Monday, April 25, 2011

Wolf Hunting in Idaho and Montana

From the 4.24.11  LA Times ...

With my reply:

Oh my, how the winguts love to have an enemy. If it isn't some tinpot dictator, or a "communist" (Yeah, I know - they don't exist anymore, but only in the imagination of t-bags over 60), or some other nefarious enemy, like unions and teachers and social workers, then let's go after the wolves.
In reality, I suppose, predators need management, as do the elk, since we humans upset the balance of nature everywhere we live. 
But what tickles me, and saddens me, is the language used here - as if wolves were morally responsible for hunting for their lives, and the wellbeing of their young. Hello? To describe wolves as "vicious" is just plain comical; to describe wolves in moral terms, and attribute decisional values to them, is ludicrous. But when you want to kill something, you have to demonize it first. Or hear voices in your head, or something akin thereto. 
If there are viscious predators anywhere that need control, it's the gals and the guys who love to pull the trigger. A field-day for psychologists to watch these would be "pioneers," in search of personhood, and with way too much money and FOX news in their heads, mount up and go after the big bad wolves. Woo hoo ... the best damn sex they've had in years!

Friday, April 22, 2011

In response to this article, my friend Pat Garvey wrote the following piece, and with her permission, I offer it to you:

Oh, Tom, that is such a depressing article, and I believe it's true. Anyone who thinks the US is exceptional in a positive way these days is an arrogant fool. Those days are long gone. The American Dream has always been to get rich quick and then get richer. Was it always based on greed, like it is now? Get rich and powerful and to hell with the weak, stupid "little people"?

How can we claim superiority when we can't even give our kids a decent education? High schools are turning out graduates who can't write or do math, and just forget about science. We have become a culture where education is not valued. What's important? Sports. Entertainment. Celebrities. 15 minutes of fame. Electronic gadgets. Consumerism. We are overweight and lazy. We are in a terrible mess, and are so divided, I don't know if we can ever get out of it.

"America has been and continues to be exceptional. At first we were exceptional because of circumstances that conferred on us enormous advantages over other nations. Today we are exceptional because of our culture, a culture born of our unusually fortunate history and now perhaps the single biggest handicap to our collective survival and prosperity in the less favorable circumstances of the 21st century."

Monday, April 18, 2011

The South Has Won the Civil War (of Ideas)

The April 17, 2011 New York Times takes a close look at the GOP's effort to redesign the American landscape, or as I put it, to undo everything done by FDR and liberal northeastern establishment.

Is this really the death of kindness in America?

When it comes to the social compact, it's clearly the death of kindness.

On a personal level, any of the current GOP conservative leaders might be good and decent and even kindly. But the failure is occurring at the point of the COMMON good; the conservative world has always focused on the power of the individual to rise and shape her world; this is intensified in evangelical circles where salvation is a "personal" thing and everyone has to find his or her own "personal relationship with Jesus."

In many ways, the conservative view of America is still a reflection of small southern communities out of which this philosophy grows: rugged individualism, charity (but not social change), religion that's deeply personal and emotional (if it's emotional, then it must be good), small government, low taxes, anti-union sentiments (because unions are socialistic and deny individual initiative and freedom) and social division along the lines of race (determined by God) - as long as a person of color got off the sidewalk, even the lowest of the whites enjoyed class privilege.

The failure of evangelical christianity is its loss of the social heart of Scripture - we are our "brother's keeper." The New Testament is read through spiritualized eyes, translating everything into spiritual principles, thus avoiding the social context in which the New Testament was written.

The medieval church did much the same thing, turning Jesus into a savior, to avoid his ethics, and preserve the social order of the day. Victorian England and its opposition to Darwin was aimed at preserving the social order of landed gentry and the working poor; anything that suggested change was anathema to the church and its patrons, the aristocracy.

The current philosophy of the GOP is an image of the ante-bellum south. With huge migrations of people form the Deep South and West South, all of this was brought to SoCal and the West Coast in the 20th Century - it supported Goldwater's failed campaign, reworked itself and give us Nixon and Reagan, and has since revitalized southern politics and touched the heart of many Americans in the midwest and far west. The movement remains determined to undo the America created by FDR - a "welfare state" and unions, gov't regulation and appropriate taxation, along with a strong middle class. All of this is "the enemy."

As I put it, the South won the Civil War of ideas! And the current GOP has embodied these ideas perfectly!