Friday, January 20, 2006

Conservatives and Liberals

Conservatives & Liberals
& changing the world

Liberals are people who don't have much to lose the way things are, and they have much to gain if things changed.

Conservatives are people who have a lot to lose if things changed.

That's why we tend to be more liberal when we're young, and more conservative when we're older. As we age, we tend invest in the current system, and changes become more and more likely to be negative for us. More social programs will mean more taxes, and we're in a much higher tax bracket...

That's why idealists become dictators. That's why the church has corrupted so many times in the past. Contrary to many people's thinking, it's nearly impossible to change the system from within. As you accumulate wealth and power, you become the establishment, and you lose the ability to change it. Once you depend on the establishment, the establishment can hold you hostage if you fight it.

Anybody out there know some rich liberals (Let's call them Rich Young Rulers)? And if you do, does it disprove my theory? Maybe my theory could still stand; do these RYR liberals feel secure enough in their power and wealth to be "token" liberals (Like Bill Gates, who can give millions and millions away and still be the richest man in the world, or Ray Anderson, the "Green CEO" who can garner kudos for his environmentalism and still be well-paid CEO of the world's largest carpet manufacturer), or do they have something more important than money, that is, could they lose everything for the cause, and still feel they have won?


I'm re-reading an old, short book I liked as a teenager, because it felt so close to my experience.

It is called "A Very Long Way From Anywhere Else" and it is by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Here is an excerpt from the book that I think captures a bit of what it is like to be a geek in high school, at least for me:
"I think what you mostly do when you find you really are alone is to panic. You rush to the opposite extreme and pack yourself into groups -- clubs, teams, societies, types. You suddenly start dressing exactly like the others. It's a way of being invisible... You have to be with it. That's a peculiar phrase, you know? With it. With what? With them. With the others. All together. Safety in numbers. I'm not me... I'm a popular kid. I'm my friends' friend... You can't see me, all you can see is us. We're safe."

"And if We see You standing alone by yourself, if you're lucky, we'll ignore you. If you're not lucky, we might throw rocks. Because we don't like people standing there ... reminding us that we're each alone and none of us is safe."

"I tried. I really did. I tried so hard it makes me sick to think about it... But none of it worked. I don't know why. Sometimes I wonder if introverts have a peculiar smell, which only extraverts are aware of."

"Some kids really don't have much Me at all. They truly are part of the Group. But a lot of them just act -- pretend -- the way I tried to. Their heart isn't really in the groups, but still they get along, they get by. I wish I could. I honestly wish I could be a good hypocrite. It doesn't hurt anybody, and it sure makes life easier. But I never could fool anybody. They knew I wasn't interested in what interested them, and they despised me for it, and I despised them for despising me."

Signs of Intelligent Life

I stumbled across an article talking about the search for intelligent life in the universe just now. Must share this quote with you:

David Grinspoon: "If civilizations like ours were all over the galaxy, it would not be obvious. We are only listening, not broadcasting. We are not doing astroengineering. True, we are leaking sitcoms and beer commercials, but these are not easily detectable over most of the galaxy and certainly would not be interpreted as signs of true intelligence."

When I read that, I imagined two aliens having a conversation.

A1: Any signs of intelligent life out there yet?
A2: Nope. I thought I had something, but it turned out to be a false lead.
A1: What do you mean? It was just static that sounded like a transmission?
A2: No it was a transmission alright, faint but consistent. It consisted of creatures getting themselves into painful social situations through misunderstandings and escalating lies.
A1: That might signify intelligent life!
A2: I thought so too, until I saw images of a green slimy creature saying "Wazzaaaap!"
A1: Oh. That's too bad. It had some promise for sure.
A2: Yah. Back to the grind.
A1: I guess so. Hey, I'm going to grab a beer. You want one?
A2: Sure. Grab one for me while you're there.