Reason and Sense

This is a repeat from two years ago.

“Conventional Wisdom” isn’t.

Everyday life is the process of understanding and using key facts about the world around us. The sky is blue, red means stop, the 94 bus leaves at 7:53, and coffee will wake you up. Most of the important things in life are obvious enough, based on immediate observation or past experiences strung together.

However, the presence of technology and a growing interconnectedness impinges critical “facts” onto our lives which reach far beyond our senses and sensibilities. Cell phones work because they just work, this thing called “money” in our bank account is extremely important, people who live in distant lands are motivated by something akin to demonic possession, et cetera.

This is where it all breaks down. Or, more importantly, where things breaking down accelerates as reason itself fails.

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May Day for Working People

Proletarier aller Länder vereinigt Euch!
(Workers of the world unite!)
– Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto (1848)

For 170 years, this cry has echoed through every May Day. On streets all around the world, police and many citizens have watched warily as many of their neighbors marched under red banners. Others have hidden, wishing the hint of revolution and danger would simply pass. In most nations, it’s a day off to celebrate the simple fact that labor creates all wealth. In the United States, almost alone, it’s not even a holiday.

What is the proper celebration for all workers on this International Day of Labor? Perhaps it is best to recognize that the best application of the same cause which Marx championed, the workers, may have created Communism as an ideology but in practical terms stands to save Capitalism from itself.

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The Purpose of Corporations

A corporation, by strict legal definition, is any group of people acting as if one for whatever their stated purpose. This definition is broad enough to include non-profits or NGOs. In practical terms, however, it refers to a an organization which makes something and hires people to do it.

But what is the purpose of them? Recently, it’s become very popular to assume that the main purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder value. That is, to grow and reward those who put their money down to make it all happen in the first place.

There are many reasons to see this need for constant growth as dangerous. Most generally, it’s not sustainable outside of the rate of population increase and productivity gains, at least once the entire planet reaches a similar level of development. But more important, the view of what a corporations is, or at least why it exists, is extremely damaging to its own stated purpose.  And it’s easily shown to not actually be true in practice.

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Standing on a Firm Foundation

Is there a difference between a conspiracy to collude and just being a total tool?

That’s one question before the American public and Congress now that the Mueller report is out in the open. The long and short of it is that there is a difference, and it’s clear that America has been under a sustained attack for years. There may not be an initial crime committed by the Trump team, as the operation was entirely led by Russian operatives.

There was, however, plenty of effort spent trying to hide it all. There still is. This is much more likely a crime, but more importantly it makes the case for impeachment even stronger. It’s much less about a crime than about getting out the truth about the threats that our nation, and every open democratic society, currently face.

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Three Warriors on a Muddy Field

The 2020 election is a very long way off. Much has to develop, particularly the candidates and their message. They will grow along with their crowds, refining their message and presence into a clear vision of how the nation reboots itself and renews for a new generation.

What’s remarkable at this stage is not just that the three leading candidates are women, but that as a unit they represent the spectrum of Democratic identity and policy. They’re likely to be the top contenders through the process as a result. They also have remarkably similar resumes and similar things to prove. In politics and personality, however, they create their own archetypes.

Is this going to be a choice between senators Harris, Klobuchar, and Warren? At this stage, they are at the very least the ones to watch. That is, by itself, an impressive and fascinating story.  In my own opinion, and this is all just my opinion, it’s going to be a good one.

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Our Bother’s Keeper

“Everyone is an idiot, not just the people with low SAT scores. The only differences among us is that we’re idiots about different things at different times. No matter how smart you are, you spend much of your day being an idiot.”

– Scott Adams, “The Dilbert Principle”

This first ran four years ago.  Today is a day that I’m having some trouble handling in general.

We all know someone who just can’t handle something we consider part of daily life. The guy who simply doesn’t “get” facebook, the woman with no interest in a cell phone, and in urban areas like St Paul even people who refuse to drive. These are all complications that are a bit too much for their simple life.

There are limits for everyone in this world of increasing complexity. We all hit them constantly, too. For many people, however, life itself just gets past them.

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Sacrifice

ON the second day of Holy Week, just after the triumph of Palm Sunday, we all watched in horror as Notre Dame de Paris burned. The loss has turned out to be almost entirely repairable, but the gut feeling of it will remain. What a terrible loss.

Yet through it, we find our selves facing the greatest and most beatifying aspect of Christianity – sacrifice. Through sacrifice we rise again, the world rises again, and is renewed by the eternal spirit. As surely as Christianity has defined nearly everything we might all “Western Civilization” today, it is worth reflecting on as the week draws to a close.

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