Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Media Ramblings

"I have never been much of a Party Man myself... and the more I learn of the realities of national politics, the more I'm convinced that the Democratic Party is an atavistic endeavor - more of an Obstacle than a Vehicle - and that there is really no hope of accomplishing anything genuinely new or different in American politics until the Democratic Party is done away with."
                                                                                                                      - Hunter S Thompson, 1972

                Well. At least the idea has been around for awhile I suppose. Certainly, the so-called leftism of the Democratic Party does more damage than good, diverting possible radicalism into a systemically safe endeavor. Party loyalties may be one of the most damaging things in American politics, or politics in general. Party loyalties are to be defended even when criticism arises. Even when the least offensive members of the GE/Comcast media speak a critical word, the basic goodness of the Democratic Party, and its various representatives lays largely untouched. To hold the opinion that both parties, not just the Republican or Democratic, are despicable organizations that lead only to destruction, is to sacrifice any career in a major media outlet.
                This criticism is somewhat acknowledged in society. FOX News is recognized as critical of the Democrats, while lovingly groveling at the feet of the Republican Party, while CNN and MSNBC do the opposite. This is hardly controversial, although some may claim that one or the other is "unbiased" simply because it supports their personal political ideals. But why don't their exist mainstream pundits that extend beyond this? Where are those that criticize both? They aren't around because they are systemically dangerous. If you criticize both, then, at least to some extent, questions the legitimacy of the current state of politics as a whole. If both parties are unfit to lead, then who?
                But why would an independent media want to support the government nearly unquestioningly? The answer, of course, is that the media is hardly independent. Sure, we may not have something as obviously state-driven as Pravda, but this does not indicate integrity. Instead of a directly state-run media we have a corporate run media. And the corporations that run them have as much a vested interest in the state as the state itself.
                But what is there to do? How do we fight monoliths that own the media? How do we get to truth? Well. Fortunately this is becoming easier and easier, and true radicalism is beginning to have a viable outlet through the internet, and being paid directly through readers. It leaves little room for censoring. The vanguard journalists shall still exist, because people that honestly believe as they do exist. But their monopoly may very well come to an end soon. And with the greater voice of radicalism, it may actually allow for change in the future.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Sustaining State

                Whenever I speak or think of the state I try to think of it as a self-preserving organism, but in a way that does not necessitate knowing participation by the members of government, nor society. Instead, the values that sustain the state are instilled in a more natural way through a child's upbringing, especially by the school system. We are taught of the Noble Wars, of the great men that lead our country, of our governments love for freedom and progress. Of course, this view of history is highly flawed, incomplete and disingenuous.
                One of the more important functions of state-sustaining society is the co-option of radicalization. Integrating radicalism will serve an important function: it will allow for dissent within an acceptable context.  If dissent is controlled, and limited to an "acceptable" level, it can serve the state just as much as patriotism. For example, I consider 3rd Party Candidates to be part of this. 3rd Party Candidates provide an avenue for people that have been able to identify the farce on the ruling parties to focus their efforts toward one of several 3rd Parties. This helps channel dissent into, say money in politics or merely the 2 party monopoly while ignoring the system itself. This cannot be applied to every advocate of voting for a 3rd party, but seems common enough. People that believe merely voting for a libertarian or socialist candidate will automatically fix an entire system are ultimately sustaining the system by addressing grievances through the system itself. It is important that people feel as if they are in control to some degree. That they can change the nature of their government if need be. This prevents violent resistance, as people believe they can alter government through the ballot box. This gives many modern forms of government a greater level of sustainability than dictatorships and monarchies.
                An interesting effect of this self-sustaining system can be seen in the de-radicalization of previously radical music. Both punk rock and hip hop in particular were rather radical in their origins, speaking against war, poverty, class, power structures and various other topics. But as they became a source of profit, their message became less and less radical, and in some ways merely consumerist. This is the system sustaining itself through society itself, not needing direct control of the media as values are set at an early age through school and social propaganda.
                Our media is meant to be a watchdog of the state, but completely fails in this role. The media's values largely reflect the values of the government and it is rare that anyone breaks from the government rhetoric. Anyone that does manage to accurately criticize the government outside of acceptable, partisan lines is generally denigrated by the media itself. Ultimately, this more subtle propaganda machine is a better form of control than the Kings and fascists could come up with. The Russians knew that Pravda was filled with lies, but Americans generally limit their criticism to coinciding with their party alliance.
                Even Occupy Wall Street faced a major effort of co-option by the Democrats and MoveOn.  This had varying levels of success due to the make-up of the movement being rather politically diverse. It appealed to some, disgusted others.
                The self-sustaining functions of the state must be acknowledged and fought against by groups that wish to ultimately change the state. It is important to understand this and insure your dissent is not also merely sustaining the state by channeling the focus of your dissent.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Who Hates Freedom?

                Who is it that truly hates our freedoms? The Islamic terrorists? Or is it somebody much more close to home? Al Qaeda has very specific stated goals, not one of which is the destruction of freedom in the US. In fact every goal stated in bin Laden's 1998 fatwa has to do with the Middle East: driving out American influence in Muslim nations, toppling of pro-Western dictatorships, and the destruction of Israel. Getting rid of American influence in a land far away from US borders is hardly a goal of getting rid of any freedom of the American people. And yet I seem to hear this 'hate our freedoms' bullshit more than I hear substantive about terrorism.
                But, after 9/11 we have seen a decline in freedom. Whether it be invasive pat downs or scanners, warrantless widespread wiretapping of phones and monitoring of internet use, or even the extrajudicial murder of citizens. But it has not been the terrorist group that has done this to the American people, but the leaders elected into office. The things the state has gotten away with using terrorism as a scare tactic has done more damage to the world than al Qaeda could ever hope to do.
                But the state is no stranger to these tactics. It merely changes boogeymen. When the USSR was the boogeyman, COINTELPRO reigned. After Pearl Harbor over 100,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese were put into internment camps. The US had made a hobby of overthrowing anyone who is not friendly enough to US interests and replacing them with puppet dictators all over the world.
                Al Qaeda is certainly a terrible organization, but we must give the US its due.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Hypocrisy in Death

   Death has an odd effect on people. Both in the individual that died (an observation that I personally found hysterical for some reason), and the people that knew, or were aware of the person. Today Andrew Breitbart died. Yes, the jackass that screamed at a group of peacefully protesting Occupiers. Now, when you read that last sentence you more than likely had one of two reactions, especially if you were aware of Breitbart before his death and the whitewashing of his life that is sure to occur in the mainstream press: 1) you smiled slightly to yourself as you realized I also disliked Breitbart, or 2) thought me to be a horrendously callous and unfeeling individual to mock a man that died less than 24 hours ago.
   Now what if I had said the same thing after somebody like Obama died? Would you have had the same reaction? Maybe you had 1 when it came to Breitbart, yet reaction 2 when it came to Obama. You're probably telling yourself you would have had the same reaction, and I'm sure some of you could actually honestly say that (especially considering the likely readership of this blog, well other than nobody). But for the majority of people that merely divide themselves between the left and right rhetoric of this country, or, even worse, actually identify as a Democrat or Republican, you probably would be valiantly defending one's memory while denigrating the other.
   And you know what? That's fine with me. Sure, in the horrible world of politics many people have very clear cut allegiances and they will naturally defend and mock them accordingly. "But Derek," you may cry in terror and confusion at a monitor that in no way conveys this information to me, "where does hypocrisy come into all this?! Is the title of your blog misleading." I would, naturally, not actually answer you because I can't hear you (I assure you I am not rude enough to merely ignore you), but if you would please keep reading from this tangent I assure you the title will be appropriate very soon! The hypocrisy comes in when you little fuckers start bitching about the other side making fun of your side's fresh corpse while you would assuredly be doing the same to them in their situation.
   Just read some of the wonderful comments from conservatives on Matt Taibbi's blog about Breitbart's death. I particularly enjoy one user by the name of 'Gerard Van der Leun' who commented, "Die in a fire, Tabbi. Soon." Now, as I can only assume he was actually inviting Taibbi to die, and not a cat or somebody with the name Tabatha while using a nickname, I find this post absolutely hysterical. In response to Taibbi's mocking of Breitbart's death the user actually invites Taibbi to die! Other users, less hysterically, merely spoke about how disgusted they were with Taibbi. But I am sure most people complaining about any liberal criticism and joy that comes in the wake of Breitbart's death would most certainly be doing the same thing had a liberal equivalent just died. Hell, even Breitbart himself took part in this most wonderful traditions, insulting Ted Kennedy in his death.
   So let them have their fun. Sure, defend the decaying bastards if you truly think the criticism in unwarranted, but don't pretend to be above such a thing. If you hate a person in life, you should hate them in death. They are nothing more than the sum total of their lives, and now that it's over you are essentially guaranteed that you aren't going to magically like the person.  Are you a bastard for mocking a man in life and death? Eh, probably. But you know what? Andrew Brightbart lived as a fucking intolerable scum-fucker, and his death merely cemented him as a fucking intolerable scum-fucker for all eternity. If saying that makes me a bastard, then fuck it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fictional City

I once read about a city.  A fictional city where nearly the entire population lived in comfort, and happiness.  However, after reaching a certain age they had to visit a certain individual once every so often.  This certain individual was what made everyone's lives so good in the city, because as long as this one individual suffered, the city would continue to be near perfect.  Some decided to leave the city afterwards, not being able to live with what their happiness depended on, while others would stay.
                Many people in my class at the time reacted in revulsion.  The idea that one person's suffering so greatly merely for others to be happy seemed to be wrong.  This was a simple thought experiment used to determine whether utilitarianism is a valid moral philosophy.  Many people rejected this idea in this thought experiment, yet seem to have little problem living in our current world.
                If a single individual suffering greatly for the happiness of others is wrong, then why not speak against our current world, in which a much greater number suffer for the pleasure of the rest of the population?  Why not speak against corporations using third world workers, adults as well as children, for incredibly low pay to create extremely popular and expensive products?  Why not speak against starvation when there is more than enough food to feed every person?  The list goes on and on.  But most importantly, why can't they put the parallel between the fictional city and the real world together?