Coming to terms with being human.


Fighting the Windmill of Truth

American liberals have bought into a delusion that is crippling the effort to effect change in this nation’s policies. Liberals believe that it matters that they’re right.

Look at progressives like Al Franken and Michael Moore. Lies and the Lying Liars… and Fahrenheit 9/11 focus on exposing “truth”. They point out the inconsistencies and blatant untruths of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the entire Bush Administration. The meta-message is this: if Americans understood the facts, if they were presented with intelligent arguments, they would become liberals.
This is a fundamental error of understanding. Conservatives have not been duped. They inhabit a different world than progressives do (a viewpoint that is molded and strengthened by family, friends, religion, and media choices). The shapers of modern conservativism understand this. They rarely concentrate on exposing “liberal lies”. Liberals focus on right. Conservatives focus on might.

Some of you are saying, “Come on man. Snap out of it! The Right is absolutely about what is right. They speak in black and white. Hell, Bush says “evildoers” every second sentence.” True, but the thing is Bush knows he is right. He doesn’t spend time convincing us why other people are wrong. The conservative message assumes the moral high ground.
The conservative takeover of the media works brilliantly with this strategy. Bizarrely, the Right has learned the message of social science better than the Left. People join causes through social means, not intellectual. Limbaugh and Fox News are part of an information environment that bonds disparate individuals and promotes loyalty.

At the same time Republicans have been reigning in the places of power. A decade ago, lobbyist groups hired from both the Democrats and Republicans. It was assumed that having the ear of both parties was handy. Recently, the Republicans have been punishing groups that hire Democratic lobbyists. They do this by refusing to work with the groups at all. Conversely, they reward loyalty by allowing compliant groups to write the very laws that affect their interests (like Cheney did with his energy taskforce). Once again the Right makes a brilliant play, wresting control of a highly influential non-government system.

Liberals need to concentrate on strength. The Left is notoriously fractured. The first step to power lies in the group. Progressives must be bonded through common meaning. An info/emotional environment needs to be developed. Air America is a good beginning. The programs create a sense of indignation and urgency that can be tapped into.
That’s the function of protests after all (a medium that liberals and radicals still control). Rallies don’t change minds, they charge up the troops. Protests change a crowd into a group. At a deeper level they bring together geographically dispersed souls, who then exchange ideas and phone numbers. This is how community forms, which in turn affects society.


I swear it’s not my fault

My computer has been in the shop.

There is little more frustrating to an info-junkie than staring at a cable modem that isn’t hooked into anything. So what’s been going on? Amputations.

You see, my Sociology professor was going over paraphilia and mentioned people who get aroused by amputees. This spiked a neuron or two that remembered reading about individuals who desire to amputate perfectly good limbs. Oh, their own, not other peoples: otherwise we’d be discussing teenage males. El professor expressed interest in reading this article and, with a little sleuthing, I discovered it was an old Atlantic Monthly article.
Psychological disorders are interesting. One time’s desire is another time’s poison. Homosexuality used to be considered a mental disorder, now it isn’t. Current research has been working on creating robotic limbs for amputees that can be run by thought. When this technology becomes commonplace, will the desire to hack off a healthy limb to get the chromed out model still be considered deviant?
It doesn’t have to be limbs that we augment. Presently, it would be uber-geeky to get an implant that let’s me control a cursor with my thoughts (although monkeys already have such things, which is a strange bit of evolutionary déjà vu). Can’t we foresee a time when healthy individuals start implanting bleeding edge tech, just to get things done a bit faster. The early adopters may get hired easier in certain fields. Then others will do it just for the resume padding. Eventually, not wanting augmentation will be the mental disorder. Michael Jackson will be cured by the simple passing of time.