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Our Modern Sickness

Wake up. Open your eyes. If you haven't already noticed, the world is a terrible place. We're surrounded by terrorists, murderers, radicals, political opportunists, and stupid masses. How is it possible, in our modern society, for rebels to hold a school hostage, resulting in the deaths of hundreds? Why is it acceptable for a nation to settle a dispute with war? What drives man to commit violence against himself? Why is the environment mismanaged? Why the religious animosity? Why are problems so difficult to solve?

A Disturbing Lack of Empathy

Empathy is a powerful, under-utilized tool. Through empathy we understand those around us, friend or foe alike. The thief, the murderer, the invader shows his lack of empathy and his own self-aggrandizing love when he reaches out to harm another. What lack of understanding, what lack of care and decency allows someone to take that which is not rightfully his? To strike violently against another? To fly a plane into a building? Furthermore, what lack of understanding drives the victim to retaliatory excess? Revenge is the recourse of the strong when they have been rendered impotent. Revenge is the result of damaged pride fused with anger. Revenge is a futile exercise in destruction. Should we empathize with terrorists? You're damn right we should. As much as we'd like to eradicate our enemies, the simple truth is that brute force will not win the day. Does this mean giving in to terrorist demands? Certainly not. In this day and age, the besieged nations of the world must remain firm in the face of lawlessness, but this resolve must be tempered with an understanding of our opponent. To strike back carelessly is to damage hope for resolution. Strike back when necessary, but only when necessary.

The Obscenity of the Soundbyte

Politics abhors complex problems, yet deals with them every day. Presidential campaigns in particular seem adept at reducing the most complicated, multi-faceted problems to simplistic terms. Gay marriage damages the family. George W. Bush is unfit to be president because of a questionable armed services record. Tax cuts benefit the economy. War is bad. Every one of these statements do a disservice to their respective topics. Wake up. The world is not black and white. The soundbyte is necessary, of course, because the masses are simply too uneducated or too disinterested to give the complicated issues the thought they deserve. This is understandable because reasoning through complex issues is hard. Too bad dealing with the results of our simplistic handling of the world turns out to be far more difficult. It's time, friends, to stop making decisions based solely on intuition. A healthy dose of reason will do us some good. Teach critical thinking in schools. Foresight would be good too. It's time to start looking twenty years ahead instead of five.

Political Opportunism and the Rape of the Republic

Last I checked, my government was supposed to represent me. More and more it seems that the masses are asked to represent the "ideals' put forth by their leaders. When's the last time you felt confident in your presidential choices? It'd be mighty refreshing to have a leader who understands the issues and sees that they are multi-faceted. What happened to the common good? Why do the politicians insist on giving everything to the majority, when the majority happens to be 51% of the population? Why the fuck do politicians promote an agenda? Promote themselves? Does the office to which they have been elected mean anything? This relates to empathy and self-interest. Do something for somebody else, dammit. Do something for me. I think I might vote for Giant Squid

History Repeats

Study history. There are cycles. There are warning signs. Let's make history a pre-requisite for political office. A society ought to be able to learn from it's mistakes. A society ought to be able to learn from other people's mistakes. But please, let's not make poor comparisons. Iraq and Vietnam? Iraq and World War II? Let's not insult ourselves. Comparisons are comparisons, besides. Remember how problems are multi-faceted? Our current problems may look like previous events from history, but they are going to be different. Let's learn our lessons from history, but treat our new problems as just that. New.

Despite our problems, I am hopeful for the future...