Words Poorly Used #145 — Conservative

Why so much agita over whom belongs under the label of conservative? By her very nature, a member of the human species is conservative. And furthermore, drone or pirate, he is a principled conservative. The principles are two: self interest and tribal interest. Self preservation and preservation of kind encompass all other principles. Higher levels of interest differentiate among the interests of tribes.

The furtherance of either principle is conservative. It conserves and optimizes its object — the lifetime of the individual or the culture of the collective. Conservatism as a political suasion is only the thinnest veneer on a deep stratum of true conservatism.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Neither Here Nor There

Nobody asked but …

We are desperate for labels and niches.  In an ever-changing world, we humans want consistency, certainty, warmth, guarantee, comfort, predictability, safety, and assurances.  We often partially calm the whirlwind by convincing ourselves that we are in a protected shelter, labelled “safe,” a niche we can call our own.  When we find a shelter, we can become very chauvinistic about it.

Some of the labels, niches we strive for are those of political identity.  Are we right, middle, or left?  Are we religious, agnostic, or atheistic?  Do we wear school colors, or those of a professional sports team?  How many of us wear tee shirts and hoodies with the names of exotic places, where we have vacationed?  Are our closets full of designer clothes with logos?  Are those closets in homes that make statements about social status.

I must admit that I am a product of a culture that lets its freak flag fly, yet that culture makes such a fetish of it as to create normal appearing gangs.  Almost any day, you may see me wearing the blue of the University of Kentucky or the green of Ireland or the black of the New Zealand All Blacks national rugby team.  You may hear me claiming small-l libertarianism, or voluntaryism, non-partisanship, or even anarchism.  I will readily confess to being a philosopher, a farmer, a software engineer, an educator, a bookworm, a railfan, a lighthouse aficianado, and a polymath.  But I will reject being known as only one of any of these.

As you can see, no one person is captured by a single label or group.  But politicians, news media, and the least secure among us find it a lazy shortcut to group and label individuals into collectives.  This richly diverse country is now being riven by exploiters to destroy our heritage of individualism, to make us all toe the lines of various self-serving collectives.  The current wave is to get everyone to think of themselves as rightwingers or radical lefties.  If persons can be convinced of the urgency of this, over time we will become two armed camps, certain that there is no room for individuality.  Some would have us believe that there are only republicans and democrats.  All other distinctions are insubstantial and are only explained as gradations of democrats or republicans.  The old saying goes, “there are two types of people in the world; those who divide people into two groups, and those who do not.”

I challenge anyone to find any human who fits only into one or the alternative oversimplified, misrepresented category.

— Kilgore Forelle

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The Problem of Living in the Now

Nobody asked but …

Gurus will tell us that we are better off in a state of mindfulness, receiving only the sensory information of the present.  Historians insist that we must learn the lessons of the past, else we will be doomed to repeat them.  Futurists try to convince us that we should plan meticulously, in order to manage the pain (or pleasure, or ennui) of unforeseen consequences.

Each of these are invitations to exclude a part of life’s experience.  The past is water over the dam; it cannot be changed.  The present is the only place where we can make choices.  And the future is in places and times that we can never reach, since the present moves with us individually according to the choices we make.

Paradoxically, each of the conceptions of time, known as past, present, or future, changes, both abstractly and concretely, with an apparent movement through time.  If we are to live in the Now, how shall we find it?

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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The Problem of Recollection

Nobody asked but …

A few days ago, I posted a blog entry about time, The Problem of Prediction.  Our perceptions are formed in a multi-part domain of past, present, and future.  Further, the past is divided into the part we experienced directly versus the part that was relayed to us from others.  The latter part is composed of genetics or memetics.  Genetic information is passed to each of us from all of our natural ancestors in converging but linear fashion (multiple but separate lines).  Memetic information is all other inputs, both sensory and persuasive.  You do not have to recall genetic code because you have it at conception.

But all influences on you, after conception, are memetic.  Whether or not you remember their fact situations or not.  The first problem with recollection is that no human being can know everything.  It is impossible since there are no organized repositories for such knowledge.  The natural sources for knowledge of the past are sensations, perceptions, cognitions, and recountings — and these are nowhere fully known.  Sensations are poor channels because no two people are likely to have the same sets of 5 senses, in the same degree.  Perceptions are faulty because where, when, and how do perceptions arise?  Cognitions are formulations from compositions of facts, such as books, and none of us is exposed to exactly the same mixtures of fact and fantasy, time and space.  Recountings, from others, are variable and secondhand (and beyond) versions of the above inputs.

And the efficiency with which each individual learns and remembers the lessons of the past, even though of life-and-death consequence, is oxymoronic.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nobody asked but …

I am late for MLK’s birthday’s anniversary.  It happened a week ago according to a record source I have seen.  MLK’s real birthdate occurred on January 15, 1929.  Every year we are reminded of the contributions that Martin Luther King, Jr. made to our society.

What I fear now is that we are doing it wrong.  We gather in public places to observe this holiday, but we treat it as though this man was principally a patriot and his campaign was to elevate a noble characteristic among the citizens of the USA.  His real hope was to correct a grievous set of errors made by the original founders and their hand-picked constituents.  Let us never forget, that MLK wanted society reorganized to fit the formulation that the USA had been officially lying about for 200 years or more.

I suppose that the thing that galls me most is that politicians hi-jacked civil rights, and made the story about politicians, not the Golden Rule.

A few years ago someone said to me that Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a libertarian because he chose the state as his main tool for setting things right.  Malarkey!  There was likely no way that MLK could have achieved what he did while keeping the politicos at bay.

Reverend King never once asked for the state’s intervention.  Ironically until the old white boys club saw the handwriting on the wall, “political glory,” they stonewalled MLK and his constituents at every turn.  Then the worms turned.  The politicos were responsible for the bandwagon, and the self-congratulations.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was responsible for the conscience of America.

— Kilgore Forelle

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The Problem of Prediction

Nobody asked but …

Time is an abstraction.  It is not a thing.  More of us should understand this idea, and its implications.  I would recommend, highly, the book, Time: The Familiar Stranger, by J. T. Fraser for the beginning of understanding this idea.  (I first read this book about 10 years ago, but I continue to realize ideas from it frequently.)

There are events, each being an instance of the things that happen in time.  An event is both an abstraction AND a thing AND a set of things (people, places, connections, points in time, and other things) which help us to answer the questions who, what, when, where, why, and how.

The important individualist, voluntaryist idea is to take your proper place in the space-time continuum.  A few days ago, I was listening to the wonderful interview of Donald Boudreaux by Russ Roberts, presented as part of the Voluntaryist Voices podcasts on EVC, among other places. These two definitely have handles on locating things (including themselves) economically in the space-time continuum.

Another way to describe this type of orienteering is to say that one must know where and when you are in order to reference where and when anything else is.  If we are connected to reality, we have reasonable contact with facts, nature, and laws.  But the use of “reality” in this context refers to reality, not so much to news reports, books, movies, tv shows, and internet fare — the most confusing feedback we get is referred feedback.  Think about it … if you are a deer in the sights of a hunter’s rifle, you are experiencing reality, probably.  If you are watching Bambi, not so much reality.  First of all, one must shed the idea that “reality tv” bears any relationship to reality — other than it has some concrete, although perhaps misleading, parts.

Where is your portal to reality?  It is in the here and now, directly as accessed through your five senses?  The present is the only time and space you can sense as it unfolds.  You can only recollect the past, remembering with a fast fade the factual feelings you had just a few moments ago, and you can reconstruct that which you have been told — some correct, some accidently wrong, and a great deal absolutely wrong (often with malice of forethought).  Then it is with sensations of the present, and guidance from the past, that you can make fallible predictions about the near future, the very near future.  For instance, in traffic you know that a green light proposes a relatively safe passage … but not perfectly.  As soon as you try to go further into the future, your chance of being incorrect ascends exponentially.  A minute, an hour, a day are rapidly widening gaps.  In the end, all seers are totally wrong in substantial ways.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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