As I try-out my writing wheels (haven’t done this for a while) forgive me if I ease myself in. So for your consideration, a few things around the interwebs that have caught my eye:
- For starters, a really great piece contemplating- and naming- the manner in which class (or, better yet, “class war”) determines who is going to fight U.S. wars and who, well, doesn’t have to even think about it. Even better: the author reminds us of the Helots, a class of people in ancient Sparta who were more or less owned “by the public” and used as warriors and soldiers to fight and conquest and pillage on behalf of the elite of their day; and then the author goes on to suggest that today’s “all-volunteer military” represent a sort-of class-based version of the Helots.
- Somewhere back in time there I had come across, read, and meant to post here about a pretty good piece written from the libertarian left to the libertarian right (as embodied by the “Tea Party” protests). Of course, I never got that up, as my postings this past summer have been mostly limited to occasional youtube video’s and endless “geez, sorry I haven’t written anything lately” diaries. But now that same piece has been made available as a pdf for printing out the pamphlet yourself, which was an excellent reminder to me to direct your attention to the thing. I won’t say I’m with it 100%, but I think it’s well done, and definitely in a better direction than 97% of what “anarchists” put out, either on the web or in print.
- But speaking of the dribble anarchists put out there: another exception to that 97% I just mentioned in this piece, noting that the Nobel Prize in Economics not only was just awarded to a woman for the first time, but that her work largely validates and confirms what anarchists have been saying all along. Specifically, Elinor Ostrom was awarded the Nobel in Economics for her work challenging the notion that common property (“the commons”) is poorly managed and should either be regulated by central authorities or privatized. Ostrom’s findings- again, which just won her a Nobel prize in Economics- have been that when certain common sense principles are applied (for one, that everyone involved knows the parameters of usage) collective management of resources is much more efficient and beneficial to the population- and planet- as a whole.
- And speaking of collective ownership, it seems the beleaguered Fairpoint (owner of most- all?- the land-lines in Vermont) has finally filed for Chapter 11. Fairpoint’s take-over of the phone and internet infrastructure of the State (and New Hampshire and Maine) has been one of the biggest public utility disasters in quite some time. How to fix it? Either a user-owned or employee-owned model. Anything short will keep this headache spinning. Now if only the suits in the Statehouse had the balls for that move….
- Hello, VT Indy Media? Are you there? Content (and use) of that potentially great public resource has made my output on this site the past few months look like a comparison between the New York Times and the Montpelier Bridge. Please, someone, please take the helm there and get that site up and useful!
- Finally, some housekeeping. For starters, I’d just like to wonder out loud what the fuck was up with the unknown person who- on October 16- posted this comment on one of my pieces about the Republic Windows & Doors occupation- “how long is it going to take to get them workers back in”? My advice to that person: when scouring the web or the blogosphere, check the date of the piece you’re reading (in this case, it was dated February 28) before commenting. Come to think of it: the piece that comment was posted on was the piece noting that the plant was re-opening and all the former RW&D workers were being re-hired!!! My new advice to that commentator: don’t comment here anymore!
Also, one of the quickie posts I put up at some point recently was a blurb mentioning that VT Senator Bernie Sanders had done some kinda Q & A after a Burlington showing of Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, and I had merely mentioned that, hell, at least Bernie’s better than the rest of the Washington slime. I didn’t even go close to saying “Bernie’s great” or even “Bernie’s good”- let alone that I support the B.S. system that sends someone thousands of miles away to “represent” me and my interests- just that he’s better than the rest. Apparently, the high-priestom of radicalism didn’t like that, and I got a little wave of comments about how I’d gone astray and lecturing me about how well Bernie’s done off capitalism bla bla bla…. good grief guys, save it for your in-laws.
And lastly, at some point back there this little site got a ping-back from someone who I don’t know, but who apparently reads my musings every once in a while. Hey, they even called me “a fascinating guy”. Cool. Well, not necessarily, since that remark was at my identity as a libertarian-socialist, who this person says seems contradictory. So, to Carson, here, here, and this interesting nugget I just came across. Hope you enjoy.
But actually, that wasn’t what I wanted to bring-up about Carson’s post re:me. Carson does make a good point, concerning the flawed logic of “if you don’t support more funding for x, don’t complain if x doesn’t work perfect.” Where were the Dems regarding the War in Iraq on that one? But I think Carson likes rejecting the flaws of that argument too much, enough even to not be particularly clear. It’s true that something (in this case, a train) isn’t well or poorly run based solely on funding; however, the funding is nonetheless a significant factor. Period. You even say so yourself. I wasn’t quoting the commondreams piece as an example of exemplary reasoning and thorough analysis: just a sorta amusing tidbit (legislator who voted against DC Metro funding gets angry with DC Metro when trains don’t run on time), and it is a fine example of just what the piece called it: cognitive dissonance.
As per this final question that Carson poses: shouldn’t supposedly intelligent people be ashamed to habitually use immature smear terms to deride large groups of people (such as “teabagger”)? The answer to that question is NO. “Supposedly intelligent people” are just as likely, I’d assume, as supposedly un-intelligent people to make use of the structure (inherent as well as popular) of the language at hand. Groups of people who largely classify together are, more times than not, going to be associated with a term or name. “Immature smear terms” is a purely relativistic individual notion (many people use “anarchist” or “anarchy” as a smear term, I self-identify proudly as such). Generally, if one identifies or supports or is even sympathetic to a particular movement, idea, cause, notion, (etc) they’re going to pick and stick with a more positive generality (or “smear term”) while if not, well, then a more negative one. One of my favorite things about being human is that I’m endowed with both reasoned thought and emotional inclination. I don’t find any need- or use, come to think of it- of treating all of life with a lab-coat on and assigning academically neutral descriptors to everything I encounter or think about. I find even the people who think they do don’t do a very good job (for instance, trying getting such a supposedly neutral and rational and “fair” person to talk about something like religion or being in love- they can quite often be pretty dismissive or condescending). My point is immature smear terms are for all of us. I guess it’s just the degree with which they’re launched that tells us if we’re in a serious debate or not.