Crazy Gets Real?

There’s no doubt that we live in a crazy world where just about anything can happen. If only that could be put to a good use.

Perhaps the most festering sore in this feverish world is North Korea. The population is isolated and starving, living in constant fear. That alone is reason enough to do something, but the recent increase in belligerence and danger posed by nuclear weapons makes it imperative that something be done. The Trump administration does have a point.

We can’t do much about it, however, as that would not go well. But China can. In fact, it’s as much in China’s interest that this problem be solved as anyone. So why not at least propose a deal to make it happen?

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Practical, In a Way.

After writing for a decade on my political philosophy, it’s perfectly natural for many people to have an opinion about me. Some of my progressive friends make it clear that they view me with some suspicion, due to my tendency to support “the establishment” and my interest in economics – the dismal science of the elite. Some of my conservative friends see my interest in social justice and desire to make constant improvement as dangerous tinkering with the social order and a desire for perfectibility, an intellectual pursuit always fraught with danger.

Both are wrong in a way. Call it “enlightened self interest” if you want, but I see my view as nothing more than the only practical one given my one and only goal. Like Beethoven contemplating the Ninth Symphony, I only want to be happy. And my politics flows naturally from that.

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Divide, not Divide

One prominent theme came out of the 2016 election – voters are ready for change. A near majority was excited enough by the idea to actually vote for a narcissist with no rational plan at all. Are voters simply stupid?

In a democracy, you always get the government you deserve. No matter how you may feel about that, it remains true that Vox Populi, Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God, a sentiment first developed by radical Whig reformers in Scotland 300 years ago.

For those of you who favor the short version, skipping a journey through history, voters aren’t stupid. They may be badly informed and even more badly led, but they are onto something. America is clearly adrift. The essential guiding philosophy is obvious, given a little distance provided by history and the experience of hungrier developing nations. But in the bizzy here and now, what does that mean in terms of politics?

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Chaos versus Order

There seems to be some greater conflict in the world, Everyone has a theory as to where the batle lines are drawn – liberal versus conservative, white versus non-white, Muslim versus infidel, young versus old. Not all of these can be right at the same time, which brings to mind two questions:

What is the “real” conflict? And why is it not obvious?

The battle, if there is a real one, is primarily a matter of general anxiety. It’s an internal conflict within many people who have lost a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. But outwardly, it manifests itself into a battle between stability and chaos – a conflict between the preservation of what order exists and a desire to wash it away in order to make way for something, anything else.

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Syria Degenerates

The US has turned inward. The nooze has become a high-caloried stream of confectionary nonsense from Washingtoon, spiced up with genuine budgetary horrors. The diversions keep coming, keeping everyone’s attention away from the real stories – possible treason and a lot of incompetence.

Meanwhile, Syria has become significantly more dangerous. In the very near future it’s reasonable that the situation will demand genuine leadership and careful negotiation. Given that this is nearly impossible, based on the narcissistic machismo which substitutes for leadership on nearly all sides, the potential for something even more horrible is rising daily.

But it’s hardly being reported at all.

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Fake? Maybe. Fattening, Yes.

As a decade of Barataria approaches, the stories from 10 years ago have a strange relevance.  This piece is dated for two reasons – there are still local newspapers of interest and there is yet to be a staggering facebook phenom.  But the principle is the same.  It’s not that the news is fake as much as it is largely irrelevant.  It might as well be fake.  The devolution over the last decade is staggering – yet it could have been predicted.  I didn’t.  But the point still stands.

How many times have we read the really big story on the front of the newspaper with great interest? How often have we talked about it with our friends and colleagues the next day?

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Good Season(al Adjustment)

By the time you read this, the big news is likely to be jobs. It hasn’t been a hot topic since the election, and most of what was said during that strange period wasn’t exactly true. The big job gains for February, along with a large round-up for January, make it impossible to ignore.

The economy has definitely turned around.

It’s all over but the shouting, of which there will be a lot. There is little doubt that Republicans will claim credit for a big turnaround in 2017, which will be utter crap. This has been a long time in the making and things have not been actually bad for a long time. Nevermind. Positive news will feed on itself and everyone will be happier.

But there is one final twist to the very good news – it’s really in the adjustment.

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