Icy-blue Truths #2

Strong people incite fear and pride in others; these emotions are their ‘gifts’, so to speak.

Those who feel pride are inspired and uplifted by them; they experience that all-too-familiar current that shoots up one’s spine from the mere presence of strength–that current that channels one’s efforts.

Others are consumed by fear. They feel depressed or overstimulated by the presence of strength. They cannot focus on a task or their whole body shakes, often rendering them paranoid. The strong person casts a shadow over them. These are the first to call strong people ‘nasty’, ‘dangerous’, ‘evil’ and to paint them with the broadest, blackest brush they can possibly get away with.

What is the difference between those prone to fear in the presence of strength and those prone to pride? At bottom, it is probably a combination of habit, diet and health.

Whisper #220

When subterranean political forces aiming for substantial change in our demos have been set in motion, we would do well to look for their representation not in polls referring only to what people of voting age ‘now’ think about some topic. We should also look to what and how our children are educated, to how they are taught or inclined to reason and feel, to the inclinations of their peer group as much as anything else.

One does more long-term damage to a democratic nation through the youth, through education and peer pressure, than through any other method. All that such subterranean political forces need to do to effectuate their changes to a democratic nation–and there is no democracy without a demos–is infiltrate the reasoning and values of the youth. It is a form of political pregnancy that goes unnoticed; it grows and festers until the right moment, where the execution determines its success as much as anything else. Revolutionaries are characterized as much by their method as by their execution; we can be sure of some very badly executed revolutions.

Once these subterranean forces have impregnated the host that is the future, they can then defend their growing, festering future by ‘buying time’ and by ‘striving to never do what is needed’. They can kick things into the long grass by prolonging the decision-making process. They can raise concerns in other areas of policy and thus take attention away from the impregnated youth. They can even pretend they are losing to avoid suspicion. In short, their actions are many. With the previous tactics, and should their execution show a certain demagogic mastery, they can even sow the political discontent that they later reap through their revolutionized ‘youth’.

Nothing reveals this subterranean force more than the staunch political will to ‘lower’ the voting age at a decisive moment, i.e., some upcoming election or referendum. Such drastic measures to include the youth are acts of self-defense that greatly compromise the pregnancy by prematurely revealing the revolutionary process. We can see them as the last sighs or the last ditch attempts of the impregnator.

All this sounds deeply sinister, but consider also that democracies–which best represent individual freedom–are not the only ones vulnerable to these subterranean political forces and methods. All revolutions, irrespective of the political system whence they grow, find their root in and are even enacted by the gleeful and starry-eyed youth; even the most oppressive or imperialistic ones follow a similar pattern. The subterranean political forces demanding revolution begin and end with the youth, but at their head are often bitter, failed, resentful old men, women and-or transgenders. The youth represents the muscle of some failed, disgruntled old person or people. Make no mistake about it, some kind of failure stands at the head of any revolution. This proposition is partially demonstrated by, I suppose, the resilience of a democracy, which has proven to be the best system to minimize ‘failure’; or, perhaps my perspective is wrong. Perhaps, it is the best system to manage revolutions. In any case, it is not any demos that is good at coping with failures or managing revolutions, but certainly the demos that is genuinely committed to freedom of religion, property rights and free-enterprise.

In short, change is not wrong as such, but if we are settled on what we as a demos want to represent–that is, if we are settled on the limits of the values of our ‘demos’ and the limits of their application–then we should learn from the limitations of our political system for defending those values. In some respects, our democratic political system is just that, a system, and its limitations are in some respects the same as any other political system. Those limitations are represented by the corruptibility, the malleability, of our own children. Make no mistake about it, however, this same corruptibility and malleability is what drives us to give our lives for our children.

In sum, we cannot rely on politics or our political system for everything, least of all the moral values that characterize our demos. The best any political system can do is offer limited protection, but not guarantee it independent from our own, individual or collective effort. Revolution, slow or otherwise, represents a change in the demos, which our political system offers limited protection from. It is not, and in my opinion, never has been the role of a political system to prevent revolutions, but to manage them as they arise in an attempt to minimize the damage they bring with them. The prevention of a revolution as well as its enactment has always been the role of individuals in a nation working together, working collectively.


Whisper #218

One of the biggest mistakes we, the children of this brave new world, make is in thinking that the purpose of the law is not to protect us from harm and thus enable our personal efforts within the parameters of no ‘harm to others’, but to cater to our desires and-or whims.

Some of us are shamelessly direct about the law’s purpose in that regard:

‘We’ should have what ‘I’ want under pain of law, because we are owed it.

Others are a little more indirect and elegantly devious in their request, but the same in essence:

If I am not given what I want, then the person or institutions who forbid it are causing me harm. Therefore, to prevent my harm, I should be given what I want.

I fear for our collective and moral future at the hands of people whose reason about life itself rather than the legal pretext of their individual lives is premised on their having ‘inalienable rights’. My reason for this fear is not based on a belief that there are no such rights, or that there should not be–there absolutely should be and I will be the first to defend these legal rights. My reason is not legal or political, it is psychological and finally moral.

I fear for people who are raised to think that their inalienable rights apply not only in their safe countries, where those rights are preserved by the continued efforts of other people either individually or through various institutions, all of which require safeguarding.

I fear that we have forgotten that there are people willing to lay their life on the line for the rights we enjoy. I fear we believe that those rights apply anywhere and everywhere irrespective of the previous considerations. I fear that we are raised to believe that everyone in the world thinks the way we do about those rights. I fear the expectations that are engendered by these rights. I fear these expectations distort our children’s perception of reality; specifically, the horrors of that reality.

I fear most of all that our children will forget the blood, sweat and tears that are the prices we pay for the enjoyment and continued safeguarding of anything good that is enjoyed by anyone on this planet, which includes our children’s ‘inalienable rights’.

Who can help me with this fear, I wonder? Is there anyone alive who can look into my eyes and say:

There is nothing to be afraid of; have faith.

Can that person keep a straight face as they motion me and all of us toward the most uncertain future a human being, or a collection of human beings, can embark upon? Somehow, I doubt it. Somehow, I have learned and will never unlearn that faith is reserved for ‘God(s)’, not people.

Ideals, Truth and Transgression

The danger of ideals is that their truth-value cannot be put into question without the gnawing charge of transgression of the ideal. It seems to serve as an authority beyond question or discussion. People who try to critique an ideal are treated as heathenish, i.e., as deniers of the ideal. They are seen as heathens irrespective of the best will on their part to not deny the ideal, but to strengthen it in light of the ever-changing circumstances that characterize life and living.

People who hold ideals often grow irritable, sometimes itchy and other times self-righteously enraged over someone’s presumed critique of its legitimacy in whatever shape or extent that critique takes. Even if we critique it on the basis of its truth-value (or its claim to truth over some circumstances), our critique is not seen as legitimate and welcomed in the spirit of discussion and debate. It is treated as a staunch transgression of the ideal and we are treated accordingly: as vile, heathenish transgressors.

In fact, whenever we try to question the legitimacy of an ideal, we are charged like a transgressor is charged with the aim to suspend any critique at any cost. We are seen as dangers and temptations of the highest order that must be made an example of. This must surely make us wonder whether or not our ideals are nothing but fixed ideas, which, like any fixed idea, is in danger of permitting the worst most atrocious acts that humanity has had to be witness to.

Leadership Between Equals

When two people disagree about a course of action, and only one course can be taken at a time by one person and so only one person can lead, then it is disingenuous for the one to expect faith ad infinitum from the other over the former’s course of action.

In short, we can try it your way, but if or when it fails, it is my turn.

Leadership among equals demands courtesy and good will towards our opponent, but that courtesy and good will is limited, as all things among equals must be limited. This limit is found in ‘faith’.

If the opponent who is our equal demands our faith ad infinitum–or fails to quantify the parameters of our faith–over his or her course of action, then they have motioned to no longer be our equals.

Equals do not demand faith from one another, but patience, which has its limits. The joyful resignation of our will that is faith is reserved for Gods, not equals. When an equal demands your faith, they are requesting that you enslave your will to them.