Thursday, February 23, 2012

The problem

In the contest between regressives and progressives, regressives have a significant advantage: They're willing to provide answers to complex problems that are simple, easy to understand, and utterly wrong because they have absolutely no connection to any reality that actually exists and thus no hope of actually working if implemented. Regressives have a consistent ideology, and virtually always provide answers that are consistent with that ideology, regardless of whether those answers are actually correct.

Communism had that advantage too, during its brief 70-year time in the sun before it finally collapsed of its inherent ideological contradictions. Communism provided answers to complex problems that were simple, easy to understand, and... well. Utter failures in practice.

Progressives, on the other hand... we are inherently pragmatists. We believe in using time-tested solutions where those are possible, we believe in looking at the actual reality and adopting solutions which will solve the problems that exist in that actual reality regardless of whether said solutions are consistent with any particular ideology or -ism, and we just don't have an ideological hook to hang our hat upon. People look at what we advocate and are, like, "why are you giving us all these complex solutions that have nothing in common, instead of simple solutions like the other guys give us?" The stereotypical left-wing rally where the "Save the Whales!" crowd and the "Gay Marriage Now!" crowd are feuding with the "End the patriarchy now!" crowd is almost a parody by now, but it is a parody that has a grain of truth in it -- the world has a lot of problems, and it's going to require a lot of different approaches, a lot of different tactics and viewpoints, to solve them, and the end result is that the progressive movement appears to be fragmented and inconsistent and a mess. You simply can't hang one single ideological hook on that whole mess and present a nice neat simple frame for Joe Sixpack to understand if he accidentally turns on MSNBC rather than Fox News one night.

The problem... ah yes, the problem. I've often noted that, as the American empire winds down, times are going to get hard. Way hard. Famine, starvation, food riots, and revolution hard, maybe. People are going to be open to new solutions when they have nothing left to lose, new solutions that maybe can salvage something out of the ruins of empire and come up with something at least somewhat sustainable. The problem is that the forces of regression are going to have their nice neat simple easily-understood solutions to all our problems and are going to be waiting and ready to sell these to people, and if the forces of regression win that intellectual battle, the end result will make the fall of the Roman Empire look like a day care center squabble. The eventual body count would end up making WW2 look like a border squabble between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The problem is that the regressives have such pretty answers to the problems of the world -- simple, ideologically consistent, and easy to understand -- when the world is actually complex and the problems of the world similarly complex, requiring solutions that are neither simple nor always easy to understand. And 50% of Americans are below average (see below "dumbass" posts)...

WASF. Just sayin'.

- Badtux the Waddling Penguin


  1. I think a lot about how once you hit bottom, there is no where to go but up. I don't things will be as dire as you predict though. Even though most Americans can't handle complex solutions, sometimes a lot of simple solutions can have a big impact. Things like urban farming can lesson the impacts of our society's decline. And this kind of economic melt down has already happened in some places (like Detroit) and the end result hasn't been large scale violence. Considering the lack of police protection in Detroit, it is remarkably calm.

    Anyways, this documentary seems particularly hopeful. I'm even flying out to California next month to check it out at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival :)

  2. Exactly Penguin! I do not see us getting this back and I do not like taking this position but the reality is what you write. Bizarre is an accurate term that can be used. This shit just ain't right!

  3. Lynne, I think the difference is that the forces of regression didn't / don't really care about Detroit so it wasn't as if they went into Detroit and tried to set up a fascist dictatorship there, they just sucked everything out they could suck out and spit out the desiccated corpse like vampires on crack. And there's still a lot of transfer payments going into Detroit that are preventing things like mass starvation -- food stamps being the most important. With the regressives talking about cutting off food stamps... do you think things would be so calm in Detroit if there was actual starvation there, not just misery?

    One Fly, I give us as a whole a 20% chance of coming out of this without major shit flying in a way that'll end up wiping at least half of the world's population out due to starvation and war (actually, pretty much the same thing, since war disrupts food supplies -- it was starvation that did in the Romans, with Rome going from a city of 1.5 million to 40,000 heavily armed survivors huddled in the ruins in less than 100 years, but it was war that disrupted their North African food supply).

  4. I also believe the future at issue would accelerate very dramatically given certain events whether man made or other.

  5. Well said Dr. Penguin, well said.
    Change or die seems to be the theme and we mostly loathe change.

  6. I honestly think that reductions in things like food stamps would result in more local farming in Detroit rather than mass starvation because people in Detroit tend to come together in hard times. I don't think that is a trait unique to Detroit either. People in this country have trouble with abstract concepts but they are quite good with concrete concepts. So they'll let people starve if those people aren't real to them but if the problem gets close to home and it is people in their city or their neighborhood or their family who are suffering, they'll come around. I suspect that the Republicans realize this so they'll keep policies that keep the majority of people comfortable.

    I get your point about transfer payments though and you are right that they are propping up the city to some degree and it would be bad if they were lost.

  7. I think that Regressives have mastered the propoganda principles pioneered by Hitler and Goebbels, founded on an unfortunate and rather accurate assessment of mass mentality. The repetition of simple lies (or truths, for that matter) wins the masses over.

    The PROgressive challenge, I believe, is to UNcomplicate our approach. You cite the turf wars among progressive causes... what we have in COMMON are a few, simple principles.

    Insistence upon and defense of CONSENT.
    Equality, egality, fraternity/sorority.
    Respect for the biosphere.

    Is that so difficult? Any situation can be sorted out from these emphases. AND they make good bumper blather.

    Regressives are, if anything, at a disadvantage. Their position is, in fact, complex, hypocritical and contradictory. They are committed to paper-thin untruths. But they all agree, by and large, that GOD wants what they want, and justifies the lie.

    Yet they're slipping. Cynicism in the early years of Regressive dominance is sliding toward stupidity, as new generations of leadership begin to believe their own lies and forget the agenda. Same thing happened to Hitler and Co., leading directly to their demise. Their insane internal contradictions present us with political opportunity!

    We, too, need to recognize that we have COMMON aims with a COMMON philosophy. Civil rights are civil rights regardless of one's own, particular minority interests. Stand up for our brothers and sisters on the same legs we stand up for ourselves. We lose by playing THEIR game by THEIR rules with THEIR style.

    Time for a rewrite!!!

    Dave Z

  8. You nailed it, 'Tux; I've been thinking along these same lines for the past two or three years. What's really scary is that so many people choose to remain blind to the obvious, to deny the reality that exists right in front of their nose. A number of blogs now post similar articles, evidence that the tide of willful ignorance is about to turn. But until it does, until we start seeing positive changes in the way society deals with its problems, I'll keep looking for mathematical proof that the number of people of below-average intelligence is actually higher than 50%.


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