Mēs neesam piemēroti laikam, kurā dzīvojam. To raksta E.O. Wilson, to saka Andrejs Tarkovskis, katrs saviem vārdiem un savā nozarē. Bet doma ir viena: Mēs nevaram būt laimīgi, tas iespējams tikai retiem izņēmumiem, mūsu izcelsme mums iedod ilgas, emocijas un vajadzības, kuru piepildīšana nav savietojama ar mūsu realitāti.
Kurš dzīvesveids ir vērtīgāks, vairāk cienījams? Vai tās pasaules, kurās aizrautīgi un juceklīgi dzīvo tie dvēseles mākslinieki, kuri cieš, iet bojā un dažreiz piedzīvo arī laimes mirkļus, vai tie, kuri visa pamatā liek faktus un realitāti, un laimi nepazīst, jo nezina tās valodu? Vai vēl vienkāršāk: nav sastapuši. Kā ir pareizāk?
Helen Fisher (skat. : https://www.amazon.com/Why-Him-Her-Find-Lasting/dp/1851687920/ref=cm_wl_huc_item ) neraksta par tādu aizrautīgu, narkotiskai atkarībai līdzīgu mīlestību: Rietumu sabiedrībā ir pieņemts nākotni vērtēt un pamatoti, nopietni, sakarīgi izvēlēties mēģināt.
Bet varbūt ir tā, ka lielu laimi spēj saņemt tikai stipri un gudri cilvēki? Bet varbūt, ka ir vēl vienkāršāk: nevienam nav pamata prasīt, lai viņš vai viņa būtu normālā varbūtību sadalījuma galējais, mazvarbūtīgais gadījums.
Polina Aronson spent her first 16 years in Russia. There, people tend to regard love as a sort of divine madness that descends from the heavens. Love is regarded, as the sociologist Julia Lerner put it, as “a destiny, a moral act and a value; it is irresistible, it requires sacrifice and implies suffering and pain.” Russians measure one another by how well they are able to bear the upheaval love brings, sometimes to an absurd degree.
But when she was in high school, Aronson moved to America, and stumbled across an issue of Seventeen magazine. She was astounded. In America she noticed that people tended ask: Does a partner fulfill your needs? Do you feel comfortable asserting your rights in the relationship? Does your partner check the right boxes?
Aronson concluded that she had moved from the Russian Regime of Fate to the American Regime of Choice.
Everything seems acceptable with one aspect added: Choice is important and useful but don’t forget the most valuable: the heavens. If you do feel that your feeling can change your both lives and yourself completely. you dare to accept it. If you are not sure, take the Choice:
The Covenant Regime is based on the idea that our current formula is a conspiracy to make people unhappy. Love is realistically a stronger force than self-interest. Detached calculation in such matters is self-strangulating. The deepest joy sneaks in the back door when you are surrendering to some sacred promise.
There are not many words but there is a deep sense, possibility, duty and responsibility. And a future, if we will understand and accept it.
At 16, Martin Winiecki dropped out of school and left his home in the German city of Dresden to live full-time at Tamera, a 300-acre intentional community in the rolling hills of southwestern Portugal. His mother and father – a doctor and a professor of mathematics – were reluctant to let him go. ‘It was quite a shock for them,’ Winiecki remembers. Born in 1990, just a few months after the collapse of the Berlin wall, Winiecki came of age in a society in limbo. The atmosphere of the former GDR still clung to people. ‘It was a culture that was so formal. So obligation-oriented. That had no heart. No love,’ Winiecki explained. At the same time, in Winiecki’s eyes, the capitalist alternative was creating a ‘system of deep economic injustice – of winners and losers’. Neither story encompassed a humanity he wanted part of. Tamera offered an alternative.
Founded by the psychoanalyst and sociologist Dieter Duhm in Germany in 1978 and re-founded in Portugal in 1995, Tamera aspired to dissolve the trauma of human relationships. Duhm, heavily influenced by Marxism and psychoanalysis, came to see material emancipation and interpersonal transformation as part of the same project. Duhm had been deeply disillusioned by communes where he’d spent time in the 1960s and ’70s, and which seemed to reproduce many of the same tyrannies that people were trying to escape: egoism, power struggles, envy, mistrust and fear, while practices of sexual freedom often engendered jealousy and pain. In Duhm’s eyes, communes had failed to create a viable model for a new society. In Tamera, he hoped to begin a social experiment that allowed for deep interpersonal healing.
Communitarian experiments such as Tamera are nothing new, although its longevity – almost 40 years – is unusual. Generally, intentional communities fail at a rate slightly higher than that of most start-ups. Only a handful of communities founded in the US during the 19th century’s ‘golden age of communities’ lasted beyond a century; most folded in a matter of months. This golden age birthed more than 100 experimental communities, with more than 100,000 members who, according to the historian Mark Holloway in Heavens on Earth (1951), sought to differentiate themselves from society by creating ‘ideal commonwealths’. The largest surge in communitarian ‘start-ups’ occurred during the 1840s and 1890s, coinciding with periods of economic depression. But it would be a mistake to see intentional communities merely as a knee-jerk response to hard times.
In historic terms, a broader discontent with industrial society has led to people flocking to communes, utopias and spiritual settlements, from eco-villages and ‘back to the land’ style settlements designed to create sustainable lifestyles and a stronger relationship to nature, to communities founded with spiritual or idealist visions for transforming human character and creating new blueprints of society. Of course, the ‘cult’ label is never far behind. Many intentional communities have had to fight their own public-relations battles in the wake of negative or sensational publicity.
But regardless of our suspicions, our appetite for communitarian living might even be evolutionarily hard-wired. Some sociologists have gone as far as to suggest that we are mal-adapted in modern society, and that ‘tribal’ forms of life are more viable. Theories of neo-tribalism suggest that instead of mass society, human nature is best suited to small, caring groups. The anthropologist Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford claims that humans can comfortably maintain no more than 150 stable relationships, which suggests that communitarian living might not be so much of an ‘outlier’ or ‘experiment’. From an evolutionary perspective, modern society itself might be the anomaly. As the cultural critic Daniel Quinn writes in The Story of B (1996), for 3 million years the tribal life worked for us: ‘It worked for people the way nests worked for birds, the way webs work for spiders, the way burrows work for moles … That doesn’t make it lovable, it makes itviable.’
Why then do utopian communities so often fail? Interestingly, attrition rates for intentional communities are not all that different from many other types of human endeavour. The failure rate for start-ups is around 90 per cent, and the longevity of most companies is dismal: of the Fortune 500 companies listed in 1955, more than 88 per cent are gone; meanwhile, S&P companies have an average lifespan of just 15 years. Can we really expect more longevity from experimental communities? And if not, what can we learn from an audit of these experiments? What have been the key factors undermining communitarian living?
Perhaps the irony is that many of the administrative and managerial forces that individuals are running away from within mainstream society are exactly the organisational tools that would make intentional communities more resilient: that regardless of how much intentional communities with utopian aims seek to step to one side of worldly affairs, they succeed or fail for the very same pragmatic reasons that other human enterprises – notably businesses and start-ups – succeed or fail.
What is the right community, the right human society? Is it possible? Is there an answer? Yes, there are answers but not the ones you are waiting, you are prepared for.
Any human society must not only be based on the real human properties but to make use of them. That means that they must create the rules of game, restricting any wrongdoing by making it unprofitable. This is a hard task human societies try to accomplish since centuries: in many wars they kill innocent people but don’t punish their offenders.
That means that they have to create the rules which allow to satisfy the basic, most important human needs for self-realization and development and the deep need for something bigger than their daily lives. This is even more hard task which is not solved almost in all human societies: the more important values are not defined. There is pluralism, relativism, superstition and religions instead . I.V.
We’re only just starting to wake up to the potential outcomes of the technology that we’re inventing but increasingly don’t understand. Human co-operation and trust aren’t givens. They’re the byproducts of a cultural process that can be reversed. And civilisation is far, far more fragile than any of us want to realise.
The real danger that’s facing us is we’ve lost respect for truth and facts. People have discovered that it’s much easier to destroy reputations for credibility than it is to maintain them. It doesn’t matter how good your facts are, somebody else can spread the rumour that you’re fake news. We’re entering a period of epistemological murk and uncertainty that we’ve not experienced since the middle ages.
Maybe people will now begin to realise that philosophers aren’t quite so innocuous after all. Sometimes, views can have terrifying consequences that might actually come true. I think what the postmodernists did was truly evil. They are responsible for the intellectual fad that made it respectable to be cynical about truth and facts. You’d have people going around saying: “Well, you’re part of that crowd who still believe in facts.”
But in your latest book, you ask if civilisation can fail and conclude that it can. You say there’s a huge and present danger because the modern world has become too complex to fix. Does that have a different resonance now than when you wrote it?
I suppose it does. When I wrote it, I thought it would be a hard sell for a lot of people. Whereas now, well, we’re all facing it, aren’t we? My optimism is well surrounded by very pessimistic thoughts, which are in some way probably more realistic.
My friend Danny Hillis gave a TED talk where he pointed out that the vital services of the nation are much more dependent on the internet than they should be. If the internet went down, and a lot of people say it’s just a matter of time, it will probably take the power grid down, cellphones, radio, television – we’ll be plunged into electronic darkness. We’re not used to that. If you thought 9/11 was scary, this is going to be a tremendous panic-inducer. We should be planning what to do about that.
One of the big themes in my book is how up until recently, the world and nature were governed by competence without comprehension. Serious comprehension of anything is very recent, only millennia old, not even a million years old. But we’re now on the verge of moving into the age of post-intelligent design and we don’t bother comprehending any more. That’s one of the most threatening thoughts to me. Because for better or for worse, I put comprehension as one of my highest ideals. I want to understand everything. I want people to understand things. I love understanding things. I love explaining things to myself and to others. We’ve always had plenty of people who, for good reason, said, “Oh, don’t bother explaining to me how the car engine works, I don’t care. I just push the ignition and off I go.” What happens when we take that attitude towards everything?
Serious comprehension of anything (for the current moment) is impossible and we don’ t need it. We don’t need to understand everything, but only something we are specialized in. But we do need to comprehend the whole system, our existence and values. If we will not manage our existence on a big scale, we are doomed. I.V.
Since its invention four years ago, a powerful and precise technology for editing DNA called CRISPR has transformed science because of how it makes altering the genetic makeup of plants and animals easier than ever before.
But no possibility opened by gene-editing technology has been so exciting, frightening, or as hotly contested as its capacity to allow humanity, for the first time, to control the genetic constitution of children by applying CRISPR to human embryos, sperm, or eggs—cells which together make up the “germ line.”
On Tuesday, in a striking acknowledgement that humanity is on the cusp of genetically modified children, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s source of blue-ribbon advice on science policy, recommended that germ-line modification of human beings be permitted in the future in certain narrow circumstances to prevent the birth of children with serious diseases.
The assertion means that we humans, or we who are conscious beings, are significantly intertwined with what physicists call the physical universe, which they assert is “living” and “conscious,” and responds to human minds. That “the universe” affects humans is of course indisputable, but that human existence changes the universe in some significant manner is not an idea most scientists would accept.
It is very very simple. They write and speak about the information between humans and the environment but don’t say a word about the physical environment the information is stored, recorded, transmitted. I.V.
Videos Every thinking human being has to watch. And know and live with it.
We have held the peculiar notion that a person or society that is a little different from us, whoever we are, is somehow strange or bizarre, to be distrusted or loathed. Think of the negative connotations of words like alien or outlandish. And yet the monuments and cultures of each of our civilizations merely represent different ways of being human. An extraterrestrial visitor, looking at the differences among human beings and their societies, would find those differences trivial compared to the similarities. The Cosmos may be densely populated with intelligent beings. But the Darwinian lesson is clear: There will be no humans elsewhere. Only here. Only on this small planet. We are a rare as well as an endangered species. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
By Edward Curtin, February 15 2017
Most Americans dislike poetry, or at least are indifferent to it. That is probably an understatement. We live in an age of prose, of journalese, and advertising jingles. Poetry, the most directly indirect, mysterious, condensed, and passionate form of communication, is about American as socialism or not shopping. Unlike television, texting, or scrolling the Internet, it demands concentration; that alone makes it suspect. Add silent, calm surroundings and a contemplative mind, and you can forget it, which is what most people do. Silence, like so much else in the present world, including human beings, is on the endangered species list. Another rare bird—let’s call it the holy spirit of true thought—is slowly disappearing from our midst.
In this post I will be providing a basic overview of the General Atomic fast neutron breeder reactor. There has been somewhat of a renaissance in Nuclear Engineering and the Energy Multipler (EM2) is a very interesting example of some of the new and innovative designs now in progress. In my view this is the most promising of these new design offerings.
Like all nuclear reactors EM2 generates electrical energy by producing heat. The EM2 utilizes the Brayton cycle, the same cycle used in gas turbines and turbojet engines. This allows for a significantly higher thermal efficiency than achievable in the normally used Rankine cycle. Below is a simplified diagram of this design.
The basic principle is simple. EM2 is a fast neutron nuclear reactor, hence has no moderator to slow down the neutron flux to thermal energies. This allows breeding of new fuel with a factor greater than one from the fertile elements, Uranium and Thorium. In the EM 2 design this capability allows the reactor to operate for 30 years without re fueling and without fuel reshuffling the fuel rods. This offers a very important cost saving feature of this design The general design is not that different than a fossil fuel gas turbine.
However, the role of combustors has been replaced by the nuclear core and unlike fossil fueled gas turbines we have a closed gas system. Hot gas (Helium) flows out the reactor into the turbine portion of a turbo engine. This gas is at 850 degrees C (1562 F) and a pressure of 13.1 Mpa (1900 PSI). The exhaust of the turbine flows into the tube side of the recuperator heat exchanger. The cooled gas flows into shell side of the precooler heat exchanger to get the Helium to a low enough temperature to allow efficient compression by the turbo engine compressor. The compressed gas flow out the compressor into the shell side of the recuperator heat exchanger recovering some of the energy lost to allow efficient compression and then into the inlet of the nuclear reactor.
If the EM2 is cited where there is a river, lake or ocean ultimate heat sink, it’s possible to extract additional useable energy by including an organic Rankine cycle. This cycle utilizes an organic liquid with a low enough boiling point to undergo a phase change at a fairly low temperature to drive an additional turbine. The nuclear reactor produces a design maximum thermal power of 500 MW, resulting in a 240 MWe output in the Brayton cycle generator and 25 MWe in the Rankine cycle generator giving an overall efficiency of 53%.
Both generators are Asynchronous permanent magnet three phase generators. This allows them to be high speed which is especially important for the Brayton cycle. These generators are coupled to the AC grid using Load Commutator Inverters. (LCI) These convert the high frequency generator output to DC and then invert it to grid compatible AC. (To digress, LCI inverters are somewhat different the inverters I posted on previously. They don’t use seg fire mode for wave shaping, they depend on the load to wave shape. They therefore are able to use SCR switches rather than IGFETS because they don’t need switching off capability. However, when LCI units are used to drive an electric motor they need to feed into a reactive generator to have a wave shaping source. Therefore they can only drive synchronous motors. However at startup they must implement a seg fire mode by turning the source side AC to DC converter on and off)
The Reactor Core
The EM2 core utilizes a fuel composed of Uranium Carbide which has a melting point of 2350 degrees C. ( 4262 F ) This fuel is clad with Silicone carbide which is physically stable up 2730 Degrees C ( 4946 F) This is far higher than current reactor designs. Also the cladding used can never be a source of hydrogen as is the case for light water reactors. The fuel is enriched to an average of 6.5 % (5.5-15%) with the lower enrichment at the edge of the fuel assembly. The core contains a large quantity of fertile isotope and EM2 can use both a Thorium and Uranium fuel cycle. If the fuel utilized is reprocessed spent fuel no uranium enrichment is required. EM2 has a 97% fuel utilization, equal or better than LFTR.
Reactor control utilizes control rods and rotating core barrels around the core made of 90 % enriched Boron 10- carbide which has a melting point of 2763 C. (5005 F). To insure maximum neutron economy the control rods are fully withdrawn during reactor operation and reactivity control rests solely with the core barrels.
In order to use core barrels the EM2 reactor is designed to require reflected neutrons to achieve criticality. This is accomplished by the relativity low enrichment for a fast neutron reactor. The core is surrounded by a Beryllium oxide reflector. The core barrel can rotate its Beryllium oxide surface or Boron carbide surface to control reactivity. The Beryllium Oxide has a melting temperature of 2100 C. (3812 F)
Achieving a 30 year refueling cycle is accomplished by having a large fertile Uranium or Thorium core load and a system to remove fission product gasses from the fuel during power operation. The Uranium Carbide fuel is porous to fission product gasses and the fuel rod design is annular, so fission product gasses can collect in the center void in the fuel rod to be removed by a Fission gas trapping system. This fission gas removal has two advantages, the removal of this gas prevents fuel swelling and deformation, a process that limits fuel life in other nuclear reactors and the fission gas isotopes have large neutron absorption cross sections. This improves the neutron economy helping to achieve a 30 year fuel load.
There is no source of energy that is 100 % risk free. Risk is the price we must pay to have the benefits of technology. The only reasonable question that can be asked is if the risk is low enough in proportion to the benefit. In my opinion, assuming the correctness of the current safety analysis and a demonstrated need for an energy source beside renewable energy sources the answer is yes for EM2.
Nuclear power plants present all the same risks as other sources of energy. But they also a present a special risk that is unique. This is the risk of a large scale radioactive material release to the environment. I hope to show that for EM 2 this risk is low enough to make this design an attractive option to generate power from nuclear energy.
There are two different types of events that cause a large scale release of radioactive material into the environment. These are a prompt criticality accident and a core meltdown due to loss of reactor cooling and the presence of decay heat.
Prompt Criticality accident
To understand this risk a little physics is needed.
To understand the nuclear process, a basic description of the neutron chain reaction is needed. Some perhaps unfamiliar terms will need to be introduced. These are;
Microscopic cross section, This parameter relates to the probability that a neutron will be absorbed by a given nucleus. It is not a constant, it can be affected in somewhat complex ways by the energy of the nucleus and the neutron. The units for this parameter is area.
Number density N, This parameter is the value of the density of a given micro entity. Its units are atoms/ unit volume.
Macroscopic cross section. This parameter relates the probability that a neutron will be absorbed by a given collection of atoms. Its value is given by Eq 1
With units of atom/unit distance. Flux (Neutron generally)
This is the produce of the number density and mean velocity. Its units are neutrons/Unit area- second.
Reaction rate R. This is given by; Eq 2
With units of interactions/ Unit volume – time interval Geometric Buckling
This parameter represents the geometry of the critical assembly, for our purposes we can think of it as the ratio of the effective surface area and volume of the critical assembly, though its calculation is somewhat complex for a nuclear reactor core.
The neutron multiplication factor.This is the ratio of the number of neutrons in one generation and the number of neutrons in the previous generation.
Reactivity. This is the parameter that defines the degree of departure from criticality and is given by; Eq 4
Reactor Period, The time it takes the reactor to change in power by a factor of e.
Delayed Neutron fraction
In the fission process, most neutrons used to support the chain reaction are released during the fission event. However, for a select group of fission products, additional neutrons are released during the beta decay process. This occurs because in some cases the neutron rich fission product is an excited state, which causes it to emit a neutron rather than a gamma photon as it falls back to a less excited state. In defining the overall neutron generation time, we must average over all the neutrons that are needed to sustain fission. These delayed neutrons make the neutron generation time long enough to allow control of the chain reaction. A reactor must be designed to avoid having so much reactivity that these delayed neutrons are not needed. Such a condition is called prompt critical and is fatal for almost any reactor. By summing over the sources of neutrons used to sustain the nuclear reaction we get the mean generation time Eq 5A &5B
Where are number of precursor atoms and are number of prompt neutrons per generation
A closely related term is delayed neutron fraction which is given by Eq 6
Except in cases of very rapid power changes these terms are essentially equal to each other and will be considered so here.
Effective Delayed fraction
Normally this value is somewhat higher than the delayed neutron fraction because delayed neutrons are born at a lower energy and therefore more likely to avoid escape or absorption by non-fuel materials. However, in a fast breeder there is very little neutron energy lost in the neutron cycle. So for fast breeder reactors the effective delayed neutron fraction tends to be smaller.
Power level of the reactor is given by: Eq 7
Where’ Eq 8
For all value of reactivity less than Here is the Delayed neutron precursor decay fraction, which is the ratio of precursor atoms that decay within a given time and all precursor atoms. This value ranges generally from 0.08 steady state, 0.1 for increasing power and 0.05 for decreasing power.
For values of reactivity greater than the equation is; Eq 9
Where the cycle time is equal to sec We can easily see the problem here. If we can somehow get enough positive reactivity the exponential rate of power increase becomes uncontrollable. This is what happened at the Chernobyl and SL1 accidents.
Nuclear reactors can explode. They can’t explode like a nuclear bomb, they disassemble too fast, but they can release enough energy to breech any containment. So how does EM2 stack up concerning this risk? Well it can never explode the way Chernobyl did. This is because when the reactor power is sufficient to increase the fuel temperature, which is called above the point of adding heat, the natural processes of the reactor adds negative reactivity, making prompt criticality impossible to achieve.
However, what about reactor operation below the point of adding heat, the situation that occurred at SL1. Here EM2 has no advantage over any other reactor and in fact except for the special case of the TRIGA reactor, no other nuclear reactor is immune from this risk. So how large a risk is this. Very small. This type of accident can only occur at reactor start up and during reactor start up highly redundant safety systems and rigorous procedures prevent such an event. I can go into more detail on this for those interested but I won’t here.
When a Nuclear reactor is shut down, the chain reaction is stopped, but the reactor core does not stop producing heat.
Decay Heat. The power level of a shutdown nuclear reactor can be calculated by summing over all the fission product isotopes decaying. Each isotope adds energy, with the shorter have life isotopes contributing the most energy. Eq 10
Summing over all the fission products we get; Immediately after Shut Down 6.5% total of the average power over the history of the reactor before shutdown.
One hour after shutdown 1.5% of average power before shutdown
One day after shutdown 0.4% of average power before shutdown
One week after shutdown 0.2% of average power before shutdown
After one week the fall off in decay heat is very slow, the spent fuel will produce just under 0.2% for years.
So how does EM2 cope with this issue? First we will look at the case where the load is lost (generator trip) and all the reactor shutdown systems fail. Given that these are highly redundant systems that need no power to operate this is very unlikely event. Under these conditions the reactor core would rapidly heat up. However, because the EM2 core can reach such a high temperature before any fuel damage occurs this design can utilize the change of core geometry to shut down the chain reaction. In this design a geometric reactivity factor becomes important. Looking at the core the probability of neutron escape is given by; Eq 11
Where is a constant based on core design that is less than one and is the mean free path of a neutron through the core. This is based on the geometry of the core and is given by approximately; Eq 12
Where V and A are volume and surface area. So that; Eq13
Giving us; Eq 14
This factor becomes small enough to terminate the chain reaction before the fuel temperature reaches its meltdown temperature. However, this doesn’t account for decay heat which does not shutdown when the chain reaction stops. Therefore the EM2 reactor incorporates a Direct Reactor Auxiliary Cooling System.
A very simplified diagram of DRACS is below.
The operation of this system is simple. For normal operation this is an active system using blowers and pumps to effect the cooling of the reactor core. (There are two redundant DRACS in the EM2 design) However upon complete loss of power, valves and dampers automatically position to allow the reactor to cool by a natural convection process. This is sufficient to prevent the core from exceeding its maximum design temperature due to decay heat. However, consideration of a loss of coolant accident, that is the rupture of the primary system must be considered. This is easily demonstrated by looking at the thermodynamic relationships in the cooling process. We see that approximately we can use the equation’ Eq 15
Where heat transfer rate, is the mass flow rate and are the Helium and Fuel temperature and is a constant based on the heat exchangers parameters. For natural circulation flow we have; Eq 16
Here P is coolant pressure. Therefore, a loss of pressure can reduce the coolant mass flow rate causing a higher fuel temperature. If the coolant pressure dropped to atmospheric from its operating pressure of 13.1 Mpa fuel temperature would exceed safe limits. This problem can be dealt with in two ways or a combination of these two ways. One is to limit the containment volume which limits the lowest pressure the coolant will reach on a primary system rupture. However, the external equipment installation makes this a challenge. Therefore this can be augmented by using an inert gas to pressurize the containment volume. This has the disadvantage that the reactor must be shut down and cooled before any maintenance can be performed inside the containment , but given the design of this reactor this should only occur rarely.
This has been a rather broad stroke description of EM2. But I think this gives some basic understanding of this design and its innovative features
Jau pirms vairākiem gadiem rakstīju, ka noziegumu atklāšanā un izmeklēšanā un iztiesāšanā valda liela apjoma haoss, nenoteiktība un neskaidrības. 2016.gada februāra raidījumā “Tieša runa” sarunās apstiprinājās, ka tā pati situācija no gada uz gadu, desmitiem gadu nemainās vai mainās nenozīmīgi. Diemžēl raidījumā neizskanēja praktiski neviens kaut cik vērā ņemams viedoklis, kas un kā jādara, lai sakārtotu sistēmu. Tika runāts par izmeklēšanas problēmām, bet nedzirdējām atbildi vai ierosinājumus, kas nopietni jādara, lai policijā nodrošinātu noziedzīgu nodarījumu izmeklēšanas kvalitāti, novērstu korupciju.
Par katastrofālu stāvokli izmeklēšanā un iztiesāšanā jau 25 gadus notiek viena un tā pati gaušanās, augstākās amatpersonas par patiesām problēmām nopietni nerunā un nevēlas runāt, kamēr parādīsies politiskā griba kārtot lietas, kā pienākas, un tiks noteikts ar likumu, kas un kā jāreformē (reformai līdzekļi nav jāmeklē, tikai jāpārdala).
Bieži vien var sastapties ar izteicieniem, ka dažāda ranga priekšnieki vienkārši neļauj labi strādāt. Tam ir dažādi pamatoti iemesli, tajā skaitā tas, ka priekšnieki iejaucas svarīgākās lietās un nosaka ar likumu piešķirto „procesa virzību”.
Kā var runāt par kvalitāti, ja faktiski izmeklētāju institūts kā tāds neeksistē. Kā tā, jocīgs secinājums, jautās – kas tad izmeklē lietas vai, kā to sauc tagad, – kas izmeklē procesus, ja nav izmeklētāju. Atbildu, izmeklētāji nav izmeklētāji, bet tikai procesa virzītāji: ja vienlaicīgi vienā lietā ir daudz par daudz „procesa virzītāju”, grūti izvērtēt, kurš „šuva mēteli”, kurš „pogas”, tātad tā nav izmeklēšana. Izmeklēšana kā tāda ir sagrauta – padarīta par vadāmu un manipulējamu, sadrumstalota, bezatbildīga.
Izmeklēšanā valda shēma: „izmeklētājs” jau ierosinātu kriminālizmeklēšanu vai reģistrētu materiālu (atvainojos – procesu; process pošol) no policijas priekšnieka saņem ar rezolūciju un norādījumiem, ko un kā darīt.
Raidījumā tika izteikts, ka nav kvalificētu izmeklētāju. Linda Mūrniece esot likvidējusi Policijas akadēmiju. Arī par prokuroriem saka to pašu, ka nav kadru, kas var izmeklēt svarīgas lietas. Pagājuši 25 gadi, un „nav” kvalificētu kadru? Un vēl 25 gadus nebūs kvalificētu izmeklētāju un prokuroru, kamēr Krimināllikums un Kriminālprocesa likums būs tāds, kādu, manuprāt, uzrakstīja advokāti, tiesneši un prokurori savām vajadzībām un būs vadāmi izmeklētāji.
Problēma nenoliedzami ir, bet tā ir plašāka: Visur dominē cilvēku daba. Radīt sistēmu, kas uzrauga, ierobežo primātu izpausmes, ir grūts uzdevums, kurš daļēji atrisināts dažās attīstītās valstīs. Šos uzdevumus dažādas tautas risina gadiem ilgi, un to risināšanā jāpiedalās visai sabiedrībai. Mēs varam tikai gribēt un vēlēties, lai tie, kam nav iemācīta valoda, tajā runātu. Bērniem runāto valodu iemāca dažu gadu laikā, bet pieaugušajiem tas notiek ilgāk un grūtāk.
Īstuma, patiesības un vērtību valodu iemācīt tiem, kas to nav saņēmuši bērnībā, praktiski nav iespējams. Jo tā ir daudz smalkāka valoda.
Vairāk par to pašu Rita Aksenoka žurnālā ‘Ieva’ 2017. 8. martā: … “man ļoti sāp sirds, kā vēlāk Prokuratūrā viss izmainījās. Mums radās sabiedrības elite, virsslānis, ko veidoja Saeimas deputāti, ministri, Augstākās tiesas priekšsēdētājs, ģenerālprokurors. Viņiem gribējās būt gudriem, vareniem un – lai notiktu tā, kā viņi uzskata par pareizu. Prokuratūrā darbā pieņēma cilvēkus, kas nevarēja tās lietas pavilkt. Bija cilvēki, kas, nonākuši amatos, ļoti pārvērtās. Ap viņiem izveidojās kodols no ne tiem labākajiem, uzpeldēja pielīdēji, pašlabuma meklētāji. Tie, kas gribēja strādāt šauram savējo lokam, nevis atbildīgi un godīgi, lai tautai un valstij būtu labāk. Izjutu, ka esmu kļuvusi neērta un mani grib dabūt pie malas. Izskanēja priekšlikums, ka mani prokuratūrā nevajadzētu. Aizgāju projām 1995. gadā, kad pieņēma jauno Prokuratūras likumu, un es sapratu, ka tajā daudzi punkti tika iestrādāti pašiem sev un kādam noteiktam cilvēku lokam.”
Un vēl: “Mums šobrīd ir katastrofāls morāles sabrukums. Kad paskatos, ko raksta dzeltenā prese un rāda dažādi televīzijas šovi, rodas sajūta, ka mums ir tikai attiecības. Pirmās attiecības, otrās attiecības, trešās… Es nezinu, vai mīlestība vairs ir tikai attiecības, vai laulību arī tagad sauc par attiecībām? Visās paliek bērni, un viņi taču ir morāli traumēti. Kādi viņi izaugs morālu vērtību izkropļotā sabiedrībā? Šovi, kuros bučojas svešinieki, precas svešinieki – tā taču ir pilnīga morāles degradācija! Divpadsmit trīspadsmit gadu vecumā jau ir attiecības un sekss. Tādās attiecībās jau tajā vecumā klāt nāk arī alkohols, narkotikas. ..Vardarbība ģimenē, mātes, kas dzer un bērnus atstāj mājās vienus, – tā jau kļuvusi ikdienas ziņu tēma. Man ir skumji, ka latviešiem morāles kritēriji ir sašķobījušies, ka stabila ģimene vairs nav vērtība.”
“Our current and past strategies can no longer hold. We are facing environments that the masters of war never foresaw. We are facing a threat that requires us to redefine doctrine and the force in radically new and different ways. The future army will confront a highly sophisticated urban-centric threat that will require that urban operations become the core requirement for the future land-force. The threat is clear. Our direction remains to be defined. The future is urban.”— “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command
The U.S. military plans to take over America by 2030.
No, this is not another conspiracy theory. Although it easily could be.
Nor is it a Hollywood political thriller in the vein of John Frankenheimer’s 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May about a military coup d’etat.
Although it certainly has all the makings of a good thriller.
No, this is the real deal, coming at us straight from the horse’s mouth.
According to “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. military plans to use armed forces to solve future domestic political and social problems.
What they’re really talking about is martial law, packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.
The chilling five-minute training video, obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request and made availableonline, paints an ominous picture of the future—a future the military is preparing for—bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.
This is not for the common citizen. The staff is only for those who know, can understand and evaluate more than is written. Accept less and think more. I.V.
I doubt that anyone gets through life without ever feeling utterly humiliated. But what should you do when it happens to you?Humiliation can feel so intensely painful and debilitating that advice for dealing with it may seem futile. Maybe in those early moments, it is hard to do anything but wallow in your own distress, but there are some useful tips out there.
Tere are good reasons to worry about the future of humanity. Do we have a future, and if so, how much and what kind? For most people, it’s easier to feel these existential concerns for our species than it is to do something about them. But some are taking action. On 27 September 2016, the SpaceX founder Elon Musk made a bold, direct claim: that, in order to survive an inevitable extinction event, humans would need to ‘become a space-faring civilisation and a multi-planetary species’. Pulses raced and the media swooned. Headlines appeared in the business and technology press about Musk’s plan to save humanity. Experts and laypeople alike debated details of the rockets, spacecraft and fuel needed for Musk’s journey to Mars. The excitement was palpable, and it was evident at the press conference. During the Q&A that followed the announcement, Musk said that his goal was to inspire humanity. One audience member yelled: ‘[Musk] inspires the shit out of us!’ Another offered him a kiss.
Musk’s plan to colonise Mars is a sign of an older and recurring social problem. What happens when the rich and powerful isolate themselves from everyday concerns? Musk wants to innovate and leave Earth, rather than to take care of it, or fix it, and stay. Like so many of his peers in the innovating and disrupting classes, Musk prefers to dwell in fantasy and science fiction, safely removed from the world of here and now. Musk is a utopian, in the original Greek meaning: ‘no place’. Repulsed by the world we all share, he dreams of a place that does not exist.
Lucianne Walkowicz, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and a critic of the ‘hubris’ of using Mars as a ‘backup planet’, puts this point simply and directly: ‘The idea that Mars will somehow save us from the decisions we’ve made is a false one.’ If we ‘truly believe in our ability to bend the hostile environments of Mars for human habitation, then we should be able to surmount the far easier task of preserving the habitability of the Earth.’
Musk’s plan is, of course, not to save the Earth. Rather, he needs an excuse to justify his outrageous plan to colonise Mars, and so he appeals to the preservation of, in his word, ‘humanity’. But Musk’s concept of humanity excludes most living and breathing humans. In his September 2016 announcement, he declared that a fully self-sustaining civilisation on Mars would need around 1 million people. From Earth’s current population of 7.125 billion, the Musk Million would bring 0.014035087719298244 per cent of it to Mars.
We are surprised that Musk’s plan has drawn only limited critical engagement. Most of the critical response has been to his technical assumptions and plans. We understand the many reasons that compel people to set aside practical concerns – Earthly concerns, as the case may be – and to support plans to explore and colonise Mars. The thirst for adventure, to reach for the stars, and to pursue the sublime is worthy, perhaps commendable. Even a dedicated activist such as the Rev Abernathy, who protested NASA’s launch in 1969, was overcome by a sense of awe. When he watched Apollo 11 take flight, he ‘really forgot the fact that we had so many hungry people’.
Who are we to tell Musk – or any private citizen, for that matter – what he should or shouldn’t do with his money? In US society, to question societal norms of conspicuous consumption, no matter how juvenile or vain, is frowned upon. Musk’s million-dollar McLaren sports car could buy more than 345,000 meals for the hungry. But it is up to Musk to make his decisions about his resources, not us. Our criticism comes in part from Musk’s position as a leader and role model. And we are sure he has failed in this regard.
We are his fellow citizens, fellow humans, and we don’t want people to follow in the direction Musk is leading. He could lead others to help those suffering now, to get involved in addressing the actual problems before us. There’s no shortage of them. If Musk prefers the planetary scale of action, he could lead people to preserve our single planetary resource, also known as Earth, the only planet we will probably ever have. Even on Musk’s own optimistic terms, his adolescent space fantasies will benefit only 0.014 per cent of humanity. He makes the politicians who serve the 1 per cent seem like communists.
Differences in physical traits between human populations accumulated slowly over tens of thousands of years. As people spread across the globe and adapted to local conditions, a combination of natural selection and cultural innovation led to physical distinctions. But these groups did not remain apart. Contact between groups, whether through trade or conflict, led to the exchange of both genes and ideas. Recent insights from the sequencing of hundreds of thousands of human genomes in the past decade have revealed that our species’ history has been punctuated by many episodes of migration and genetic exchange. The mixing of human groups is nothing new.
What is new is the rate of mixing currently underway. Globalisation means that our species is more mobile than ever before. International migration has reached record highs, as has the number of interracial marriages, leading to a surge of multiracial people such as Shewmake. While genetic differences between human populations do not fall neatly along racial lines, race nevertheless provides insight into the extent of population hybridisation currently underway. This reshuffling of human populations is affecting the very structure of the human gene pool.
People today are more likely to live in an environment for which they are not biologically well-suited. If the history of life on Earth can teach us anything, it is this: as conditions change, species either adapt or become extinct. In our time of considerable environmental change, humanity should consider its options. No species, even the almighty Homo sapiens, can stop evolution completely. But we can choose to limit our capacity for ongoing biological adaptation in an effort to remain ever the same by keeping populations isolated. Of course, such decisions are not made by humanity as a whole but by individuals and governments. Nationalism and xenophobia, on the rise in the US and Europe, threaten to decrease genetic exchange between populations, stifling our ability to continue evolving and adapting.
Alternatively, we can embrace immigration and globalisation in an effort to position ourselves for a brighter future. The underlying causes of the current high rates of human migration are likely to persist, and perhaps to increase, as the global human population continues to grow. Access to natural resources such as fresh water have long driven population movements, and these might become even more important drivers of migration as the world’s population expands. Likewise, as economic development proceeds, the amount of resources used by each person will continue to rise, putting further pressure on scarce resources and further motivating people to move in search of better conditions. Sea levels are expected to continue rising as a result of global climate change, and this is likely to drive large-scale population movements away from low-lying coastal areas as they become uninhabitable. In short, the reshuffling of populations that results from the movement of people around the world will continue to shape the structure of our gene pool – and, by extension, our future evolution – for many generations to come.
Anyone who has not spent the last five years living on another planet will be familiar with the term Big Data. Big Data means, in essence, that everything we do, both on and offline, leaves digital traces. Every purchase we make with our cards, every search we type into Google, every movement we make when our mobile phone is in our pocket, every “like” is stored. Especially every “like.” For a long time, it was not entirely clear what use this data could have—except, perhaps, that we might find ads for high blood pressure remedies just after we’ve Googled “reduce blood pressure.”
In November 9, it became clear that maybe much more is possible. The company behind Trump’s online campaign—the same company that had worked for Leave.EU in the very early stages of its “Brexit” campaign—was a Big Data company: Cambridge Analytica.
To understand the outcome of the election—and how political communication might work in the future—we need to begin with a strange incident at Cambridge University in 2014, at Kosinski’s Psychometrics Center.
Psychometrics, sometimes also called psychographics, focuses on measuring psychological traits, such as personality. In the 1980s, two teams of psychologists developed a model that sought to assess human beings based on five personality traits, known as the “Big Five.” These are: openness (how open you are to new experiences?), conscientiousness (how much of a perfectionist are you?), extroversion (how sociable are you?), agreeableness (how considerate and cooperative you are?) and neuroticism (are you easily upset?). Based on these dimensions—they are also known as OCEAN, an acronym for openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism—we can make a relatively accurate assessment of the kind of person in front of us. This includes their needs and fears, and how they are likely to behave. The “Big Five” has become the standard technique of psychometrics. But for a long time, the problem with this approach was data collection, because it involved filling out a complicated, highly personal questionnaire. Then came the Internet. And Facebook. And Kosinski.
That’s the title of review of Tim Dunlop’s excellent new book, Why the Future Is Workless, published at Inside Story.
Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency has brought to the fore issues that have been simmering for some time. Despite his manifest unfitness, nearly half of American voters supported a candidate who promised to “make America great again,” most obviously by bringing back good jobs. As Trump’s dystopian inauguration speech made clear, good jobs are part of a past to which many Americans aspire.
These hopes raise the obvious question: will jobs of any kind survive in the future? This is the issue addressed by Tim Dunlop in Why the Future Is Workless.
The future (or lack of a future) of work is well-trodden ground. Dunlop surveys the wide variety of views to emerge in recent years and also, more importantly, challenges assumptions about work, labour and jobs that are taken for granted most of the time. As he points out, “jobs” as we understand them didn’t exist in significant numbers before the middle of the nineteenth century. When American politicians were drawing up the US constitution in the late eighteenth century, he writes, they “envisioned a nation of independent yeoman farmers and other forms of self-employed workers, not one of wage slaves who worked for someone else.”
Good jobs – secure and well-paid enough to support a family in reasonable comfort – only became a standard expectation in the middle of the twentieth century, and it is these jobs, rather than the facts of work and labour, that are now disappearing.
Technological change has been rendering old skills obsolete ever since the invention of the spinning jenny in the eighteenth century, and will doubtless continue to do so. The real problems we face today are not technological but social and economic. Like it or not, a radical reorganisation of work is under way. The question is whether we can shape it to benefit the world as a whole, or whether it will continue to enrich the few at the expense of the many. As Dunlop concludes, “We have been told that when it comes to work, there is no alternative. What these new technologies suggest is that maybe there is.”
By John W. Whitehead
January 24, 2017
“Most Germans, so far as I could see, did not seem to mind that their personal freedom had been taken away, that so much of their splendid culture was being destroyed and replaced with a mindless barbarism, or that their life and work were being regimented to a degree never before experienced even by a people accustomed for generations to a great deal of regimentation … On the whole, people did not seem to feel that they were being cowed and held down by an unscrupulous tyranny. On the contrary, they appeared to support it with genuine enthusiasm.” ― William L. Shirer, The Nightmare Years 1930-40
For too long now, the American people have allowed themselves to be persuaded that the government’s job is to take care of us: to feed us, clothe us, house us, educate us, raise our children, heal our infirmities, manage our finances, protect us from our enemies, guard us against all dangers (real and imaginary), and provide for our every need.
Where Americans go wrong is in failing to recognize that there’s always a catch to such devil’s bargains purportedly carried out for the good of all society.
You want free education for your children? The government can take care of it. In exchange for free public schools, however, your children will be molded and indoctrinated into compliant, obedient citizens who reflect the government’s values rather than your own.
You want free health care? The government can take care of that, too. In exchange, your medical decisions—how you live and die—will ultimately be determined by corporations to whom you are little more than a line item impacting their profit and loss margins.
You want to be insulated from all things that might cause offense? That’s not a problem for the government. Its thought police will use hate crime laws to criminalize speech, thought and actions that may be politically incorrect.
You want a guarantee of safety? Sure, but your local police will also have to be militarized and trained in battlefield tactics, your communities and communications will be subjected to round-the-clock surveillance, and you—the citizenry—will be treated as suspects and enemy combatants.
You want to root out domestic extremism and terrorism? That’s just fine. But in the process of identifying and targeting terrorists, the government will have the power to label anyone who disagrees with its policies as an extremist/terrorist and subject them to indefinite detentions.
Are you starting to get the picture?
This is the terrible price—the loss of our freedoms and the enslavement of future generations—that must eventually be paid for the goods and services rendered by a government whose priorities are the acquisition of ever-more power, control and money.
As the old adage warns: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”
Unfortunately, we’ve been on the receiving end of the government’s taxpayer-funded handouts—and its deceptively well-intended dictates—for so long that many Americans have forgotten what it is to think for themselves, provide for themselves, and govern themselves.
Indeed, this age of entitlement is a far cry from the kind of constitutional republic America’s founders envisioned.
Gone is the proud, independent-minded, pioneering spirit of early Americans like my parents who rejected what they called “hand-outs,” worked hard for whatever they had, protected their homes and families, and believed the government’s job was to govern based on the consent of the governed and not dictate.
Contrast those fiercely-independent, early Americans who took to heart James Madison’s admonition to distrust all those in power with today’s citizens who not only expect the government to care for their needs but have blindly entrusted the government with vast, growing powers.
By giving the government the green light to act in loco parentis and treat the citizenry as children in need of caretakers, “we the people” have allowed ourselves to be demoted and infantilized, reduced from knowledgeable, independent-minded, capable masters of a republic to wayward, undisciplined, dependent, vulnerable children incapable of caring for ourselves.
It’s time to grow up. Good proposal but not real. All information processing machines behavior is determined by the information embedded. In order to change the behavior substantially, we must change the information content at the same degree. Currently that is impossible.
Incredibly, despite the fact that we allowed the government to become all-knowing, all-powerful and all-mighty in the mistaken belief that it would make our lives safer, easier and more affluent, we’re still shocked when that power and might is used against us.
It’s time to stop being so gullible and so trusting. People’s behavior is determined by their decisions. Decisions are determined by values created and programmed in lifetime. At current time the individual’s and family survival values are much more important than some abstract common values: common well-being, happiness or some global survival. Most people don’t want to destroy or sacrifice their individual lives in order to improve some common values. Especially, if we are told: if we abandon religions, there are no other values. Some do but wanting is not enough: knowledge is necessary. This is a very special knowledge: how to attain global survival and unite it with the real human nature, restricted resources, human impact on planetary processes. Currently human society doesn’t have this knowledge.
Even when the headlines blare out the news about SWAT team raids gone awry, police shootings of unarmed citizens, roadside cavity searches of young women, children being shackled and tasered, and Americans jailed for profit in private prisons, we still somehow maintain our state of denial until suddenly we’re the ones in the firing line being treated like suspects and criminals, having our skulls cracked, our doors smashed, our pets shot, our children terrorized, and our loved ones jailed for non-offenses.
It’s time to remove those rose-colored, partisan-tinted glasses and wake up to the fact that our nation of sheep has given rise to a government of wolves. It is a labeling. We all have the same genetic heritage. Naming someone wolf doesn’t solve anything.
Even though, deep down, we have suspected that the system is run by an elite who views the citizenry as little more than cattle destined for the slaughterhouse, we’re still shocked to find ourselves treated like slaves and economic units.
How could we not have seen it coming? We see and understand it. We can’t change it.
How long has the writing been on the wall? Since centuries.
How could we have been so blind, deaf and dumb to the warnings all around us? We are not blind. It is impossible to reprogram the specie’s genetic heritage without destroying their carriers. Evolution doesn’t work this way.
Unfortunately, it happens this way in every age, in every place where freedom falls and tyranny flourishes. Exactly. Only when people will rise over themselves and start consciously and purposefully teach their children completely new survival-oriented global living, only then they will have a hope to survive. Not now.
As Aldous Huxley recognized in his foreword to Brave New World: “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.”
This is how the seeds of authoritarianism are planted and watered and cultivated into aggressive, invasive growths that can quickly dominate an environment.
Remember, tyrants don’t always come to power in a show of force. Often, they sweet-talk their way to absolute power, buoyed along by a wave of populist demand for someone to save the country from economic, military and political crises.
As historian Jim Powell writes for Forbes:
Hitler didn’t take over a small government with an effective separation of enumerated, delegated and limited powers. He took over a large welfare state… He dealt with unemployment by introducing forced labor for both men and women. Government control of the economy made it virtually impossible for anyone to seriously threaten his regime. Hitler added secret police, death camps and another war machine. The German educational system, which had inspired so many American progressives, played a major role in all this… the government gained complete control of schools and universities, and their top priority was teaching obedience. The professorial elite promoted collectivism. The highest calling was working for the government.
It can easily happen here.
In fact, the early signs of this downshift are all around us if you only know where to look. Exactly
You can smell it in the air: there’s danger coming. A recent New Yorker article reveals the lengths some of the wealthiest in America are going to in order to survive an apocalyptic breakdown of society: isolated refuges, bunkers, gas masks, generators, solar panels, ammunition, etc. This means they are educated enough, they know and understand coming doom.
You can see it in the changes taking place all around you: the government is preparing for something ominous. For example, the Pentagon is using a dystopian training video to prepare special forces to deal with the urban challenges of megacities: criminal networks, illicit economies, decentralized syndicates of crime, substandard infrastructure, religious and ethnic tensions, impoverishment, economic inequality, protesters, slums, open landfills, over-burdened sewers, and a “growing mass of unemployed.”
You can hear it in the news coming out of the independent media: the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches have already weakened our long-established bulwarks against tyranny by their constant undermining of the Constitution and the president’s amassing of imperial power.
We are no longer a constitutional republic.
The American dream is turning into a living nightmare.
We are fast moving towards full-blown fascism.
So what’s the answer?
The powers that be can—and will—continue to distract us with electronic gadgets and entertainment news, they can seduce us with promises they have no intention of keeping, they can drug us with politics packaged to resemble religion, and they can use the schools to breed a populace of compliant slaves.
In the end, however, the choice of whether to keep drinking the Kool-Aid or reject the false prophets and promises of the police state—a.k.a. fascism or totalitarianism or tyranny—rests with “we the people.”
After all, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it was “we the people” who struck this devil’s bargain in the first place, trading our liberties for dubious promises of prosperity, security and advancement.
Through our inaction, our apathy and our unwillingness to do the hard work of holding the government accountable, perhaps “we the people” have been the greatest menace to freedom.
Perhaps all of this is our fault. It is not our fault, it is our destiny.
My parents’ advice was that if you made a mess, you had to clean it up.
No one else is going to clean this mess up for us, certainly not anyone on the government’s payroll.
As Jim Powell rightly concludes: “Ultimately, liberty can be protected only if people care enough to fight for it, because everywhere governments push for more power, and they never give it up willingly.”
So let’s stop buying into the fairytale that politicians are saviors, capable of fixing what’s wrong with our communities and our lives.
Let’s stop expecting the government to solve all our problems. Simple. Most governments people don’t want, some, who do want, can’t because the lack of education and means, who think they know and want, they can’t – they are the minority. There are also the rich. Some of them do want. But they don’t know how. Because it is not simple. How can we rise above the evolution?
Stop playing the partisan game that paints anyone not of your political persuasion as evil.
Stop defending the insanity of an immoral system of government that sees nothing wrong with bombing innocent civilians, jailing innocent citizens, and treating human beings as little more than cattle.
Stop validating a system of laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.
While you’re at it, start taking responsibility for your lives—and your freedoms—again. And maybe, just maybe, there will be some hope for tomorrow. I am sorry for bad news, information theory doesn’t give us hope. I.V.
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at http://www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at email@example.com.
John W. Whitehead’s weekly commentaries are available for publication to newspapers and web publications at no charge. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain reprint permission.
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…
The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”
— Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
First published in 1995 For many Americans, Donald Trump’s inauguration is going to feel more like a funeral than a celebration of democratic self-government. Trump is the most unpopular president-elect in at least 40 years. Pew says 68 percent of Americans find him “hard to like.” Only 41 percent approve of the job he’s done explaining his plans for his presidency. His “unfavorables” hover around 50 percent. If Americans wanted a performer to run the country, why not pick George Clooney? Instead, we got a slightly demented carnival barker with gilded hair and a bloated ego. The fright and gloom are understandable, but I have a hunch Donald Trump has already peaked. He won’t go away, of course—he will be Mr. President—but the air is already seeping out of Trump’s balloon. The president-elect has amassed a huge inventory of dubious promises, and I expect this powerhouse of American politics to get smaller and less influential as the broken promises pile up.
The Trump era is going to be a fiasco for the country, but especially for Donald Trump. He was a brilliant novice on the way up, both funny and tough, astutely attacking the stale dogmas of both political parties. On the way down, he begins to look like a great American mistake and bait-and-switch businessman.
As a salesman, Trump pitched an appealing nostalgia—a breezy promise to restore American “greatness.” “I alone can fix it,” he told the cheering rallies. His self-congratulations were over-the-top, sincerely-felt, though unconvincing.
. . . .
You might say Donald Trump won the presidency by dwelling in his own personal world of “magical realism.” If Trump says it, it must be true… at least until Trump says something new and different. During his campaign, his rude, crude words and wicked falsehoods effectively destabilized the standard language of democratic dialogue. Rival politicians were baffled. The press was late in grasping the incendiary significance of Trump’s candidacy, and so was I.
Others might say the suggestion of “magical realism” is too generous. Trump is simply a con man, a very talented one who succeeded in conning the Republican Party and the American electorate. If Trump was a character in a novel, he might be described as an “unreliable narrator.”
Some writers, like Jim Fallows of The Atlantic, explored a deeper explanation: Trump is a narcissist, totally self-absorbed in his own reality and oblivious to competing facts and understandings. He has an infantile reach of impulse and intellect; his world is self, food, now. This is probably not quite the case, but he seems to lack common traits of empathy and sincerity.
The harshest analysis I read was by Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist for T he Washington Post and a psychiatrist himself. In August, he was shocked when Trump attacked the Gold Star mother Ghazala Kahn following her appearance at the Democratic National Convention. “It reveals a shocking absence of elementary decency and of natural empathy for the most profound of human sorrows–parental grief,” Krauthammer wrote after Trump said Kahn wasn’t “allowed” to speak during her DNC appearance, where her husband spoke of their son’s death in the Iraq War.
Donald Trump, he explained, “is beyond narcissism. I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value—indeed exists—only insofar it sustains an inflates him.”
Now he is to be our president, and Trump’s “magical realism” is about to collide with the hard earth of mortal politics. The president-elect and his staffers are already busy trying to distance themselves from some of his more explosive promises, hoping they get forgotten in the excitement of a new party’s taking power. Trump acknowledged in passing that he is not going to prosecute Hillary Clinton after all. No more “Lock her up!” chants, he told disappointed supporters. Trump is also not going to “Drain the Swamp.” Indeed, some of the creatures from the Wall Street lagoon have been appointed to the important positions in Trump’s first cabinet. Trump still claims he will build the wall to keep out immigrants and make Mexico pay for it, but nobody believes him. He admitted the United States will have to pay for the wall then seek reimbursement from Mexico.
Campaign promises often perish after an election, but even some of his cabinet appointees are disowning Trump’s promises during confirmation hearings. His nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said he opposes Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims during his confirmation meeting. Nikki Haley, Trump’s nominee for UN ambassador, strongly supported NATO, which Trump recently called “obsolete,” during hers. These retreats and the high-risk legislation that lies ahead are part of why I foresee a hard road ahead for Republicans and their less-than-popular president.
Indeed, if Trump doesn’t produce on jobs and trade reform while cutting corporate taxes, I can imagine yard signs in working-class neighborhoods that blame “Double-Cross Donald.”