The challenge of working with dead souls

“More and more I am convinced that you can not challenge a dead soul. Not with truth. Not with principle. Not with morality. A dead soul must be first brought back to life. And the only thing that can do this is tenderness.” – John Flynn

I can think of only a few rare occasions in my life where a dead soul has been affected over a long period of time through tenderness.

A new era of truth seeking

Yesterday was a day of relief and even a day of joy. We survived a president without shame, a political party without spine, and an entertainment network without integrity*. But we are left a sicker, weaker and more indebted nation than ever before. Our financial position is weak, our cultural and political capital exhausted. China gained significantly in its global power over us in the past few years and our standing in global leadership and influence has dropped to previously unimaginable lows. It is absurd to continue to think of our selves as the greatest nation on earth – a concept engrained in our collective psychologies. Our world and our nation is suffering and in serious trouble.

The affluent mostly white class has been able to claim plausible deniability for our role in allowing this to happen. Too many among us lost the basic capability to discern data-based fact from emotion-based opinion. That era is past. As individuals, we have choices to make. Right now we can choose to acknowledge how we got here to this position today or we can choose to believe that our 401(k) account balance indicates that all will be OK. We can choose to acknowledge that our belief systems don’t stand up to scrutiny or we can continue to fight for ‘our way of life’.

Yesterday Amanda Gorman reminded us “Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished”. We may not have the answers to save ourselves but we certainly do know what makes the problems worse. We see the risks and cannot afford the luxury of giving stage time to those who deny this world view and the work ahead of us. “There is always light if we are brave enough to see it”. We must follow that light.**

I know that going forward I will be more vigilant and less tolerant of those who seek to follow belief systems that weaken and divide us. My actions to distance, dismiss, disengage, non-renew and disassociate with those on this dark path will be accelerated.

While we work toward finding a way forward it does not make sense to be dragged down by the uninformed, the tragically misled cult followers and the conspiracists. That misguided era ended yesterday.

We must recommit to a new era of seeking facts and upholding truth,

*Paraphrased from the NYT editorial yesterday by Thomas Friedman. **Thanks to Heather Cox Richardson for inspirations used in this post.

Notes from: “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work”

“Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work”
book by Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, 2015

notes from Blinkist

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventing_the_Future:_Postcapitalism_and_a_World_Without_Work

PostCapitalism by Paul Mason (2015) offers a close examination of the failures of current economic systems. The 2008 financial crisis showed us that neoliberal capitalism is falling apart, and these blinks outline the reasons why we’re at the start of capitalism’s downfall, while giving an idea of what our transition into postcapitalism will be like.

The book begins (chapters 1–2) by critiquing dominant left-wing thinking in the West.

Contrasts left-wing folk politics with the success of neoliberalism in achieving global cultural hegemony.

Folk politics isn’t working.

Most people don’t distinguish between Liberalism vs. neoliberalism.

The current political tactics of the left are failing for working people. To succeed in transforming society, the left must take a page out of the right-wing playbook and build a long-term, strategic vision that offers an alternative to the current neoliberal, capitalist world order.

The most important takeaway is that the left needs to build a similarly long-term, strategic vision. To do so, the left will need to abandon its fear of organizational secrecy, hierarchy and rationality. Such changes are essential if we are to build and sustain a comparably hegemonic position.

Automation and unemployment are increasingly likely.

Universal basic income is the key to creating a world after capitalism.

In the 1960s and 70s, basic income was a core proposal of the US welfare system. Economists, NGOs and policymakers were all exploring the idea in great detail. In fact, 1,300 economists signed a petition urging the US Congress to pass UBI, and two presidents, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, attempted to pass it as legislation.

Support has come from writers like Paul Krugman and Martin Wolf, and news outlets like the New York Times and the Economist.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment” – Arthur C. Clark

Orwell wrote, “the job of the thinking person is not to reject socialism but to make up his mind to humanise it”

What happened to Occupy?
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/21/is-there-any-point-to-protesting

The emotional rural response to the disarmament trend

The majority of people nationally and locally support the slow tending changes of U.S. gun laws moving toward disarmament. Yet a number of rural New Jersey communities are resisting and acting out against the long term trend of change in our gun culture by asking local governments to declare themselves “second amendment sanctuaries” and to oppose any new restrictions on guns which they deem to be unconstitutional. Local governments comply because these measures are popular with the voters and cost nothing now. In a sense, the sanctuary measures are harmless. But even if they have no legal impact, I’m concerned that they set the stage for wasting taxpayer money ahead. The reality is that gun regulations laws fall under state and federal jurisdiction, not local governments. No matter how much a local community “resists”, they won’t change that. Compliance, as a practical matter is an individual choice with little to no local community impact. Despite the emotional discussions, gun law compliance will be based on simple economics, not an emotional or values-based position.

IMO these sanctuary measures only “kick the can down the road” by continuing the division between rural community residents and the much larger rest of the state population. The overall state population overwhelmingly support change in gun culture. It would be better, IMO, for governments to engage and empower local rural residents to get involved if state-level gun culture efforts.

Some proponents of the gun sanctuary movement have even resurrected words like “nullification” and “interposition”from Southern secessionists during the Civil War and opposing desegregation in the 1960s. That’s scary, but probably not meaningful.

In the end, I predict that these social tensions will fade away without much excitement. Evolving gun regulations will be crafted in a way to dissipate emotional reactions as an important integral component of their design. Technology and finances will effect the change in an unemotional manner. Future regulations about gun insurance, taxation and registration will wisely avoid confrontation and allow the resisters to voluntarily comply with changes as the financially and legally logical choice. I’ve covered those from a revenue and tax perspective in other blog posts.

Black Friday was disturbing

Thinking about the disturbing scene we saw yesterday while out shopping for used furniture for our new house: hoards of hyped-up people in ‘feeding frenzy mode’, some actually running and slamming shopping carts through the Goodwill warehouse in South Jersey for ‘$.99 a pound’ special sale. We noticed the many Mercedes and such high end vehicles in the parking lot. The phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” is proven true.

I remember a few years when I would shop for marina work clothes at Goodwill but my friend and partner Bruce would not. We made it a point to only get him new Carthartt stuff as a small luxury in his life. But meanwhile, I thought the Goodwill shop was great!

We didn’t find any decent furniture yesterday but we are in no hurry.