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The Wicker Men: cliques, geeks, and the death of Bo Peep

Foreword

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke.

Although perfect for what I am writing below, Edmund Burke never actually wrote or was recorded saying this; however, he did write this:

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” ~ Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770)

In his inaugural address to the University of St. Andrews (February 1, 1867), John Stuart Mill said this:

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

About 2,200 years before either of them, Plato wrote:

“Now, the greatest punishment, if one isn’t willing to rule, is to be ruled by someone worse than oneself.” ~ The Republic

So, that brings us back to:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~ never actually written or uttered until misquoted by other people but still a pretty damn good sentiment, nonetheless.

And I pair it with a line from Charlie Sheen’s voice over from “Platoon” (1986):

“I’m new and nobody cares about the new guys. They don’t even want to know your name. The unwritten rule is a new guy’s life isn’t worth as much ’cause he hasn’t put his time in yet.” ~ PFC Chris Taylor

 

The Wicker Men

Ever wonder if so-called “Secret Societies” are kept secret so that the resulting mystique results in no one outside the group ever knowing what a pitiful bunch of complete losers their members are?

The punishment should fit the crime…
I do believe quite strongly in the Rule of Law. Some of you may be rubbing your eyes and rereading that last sentence. I may have skirted the odd law now and again but if I run out of room to run, I willfully submit to what comes next. If no one comes running after me, it can’t of been that important of a transgression to begin with. The Rule of Law must rest upon the consensus of the people, over which it is meant to exercise power. Might is Right is an outdated and uncivilized concept.
However, what about cases where Trial by Combat is actually apropos to the charges laid?
Rather than the wasted effort required in civil litigation, the popularity tainted process of social justice, and/or drawn out criminal proceedings, why can’t an shield-shattering ax blow with the right and a killing strike from the sword in my left prove he was full of shit? Especially if what fell from his lips wasn’t just the insidious lies of a bully, coward, and sociopath, it would mean his probable victory in honourable contest?
I dunno. Feeling imperial and facist.

So many people are socially indoctrinated to never defend themselves because it is seen as “rude” or “dramatic”. Usually those passing instant judgement on the validity of the public and  unashamed defense of one’s self are not protecting the Rule of Law nor defending the public good. Rather, they are actively engaged in victim shaming and defending the abuses committed by members of their circle with full knowledge of the circle to protect their means of making money. This is especially true when knowing the truth means the group acknowledging the wrongdoing of someone in their clique.
Sometimes I wonder if waking up to a splintered shield on their doorstep would instantly key them into the realization they were uselessly protecting the wrong person’s crimes and contraventions of the personal security of others. Not all boorish behaviour is a criminal affair and I’m not saying they can’t come to your pool party. Just don’t make them fucking lifeguards. When one reads “Bo Peep”, I can almost guarantee that they and you first thought of the inept shepherdess who couldn’t protect her sheep. I wasn’t, though it does fit the topic today especially when you know what Bo Peep originally referred to. In the 14th century, to “play bo pepe”, was to be stood in the pillory and punished by public humiliation. Given the setting of my concern, to find a term that combines the inability to protect one’s flock, deserving and receiving punishment doled out by one’s peers, and a bondage device is perfect.
For a “community” who throws the word “consent” around like parmesan at a Mr. Mike’s franchise, there seems to be an awful lot assent for individuals who don’t exercise it as long as they know the right people. We cry freedom and individuality but under scrutiny we are no different than the Rape Culture we proudly claim to disavow.

*Quasi relevant tangential thought:
Adherents to that hastily declared as “supernatural” are quick to claim “science can’t explain it”, despite usually having absolutely no frame of reference to assume that is the case. Just because the scientific method has not explained it “yet”, that in no way is evidence that it “can’t”. Everything does happen for a reason.
*..and we’re back.

Everything happens for a reason. Because of this we don’t sit our recovering alcoholic uncle beside the bar at the wedding reception, we don’t build preschools on military proving grounds, nor do we entrust care of our chickens to a fucking fox.
Claiming “they should have known better” is a weak argument, proferred after the fact, in an attempt to cover up one’s lack of foresight or outright negligence.
Victims are “victims” because of a failure to adequately defend against something. That is the very definition of victim. It is that “something” that makes us all guilty. I don’t mean to say a victim’s inability to defend themselves is in any way their fault or failing. In fact, it is almost always exactly the opposite. The willingness to trust is often the lapse in security that allows the predator to strike. They look for it. Again I do not call for a change in behaviour on the part of those made victims. I call for us to stand up as a society and make that society worthy of their trust again.

This just won’t end well.

 

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Repost but I think it needs to be discussed

*Originally posted on baronscameron.wordpress.com on September 22, 2008

 

Author’s Note

On Sunday, December 9th, 2007, developers and the City of Courtenay tore down the Courtenay Hotel, an iconic old building that stood in Courtenay since the turn of the 20th century, before there was officially a Courtenay to stand in.
For the past few years, the Courtenay Hotel was home to the Courtenay House, Courtenay’s lone strip club. It was somewhat affectionately known to one and all as the CoHo.
For most of the years that I lived in Courtenay, I was the CoHo’s unofficial Writer-in-Residence. I held court in the smoking room, watching not the young women on stage, but watching and conversing with those whohad come to watch the exotic entertainment.
It was during a single afternoon in the smoking room with a handful of beers that the following was written.
I have half-jokingly dubbed what follows as The Courtenay House Manifesto.
It is important to note that physical, mental, and emotional “differences” often referred to in the piece that follows, exist only within the first premise that there is only one race: the Human Race. Any attempt to use the following treatise as ammunition to further the cause of racial supremacy is misguided and not in any way the intention for which they were first put to paper.
Enjoy,
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Preface

At first glance, this treatise may seem to be an invitation to elitism, and perhaps nihilism. But I would suggest that it is instead a plea for realism.
Acceptance has become a dirty word (for instance, the acceptance of Darwin’s theories is only a refutation of Creationism. In this case, as with many, acceptance is not the adoption of one set of ideas but the denial of another. No positive life outlook can be based on a negative). Acceptance must be a step forward towards a greater understanding. Too many of us believe that acceptance is on par with settling for. Acceptance is an act of realism and thereby, freedom. With the loss of superfluous desires, true freedom, mental freedom can exist. When we cease to covet and desire that which we absolutely cannot have, we are free to enjoy that which we do.
Inane maxims, such as “The truth hurts,” circulate unabated with all of us refusing to admit the deeper “truth” it speaks. Neither believing a lie, nor disbelieving a fact, amount to anything but a regrettable waste of mental energy.
For us to continue as a species, we must accept, against all influences to do otherwise, that Life is not fair and owes us nothing. Life, as we live it, is an arbitrary existence. As long as “Life” exists, it will exist without our personal input and never acknowledge that we are here beyond the original “gift” of our existence.
These theses are not the sum total of my knowledge or feelings on the subject of human existence. They also represent the ideas of others before me. This is only my work insofar as I have taken the time to compile these opinions and thoughts on their ideas.
Should this diatribe ever reach a set of eyes other than my own, I shall be assailed for its unmitigated pessimism. I am not a pessimist. I am a non-practicing, lapsed optimist.
These are general statements based on my current disgust at the state of the Human Race. All I will say in my defence is that the document can speak on its own behalf. I do not speak to the exception; I speak to the rule. A lucky few have survived a fall from great heights but most do not.
The body of this first draft was composed chain smoking in a bar, surrounded by men and women watching young women remove their clothes while pandering to the original drive to make money for others.

September 9th, 2006

The Courtenay House Manifesto

  1. Somewhere along the line, human beings got it in their heads that they were special. We began with our assumed domination over the animals and the rest of nature. It can be said that Adam’s naming of the animals gave him power over them. By defining what something is, we assume the power and jurisdiction to do so.
  2. Now humankind has taken on a new target: its own existence. The right to claim individual freedom, so long fought for, now threatens to destroy the fabric of our society. The right to choose and/or act does not inherently hold the right to deserve or possess that which is not yours by either necessity or ability.
  3. Human beings, though unlimited in thought and desire, are strictly limited on other levels. Thus, the mere fact that one desires something is no guarantee that one could or should attain it. Such humans can only see life and existence as it applies only to them: they demand through solipsistic deeds that the statement above is untrue. This is the beginning of our fall.
  4. The human beings’ fallacious belief in their dominion over existence merely perpetuates an atmosphere of falsity on one side and disappointment on the other, fostering a prevailing mood of anger and unrest. We are becoming a society of malcontents.
  5. The wealthy seek more wealth through exploitation and corrupt means. They are fooled into believing that their relative comfort is evidence that they have a good life. No life can be good that rests on the shoulders of destruction and slavery. The unknown or, more likely, ignored cost of this “good life” those whose believe they are living the “good life” are either ignorant or uncaring, neither of which is a trait of “good life.”
  6. We are all animals fooled into believing that we are better than we are. Our ability to reason, though rarely used, sets us apart, in our terms, from the other animal species. It does not set us above. A human being would lose a physical contest with almost any animal that matched it for weight. In terms of survival, we are poor animals indeed. Our reliance on gadgetry over common sense only exacerbates this situation.
  7. Try as we might to control our natural surroundings, we are perennial losers to the value neutral, natural event: the earthquake, the tidal wave, the tornado, etc.
  8. How are we as a society to survive in this world unless it is together as a unified society? The obvious and undeniable answer is that we cannot; we will not.
  9. Human beings’ greatest failure is our inability to either recognize or accept that we are nature. Our existence began on and with this planet. We are part of the machine.
  10. Despite our grandiose assumptions, we too are value neutral. Our necessity of existence is grossly estimated, again by assumptions of rank. There is absolutely nothing on this planet not of our creation or design that requires our existence upon it. The human being, unlike a vast majority of other animals, survives as a parasite.
  11. Most of our energies are spent trying to rationalize our need to exist. We fail to acknowledge that we exist through happenstance, not through necessity.
  12. I have too often heard it said that “it is better for a thousand guilty men to go free than to have one innocent man go to jail.” This is asinine thinking. It could be foolish hope that an innocent man will always find his vindication, but to believe that it is better for a thousand guilty men to walk the streets is indicative of the individual’s selfish belief that society exists solely to serve them and no other. When an individual believes that society must give only, thereby implying that society serves them and thus they are better than society, the observer must ask: how long could said individual exist without society’s gifts?
  13. Communities exist on mutual co-operation. No one person can demand or expect to receive more than they are willing to give.
  14. Abuse of the system is rampant and many benefit more from the same society that neglects others. For this to stop, we must construct a societal system based on the juxtaposition of true merit and necessity.
  15. A truly meritorious system will only be realized when we are ready to admit that divisions in society must exist. Differences in relative strength, intellect, and ability, by nature, do exist. These differences must be acknowledged and, more importantly, accepted. Until this acceptance occurs, society will be plagued by malcontents whose unattainable dreams continue to be unfulfilled. Life can be “what you make it” but only after realizing that every finished product is, and can only be, the sum of its material parts. This being the case, however, a being that cannot change itself or its lot in life should never be exploited because of it.
  16. No building is ever built exactly as it was originally designed. The construction process is rife with unforeseen circumstances and events, consisting of both positive and negative outcomes, differing from the original blueprint. There is far less control over a human’s life construction than that of a building. We build what we can, given the resources we have. But it must be realized that these are resources of the self. They are not external resources we believe to have dominion over and claim to due some self delusional assumptions of rank. When builders create from ill-suited material, the soundness is, and will always be, suspect and flawed.
  17. Failure to acknowledge the divisions in society results in untold amounts of wasted energy. There is no waste in self-improvement. In fact, I’d argue the success of a society relies on it. For this self-improvement to have any real value at all it must be done with an eye to improving society as a whole, not merely one’s place in it.
  18. Many claims are made by the wealthy that they are improving society. These claims almost invariably involved perceived financial benefits, the bottom line. There is more to a good existence than money. This is an alien idea to those who have and live for money. To steal a phrase: to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
  19. Though the sums are obscene, philanthropy is rare. Despite the lip service often given to alleviating the suffering, torment, and exploitation of the poor, the attempts made never risk the ridiculously high standard of living enjoyed by those making the offer.
  20. Though the intent of charity can be genuine, the nature of charity is now perverted. Countless people have a picture of a horribly distressed child from a “Third World” nation posted with pride on their refrigerator. They feel a sense of pride, an alleviation of guilt, for the dollar a day they spend sending the child the necessities of life over and over again. What this false sense of accomplishment obfuscates is the horribly obvious fact that this child is not supplied the necessities of life by those whose duty it is to do so. The child, no doubt, resides in a country impoverished by corrupt leadership, a corrupt leadership financed by greed driven corporate interests. It is ironically this greed that supplies the liquid cash that allow those “better off’ to help better the life of said child. They pat themselves on the back for pitifully trying to alleviate a situation they are to blame for. We must save our “dollars” and actually change his world rather than satisfying the need to feel good about our blood money.
  21. Religious charity is a cruel hoax. Churches, all churches, spread their faith and charity merely as a means to maintain their power, real or assumed. God is not “dead”; God never existed. Religion is merely the tool of simple men, used to subjugate the weak, ignorant, and superstitious. No progress can be achieved until we condemn and eradicate the “teachings” of those whose knowledge never surpassed the practical, who sought only dominion over their surroundings and consolidation of their power.
  22. Religion manifests in a multitude of guises. The latest is consumer materialism. The superfluous has become a commodity. Our lives are consumed by the desire to acquire meaningless trinkets. This has created a self-perpetrating maelstrom. As we descend further into self-gratification through material objects, human relations degrade. Lamenting degraded human relations, we find more and more comfort in these ridiculous and, ultimately, pointless pursuits.

DON’T LET THE INTERNET MAKE YOU STUPID: A rant in two parts by Baron S. Cameron

AUTHOR’S NOTE
Is it possible to disparage an organization without equally disparaging its members? I’m about to try.
I have nothing but respect for people who face and try to control their demons and would never deliberately disrespect or ridicule them.
With that being said, if the following post offends you:
  1. Too fucking bad.
  2. Read the WHOLE piece. Everything I put forward here is in aide of a greater point I am trying to make.
  3. Feel free to comment. However, if you do, make a supported point. If you just don’t “like” the piece, fine. That is a fair assessment based on personal taste and a valid opinion. If you “disagree” with the piece, be ready to explain why. There are no short answers, no unsupported claims, and no Opinion-as-Fact in this game.

DON’T LET THE INTERNET MAKE YOU STUPID: A rant in two parts by Baron S. Cameron

PART THE FIRST – A.A. and Uncle Buck

Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult. Though started by a physician (Ben Carson, Francis Willis, and Fritz Haber are/were also physicians), A.A. views the causes of addiction as an issue of morality rather than health and believes the cure to be a spiritual one, found by faith in a higher power [God].

From Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book:

“…he was convinced of the need for moral inventory, confession of personality defects, restitution to those harmed, helpfulness to others, and the necessity of belief in and dependence upon God.” ~ Foreword to Second Edition
“We doctors have realized for a long time that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception. What with our ultra-modern standards, our scientific approach to everything, we are perhaps not well equipped to apply the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge.” ~ The Doctors Opinion
“Dr. Foster Kennedy, neurologist: ‘This organization of Alcoholics Anonymous calls on two of the greatest reservoirs of power known to man, religion and that instinct for association with one’s fellows . . . the “herd instinct.” I think our profession must take appreciative cognizance of this great therapeutic weapon.” ~ The Medical View on A.A.

A.A. seeks to control addiction, bury it, by means of guilt, shaming, and conformity, the “herd instinct”. It is in this way that the Internet is similar. Actual problems become popularity contests. Nothing is ever discussed; it is “Shared”, often without context or the poster having a full understanding of that which they are endorsing by mere social reflex.  Similarly, ignoring a problem by believing, fallaciously, that, because the group ignores it, there is no problem has observable effects on the collective intelligence.

In other words, we’re being improperly informed, losing our capacity for critical thought, and abetting in our own intellectual destruction but it’s okay because everybody is doing it.

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Uncle Buck is the title character from 1989’s eponymous movie. He is a loveable fuck up. At the outset of the movie however, his family (his sister-in-law and niece, especially) seem to focus more on the “fuck up” part. It is apparent that Buck has not seen his brother, Bob, in years. Given Cindy’s (the sister-in-law) middle-class suburbanite attitude towards Buck, this is hardly surprising. Cindy’s father suffers a heart attack and she and Bob must leave town, requiring the enlisting of a baby-sitter for their three children.  Bob optimistically suggests his brother. Cindy is aghast. It is only after all other possibilities are exhausted that Cindy reluctantly agrees to call Buck for help.
When Cain answered God’s question with the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” he did so because he was trying to hide the fact that he had just murdered his brother, Abel (GEN 4:1-16). Bob is not Buck’s keeper. Bob is not responsible for Buck’s life, actions, choices, or mistakes. However, just because Bob is not his brother’s “keeper” does not mean that Buck stops being Bob’s brother. Though Buck and Bob are separate, sentient entities, Buck is insight to The Russell Family, viewed holistically.

Are there reasons for the different levels of success enjoyed by both men respectively? Why does Buck have a different attitude and definition of success than his younger brother? Bob doesn’t need to answer for his brother but his very own existence is irrevocably linked to Bob’s and he must acknowledge the connection.

We are, at times, faced with ugly truths about ourselves, the company we keep, and the company we kept. We are not responsible for the actions of others but we cannot pretend the problem does not exist because we are not directly related to it. Often we see online piss fights between opposing attitudes born of one side’s downplaying the importance of or outright denying the existence of a particular situation.

For example: taking the attitude that racism is not something you need to concern yourself with because you never use the word “nigger” is willful ignorance. White Supremacy groups don’t direct their message at minorities. Their message is to white people. We are their audience and they deign to speak on our behalf. Therefore, silence is assent, assent to be revoked by those of us who do not burn crosses, who do not believe:

“In a nutshell, the problem with humanity is not so much one of ideology – this or that religious, political, social, or economic doctrine – but rather one of blood. That is, that a great deal (possibly 90% or more) of a person’s intelligence and character is determined by their DNA, which determines the structure of their brain before they are born. This is why Blacks, as a group, do the things they do.” ~ Stormfront.org

Those people are out there and will continue to cast a shadow over us in the eyes of others. We owe it to ourselves to stand up to them, let them know that they do not represent us, and that we do not support them in any way. Likewise, we owe it to humanity. The victims of their hate are our fellow inhabitants of this planet. As a species we cannot allow such ignorance to hold. We must claim our skeletons.

In addition, a person cannot say, “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobe/anti-Semitic/bigoted (in general), etc… We don’t get to make those distinctions. Just as when someone tells us we have hurt them emotionally, we can’t say we didn’t. It’s not our call. We can ask someone to prove an accusation against us and, if it should be false, you should be able to show the charge as false or overreaching. It is equally wrong to paint everything with the same brush by ignorance, or worse: intent.

“All men are sexist” remains my favourite sexist comment of all time, yet I won’t consider those who inadvertently fall into the fallacy as speaking on behalf of all women. Likewise, I won’t use the sexism practiced by other genders as reason to exercise my own. By acknowledging the merit of the accusations and examining what place we occupy in the both the solution AND the problem, we will move forth to a greater understanding.

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END OF PART ONE

*The preceding thoughts are integral to my Own It or End It philosophy, to be inscribed, presented, and elucidated at a later date.

PART THE SECOND – The Emperor’s New Clothes

“The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

‘But he hasn’t got anything on,’ a little child said.

‘Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?’ said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, ‘He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.’

‘But he hasn’t got anything on!’ the whole town cried out at last.”

From The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

This is a vest bearing the well recognized “rockers” (the top and bottom patches) and death’s head emblem of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

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I don’t care to discuss what the Hells Angels MC is or isn’t at any level. I want to draw attention to the vest. The only people who can wear that vest are members of the club. It is not an easy thing to get. It cannot be borrowed or bought. It must be earned. Probably the only other way to get your hands on one is to wear another vest. This one:

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The logo and rockers are registered trademarks. The Hells Angels MC is actually quite litigious when it comes to defending those trademarks. Stories on the origins of the club differ but there is no denying the fame and infamy the club has garnered since the mid/late 60s. The mythology and outlaw mystique the club has inspired makes their image a marketable one. Using their image will get you sued.

Wearing the vest when you’re not a member? Well…

This is the Nobel Peace Prize:

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In theory, anyone can win it.

“The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind […] to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses [selected] by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize…” ~ Alfred Nobel’s will

There are criteria to be met for who can nominate someone. After that, the nominations are reviewed by the Norwegian Nobel Committee (appointed by Norway’s parliament) and a short list of potential laureates is drawn up. This list is forwarded to a panel of permanent advisors to the Nobel Institute. The advisors, “which [consist] of the Institute’s Director and the Research Director and a small number of Norwegian academics with expertise in subject areas relating to the prize”, prepare reports on nominees that are submitted back to the Nobel Committee who make the final selection.

Below (left to right) are the uniform insignia for the Canadian Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2), the US Navy SEALs, the British Special Air Services (SAS).

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These three military outfits represent some of the best trained soldiers in the history of combat. The selection process is gruelling and life as an active member in the Special Forces is not for everyone. But again the level of skill possessed by these modern warriors, their legendary (if known at all) exploits, and their reputation for sheer toughness create, in other’s not able to inhabit their world, an atmosphere of adulation and idolatry.

This is an Olympic gold medal:

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Enough said.

What do these four (six) things have in common? They are not easy to get and anyone impressed by them would be able to quickly determine whether the person in possession of any of those things actually deserved to have it or was just putting on a false display of someone else’s effort to gain attention and/or praise for themselves.

That’s the key. Those they mean to impress through subterfuge are also the ones most likely to discover the mendacity. The repercussions for pretending something you’re not vary, but the ridicule of being caught posing will be worse than any feelings of inadequacy that would lead you to pretense in the first place.

In short, accomplishment requires effort. In the case of information and intellect, taking a moment to learn something, understand complexities in more depth, or developing your capacity for logical though are all easier than anything listed above. But, like those things above, those your facade are meant to impress will see through it first. Not knowing something doesn’t make a person look stupid. Getting caught claiming to understand something you don’t certainly does.

It’s so easy to make the effort and the effort required diminishes with every effort made.

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HERE ENDETH THE RANT.

A-salaam alaikum.

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Words…

The Stage:

There is barely a crueler trick of optics than the mirage. It’s entices one dying of thirst with the cure while actually drawing them closer to death with a false promise. It also demonstrates how the lost will follow any glimpse of hope when all hope seems lost.

It is from a hopeless desert the con man plucks his next victim with a simple glass of water. For this reason, we too must scan the desert, searching for the lost. If we allow them to fall victim to their own desperation, we lose them to powers concurrently temporal, spiritual, tangible, and metaphysical. These are powers, most importantly, we are near powerless to defeat once they claim another neglected traveler.

PART ONE: The Labrynth

Nietzsche wrote at length about how a man, lost and confused at an existential level, will psychologically punish himself for what he views to be his failures. When a man finds himself without a purpose or, perhaps worse, seemingly at odds with his purpose, he will search for anything that will allow him to regain his presumed worth. For Nietzsche, this was the entrance into bondage to the Christian god.

From The Genealogy of  Morals:

We have here a sort of madness of the will showing itself in mental cruelty which is absolutely unparalleled: man’s will to find himself guilty and condemned without hope of reprieve, his will to think of himself as punished, without the punishment ever being equivalent to the level of guilt, his will to infect and poison the fundamentals of things with the problem of punishment and guilt in order to cut himself off, once and for all, from the way out of this labyrinth of ‘fixed ideas’, this will to set up an ideal – that of a ‘holy God’ –, in order to be palpably convinced of his own absolute worthlessness in the face of this ideal. Alas for this crazy, pathetic beast man! What ideas he has, what perversity, what hysterical nonsense, what bestiality of thought immediately erupts, the moment he is prevented, if only gently, from being a beast in deed! . . . This is all almost excessively interesting,but there is also a black, gloomy, unnerving sadness to it as well, so that one has to force oneself to forgo peering for too long into these abysses. Here is sickness, without a doubt, the most terrible sickness ever to rage in man: – and whoever is still able to hear (but people have no ear for it nowadays!–) how the shout of love has rung out during this night of torture and absurdity, the shout of the most yearning rapture, of salvation through love, turns away, gripped by an unconquerable horror . . . There is so much in man that is horrifying! . . . The world has been a madhouse for too long! .

The open door of a lost “self” is too rich a target for the darkness and cowardice of this world to pass up. When one is far enough gone, any friendly voice becomes a beacon. Not all friendly voices, however, mean to be friends.

The darkness lies. It will prop you up but it can neither end the internal doubt and struggle nor mend the rifts doubt and struggle create. The darkness will only tell you who is to blame for your problems, your sadness, your missed opportunities, and your failures. It is because of the world’s great con men that we, a society striving to be just, must keep vigilant watch for lost souls to keep them from the predator’s grasp.

“The characters of man’s heart, blotted and confounded as they are with dissembling, lying, counterfeiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible only to him that searcheth hearts. And though by men’s actions we do discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances by which the case may come to be altered, is to decipher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust or by too much diffidence, as he that reads is himself a good or evil man.”
From Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes.

This is early morning diatribe, is by no means comprehensive and is just the latest salvo in my endeavors to convince people that looking out for the well-being of others is possibly the best way of defending ourselves. Bringing the lost back to our side is no easy task but letting them fall victim to those who actively seek them out to recruit new soldiers is a danger to us all.

Below are some selected passages relating to the recruitment of the lost and confused and the words of those who were found by the wrong “savior”.

PART TWO: The Voices of the Lost

From a Fusion.net article (Oct. 15, 2015 – retrieved Dec. 5, 2015) about ISIS social media [recruitment] strategy:
“Most teens are recruited through ‘patient one-on-one coaxing’ by ISIS supporters around the world, she said. Extremist recruiters find young people looking to understand Islam and then form online relationships with them.
Some Muslim young people in western countries are vulnerable to this kind of recruitment because they’re going through a kind of identity crisis about their religion, Pandith said. Muslim kids grow up seeing an onslaught of headlines, TV shows and movies portraying people who share their faith as terrorists. Being a teenager sucks for everyone, but especially so if you and your family are discriminated against every day. Many kids are left wondering what their religion means.
For alienated young Muslims, extremism ‘fills the void by becoming a lifestyle brand with the same cultural significance of brands like Apple or Nike,’ Pandith said. ‘Islam is punk rock, the headscarf is liberating, and beards are sexy’.”

Selected from writings from 2008 by convicted anti-abortion, anti-gay bomber, Eric Rudolph, commonly known as the “Olympic Park Bomber” (Atlanta, 1996).
From “The Hour of Decision”:
“So what is the solution? There can be no solution when you refuse to acknowledge the problem. All attempts to persuade you to acknowledge the problem have failed. For seventy years you have participated in a system in which you have no stake. You have voted for politicians who cannot deliver, even if they had wanted to. You have tried to pass laws that will not stick. You have raised protests that are ignored. Rebuffed at every turn, you have opted to slow down the Marxist juggernaut long enough for you to make it through your own life. And as a result, you are leaving your children and grandchildren a country that will resemble a Third World Marxist hellhole in fifty years time.
But there is hope, and his name is Barack Obama. Unlike any president before him, Obama has touched a cord in the American Heartland. You fear and distrust him. Already I hear the sound of culture-identity disjunction. You are saying Obama is a ‘Nazi, a ‘Muslim,’ a ‘Marxist.’ Some of you are even suggesting that he is the ‘Anti-Christ.’ With overwhelming Marxist majorities in Congress, with a mounting economic crisis, with a possible foreign policy crisis looming over the horizon – your fear and distrust will grow.
Like Oprah Winfrey, I too believe Barack Obama might be the ‘One.’ He might be the one who finally forces you to acknowledge that this country is no longer yours. It belongs to the Marxist politicians, the abortionist, the pornographer, the homosexual, the feminist college professor, the activist liberal judge, the ACLU lawyer, the New York Times editor, the atheist Hollywood filmmaker, the left-wing social activist, the bi-sexual movie star, the hip-hop gangsta rapper, the brainwashed masses who gathered for the Inauguration ceremony on Washington Mall, January 20, 2009 to worship at the feet of their Marxist Messiah. And the new owners will not tolerate your presence in their America. They intend to wipe you off the planet and co-opt your children as their own. Educated in their value system, your grandchildren will forget that you had ever existed. That’s the future. Only you can change it.”

Webpost by Andrew L. Pearson, a skinhead from 10 years ago:
“I have been a Skinhead going on two years now and I identify fully with the Nationalist cause. My allegiance to Skinheads and to the Skinhead organization has never wavered. I, especially, thank Skinheads for publicizing me and my accomplishments. My victories as a Skinhead have been some of the highlights of my life. I want to, now, work more closely with Skinhead headquarters. Iknow a number of Skinheads who have, so far, been unwilling to accept disciplineor give up outdated beliefs, but that is about to change. I have declared myself to be both a teacher and disciple of Skinhead ideology. It is bread and water to me. I might be at the dinner-table with my bothers or, maybe, outside, just sitting around, but I let “the word” slip in. It is s small trickle of wisdom in a sea of apathy and ignorance, but what good is a Skinhead who keeps his mouth shut. I am going to be opening mine, more and more, now.”

From Eric Harris’ personal journal (April 12, 1998), one year and eight days before joining with Dylan Klebold  to kill 12 and wound 21 unarmed classmates and faculty at Columbine high school (reproduced as written):
“as I said before, self awareness is a wonderful thing. I know what all you fuckers are thinking and what to do to piss you off and make you feel bad. I always try to be different, but I always end up copying someone else. I try to be a mixture of different things and styles but when I step out of myself I end up looking like others or others THINK I am copying. One big fucking problem Is people telling me what to fuckin do, think, say, act, and everything else. Ill do what you say IF I feel like it. But people (I.E. parents, cops, God, teachers) telling me what to [arrow points to do, think, say, act, and everything else] just makes me not want to fucking do it! thats why my fucking name is REB!!! no one is worthy of shit unless I say they are, I feel like GOD and I wish I was, having everyone being OFFICIALLY lower than me. I already know that I am higher than almost anymore in the fucking welt in terms of universal Intelligence and where we stand in the universe compared to the rest of the UNIV. and if you think I dont know what Im talking about then you can just “ßUCK DICH” and saugen mein Hund! Isnt america supposed to be the land of the free? how come, If im free, I cant deprive a stupid fucking dumbshit from his possessions If he leaves then sitting in the front seat of his fucking van out in plain sight and in the middle fucking nowhere on a Fri fucking day night. NATURAL SELECTION. fucker should be shot. same thing with all those rich snotty toadies at my school. fuckers think they are higher than me and everyone else with all their $ just because they were born into it? Ich denk NEIN. BTW, “sorry” is just a word. it doesnt mean SHIT to me. everyone should be put to a test. an ULTIMATE DOOM test, see who can survive in an environtment using only smarts and military skills. put them in a doom world. no authority, no refuge, no BS copout excuses. If you cant figure out the area of a triangle or what “cation” means, you die! if you cant take down a demon w/ a chainsaw or kill a hell prince w/ a shotgun, you die! fucking snotty rich fuckheads [Censored by J.C.Sheriff Office] who rely on others or on sympathy or $ to get them through life should be put to this challenge. plus it would get rid of all the fat, retarded, crippled, stupid, dumb, ignorant, worthless people of this world. no one is worthy of this planet only me and who ever I choose. there is just no respect for anything higher than your fucking boss or parent. everyone should be shot out into space and only the people I saw should be left behind.”

And from Jonestown resident, Jocelyn Carter (believed written between Nov. 1977 and May 1978):
“I am willing to do anything. To eliminate the enemies, I would like to organize those who are capable of doing the job. Myself along with others form ourselves into a group like the Temperanos or the Red Brigade, to get the very top ones. I know our time will be short, and we would have to enter countries (enter from) countries other than Guyana. And at different times. I would find all of their worst fears and do them in slowly so they can feel like our children feel at times during White Nights. I would do this without any doubt of not following through (I would be under the guilt of our dead children, including mine). If they were still alive, I would be even more determined to succeed so they might still have a chance, and saving from more White Nights. Also to take the burden of White Nights off of you. If we were picked up I would kill myself, or someone on that end could kill us the minute we were picked up. I would explode myself after we had finished our work someplace in Washington. If I were to do something here since [Guyanese official Kit] Nascimento left. I would go to [Guyana Minister of Development Desmond] Hoyte and any other reactionary or CIA over here. I would disown this group, if everyone was still alive, and kill myself in Demerara or a car accident, if I had those I wanted to take with me.”

Sett[l]ing The Bar

“If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning.”

~ Simon Cowell

Equality. It’s a very big word for only having eight letters. “Life” has four and is probably the biggest. “Death” has five and is second only to life. “Freedom” has seven. “Equality”, as stated, has eight.

Equality is promised to all. Everyone is supposed to have equality before the law, equal protection of the law, equality to share the same rights and privileges as their peers and other citizens of a shared society. I’m not going to comment here on the many and palpable reasons I’ve emphasized “supposed” above. Rather, I want to share my thoughts on the quote from Simon Cowell and those things that “equality” does not, cannot, and should not cover.

If you want to join the aerospace program, be an astronaut, then Equality means you should have available to you the same opportunities in education, physical health, and (for some) access to military service. However, if all things are equal and you are still incapable of meeting the requirements for acceptance to training, that is on you. If you cannot withstand the g-forces associated with the acceleration required for space travel without consistently vomiting, no statute or court room can change that you are physically unfit for service as an astronaut.

*I am well aware that tolerance to the effects of acceleration can be built up by specific training, but for the sake of a simplified argument, we will assume an innate, physical condition of the trainee prohibits them from tolerating sustained, elevated g-forces.

Likewise, I count among my friends women who have passed the test of physical requirements in order to become fire fighters. I also know several men who have not.

If you are just not capable, be it mentally, physically, emotionally, or for whatever reason, of fulfilling the most basic requirements of a trade, job, talent, etc you have no one but yourself to blame.

At this point one needs to make a decision:

Do I continue forward in the same direction or find something that I am better suited to succeed at and accepting that what may have been a long-held dream can/will proceed no further?

This is a personal decision. How much time to you spend trying to improve your qualifications at the expense of that time being better utilized (perhaps) elsewhere?

This is not about quitting.

This is about recognizing that if Simon Cowell tells you to find another career that isn’t singing, listen to him. Cowell has a long, successful, and continuing career in Popular Music, netting him close to CAN$656,000,000. He could, most certainly, be considered an expert. His, of course, is not the only opinion out there but, when it comes to the Recording Industry and Popular Music, only a fool would claim Cowell’s opinion is without merit.

If you enjoy singing in the shower, keep singing. If you like karaoke, keep singing. If you rock it out in rush hour traffic, keep singing. But when it is pointed out to you, to the evidential prerequisite of a half-sane person, that you have no marketable singing talent, don’t expect anyone to pay you for it or envision a grand career based on it.

*Unless it is for cruel mockery, the likes of which we see televised on the audition segments of shows like “American Idol”: bating people with a chance to “be on TV” solely for the sport of cowards in their TV rooms, basting themselves in a self-righteous stew of schadenfreude and machtgelüst.

Not everyone can do everything. That, to me, is one of the precious virtues of the Individual. It may create a trail of broken hearts and dreams, but also provides for a rich and varied society. When an individual feels slighted by their own inability to meet the reasonable and impartially justifiable requirements set out and then deigns to fight those requirements in order to lower the standard to their level, all of society suffers.

Anyone so blinded by their own unworkable, unfeasible, and unattainable ambitions that they are semi-delusional in regard to their own abilities, does not deserve our ridicule. They require direction from those who can help, those who know the way.

I was once told that everyone had it in them to be the best at something but the World’s greatest violin player might never be handed a violin.

Not everything is a competition, regardless of what our televisions may tell us. As an individual, be honest with yourself by accentuating the positive in ourselves instead of vilifying those who possess skills you don’t. Society wants what you have to offer.

I will, however, finish by saying this…

When it comes to equatable treatment as a citizen, take no guff from swine. I do not believe the universe is fair; it can’t be. But, if all circumstances are equal and someone or something is stacking the deck against you, fight that shit. Whether it be prejudice, malice, or just good old fashion nepotism, know your rights and never let anyone cheat you of your due or rightful opportunity.

 

“The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way you can make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him.” ~ Henry L. Stimson

If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.

~ Robert Kiyosaki

Every once in a while, a stranger will challenge my point of view. This is how things are supposed to work. It is the basis of debate and public exchange of ideas. When I get upset, it is because accusations of closed-mindedness and ignorance are leveled at me. Most of the opinions I hold to are not mine; they are those I have come to agree with while investigating a particular subject. If I come across as rude or dismissive, you can be assured it is because I don’t want you to waste our time by trying to convince me of something that you’re just repeating and I’ve seen disproved years ago.

Yes, in this arena I am elitist. You’re opinion is fine. But I tell you right now, if your opinion is based solely on questionable “articles” you’ve found reposted on Facebook, my opinion is probably better than yours.

Case in point:

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20151117_050538 [196616]20151117_041835_resized [194893].jpg

While some of you were rocking out to “No Scrubs” by TLC, I was studying the secular causes of Jihad.

This isn’t my first fucking rodeo.

Should anyone be interested…


 

Baron Cameron
Phil 222
Stan Persky
11 February, 1999

And if that Diamond Ring Don’t Shine: Searching for Democracy in Benjamin R. Barber’s Jihad vs. McWorld

We now life in a world where I can fly all the way to communist China, go to Tiananmen Square, stand in the spot where students died for democracy, and then go order a coffee at the local Starbucks; a Starbucks franchise whose interior is identical to the one less than a kilometer from my house. To some in our western society, this is a comforting vision. Somehow I don’t find the idea of Chinese nationals assuming democracy because they drink the same over-roasted coffee as us to be overly reassuring. An individual’s right to choose and the freedoms associated with those choices are inalienable rights that all human beings should enjoy. Unfortunately, these rights are not globally extended, no matter who drinks Seattle coffee. Even those societies where such rights are apparently guaranteed need to investigate just how much freedom is actually allotted when one is extended the freedom to choose. Is it truly freedom that I am expressing when I choose from ten identical-in-purpose cross-trainer running shoes of various “styles?”; none of which I actually need, but for reasons that seem apparent, I want? More importantly, why is it that I now believe that a desire is in fact a necessity? On the other side of the world, would I be enjoying freedom if I decided for either cultural or religious reasons that cross-trainer running shoes were by their very existence an affront to my religious and cultural identity? What would become of my freedom to choose when I discover on the Internet that the women and children who make my cross-trainer running shoes do not share the freedom I enjoy despite the fact that they are the hands on creators of one of the icons of my freedom? Do I then have the right to jeopardize the rights and freedoms of others in an attempt to secure freedom for those who make the cross-trainer running shoes? Finally, what are we to do in a world dominated by the image of freedom put forward by coffee and running shoes, when those images and their marketing are a far greater threat to democracy and freedom than any other barbarians who have previously stood at the gates? These are the questions that arose in my mind, spawned by the questions asked, when I read Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World (1995) by Benjamin R. Barber.

When discussing literature, I am often tempted to compose lines like “Barber’s book warns us that like a new Scheherazad we must keep Plato’s kings awake, for if they sleep… etc.” Though such descriptions are fun to write, they intrinsically depend heavily on a thesaurus and are wholly inappropriate for the task at hand. Barber is a fantastic and engaging author but Jihad vs. McWorld is not a beautiful tome or even literature in the most common use of the word. What Jihad vs. McWorld is, is a hard-edged, didactic look at how the mutually and self-perpetuating forces of Jihad and McWorld are threats to the very notion of Democracy. McWorld is creating a planet where citizens of a society are being (have been) transformed into consumers of a product; their value as citizens is based solely on their proficiency as consumers. Jihad, on the other hand, is an anticipated backlash to the “Globalization and Westernization” of McWorld which creates pockets of resistance world wide. These pockets of resistance are composed of the robotic-zealots of cultural identity who declare war, real and imagined, on everything that is not them.

So what, you ask, is McWorld? In Part One of Jihad vs. McWorld, Barber describes McWorld as a

future in shimmering pastels, a busy portrait of onrushing economic,technological, and ecological forces that demand integration and uniformity and that mesmerize peoples everywhere with fast music, fast computers, and fast food – MTV, Macintosh, and McDonald’s – pressing nations into one homogenous global theme park, one McWorld tied together by communications, information, entertainment, and commerce.

To begin with commerce, Barber’s McWorld is capitalism in its most dangerous incarnation; Laissez-faire­ economics taken to their extreme. McWorld began corporations that began dissembling national boundaries and created the international market. Barber states these new corporations are

multinational but they are more accurately understood as transnational or postnational or even antinational. For they abjure the very idea of nations or any other parochialism that limits them in time or space. Their customers are not citizens of a particular nation or members of a parochial clan: they belong to the universal tribe of consumers defined by needs and wants that are ubiquitous, if not by nature then by the cunning of advertising. A consumer is a consumer is a consumer.

McWorld’s progression into world dominance began with what Barber refers to as the movement from “hard goods” to “soft goods.” This shift is best described by Barber as

[t]he move from heavy defense-related industrial production to consumer goods that has been a continuing feature of economic development … [moving]into another phase in which hard consumer goods are increasingly becoming associated with soft technologies rooted in information, entertainment and lifestyle, and in which products are emerging that blur the line between goods and services.

The “ancient capitalist” ideas of supply and demand are being replaced by demand that is created by the “promotion, spin, packaging, and advertising” of the supply. Products are no longer aimed directly at the “body” now that advertising creates an assumed role of preserving the “mind and spirit.” McWorld is seducing consumers with the notion that Nike shoes and Mazda pick-up trucks are conduits to a greater “spirituality.” This shift from hard to soft goods, that depends heavily on services and ideals as products, is hocked in the strip malls that line the information highway creating an entity Barber calls “the infotainment sector.” Bombarded by images and sound bites of the “American Dream” the global consumer can purchase a piece of the “Dream” in a bottle of Coke or a bucket of wings from KFC. Anyone with access to the media of McWorld can dream of Hollywood starlets and mom’s apple pie in envisioning themselves drinking the cola or driving the car shown in the possession of the gleaming smiles contained in the ad. Barber:

For America’s largest brand-name consumer goods corporations like Coca-Cola, Marlboro, KFC, Nike, Hershey, Levi’s, Pepsi, Wrigley or McDonald’s, selling American products means selling America: its popular culture, its putative prosperity, its ubiquitous imagery and software, and thus its very soul. Merchandising is as much about symbols as about goods and sells not life’s necessities but life’s styles – which is the modern pathway that takes us from the body to the soul.

Though it is the American dream being sold, the global existence of these corporations mars the concept of a corporation’s national allegiance. Corporations are leaving any pledge of allegiance behind them and forging forward with little or no regard for national boundaries. The American auto industry exemplifies this nomadic existence of the corporations. Barber writes:

It is hard to know which car is really more “American”: the Chevy built in Mexico from primarily imported parts and then reimported into the United States, the Ford built in German plants employing Turkish workers and sold on the Hong Kong and Nigerian markets, or the Toyota Camry designed by American Peter J. Hill at Toyota’s Newport Beach California Calty Design Research Center, assembled at the Georgetown, Kentucky, Toyota plant by American workers, primarily from American-made parts, and test driven at Toyota’s twelve-thousand-acre Arizona proving ground.

McWorld’s move from the boardroom to a collective of  “a shifting set of temporary relationships connected by computer network, phone and fax” has created nameless, faceless, homeless, and dynamic entities Robert Kuttner, a financial columnist, dubs “the virtual corporation.” These “virtual corporations” have crossed so many political boundaries that civic government and national power is unable to regulate any control of McWorld’s savage brand of capitalism. Despite the fact the communists “lost,” capitalism cannot and must not be equated with democracy; democracy allows for capitalism, the reverse is not always true.

Part of McWorld’s success lies in the inability of the majority to define its exact perimeters. McWorld and its MTV army are pushing forth in search of the almighty dollar with little or no regard for its citizens barring their consumer status. With increasing control of entertainment and the access routes to information, McWorld is blazing forth in an economic and “cultural” blitzkrieg. Governments are unable to control it and citizens are falling like blades of grass under its well-advertised steel treads. As with Col. Walter E. Kurtz, in Francis Coppala’s “Apocalypse Now,” McWorld is “out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pail of any acceptable human conduct.” And in the role of Capt. Willard, there are forces at work which seek out McWorld and “terminate with extreme prejudice.”

“Jihad,” writes Barber, “in its strongest political manifestation… means bloody holy war on behalf of a partisan identity that is metaphysically defined and fanatically defended.” In the greater sense, Barber uses Jihad to define any group seeking cultural unity and autonomy within the greater society. Many groups see the Westernization of the world as an affront to their culture and its status. One could consider the scenario of the future of Judaic Law if pork chops suddenly became the “in thing” with teenagers. Though a deliberately ridiculous example, is does typify the ideology that drives Jihad. Cultural identity, for many people, is the only thing they can truly call their own. A cultural history is not only susceptible to the culture of McWorld, but other cultures as well, such as the transplantation of Islam into Indonesia. From the vicious Taliban in Afghanistan, to the temperate but vocal separtistes in Québec, to the seething mass that was the Soviet Union, groups of like-minded peoples are staking their own claim in McWorld. McWorld and Jihad are strange bedfellows, to say the least, but bedfellows nonetheless. Barber writes:

McWorld cannot do without Jihad: it needs cultural parochialism to feed its endless appetites. Yet neither can Jihad do without McWorld: for where would a culture be without the commercial producers who market it and the information and communication systems that make it known?

So what is one to do with two mutually perpetuating systems, neither of which is wholly conducive to democracy? Both Jihad and McWorld attack the nation state which, in most cases of democratic existence, has been the defender of democratic norms. Jihad undermines the nation states by splintering the greater society; democracy, with often despotic religious rule. Barber’s McWorld has no concerns for maintaining democracy beyond its belief that Nike shoes are the true freedom.

Barber writes that “the evidence from Russia and Germany highlights the shortcomings of markets as vessels of democratization, but markets are only part of the [McWorld] story.” Barber’s book finds a possible line of defense against the total domination of McWorld in the “technological innovations in the infotainment sector that are less inimical to democracy.” Barber cites Bacon’s credo that “knowledge is power” as a call to arms. I agree with Barber’s stance that the education of the planet will, in the end, be the best way to secure democracy. However, the instruction must be more info than entertainment. Otherwise, we  will have a global society that thinks that Michael Jordan can fly, Irish people spend their time carving marbled soap with their jackknives while eating breakfasts that are “magically delicious,” and their only image of the real America will be buxom blondes running in slow motion down an LA beach in time with a rock and roll soundtrack. Entertainment can serve as information but only in a peripheral manner. I remember when “educational television” was cartoon trains signing “conjunction junction, what’s your function?” This was long before the day of purple dinosaurs and cuddly who-knows-what who now tie up the airwaves with questions about the sexuality a stuffed blob that carries a purse. I also know that Walden by Thoreau is one of my favorite books. I was first introduced to Thoreau when he was misquoted in an American movie, “Dead Poet’s Society” (which, incidentally, also introduced me to Whitman). I then looked him up on the web and got a list of books and works to purchase which I did. As stated, I do agree with Barber’s ideas of educating the world through McWorld, but we’d have to get McWorld to play ball first. I have a VCR to watch the movie, a computer to research with, and a society that allows me to read what I please provided I’m not a elementary school student in Surrey, BC, who wonders why Jaynie has “two mums.” Barber writes:

democracy rests on the civil society and citizenship, and while the new telecommunications technologies are not necessarily averse to either,they produce neither unless directed by citizens already living in and dedicated to a civil society.

Barber believes the second step to global democracy is the rebuilding of the nations states that McWorld has undermined and sought to destroy. Barber feels that the primary stumbling block to this ideal is the fact that in many places, government has been “condemned to a shadow world by government’s myriad postmodern detractors.” In the west, the government is defined as a “bureaucracy” that is not completely forthcoming. There are many people who are still waiting for the non-fiction version of the Warren Report and feel, despite personal politics, the government agencies are not telling the whole truth of the events at places like Mt. Carmel in Waco, Texas, or the shoot-out at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. In eastern Europe, the distrust of the government come from the identifying of government with the regimes that preached equality with one hand and punched you in the back of the head with the other.

I once again  agree with Barber’s plan of educating the world and rebuilding civic interest in civil government, and Barber cautions that “democracies are built slowly, culture by culture, each with its own strengths and needs.” It is possible to see the beginnings of an intellectuals arena forming in the “infotainment sector.” I can sit here, in front of my computer, and log on to a website that allows me to view Sandro Botticelli’s discourse on Neo-Platonic relations between beauty and divinity in his “The Birth of Venus.” Granted, my trip to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was far more rewarding, but the ability to glimpse the beauty of Venus’ eyes without the ability to travel to Florence is an important one.

Because Benjamin R. Barber uses words like “liberty” and “democracy,” this book should be read by everyone. However, due to the fact that Jihad vs. McWorld is riddled with “big” words that would send any semi-literate person scrambling for a dictionary, I fear the book will probably not be read by those who need to understand its concepts the most. I am certain, possibly to my own detriment, that I have never read a book, and I read a lot, that contained the word “antiestablishmentarian” which appears on page 212 of Jihad vs. McWorld. I shared a sad chuckle with myself when I first read that word, because I knew at that moment that this fantastic book would most likely end up lost in the whirlpools of academia and never reach the wider audience it truly deserves. A well educated citizenry is the best defense against the virtual armies of McWorld and the lethally tangible forces of Jihad. I fear though in our immediate “Virtual Reality Fast Food Future” the masses will shelve books like Jihad vs. McWorld in favour of faster moving “infotainment.” I then recall Barber’s passage that stated “democracy rests on… citizens already living in and dedicated to a civil society.” It is for this reason that Plato’s kings must play Scheherazad to keep the masses awake. Today’s barbarians carry briefcases in lieu of swords and they needn’t knock as we opened the gates of the kingdom years ago. Now it is a case of trying to find a way to stop them from trashing the place.

On The Nature, Praxis, and Acknowledgement of “The Preference”

I always feel like I’m penning a Grade Three Social Studies report when I start like this but times being what they are it’s the ignominious admission fee to the show…

preference, n.
Pronunciation:  Brit. ˈprɛf(ə)rəns/ , ˈprɛf(ə)rn̩s/ , U.S. ˈprɛf(ə)rəns/
Etymology:  < Middle French preference, French préférence superiority (1377), advantage for one person over others (1559), action of preferring (1626), (in card games) trump suit (1764) and its etymon post-classical Latin praeferentia precedence (c1266, c1330 in British sources), favour, benevolence (15th cent.) < classical Latin praeferent- , praeferēns , present participle of praeferre prefer v. + -ia -iasuffix1; compare -ence suffix. Compare Spanish preferencia (c1400), Italian preferenza (1611). Compare slightly earlier preferment n. and later preferency n.
 4. (a) The action of or an act of preferring or being preferred; a greater liking for one alternative over another or others; predilection.
in preference to: rather than, more than.
(OED)

To prefer something, to have a preference, is to simply like one thing more than another. Used properly and conveyed to someone with even a rudimentary level of language comprehension, stating a preference in no way denotes or connotes hatred or vehement dislike for the other options; nor should it imply that they are somehow flawed, faulty, or inherently of less worth and/or value in general. It is merely a stated opinion that, based solely on the experience of that particular individual, given the choice, they would rather have one over the other.

I like spaghetti (usually with a red sauce, capers, and a large serving of parmesan). For the sake of simplicity, I will leave it at “I like spaghetti”. Over time, I have been served many types of pasta¹ and enjoyed them. However, left to my own devices, were I to choose a pasta to prepare for myself, I prefer the simplicity of spaghetti.

I’m allowed to.

I have a right to an opinion.

Provided that I do not try to pass my opinion off as incontrovertible fact and/or the universal standard or base my opinion inaccurate information and/or false assumptions, it is merely an expression of personal taste.

By stating a preference for spaghetti I am not declaring that rigatoni is anything other than not my first choice. Rigatoni has done nothing wrong. I don’t hate it or think there is anything inherently wrong with it. I merely prefer spaghetti as is my right.

I have no rightful expectation to having anyone agree with me, nor am I justified in stubbornly foisting my particular pasta predilection as the only true point of view.

Because an expression a personal taste, an opinion, and a stated preference are all derived from personal experience, they are all open to modification as new information and experience is discovered.

Being closed-minded in matters of personal preference/taste is just plain asinine (in my opinion) as it preemptively and arbitrarily reduces the experiences and possible joys the world has to offer.

So, to recap:

  • A “preference” is not a statement of dislike or disparagement. In proper usage, “preference” implies familiarity with all choices and a personal bias for one, absent of malice.
  • A “preference” is a personal choice which, provided it was arrived upon from fair and sagacious inquiry, should be accepted as one person’s opinion. Anyone sharing the same or similar point of view can be regarded as incidental.
  • You are not bound by the stated preference, expressed opinions, or personal tastes of others. You have your own mind; please feel free to use it.
  • Given the nature of personal taste, an opinion, and/or a preference it is not possible to ever actually argue that it is “wrong”. One can only question the bases upon and with which it was formed.
  • Finally, people are allowed to like what they want to like, to think what they choose to think, believe what they choose to believe. An individual’s world view may be totally repugnant to you. It is understandable and (I believe) justified to desire to assist such a person in achieving a more enlightened and informed point of view. However, provided the expression of or action on those thoughts harms no one nor contravenes the common law, they are allowed to think as they will.

And that is my view On The Nature, Praxis, and Acknowledgement of “The Preference”.
So, can everybody just LAY THE FUCK OFF when I say that I like brunettes?
Heh. Yup. Seven hundred and fifty-one words just because I like brunettes.

Footnotes:
(1) bucatini, cavatappi, cavatelli, conchiglie, elbow macaroni, farfalle, farfalline, fusilli, lasagna, linguine, manicotte, penne, raviolo, riccoli, rigatoni, rotelle, rotini, and tortellini.