Tag Archives: history

On contemporary humanity:

We’ve seen a lot in 2017 so far, from wars to Despacito, what a Trump presidency looks like to China pivoting to a leader in environmental regulation. We live in interesting and exciting times to be sure, but today’s post is going to be a downer, while there are countless positive things going on right now, and the overall course of human history is on path I ( generally) agree with, as the song goes: “There’s so much trouble in the world”…

The trouble of which I speak can be traced back to a basic lack of empathy, it’s expressed by selfishness, fear and anger (Humanity’s oldest frenemys). (While I have harped on this prior it bears repeating) Hunger and homelessness are at this point 100% caused by too many people sucking too hard at sharing. Now there is much that can be debated when trying to answer why that is the case, but my base assertion stands fairly strong: 2017 FAO report has food prices remaining flat for the next 10 years, we have complicity to feed everyone, we (humanity) have had this power for decades. Yet hunger remains a daily part of life for millions, we’ve made progress to be sure, but 1 involuntarily starving person is too many (and here’s why).

Let’s take all the geo-political bs out for a second and look at the problem via analogy: your next door neighbor is in a bad situation, their home was blown up when their meth lab blew. They have both an immediate need (for food and shelter) and a long term need (without the meth lab they have no income). You can ignore them, but it takes a truly evil person to watch a neighbor starve while enjoying an excess of food. SO you invite them in, and solve their acute need for food and shelter. However, wanting to protect your own house from ending in the same way as their old house, you prevent them from going back to their old job. As a compromise you offer them entry level work at your place of employment, the hrs. are long and pay is low, but it’s what you went through to get where you are and is the best you are willing to do. Eventually you ask your neighbor to start buying their own food and get their own place so they can go on with their lives.

That’s kind of the model the developed world has taken with the developing world, and on the surface it appears kind enough (you did not let them starve to death remember). But the devil is in the details, and there are lots of them when it comes to how the developed world “helps” developing nations. 1st the house did not really blow up in an explosion, but was blown up. (Indigenous peoples by and large produce their own food, it’s not until they switch to producing commercial crops that they find themselves relying on outside forces for food.)  2nd the time you let your neighbor live in your house and eat your food, they have to pay for that ( with interest): The developed world is not really interested in giving things away, even when those things are knowledge of how to feed people. Loans for infrastructure projects are expected to be paid back, and beyond the funding the World Bank has (in the past) required privatization of entire sectors of public works. Lastly, that entry level job you got them as their very own path to self-sufficiently, that just puts them working for the exact same people who blew up their home in the 1st place.

I ask this, imagine you are across a table from someone who has starved in a corner of the world you don’t care about. They see how you live, what you care about (and they know that it takes about 1-3$ a day to feed a person), do they have a right to be angry? As I see it, not only are we in the developed world hording all the stuff, all the knowledge of how to make and get stuff, we are also very slowly selling that knowledge as we figure out better stuff. We operate under the guise of “helping” but really it’s exploitation, of the developing world’s ignorance, natural resources and very people. What’s stopping every person with over $10k in the bank from donating everything else? It’s not desire to help I can tell you that.

And that leads us to why hunger will be solved, why at some point the only people who starve will be those who freely chose to: It offends a very basic sense of fairness to horde when there is need elsewhere, and while those without are ignorant of the fact they have only their suffering to motivate them, however when the millions of people that are starving now ( most children) get wise to the fact that the only reason they are starving is because most of the developed world is hyper greedy, they will be motivated to change that power structure… Very motivated.

And all of us in the developed world have no moral leg to stand on, we allow people to spend billions on yachts and get-aways that benefit an extremely select few. That kind of individual extravagance needs to be eliminated immediately, and can be re-introduced in a scaled down form when we solve hunger and housing. Right now we are being wasteful with stolen goods, and their owners may not be wise to the scam yet, but they will be soon enough.

Getting back to the topic, Humanity is not being good to itself, we are exploiting the week for the pleasure of the few. While I have deep moral objections to the practice, it’s on the grounds of basic self-preservation I implore us to cut it the fuck out: The people we exploit today will remember it tomorrow, the nation’s we bankrupt and rape of limited natural rescores will remember as well. There will come a time when those same people and nations are across a table from us, and we’ll need their help and when that time comes the outcome will hinge on whether exploitation is standard practice for all humanity ( like it is now) or if exploitation has been relegated to our dark past.

On counter insurgency:

A bit topical today, how do we prevent “terrorist” from killing people? First we need better definitions, as the quotation marks show I believe there is no universal definition for this word and more importantly I believe how we define ( or have failed to define) it has cost many a life low these last few decades. What am I talking about:

The FBI defines as follows: 18 U.S.C. § 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:

  • Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and
  • Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.).

So the FBI has a requirement that killing or attempting killing of government officials/employees is terrorism, (loosely defined). That being our own government’s definition of terrorism, and terrorism being illegal, I pose a question: What exactly is our justification for killing and attempting to kill Yemeni government personal? Seeing as how this activity is a violation of U.S. statute and more importantly fails a basic logic test: if we really want to stop terrorism, how is engaging in terrorist activity on a national level logical? In short I doubt it is, if stopping terrorism is really the goal. From Vietnam to Syria and all the places in between, we ( the U.S.) have not done any of the following: made the world a safer place, protected lives, established sustainable order. We have done the following: made a SHIT TON OF MONEY and KILLED A LOT OF PEOPLE. You are free to argue the semantics around that affirmation, but while what constitutes a safer world and order can be argued, the premise stands: our actions on the international scene are clear. Moreover now that we have seen so many wars a pattern is becoming evident to event someone as dull as myself: this stuff is straight out of Orwell: communist, terrorist, a vague threat from overseas… Let’s get something straight: hunger and heart disease have claimed more lives that terrorism ever has or will, but waging war on these are not endeavors that will pad the paychecks of our leaders, and moreover these are issues that can bring humanity towards common goals. While our leaders speak about the importance of these things, their actions are not in line with actually solving these real and far more pressing problems, because: All important social systems ( election, government, economy ext..) run on conflict, our ruling class NEEDS AND WANTS conflict, and go figure look what we see play out on a global stage.

The point to this rant is this: The U.S. has ZERO moral ground to go murdering foreign nationals, imagine if china killed 200+ Americans in a suburb of Chicago, and simply claimed they were “plotting to kill Chinese” would we accept the Chinese intelligence service’s phone transcripts as proof? Would we simply ignore it? Now imagine further that the U.S. government said it was OK, those killed were indeed terrorists, and the few killed children were an unfortunate but acceptable level of collateral damage. Think here…. While I myself would simply keep to blogging(I’m a care bare), what are the chances that some of us would try to take revenge on the Chinese? What if they drone struck 2 towns? 3? Actions like this inspire and create terrorists! This is not a secret and the U.S. government dam well knows it. While all our elected officials speak about peace look at our actions! We are actively 1. Violating our own laws and 2. Creating an entire generation of terrorists!

To find reason for this madness one must just follow the money, in-equality is not an easy thing to promote and maintain, but those on the mega wealthy side of the equation need conflict in order to keep the system going. So to answer my own question, how do we stop “terrorists” from killing people? We start by taking terrorism off the list of acceptable actions on our own part. Second, going back to my example of China drone striking your town, what would it take on China’s part to quell the call for revenge? Could it be quelled? How long would it take for the hatred to die? If we really want peace we cannot allow this schism between out beliefs and our actions to continue, it will be a hell of a process, but the peace process will never event start until we stop…

On hopes for science

Demons, in your head! In different parts of our history there have been places where hearing that phrase would strike TERROR into people’s heart! I assume, for it was uttered in earnest belief of such things and the cures were… un-pleasant. I firmly believe it was the work of the truly best among us to both put in the work and share with the rest of us, because that is how science is done proper. In the future many people like that might lead us as well…

I will start with the idea of “debate”: both the political and scientific communities have a long and varied history of debates. They are different however; political debates tend to be short 2 hr. affairs, marked by one liners and the most broad of platitudes. Scientific debates, conversely, are most often long drawn out affairs with every angle of an issued researched to the point of consensuses ( or the debate rages on). The outcomes of these two different approaches are clear, one is meant simply to give and impression on an audience, a show or kind of performance for personal gain, the other is intended to find the truth, whatever it might be however it might be understand. Oh, and to share that information with eveyfuckingbody. Now I have a clear preference for one kind of debate over the other, but that is not where I stop insisting we model our political system on an older scientific one.

Consensus, getting people of wildly different opinions to agree:   In the scientific community disagreement is sometimes heated; accusations of conclusions driven from funding are not un-heard of.  On the whole however it has agreed on some fairly major stuff and come a HUGE distance in the last 200 years or so. From spontaneous generation to aether to schrodinger’s cat and the LHC. In contrast the political system we have is 200 years old, and while quite good, it is like most old systems: it’s getting the living daylights exploited out of it. If you don’t understand how fractional reserve banking is allowing a very small part of the population to live like kings at the expense of the rest of us; you do not understand how the only way money comes into the economy is through loans…with interest, Not that money is not corrupting of science, I just argue a bit less so. But I have digressed, the political system serves it purpose by being divisive, Inextricably divisive, never, outside a large enough 3 party will people who identify themselves as either democrat or republican chose to cast off their affiliations and truly work together. This is super counterproductive, because it forces people to argue about the dumbest stuff: no matter how long we discussed it a final agreement on who’ god has the biggest dick will not a single person feed, humanity needs to agree to table some issues for now and find agreement on simple things first, like “everyone should have food and water”. Sadly it seems that politicians of today seem far more interested in how to exploit masses than serve humanity. I see a history where scientist of the most bitter disagreements still held respect for the truth of what their opponents say. As I opened with science has come a LONG way, think of the progress made, now compare that to progress made in other areas, in America we are just now being ok with gay people getting married, that is progress to be sure but now think of any emerging technology. I do not think sciences huge progress in the last 200 years and our social/political … lack thereof, coincidence, science has made grate strides in making people lives easier while the political system has dug in it’s heel and lied, cheated and just acted in a manner that is horrid, this has happened far to consistently for far too long across many cultures it must be systematic! I think the pursuit of truth if a far more noble aim than the pursuit of power, to me at least it is simple, we stop putting people who pursue power in positions of power, and rather we place people who simply want the truth. This could lead to reasoned global government and a chapter in human history where for the first time ever we don’t butcher each other for personal gain…

I would like to see that…