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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
September 14, 2014

"Orwellian"...I do not think it means what you think it means.

Warning: A pompous, long-winded, rambling exposition on abstract literary themes follows.

Pop quiz: What is the single most prominent cautionary theme in George Orwell's "1984"?

If you consume pop culture, news media, and have had a political conversation in the past few decades, you might easily say "The danger of a surveillance state." After all, you only ever hear the word "Orwellian" used to describe surveillance. In which case you would be totally, hopelessly wrong.

Saying that "1984" is a warning about surveillance would be like saying that "Dune" is a warning about sand: It's just part of the background setting, not the core concept of the literature. In fact, Orwell makes it painfully obvious what his novel is about: The corruption of language in service to power, particularly the direct inversion of meanings, perceptions, and thoughts under the coercion of fear.

Calling a pacifist political protester a "terrorist" is Orwellian. Using networked cameras to spy on them and collect information in a thousand different ways is just dickish and sinister, perhaps "Kafkaesque." And the former is a lot more dangerous and monstrous than the latter because it attacks the very foundations of human morality - basic respect for the truth and for the independent existence of reality beyond power.

The novel's antagonist, O'Brien, describes this in a long and demonic diatribe explaining that there is no truth or morality outside the will of power, and power is merely the capacity and will to destroy and inflict pain. By this thinking he can "magically" make 2 + 2 = 5 by inspiring such terror in his torture victims that they sincerely believe whatever they're told, even if it's a logical contradiction.

This concept of Orwell's - his definition of power as resting fundamentally in conscious Absolute Lies and Satanic moral inversions - is still so radical that it's not actually surprising that culture even today hasn't managed to digest it, and instead focuses on superficial trivia in the book. One might even see something unconsciously malevolent in the evasion, since it's heavily promoted in politics that "Orwellian" has something to do with surveillance rather than being about lies and torture. And the deflection is illustrated in the relative intensity of activism opposed to the NSA vs. things like police violence, racial profiling, torturous prisons, etc. etc. It's a distortion of priorities and understanding of where the everyday assaults on freedom come from.

Of course an Orwellian state uses pervasive surveillance, but the explicit technology is pretty much irrelevant: The Byzantine Empire was an Orwellian state a thousand years before the existence of any surveillance technology more advanced than networks of paid informants. The science of human degradation was taken to absurd extremes in many eras of this kingdom, even by Dark Age standards - torture was considered an exalted profession that could "correct" internal flaws in belief, not merely be used as a punishment or method of extracting information. Meanwhile, Britain - panopticon of thoroughly networked cameras and a totally unaccountable police state behind them - is, to all accounts, still a relatively pleasant and free place to live, just beset with crooks in uniforms lurking in the bushes as it were.

We can somewhat just hand-wave the distinction as the difference between authoritarianism and totalitarianism - one being the petty, ordinary police state tactics of pervasive surveillance and arbitrary enforcement, and the other being rooted in Orwellianism as described (or what the book calls "doublethink" - oscillating between mutually exclusive views of reality depending on which is convenient to power at any given moment). One can easily crop up through entropy and institutional decay (it's always easier to just increase the numerical density of information than to increase the intelligence with which information is processed), but the other requires sustained, malicious effort by a radical and hate-driven political agenda.

That was something I first noticed about George W. Bush when he came to (read: seized) power - he inverted the plain meanings of words. I don't just mean he abused them or used them in corrupt ways - I mean he used them to mean their perfect opposites. The same was with Rupert Murdoch's media empire behind him, most obviously Fox News. In "1984," the motto of the totalitarian state is "War is Peace. Slavery is Freedom. Ignorance is Strength."

This was literally the ideological basis of Bush's extra-legal shadow state, pieces of which continue under more rationalized and (speciously) legalistic terms. But in the Bush era itself, there were no laws - he (or more often Cheney) spoke, and the instruments of power obeyed, and anyone in the government who didn't obey and couldn't be fired was simply ignored and/or savaged in the monolithic media.

Which isn't to say there were no limits to the power of that "constitutional interregnum state" 2001-2009, but all limits were practical in nature rather than based on laws or human moral principles: If they couldn't force people to obey something, most often they just didn't try. But if they could, no written law, international treaty, or post-WW2 human rights principle written in stone would stop them, and they would rub it in the faces of the world, O'Brien-style, that they wielded this power and no one could stop them. They took clear pleasure in the telling of bald-faced lies that no one subordinate to their media organs would dare challenge, just to wallow in the impunity of it. Most of us recall that sneering loon who gleefully ridiculed the weakness of Democrats for our "reality-based politics" - a concept they all made clear they considered nonsensical and beneath contempt. That was Orwellian.

The old bully refrain of "Quit hittin' yerself" is Orwellian. The Putin regime taking perverse, Lynchian pleasure in making up the most preposterous stories imaginable for its naked crimes is Orwellian (thousands of Russian soldiers in tanks took a vacation into Eastern Ukraine and accidentally massacred Ukrainian troops and civilians, took over their territory, and are holding that territory for, uh, environmental reasons, har-har). The Kremlin's position that every scrap of land on Earth with a single Russian speaker on it is sovereign Russian territory because Dear Leader says so, but people who fight back and elect leaders who don't do what the Kremlin says are "fascists"...Orwellian.

It's just a word, but it's a word with a powerful concept that arms freedom-loving people who understand it to resist tyrants who otherwise seem to wield magical mind-control powers over both their followers and enemies. An Orwellian person hijacks and mimics the system of communication that binds human beings together, uses it to divide, sow fear and dissension among their enemies, sabotage and sap the will to oppose them, and make their followers into zombies (or at least turn mindless jerks who are already zombies into a well-organized horde thereof). And an Orwellian state doesn't merely lie because it's convenient (that's pretty much all states) - it lies because the individuals in power are clinically psychotic and take personal pleasure in the act of lying, and do so even when it's counterproductive to their agenda.

Plus, you know, reading comprehension...it's annoying when people abuse literature.

September 13, 2014

Getting sick and tired of the New Dark Ages everywhere I turn.

Everywhere I go, it's more prudent to be silent than potentially inflame some maniac's sensibilities.

It's thought more civil and sensible to not speak than to say something that might be taken wrong.

Considered the mark of thoughtfulness to have no ideas than to have controversial ones.

More responsible to do nothing at all than to invoke the attention of misanthropic nihilists.

It's not even enough to think before you represent yourself, because the possible ways to piss someone off are now so vast and complex you can't possibly imagine all of them in advance.

You have to fucking hide like a rat to not be targeted.

You have to shut your mouth to not be shouted down.

You have to not be seen at all for your very existence to not be resented and snarled at.

In every little nook and cranny is some rule being violated by the fact that you breathe.

Under every branch is an agenda no one bothers to tell you about, but will be shoved down your throat if you run afoul of it.

If you make a habit of having and expressing ideas, you will be constantly blind-sided by crazed factions attacking you out of nowhere, for reasons you can't comprehend, and they treat your puzzlement as proof of guilt.

Byzantine mobs driven to bigoted frenzy by the controversies existing only in their heads.

The difference of a vowel divides the Holy and the Heretical.

And the most hated treason of all is common sense and common humanity.

How does one deal with unconscious degenerates without just sinking into their noise?

September 12, 2014

Space Opinions Survey

The following is not a scientific survey - I'm simply curious how people feel.

1. Should the NASA budget be higher, lower, or stay the same?

2. How high do you think the NASA budget should be? Feel free to express in whatever terms you please - exact dollars, % of budget, or % of GDP.

3. Should NASA place a higher priority on manned spaceflight or unmanned robotic probes?

4. What prorportion of the budget would you assign to manned spaceflight vs. unmanned robotic probes, leaving out other priorities?

5 Should NASA play a leading role in Earth-observation, or should that be the domain of other, more specially-focused institutions?

6. Should solar observation be placed under the purview of NOAA, since solar dynamics have a direct and immediate impact on daily terrestrial life while NASA's interest is more abstract and scientific?

7. What priority should exploring each of the solar's systems worlds have in sequence?

8. Should these priorities be different for manned space exploration? How so?

9. Beyond the Moon and Mars, where should human beings visit next, and why?

10. What is an acceptable death rate for manned space exploration, from a public perspective that won't directly face the risks?

11. What is the death risk you would find acceptable if you personally were to undertake space exploration?

12. Would it be be justifiable to increase the NASA budget with a tax increase of some kind? Would you be willing to pay such a tax increase? What is the maximum rate increase you would accept?

13. At what point is space safe enough for children?

14. Where do you want to go?

15. What places do you feel have the most significant future hitstory in a spacefaring civilization?

16. What kind of governments do you think will arise in various places of the solar system?

September 8, 2014

A Conservative Shitizens' Guide to Civics

The 10 core political principles by which conservatives live:

1. Taxpayer money going to anyone other than the rich is Socialism.

2. Taxpayer money being denied to the rich is the worst kind of Socialism.

3. The only racism lies in seeing racism in anyone other than its victims.

4. The only treason lies in seeing treason in anyone other than its targets.

5. Freedom is the impunity of the powerful to enslave the weak.

6. Slavery is imposing equal rights on those who consider themselves gods.

7. Morality is making up excuses for doing whatever you want while finding infinite fault in your prey.

8. Democracy is the process by which dollars vote for their representatives.

9. A family is a man and his list of possessions.

10. A country is a king and his list of possessions.

September 7, 2014

Why Texans Dress Like Cowboys

Something has always bothered me about the State of Texas - and I mean something more subtle than the naked fascism, Orwellian moral inversion, and Satanic cruelty that are otherwise synonymous with it. It's something most people never think about or mention, because it seems so innocuous: In Texas, it's considered normal (i.e., not at all insane) for fully-grown adults to dress like people from the 19th century (cowboys) on days that aren't Halloween and in places other than a ComicCon.

Moreover, they don't do this in a whimsical, being-weird-is-cool sort of hipster way, but in the same way you decide to wear a t-shirt and jeans, as if they have no comprehension that this is utterly bizarre and out of whack with reality. See, there's a word for cowboy clothes in the 21st century: Costume. These countless people walk around their communities and jobs wearing a costume - one denoting a profession they don't have, have never had, and never intend to have - and no one sees anything awkward or cock-eyed about it.

And their motive is readily identifiable, as far as it goes: They see the cowboy costume as an expression of cultural identity. But let's think about that in the context of the rest of the United States of America - who else does this? Do millions of Californians walk around dressed like 1840s gold miners?

Can't say I've seen a lot of these guys in daily life in 21st century California:


Have you seen many of these guys on the streets of Miami lately:


And, of course, Massachusetts is just swarming with these:


Can't even throw a brick without hitting someone dressed like this in Chicago:


And good ole New York, with its vast and deep cultural history, surely its streets in the 21st century are swarming with these guys:


Seen many 18th century French fur trappers lately in Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, etc.? Do people walk around Minnesota dressed like 19th century Scandinavians?

If we go worldwide, one would expect to find Tokyo full of people dressed either partially or completely like Edo samurai; the streets of London brimming with medieval peasant garb; France with Merovingian Franks; and normal people in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden going about their everyday lives in Viking battle armor with not a single askance look cast in their direction.

But of course, that doesn't happen, because pretty much everywhere on Earth with a developed economy, people dress like the century they're in. Because their culture is not batshit insane. They might put on a traditional outfit for ceremonial holidays, but that's it. And within the United States, even that is pretty rare.

And it isn't like Texas is generally open-minded to all forms of anachronism: People would definitely stare if you walked around Dallas looking like a Roman centurion or a medieval knight. In fact, it isn't even really an option to dress like any other period from Texas' own history. Looking like Davy Crockett would be extremely conspicuous. And dressing like someone from after the cowboy era, like say the 1920s, would also be extremely conspicuous.

No: Texas has simply chosen this costume to aggressively express its sense of group identity, which no other place in the country does. So you wear boots evolved for horse riding even though you've never even touched a horse, put on that douchebaggy, facepunch-worthy hat designed to protect a person from the elements on the Open Range even though you live in suburbia and work in an office, and that's considered normal, everyday, non-psychiatric-referral behavior.

Is it Texas' massive inferiority complex that clings to every superficial method of holding itself apart, desperately highlighting even the flimsiest, most fictionalized idea of past cultural merit to contrast with the ugly reality of its character repeated over, and over, and over in modern American history?

See, Texas never thought much of cowboys when they actually existed in any numbers. Why would they? Cowboys were poor (and we know what Texas thinks of poor people). They were also overwhelmingly Mexicans and blacks (and we know how Texas feels about them too) - nothing more than bottom-rung hired hands from the underclasses doing shitty work in a time before the minimum wage. They were basically hobos with a few skills, drifting from one area to the next and one greedy, sociopathic employer to the next.

But now the useless nth-generation spawn of the landowners walk around in plastic facsimiles of what they imagine their former serfs wore, pretending to possess the idealized virtues they fantasize were created in their ancestors' victims by the terrible circumstances imposed on them. They try to turn the ugly, degrading, sadistic reality of their state's cultural roots into some kind of noble mythology that makes them noble by association - a fantasy past they can channel by partly or fully wearing Halloween costumes year-round.

Nowhere in America is free from ugly history, and nowhere is entirely free from self-gratifying illusions, but nowhere other than Texas in this country is such an impenetrable thicket of neurotic cultural perversions, destructive lies, and ass-backwards attitudes to every single thing in life. Dressing like 1950s Western TV characters in normal life is just one of the more bizarre and conspicuous signals of that general asshattery.

September 6, 2014

TV Shows I'd Like to See

Just some idle thoughts about TV shows / miniseries I'd like to see:

1. (The complete) Rome. HBO/BBC did a superb job with its all-of-2-season show "Rome," so I was disappointed when it ended. I want that series to be resurrected and to live up to its lofty title. I want to see pretty much all of Roman history represented, from a realistic interpretation of the Romulus myth all the way to the Ottoman Turks taking Constantinople. Don't care how much it would cost or how long it would take to play out. And I want every single minute to be as historically accurate as it's humanly possible to be and still make an engaging drama.

2. Qin. Entire history of Imperial China from deepest historical roots all the way to The Last Emperor, just like the Rome series I suggest. (My interest has been peaked by reading in more depth about the Opium Wars, and about the imperial exam system - fascinating stuff)

2. The Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars). Epic science fiction literature, would be perfect for an epic TV miniseries in the current golden age - and represents an awe-inspiring but still totally realistic vision of medium-term future events. Could probably hit up SpaceX for sponsorships or something.

4. Foundation series. I have no clue why this still has never been adapted. Such an epic work, and yet hardly the kind that's opaque enough to make showing it visually difficult.

5. Peloponnesus. Epic miniseries depicting the Peloponnesian War, based on the contemporary historical work of Thucydides. Brilliant, fascinating stuff. It was like an ancient, smaller-scale version of the Cold War and the World Wars all rolled into one. Titanic clash of ideologies between Athens and Sparta. Epic individuals on both sides. War crimes on both sides. Spies and maneuvers. Again, must be realistic - no "300" bullshit, and no brain-dead anachronism a la "Gladiator."

As much as I enjoy seeing popular works of fantasy being adapted into epic miniseries before the ink is even dry on the literature, I find it ludicrous that actual history is being neglected as well as works of immortal genius and insight confirmed by decades of opinion.

September 2, 2014

3 Crazy Ideas for a Better Society

1. Guarantee every person 1 year in ten or twenty where food, utilities, rent, parking, and transportation are reimbursed by the government, and are exempted from all taxes for this period. But the bills you submit to taxpayers to cover will be published next to your name and photo, so everyone will know about it if you're a douchebag on their dime.

2. Give juries near-absolute power over criminal trials: They can ask questions whenever they feel like it, request new information at any point in the process, find the judge or either side's attorney(s) in contempt, and can award financial damages to an acquitted defendant whom they feel should never have been brought to trial.

3. Universal, free, unlimited public transportation within the United States. The whole country belongs to each and every one of us, so let each and every one of us have full, perpetual, and equal access to all of it.

September 2, 2014

Would a federal version of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend increase destructive business?

Alaska has a shockingly progressive system in its Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend - a direct annual payment of hundreds or even a few thousands of dollars to Alaska residents out of revenues from oil drilling in their state. Nearly every other place in the country (and in the world) with such natural resources to offer, the local residents have no share at all in the profits that come from exploiting their lands, so it's pretty amazing that Alaska of all places has such a system.

However, it's also true that spreading the wealth around so liberally from a patently illiberal economic model - environmentally destructive, rape-and-pillage industries - tends to make the citizenry a lot more tolerant of outrageously criminal behavior on the part of those industries. This is why the State of Alaska more less is a subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil when it comes to politics: Because every single Alaskan is essentially an investor.

On the other hand, not having the dividend wouldn't necessarily change that. So is it better for the people to share in the profits of their collective property being pillaged and become eager accomplices to it, or to not share in it and have the possibility (not remotely a guarantee) of evolving into a more responsible state while lots of money is still being made at their expense?

Suppose we implemented a federal dividend, encompassing not just resource exploitation but general profitable usage of public properties and services: Would it further corrupt the public into becoming accomplices in horror shows like private prisons, military no-bid contracts, fracking, and coastal oil drilling, or would the net benefit in the form of economic stimulus and a stronger safety net outweigh any such negative effects?

September 1, 2014

Online media should treat Kremlin troll army comments like what they are: Spamming

When a foreign dictatorship organizes an army of paid trolls to hammer every single English-language news and political website on the web with 24/7 scripted propaganda, that's not people expressing an outrageous opinion - that's spam. Unfortunately, most website comment moderators don't appear to have caught on, and it's really gotten out of hand: Sites as diverse as Bloomberg.com, the Guardian, and liberal blogs are being inundated with unhinged Kremlin talking points, and they're being allowed to stink up the joint with little or no intervention.

It's surreal, like if late 1930s Nazi Germany were just suddenly right here in the 21st century, suddenly in control of the world's largest spam operation, and suddenly flooding the entire internet with deranged screeds promoting fascism and demonizing Western civilization and democracy. But it's been going on for months and these websites do nothing whatsoever about it. A dozen different usernames may post "Death to the enemies of Novorossiya!" or some similarly psychotic slogan in the span of five minutes, and still be left up in the comments of a "mainstream" news organization site.

And it's not like it's hard to notice this trolling - it's painfully conspicuous, utterly brazen, and unfolds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Moreover, we know it's not people within Russia merely expressing their spontaneous opinions, because the Russian internet has been cut off behind a China-style national censor net, and the opinions expressed by these trolls are 100% pro-Putin and anti-Western. This is, frankly, an attack by the Russian state on the global free internet they deny their own citizens.

The people who bear responsibility for their sites' commenting systems need to actually exercise that responsibility, and stop tolerating 24/7 spam attacks by a hostile foreign government that shouts down actual people trying to communicate with each other. It's totally out of control, to the point where fascist troll-spam can outnumber real comments 10-to-1 or even 100-to-1. What are these websites thinking, allowing that? Are they being threatened with hacking if they try to stop it? What's going on?

August 31, 2014

President Obama is Right About Social Media Warping Historical Context

Recently, the President said the following, and was roundly (and rather defensively) attacked for it in the media:

“In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through,” he said.

“It feels like the world is falling apart,” he added. “So we’ve seen the barbarity of an organisation like Isil…We’ve seen divisions within the Muslim community between the Shia and Sunni.

“All of that makes things pretty frightening. And then, you turn your eyes to Europe and you see the President of Russia making a decision to look backwards instead of forward.”

Nevertheless, he added, American military superiority has “never been greater”, the economy was doing well, and the current global situation compared favourably to the deprivations of the Great Depression.

What he said is simply true - a set of objectively demonstrable facts, however deep in detail you want to take it. While there is the potential for genuine global cataclysm (there rarely isn't, frankly), there is no sane argument that anything presently happening in the world today is worse than or even on par with the Vietnam War and its ancillary conflicts like Cambodia, let alone catastrophes like the Cultural Revolution in China, and certainly neither of the World Wars.

This is how a President is supposed to talk, frankly and concerned more with reality than pandering to illusions - because this is the only kind of leadership that actually leads to something constructive. The message is simple: Concern and considered action are justified, but pretending the world is sinking into nightmare is a self-indulgent fantasy perpetrated by the media and exacerbated by our much greater awareness of events worldwide than ever before.

Western audiences knew of the Killing Fields of Cambodia (1975-79), in which millions died in the span of a few years, only through a handful of relatively vague print news articles and a few brilliant photographs by inhumanly brave photojournalists. Can you imagine what the late 1970s would have seemed like if that horror had unfolded in full global view with social media? Let alone all the other tragedies unfolding in the world at the time? Most likely the late 1970s would not be associated in our minds with awful music and tacky clothes if that had happened - it would be known as "The Time of Horrors" or something equally Wagnerian.

Conversely, if the ISIS phenomenon and the Ukraine-Russia situation were unfolding in 1975, what kind of public perception would there be of them? In the latter case, we already know - the Soviet Union invaded recalcitrant Warsaw Pact states on a pretty regular basis when their leaders got out of line with the agenda in Moscow, and far further West than Ukraine. Hungary revolted against Communist rule in 1956, and the rebellion was crushed when Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest. The West wasn't exactly happy about it, but there was nothing we could do - Hungary was inside the Iron Curtain, and we weren't going to start WW3 by being the ones to cross it first. The USSR then invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 when its government instituted liberal reforms that the Soviet Politburo decided not to tolerate - again, we couldn't do anything about it.

Most likely the events in Ukraine today would have simply been seen through that lens, and shrugged off, particularly as news coverage within the Iron Curtain was generally sparse and relied heavily on nth-hand accounts and speculation. The fact that we have detailed coverage and will not be shrugging these crimes off is a good thing, of course, but shouldn't color our perception of current events in historical context. In other words, the situation in Eastern Europe is better than it's ever been. Repeat: Better than it's ever been. Ukraine was so far under the Soviet umbrella that there was literally no possibility of something like the Hungarian uprising or the Prague Spring happening there - it was Russia's patio, nothing more. That isn't to pooh-pooh the risk of global war, but the dangers are certainly less potent than at any time during the Cold War.

As to ISIS, let's understand that phenomenon in the context of the global Marxist and Maoist militant groups that had terrorized much of the world in the 20th century. The latter was a phenomenon directly funded and armed by the USSR - the world's dominent superpower (people forget we were only #2 until like 1985), and there was no possibility of directly stopping them from promulgating these cancerous phenomena. It could only be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, leading to all sorts of stupid actions and outright crimes on our part, falsely identifying liberal groups as Marxist and propping up fascist dictatorships just so they would crush the Communist elements.

In other words, it sucked all around. It was a terrible, general massacre unfolding on a routine basis throughout Asia, Africa, South America, and even in a few cases in Western Europe with groups like the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. We forget that because of the Cold War, countries like Greece, Portugal, and Spain were allowed to remain brutal right-wing dictatorships practically until the 1980s or 1990s. And Marx/Maoist militant groups were a major force everywhere on Earth except a few highly stable countries, and on a relatively regular basis overthrew governments and became their own (often quite bloodthirsty) states. Much of the Earth was in a routine state of murderous chaos as a result.

Now, the ideology of ISIS is far darker than anything perpetrated by Marx, Stalin, or Mao: They are essentially an apocalyptic cult that sees murder as an end in itself, in some ways like the more abstract elements of Nazism that glorified warfare as the "purest expression of life." But the fact is they cannot threaten the existence of Western civilization. There is no plausible scenario in which a marauding militia of chaotic bigots overtakes the economic power, military power, and survival of complex democratic states with over a billion people and a military superpower between them. China and Russia certainly aren't going to strike up any kind of alliance with ISIS, because they're both regular targets of jihadis themselves. In fact, no state on Earth will or can ally itself with ISIS.

It may do considerable damage, and may at an extreme end up perpetrating mass-casualty terrorist attacks on Western targets, but the "Islamic State" cannot exist for very long as such. Its days as an organized, territory-controlling entity are numbered. So it is a major and imminent threat in terms of terrorism, but not even close to an existential threat to Western civilization, and has no plausible pathway to becoming one.

The world is better than it's ever been, and that shouldn't even be a controversial statement -it should be obvious. The fact that we can now see and empathize so quickly, in such detail, with the problems that do occur in the world is part of the reason why it's better than ever. The horrors of the past were hidden until they grew so massive that they exploded in World War or continent-spanning totalitarian nightmare states. Now, we watch horrors grow from seedlings, and see them coming miles away.

There will be war and peace, but the wars will be less extreme and more self-aware, and the peace more fundamental and less merely quiet interludes between storms. There will be outbursts of murderous hate, but they will be seen sooner for what they are, have less support, and bring people of good will more powerfully together in human community. There will be heinous Orwellian dictators, but more isolated and their tactics necessarily more devious.

This is what it means to be an optimist: Not to ignore the bad, but simply allowing yourself to acknowledge that it always loses in time. Evil bleeds away while the light of humanity grows and grows. The murderous ideology that tore apart continents in the 1940s and comprises our definition of Absolute Evil today was simply the normal state of governance in the ancient world. The Putin Imperium's most outrageous behaviors were Tuesday under the Soviet Union. And the daily or weekly terror-chaos of ISIS felt by Iraqis (or Afghans under their predecessors the taliban) was the suffocating second-to-second reality of life under the Khmer Rouge for Cambodians. And unlike the Khmer Rouge, ISIS will not bathe in blood while the world yawns.

Humanity is good and getting better. As far as any moral judgment can be, this is a fact.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.
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