It was a little slow last night and I had a fairly involved argument during breaks with a coworker. The issues encompassed politics, ethics, morality, etc. Since most of my coworkers are almost all extremely conservative I normally would never get into it with them but this person is the one exception and is not happy with the right. We agreed on many issues but fell out on a couple and I gave it my best shot to bring him around to a more progressive view. I think I might have actually changed his opinion on a few things. So I have been thinking about it and going through a particularly interesting lecture by Jordan Peterson in search of some deeper understanding.
Any progressives will scoff and hammer me for this because Peterson is demonized by the left. I have had to accept what I consider an unjust and flawed characterization in this case and just move on as I am a fan of both Peterson and Sam Harris. Ironically Peterson and Harris do not agree with each other while the left dislikes both of them. Looking at the YouTube comments for both of these videos the progressives present as spiteful and arrogant. Self-identifying as a progressive myself I don’t like this but it is not a perfect world and that is an important lesson in itself.
That we do not live in a perfect world was a big part of the discussion with my coworker last night. Concerning Peterson and Harris, both have a narrow perspective on the same thing and come across (to me at least) as the blind men describing the elephant. In the third YouTube video below I believe what Peterson is describing perfectly is Neoliberalism. However, he seems to think that Atheism and the views of Sam Harris are the better example of how a non-existent moral compass operates.
A very divisive issue in American society is gun control. And last night I begged to differ with my coworker on his opinion of “ultra-liberals” being idiots concerning guns and he cited anti-gun relations visiting and harsh words being exchanged. Knowing I have guns and carry a gun all the time (he does not carry) he expected me to agree with him and was surprised when I told him my opinion of assault rifles. My coworker does own an AR-15 rifle and, as with many men, has a deep emotional attachment to it. I understand why…it is the apex predator of firearms and psychologically represents great power (even though they are not that expensive- what a deal!). It is the equivalent of a very expensive sports car as guns go. I shocked him when I bluntly stated private citizens should not own these military grade weapons which allow a person to kill other people at a rate of about one hundred per minute. Maybe not a hundred a minute but it is a good way to address exactly how lethal these weapons are. Regarding 30 shot semi-auto rifles and 15 shot semi-auto pistols overkill is an understatement.
Hi-capacity magazines allow a single deranged shooter to do what no militia-man with a muzzle-loading flintlock could do in 1776. Carrying a half dozen magazines a person can kill many people in a very short time. Nobody can argue what I just wrote is not 100% accurate and true. In the time it took to load a weapon for a single shot when the second amendment was written a hundred aimed shots can be fired from a AR-15 with no problem at all. A rifle makes this easy but a pistol can also be almost as effective if the shooter has had enough practice and can get close enough. My coworker was unhappy with me stating nobody should own such weapons and I responded with my best argument which was nobody needs to kill dozens of people who are attacking in a human wave. It is just not going to happen except in a zombie movie. “They might as well make hand grenades legal” which is not a great argument but horse shoe close.
The example often given in defense of military grade weaponry is the Korean store owners in the LA riots of 1992. On top of their stores with their rifles the approaching mobs saw them and went elsewhere. The problem of course is when that mob intent on taking what you have also has firearms. The other go-to is “if the Jews had guns the Nazis would not have been able to exterminate them.” This is one of those big lies that gets told so often alongside “global warming is a hoax” and “trickle down economics actually works.” The biggest lies of all are told in the interests of keeping the secret: the politicizing of anything and everything is done to divert attention from the forever war the rich wage to avoid taxes. Everything from health care to the environment to social issues is, in the end, all about avoiding paying taxes. Simple.
The very best weapon those few who have acquired most of the existing wealth in this world have to keep their treasure safe is not firearms but simply lying. The manipulation of the unwashed masses is the only tactic keeping the guillotines from coming out.
In the final analysis the best weapon for the common man and woman is to be able to think critically. http://www.criticalthinking.org// Given accurate reporting of factual information and those several thousand year old rules of logically evaluating what is presented even people with a mediocre average I.Q. like me can figure out what is going on in the world. As long as money rules politics and the propaganda game is played with millions of dollars paid out to minions and talking heads to influence the public then eventually the cycle of empire will prevail and the whole scam will collapse. And then heads will roll. Humankind can no longer afford this rise and fall in crash after crash.
For progressives the first goal is to enact campaign finance reform. They know exactly what will happen when donor and lobbyist money is no longer allowed to corrupt the system and within a few years, as the bought dogs are voted out, those who presently own everything will find themselves redistributing most of that bread to the peasants. And they will be happy to avoid losing their heads. I would suggest to my fellow progressives it would be worthwhile to reconcile with those embracing firearm culture in the United States and this is not a difficult matter at all.
Meanwhile (as Stephen Colbert says), the media boot-licking millionaire talking head minions of the billionaire class robotically weave their way through a daily mission of deceiving the unwashed masses (and usually themselves). Far down the food chain out in the real world sociopath middle managers scheme to screw over the employees and enrich their employers while doing as little as possible (it is a difficult balancing act). And those at the top….do what? I don’t really know what their semi-divine existence consists of. Perhaps some of them put in 12 hour days while others play golf most of the time. Who knows? What I do know is most Americans are not living “The American Dream.”
My right wing coworkers have several times grimly asked me, “do you believe in America?”, or something similar, whenever I mention the cost of medical care, school debt, climate change, and taxing the rich.
I have once or twice tried to explain The New Deal and how it culminated in my father, who was a mechanic, providing for his large family, and how greed separated those two lines on the graph. But their eyes just kind of go glassy on me and I stopped doing that.
If this is the most important graph to show to “average” Americans, the most important one for space enthusiasts is this one:
In other words, those fortunate enough to make 15 dollars an hour should be making over 30 for a minimum wage and the “middle class”, which is disappearing, should be making those 30 dollar an hour jobs hard to find and making over 50 an hour. Really. Progressive taxation is the rich paying for their work force making them rich. Right now the rich are stealing from the rest of us- they are the criminals. They avoid responsibility by lying and blaming everything on…the poor. In regards to space we should be spending most of the defense budget on turning the Moon into a factory site. Instead of mediocre hobby rockets taking off once a week to spew space junk into Earth orbit we should have Super Heavy Lift Vehicles (SHLV’s) going to the Moon.
Only a state sponsored program like the Panama Canal and the Hoover Dam can expand humankind into the solar system. Only Space Solar Power created by a cislunar infrastructure can solve global warming and end poverty. NewSpace is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. Worse than both shuttle disasters.
It does not have to be a perfect world for our species to survive. It just has to be a better one.