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Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going
(09-11-2018, 08:35 AM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: Not a 4T!  A 2T!  Mumble...  Smile

There is a slight uptick in the spiral of violence.  Suicides are pushing for a splash before exiting the scene.  This does not seem linked to any particular political movement, so I am not counting it as a large change in the spiral.  The media is exploiting and boosting the trend by reporting it to an extreme.  You have to kill more people to get lots of impact for your act.  As they once put it, anything to sell papers.  It is blood money.

Suicides are considered violent death no matter how cowardly the means. Having been at risk when about everything went wrong all at once (my prospects aren't so great now... and I am going for help with depression again), I can see myself in such a position again. Blowing one's brains out and 'death by hibachi' are both considered violent death, just as killing someone by putting cyanide in one's soup or beating someone up with a baseball bat.

I apologize for adding that troublesome clarification.

Rates of violent crime have been going down. Maybe this is because youth are no longer exposed to lead from vehicle fuels as they once were (and the rates of violent crime in most urban areas increased from the most isolated suburbs with the lowest density of auto traffic to the neighborhoods with the highest volume of traffic flow -- in the San Francisco Bay Area along what was then California 17 (now Interstate 880, basically the same highway)... low in Newark, slightly higher in northern Fremont, then higher in turn in Union City, Hayward, San Lorenzo, San Leandro, south Oakland, central Oakland, and finally North Oakland where the freeways to and from the south, southeast, east, and north converged taking vehicles onto the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge  in the morning and dispersed at night. The potential for political violence is higher than in recent years. Because of Kevlar vests standard in most police departments, once once-common sort of murder (a criminal kills a cop) has typically either failed to kill the cop who is shot in the bullet-proof vest or has turned into a justifiable homicide in which the criminal pulling a gun on a cop is killed for trying to murder the cop.  Drug use is down from what it was in the 1970s, and so is drug-related violent crime. The welfare system gives some poor people good cause to stay clean. But this is economics, physiology, or technology.

The attempt on the life of Representative Steve Scalise was by a troubled person with liberal tendencies. Liberalism is rarely violent. Political hatreds are strong. as are passions.

The demonization of people has intensified. Many white people fear that their alleged 'white culture' is under threat. (No, I say to fools who believe that -- race is not culture, as I would not confuse Finnish culture with Italian culture. Latin-American cultures have a Spanish or Portuguese basis, which is European. Jamaican blacks are culturally more British than I am (because I am about half German or Swiss in origin, and only about half from the British Isles), and slave-descended blacks have no trace of any African culture. As David Hackett Fischer put it in Albion's Seed, slave-owners quickly and relentlessly destroyed any traces of African culture among slaves -- African Americans having to cadge a culture out of norms of a peasant way of life in England,  as practically nobody was going to take the expensive and dangerous trip across the Atlantic just to be a peasant for the third-oldest son who moved to the New World to be an aristocrat in the tidewater area. African-American culture is fully made in America, and it is more truly American than, let us say, Italian-American culture that still connects to any extent to Italy.  Note that this concern about threats to 'white culture' is about race... it is about some precious white daughter getting pregnant by some black man even if he is unobjectionable.

Mercifully, ethnic violence seems not to be happening even if racism is as loud as ever among people on the fringe of society. The Black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s is no more, and Black Lives Matter welcomes white people of conscience who would like to see fewer deaths of black people from police error.

We are nearly out of the 4T when we recognize that we are all in the same dangerous and unpleasant situation together, and that we must solve some seemingly-intractable problems before those problems overpower us.

Among those are political polarization, the decline of the importance of manufacturing industry, the intensification of economic inequality, and the violation of democratic norms. If the capitalist system is to survive, then it had better be Capitalism with a human face. We will need some extensive reforms in many institutions from education to the workplace. We will need to deal with global warming and with the consequences of computers outsmarting us (the dreaded Singularity of science-fiction writers). Democracy rarely fares well in a climate of extreme inequality, so the pattern of extreme inheritances of wealth (resulting from low taxes on the rich) and low, rigid ceilings for people of 'low' origin in bureaucratic organizations will have to go. Class privilege must justify itself to survive. Maybe we need high, graduated taxes again that create niches for small business.

I can imagine a better world, one in which people have alternatives to working long and hard just to survive but more so that some privileged elites can enjoy opulent splendor characteristic of an aristocratic order, and one in which people have more leisure time and can find richness of life in it because they are educated in what makes life worthy of living. We need a society that rewards work instead of connections. Yes, we need to stall global warming.

I consider Zero Population Growth essential.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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RE: Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going - by pbrower2a - 09-11-2018, 10:05 AM

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