As I was crossing the country to winter for my second time in Oregon I finally did feel some clarity about the country. One gets so worn down by the mindless support for Trump in the flyover states, but I certainly don't feel alienated from those people. I find them nice, interesting, engaging and utterly detached from the reality of life in the cosmopolitan cities. Which makes people closer to, well, life.
And of course, during my dreamy drift though the hinterlands, I form my political theories. It bothers me that the last-standing party of reason (well, it may be a stretch, but at least the Democrats make a little room for reason) feels its own need to pander to its own base. Of course I agree with positions to the extent that they are more radical and lefty than any that I hear elsewhere, but it is frustrating that the Democratic candidates are coalescing around a platform guaranteed to inflame those who continue to support Trump. That can only exacerbate the Trumpsters' sense of not being heard, and of being condescended to.
And that all just pushes the poles and worsens our sick political condition. We obviously aren't going to go from zero to single payer in a heartbeat. Look what happened to Obama, who had a ton of political capital. We won't become an instant green economy either without changes to the political process.
Why won't our party system let at least some players lay their foundation on making fundamental changes to the processes? We might even be able to agree on some of those. We can't change a thing until we get the money out of politics, and that would be plenty for a first term in office. Stake modest positions everywhere else. Why do politicians always get trapped in staking their claim to some ultimate and therefore ideological position?
Perhaps we could even agree on gentle changes to our regulatory infrastructure. I'd start with healthcare, where we might agree that there should be a single price for insured and uninsured, no negotiation allowed for the big and money-driven health insurance companies. Then let's take the (often traumatized and sometimes unconscious) recipient of healthcare away from accountability to be an expert on the healthcare finance system. Let that be the responsibility of the providers who do it every day.
Of course we'd have to be sure that insurance will pay for any and all emergency care regardless of the venue.
In other words, why must we always allow accountability to land on the weakest and least able to handle it? The uninsured. The underemployed. The under-resourced. The only answer I can come up with is that we do it because we can. Which means we really have no heart.
We could start working on things like environmental regulation that makes sense and doesn't send in Patagonia-wearing do-gooders in to tell farmers and ranchers how to steward their resources. Whatever they're doing is nothing compared to what all we gizmo toting environmentalists do. I mean life-cycle energy and likely carbon and pollution footprint for ANY car is within a margin of error. Prius or Tesla shouldn't lend you any do-gooder glow fer chrissakes!
We have to learn how to talk again. Look, I agree with utterly everything Elizabeth Warren wants to do, but I'd like to hear her talk more about the process to bring the whole country along to her direction. She won't get there in one term, any more than Barack Obama could nudge the needle during his two.
And now we have the nightmare that Biden has been effectively removed from the race by the body slams Trump feels enabled to deliver from the corner impeachment has pushed him into. Truth, remember, has no value post-Facebook, where the manipulation of our purchasing decisions has penetrated through to the very core of our belief structures. It's all optics.
For generations we have elected "I'm not a leader, but I play one on TV" style Republicans who have mastered the arts of power concentration in the interests of the one percent (off the gullibility of the masses and their social prejudices). And we've enthusiastically rid ourselves of truth in advertising rules, protections against monopoly, and balanced objective media regulation because we think that the only measurable harm can be cost-to-consumer.
Tech has assured that we live in a world of incredibly falling prices (at the expense of atomic-grade concentration of the only capital which counts, which is intellectual capital. The rest of us are drones.)
Biden's insider optics are bad, as are Bernie's health optics. Help!
Well still, as I crossed the country and felt the glory of the freedom we have to be ourselves still, I did form a vague theory and a diagnosis (when I wasn't thrilling to my musing about how to tweak my tiny house to perfection). We have to recognize that money has now become a life-force. It used to be a medium for exchange of goods and services, but in the age of service for free on the basis of occult manipulations of our desires by means of technology, money is no longer transparently what it once was.
Somewhere among these pages I've written of the fascinating toxoplasma virus which uses mouse-brains as its vector. Mice are programmed to fear cats, but the virus (is it a prion? no it's a protozoa) re-programs mouse brains to love cats (as it apparently might do to humans, whose females are at least warned away from cat-litters when they are pregnant, since the harmless-to-humans germ is less harmless to infants) so that the virus can more easily travel from mouse to cat where it may truly and fully blossom (it's only able to reproduce in domestic cats).
Well, I'm supposing that money has now recently become a life-form and that it infects our brains so that we feel only desire for those certain kinds of pleasure which assist money in it's aggregation and concentration. No matter our belief structure, we can't escape this, since we need to drive cars and buy housing and furnish it. There is not much difference between the inside of a cable-TV provider and a crack house in case you've ever been poor enough to have to visit either.
I believe that this re-construing of the structure and function of money can explain the bizarre homeostasis of our political economy, and I'm not sure that anything else can do that. Money is the only life-force that would want that. We are effectively prevented from ever making any changes that would upset that homeostasis, even at the cost to our collective survival as a species.
Well, I don't know. I think that once we acquired written language we ceased to be subject to Darwinian evolution that is limited to gene-transmission. It's the culture, stupid. The one we have is surely on the brink of extinction; an extinction on which will ride much human suffering.
And why should I feel so desperate about this? We all must die, after all.
But I do, I suppose because the posture of remove from the corrupted world has been pretty much erased as a possibility, unless you really really want to go feral, as some very few people apparently do. Me, I like craft beer, food delivered on top of health standards and hot showers. I mean I really do like those things. A lot. And so I'd like to see us re-invigorate a prophylaxis against money infection. That would be a starter for survival.
The end-game would be for Facebook (the structure of it) to be taken over by the newly re-integrated-into-the-governmental-structure US Postal Service. Ditto Google, whose monopoly power is built upon the utter impossibility for a second entity to replicate the entire internet in near real-time the way they do. I'm doubting even the NSA.
We should implement block-chain, not for money but for all of our personal information. I don't mind fiat currency so long as we have a functioning government, which we seem no longer to have (it ain't dead yet though, as my friend says about me when I'm drooling over a red mustang - or the blond driving it). I do mind enterprises trading in my very enthusiasms.
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But really why spend so much angst on trying to fix a political system? In the end, I can't really even fix my tiny house. The amount of knowledge and vigilance required to keep batteries and the systems they attach to optimal is stunning. In a compact system like an RV, a solar charge controller which includes an automatic equalization phase is almost guaranteed to harm electronics. That's the only thing I'm mad about, since I wasted a lot of money frying my water heater igniter board to find that out. There should be a more clear warning, right?
Now let's see, should I get a little generator so I can run my A/C off the grid. It's a lot cheaper than a bank of lithium ion batteries. I wonder which does more harm to the environment? Yep, it always comes down to the money, honey. It's way cheaper to get and operate a generator. What? Skip the A/C? Have you experienced the extremes of global warming, stupid? Sheesh!