24 May 2012

What or Who Is The Problem?

This political but non-partisan entry started out as a discussion between some friends on Facebook. I wrote a response, then decided it was too long to post. Not knowing what else to do with it, I posted it here. The first part is the conversation and background, my comments are below the line.

KH: support for P's theory that the dumb are getting dumber. Article: Sophomoric? Members Of Congress Talk Like 10th Graders, Analysis from NPR.

WM: At least their conduct is somewhat consistent with their communication skills, thus minimizing any confusion voters might have about this clown fest.

PCS: Off with their heads.....I hate them all! and they are f***ing idiots

WM: If you're proposing that his be an audience participation event, P, I might know someone who knows someone who'd love to volunteer.

PCS: Thanks, W.....I am not voting for any incumbents, including our beloved senators.

WM: That's a good start. If (big IF) I voted anymore, I wouldn't vote for anyone for more than two terms. It's too corrupting an atmosphere.


In response to the comments about corrupt and too-long-serving politicans, and why we should throw the bums out, I basically disagree that they are and we should. They are just behaving as most humans would given their circumstances and opportunities.

I think the same applies to the stock market implosion, mortgage finance collapse, and the various financial markets scandals of a few years ago. It was popular to argue that greed was the primary villian and responsible for all the bad stuff that happened. Again, I don't think so. The greedy pigs responsible for the crash were no more or less greedy than their greedy pig counterparts of ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years ago; they just had greater opportunity for mischief.

So in the case of both politics and financial markets, I do NOT think the people involved are the main culprits, at least in the sense that replacing this group of people with that group of people is going to make any difference. I think that is both cases it is THE SYSTEM that's broken, and it is THE SYSTEM that encourages, promotes and rewards the behavior that results in all the bad stuff.

I'll use my favorite example to illustrate: the drug war. Do you think we have massive drug-related problems in the US, and Mexico is on the verge of being politically and socially destroyed by drug-related activity, because some children just want to grow up to be ruthless drugs lords? Well, maybe they do. But I believe it is our screwed-up SYSTEM of dealing with recreational drugs that provides the incentives and the opportunities for all the bad drug-related stuff that happens.

And just as hunting down and killing the kings of the Mexican drug cartels is a stupid waste of time—they'll just be replaced by bigger, badder mf'ers—so is it pointless to try to "fix" Washington or Wall Street by throwing out the current batch of bums. They'll just be replaced by more bums.

If you spill honey on your kitchen counter and then develop an ant problem (gee, how could this have happened?), you're not going to solve the problem by killing ants. Raid and Black Flag can't fix stupid—or careless, neglectful, don't-give-a-shitism, or any number of other behavioral problems.

If we want to solve problems in our society/country, we need to identify the real, structural, systemic problems and fix those, not focus our anger and frustration and blame-assigning on the people who are just behaving like people do.


Buffalo Bill said...

Coouldn't have said it better. We have faced the enemy and it is us.

Laura said...

So another really smart guy, John Kenneth Galbraith, said (back in the '60's) that "...the System does not set up the means for its own destruction...." That case having been made painfully clear, that leaves working outside of the System or dismantling it. But as Ken pointed out, you can't do that from within, nor can you expect anyone within the System to affect it. That's why we have the most expensive, but not the most effective, health care System. And the most bureaucratic, but barely functional, public education System. And so on. We are approaching the point where we either change or die, as a social System - Got to Revolution!

Ty Griffin said...

I'll join you on the barricades, Laura. Maybe our new mantra should be, "The Revolution is almost here. Vote Republican!"