Unless Congress and the Trump administration reach a new spending deal by February 15, the federal government will go back into “partial shutdown” status. As of February 10, congressional negotiators seem to be nearing agreement on a deal that includes about $2 billion in funding for President Trump’s “border wall” project. Trump, as before the recent shutdown, is seeking $5.7 billion.
In my life, I have seen the sky full of war planes, a polio epidemic, Vietnam, McCarthyism, Watergate (and subsequent scandals), Kent State, urban race riots, military adventurism (read quagmirism), 911, the seeds of past wars becoming the weeds of future wars. We have survived. We are surviving.
The president of the United States is fear-mongering over the approach of a convoy of Latin American immigrants to get his “base” to the polls. His Democratic opponents are pretending that every Republican voter is a potential mail-bomber, for the same purpose.
In these interesting times, we all need someone to admire. I have found such a one in Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677), the 17th-century rationalist liberal philosopher who advocated freedom of thought and expression, toleration, and simple kindness.
I’m all in favor of state governments operating as charities, but real charities take actual donations, not donations in lieu of taxes. Why not keep those charitable foundations and use them to replace, rather than offset, state and local taxes? And while we’re at it, how about we push the feds to do the same thing? Want a new aircraft carrier? Hold a bake sale.
Ok, which government should have a monopoly on guns? And should it also have a monopoly on phones, televisions, travel, relocation, books, newspapers, reproduction, and so forth?
What is taught to the students at school is basically: “You have no choice in where you will be. If you do not do as I tell you, worse things will happen to you. If you follow orders, better things will happen to you.” The subject here is learning to accept the basic context of being in a prison and to follow orders to escape a worse fate. The kind of learning environment that I support can more or less fit under the category of unschooling.
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” This sounds good, especially if one doesn’t think about it very hard or very long, but the harder and longer one thinks about it, the more problematic it becomes.
It’s always worth creating and playing your own games, regardless of what you do about the web of other games intersecting your life. It’ always worth identifying the meta-game unique to you; your own search for meaning.
The history of the US is not that of good government gone bad, but of bad government remaining bad. Yes, it’s improved a bit in some areas even as it has worsened in others, but when it comes to its central evils—plundering, kidnapping, caging, and killing people—it continues to follow the pattern of cruel oppression which has always defined it.