Good versus evil, a thought…
April 18, 2012

This morning I went through some negativity regarding the United States, its culture, its politics, and so on. Nothing unusual about that.

But then I got to thinking that when anyone points out the negatives, which are indeed massive, some pollyanna will come along and say that it’s not that bad, that there are plenty of good things, and so on and so forth. I generally regard those sorts of comments as coming from our ostrich brain.

To a certain extent they’re right. There are some good things one can point to. They are apparently different to everyone, either in kind or degree.

But here’s the problem:

Good is hard.

Evil is easy.

And most humans, the great preponderance of humans, will usually opt for the easy way. That explains the anti-intellectual, the anti-science, the anti-immigrant tenor of the culture. Evil would have us teach religious mythology as science in our schools. Evil would have us bomb into the Stone Age cultures we don’t understand. Evil would have us eliminate most of government because it’s complex and costs money and is not easy to understand, except for the parts about bombing back to the Stone Age cultures that require us to use intelligence to understand. All of that is the easy way. That’s the way much of the country is going, wants to go.

And of course the politicians feed off of that, regurgitate it to their masses of constituents, who then accept the lies and distortions as truths and demand more, which the politicians give them, aided by a journalism establishment that too often goes for the easy way.

We seem to have decided, as a nation, that ignorance is acceptable, that science and intellect are crimes, and that killing is better than smiling and shaking hands and sitting down to talk. Life is just easier that way.

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The American Dream, Visited…
January 13, 2012

One hears that phrase a lot, ‘the American Dream’, during the current financial crisis, usually by some pundit or expert on something or other noting that millions of people can no longer hope to achieve the American Dream.

So… anybody care to comment and explain just what the American Dream is? Or what you think it is? Or isn’t? And does it matter?

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does, And America Does It
September 15, 2008

From a 2006 essay titled ‘History and National Stupidity’ by Arthur Schlesinger, quoted in Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason:

Sometimes, when I am particularly depressed, I ascribe our behavior to stupidity – the stupidity of our leadership, the stupidity of our culture. Thirty years ago we suffered military defeat – fighting an unwinnable war against a country about which we knew nothing . . . Vietnam was bad enough, but to repeat the same experiment thirty years later in Iraq is a strong argument for a case of national stupidity.

In the meantime, let a thousand historical flowers bloom. History is never a closed book or a final verdict. It is always in the making. Let historians not forsake the quest for knowledge, however tricky and full of problems that quest may be, in the interests of an ideology, a nation, a race, a sex, or a cause. The great strength of the practice of history in a free society is its capacity for self-correction.

Of course, it would help if Americans would actually read history, instead of getting it in predigested chunks in Rambo movies and the History Channel. It would help if Americans actually were taught to think in school instead of just to fill in the multiple-choice answers that pass for educational assessment these days. It would help if the media acted as if they actually had a responsibility to the country, to the citizenry, instead of to shareholders who don’t give a damn about either the media or the country.

But that’s asking too much these days. The Republicans put forth two world-class liars and hypocrites to lead the nation into the future, and they are applauded for the trivia of their lives and minds instead of examined for their substance. We are beyond national stupidity, and are well into delusion and psychosis.