Saturday, June 4, 2011

Contortions, Contractions, Contradictions

Everyone is talking today about the changes we observe happening here and all over the world. People are uncomfortable from Peoria to Paris. Social upheaval ripples from New Delhi to New Zealand to New Bedford. Tunisia to Tripoli finds everyone seeking a solution. Can these concerns be understood? Perhaps we can see an outline.

Mawkish nostalgia has met avant-garde and the results are really WOW!
Just the other day it seems, we learned from the writings of Upton Sinclair about the need for regulation in the meat packing industry to make food safer to eat.

Now minority forces seek to convince us that the prevailing sentiment in America has changed. That regulation in any form is bad! The magic hand of the free market will solve all problems. Proponents of this doctrine say we need to expand conditions that will support innovation and create solutions to the problems faced by the world. Supposedly, government (which is all of us lest we forget) artificially tied the hands of economic growth in the past and now the fetters must come off.

Tremendous improvements brought about by government programs in the past are ignored. Rural electrification, spend-offs from the space industry, results in medical research that extend and enhance the quality of life, and other items achieved through education are all being ignored by those who now say that government is bad.

Particularly repugnant to a reasoning mind is the manner in which a minority seeks to achieve the goal of less government. The masses of people are being manipulated as never before through devices that have nothing to do with the issue. The issue should be how we make our lives better through our combined efforts known as governance, not the destruction of such a "standing together" to bring about great things.

Although most people would prefer a job, a place to live and the security that these things would be there tomorrow, opponents already financial secure see such an extension of basic life benefits to the rest of the citizenry as a threat to their security. These opponents have now adopted the use of symbols to divide or divert attention from the real purpose of government.

These symbols are better called “red herrings”. One major symbol injected into the political process in this country is fundamentalist religion. The rank hypocrisy of use of such a symbol in the political process is illustrated by the fact that the armed forces of the United States are engaged in fighting two wars against population factions in foreign countries to prevent self-governance there by a religious process, fundamentalist Islam. Why? Because fundamentalist Islam demeans the rights of people to choose a more secular life style!

Alternatively, in America, the forces that would reduce government and destroy its force for good are turning more and more to introduction of divisive religious issues into the political equation. Campaigns are conducted to place religious idols, monuments or items in public places without regard to religious rights of others. Intrusive free speech is exercised to attempt to degrade the death of soldiers at their funerals. Laws are sought to attempt to govern behavior between consenting sexual parties. Some groups are even inspired to interfere with questions of private, personal ethics like abortion when a future mother’s life is in danger.

Many of the people engaged in such religious campaigns are earnest in their belief that their religious duty is to create such theocratic constraints on the public. What many of them fail to see is that their beliefs make them subject to being manipulated.

When political issues dealing with government at any level are debated, the stance that a political candidate may have taken with regard to a social religious issue is often used to discredit him or her. So, the end result is that the very people who would benefit most from election of candidate A are forced to turn away from that candidate because they think that survival of their immortal soul requires it. Candidate B is elected because that candidate made the right decision on a non-relevant religious issue, even though the needs of the electorate on relevant issues is thwarted.

Yes, the American Taliban has been born and prospers. The issue is no longer whether we should be pooling resources to investigate and find new ways to continue to prosper. The issue is whether we should divert, divide and destroy what would otherwise be a common will to collectively serve the interests of all individuals in our country.

Ideas no longer compete on merit. As resources have shrunk, civility of political discourse no longer allows a discussion of the greater good.

What should be discussed is the REAL issue. Individualism versus collectivism should be the prevailing issue. Is it better to continue to isolate ourselves in individual plots or merge together in a larger area? Is it wiser for each of us to float in a tiny canoe or for all of us to get in a large boat?

Lost in the discussion is the possibility of solutions that occupy a middle of the road position. The issue is now become a parody on the question: Can you be a little bit pregnant?

Gone are the distinctions of the caterpillar and the butterfly. Kill a caterpillar and you have killed a butterfly. The details of natural interplay in the life of the caterpillar, the events that can and do happen before that caterpillar (if lucky enough) becomes a butterfly, have all been forgotten as the search for normalcy centers on absolutes.

Somewhere, somehow, humankind has become a separate entity from the rest of the world. Instead of being a part of creation, we have grown apart from creation. Lost is the field of reference for consideration of our existence.

We should remember the Hindu proverb:
Rivers do not drink their own water. Trees do not eat their own fruit. Clouds do not swallow their own rain. What great ones have is always for the benefit of others.

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