It couldn’t be that people have a whole lot of articles embargoed for morning release, could it?
Feel free to use this as an open thread.
It is fascinating how many people have no doubt that the government keeps secrets that it should not, secrets about matters that are personally embarassing to certain people but of no particular importance to national security. And at the same time, many of the same people will decry the possibility of conspiracies as paranoid fantasies. Surely there are no large conspiracies that could be successfully kept secret.
And so it is the big secret versus the little secret. The big lie versus the little lie.
But what is not often considered is how small secrets can snowball. If a certain set of people have access to the embarassing information, they can befriend the one who would be embarassed. This is not blackmail. This is common cause. They can say to their new friend that they want to let him in on some sensitive secrets, and ask would he be interested in learning them, if he agreed to keep quiet. And he would learn secrets that he would protect for the sake of his own.
And so networks of people who know one another at a level that you cannot imagine, who are privy to the intimate details of one anothers’ lives, are able to make decisions as to what else they can get away with based on all of that secret information. And they can keep as big a secret as necessary if it involves only people who are personally corrupted and part of this network.
That is skull & bones and the whole mesh on that side.
Yes, conspiracies exist. Criminal conspiracies exist. There are charges brought all the time for people alleged to be part of a conspiracy. The stronger the organization, the stronger the protections against those conspiracies being broken. Has anyone ever broken the back of organized crime?
The problem when the organized criminals gain control of the government is what we face.
Regarding the need for Americans to question the war policies of the Bush administration, World O’Crap writes:
To do otherwise is to just accept the four-year-old’s assertion that he needs some matches to “do some stuff,” and that we don’t need to supervise him, and can trust him to not to misuse them, even though he burned down Grandma’s house just last week.
Laugh, but think seriously. Would you ever give those matches to the child? Would you ignore his request and not question what is going on? Will you keep on pretending that the administration can be trusted or will you start asking questions now?
Is it right or wrong to vote? Does it depend upon circumstances?
I have grappled with this compound question for many years. As a one-time conservative and libertarian, existing on the right of the political spectrum, I became disillusioned within five years of my majority. Several things that I observed were the lack of candidates representing my views, and the fact that all politicians seemed to be pursuing their own selfish interests. I came to understand this as human nature although it really is not, and my own perspective has shifted radically since then. But it is the ideology of libertarianism, maximal self-interest seeking is presumed to lead to the greatest good for the society as a whole, because it is thought by libertarians that society is not a real entity but only a collection of selfish individuals. So if everyone “in society” merely pursued their own self-interest they would all prosper more than if any lived for the benefit but at possible expense to another. And if you value liberty chiefly in terms of money and possessions, you might even be right. But there is so much more to desire out of life than money. And society is real, but you have to care about other people enough to see it.
So as soon as I began to have an inkling of this conception, having been a selfish Republican myself who supported George Bush, Sr. for President and was then shocked by his betrayal of what I thought to be the bedrock selfish principle of my vote — no new taxes — I stopped voting for Republicans. That was hard, but it was the right decision. I had perceived some evil that I couldn’t quantify in voting for those people. I started voting for Libertarians and joined the Libertarian Party myself. At least my vote was now safely protected from significance. Libertarians who vote Republican are nowadays called neo-cons.
Eventually I stopped voting for Libertarians too. It was the right decision to stop voting altogether. The candidates I was inclined to support (as a compromise with some principles, or not) would have been very bad for society. They were candidates representing selfish interests. I stopped supporting the Libertarian party except to have conversations with friends who belong, which I still do from time to time. They aren’t bad people, just misunderstood and unable to perceive others in society who care about them. They need our love and our support for becoming part of society and having others care about them so that they will care about us again.
But in any case, we don’t want more selfish candidates like this. The virtue of selfishness to the economic value of those individuals who can amass the largest fortunes is of no benefit to the unexceptional person. Indeed the great concentrations of money and power that result will tend to drive the average down for the benefit of the greater leverage of the wealthy. We don’t want more George Bushes.
But part of transforming society and curing ourselves of this mental disease called selfishness, we have to persuade selfish people to stop voting for selfish candidates. To stop voting for Republicans, especially, but if they get replaced by the Libertarians they will be just as bad or worse. Candidates who want to destroy society because they don’t believe in it.
So now that I am on the other side can I cast a vote against them in defense of society? I don’t think I can, maybe my vote was forfeited for having voted wrongly in the past. Maybe my job now is to tell people on the right that they are wrong and they should not vote for such terrible people, and to be a way-station for those who would not be capable of voting for a Democrat (because they don’t understand society even if they realize the terrible consequences of their own wrong vote). Maybe it is my job to tell them not to vote at all. At least then we can have dialogue.
Which brings me to whether I can vote for a progressive. Suppose it were a candidate that seemed nearly ideal to me, even. But in voting, I could not then simultaneously continue to tell those confused conservatives and libertarians that they had better stop voting because they are not ready to vote for us and they are attacking us every time they vote against us.
I would be a mighty hypocrite to tell them to stop voting for monsters, and then went ahead and voted for someone they considered equally monstrous.
And this really is true regardless of perspective, I think. Everyone on the left has a counterpart on the right, and vice versa. We need to talk to one another, we need to share a peace pipe, and we need to end war. But my truth is like a religious principle, and they are not amenable to judgment. Those who do not agree with me would say my own principles are wrong. I can say nothing in favor of their proof except they are mine and I respect your right to disagree.
No one living possesses absolute truth.
We speak our own truths from our own perspectives in hopes of connecting with one another, those who believe as we do. We hope that there will be very many and even a majority of people who do, but we cannot force anyone to agree. It’s not only an immoral thing to do (from my own perspective) but it does not work. People don’t change their minds until they make a decision to do so themselves.
I choose dialogue over voting. I hope I will not be condemned too harshly.
Update: In thinking back I was unable to vote for Republicans when I was supporting them, because it was while I was still in high school and not old enough yet. So my disillusionment came sooner than five years of my majority, it was really very much underway by the time I started voting.