Thursday, March 22, 2007

de re Cogito

Amazingly, this post is not about boating.

Before I start, I'm so pleased to find out someone somewhere has actually gotten some useful information from this blog. Even to the point of contacting me (in what I have to assume is a state of partial disbelief). Thanks! I sure hope I've helped more than one person, but it's a start! It's so cool!

One of the most amazing things about getting older is that wisdom really does increase! Clearly, the ability to use that wisdom is limited on one end by youth and the other by senility (or death). So now that I'm in that narrow band of life where my thoughts are actually meaningful, I will share some with you now.

The first thought that forms a foundation for almost all that follows is this: Original thought is very rare, indeed. Almost anything you can think about, any opinion you can form, and situation you can imagine, has been already thought about, formed, or imagined already. Who can be accused of original thinking? Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, and Einstein are examples. Why not Darwin? Because he had contemporaries who had similar ideas - he just published first.

That said, perhaps something I have to present will be, if not original, original to you.

I was having dinner with two of my very close friends the other evening in a nice Cajun restaurant in New York City (9th Ave and 48th Street) when we started to discuss politics. One friend, Don, indicated that finally, the country is swinging more towards the Democrats and that we'll see more liberalism in the coming years. All would be well again.

I agreed, certainly because it's obvious, but posited that even though Bush will be out of office, there will be left on the law books 'hooks' as a result of the War Powers Act that allowed the current administration to wiretap without a warrant (illegally in my view), start the Department of Homeland Security, and incarcerate people who may be terrorists, but who also may not be , without proof or legal status, and the various other procedures put in place using the umbrella of the aforementioned act.

What will these 'hooks' mean to us? Sadly, it will mean that some politician, political action committee (PAC), subversive group or lawyer will use a hook to further their own cause to the detriment of 'the people'.

Not originally, I will predict a horrible economic downturn (or failure) when the true cost of the war in Iraq is known and the current administration is out of office. The 2008 elections almost guarantee a short term for Democrats in that they will have the helm when the economy does collapse.

America is tottering on the point of no longer belonging to Americans. The national debt has almost risen to an amount such that our taxes pay the debt service and little else. It is not too far in the future that that will be the case.

Other nations, such as China, are investing huge amounts in the United States. They are providing the loans to cover our costs (think of China as the MasterCard of the United States Government).

In the meantime, although I'm not opposed to a centralized intelligence and policing agency, the Department of Homeland Security has been given responsibility and power that is only a short step to the kind of power the SS had in World War II Germany. If that sounds alarmist, it should. The DHS can arrest and hold people, including American citizens without warrant or cause, without legal counsel and without limit. So far, that power has not been abused too much, but that's a policy thing, I suspect.

Finally, think about this: If you want to control a populace the best way to do so is to 1. keep them ignorant, and 2. limit their access to information.

So far, the Bush administration has gone to great lengths to push "No Child Left Behind", which is an idiotic idea to begin with because it puts social needs before educational needs, and puts a drag on educational funds that the Federal Government is not making up (as promised). So schools are between a rock and a hard spot.

There is also no societal appreciation for education. Parents relinquish their responsibility to the schools but not the authority. The net result is that students are not getting an education, and even worse, they are not learning to think critically.

Second, 'the media' is typically owned by mega-corporations who value profit over information. If you want to find out what is happening in the world, listen to the BBC or NPR or PBS. If you want to find out what's become of Anna Nicole Smith's baby, watch the major news outlets. You cannot get a good picture of what's happening with any of the all news stations (MSNBC, CNN, or Fox News) because they all have an agenda. Often one beyond making money.

Incidentally, the Bush administration has been driving Congress to reduce public funds for National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting.

At the beginning of television, news was considered a non-profit public service. Now it's a profit center just like any of the various shows. So the only news that is shown is the news that titillates. One minute of a judge taking a bribe, five minutes of Brittany Spears' bizarre behavior. The biggest news of the last week was bad pet food. Not the hundreds or thousands of people murdered in the Darfur conflict.

So, an ignorant and arrogant administration, lack of education, lack of information and a lack of critical thinking heralds the beginning of the end of the Republic. When the population is credulous and tractable it is ripe for control. And that's where we're heading.

Well, this is my annual rant, I suppose. The season is starting and I have to get the boat ready. This weekend is my Masters License course (with towing and sailing endorsements). Yah! I'll report on that.

In the meantime, I'll see you on the water!

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