Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Either/Or Future

I somehow missed the Go Science marches in downtown Burlington yesterday. I'd been there for the "show me your taxes" march, off to the side. This time I arrived as folks were heading home. Cool signage.

Last time I was downtown to have coffee about a business venture. The parking cost me something like nine bucks for a couple of hours, while the coffee was free, thanks my interlocutor's student honoring her. Nothing about our economy makes sense to me anymore.

Yesterday I was there to complete my new arrangement to put my little sailboat on the roof of my little car, since the trailer space has been taken up by my new and mobile home. Downtown has all the outdoor sporting at Outdoor Gear Exchange, locally owned since forever. Viz Panera Bread, if you want to be outdoors it will set you back stupid amounts of money. Haven't they got wind of the made-in-China global discount?? I guess that's only for the kind of tools that White Trump Voters use, not for motor-free outdoor adventure.

I only needed longer bars for my now ancient and obsolete Yakima rooftop carrier. My sailboat, while not much heavier, is wider than a canoe. Ninety freaking bucks for a couple of lousy steel tubes. Are you kidding me??!!

And to add icing on the top of my payment horror, they didn't even come with end caps, which added another twenty something for little bits of plastic whose two cents to make is inflated across a logistical chain stretching from here to eternity. Smiles all around though, since we're all in on the facts, ma'am, the facts (although it took a while for the very nice clerk to ascertain that indeed absence of end-caps is part of the bargain - she was commiserating with me, of all things, the customer!).

Anyhow, out the door and there go all these smug science marchers. I shouldn't say smug, but they sure did look self-satisfied. I wish I coulda been there.

The thing about science is that it provides zero help to judge the tough stuff. Like, is that guy being honest? Mostly science is a linguistic arrangement, encouraging agreement about some fundamental matters so that we can argue about the important stuff and not get sidetracked by whether holy ghosts are real or no. We are worried that the folks in charge are fantasists, science deniers, true believers in some kind of either/or as never happens in real life.

So to my eyes, spawn of Adolf Coors Neil Gorsuch is a Nazi. My meaning is simple. He's driven by a prior decision to make all decisions according to some simple principle so as not to have to be bothered by actual judging. He's a kind of linguistic scientist that way. But to me, he's as amoral as a Secret Agent  who'd long since sworn loyalty to a flag rendered meaningless by subsequent betrayals; but who goes ahead to kill on order anyhow. And through life-long learning the hard way, knows how to keep personal grace and honor, no matter who offends him. Gorsuch wears his uniform smile very well indeed.

I don't really think scientific judging is much different than any other sort. You assess the background of the person presenting the findings, and you check in with peers to see if the finder is generally reliable. Absent powerful pecuniary motives, you assume the findings to be true (in their realm) and well-represented.

The trouble being, of course, that even the best scientists are fooled when paradigm shifts come along to pull the rug out from everything they've done heretofore, and with confidence.

Case in point, those Frenchies who are so much more reasonable than we are most ways, might be on the verge of electing their own sort of psychopath. They are reasonable about their treatment of workers, about socialized medicine, and they even impose limits on campaign spending. But along comes viral marketing through social media and campaign spending takes on a different meaning.

My horse in the race, so far as I can tell - Mélenchon - the Robin Hood alt-leftie, has introduced something entirely new to politics. He can colocate by virtue of holographic live-stream. Who knew??!!

OK, so now what if lots of people can experience him virtually live on stage who otherwise couldn't? Is that a good thing? Think Donald Trump simulcast to everywhere blacks or Islamic immigrants can be excluded. I know I've got something inside out and backwards here, but viral marketing is not automatically a good thing. Gone is the peer-review, gone is the vetting, gone is the careful fact-checking.

Still, we are certainly in the midst of a paradigm shift. The ones we thought we trusted are actually apologists for the existing world order. The existing world-order has been well-exposed as favoring the wealthy while making life miserable for everybody else. Even if that means taking them out by drone when they (we?) complain. Even second-generation Trudeau up in Canada doesn't dare oppose the oil industry. We make our bargains with devils big and little, just to keep the local peace.

So here's my dilemma: Part of me wants to wander with sailboat on rooftop. I want to go to those wild places which are still not despoiled, and repose in relative calm and silence, merrily merrily merrily, life being but a dream.

But the other part of me wants in to Trumplandia so that I can see how life feels from the other side. How does it feel to not feel welcome at Panera Bread, or at Trader Joe's even, for crying out loud. It's not the cost which is exclusive. It's the comfort factor.

I'm just not sure I'm warrior enough. I guess I'll find out along my way. I won't be using any scientific method, that's for sure. Random dictates most of life, and so that's where I'll be. Surfing the random, while you all put your faith in the Science Guy. Who if you must know is a Bill O'Reilly grade womanizer. I don't trust the lot of 'em. My trust is mostly local, and even there exposing motive is hard work.

If it's all me me me, my trust is down the drain. I don't think that distinguishes me from very many people, and truth be told, I find a lot of hope in that.

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