Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The First Task of Government

Way beyond the tangibles, the first task of government is providing reliable information so citizens can make the best decisions -- to govern their own lives, and not to become more dependent on government to do all those things for them. Then, government and society, cannot function very well because people have less choices than the full-range of human resourcefulness than is available from the government designated monopolist -- who demands that everyone must conform to their way of doing things, and seeing reality.

When government becomes too restrictive and demanding in this way, the most intelligent and creative are forced out of the system -- and create a new. They don’t simply rebel against the old and flaunt their violations -- but go on to do something entirely new and different. That is a revolution -- rather than simply reform or modification of the old, reaffirming the old, in childish and often criminal rebellions.

The most obvious of this, is the way people and organizations think that the use of new technologies is simply to do the old ways faster and better -- than doing things that were never even imagined possible before. The real ramifications and implications of the communications and information revolution is that it is now possible for everyone to have access to all the information -- and no longer just the information self-serving interests want us to know.

That shift, changes the world entirely, drastically, profoundly -- and that’s why the old status quo doesn’t want one to have that information -- that is tremendously empowering and liberating. What will happen to them -- who have been the traditional leaders, entrenched in their positions because of this lack of knowledge? So one is reminded of the perils and dangers of making those choices one has never “exercised” before. And that is how the familiar problems of our government and society become “institutionalized” as the way it’s always been and always will be -- and no other alternatives are allowed to be seen.

Just acknowledging that, is the first task of any representative worthy of the name. The newspapers, the schools, the universities, the unions, the political parties -- all present a vision of society with themselves at the top -- as though that were paradise, and the only sane arrangement conceivable. The greater American vision of freedom and choice is dismissed as unworthy -- and that the peace of blind obedience is preferable to everybody else, as long as we have ours.

The mantra promoted by their organization is that one should never stick one’s neck out and take any risks that might upset the apple cart, rock the boat, anger the kind and benevolent patriarch. After all, it was for our benefit that they rose to the top -- and now should remain there until they die, as were the divine rights of kings of old, and that whole feudal system by which some were entitled and more equal to others. They were the “nobles,” while others were less worthy. And that is the American dream of a more perfect society -- the “status quo” never wants us to know about. But if one knows nothing else, that would be information that makes a great difference in the outcome of one’s life -- beginning with one's attitute about life.

6 Comments:

At September 06, 2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

That’s the most notable thing in going around and meeting as many people as possible (as a candidate) -- and probably for that reason alone, people ought to consider running for public office. Real people are quite different from those selected as representative of people -- in the generalized way most are indoctrinated to think about people, and are presented as media stereotypes.

Some people are open -- and some are closed; the people ranting on public access television, are not very representative of most people -- which is the basic distortion of media, and particularly mass media -- that is more clever at conveying those distortions (deceptions).

That’s why the “old” (mass) media is in such a crisis -- with some still thinking that they have to become even more clever at fooling people, or whether they should go in another direction. Public access is not uniformly better -- but because of the greater diversity, the possibility exists for better, and not just more of the same, as though that was better.

The era of the validity of these blanket generalizations comes to an end. But we have the tools and the psychological predisposition for examining each individual and event as a reality in itself.

That seems to be more true as people individuate because they no longer are mass indoctrinated at work or school -- as retired people tend to be. They’re no longer subject to the heavy peer pressure of their work environment, or having to be politically “correct,” to please their “teachers” anymore.

One of the most unfortunate developments of contemporary society has been the unionization of those channels that most rely on for information -- the media, schools, and universities, with their mantra that we can never pay them enough for all the sacrifices they make on our behalf, to be at the top of the socio-economic pyramid.

 
At September 07, 2006 9:28 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060906/METRO05/609060355/1016

Some enjoy car-free life

Creative commuters find multiple benefits in trading four wheels for two, or taking the bus.

Don Heupel / Associated Press

Bruce Wilbur carries his bike from his apartment in Rochester, N.Y. for the trip to work. He gave up his vehicles six years ago.

Car-less commuting tips

Go car-free for a week first, and see if you like it.

Use the Internet to figure out mass transit, find car pools and order things for delivery.

Use car-sharing companies like Zipcar and Flexcar to rent a car when you really need one. Or take a cab.

Giving up the car is easiest if you don't have young kids, but with some ingenuity and planning, even that can be done.

NEW YORK -- Six years ago, Bruce Wilbur did what most Americans wouldn't dream of: he got rid of his car. And his minivan, too.

He started taking the bus to work -- not a common sight in Rochester, N.Y. -- and loved the switch. More recently, he's been biking to work.

Getting rid of the car gave him his sanity back, the 49-year-old Web designer said, and saved him a lot of money, too.

As a driver, "I tended to be prone to road rage," Wilbur said. "It was nice to arrive at one's destination without feeling all tense and angry."

He's not quite sure what to do in winter, which can be snowy and cold in Rochester. If slush makes biking unsafe, he may go back to riding the bus now and then.

Car-free commuting is common in cities with extensive public transportation, or in famously bicycle-friendly cities like Portland, Ore., but the surge in pump prices is making people across the country wonder whether they can get to work without a car.

A survey by the Pew Research Center in June found 55 percent of drivers said they had cut back on driving in response to high gas prices.

However, making shorter trips or letting the car stand in the driveway isn't a very good way to save money. The real savings come when you get rid of the car altogether.

In 2004, U.S. households spent an average of $650 a month on transportation, of which only a fifth was gasoline and motor oil, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rest was mainly the cost of the car, insurance and repairs. Only $37 was spent on public transportation, which includes air travel.

"What the high price of gasoline has done is it's shone a spotlight on how expensive the cars are," said Chris Balish, a TV journalist and author of the just published book "How to Live Well Without Owning a Car."

Balish, 39, said he's saved about $850 a month by giving up his SUV three years ago.

"It was a big, eight-seater SUV and I was the only person in it most of the time. It was ridiculous, now that I look back on it," Balish said.

 
At September 07, 2006 10:48 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Lots of problems are solved as soon as people realize they don’t have to be doing what everybody else is doing -- and think they have to do -- because that’s what they see everybody else doing.

That is the great unfortunate consequence of mass media, mass education, mass indoctrination -- to get everybody to do one thing, usually at the same time. However, the world and its experience, can be quite different if one doesn’t -- and actually plans for those circumstances and advantages.

It’s the law of the marketplace -- which we in Hawaii have been slow to pick up on, used to arbitrary rule for so long -- which leads to the well-known phenomena of the traffic jams, runs on rice and toilet paper, logjams to obtain bus passes as soon as they are available, etc. People are conditioned to conform -- rather than think for themselves, which usually is the misery of their lives -- making them have to compete for scarce resources at certain times that at others, go begging.

It is a problem in the lack of resource management -- and not a lack of resources, which many think is the problem. But with whatever resources, well-managed, it is usually sufficient -- that managed poorly, will never be enough. That is most of the world’s problems now -- rather than the lack of food, clothing, shelter, the essentials.

The key element is information -- all the information and all the possibilities -- and not just the one that is the most profitable to the self-interest group that demands everybody else must accept only their version of reality and its possibilities.

That’s what one sees daily in the editorials and letters to the editors of the newspapers each morning -- each person demanding that everybody else see things as they do, before asking themselves, “Is it necessary for even me to think this way?”

 
At September 09, 2006 9:15 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

What are the young people thinking these days?

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5838

A Letter to My Closed-Minded Liberal Friends
September 9th, 2006

If I were to scribe a pithy letter to all the closed-minded liberals who deem me and my ilk closed-minded, it would read: Dear Friends, Oftentimes in recent years, and especially since I renounced my Democratic Party membership, then my Independent label, and finally announced my membership in the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan, I have been chastised by you for various beliefs. Contrary to your assertions that people like me are traitorous, talking point parrots and apologists, facts, history and examples have proven those of my mindset correct, and will undoubtedly continue to do so; this most assuredly occurring upon those pertaining to the most important issues of our time. Don’t block my emails and don’t call me names. Just please, allow me to explain.

Forty long years ago, it was conceivable that yours was the party of progress, of innovation, ideas and open-mindedness. Heck, look up “liberal” in some dictionaries and “open minded” is laughably in the definition. These books have clearly not been updated in the past few decades, and certainly not since 2000.

Now, yours is the party of old ideas, outdated stories by incompetent news sources, revisionist views, regress and, as I learned as a teacher a few years back, intolerance and blackballing. My newfound party is not perfect, but its open-mindedness, creativity, honesty and fact-based stances and policies drew me in as rapidly your party bounced me out.

While declaring the vitriolic Howard Dean your chairperson was the final straw to my getting as far from this donkey party as possible, my switchover had been building since the affirmative action days when I, as a “minority,” was rejected from colleges I deserved admission to, because apologist quotas needed to be filled by unqualified candidates. Though I foolishly voted for Bill Clinton in 1996, and just after graduating from college in 2000 naively voted for Al Gore, I shudder to think of ever voting for a Democrat again. You’ve done great work shunning the only realistic and honest voice you have on national security in Joe Lieberman. He was to be your vice president just six years ago. So much for open-mindedness.

I’m still young, and I read and write about politics and social issues on the internet a great deal. Aside from the “new” Democrats who work the internet looking for macabre people and organization to laud, while planning to force our leaders from power, the blogosphere, like talk radio, is undeniably intellectually controlled by Conservatives. They haven’t yet succeeded in removing all of the “old school” leftist remnants from the media (Larry King, Charlie Rose, Katie Couric, Wolf Blitzer, Frank Rich, etc.), but the revolution that Rush Limbaugh began nearly 20 years ago is powerful, accurate and just. It is frankly, to steal your words, “grassroots” and “progressive,” and I believe in it.

I have been a Democrat, and like many others, I have left, pun not intended. Lately, the opposite does not occur. Few, despite your fantasized Bush poll numbers, are moving left, especially once they get older and have bills to pay. Open-mindedness causes you to pick the right side, pun intended this time. Honesty is also important.

While I do admit that saying I will never vote Democrat again is a tad hyperbolic, I am confident that I won’t unless things change. And with all the money and influence on the left belonging to the radical “blame America first” fringe of specious professors and media moguls, I have never been less inclined to trust your party.

I can freely admit, as a Conservative Libertarian, that I do not approve of the Republicans attempting to pass social laws banning forms of gay marriage, gambling, abortion, euthanasia and much else. Especially at a time like this, those endeavors are far from prudent. And just as attempting to impeach President Bush, as John Conyers – an inherently despicable and dangerous man himself – seeks if Congress reverses power in November, impeaching former President Clinton with just two years left on his term left a sour taste in my mouth.

But while I am honest enough to share these views, I have also moved right on Gun Control, illegal immigration and the role of religion in our lives. I also feel the War on Islamo-Fascism takes precedence right now over racial issues and surely an unproven, far off event like Global Warming.

Now that you have my fair and balanced background, let me assure you that I will have little respect for the Democrats until they cease their remarkably hypocritical efforts to quell dissent of patriotic, Zionistic or military speech on college campuses. As long as the left criticizes and calls our country’s leaders names (Hitler ring a bell?) for keeping us safe from terror and attempting to cut off terrorists’ from destroying our world (NSA, Patriot Act, Gitmo ring a bell?), I want no part of it. You can’t just say it’s all part of politics or that disingenuous filmmakers, newscasters and talk show hosts are “satirists.” Open your mind and turn off CNN and PBS for just one night and try Fox. During the recent War in Israel, many liberals did and were impressed by honest journalism.

You also can’t tell me that anti-war protests where Radical Islam is shown in a kinder light than Christianity and Judaism, and the anti-American, anti-Bush venom is flowing while Radical Islam is NEVER denounced are all about “peace.” That is absurd.

And finally, hold your breath, let me inform you that I am being honest when I say I love this country, love our soldiers and feel, as I have said many times prior, that history will judge George W. Bush as one of our country’s greatest presidents when all is said and done. Think about Reagan. History is on our side. It always has been.

And lastly, remember, I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, so there is still hope for you.

Cordially,

Ari

Ari Kaufman is the author of the book A Year in Americana: Cultural and Travel adventures in our unique nation.

 
At September 09, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I’ve also noticed that those who would have been called “old farts” or “grouchy old people,” are now calling themselves “proud liberals,” as though that somehow enobles their vile pettiness.

They’ve become the present entrenched, defensive status quo obsessed with maintaining control over those they despised and couldn’t understand as young people. That’s how people get old.

 
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