The indomitable Dan Carlin assaulted my ears again today. I have dropped several podcasts (No Agenda, I'm looking at you...) over the years not out of concerns about their content, but out of a general sense that, however true their message, my fragile psyche just couldn't take their message.
Dan Carlin had another whopper that I listened to today, and it has me in a funk.
Dan's theme was about the 60s, and specifically the hoary old cliche, "Turn on, tune in, drop out". Dan asks if you would be better off, given the perilous state of the United States today, simply dropping out-not voting, not paying attention to it. Giving up-live your life, pay your taxes, but otherwise just stay the heck out of things.
George Carlin on voting and civic participation:
If you've read me for any length of time, you probably have guessed that I am a bedwetting liberal. A namby pamby, granola eating, latte drinking, Volvo driving, wine and cheese party neo-Communist socialist Red. You're mostly right about that.
While reading through some of my archives, I realized the startling depths of my antipathy for President Bush. I knew I wasn't fond of him, but golly gee, I REALLY wasn't fond of him. As a consequence, nearly anything Obama does gets 20% of a free pass from me, because at least he's not Bush-I have a baseline assumption of rationality and good sense that I did not have for the actions of the previous president.
I get very defensive about criticisms of the current President. Partially that is due to reflexive "my guy" sympathies, partially it is the unprecedented hurricane of fail he was presented with in January(ie even FDR, Lincoln and Truman working together would be challenged by the current mess) , and partially it is the above assumption of good faith. I'm trying to get over that.
Dan's thesis in this episode was basically that we're all doomed, and, what's worse, there's nothing you can do about it. I am afraid he may have a point.
You don't need me to tell you about the numerous crises-fiscal, and military, and educational, and energy-related, and on, and on, and on...
"Cut taxes and spending", the right cries, while when in office, they actually did one of the two. "Give people a hand up," the left cries, while 40 years of trying has not ended poverty. And, as time goes on, and the problem gets worse, our representatives kick the can down the road, refusing to cut spending or raise taxes, blaming the other guy, running for reelection in the organized system of bribery we call an election.
William Pfaff on elections and money:
"The contributors of money to Senate and House campaigns are dominated by the source of that money, and the source of the money is the United States government, which directs it to them as a result of the contracts awarded to them by the House and Senate members whose election they support. The process is circular."
Exactly. They're never going to do anything unpopular, and the money is going to keep sloshing around and around. The plutocrats will whine that they have to pay any taxes at all, and the lefties will whine that we can't possibly cut THAT program, it is CRITICAL.
When my jovial foe DMarks says something about government being the enemy, or the problem, I usually tell him it's his government, and he should change it. But sometimes I think he's half right. Government isn't the problem. We are.
We are selfish, spoiled children, who want everything in the store but want to pay for none of it. We want to cut government spending, but not for the fighter project that brings jobs to my neighborhood. We want to cut taxes, too, apparently expecting the fighter to be paid for with unicorn hair.