Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Opportunist

I’m rewatching Battlestar Galactica with Stevie (well, she’s watching it for the first time) and it’s made me think about recent events. For instance, there’s a scene where the people are rioting on a ship. They send in untrained people, with guns, to deal with the ground and people get shot. The culpability lies with the commander for the error. So, let’s not get caught up in people vs. police.

Secondly, I really like Gaius Baltar as a character. He shows an incredible survival instinct. He’s not a very morally admirable creature, but he manages to stay alive throughout big changes. When I first watched the show, I really identified with Lee, but I liked Tigh and Gaius as interesting characters. Anyway, what I’m wondering is if I should be more like Gaius. Or rather: What if the revolution fails?

I know, it’s a leap to even say there’s a revolution going on. There may or may not be. It’s like a recession. You won’t really know until things are all fucked up. There’s a good likelihood it can fail. People aren’t organized well. The police have become increasingly militarized, so it’s easier to stop the people. Those in power have been able to act with impunity, so it’s unsurprising if things get more violent but they win.

Now, there are degrees of freedom. Cicero died because he loved the Republic, but people lived pretty well under the Empire. Not every tyranny is a police state. If there’s a revolution (or a lesser degree of it), there are questions to consider: How much freedom can I lose? Can the revolution succeed?

If it can’t succeed, it may be smarter just to keep one’s mouth shut. If we keep the status quo, things aren’t that bad for me. And even in China, many people live decent lives.

Just Stuff

I’ve been battling with AT&T the past week. They shut off my internet and I couldn’t get it back on. I finally canceled my service after tech support hung up on me. In retrospect, I think cancellations should be the second call I make — that’s probably the best way to escalate your ticket.

Last Saturday, as I’m watching football, my TV suddenly shuts off. So, now my TV is broken and I have no internet. I’m glad my friends were able to make do with watching a DVD on my friends laptop.

Oh and I lost my fantasy football QB for the year. So, I’ve got Tebow in one league (glad no one picked him up after I dropped him) and Palmer in another league (a bye week solution becomes a permanent solution).

All in all, not a great week. But in my head, I wanted to label it one of the worst weeks ever.

It wasn’t, though. I’ve lived without TV before. I’ve lived without internet at my place before. I had to walk to Starbucks to use the internet, or use it at work, but it wasn’t as if some great injustice had been done to me. I’m paying a little bit more for Comcast now. My TV is still under warranty, and I still have a working old TV.

Yet even if this stuff wasn’t easily replaced, it’s still only stuff. I don’t need any of it. It’s good to be reminded of that. Or rather, I need to make an effort to remind myself of it more frequently (not just from time to time). It’s just stuff. It doesn’t matter.

Time to Write

I guess there are a million reasons why I don’t write in this blog as often, and I can examine all of them, but most of the things I list will be excuses. The real reason is that I simply don’t make the time to sit down in front of the computer and let thoughts flow through my brain, into my fingers, pass through the keyboard, and land on the blog. I simply don’t make the time. Now, should I make the time? Yes, because I’ve been letting myself coast instead of truly examining my thoughts and behavior. I must live an examined life, so to speak. So, let’s take the time to think about things, even if my thoughts aren’t perfect.

I believe the Occupy movement is rather important — not just now, but in a historical sense. I’ve been reading Glenn Greenwald’s new book, and I’m getting angry about things I had let myself forget. (Why did I forget about telco immunity after illegal wiretapping? Probably a lack of agency, but that’s just an excuse.) His book shows how the elite escape the justice system in America. The US is controlled by an oligarchy, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but it becomes bad when these rulers aren’t constrained by the rule of law. Who is in this oligarchy? Government, corporate leaders, media? Because of the revolving door, there’s no meaningful distinction here. They’re all the same people, switching from job to job. So, when people argue about the blame in the financial crisis, whether it was government or corporate greed, it doesn’t really matter which is which because the people in both worlds are the same people. The Occupy movement is important because this is the first popular uprising against the financial elite. They control our government and act with impunity. They must be stopped. They are the 1% that are being talked about.

I don’t know if our government needs radical reform. I’m inclined to think that it doesn’t. One of the problems with monarchy is that it requires the right people — and more often than not, you’ll have the wrong people. I don’t know that democracy solves this problem. You still need the right people in power. (Plus, you need the rule of law.) So, I think rather than thinking about reform, it is essential to take out the people currently holding power. I won’t necessarily agree with the new people, but all I want is a respect for the rule of law and a hatred for the old rulers. Part of this will involve voting people out. We must also disinvest in evil companies, or at least demand better CEO’s. We must break the current political parties. We must turn off cable news. A revolution needs to sweep the oligarchy from power.

There is another thing we can do, which is rather controversial: Resort to violence. It’s odd to find myself ambivalent about violence. So, I’ll talk through the reasons for violence. The fact is that the bankers are guilty of fraud and bringing down the economy. Instead of facing justice for crimes, they got big bonuses. Bullshit. If you go back a hundred years and further, these people would have been tarred, feathered, and run out of town. Perhaps justice can be done — if the mob carries it out instead of the courts. Oddly enough, when I discuss this with people — suggesting that instead of setting up encampments or protesting, the aggrieved burn down mansions, my suggestions face less pushback than I would expect. People seem less afraid of the idea than I do myself.

The only thing holding me back is that I wouldn’t do this myself. I couldn’t actually lead a mob, hold a torch, and light someone’s house on fire — even after all the nasty things they’ve done. Thus, I can’t put my money where my mouth is. So, I have no business advocating what I wouldn’t do myself. I hope that this sentiment comes from an inner civility and conscience, not from a lack of courage.

I can still promote all the things I mentioned earlier. I still want these people punished. I want their reputations tattered and their power taken away. I want them disgraced. And, once that has happened, I want their crimes prosecuted.

I don’t believe it will fix all our problems, but I do believe it is a good start in restoring the rule of law and restoring power to the people of America.

Where to share

Before facebook and twitter, if I saw something on the internet that I wanted someone else to see, I’d put it on this blog. Now, my audience has migrated to facebook, and I’m not sure who reads this blog anymore. But I want to write! And fb and twitter aren’t so great at that. So here I am, back at this blog. And I’ll be back tomorrow.