Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Liberal Vs. Conservative

I have a cool internet friend. We met randomly and started talking to each other. We email almost every day and sometimes talk on the phone. We both like to write, and devote time to it. She lives in Pennsylvania, one state over from my early-years stomping grounds in northeastern Ohio. Attitudes are very conservative there, and her ideas on things are pretty enlightened for that part of the country. She's able to think for herself without apology which is one of the reasons I like her. She also is a good communicator.

Anyway, here's part of a letter I wrote to her. Someone was saying how NPR is "liberal" and she overheard it. I found that to be a laugh.

Don't get me wrong, I think NPR still does some of the best reporting around. The problem is that they fall into line with everyone else on what topics are OK to report on. They'll give you facts, but maybe not the ones you need. For this reason I fell out of love with them (in addition to their solemn and momentous, *unquestioning* coverage of the Iraq war, one of the most evil things our country has perpetrated in the last decade).

So is NPR "liberal"? Ha. I guess I think anyone who thinks that is listening to what right-wing talk radio hosts say about NPR's politics. And you know how reliable those commercial talk radio guys are.

Anyway, here's my letter.

When it comes to political parties, ie dem/rep, they are all part of the same corrupt garbage. There are good people of both parties. However the deregulatory policies pushed by republicans have had a devastating effect on the economy. There has to be rule of law for both the powerful and the not so powerful.



If wanting rule of law for ALL citizens is liberal, than I'll accept the label there. Since Liberal is an epithet spoken by idiots, I generally welcome it anyway. I don't know how you manage over there in PA, it is a different universe from California, very very conservative.



If it's liberal to believe that the 1996 telecommunications act destroyed the already-tenuous local business of radio and TV, then I'm liberal. If it's liberal to believe NAFTA was a disaster, then I'm liberal. Al Gore was all for NAFTA and he was dead wrong. Perot was warning about the sucking sound of jobs going across borders and it has only gotten worse since then.



If it's liberal to believe in representative democracy, then I'm liberal. If it's liberal to believe what Thomas Jefferson said about how banks would destroy the economy if given the power, then I'm liberal.



This is what he said:



I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.




Abraham Lincoln tried to restore issuing power to the people, and was shot. Kennedy tried the same thing and was shot. Coincidence? You can look that up if you want...or I will supply links. But what it shows is how damn easy it is to shoot a President. Obama is rightly scared from his mind. He is a good man, though an innocent one who's been engaged in losing that innocence these last two years. I would have voted for McCain if he'd stood up to the bailouts. Neither of them did. Which admitted to me how entrenched in the current, corrupt system they both are.



Who's running things? And what does it have to do with conservative or liberal?



People who believe the two parties stand for different things are kidding themselves. Our two-party system is thoroughly corrupt. There are a lot of people today who believe that the enemies of our country are people who differ on policy positions (liberals). This is a dangerous lie propogated by talk radio hosts and television personalities like Sean Hannity. The enemies of our country are those who would suppress the voice of the people, and I certainly count corporations, with their ill-gotten status and power, among the enemies. The enemy is systemic. It is ignorance. The real enemy is in each person, at the point where that person's mind closes down to new information. The real enemy is the point at which people begin to believe that violence and acrimony is the only source of power. This is power over others, rather than power in collaboration with others. These are two very different things.



Many conservatives I have known believe that the only real power is "over" others. And that everything is determined by who you have power over, or who has power over you. The idea of self-governance relies upon the value of collaborative, representative government. But this requires an informed populace, which we largely do not have.



I differ from most people I meet because I have an attitude they consider condescending. My attitude is that most people are badly misinformed.


I don't think I'm especially smart (otherwise I'd have figured out a lot more stuff at this point) but what I do have that I count as a value is my curiosity and open-mindedness. And I do look down on people who don't have those two things, because I think at the point where you limit your learning, you make life dangerous for everyone around you. I chose communications as my field, in part because I wanted to try to make sense of the world. I chose NPR because it was the best in the business (despite the fact that so many people genuinely don't even have it on their radar--including some people I consider friends). I spent eleven years saturated in NPR news all the livelong day, and not just when I was at work. I learned some stuff. If you quizzed me, I wouldn't be able to do very well. My brain cannot retain facts. However, if you watch for long enough, you can easily see the difference between commercial news reporting and NPR-style journalistic engagement. And continuing to watch as the internet makes information available, it's more starkly clear than ever that the vast majority of media is limited to a certain number of stories a day, news cycles following each other relentlessly, with extremely important stories, and viewpoints, being left out of the coverage. I have seen this for far too long to have any respect left at all for television news. I genuinely think people like Dan Abrams and whatshisname, Anderson Cooper, are highly-paid knuckleheads who are trained monkeys in their profession, which is talking on camera. They are far too steeped in the culture of mainstream TV to actually have any idea what's going on.

Both of those guys have infinitely more power and money than I do. They reach into people's minds and take up residence there because the news machine supports what they do. I, on the other hand, don't even have a radio audience anymore. That doesn't change the fact that I have no respect for them. They are part of the problem, and it's really that simple. Anyone who is not pushing the envelope, pushing against the establishment, is a part of what gives the establishment its ill-gotten power. Anyone who thinks journalism can happen without subversiveness is just on another planet entirely. And those guys certainly qualify. They'll color within the lines, and they'll genuinely believe that's OK. The old farts who run things and allow them to talk on camera and make all that money will continue to allow them to do it, as long as they don't try to cover issues not vetted (censored) by the suits.

The establishment MUST be relentlessly questioned. Otherwise, we live in an authoritarian society. In our society, those who question, today, are called "traitors" "truthers" or "tin-foil hat wearers." People are scared to be seen that way----so they don't speak up too loudly if their views are controversial. That is the opposite of democracy.


Closing one's mind around a subject and then allowing violence to happen around those beliefs *in any way* is unbearable to me, and I no longer can be around people who do this, like that man at the American Legion. I am a fully dedicated peacenik. Unfortunately, people are angry and hurting right now, and want to blame someone. The very people they should be blaming are still running things. It is not the poor we have to fear, but the rich and powerful.

Conservatives tend to believe we should venerate the rich and powerful because they must be smart, having figured out how to take a bunch of stuff for themselves. I can understand this inclination, but when they accept propoganda that tells them they have immigrants to fear, that they have to fear the least powerful elements in society, then these people become dangerous, their ignorance supports the corruption and ensures the establishment's continued power to break the law, not pay taxes, not follow regs, pollute, kill, gamble away hard-won pensions, etc.

The law in arizona is just the tip of the iceberg. There is real hatred of immigrants right now. It is boiling over on the internet. It frightens me, because it's a complete distraction from the real problem. The real problem is the new slave labor tradition in the marketplace. Who decides that? Not the slaves.



CB