Monday, July 8, 2013

Who We Really Are.

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill 
I have been thinking about the American myth for some time now.  I have also come to the conclusion that the fever-dreams of the left and the right concerning the erstwhile freedoms lost are not the grieving for the destruction of cherished freedoms.  They are instead the sullen denial of the fact that we were all complicit in the charade that there were any particular freedoms there in the first place.

Look, writing on the internet is a nice release for frustration.  This blog is a wonderful and convenient diary.   I really doubt that I have any effect on my readers opinion.  The usual reader usually scans my work for something that they agree with, and if that isn't readily available, they move on.  The blog has no pretense of being private, just like any e-mail that I send.

We decry the lost privacy when the phone companies hand over metadata, and we find out that the good old Post Office has been doing the same thing for years.  Hell, we hand over the same data all the time to companies like Google, for some reason, that doesn't bother us quite as much.  Truth of the matter is, we don't really care about our privacy when it is more convenient for us to forget it. Especially if it gives us a good deal on our Cheetos.

The vast bulk of us don't give a rats ass about our military adventures overseas.  We load our troops onto the airliners and forget about them until one of them comes back with a flag draped over them. Then there is some uncomfortable silence and we move on.  We pay for our collective guilt with words like "heroes" and a fairly well-funded VA, but those are cheap.  What is important is that we keep our beaks dipped into the declining pool of petroleum resources called "the Middle East".

Look, get over the idea that you, as 0.0000003% of the political corpus, have any real say in the deal. Maybe if you would spend more of your time organizing you might get up to the table, but I kinda doubt it.  The internet offers you a chance to bitch easily at those with whom you disagree, to send messages and attaboys to those who agree with you. The Net really doesn't allow you to change anything, any more than a single frenetically vibrating atom can change the temperature of the solution of which it is a part.

I have recently come to the conclusion that nothing that is currently being done is particularly heinous. Trying to control a fractious populace and keep an eye on a world filled with actors more than willing to inadvertently leave cutlery in one's back is a bit of a juggling act.  I have a feeling that the excesses that we are currently decrying are being ratcheted back by the twin acts of folks starting to take their privacy seriously and the government pulling back from an obvious overstep.

Look, this kind of stuff has come and gone before.  What I am seeing in the blogs is the usual claptrap about hurt feelings, embarrassment when one realizes that writing something leaves tracks, and a cheerful misreading of an old planning document that has become a hardened scripture, viciously argued over by theologians.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Winston Churchill 

1 comment:

NoHype said...

I can't say I agree that it's always been this restrictive. But I do see your point about how the writers of our mythologies couldn't have possibly envisioned 7 billion souls running around creating havoc.

I also doubt they had the slightest inkling of how far technology would take us, how deadly it would become, and how fast its pollution would overwhelm us.

But they certainly could envisage their own imminent demise as a result of the technology that existed then. This is what makes me think that a frontier-style economy has much more sanguine participants.

The luxuries afforded by the fossil fuel slaves we all have at our beck and call has created an entire nation of trembling fops and strumpets, where this phenomenon was once relegated to the aristocracy alone.