Like Hitting Yourself in the Face With a Hammer

I recently listened to the audiobook version of a series of lectures and Q&A with Noam Chomsky. If you have problems with being depressed into immobility by world politics and economics, I don’t recommend it. This is a sort-of review of the audiobook, with some comments by me and some quotes, and I plan to, over time, post a few passages from it.

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A Clever Bit of Sleuthery

The whole “Columbus discovered The Americas” meme is stupid; rather obviously the people who settled down there 13,000 years before Columbus came, did. After all, they were there to greet him when he arrived, and promptly murdered a few of them. There were literally millions of people who discovered and inhabited the americas before Columbus was even born. What a strange conceit that it takes a white european to “discover” a place.

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Evolutionary Pressure?

I asked my masters in the Freethoughtblogs collective, because there are (I believe) some evolutionary biologists in the house. However, I don’t want to turn this into a case study of “what happens when you ask a scientist a question?” [because the answer is usually “maybe” or “that’s bullshit.”]

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Screwing The Pooch

For the last couple of days I’ve been doing some self-education about the current state of nuclear energy systems and deployment. I’m a bit grumpy about this topic, now, because I feel like I’ve been played: I made a good faith attempt to see what kind of great new, efficient, safe, stuff has been coming down the pike and I was disappointed to find out there’s a lot of aspirational press releases and a great deal of ongoing research. It’s impossible for me not to see the situation as similar to fusion energy or generalized artificial intelligence: we need more money and more time but we’re gonna kick this thing’s ass in 30 years. Assuming we still have a technological civilization in 30 years.

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A $10 Tn Bill

Gosh, the people in Washington sure do like to lie. And the supine media (who want to think of themselves as “watchdogs”) (more like “watch chinchillas”) report what they are given in “talking points” memos.

In case you’ve been dead and buried for the last couple of months, the current big kerfuffle in Washington is a bunch of play-acting about how we haven’t got enough money for this or that useful social program. And, as always, there’s another social program that goes unmentioned: the defense budget. It’s a social program, right? It’s just oriented toward destroying societies.

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Media Fail

This is an important story, that the news media tried to just sort of … slip past, without dwelling on it. But it’s an important indicator of how and why our political media has become such a mess. Of course I believe it has always been a mess – for example, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison founded a newspaper [wik] as a self-propaganda arm against the federalists, and it has just gone downhill from there.

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Argument Clinic: Let’s Go, GerrardOfTitanServer

In my recent post about government’s manifest failure in the face of climate change, GerrardOfTitanServer naturally cropped up and started banging the “Nuclear is our only option” drum. I got so annoyed – he has pulled several comment threads into the weeds in the past – with him that I implied that maybe he could fuck off a little bit.

I regret that. The philosophical ideal would be to not be King Thag of This Blog, and fall back on my authority – which is real as far as bits in this corner of the internet go – I should have had the patience to engage, instead. So, I thought about GerrardOfTitanServer’s arguments for, oh, 5 minutes, and noticed a few gigantic, glaring holes in them. This posting is about that, and I welcome and invite anyone who wants to argue with GerrardOfTitanServer to go ahead.

This can be the¬†GerrardOfTitanServer thread and, note to GerrardOfTitanServer: do not continue to drag other comment threads into endless text-walls of argumentation or I’ll shut you down. You’ve got your thread, now, here you go, this is it.

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I Suppose Corruption Is Inevitable

Lacking a better term for it, I mentally think of my deep suspicion regarding civilization as “anti-social” because it is, literally, a distrust of society verging on the belief that maybe civilization will turn out to be a bad idea in the long run. In my darker moments I think that civilization may be a great big hack that was perpetrated by the power-hungry, and those seeking luxurious lives. It’s as if they invented the idea of “lets be a ‘people’ so that they could be king of ‘a people’ instead of just layabout greedy thugs.

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The World’s Governments Continue To Fuck Around

Mario Savio:

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels … upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

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