People problems

Concentration camps.

I’ll give you a clue. Its in the name. Concentration. As in an assemblage. Less in the attentiveness context. I think there is some confusion here.

Firstly with the world war phenomenon that some concentration camps became extermination centers. The two are not the same thing. Really, any temporary structure meant to detain people could likely be called a concentration camp. Although I think the word concentration camp refers mostly to non-combatants since, an assemblage of enemy combatants taken for the purpose of resource denial are called prisoners (and historically get more rights and often better treatment) Anyway, I know to most this semantics. But I think words are important.

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Also. Concentration camps. British invention. Circa 1900. Getting their butts kicked in the second Boer war the British decided on a scorched earth policy to turn the tide of the war.  Broadly this meant resource denial on a massive scale. The British rounded up all the families (the women and children) of the Boer combatants and burnt their farms to the ground, killed their cattle and destroyed their crops. Difficult to carry on fighting when you family is dying in a camp and your farm has been destroyed. In any event thousands of people (mostly children) died in these camps of typhoid and dysentery before the war ground to an end.

I like to point this out because the war crimes of other nations routinely get glossed over and only incidents with higher body counts get remembered and then trivialized on twitter. Which grinds my gears.

Now, having led with my little opening tirade. Are camps on the US-Mexico border concentration camps. Sure, why not. Are they rife with measles, small pox, lice, rats and malnutrition? I’m leaning towards no. Well maybe measles because apparently this is a thing now again. Is there even the remotest possibility that these guys are destined for fake showers and infusion of an Zyklon B? Absolutely and categorically no way in hell.

I can’t speak for brutality against the detained, rapes, beatings, psychological abuse etc. I mean its possible. Experiments have shown as soon as their is a massive power disconnect between people, (most famously the Stanford Prison experiment) things start to go a little awry. Still, I feel there is more oversight these days, and while abusive behavior is still likely, I think its probably less pervasive than we imagine. (I also think my ideas about prison guards and wardens are largely colored by the portrayal and the stereotypical guards from Prison Break and Shawshank redemption).

Which begs the question. What do you do with these people?

Well we could start by asking them nicely not to come. I mean, its quite selfish of them (this is likely only 50% tongue in cheek) to expect other people to take care of them. We could ignore the problem (out of sight out of mind). We could build a massive frikken wall at huge cost to the taxpayer which… well it probably won’t work (unless we add minefields and gun turrets and sharks-with-frikken-laser-beams). We could make it Mexicos problem (we will tax you… and eh… ourselves…if you don’t police your borders). We can cut off aid to countries identified as the points of origin for these migrants (get your people under control, or we will stop giving you money to buy guns and tanks and water-canons… you know… to keep your population under control).

Actually… I have no idea what to do with these people. So really, I am probably fine keeping them locked up (for the moment) while I… deliberate and equivocate and… other words that end in -ate. And since I don’t live in a border town under siege where I can’t take my kids to the park because its littered with crap and trash and people who make me feel uncomfortable about my personal safety… I feel fine. Suck it up Texas.

Agony Joey

Hi Jo. My best-friend keeps retweeting and sharing articles from Vox and the Daily Beast. I don’t know what to do…

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Well… you should probably stop being friends with them. I know this is difficult to hear… but your friend is likely too far gone.

Really, the only acceptable news organization that you can share on any of your social media accounts is Fox news…

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And that’s only because they are hilarious.

White Dudes

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Ha ha.

If only this wasn’t true.

I think it requires a certain level of hubris to start a podcast*… and white dudes have hubris in spades. (wait, did Joey just channel some progressive-ism?)

*maybe I should add Youtube channels to this (while I’m at it)

Also we love inflicting our opinions on those around us. Case in point, this blog. Which is as white as they come (seriously I have the papers to prove it) and is also incredibly opinionated. I also give myself a solid B- in questions of moral superiority. (I’m also pretty good at being able to tell whether the milk in the fridge has turned and whether or not the cheese I just found languishing near the back is salvageable)

The answer however, sadly for some, is no. I’m still straddling the center-line, occasionally squatting down to teabag the linoleum.

Calling out your own ‘kind’ should be par for the course. God knows you can’t call out anyone else these days on their particular brand of bullshit…. so… stick with what you know…

Just be aware that we don’t really listen. And any criticism makes us grasp the power of our patriarchy even more tightly. Seriously, you’ll have to take it from our cold dead hands (probably prying it away with a screwdriver)

Unless we’re trying to get laid. Then we’re progressive AF.

Black Russians

Not the drink. Which I think is vodka… and if memory serves, coffee liqueur. But don’t quote me on this. Also I’m too lazy to look it up.

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Maybe it should be Black Ukrainians. Because… you know, they’re their own thing now.. having cast off the soviet yoke… and taking a stab at democracy…. but then getting kinda invaded again… but the free world was all like ‘meh’…

anyways I wanted to seem smart and edgy with my cocktail analogy. You know how it goes.

Apparently this not in any way, shape or form a satirical tweet. Which is… incredibly frightening.

Just wanted to let y’all know that your upbeat faith in humanity is incredibly misguided and that we are all DOOMED.

Here ends this public service announcement.

Also my naval lint is blue today.

 

Cry Havoc…

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My gut feel is that a (full-on) war in Iran probably won’t happen… because… I’d like to say the cost/reward benefits seem really bad. But you know… democratically elected (crazy) people tend to resist normative conventions.

I’m less conspiratorial than most however. You know, that whole 1984 perma-war vibe to keep us docile and controlled. But maybe that’s just what they want me to think.

On up-scaling your target countries, (I’m assuming the eventual goal is war with China) Iran is likely more challenging than Iraq. Which was more of a challenge than Afghanistan. So in terms of honing your art-form the US is moving in the right direction.

Still, if I were feeling speculative, I’d put money on not-for-reals-war. Cruise missile strikes and other forms of bombardment from afar are much more likely. But invasion and boots on the ground… I can’t really imagine it.

Of course, I might have just jinxed it for everyone. Especially for your average Iranian, whom (I’m assuming) like most of us, doesn’t really want to get a face full of shrapnel and drink water out of a ditch because their leadership is a bunch of Mf’ers.

Don’t worry guys, potentially freedom is on the way, and descending rapidly.

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Gang signs

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I’m so confused.

I mean… thats not necessarily an uncommon condition to find myself in. Maybe I should rephrase that. I’m more confused than usual. Thats likely a better (and more honest) statement of being.

Is this kid a white nationalist?

Depending on orientation this used to mean ‘Ok’ right? Like when you need to signal your dive buddy 30ft underwater that despite your phobic fear of sharks, confined (dark) spaces and drowning, everything is awesome. (did that analogy sound overly personal?)

And then there was that game (at school*) where if you make this symbol below the waist and your friend looked at it you could punch them in the arm. (I think this is what this is, but wether kids still interact in this violent fashion is an unknown)

*I tried this at work recently. It seems people have forgotten this social convention and now look at you aghast… before tromping down the passage towards HR. Calling them a wuss doesn’t help your case either. #justsaying.

Apparently it can… eh… does (also) mean White Power? I mean that hospital gown looks pretty fleck tarn to me… and he’s white. So maybe. I mean who am I to judge the gang signals of another.

I think it’s just safer not to make any gestures… ever. And certainly don’t be photographed or filmed making them.

Progress through conflict

I like capitalism. *Jo raises a bat in anticipation of having to ward off the thrown object(s)*

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I mean I like other things too, like puppies and… eh… (okay, I’m leaving this blank, I’ll come back to it later when I’ve thought of something else)

I’m inclined to believe that capitalism is largely responsible for driving humanity forward. Which sets a lot of peoples teeth on edge because capitalism also pollutes rivers, kills rhinos, exploits and disenfranchises. Personally I believe people do that. Capitalism isn’t religious dogma, mind-control or hypnotic suggestion. (although maybe it is and I’m just their mindless mouth piece or drone* and therefore shouldn’t be trusted) Capitalism is just a problem solving model, but like a lot of things it suffers from the spotlight effect.

*the ant kind. Not necessarily the one soaring up in troposphere on desert thermals and raining down death on weddings parties and daycare centres.

The spotlight effect, basically, is analogous to when you shine a spotlight on something the mind becomes visually zoned in on what is illuminated by the spotlight and you’re inclined to ignore everything else thats happening on or off stage.

Let me also say right near the beginning that I like lots of other philosophies waaaaaay more than capitalism. But these are all highly individualistic (and also often theoretical), and are very unlikely to take root on a global scale with its myriad of cultures. When viewed as a collective I don’t think we are an altruistic species. There are obviously exceptions to the rule and there is evidence to suggest there is reciprocal altruism in smaller groups, but when we add everyone together and consider things with a sense of Realpolitik, I think the statistics would skew towards the selfishness of the individual.

Surely the aliens would judge us by this metric instead of the aberrations to this rule? Ie the sum of the whole. Ergo we should stop pretending that we are something we are not and embrace the stuff thats proven to move us along our linear progression towards… eh… where do we want to be again? Has someone officially decided this? You know, the end goal we all agreed on in the strategy session. You’re not allowed to say heaven.

I recently read… or maybe I heard (it all starts to blur together) how the thing that really drives us forward, innovates and (eventually) makes our lives better is conflict (I think there is the assumption that we survive said conflict or are of a later generation than the combatants). And how our imagined utopian and peaceful society would eventually just stagnate and stop evolving for lack of conflict.

This has gotten me thinking. On a personal level I tend to believe in the motivating power of a good enemy. And maybe this is true for humanity as a whole? Maybe the best driver of progress isn’t capitalism, but rather conflict?

I am not a big fan of nationalism. (which tends to make people think I’m for globalism, which is not necessarily true, I think these issues are complicated) In any event nationalism, for all its benefits (and there really can be some profound benefits in terms of cooperation among individuals who think they are special and unique) overall, just promotes a dislike for outsiders and fosters this weird culture of taking credit for the ‘achievements’ of your ‘nation’ as something you’ve personally done.

Nationalism does lead to competition though. And when that competition spills over into hostility, generally, there is a huge leap in progress.

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I’m not going to wax on lyrically on how all the things we’ve designed to murder and maim each other have actually, down the road, become a huge boon to us all, because I think the evidence is largely irrefutable.

I do however think, upon reflection, that conflict between nations, in order to drive innovation on a sharp upward trend, needs to be a conflict of equals. Or at least perceived equals. Conflicts where one side just bombs the #$@% out of the other doesn’t really drive anything except the amount in the expense column.

Maybe these things are cyclical. Progress is initially driven by conflict, for example the space race between the USA and USSR and when space exploration ground to almost to a complete stop because there is no enemy to motivate, capitalism stepped in to pick up the slack.

Of course, there may be an important caveat to all of this in so far as, the weapons we now have now are planet killers, so any further conflict may be, self defeating. Or not. Destroying the earth would likely motivate us to become a space born, interplanetary species. This may after all be, at this point, be inevitable.

Postscript. I don’t really want to sacrifice myself in some conflict so that future generations can have a better time of it. But I am generally appreciative of the sacrifice that previous generations have made (in terms of dying en masse) so that I could have a car, iPhone and internet. Thanks guys.