Well kumba–f’ing-ya, what fun would that be?
The truth is, I’m not going to any such thing, and neither are you if I have my way. I plan on spending a good chunk of my new year ridiculing the worst ways that virtually all the people in government lie, cheat, steal, misrepresent, exaggerate, distort, and otherwise generally stack the deck to their own benefit at the expense of the citizens of New Jersey and the rest of the country. I won’t be able to call attention to all of them you understand; no one has that kind of time (unless of course if they work in government). But I should be able to make a comment or two about some of the worst cases. I want to fill your head with clever little nastiness that you can then repeat at the water-cooler, and make your liberal friends very, very angry. Cause when all the liberals are angry, we then know that god is in his heaven and all is right with the world.
And toward that end, there are two classic misuses of English that I’d like to call specific attention to for the New Year.
Back a few months ago, when I was still using animal rights nut-job and ex-state assemblyman Mike Panter as my verbal piñata, I got a bunch of comments back from someone trying very hard to defend his actions in the state assembly. They were posted anonymously so I don’t know for certain, but I think they were from his mother. Anyway, the comments defended him by saying that he had done a lot of great things for the people he represents, and offered the fact that he’s worked on “perhaps 1000 bills” as evidence. Actual comments can be found here:
The Chuck Schumer Memorial rifle Range
I thought about that for a bit, and it seemed to me that the fact that he found 1,000 ways to write new law was hardly evidence that he’s done good things. He could have been sponsoring 1000 different bills to re-establish slavery, institute martial law, deny women the vote, make income taxes 120%, and burn homosexuals at the stake. Now I don’t want to be too hard on the guy (especially now that he’s unemployed), he almost certainly did none of those things, but how do we know the things he did were actually good.
The fact is, the common phrase “He did good things for the people he represents” is intentionally misleading. What people mean when they say that is “He got more money from other people in the government than other people got from him”. And in government, that’s supposed to be “good”. Well since when do we consider it a good thing to have someone out there picking pockets for us faster than other people are picking ours? If that’s all we expect of our representatives, it’s no wonder we end up electing nothing but crooks, liars and grifters.
Just remember that the next time someone says, “she worked really hard for the people of her district”, what that person means is, she was stealing from others with both hands, while the people from other areas were stealing with only one. Hardly my idea of a day well spent.
One other phrase that just gets under my skin, is the “perfect worlder” phrase “working for peace”. Now to be fair, I’ve never heard anyone outside an academic institution who was stupid enough to try and say that with a straight face. But since it’s a phrase that seems to continue to bubble up out of the morass we call higher education every few years, I think it deserves a comment.
Most of the people who treat the word “peace” as a noun want the government to establish rules more to their liking that “promote peace” or some such, but again, that’s misrepresented. The government has only one tool to motivate people and that is force. If the government makes a rule, any rule, it isn’t peacefulness that inspires someone to follow it, it’s the potential lack of it that does.
Don’t think so? The threat of force isn’t the same as “actual force”? OK, let me ask you this… when that cop rolls up behind you with his lights on, do you pull over right away or do you wait for him to shoot out your tires and run you off the road? Most people pull right over, but the do so because of what they reasonably believe will happen to them if they don’t, not because of some nonsense about their responsibility in a civil society.
In other words, the whole idea of treating “peace” as a constant state is misleading.
Let me put it another way. Lets talk about game theory a moment, so we don’t have to get all cluttered up thinking about right and wrong or good and bad and can focus on what is possible and not possible. In any disagreement between people, they only way that people can use non-violent means to settle their dispute, is if they agree, in advance, not to use force. Without that prior consent, it is simply impossible because violence and the credible threat of violence remain a highly effective means of persuasion.
So what we have then is the classic prisoner’s dilemma. The best thing might be for both parties to agree not to use force, but individually, the best thing for them to do is not to do so. In effect that means that neither of them can give it up force as a persuasive tool. So how do the “perfect worlders” react to this? They argue for some over-arching institution where all authority for violence is vested. In effect they want a super united nations that gets to be the only ones capable of using force, that then compels people to use non-violent means to resolve disputes. How will they do this…naturally, by the use of force. But they ignore the fact that without consent you simply cannot have the requirements for non-violence, and at the end of the day you cannot use force to obtain consent.
Our civil society in the western world isn’t non-violent because our governments force us to be. If it’s peaceful at all, it’s because we’ve all consented to the basic rules. And as soon as a substantial minority of us no longer consents, so goes the peaceful society. That’s what happened with the RUF in West Africa, and with the Serbs and Bosnians in the Balkans, and both the American Revolution and civil war for that matter. So long as the threat of killing someone remains a reliable means of persuasion, then violence will be the constant state of man, and “peace” will only be those moments when everyone involved agrees to work things out differently.
The age of Aquarius isn’t coming anytime soon, no matter how many “peace studies” programs are made mandatory for graduation. And to believe differently is really stupidity at its lowest level. We should all go laugh in the face of anyone who vocally supports it. After all, what are they going to do, hit us?
Anyway my New Years resolution isn’t about dropping a few pounds or working harder or drinking less. In fact, if anything I think I might try to drink a little more in the coming year. It lightens me up and helps me take my self a little less seriously. And I do think I’ll try to be a little more joyful. I’m lately reminded that a life without joy isn’t much of a life no matter what you accomplish. So I’ll try to practice what I preach and spend more time laughing out loud at the nonsense that people try to pass off as critical thinking. And maybe I can help all y’all all do the same.