First off, I am told that this blog was cited in discussion of A. Huffington's recent column about the four-star general who was recently fired under questionable (and likely politically-motivated) charges. At minimum, it shows a double standard, applied by politicians against a clade that is almost universally more honest and upright than they are. At worst, it is one more stage in an intimidation campaign of major and vile proportions. So far, such cases have been adding up incrementally, one after another with disturbing rhythm. Yet, it's here at this site, and nowhere else, that it was first proposed that this is all part of a concerted purge of the US Officer Corps.
You heard that first right here.
And no, I never claimed to be ready with overwhelming proof, meriting indictments. Indeed, I might be wrong! (The phrase that all scientists are taught to say aloud, and the one mature statement that can hope to save civilization.)
Hey, I am paid to be BOTH imaginatively paranoid and ecumenically skeptical. Both are modernist traits, especially when properly mixed. Hence, I do not insist (without a lot more evidence) that this scenario is true. What I do contend is that an awful lot of circumstantial evidence is pointing to a possible phenomenon that, if true, could bode worse for us than any threat since the Civil War. (Indeed, one could look at this as a resumption of the Civil War, in some ways. But more on that, anon.)
SO? Spread the word and start helping to gather evidence! And tell the democrats to get off their asses on this issue. One of many areas where liberals are simply not doing their job.
Back to concluding my remarks about the loonyleft and "globalization".
First, here is a fine online magazine produced by a very pro-business group that calls itself - well - The Globalist. (http://www.theglobalist.com) Here is a sample article: (http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=4738) You will note that while being pro-business, they are not necessarily pro-neocon. In my opinion, in fact, the two perspectives are quite opposite.
(See the mini-rant at the end of my NEXT posting!)
Now, let's follow up on a question one of you asked (quite cleverly) about the "social diamond". (I am hoping somebody will publicly notice that Brin came up with a truly great metaphor here! ;-)
The diamond - featuring an empowered and comfortable middle class that vastly outnumbers the poor - shows how huge and obvious genuine progress has been, at least in the West, under our Modernist Agenda. No image demonstrates more clearly how this society is different from all predecessors, how much we ALL have benefitted from science and accountability...and how much we have to lose if we return to the traditional human social pyramid.
Moreover, this metaphor helps to show just how loony both the left and right are. The far right hates the diamond and does everything it can to rationalize and justify counter trends, especially those fostering re pyramidalization. But the left is worse, refusing absolutely to admit that the diamond has happened at all!
The former tendency - at least - is human; we've seen conspirators strive for pinnacle position atop their social pyramids - and to maintain that structure - in every large culture recorded . (Under communism, it was the CP nomenklatura that did precisely the same thing!) We must fight this endlessly recurring theme. But at one level, it's a yawner.
(The ironies can be outrageous, such as when Julian Simon and other neoconservatives relentlessly cite diamond progress (in economic terms) as reason to abandon the very same processes of self-critical problem-solving and market fine-tuning that brought the cornucopia into being! They do this by crediting a mystically perfect "market" with all of this progress, and not a process of relentless reform, negotiation, re-appraisal of costs and fine-tuning that has gone on ever since Teddy Roosevelt.)
Nevertheless, it's the latter thing - the betrayal of the diamond by the left - that really outrages me. By refusing to admit the palpable existence of progress, lefties discredit all of liberalism, undermining its effectiveness for the sake of their own righteous indignation high.
In effect, they are saying to the public: "You bought our product for eighty years and it never worked! At all! Ever! So buy more!" Would you buy a product that was offered with such a sales pitch?
Worse, they insult those earlier generations of activists who helped citizens to craft genuine progress in fields ranging from civil rights and gender rights, to increasing access to university, to cleaning the air, to saving the Ozone Layer and reforesting much of America. By saying that nothing meaningful has been accomplished, they spread despair, a sense of futility, and prove they are romantic enemies of progress.
But let me pause. (And now we get back to your question, sir.)
In fairness, smartaleck lefties (sometimes very smart young fellers) do try to look at the diamond - now and then - with honestly critical eyes. (I am "Mr. Criticism" so bring it on!) They do this by saying "the American so-called 'diamond' rests atop an old-fashioned pyramid of third world resources and third world labor!"
Actually, that's a clever and well-put attempt at falsification. It deserves real scrutiny.
And at one level the rebuttal is true. We ARE basing much of our prosperity on unsustainable practices, by greedily grabbing and squandering under-costed resources.
Especially, we are stealing fossil petrochemicals from our grandchildren and outrageously burning them, instead of cautiously preserving some and using the rest to finance a leap to new plateaus. We need to use the present surplus to complete the modernist goal of achieving genuinely sustainable technologies, so all people on Earth can have diamond-middleclass life styles... at only 5% of the resource cost of a current american life style.
(Sound impossible? Modernism has already achieved greater miracles. Come on, that's LESS than a two-order-of magnitude increase in efficiency! We can do it. We can. Or... we could. But alas, it will not happen on the investment ROI schedules of myopic corporations. The obstinacy of right wing economists, who actually believe that CEOs are capable of looking beyond three years, seems truly staggering.)
So, at one level, the rebuttal of the diamond has some genuine relevance.
Still, the diamond-atop-pyramid image is fallacious overall. It is easily disproved by one simple, direct and irrefutable correlation. The places in the 3rd World that are doing best are those MOST closely tied to our economy.
Those doing worst are places LEAST connected or globalized. This is true even ecologically! Deforestation in Burma is worse than anywhere. Because there isn't even a semblance of law to stop the aristocracy from logging, smuggling and exporting the products of their theft.
No. The left is doing it all wrong. The things they complain about are real. But their suggestions are sterile and many of them are rooted in romantic rejection of the very things that enabled and empowered true liberalism.
Empowered it to make a better world.
I was going to follow with a kick to the right, but this posting is too long. So I'll do it tamale....
Return to Part I