25 June 2006

The Middle Class

Massachusetts, and New England, and the East Coast generally, are typically held to be welfare statist areas where generous programs look after the needs of the poor to the expense of everyone else. My time, albeit brief, in Worcester, MA, taught me otherwise. I have never encountered any area in this country where things seemed so well-designed toward the goal of relentlessly screwing the poor as much as humanly possible, whether it be the 1-dollar trashbags mandated for "environmental" reasons or the hordes of towtrucks that would descend on random streets in the early morning and tow hundreds of illegally parked cars, which cost several hundred dollars to get back. The most important element seemed to be the educational system. As far as I can tell, people who go to technical school or whatnot are typically expected to start drooling in their oatmeal at any moment. In other words, everyone who can goes to college, and those who don't encounter extremely significant class-based prejudice. What's the purpose of this? Education plays an extremely important role in the ascription of status - very few jobs actually require a college education, but the sacrifice involved in getting one is greater than what most of the poor can afford, so they are denied entry to the higher classes. Even with financial aid, the foregone income is easily the most important element in this inability to attend school further.
So why are some people kept on the bottom like this?
Keeping people on the bottom keeps them from being able to fill middle-class jobs, which ensures that the present middle-class has a steady supply of work.
I would bet that several trillion dollars have been spent to subisidize this middle class (which I consider to be artificial because of those same subsidies) over the past 50-odd years, through road building, schools, other public works, student loans, and government backing/financing of home mortgages.
So what's the purpose of all of this?
The answer becomes fairly apparent once one looks at what the middle class support. They are typically the strongest backers of the status quo. And why? Because the status quo has given them easily trillions of dollars over the past few decades in subsidies.
And there's always a but! This system is growing increasingly unsustainable, hence the steadily widening gap between the rich and the poor. Our quasi-corporatist system is reverting to what it would have been without this support, and without this support, it won't last.

01 May 2006

Be Angry At The Sun
By Robinson Jeffers

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante's feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

*Italics mine.

27 April 2006

I hate the government - a rant

So I want to get from Florida to California. I'm relocating.
I figured a train would be cheaper than a plane, and could carry more. Stupid me, I forgot the government runs it.
No only does it takes many days (yes, days) longer to get from FL to CA by train (because Amtrak basically forces you to go to DC first, then it sets you through a series of other transfers to eventually, you hope, get to your destination) but it's also just as expensive as going by plane. Not only that, the only luggage benefit I could see from going by train is that you can take your bike on SELECT trains.
I'm so glad that POS organization some call our protectors is protecting me from the inefficiences of poor train management, service, and monopoly prices.

Oh wait.

23 April 2006

Convoluted Rant for the New Generation of Snooty Philosophers

When I get into political arguments with others over rights in the like, I often find (and comment accordingly) that fundamental differences in justification for political positions render debates about specific topics rather pointless.
This gets best illustrated with my claim that "empirical problems" are not at all. Maybe I say it so calmly, confidently, and frequently because the Matrix had a larger impact on me than I care to admit, or rather, let me give credit to a much forgotten film, eXistenZ, which drove paranoia home a lot more than the Matrix ever could for me.
I exist in a universe of ideas--ideas with much more worth than any self-assured claim to knowledge of the real world. As afeared of math as any person, I still hold more strongly to the claim 2+2=4 than that which states George Bush faces difficulties pronouncing words. I heard it with my own ears, "nuke-yule-er," didn't I?
This must seem a jumbled mess: three dubiously connected paragraphs, but to what end?

So let me try to make sense now, and that will hopefully shed light on the situation, and create a good topic of discussion.
I advocate a notion of natural rights based on an assumption about nature. I advocate abolishing all forms of violence (I suppose save those associated with lesser animals agressing against eachother in search for sustenance & other silly adventures), including, but not limited to, governments, slavery (nudge, nudge, milita enforced sweatshop labour), non-consentual brawling, thievery, and meanness (ok, maybe meanness does not count as a form of violence, but it counts as form of un-niceness!) which impede on the natural rights I aforementionedly advocated.
Beyond this, any attempt to delay a movement toward the abolition of all violations of natural rights, regardless of their pragmatic merit, will not have my support. Such include the argument of forcefull eliminating publicly traded corporations as they tend to violate others' rights. This brings us back to where I began, "empirical problems." Pre-emptively attempting to prevent large scale rights violations by means of a smaller scale rights violation (if such a thing is) has as much appeal to me as an argument for eliminating all of humanity to avoid the entirety of future violatoin of rights by the hands of human beings: none. I have empirical reasons for not accepting this argument, but more imporantly I have fundamental philosophical problems with the paradigm of the argument itself.
I find making plans and attempting to get things done in the real world fun, but not real. Ideas are reality.

Seeing as this is my first post. And I haven't had much sleep the last few nights, I may edit it somewhat, or tremendously, to save myself embarrassment. Reasons for editing, beyond that, include clarity, and possibly making my point clear, which at this hour, I am not at all certain I did. Haha!

07 April 2006

Getting Your Hands Dirty / Roderick's Wish Is My Command

I once knew a person, whom I won't name here. As far as I could tell, she was more concerned with animal rights, veganism, and dumpster diving than she was about the war. And she had the chutzpah to call herself a "radical" and to condemn other people for not being radical enough.
Phoney radicals, who would be many or most of them, honestly, tend towards things like these because they aren't thereby committed to any real course of political action. It's why every liberation struggle in every farflung country attracts massive attention, while there's no real, organized movement in this country to take on police brutality or educate prospective jurors about nullification. It's because saying "Yay Evo Morales!" allows one to be Fashionably Radical while not getting one's hands dirty, while mass organization of people here at home who aren't Starbucks baristas requires actual work and just isn't nearly as hip.