These are posts from an earlier blog which I like and/or which remain relevant.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.
Its not a great time in history for American presidents as the last two have been proposed for impeachment, based on the fact that they are Liar, Liars, although the “Pants on Fire” part is only applicable to Bill Clinton as far as we know. However, the difference in scope of the lies that these Liar, Liars have been accused of telling is huge, in the order of a multitude of football fields different to (mis)use the favourite analogy of US news services.
Bill Clinton took Bible in hand and claimed that, according to the definition of sexual relations therein, he didn’t have them with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. Whether or not he didn’t understand that what was going on under the Oval Office desk was sexual in nature, he was trying only to save his marriage. (I wonder if Dubya uses the same Oval Office chair hmmm …. but I digress).
George W. Bush figuratively took his Bible in hand, although apparently open to Revelation rather than Exodus, and told us about nooquoolar weapons, various other “W.M.D’s” and uranium from Africa, none of which existed of course. His intent was to take the most powerful nation in the world to war, the result of which has been the killing of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of (mostly innocent) Iraqis. There aren’t enough football fields in all of America to lay end-to-end and explain that difference in scope.
Bill Clinton’s efforts to save his marriage were understood by a majority of Americans who saw the Clinton family’s problems as something to be dealt with by the Clinton family, which they were.
George W. Bush’s actions have not only killed thousands of Iraqi women, children and other innocents, but also more Americans than the 9/11 attacks. They have destroyed any positive influence that America had in the world and put the most powerful and aggressive nation facing the majority of the rest of the world squarely across that ever-changing “line in the sand”.
It seems the question for everyone outside the USA is “Why”, why is George W. Bush still the president? Not only has he not been impeached or taken out of office by whatever means exist, he even won a second term, albeit on a platform of “Vote for me or you’ll die”. This must be the ultimate proof that, in a democracy, you get the government you deserve. No wonder the Neocons spend so much time, effort, money and (other people’s) lives defending democracy.
Friday, February 2, 2007
The 6.5 Billion Horsemen of the Apocalypse
It has taken a very long time for politicians to accept the obvious with respect to climate change. We must remember that, in our democratic system, politicians are elected by all of us to represent us and this is probably the main reason why they will never tackle any problem which requires a solution that creates even a small hardship for the majority of us. They fear, rightly so, that they will fail to be re-elected.
There are several of these unpopular issues which are pushing our world towards the point of not being able to sustain human life. These are ‘Growth’ factors, most of which are paradoxically looked at as increasing our quality and enjoyment of life. Population, economy, consumerism, jobs, wealth, all these have been looked at as being able to grow continuously and without end. Believing this is obviously even more ridiculous than denying the effects of climate change.
During my lifetime, world population has tripled from just over 2 billion to 6.5 billion. During that time, the earth has not become any bigger and, in fact, the basic resources which sustain life, arable land, drinkable water, oxygen producing plants, have all been decreasing. It seems obvious that we have already passed the point of sustainability and that only 2 strategies will help: population reduction, preferably by reducing the birth rate to below the death rate for the foreseeable future, or, reducing the world standard of living to subsistence level while holding the population steady and apportioning the existing resources evenly amongst all people.
Although this may sound like a ‘socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing countries’ [Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper’s description of the Kyoto Protocol], I see it as a last ditch effort to produce a soft landing to the end of the capitalist dominated world order. Those of us fortunate enough to live in the ‘wealth-producing countries’ will probably feel the results of non-action even more that those who are currently at an economic disadvantage.
One of the most likely mechanisms for uncontrolled population reduction would be a massive pandemic and pandemics would be felt much more quickly by the travelers from the developed world than by nomads or villagers. In any case, such massive and uncontrolled depopulation would cause a complete breakdown of order and infrastructure throughout the world so no one would escape the chaos, anarchy and destruction.
Perhaps we should be looking for politicians who are touting ‘population shrinkage’, ‘economic decline’ or ‘wealth redistribution’. Get out on the street now and campaign before governments start to rebuild the mental health institutions they closed to save your money. While they have now found that there is no where to put so many of the homeless and addicted who have mental health problems, there is also no where for them to put you, so you just might be able to get your message out without disappearing. Lots of luck.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Living SMALL in the world of LARGE
What basis is there for equating QUALITY OF LIFE with STANDARD OF LIVING?
Standard of Living is measured by a person’s income or wealth while Quality of Life is much harder to quantify as it has to do with the person’s psychological well-being. Psychologist Abraham Maslow devised a hierarchy of needs which is usually diagrammed as a pyramid with the physiological or ‘basic’ needs at the bottom and the transcendent or ‘higher’ needs at the top. In between these extremes, from the bottom are safety, belonging and esteem needs.
While Maslow’s hierarchy has its detractors, it seems to be generally agreed that, in our society at least, some arrangement which has the basest needs to be filled first and the highest needs at the pinnacle is correct. Even if you don’t agree that this is generally agreed, I do and, since this is my blog, that’s what counts. I feel better already for having said that so there’s my proof.
Assuming that you agree with my premise, a fair assumption since you are still reading, this puts a high Standard of Living at the bottom of the pyramid filling or over-filling basic needs and a high Quality of Life at the top, attainable only through self-actualization and transcendence. This would explain why I increasingly feel that the relationship between SoL and QoL is inverse rather than direct; the more financially secure I become, the less I seem to enjoy my life (within reason of course).
We tend to spend our lives earning, looking for promotion or a higher paying job, investing, shopping and using all our time and energy to fill the basic needs of life. This leaves us with no resources to put into being more than a basic, living organism. So, rather than risk being reduced to the status of an amoeba or slime mould, I started a blog; and you should too; or face the consequences.