Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Path To Enlightenment - Just How Deluded Has Washington Become?

I wanted to get this post up while it was still relevant. It's a few weeks old but there is really no time constraint other than the news sources used for the post are dated.

I have always been intrigued by social moods, sociology, psychology and human behavior. In other words, the human condition. It's a disease we all suffer from. When one realizes how few people are self-aware to this fact, one cannot be anything other than a contrarian or a free thinker. On that note, I have consciously kept track of my experiences on occasion and have gone through an entire day not hearing a single fact either through human interaction or via the mainstream media. The world is seldom as reported. Even science is often a best-fit representation of the world in a form we can comprehend as opposed to certainty or truth. Were we all on a path to personal enlightenment, I'd give up being a contrarian because it would cease to be a provider of truth. But reality is different. It's amazing how much utter garbage is perpetuated as fact. Nothing could crystallize this any more than the mindless idiocy perpetuated about the global economy before this crisis hit and the equally mindless idiocy perpetuated by the same authority about how the world is now in grand recovery.

I had lunch with a few business associates a month or so ago and one woman commented on how she was frustrated with the youth of this country because they didn't want to listen. And how that made her dubious as to our future. I asked her what she meant. She clarified her position and I remarked that in reality her frustration was that they didn't want to listen to her. I told her that as ironic as it may sound, I considered that about the most constructive thing I had heard in weeks. For the fact that our youth is questioning authority simply reinforces my faith in the future. I am sure my remarks shocked her somewhat but then our conversation was light-hearted and in good fun. But I was making a substantial point which she likely missed. Authority is always to be questioned. Always. Endlessy. Be it expert authority in science or government authority or teachers or elders. Authority is not necessarily representative of leadership nor of truth. Contrarily it is often anything but. If authority is just and represents truth, it seeks question and encourages discourse as a method of perpetuating and increasing knowledge. If it is false and represents no semblance of truth, this probing will determine its illegitimacy. That our government seems to want to discourage discourse and discovery on topics of war, government spending, banking transparency, Federal Reserve legitimacy, torture, health care, lobbying, transparency and many other topics is a telling sign.

On some level, questioning the validity of authority is no different than the discovery process so essential in science and the perpetuation and acquisition of knowledge so fundamental to reason. Reason is foundational to the rule of law and to a secular society in general. I am not talking about education. They are often mutually exclusive. Were I a benevolent king for a day, I would require individualism, free thought and personal discovery as required curriculum in our public schools. But then teachers would probably lose control of the discovery process when students realized that truth ultimately leads to the fallibility of teachers. :-) Something that enlightened teachers would embrace. But a process which would threaten the legitimacy of misplaced authority - validating the existence of a false authority. Instead leadership is fundamentally about nurturing development and enlightenment, be it of society or of a student. Whether that leadership is the President of the United States or a kindergarten teacher is irrelevant. The goal is consistent. But ultimately we all achieve some level of discovery at some point. Often that discovery is a near universal one which happens somewhat simultaneously. This very fact is the reason why politicians have lost control of the discovery process or debate today. Society has realized their fallibility and the voices of our politicians are now the ones being marginalized. They seek to maintain authority by marginalizing dissent. Frankly, by any means possible. All of the lobbyist money on earth will not save the system as it exists today. Years of politicians successfully marginalizing truth and knowledge has come to an end for citizens of these United States.

Some say the greatest movie ever made is Masaki Kobayashi's The Human Condition, a 1959 existential classic. I have tried for ages to find an English subtitled copy both in Japan and in the U.S. The cheapest sets were near $300 or more. Now Criterion is scheduled to release a subtitled version in September for $79 at their web site and via Feel free to buy me the set for my birthday. Ha! This movie has incredible relevance today where many in the United States, especially its youth, are on the verge of a major change in their value system after metaphorically experiencing a path similar to Kaji's either through personal experience or by absorbing experiences of the world around them. Remember, as we have cited before, it is always the idealism and innocence of youth and those who continually embrace these ideals which changes the world for the better. And really, what are our often haranguing rants other than embracing idealism and rebuking the wrongs of this world? Wrongs perpetuated by authority. Wrongs which must be challenged.

"Russia has to make some very difficult, calculated decisions," Mr. Biden said. "They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable."

The Vice President's arrogance in that statement is incredible. In fact, the article goes on to quote Biden remarking of Russia's loss of empire. "It's a very difficult thing to deal with, loss of empire," Mr. Biden said. "This country, Russia, is in a very different circumstance than it has been any time in the last 40 years, or longer."

The Vice President obviously does not appreciate the world as it truly exists and has not embraced the truth of present circumstances. Does the Vice President think we can afford to keep 800 military bases outside of the U.S. and $1 trillion military budgets while the great people of our nation live in squalor? Are denied of economic opportunity? Denied by government policy? This lack of appreciation for how the world has changed is something that all but a handful of politicians in Washington have yet to grasp. Of course, neither have the politicians in most other countries. And that is why these G20 summits, meetings between China and the U.S. bureaucrats and other photo-ops are so utterly ridiculous. Yet, we see another scheduled G20 meeting in Pittsburg in a handful of days. Authority has become completely irrelevant in determining the future of the American economy. Instead, once again the process of democracy has taken root.

This arrogance and lack of accountability to the American people gives us some indication of just how insular Washington really is. And how vulnerable our leadership is to being caught off guard by the forces building in the global economy and within the United States itself. Life-long politicians like Biden are as hard to rid ourselves of as cockroaches. I would argue he and most others in Washington have no idea what good really is when it comes to governance or leadership. Specifically, because he has presided over terrible governance and a leadership vacuum for the last twenty years or more.

It was just a few months ago that Vice President Biden told us he miscalculated how bad the American economy was. Get out much? I could take Russia out of his remarks and replace it with the U.S. or Europe or China. The American economy is broken courtesy of the Joe Bidens of this world. A major reason why it is broken is because of structural and permanent problems in the banking system he so aptly point to as a problem in Russia. Then there are the many other travesties that have developed over the past generation due to absolutely horrible economic policies instituted by Washington. America's structural problems are courtesy of elitist politicians. If we don't see structural reform, we won't weather the next 15 years any more successfully than Russia. But, then we'll make it well beyond 15 years because in some way, shape or form, the American people are going to take back the governance of our country. Our system is self-correcting, our people are forever questioning of authority and our greatness is in often in spite of our government. In those times, America has often transformed itself. Just as the world often believes the end of America is nigh. Ironically, these statements seldom come from within the United States. Instead they almost always come from around the globe. From societies that themselves have become institutionalized under authority. Who have long ago buckled to authority at the expense of truth.

Economics is determined not by ideologues, silly theory and authority but by substantial social movements. The party is ending for authority. Yet ask any of them and they'll tell you the world is recovering. Just ask any politician and they'll be sure to tell you the global economy is recovering. It's good to be the king. Not much longer though.
posted by TimingLogic at 5:32 AM