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So WTF, Joe?

May 11, 2008

Yes, I’m okay, the family is okay, and nothing has been going wrong any more than usual. So, then, what the fuck?

Well, this is the fuck…

I’ve been thinking lately. Doing far more reading than writing opens the door for more concentrated, critical thought rather than reactionary posting to things that have just pissed me off. See, it’s been bothering me that the tone of M-BA has had been “getting pissed at the stupidity of this country”, so I wanted to take a short hiatus and collect my thoughts and figure out a path forward for my writing. Now, after almost, what, six weeks, I think I’m about where I was when I took the hiatus, but I think I have a better understanding of how I write, why I pick the topics I write about, and how that needs to change.

Stupidity is something that we can all live with. We have all done stupid things in the past, and will do more in the future. Lack of intellect is also something we should all be able to live with, as no person had the choice of being born intelligent or not. Because of this, pride in your intellect is a conceit that must be overcome if you’re ever going to be true to yourself. I’ve seen some of the smartest people pick up a subject in hours, and some of the most slow-witted struggle and agonize to learn an advanced topic. If they both learn it, who is the better for it?

The point is that how smart you are means nothing in comparison to how you use what you have. The intellectual could have easily been born slow, so to rest on your laurels as a smart person means nothing unless you use that gift to an advantage.

The funny thing is, I have met very very few truly dumb people in my life. Have you? Think about it: how many people have you met that were incapable of higher thought sometimes? If you can think of some, then did you stop to wonder if they were truly slow, or just uninterested in using what they have? After some thought, I’m convinced it’s the latter.

So, that’s a good thing, right? People are smart so we’re okay, right? Unfortunately, no. The social climate in the U.S. seems to be rewarding lack of thought. Believe the media, believe your party, trust in whatever talking head you hear the loudest, don’t think. Get in line.

If your party says that universal healthcare is good, then it is. Don’t think about it. If your church says gays shouldn’t marry, then they shouldn’t. Don’t think about it. If your boss says that you focus more on your work than your family, do so. Don’t think about it. If your President says there’s WMDs in Iraq and we need to go to war, then wave your flag and sing. Don’t think about it. If an actor/economist says that evolution vs. ID is a matter of free speech, then teach ID as science. Don’t think about it. If a religious leader tells you he’s concerned about the legion of priest-abused children, then believe him despite his direct hand in trying to cover it up. If they tell you that abortion is wrong, stem cell research is wrong, Cuba is evil, as is Darwinism, global warming is a myth but the Resurrection isn’t, Iran is making nukes despite all evidence, questioners are not patriots, liberals are weak, conservatives are evil, then believe it. And, for your own sake, don’t think about it.

People are out there to make those decisions for you.

While I was “away”, I watched the HBO special, John Adams. Now, there are some things that the writers got wrong (for instance, Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must for time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants” in a letter to William Smith, not in a conversation with John Adams), however the spirit of rebellion, heroism, and uncertainty was brought to life. There were times as I watched it that I had tears of pride in my eyes, not the least of which was when Caesar Rodney arrived at the Congress to cast Delaware’s deciding vote for independence!

However, it was impossible for me to not immediately begin to compare that pride to how I feel about the present state of this country and its citizens. Education is a disgrace in this country, especially the state of science education, where people believe that creationism is a scientific theory, global warming is a myth, and despite all evidence vaccines cause autism, homeopathy is medicine, and chiropractors can provide primary care. Scientists are flocking to countries where their research will not be hindered by ignorant religious groups. The war in Afghanistan is all but forgotten, Bin Laden is alive and well, and Al Qaeda ranks have swollen in response to our idiotic crusade in Iraq. Americans have shown a ridiculous and shameful willingness to give up civil liberties to combat terrorism. Terrorism has claimed less US lives in it’s worst time frame starting with 9/11 than handguns take in a single year, but we need to keep the right to bear arms, not the right of privacy against government intrusion. $12 billion is spent per month on war, not on the poor, not on education, not on science. Oil prices have surged 300% during the reign of Bush, but there has been no real initiative to make us power-independent. A candidate’s ex-preacher gets more airtime than the candidate, and another candidate is unwilling to accept defeat. When the economy is so broken, a candidate was heard to say, “I’m not going to put my lot in with the economists!” and brain-dead Americans cheered.

Independent thought is no longer an American value; our Founding Fathers would weep to learn that, as would our founding citizens. Yet, those alive now shrug when they consider it, if indeed they give it any kind of consideration at all. If our country’s founders could look into the future and see the U.S. as it is today, would they have worked so hard? Spoken so eloquently? Fought so bravely? Died so readily? I think not. I can only imagine the confusion and horror they would experience in seeing the ironically-named Patriot Act, or our President’s remark that the Constitution is “just a piece of paper”. Never mind the insults to humanity committed in Guantanamo Bay.

Would they ask us how we let this happen? How would they react to the citizens of America not even caring to understand current affairs? If they knew how lax, ignorant, and uncaring today’s citizens are, this country would have never happened. The FFs would have sent a note to England saying, “Sorry for the ruckus, and could you please send more tea?”

Our identity as the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave is sullied by our callous treatment of our prisoners, our mishandling of foreign affairs, our withholding of basic rights to other Americans, and our cowardice in giving up civil liberties in exchange for an arguable increase in safety. I hope it’s not permanently damaged, but the only way to repair it is to have an educated and active citizenry. We should care that the government may plan a war in Iran, at least enough to learn why and make an educated decision as to whether or not a war should be supported. We should be able to make a decision on who will lead this country based more on issues than association with an asshole preacher, or whether they punctuated a speech with an excited “YEEEEEAAAARGH!!” We should understand that “elite” is a good thing for our leaders to be. I don’t want me in government, I want someone better than me!

Don’t accept! Question!

So, with all that said, where does that leave me and this blog? Well, in my recent malaise, I guess I kinda lost sight of my original intent from two years ago: to educate myself. I also didn’t recognize that I’ve been doing just that. Maybe the greater hope there is to impart some of what I learn in a helpful, sometimes entertaining way. Maybe someone will see why water can’t cure the flu, no matter how much duck liver isn’t in it, and they will read more. Maybe someone will be convinced that it is simply wrong to deny a right to another citizen based on who they love. Maybe I’ll even learn how not allow the fight to overwhelm me into writer’s block.

So, I’m going to continue as I have, hopefully a little wiser, hopefully a little stronger. I sincerely thank those of you who have inquired about our (mine and the family’s) well-being, and those who have continued to check the site regularly. You’ll never realize how much that means to me.

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! Hope you’re out there enjoying it rather than reading this shit!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2008 1:13 pm

    AT 4 am when I saw Bootes in the Western Sky, I thought about you. Something along the line of we have no one keeping our blogger community with new developments on the scientific front…….

    Glad you are ok.

  2. May 11, 2008 2:41 pm

    It’s good to know that some folks still like to hear about it.

    Thanks!

  3. May 12, 2008 10:51 am

    “Doing far more reading than writing opens the door for more concentrated, critical thought rather than reactionary posting to things that have just pissed me off.”

    I can relate to that, and have been thinking thoughts along those same lines myself.

    Welcome back !

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