BUSH CREATES MORE PROBLEMS THAN HE SOLVES
Jump back to December of last year and to a column by Allan Sloan in NEWSWEEK: “Bush talked about Social Security’s being a $10.4 trillion problem.... But the shortfall in Bush’s Medicare drug program is $17 trillion. In other words, the problem that Bush himself created a year ago is two thirds again as large as Social Security’s problem.” Further on in his essay, Sloan says “... you can put the program [S.S.] back on course with a few tweaks.”
Sloan’s not the first American to believe that we can “tweak” S.S. back to health. For one thing, it would be so simple to rescind some of the tax breaks for the ever increasingly richest Americans.
THE LAW AIN’T GOD’S
“The modern Western concept of a legal code is not a list of unassailable divine edicts but a rationally contrived evolving compilation of statutes, shaped by fallible human beings in council, to realize rationally recognized social... aims. We understand that our laws are not divinely ordained....” (MYTHS TO LIVE BY, Joseph Campbell, p. 91)
Well, at least some of us Americans do understand that. Others, lost in Bibleland, don’t.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, THROW A SONG AT IT
CONSILIENCE, Wilson, p. 225: “The dominating influence that spawned the arts was the need to impose order on the confusion caused by intelligence.
To Wilson, the arts, “Because of the slowness of natural selection , which requires tens or hundreds of generations to substitute new genes for old, there was not enough time for human heredity to cope with the vastness of new contingent possibilities revealed by high intelligence. Algorithms [procedures to solve problems] could be built, but they weren’t numerous and precise enough to respond automatically and optimally to every possible event.... The arts filled the gap.”
The human mind contains all the answers. It is the problem and the answer all in one, and no appeal to forces or a force outside ourselves will do any good to explain our modern situation. No force is out there to save os or harm us. That is the primary lesson to be leaned before we move on to better things.
The arts create, Wilson says further on, “order and meaning from the seeming chaos of daily existence.” It also nourishes “our craving for the mystical.”
WHO MINISTERS TO VIOLENCE?
In 1964 three Northerners (Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman) who were in Mississippi to help register black voters were tortured and murdered by Klansmen who buried them. Today’s Spokesman Review (Jan. 7, 2005) reveals that an arrest has been made in the murder case and Klansman and minister Edgar Ray Killen jailed.
The operative word here is “minister”. Sometimes I doubt that many Americans who claim “spiritual values” truly know how brutal and backward, fascist actually, many Southern religious figures were and still are. In fact the leadership of Oral Robert’s University where racism is still rampant are ministers. And Cal Thomas, who calls for America to use torture to interrogate prisoners claims to be a spiritual man. The examples are too numerous to list. So, when I hear all these religious people claim to have superior values to us atheists, I can only laugh nervously.
CHIANG KAI-SHEK. WHO RECALLS?
Reading about Chiang Kai-shek in my Adlai Stevenson bio., about Quemoy, Matsu and Formosa, I remember those days and how easily I accepted how “good” this tyrannical general for democracy was as he heroically opposed the nasty, Communist Mao. I recall stories about the prosperous island of Formosa compared to the horrible conditions in mainland China. All propaganda.
I was surprised to learn that another Republican general met secretly with Stevenson to inform him about the tyrannical Chiang. Adlai reported the conversation to the American ambassador, but, of course, nothing was or could be done about it. How often Republicans are willing to team up with dictators to help their causes! Still, my main point here is my own gullibility when I was a young whippersnapper.
“Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes.” —Oswald Spengler [What an interesting thought!]