10.28.2015

THE UNHOLY DIVERGENCE OF CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY

     One session on the internet, whether social or political – particularly perusing readers’ comments – illustrates one thing very clearly; the higher technology rises, the lower our culture sinks.
     Certainly it’s not the fault of technology, which in general has made our lives more convenient.
     The fault lies with users. The internet instantaneously spreads not just information and news, but dis-information and unreliable news. Commentary then quickly degenerates to the worst, darkest side of human nature.
     The culture of rebellious youth gravitates toward the lowest common denominator; attracted to street language, street garb, street attitude and total lack of grace and manners. As we fall farther toward an immoral, uncivil, chaotic abyss, technology increases the rate of descent. Not just on our devices, but in our face-to-face transactions. Pity the poor check-out clerks at local markets, and order takers at fast food drive-thru’s who are faced with it day-in and day-out – hearing and seeing it all – with smiles pasted on their faces, and “thank you’s” passing over their lips.
     It is far too easy for commenters to unleash hatred from the dark corners of their id in the relative anonymity of the net. Chubby nebbishes present themselves on the internet as satanspawn or worse; frustrated heroes captatlantis hurl epithets at one another; elderly church ladies call themselves maneater or whatever suits their alter egos. Each unabashedly unleashes his or her darkest fantasies on others with equally absurd names.
     We would like to believe America’s basic moral sentiment is good and positive – and in most cases of everyday life, it is! But if our internet culture does not have a rebirth of goodness, it will remain little more than the technologically advanced gutter culture it has become.
     America’s problems, from politics to race relations have been exacerbated by internet users’ inability to allow their better angels – if better angels any longer be – influence their language and actions.
     On-line vitriol toward others we do not even know – who in other circumstances we might even call friend – is difficult to stop when there is little or no price to pay.

     The internet was designed originally to provide free access for the exchange of ideas for scientists and engineers in a limited environment. It was not originally designed to be a world-wide web. Which is why it is almost impossible to make it truly secure. This original principle of free access is also what has allowed it to evolve – unintentionally! – into the littered highway for social interaction, dis-information and schlocky advertising which it has become. Somewhere early on it was corrupted by the same people who corrupt everything else good. But do not think this can go on forever. Non-elected bureaucratic types will eventually, perhaps even soon, do their best to restrict your usage, forcing rebels and fanatical partisans farther and farther into the dark corners of the net, or to alternate internets beyond anyone’s control.
     I cannot imagine today’s users and commenters cleaning up their own acts. It’s far too tempting and easy to log on and vent your anger anonymously than to research any given subject and comment reasonably, affably, intelligently. This requires a willingness to soften partisanship and adopt an attitude of independent, critical thinking – something apparently far beyond the parameters of inadequate IQ found on the internet.

10.14.2015

THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE: DIFFERENT VIEW

     Democratic Party leaders are quick to suggest to voters that Republicans are the party of the rich... that they will do everything they can to make the wealthy wealthier. And perhaps this is so.
     On the other hand, Democrats claim that they are the party of the people; the middle class, the poor, the needy and immigrants yearning to be free in America. And because these far outnumber the wealthy, the votes are on their side.
     But a reality check.
     Since Mr. Obama, a Democrat, has been President... the wealthy have grown wealthier, the poor are still poor, African-Americans are no better off, the middle class is shrinking, and no-one is happy about any of it.
     If the wealthy are the only ones getting ahead, both Republicans and Democrats are making the wealthy wealthier. But Democrats say that this is the Republicans’ philosophy, not theirs. If so, like it or not, Republican philosophy seems to be more effective, no?
     But there is more to this. Republican philosophy suggests that if the wealthy get wealthier, all citizens ultimately do better as a result. And perhaps this is so.
     In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that when America has Republican leadership, everybody seems to get ahead a little better than when Democrats are leading.
     During his first term, President Bill Clinton, a popular Democrat, had a Democratic-led Congress. The economy was wobbly. But voters had their say, and Congress got new Republican leadership. The economy turned around. Restrained and guided by that Republican Congress, Mr. Clinton’s second term – despite his personal problems – was much more successful, and the economy recovered nicely.
     Many, if not most Democrats (not to mention a significant number of Republican voters) have a visceral distaste for George W. Bush – blaming virtually everything that ever went wrong on W. The collapse of the economy near the end of his last term, however, was a result of a way-too-liberal Democratic Congress, heavily influenced by Dodd/Frank, which allowed crony Wall Street financiers and bankers (and wealthy members of Congress) to get away with financial murder. Liberal policies, sold to the nation under the guise of helping less wealthy people buy houses, brought about this collapse. In the end, the less wealthy, unable to pay their mortgages, lost their homes and whatever good credit standing they may have had before the debacle. The faulty mortgages were packaged and sold to international banks.
      There is plenty of blame to go around for both political parties, but the Democratic machine and their media allies succeeded in pinning the mess on George Bush. It might be worth mentioning that this is a major reason conservative Republicans are not leaning favorably toward Jeb Bush.
     But how any intelligent voter can seriously consider any of the Democratic Party candidates this time around is inscrutable. A continuation of President Obama’s liberal policies of the last seven years is bad enough! But this bunch of 1960s Democratic socialists are trying to outdo Obama, and invite certain disaster.
     Do you believe the wealthy will be any less wealthy with a Democrat president? Do you believe America’s middle-class will grow and prosper? Do you believe African-Americans will be any better off? Do you believe America will prosper as it did in the last Century?
     Last time around, you elected America’s first African-American president. A noble goal. The problem seems to be, from among the many qualified African-Americans in America, you chose the wrong one.
     If Democrats elect their present front-runner, four years hence, you can bet your last dollar (if you still have one) the only positive result you will be able to brag about is “We elected America’s first woman president.”
     If this is your goal, noble as it is, for goodness sake, find a better candidate!