A progressive argument to battle your conservative friends

Crazy times.
Divisive times.
“Them’s fightin’ words,” times.

I’m reticent to even broach this subject for fear of retribution or retaliation. But, fuck it, progressives need better ammunition to fend off the irrational arguments of the Radical Right.

  • “You’re all trying to convert this country over to socialism!”
  • “Get government out of my business.”
  • “Big government is bad business.”

Yeah, I hear your words. Let’s just do a little theoretical experiment and we’ll see where you stand afterward.

#1 You don’t like socialism? Then, you must not like government programs that operate on behalf of society. OK, then, let’s do away with the socialism we currently enjoy. No more:

  • Judicial system which provides for rule-of-law adjudication of crimes and grievances. No more suing that corporation for poisoning your toothpaste. No more court system to ensure crimes are tried and resolved.
  • No more police departments.
  • No more fire departments.
  • No more emergency services. Your call to 911 will go no where.
  • In fact, no more telecom system as corporations will now own the airwaves and you’ll have to pay that monopoly dues to rent the air waves.
  • No more highway system. No more bridges, tunnels, lights, or smooth driving anywhere.
  • No more banking system. No more Fed. Your money will now be controlled (inflated away) by independent banking corporations.
  • No more financial system. No more FOMC or SEC. The stock market will become a Wild West of robber barons.
  • No more FDA or USDA, the quality of your food and drugs will now be controlled by corporations.
  • No more EPA, your air, land and water will become as polluted as corporations want it.
  • No more OSHA, your jobs will be as risky and egregious as corporations can make them.
  • No more Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, you get old or sick, oh well.
  • No more national security or military. Foreign governments will attack with impunity, with both organized forces and insurgents.
  • This list goes on and on and on… ***

You don’t like socialism? Well, guess what? You already live in a socialist society. AND YOU LOVE IT! And if it were gone — you would suffer.

(You know who also loves socialism, that is, a social system of government of the people, by the people, for the people? … The wealthy and the corporations they run. But do they pay their share for all of these amenities? These privileges? These first-world services and benefits. NO THEY DON’T. You want to point a finger at someone? Point it at the wealthy and their corporations.)

So you say you don’t like socialism, but yet you live in a highly socialistic society as evidenced above. So which is it? Are you a hypocrite or do you just not understand that government IS society.

Next time some Right-wing conservative attacks your progressive, liberal ideals use this argument. We’re not that different. We all enjoy a vast and beneficial social system. Making it work a little better for all of us is what we progressives want.

#2 Without government “in your business”, protecting your business, you wouldn’t BE in business. Without the agencies and laws and equality built into the system (albeit somewhat half-assed right now), your business could and would get commandeered or monopolized out of business.

#3 It’s not that big government is bad, it’s that bad government is bad. Corporate lobbyists that drive legislation — BAD. Lifer politicians that treat their office like a royal award and act more for themselves than the people — BAD. The wealthy who think they can buy elections due to corrupt campaign laws — BAD.  Tax laws that ignore the monumental protections and benefits the wealthy enjoy without them owning up to said benefits — BAD.

Government IS us, We the People. If it’s not working for all of us, then yeah, let’s change it. But ignoring the fact that we’re already living in a valuable and advantageous socialism is denying the health and well being you’re enjoying right now.

[*** These are all social programs created by government to benefit society. Not “technically” socialism, but certainly part of the social fabric we voluntarily contribute to (taxes) and expect results from (all mentioned)…
Including: USPS, National Parks, HUD, FEMA, SNAP, public education, and hundreds of others.]

We are NOT living in a simulation

Do not contact your SimAdmin, he can’t help you.

You’ve no doubt heard the theory that our reality, all of ours reality, may actually be a simulation running in some cosmically vast computer system created by monumentally intelligent beings.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis

A guy named Nick Bostrom originally dreamed this up and so far, no one has figured out how to refute the premise. (Nick was the guy who also proposed the Great Filter theory where humanity is either on the good side or the bad side of the cosmic crap shoot.)

This simulation theory states that, given our understanding of computer simulation and the logarithmic nature of its advancement, the probability that we, ourselves, are artifacts existing within a simulation is not zero. That is, it is possible that we are all just fabrications of some uber-alien intelligence having coded our reality in his basement.

Bullshit.

And here’s my theory as to why:

• The computer simulations, you know, games, that are currently being created are far more engaging and empowering than the shit-show we have going as our current existence. And these virtual reality games are only going to get more and more amazing. No future “us” would build an imaginary world of such despicable, detestable agony and hatred and call it an artificial world of entertainment and wonder. Our reality is a hellish existence for billions of humans — why would anyone want to simulate that?

• Or maybe our reality is not a game, it’s a scientific simulation experiment. If this is the case then there are numerous reasons why our “universe” and all its fake physical laws and fabricated history are beyond extreme for an experiment.

  1. If our simulators wanted to recreate our universe as we experience it they would have to have simulated 13.5 billion years of universe generation spawned by some imaginary spark (the Big Bang and all the assumptions that accompany how this reality operates). That lengthy process would take far too long for any superior race to put up with. Even at a time ratio of one of their seconds to a year of ours (they have vastly more powerful computers) it would still take over 150,000 of their days to recreate our current situation.
  2. Why all this bizarre evolutionary complexity? Why go through five separate extinction events, the evolution of reptiles, then dinosaurs, then mammals and finally, only within the last two million years, create a creature that “might” evolve to build a complex society? Just jump to the chase, already.
  3. If they fully fabricated a “fake” starting point, that is, dream up all this fabricated evidence to give us humans the false sense of deep history, again, why so fricking deep and convoluted. And why so much misery and evil in their scenario(s)? (We assume we’re just one of billions of simulations.)
  4. If we are just one of billions, why? For what purpose would any superior race build a computer system just to fabricate a false sense of this frankly mundane scenario? I’m gonna create a billion ant farms with differing sand, water, food, physics just to watch the fake ants live and die. That is how our vastly superior ancestors/predecessors spend their time? If that’s their past time, and they wanted to do it right, they’d seed the ant farms and let them evolve — but again, that would take forever.
  5. Computing is not cheap. A system to simulate our current reality would be costly — energy wise — to run for this long. And if you’re running billions of these… Well, you’re gonna run out of star-power pretty damn fast.

I personally like the first premise the best. If you’re gonna build a simulated universe, give everyone super powers, or the chance to discover or grow them. And for godsake, don’t bring anyone into the game who’s crippled, or sick or too stupid to play it well. “Yeah, I’m gonna create The Sims, and make everyone work for their food, suffer constant disease and depravity and then die bitter and without hope — that’s the game I’m gonna build.”

Nonsense. We’re here living the ugly reality that it is, no simulation, no fabrication by some lofty intellect. Plain old nothing-special life. No superpowers possible.

Rabies: Vampires and Werewolves

Rabies, HIV, Hepatitis, Tetanus can all be spread through bites, animal or human. There are of course insect bites that will give you all kinds of diseases: yellow fever, dengue fever, Lyme disease, plague, malaria, etc. But I’ll focus on Rabies, for now.

The discovery of the cause of rabies didn’t occur until the early 1800’s and didn’t get a vaccine until Louis Pasteur figured things out later that century.

I have to wonder about the disease, Lyssavirus (named after Lyssa, the Greek goddess of insanity and rage) and its symptoms, in one variant, madness and an odd psychological fear called hydrophobia.

So, you, a carrier, bite someone and your victim becomes infected, insane with madness, and cringes from the sight of some mundane substance. Sound familiar?

(Seems that Lyssa and Lycaon, the Greek king who was cursed by Zeus to become the first werewolf, could have made the perfect couple.)

Hey, Bram Stoker, did you read about rabies in the London libraries around the 1890’s? Two legends, vampires and werewolves, both being vectored by saliva (viral infection) passed during a bite. Hmm, a curious coincidence.

Image courtesy: http://www.horror.land

A vignette – loneliness

Dave Cline - lost and found

Five subway trains had stopped, disgorged and consumed meals of commuters and tourists then eased their silent weight into the westbound tunnel, vanishing like wraiths. Sounds of the sixth train echoed its arrival. However, the blast of warm air, pushed in front, went unnoticed. Mr. Derby Lough sat tucked in his herringbone coat and gloves, now and then hovering a hand over the cardboard box sitting next to him on the bench. The size and weight of a hearty loaf of bread—the kind with seeds that his wife said was ‘so much more healthy’—the box had his name and address printed in the corner, even though he’d had to pick it up in person. His hand hovered again. It came close, but never touched its surface.

“Hey, wasn’t you in that same spot, lease two hours ago?”

Mr. Lough placed his hand in his lap and tilted his head up…

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Mushroom Man

I made my way to the Mushroom Man, a coated UV tarp pulled over my head. Without it the noon-day sun would cook my skin. Within the city’s ruins, pockets of shade provided refuge. I scurried from shadow to shadow.

Down the subway stairs, rubble clacking away, the smell of loam filled my senses. Darkness gave me pause, my eyes adjusted slowly. The ancient forest smell consumed me.

“They’re not ready,” said the man who grows the mycelium leather.

I picked my way deeper into the gloom. “My kid needs those gloves.”

“Can’t rush the shrooms,” he cackled, madly.

~~~

[Another 99 word story prompt: kid gloves]