Sunday, February 19, 2017

If We Are So Wildly Diverged, What Then, As A Practical Matter, Are We To About It?

I get it that we are a nation of quite polarized views. A Kind of mosaic of polarization as it spans a number of, certainly related, but different points of perception. The kinds of things that rise from cultural, religious, economic, and political, ways of seeing, and/or interpreting, issues that are currently prominent in all of them. My catch phrase now is that we are the "Relative States of America."

Despite that I have tried to remain hopeful that we could find compromise, within a grander bargain of fundamental change, that would have something in it for even a super majority of Americans. It does get hard. On the one hand you have people like George Carlin decry, in virtually a "it's already too late" sort of way, our fall, mostly because of the corruptive influences of Big Money. And on the other you hear statistics like the ones I heard repeated recently by Keith Olbermann. It was a seven hundred and twelve person study done by Public Policy Polling. Some of you might remember this for the question on the supposed "Bowling Green massacre" that never actually occurred.

The questions asked, and referred to by Mr. Olbermann, were directed towards those specifically acknowledged as Trump supporters.  And one of the most depressing, certainly was the "Do you think Donald Trump should be able to overturn decisions by judges the he disagrees with, or not?" question; which returned the following response:

Not sure..................................................16%

Which would seem to indicate that a majority of Trump supporters are quite in favor of establishing a, de facto, if not explicitly declared, dictatorship.

You do need to step back from these kinds of statistics, though, and ask a few questions; just to keep a reality check going mind you. Like, even if the polers were very good at putting the right mix of demographic attributes into the selecting of their sample subjects, a sample of 712 ought to still be reason to want to at least look a little deeper; say double the size and see if it matters any.

The reason I say this is not to throw suspicion on the polsters, mind you, but to just get a more confident sense of what might be the real totals being thrown around here. Maybe it is a certain percentage of Trump supporters, but how many Americans does that really relate to? Is it actually a third of all American voters who want to do away with a government of checks and balances? A government that only sort of engages in "the rule of law?"

If that's indeed the case then we've got a real, potential, powder keg here. Especially now that Trump has all but declared open war against a free press. But I have to wonder. Did a significant number of these folks just not realize the bigger picture consequences of the choices offered? And trust me everyone, you don't have to be stupid to let emotion get you so worked up, and focused, you simply can't see beyond the immediate issue; whether you've been given misleading explanations for those issues or not. If you redid a study like this, and made the consequences clear at the get go, would you get significantly different results? I certainly don't know if you would but I'd still want to double check.

What gets lost in some of this is that, despite the different way of seeing things, there are still areas of common ground, and, I think, a way to compromise on some others (with both sides getting something, and giving up something). This is one of the advantages of approaching this as both a Libertarian, and as a Socialist. In that supposed dichotomy is a fulcrum on which a very basic aspect of life rests: how does one balance the needs and rights of the many, with the needs and rights of the individual?

A big part of Populism now is in how the working man, or woman, gets a fair shake in an economic operating system that has become as mutated as our current one has. Unbelievable complexity. Inhumane rates of change, modulating competitive norms that keep disrupting every sector, putting work as a human commodity into question, as well as what might be ultimately expected of us to adapt with (implants, gene editing, and ultimate cyborg-ization). Both sides might see a fair shake in slightly different specifics, of course, but the bottom line, it would seem to me, is that for anybody to get anything, Capitalism as we know it must cese. Which means you are automatically talking about fundamental economic restructuring.

Here is where the "big, both sides giving something up", compromise comes into play: Liberals and the left accept that there must be a new, greater States Rights type of constitution. Conservatives have to accept that facts matter and that our impact on the environment has been very bad; which means living environmentally is a national priority.

So... Right now? I don't know which side might be howling more, but I'm going to assume its the Conservatives.

Being people who don't like other people telling them what they can, and cannot do, in the first place, having development rules is not ever a first choice scenario for them. So I can understand them being more than a little sceptical here, but I'm hoping they'll see things a bit more tolerantly when they fully appreciate the following: Before, in the determination, and implementation of environmental initiatives, it quite often ended up costing people some aspect of their livelihoods. Fewer jobs. The jobs eliminated altogether, or other things just being made to cost more, out of wages getting ever more scarce.

The majority of this concern goes away, however, if you move over to an effort based economy. There, doing things in a particular way is just a calculation of the effort we'll all have to share to make it happen, as opposed to the return we get in taking that responsibility on. And the thing is, as has been shown over and over again, not only can doing things clean not poison you, it saves you effort in not having to deal with whatever type of poison might be in question in the first place.

For instance, what do you care if the fuel you burn is hydrogen or not, as long as you can get it relatively cheaply, and it powers things effectively? And if you don't have to dig in a mine, tear down a mountain, or fracture the substrata of your geology, to get at another fuel, why would you? Same goes for solar power. If you could partner with other City States, with shared solar collector plants, you could have your entire community all, at least partially, power independent. Why would you want the big complexities of even a Molten Salt nuclear reactor? Or the mega power lines, requiring big support capabilities, to distribute from large, central plants.

My bottom line here is to ask you: even if you are not a libertarian, of a Socialist, would you be giving up so much if a better alternative to Capitalism could be found? An alternative that would have City States with a larger latitude in deciding how they could go about their lives? And for Progressives: would you be giving up so much if others lived out of bounds of your moral imperatives (within reason of course) as long as everybody could always vote with their feet, the rule of the free flow of information remained sacrosanct, and every community kept to the norm that, if you help support the community's upkeep, you get an equal vote in all matters of community affairs, as well as a share of community output commensurate with that participation?

As always, I want everyone to remember that I am trying to articulate this alternative now so that everybody starts thinking about it. Starts asking deeper questions, and actually take time and better inform themselves, and to do so from a wide range of sources.

Do this I implore you. Passion. Misunderstanding. Fear, and no small amount of madness are starting a snow ball's roll down a very deep slope. We better start doing some serious thinking soon on how we either, divert, slow down, or stop, this trend or we may find ourselves buried in a volume of violence, and expression of hate, we might never be able to walk back from.