! We are all now fascist!” No, it happened gradually and before they knew it they were murdering people in gas chambers. Nazi Germany is the perfect embodiment of the boiling frog metaphor. In case you haven’t heard of it, the metaphor is thus: If you throw a frog in boiling water, he’ll jump out; yet if you place the frog in normal water and slowly continue to raise the temperature, the frog will be cooked.

Moral of the story: people won’t be aware of slow change until it is too late.

There was a now famous experiment back in 1967 in a California high school. The Third Wave was an experiment where a history teacher successfully turned his entire class of students into fascists. The experiment took on a life of its own and had to be stopped, but it went to show just how vulnerable democratic societies are to the appeal of fascism.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe we have the ability to defend ourselves against a gradual erosion of our rights. The “patriot act” for example strips us of many of our constitutional freedoms in the name of “protection.” It passed after 9/11, when all the panicky animals were desperate to be protected. It has passed again every time since. The problem with trying to stop such an erosion is that when you cry out that things are wrong, people look at you like you’re insane. They’re all on guard for a lion, when the true threat is a mouse. “Relax! We’re not fascist, nothing much has changed!” By the time it does become noticeable, it’s too late for anyone to do anything.

There is nothing Obama can do right…

5 May

In the eyes of republicans, there is NOTHING Obama can do right. They refuse to give him credit for anything, no matter how much they might like it. It’s like an abusive relationship and Obama’s a hurt dog that keeps coming back to its master, begging to please, only to get beaten senseless at every trick preformed perfectly for the master’s amusement. I’m starting to think the president is somehow is mentally unstable.

Osama bin Laden is dead. Hunting him was one of the primary reasons (at least, officially) for why we invaded Afghanistan a DECADE ago. We hunted him down and killed him under Obama’s administration. But instead of making this an American victory, some conservatives are hell bent on making this a republican victory. (After all republicans = America and thus anything not republican ≠ America)

Lately I’ve heard a lot of talk along the lines of “Well, Obama’s not really responsible for killing Osama bin Laden since he wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger….”

You know what? If you follow that “logic” Osama bin Laden wasn’t really responsible for 9/11 because he didn’t fly the planes into the buildings… (But what am I say? Screw logic)

But now a lot of republicans are attacking Obama because apparently Osama was unarmed when we killed him. “How horrible was it that we killed an unarmed Osama bin Laden?!?!? The president is an evil evil man!”

I dare you, I fucking dare you to tell me republicans would be saying the same thing if Bush was the one who had an unarmed Osama bin Laden shot. There is no fucking way in hell republicans would be giving Bush shit for shooting Osama. They’d all be like “AMERICA!!!!! FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!111″

But no, the president is evil for killing the most evil man in the world simply because he puts a D by his name.

“You know, this really isn’t Obama’s victory because Bush was the one who started this whole thing. It’s really because of Bush’s policies that we’ve caught and killed Osama….”

I wish I was kidding, but that’s seriously what some of them are saying….

First off, Clinton (D) started the hunt for Obama before Bush ever took office, before 9/11. (But conviently ignore that unless you want to try and blame 9/11 on Clinton’s failed attempts to find Osama, at which point you’d also be ignoring the fact that the worst terrorist attack in US history happened on a republican’s watch)

Secondly, you’ll try to take credit for killing Osama because of policies enacted by Bush, but you won’t take credit for the economy crashing because of policies made by the exact same president?!?!?!

(Are you beginning to see how their minds work?)

Republicans do everything perfectly, democrats do everything horribly. Whenever something bad happens while a republican is in power, it’s the democrat’s fault. Whenever something good happens, it’s to the republican’s credit.

It’s the exact same “logic” they apply to god. God is on our side. Whenever something good happens, god did it. Whenever something bad happens, it’s because of our sinfulness and not following god. Everything happens for a reason. A tornado hits a house and kills an entire family except for one small child, “It was a miracle that the child lived! Isn’t god amazing?!” (Nevermind the fact that god allowed the tornado that just killed everyone else in the family) The game is rigged so god can never be put in a position of blame. Same is true for the republicans.

Not surprisingly, I’ve heard a lot of people attribute our killing Osama to god’s divine help. Yes laddies and gentlemen, the very same god who stood there and watched as 3,000 men,women, and children were butchered has finally decided to help us find and kill the man responsible after 10 years, $1,500,000,000,000, and 1,000,000 war dead. God works in mysterious ways eh?

Why does it matter where you were born?

2 May

Last week Obama caved to the pressure of a growing number of wingnut conspiracy theorists who firmly believed his pregnant mother flew from the US to Kenya to give birth to him, and then immediately to Hawaii (the farthest state from Kenya, seriously! Florida was only a couple thousand miles closer) in order that her child could one day be president of the United States.

The fact is, this whole “birther” movement isn’t about Obama’s birth certificate. It never has been. If you read between the lines you’ll see that all this talk about where he was born is just thinly veiled racism. “Obama is a nigger, and niggers aren’t Americans.” It’s sad, but not surprising, that such a large chunk of conservatives have subscribed to this view. They, and they alone, are the true Americans, surrounded in a land of savages and heathens who would destroy their America.

But the fact that Obama isn’t white, and thus will never be a “real” American, aside, why does it matter where you are born? I’ve never understood people’s preoccupation with this. I feel like it’s some pseudo-spiritual bullshit like the idea that the stars you were born under dictate your personality. (Horoscopes)

It does not matter where your mother squeezed you out of her vagina.

Back in World War Two, Nazi propaganda encouraged young couples to have sex in particular cemeteries. The idea was that if the woman conceived a child from the encounter, the spirits of the ancient German folk heroes buried there would enter the womb and thus be given a new body when born.

Believing that where you are born matters is no more bat-shit crazy than believing ancient ghosts will enter your baby if you fuck in a cemetery. The whole notion of “where you’re born matters” revolves around this idea that some “spirit” or quality of the place imprinting itself on you at birth.

I was born in Texas. Therefore I must be a real Texan right? Hell no. I was there for about a year, all of which I don’t remember. I don’t hunt, I don’t drive a truck, I’m not religious, I don’t have a cowboy hat or boots, I don’t have a Texas accent, I don’t like spicy food, and I’m not a republican. Nothing about me is Texan.

Land is land is land. There is no mystical qualities about one place that makes it different from another. The only difference is in weather and vegetation. Last time I checked, the 5 day forecast and what types of berries grow outside don’t effect a person’s personality.

What matters more than where you entered the world is where you spend time growing up. The culture you’re raised has a large impact on your personality and world view. Someone raised in Saudi Arabian culture is going to be molded by that culture. The physical land surrounding that culture doesn’t do the molding, the people living there do. Yes, geography impacts culture, but none the less, you’re not being raised by the rivers and the trees.

A perfect example would be the children of immigrants. They may be born in another country, but their parents are still the ones who raise them. Depending on how strict the parents are about keeping the traditions and culture from their homeland, the child may or may not grow up to resemble that culture.

So in essence, it doesn’t matter where you’re born. Obama could have been born in Japan, it wouldn’t make a lick of difference. He was raised in the US and thus he is American. Oh, and little know fact: John McCain was born in Panama, which is now not part of America.

Conservatives and attack legislation

24 Mar

Something I’ve noticed about conservatives: They have no qualms using their power for pursuing political vendettas. What do I mean by that? Well look at NPR, the last bastion of independent, objective, and civil news. It has a wide variety of extremely educational programing. Unfortunately reality has a liberal bias. (Conservatives deny that reality exists so to them they just see the liberal bias despite the fact that the numbers and evidence side with liberals) And so the conservatives are on a war path to kill NPR. They feel it’s liberal and so it must die. They seem to do this with any program they feel isn’t conservative enough.

Yet the funniest thing is how they act when liberals even think about doing something similar. They throw the biggest fit and cry foul! It’s fucking hilarious, those disingenuous bastards. Why can conservatives get away with this and not liberals? Human inertia again…

Forlorn hope

15 Mar

This is perhaps one of the most important posts I’ll ever write on this blog, or at least it is to me personally. As such, this guarantees that almost nobody will read it, and fewer will comment. That always seems to be the case with posts I find particularly important.

Over the past several months, years even, I’ve struggled with faith in humanity. I know that sounds horribly cliché, but this is extremely important to me so if it bothers you then kindly fuck off.

So what do I mean by “Faith in Humanity”? I guess I mean the hope that we won’t ultimately destroy ourselves, that we won’t kill our planet, that we will continue to better ourselves.

This storm of vague ideas has been swirling around in my head for a while. Mostly it has been comprised of just feelings, gut instincts about the world that don’t easily translate into words. I started taking down notes, dictating messages to myself, whenever one of my nondescript feelings manifested itself in some tragedy or another. I figured that if I was going to say that I no longer had faith in humanity I would need evidence to back that up. I recently realized that it doesn’t matter.

Overtime I slowly came to realize that just as the universe is governed by the natural laws of physics, so too is humanity. When a plane takes off from a runway it must fight to overcome inertia. The engine and wings must fight to overcome those forces that would have the plane stay as it were, idle and motionless on the ground. Humanity is much the same way. The natural order of things is to be shit. The natural order of things is for everything to remain the same. It is only through great struggle that we overcome this inertia. I’m not sure I have the energy anymore to fight it.

Human inertia. It’s why it is always easier for conservatives to get elected rather than liberals. It’s why we had to fight so hard to overcome things like slavery and theocracy, our natural barbarism and superstitions. A natural resistance to change; why women had to fight for so long against the conservatives of their day to gain recognition that they too were human beings deserving of equal rights and opportunities. The same can be said for blacks fighting against the conservatives of the 1950’s and 60’s for the same thing. We see it currently as people of non-heteronormative genders fight modern conservatives to be recognized as people deserving equal rights and dignities afforded heterosexual individuals. Human inertia. It’s partly why religion is more successful at propagating itself than science. Religion preaches certainty and inertia. It does not change. The only time something “changes” in religion is once in a while a small sect will split off and declare themselves the sole masters of truth and certainty.

Just as all objects have the natural tendency, through gravity, to fall to the earth, we too have a natural tendency towards suffering, ignorance, and squalor.

The second realization I had was that, at least to most of humanity, reality does not matter.

Once I realized this I lost my interest in debating the merits of ideas. It is no use discussing a concept with someone if they do not recognize that there exists an independent reality, an independent fact, indifferent to how strongly they hold a position.

If you want to see first hand how reality no longer matters, take a look at American politics. It is absolutely pointless to try and have debates on the issues. The issues don’t matter. Conservatives have their narrative and that is it. “Democrats always raise taxes and are fiscally irresponsible.” Well actually, there are times when democrats do cut taxes, but this never gets noticed. It gets so bad that people can make statements that are demonstrably not true like “the healthcare reform will create death panels” and other people will believe it. Fox News and the conservatives constantly do this! They actually incorporate it into their tactics. They know they can make up the most insane shit and their base will swallow it, even if it’s blatantly untrue. They do this so the liberals are always having to defend themselves from bullshit claims that are false in the first place. (Not that any conservative will change their mind when a liberal shows that a claim is wrong because hey, he’s a fucking lib and you can’t trust him!)

Now can you imagine for one second a liberal trying to spew as many paranoid bullshit statements a minute like Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Sarah Palin? They could never get away with it! That’s human inertia in action! During the 2008 presidential election, Sarah Palin paraded her pregnant unwed daughter out onto the stage. All the conservatives went “Aw, isn’t that sweet. They’re going through some rough times but God will help them!” Can you imagine if Obama had a pregnant unwed daughter? Can you image what conservatives would say? Most likely something along the lines of “Great, another fucking nigger crack whore who’ll take my money in welfare!” It’s only a crime when a liberal does it and to hell with your “facts.”

Everyone already has their minds made up, there is no “market place” of ideas in politics. All that decides elections is who has more babies, and who can get more of their people out to vote on election day. My team vs your team, us vs them.

I’ve stopped caring about the news all together. Every day it’s the same story: “Liberals are giant pussies cowering to conservatives who have won yet another victory on their endless march to make the world shit for everybody but their billionaire donors. Elsewhere in the world religious fanatics continue to oppress others, cut the clitorises off of young girls, slaughter gays, and generally fight anything that might ease collective suffering in the name of their one true god. Meanwhile peaceful protesters were brutally put down by the military in <insert country here> as large corporations pressure the government to keep a tighter grip on it’s worker population so as not to cause waves in the stock market.”

But I digress into specifics. What about human nature on a larger picture?

Well speaking of larger, the greater the number of people hurt/killed/in need, the less we care. How horrible is that? If we see a fellow human being hacked to death we are horrified and outraged. It be logical then to believe that hearing of 100,000 people being hacked to death would make us feel the horrified and outraged 100,000 times more, but no, we couldn’t give a shit. Genocide? *yawn* What’s on sports?

We also collectively never learn from our mistakes. If you pay attention, you’ll notice there is a cycle of disasters. A perfect example are mine collapses. Every few years a mining disaster will happen, costing millions of dollars and human lives. Families are destroyed, politicians outraged, and the press calls for blood. What happens? An investigation. Somebody gets sued and more protective legislation is passed. Everything calms down for a few years as mines buck up and put forth the extra effort to operate safely. Then, one day, someone decides they can cut just a little corner, then a little more, and a little more, and soon enough the whole thing explodes again and the cycle repeats.

It happens all the time. I am numb when I see another massive disaster that leaves families destroyed and the environment ruined. It’s just what we do. There is no point getting upset because it’s just going to happen again. I guarantee it.

So is humanity going to hell in a hand-basket? Is it because of “kids these days”? Is society going to collapse? Is the end near? Sort of.

The people who normally say those things are social conservatives that don’t understand why the world is changing. I don’t believe in hell, kids have always been this way, society will never “collapse” because as long as there are people there will be “society”, and the only way there will be an “end” is if we make one.

For a while I used to dismiss people who thought we were coming closer to the brink of destruction. I used to rationalize that humanity has always been like this, we will continue to push the envelope forever because there is no end to that envelope. I reassured myself of this with the following saying:

“Uniforms and weapons change, war doesn’t.”

But I was wrong.

You see, there is something very important hidden in that saying that nobody really pays attention to: “weapons change.” Humanity has always been like it is now, and we always will be. That doesn’t change. What DOES change is our technology. I can’t overstate the importance of this. Throughout history the damaged humanity could do to itself and the planet was always limited by our technology. Now we’ve reached a point where we can exterminate all life on the planet 7 times over with a push of a button. Each day we dump millions of tons of toxins and trash into our environment. We are speeding towards the cliff and people are only pressing the gas pedal harder.

What am I supposed to do? Go out and join a protest? Change my light bulbs? I’ve done all that. It doesn’t do shit. It’s a rain drop in a desert. Nothing will change until all of humanity collectively decides to change. That won’t happen until the danger is so imminent, so in your face, not even conservatives will be able to ignore it, though many will try. By that time it will be too little too late. It’s just our nature.

For the longest time I avoided this conclusion because of the despair I thought it would bring. Are there enough good things about humanity to warrant hope that we can change our nature, limit suffering, and not destroy ourselves?

I liken this to my views on religion. One of the most common arguments I hear from believers when I tell them religion is harmful is: “But religion does so much good in the world! Look at all the charities and shelters! Look how much hope it brings to people!” Ignoring the fact that there are plenty of secular charities and shelters with a lot lower instance of their leaders driving around in mercedes, “giving people hope” doesn’t help the millions of people around the world who are forced to undergo some physical or emotional torment/suffering/death because of their (but more often someone else’s) religious convictions. The sum of religion’s good does not out weigh the sum of its evil.

And so it is with humanity.

The problem is in how bitter this is to swallow. Just as with religion, there are some very beautiful aspects of humanity that make one extremely reluctant to declare it hopeless. For me two things stand out among the rest: Art and science. The only time I’ve ever felt the awe that others call a “religious experience” is when I stood in awe of either some form of art or in awe at understanding, through science, some magnificent part of the universe. Human art can be amazing, breath taking, mind blowing. Nothing cheers me up better than listening to great music at the end of a long day.

Science has the ability to move me just as powerfully as art. The first time I saw this video it left me in tears. Tears for just how amazing the universe is, and tears for just how far we’ve come, only for us to inevitably make it all shit.

So I guess the important question now is “where does this leave me?” Do I become a nihilist? Do I just shoot myself?

No.

While I’ve come to the conclusion humanity is fucked, individual human beings aren’t. People as a group might be nasty, barbaric, superstitious, and willfully ignorant, but individual people can be amazing. I’m still here, I still have the opportunity to feel and enjoy life before the rest of mankind kills us all off, so I’m going to do just that.

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