[date Sun, May 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM]
My favorite Joseph Conrad is “Heart of Darkness”. Never mind my colonial mindset and disrespect for “cultural equivalence”. It is a great book by a brilliant writer for many reasons. One of these reasons is the author’s portrayal of the nature of conflict.
There are only three conflicts in (human) life – man vs man, man vs the elements (“nature”), man vs himself (ladies included i.e. “hu-man vs hu-manself).
Here is a link with pictures of the man vs elements struggle taking place along the Mississippi, specifically Vicksburg. The pictures are mostly of Herculean efforts to protect against a cyclic, inevitable (if history is any measure), natural occurrence. It ain’t even a “phenomenon”, because it has happened before and has been more extreme. There is also the imposition of the State – the Feds are sacrificing these lands and owners for the “common good” of larger communities and cities. Take a look at the photos:
I am an “each man for himself” guy. My free will combined with my values / foundation beliefs will determine my actions. Would I sacrifice one for another? Good food for thought.
A short story pretty well sums it for me. Long ago, in a province not so far away, I read a story (grade 8?) about Leiningen vs the Ants (if you haven’t read it, here’s a link – http://www.daily-pulp.com/adventure/leiningen-versus-the-ants-by-carl-stephenson/ ). Leiningen had time to make a decision – fight, or flight? The Brazilian official and Leiningen have a philosophical difference of opinion. Here is an excerpt from the story:
The Brazilian official threw up lean and lanky arms and clawed the air with wildly distended fingers. “Leiningen!” he shouted. “You’re insane! They’re not creatures you can fight–they’re an elemental–an ‘act of God!’ Ten miles long, two miles wide–ants, nothing but ants! And every single one of them a fiend from hell; before you can spit three times they’ll eat a full-grown buffalo to the bones. I tell you if you don’t clear out at once there’ll he nothing left of you but a skeleton picked as clean as your own plantation.”
Leiningen grinned. “Act of God, my eye! Anyway, I’m not an old woman; I’rn not going to run for it just because an elemental’s on the way. And don’t think I’m the kind of fathead who tries to fend off lightning with his fists either. I use my intelligence, old man. With me, the brain isn’t a second blindgut; I know what it’s there for. When I began this model farm and plantation three years ago, I took into account all that could conceivably happen to it. And now I’m ready for anything and everything–including your ants.”
I am Leiningen….. those who know me, know this to be true. Time will tell if I have a similar fate.
Where am I going with this? The conflict man vs man is the body politic. What has the POTUS done? Does he have any clue whatsoever? Without boring myself to tears, here is Gene Simmons to sum it up very well (he used to be with some rock band or another):
I will visit Israel before I die. If this bull shit from the USA continues, I may pull a Leiningen and move there to make a last stand. I have called the current POTUS the Munificent Mulatto, and Mr. Half and Half. He is permenently and forevermore “Mr. Halfwit”. How did that mistake ever, ever happen?
If you are taking some comfort (as I am) in Harper’s refusal to back the US in demanding a 1967 “frame of reference” for Palistinian / Israeli negotiations, take a look at the comments section at this G&M posting:
The people making those comments are Canadian citizens. Are they entitled to their opinion? Are they rational? Are they sane? Are they capable of influencing government policy? I know what I think about that……
Democracy? We don’t need no stinkin’ democracy!
James Madison, the father of the Constitution, said, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.” No doubt he was thinking of ancient Athens.
Here’s what happened in the US, and in Canada, and in “I’m a peein’, European” –
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. – unverified quote attributed to Alexander Tytler Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage. – unverified quote attributed to Benjamin Disraeli
Until there is a “means test” for voting, I see no breaking the above cycle. But that would be “undemocratic” wouldn’t it. To have to prove you are sane, educated, and knowledgeable / eligible before you can vote. That would look more like Athens…..
A democracy is best defined as two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.
Joe (Ungulate) Mekanic