Dysmey Post > Essays > Politics > That Is A Futile List

That Is A Futile List

That's a big list

Some political cartoonist in 2007 drew a cartoon of Uncle Sam writing on a blackboard a list of things he ought to do.

Standing nearby is the Average Taxpayer, drawn by the cartoonist as big of mouth and tiny of cranial box. Obviously the cartoonist does not think much of the Average Taxpayer to have drawn him like that. In fact, the contempt lies deeper, since the cartoonist, like any other American of a political bent, thinks in terms of taxpayer instead of citizen. Evidently the one true dooty of the American is to pay taxes; it just doesn't count to vote or to serve on juries or to defend one's country.

Anyway, Mr. Average Taxpayer says: That's a big list. Who's going to pay for all that? Uncle Sam replies: Three guessses!

Yeah, the cartoonist does think ill of the average American.

As for myself, the answer is obvious, but not what the cartoonist thinks it should be. Here is the list on the blackboard.

Behold, The List

Get troops out of Iraq.

That ought to be cheap compared to keeping the war going. But it is evidently impossible for political reasons. In fact, among the 2008 candidates only Barack Obama is advocating such a withdrawal.

It is obvious — I said so when the war began and I still say so — that Bush the Younger dragged us into the war to grab Iraq's oil wealth and to clean up the mess his father made. The problem is that, in their incompetence, Bush the Younger, Cheney and their minions made a bigger mess. They made such a mess because they valued loyalty among their own in-bred kind rather competence in international diplomacy.

And I am being charitable here: The alternative — that they screwed up on purpose — makes them culpable as war criminals.

Now Iraq is a bigger mess than if we had simply assassinated Saddam Hussein and then let the Iraqis fight it out on their own. Iraq is now a proxy battlefield between the Shi'ites of Iran and the Wahhabis of Sa'udi Arabia — with our sons and daughters caught in the middle.

Security is a chimera that will never happen in Iraq; and everyone will be better off if we just leave the country, the sooner the better. Let the rightists whine about cutting and running — it's their opinion, and we are free not to listen to them.

Rebuild Iraq.

We tried; Iraqis destroyed what we built; so why bother anymore? Let's leave them to rot and rebuild our infrastructure instead.

Stabilize Middle East.

A non-Muslim island in the middle of the domain of Islam is an intolerable outrage to Islam — especially when it rejects the very idea of dhimmitude.

For that reason, as long as there is an Israel, there will be no peace. But Israel will always be there, for reasons even the Israelis themselves will neither understand nor accept. Therefore there will be no peace in the Middle East. So live with this, and let the Jews and Arabs kill one another.

The real issue is why the rest of the world, including Americans and their higher-level politicians, will not leave ill enough alone.

Health care for everyone.

How about first discovering why health care is so expensive at all? What role do politics and sociology play in its expense? If we learn these, we will be in a better place to try to fix it.

But then, we do not even want to admit to the reasons why the current health care system is so expensive. We want the best possible health care, but we do not want to pay for it. We go to the doctor for a head cold when a week's rest would suffice. We go to the doctor when we want an excuse to get out of work. The first reform we need is to get such ideas out of our heads! This is a mass social attitude adjustment for which clinics like the QuickClinic at my place of work are just a start.

It may be, that we will have to forsake health insurance entirely, since it is giving Americans such a false sense of security that they are wasting health resources on minor or frivolous causes. Besides, a growing number of doctors are refusing to take on new patients with insurance because it has become too burdensome to bargain with the insurance companies. And as a growing number of family doctors are retiring, they are not being replaced because it is just too expensive and too bothersome to go into family practice.

For those who boost for a universal health care system, we already have one: It's called Medicare/Medicaid: And they don't work as intended because they are politcal footballs in the hands of Congress and the president. If universal health care comes to pass, I hope you like your imported doctors from Bharat (assuming Bharat does not make it worth staying home), because, as I already noted, native doctors will not put up with such a system given how extremely expensive medical school now have become.

Fix education.

How? Are you going to stop well-intended but whacko movements among educators? Are you going to ditch John Dewey, William Kilpatrick and the traditions they started? How about discrediting such pedagogic myths as John Jones, IQ testing, outcome-based education and vocational training? Are you going to stop interference by politicians and pressure groups? Are you going to stop such reactionary policies as zero-tolerance? Are you going to make parents assume responsibility for their kids instead of stupidly assuming that the schools will do it while they focus on their careers? And then they sue when the schools sneeze!

It is time to throw out the movements and other fads in education. The idols of John Dewey, William Kennedy and other pedagogues whose theories of schools-as-saviours should be relegated to the musuem. Restore governance of education to the state level, and abolish No Child Left Behind as political interference in education. Restrict the teaching of children in the lower grades to reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and basic science.

It is also time to force parents to remember that the sole purpose of a family is to raise children. A family is more important than a career. The idea of a family-career ratio is a myth, just like the myth that all the world loves us. If you work for a hugh corporation or other hierarchy, unless you are a high-level executive, you are a cypher with no hope of advancement, anyway. Again, your kids are more important than your career. (If, however, you have no family yet and are that into a career, read The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and unlearn all you've been thought. And what the book does not add is that for most people the only way to leave an imprint on the world is to have a family.)

So, encourage parents to read to their children; if they cannot get their children away from the television set, it is time to get rid of the thing as your children are more important than your entertainment.

In a wider view, make the school day match the standard work day: Kids in at nine, out at five. De-emphasize athletics as part of the school; make gym an after-school activity rather than part of the curriculum. School is about learning; it has nothing to do with health or fitness, and certainly nothing to do with competition.

Defeat terrorists.

First, just what is a terrorist? Do they really mean Muslim? That is what Bush and his minions seem to imply. And what about the home-grown variety, like Tim McVay?

And are we truly ready to give up our traditional freedoms because all of a sudden our hearts are filled with fear? For the need to hunt terrorists is indeed a need, fueled by mind-numbing fear, for peace and security at any cost. If we have sunk to that level of mind, perhaps we no longer deserve our freedoms.

As we do not have a precise definition of terrorism, and as the so-called War on Terror is really a war against Islam, an international anti-terrorism treaty, if enforced, would lead to worldwide Jihad without al-Qaeda having to lift a finger.

All a terrorism treaty will do is erode what freedoms still exist in the world. Drop the idea. Jihadists are religious murderers to be prosecuted under existing laws.

Sane immigration policy.

This is politically impossible. Why?

If the immigrants come, you might as well tax their wages, force employers (including middle-class homeowners) to pay employment taxes, and enforce existing employment laws with exceptional rigor. If the immigrants stay for more than a set period of time, compel them to learn English and apply for U.S. citizenship on the grounds that taking our money implies accepting our values.

Rebuild New Orleans.

Why bother with a city that is not only back to its old level of crime with only half its old population, but that is even murdering its better citizens? Why are we bothering with New Orleans at all? Is the culture of this one city more important than the culture of any other city or the culture of the rest of the country? Yes, it is the home of jazz, but jazz has dispersed itself throughout the world. It is time for jazz to leave home, like I did.

Let's just let the Mississippi divert itself down the Atchafalaya, wall off the French Quarter as a historical district, and let the rest of the city sink into the muck.

Eliminate debt.

Do you mean Eliminate defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, foreign aid, student aid, highway funding, research, interest on the debt, and all those pork barrel projects (I believe they are called earmarks now)?

Someone has to pay for all these goodies. If the taxpayers won't do it, then it is the bondholders — mostly Japan and China. What do you think will happen if foreign countries stop buying our bonds? Anyway, this is politically impossible, too: Americans are too addicted to their goodies.

Balance trade.

Build new factories and offices here in the United States, and hire American workers. Persuade Americans to buy American goods. More to the point, give up forever the false idea of savings from buying cheap goods: Kill the Wal-Mart state of mind. You want savings? Go to the bank and open a deposit account. Stop spending!

Find energy alternatives.

We have promoted SUVs and trucks, which suck gasoline by the barrel-full, to keep alive traditional American automobile jobs, because of which a car costs $25,000 before it is even assembled (so I heard from a retired PR man from my father's auto-parts company during a university seminar). Fuel-efficient cars like my Aspire are simply not cost-efficient to American corporations with their high-wage scales. That is why Japanese and Korean companies build the cheap, fuel-efficient cars — here in America, with non-union labor.

And this is not just an automobile issue. We need oil to run our tractors, trains and airplanes; to generate our electricity; and to make plastics and chemicals of all kinds.

I am assuming that this energy crisis is as fake as the one in the 1970's, cooked up as a power grab. But, if the crisis were serious, then we would have to be serious about solving our energy crisis as well.

In any case, we are going to have to give up on petroleum as a chief driver of our culture. The high price of gasoline is forcing a lot of people to forsake their SUVs and trucks in favor of more fuel-efficient jobs. But this is not going to be enough. This is a fad, caused by public reaction, and like a fad it will fade when the price of gas improves.

Improve intelligence.

Um, what do you mean? Making Americans smarter? That is a problem in itself.

Or do you mean improve the CIA and other spy agencies? Why? We already know the rest of the world is our enemy. Besides, it's hard to improve the CIA when Bush's cronies have trashed the agency from within, driving out good workers and replacing them with human trash, just because the CIA would not support Bush in his crusades. And then there is the issue of those agencies spying on us!

Expand scientific research.

How? The current educational system produces too few native-born scientists for our needs. And it is not likely to ever do so.

Corporate research no longer exists, making the only employers the universities and federal government.

The former is becoming a proxy for corporate research because it is cheaper for the corporations to let the universities do their research. That way, the corporations do not have to pay the salaries and benefits to the researchers. But this creates issues of ownership between the corporations, the universities and the research academics themselves, especially since universities have often been found to be foolish and imprudent in negotiating good terms for their patents.

The latter is not really an option when there is an ongoing decades-long political tradition in this country to discredit scientists who tread on the sensitive turf of any powerful politician or pressure group. The late Dr. John Gofman is the poster child for such scientists: When he revealed a link between low levels of radiation and cancer, a powerful congressman overseeing the old Atomic Energy Commission had him driven out of his job at Lawrence Liverpool.

Now I ask you: Who needs all these when science does not pay enough, anyway?

Nor can we rely on importing our scientific talent anymore: The political climate in the USA is too hostile to foreign scientists. And even if Obama wins the presidency and reverses that climate, most of the talent's countries can now keep them employed. And this goes for physicians and nurses, too, which is one of the reasons why our current health care crisis will mutate into a disaster.

Even if they find something useful, it would hardly benefit us in the present climate of litigation and patent trolling and a Patent Office that either issues patents for obvious ideas or takes forever to research applications.

Modernize military.

How? We were doing just fine, I have read, before Rumsfeld came along. And his way of doing things was a fiasco, as Iraq demonstrated.

Rebuild infrastructure.

We overbuilt our infrastructure. If we do not intend to maintain it, then it is time to tear some of it down. We need railroads and light rail transport, not more roads and highways. And we would be better off rebuilding our cities from within, like what Marion and Grant County is trying to do.

But Wait! There's More!

The blackboard was too small for Uncle Sam to write everything that needs fixing — and money! But a regular writer to my local newspaper seemed to have come up with some ideas that need to be shot down, just like those on the blackboard.

Expand free trade

I can understand a free-trade deal with South Korea. But Columbia? The only exports Columbia gives us are coffee and cocaine; and we don't need a free-trade deal for those! And don't we have enough cheap labor in Mexico and Central America? That is the results of free trade: Whatever the concept it was supposed to embody, it so far has put Americans in factories and offices out of work to fatten the profits of multinational corporations.

Also, the last thing we need is to provoke Venezuela into becoming more of a totalitarian state when a free-trade deal between us and its neighbor will give it a ready-made enemy on its borders.

Allow existing free-trade agreements to expire without renewal. We have more than enough workers within our borders without the need for the cheap labor of countries under existing agreements.

Set Up a Marshall Plan for Underdeveloped Countries

We have been giving Africa, Asia and Latin America untold thousands of millions of dollars in all kinds of foreign aid since the second World War. It has had no effect on their poverty or hunger, but has made political and social corruption blossom throughout the non-Western world. A so-called Marshall Plan will just perpetuate the problem. Even the very name is deceptive: The non-Western countries are not at all like Europe, so why do we expect similar results?

Just drop the idea. Let the Third World sink or swim with the money we already give it.

Reform tax policy

This, I assume, is about Federal taxes: Not state taxes (unless you live in a high-tax state), nor local sales nor property taxes.

You don't like taxes? If you want lower taxes, then give up your deductions and exemptions. That goes for corporations, too. Some families had to give up deductions on their children, anyway, due to the identity-theft vulnerability of required social security numbers.

And is it the government's business that you donate? Charitable foundations have for decades been the means to hide wealth from taxation for donors by giving up ownership but retaining control through proxies on the foundation boards. (It also provides a cushion for universities, like my employer, from the vagaries of state legislatures.) Are you ready to give this up, and force corporations and the super-rich to do the same?

And how about giving up the reasons why taxes are so high: Military spending, payments on the federal debt, social security and medicare, bailouts, subsidies, grants. And it is all going to get worse: The baby-boom generation hitting social security and medicare when they reach their seventies; the consequences of Reagan and post-Reagan incompetency and corruption coming home to roost; and the national debt exploding as East and South Asian nations become no longer willing to purchase more of our debt.

These are the price of tax reform. Unless you are not willing to consider them, do not even bother to bring up the issue.

Reform farm policy

The Feds are already lightening the restrictions on what can be planted to make it easier to plant food crops other than grains or soya. The next step is to abandon farm subsidies altogether, since they benefit corporations more than they do individual farms. And there should be no subsidies even for the vagaries of nature.

Farming is a crapshoot with the weather; there is no security in it; and banks should be as exposed to this as the farmers. If banks do not want to lend to farmers, so be it; but farmers should reward such cowardice by closing accounts with such banks.

Reform Social Security

You can't reform a Ponzi scheme, not even a legal one.

There will soon be two workers for every person on social security. And those two workers, having been taught by our culture and schools to be the center of the universe (under names like self-esteem), will not tolerate having their hard-earned money taken from them. The collapse of the system is unavoidable. No politician has the guts to fix this because we do not really expect our politicians to have guts. And most current ideas (especially investing contributions in the stock market or mutual funds) are folly: even allowing for now-frequent crashes (like the one that is happening as of September 2008), interest on contributions will not outpace inflation.

Again, reform of Social Security and Medicare is impossible. You cannot just get rid of them: That would be political suicide, with the loss of government pensions, what scanty income doctors and hospitals get for caring for the old and poor, and the unemployment of all those government workers. Tweaking the system is futile. And, when the time comes for the system to collapse on its own, the Boomers — the most comfortable generation in American history — will meet its end at the point of a mass lethal injection — not because of any crimes they may or may not have committed but because they will be too expensive to keep alive.

Reform the whole government

By the whole government I mean Congress, the courts and legal system, and the executive branch (president, Cabinet, civil service).

Why will you not just admit that the Judeo-Christian (JC) culture of the original United States, that culture that informed our Federal government, has been extinct for decades? Why will you not admit, that our non-JC culture of this present country that we live in can no longer sustain the governmental system of the first? No amount of tweakings and frobbings are going to make the system any better because, again, we do not want it to be better. We get too many goodies out of the system as it is.

As the head of the Rutherford Institute has admitted in the last chapter of Grasping for the Wind, it is not only impossible but dangerous to bring back the government and culture of the first United States by fiat. We are not our ancestors. We have not been our ancestors for decades. Even the elder generation that fought World War II are not our ancestors. They are propelled by the memories of a JC culture that their parents threw away in the 1920's and 1930's. That is why that generation was shocked when their kids rejected they then-empty culture in the 1960's.

I expound on this because law and culture are intertwined. The Muslims and the Japanese understand that well enough. The ancient Jews and Greeks understood that, too. νομος, normally translated law, also means custom, mores, usage from long standing, a part of what makes a society what it is — which is why the Jews adopted it to translate torah in the Greek Septuagint, the pre-Christian Greek version of the Bible.

My point? Law and culture are an organic whole: And when the culture is rootless and unstable, as our culture is, then our law is bound to be rootless at best, and a sea of petty regulation and litigation at worse.

And until we reform our culture, we cannot reform our law and government.

Reform credit card laws

The best defensive against abuse by the credit card companies is to not use credit cards at all.

As an aside, if you are an actor, and cannot or will not get a credit card — good for you! Robert Brustein is a fool to think of a credit card as some sort of badge of social acceptance. But it is not; and, acting folk, you do not need the debt.

Or, if you do have them, pay most of the balance every month (and leave the credit card companies with a little interest) as early as you can. And get it into your head that a credit card is just that: A line of credit, a loan, from which the lendors WILL try to make as much money off of you as they can. It is not a piggy bank, not when it is THEIR money and not yours.

Improve services for veterans

I have no opinion about this. I am not a veteran. But the department of veterans affairs is a bureaucracy like any other: There will be resistance from those dependent on the bureaucrary in any way to reform. And veterans will suffer as the struggle persists.

Declare English the official language

English is already the de facto language of the United States, if only because most Americans will not, and cannot be forced to, learn another language. C'mon, folks, a people who will not learn a simple-by-design language like Esperanto, and will use every conceivable excuse to not learn Esperanto, will not learn any other language. Live with it. And yeah, it is quite likely that English will be made official if it came to that.

Reform the postal service

Live with the fact that the Postal Service is not a real corporation in the same way that Ford or IBM are corporations: Not when Congress has its collective hand too deeply up its blip. That is not how corporations work, folks! The idea that the Postal Service should earn a profit is as laugh-inducing as the idea that Amtrak should.

Define marriage as between a man and a woman

Remember when I said that ours is a non-JC culture now? The romantic conception of marriage (between two people in love) as a replacement for all the other social ideas of marriage except the JC one (marriage between a believing man and woman as the seed of a new family) was bound to create the bullcrap about marriage we are witnessing today.

It is not enough to define marriage as the union of one human male and one human female; you must also define its purpose as the core of a family of at least one child. Abolish all legal and traditional benefits and penalties to marriage like tax penalties, deductions for children, pregnancy/paternity leaves, special parking for pregnant/young mothers and hospital bans on visits by non-relatives. Also, abolish all impediments to marriage like blood tests on health (read eugenic) grounds. Couples who want children will just have them out of wedlock.

If it is compelling to establish the romantic concept of marriage into law, then set up a legal union between two people, not just for gays, but for man/woman couples who do not intend to have children; and make such unions so that it is easy to break them up with community property divisions like those in the Western states.

Is a separate marriage and civil-union status unfair? So what? Bureaucratic, pull-driven societies like ours are inherently unfair. This is just damage control.

Affirm freedom of religion

This is just another aspect of our non-JC society. The foundation of the old culture is largely eaten away. All who try to restore some of that foundation, or those who try to maintain the civil religion of their localities, are persecuted by local, State and Federal governments under an interpretation of the separation of church and state that is claimed to come from Jefferson but in fact dates from the convenient separation line between the original and current United States: A Supreme Court decision in 1947 (Everson v. Board of Education).

Just as the JC commonality was the de facto religion of the original United States, so the notional matter of Anglo-European philosophies expelled out of the rear end of the Enlightenment is the de facto civil religion of the current United States. This mental fecal matter has corroded the foundation of the original United States until now hardly anything is left. We now condone theft, murder, and torture in the name of the State; and for the sodden masses, πορνεια and the worship of every sort of thing that does not deserve even respect, let alone worship … like Britney Spears. And with television and the Internet, it is so easy to do!

Organizations like the Rutherford Institute fight to retain what freedoms and rights remain from the original United States. But a restoration of the foundations of the original United States will need a change of mind and attitude (μετανοια) that will take two or three generations to effect if we start now. And we cannot start now because we are too fat and happy to care. And when the time comes when we do care — it will be all over.

This is why solutions like mottos on money, plaques in schools, and holiday displays are inadequate. Mind you, a public place that does not allow the expression (including religious expression) of all the citizenry is not a public place; it is just the property of the State, which that State graciously allows its subjects to use. This, in itself, should be enough to offer resistance against that agent of the State, the ACLU.

Introduce universal national service

I have already expounded on this in a Dysmey Blog entry. To wit, forcing kids into universal national service is involuntary servitude for which they have not been convicted of any crime, a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. The unpaid or poorly-paid labor of these kids will force out jobs done by adults doing the same work for higher pay, which in turn will cook up a pot of resentment and discontent. And idea of instilling citizenship by hard labor on a bunch of kids raised on TV, Internet and probably-not-their-parents is nothing short of ridiculous.

I don't care if some respected World War II veteran raised this issue. Kill this issue now before it gets us up to our ears in a sewer!

But Who Will Pay For All These?

The average taxpayer asks the question: Who will pay for all this? The real answer is nobody. The tasks will never be done. We have now reached the point where we have neither the means nor the will.

Written by Andy West on 24 August 2007; re-edited on 28 February 2008; re-edited 20 September 2008. Updated 6 April 2010.