Take a look at this, again. I just blogged it as #4 in my "Radley Roundup." There’s been something brewing and festering in me for some time now.
You know, Republican conservatives are responsible for every inch of this, and as the guy said,
this is the greatest injustice the United States has perpetuated on
people since slavery. Stop and think about that for a moment. Consider
a slave owner; black, white, brown or yellow (they do come in various
colors). Consider what they were capable of doing and did to other human
beings, from treating men like working livestock, to raping their
wives and daughters. As great as this injustice is, it is no
worse than what the police forces, prosecutors, courts, legislators and
chief executives are doing to people nationwide through the new prohibition.
This is a republican legacy, through and through, and every
republican has this blood on his hands. Every one of you is culpable
in the imprisonment, financial ruin, and deaths of people who haven’t harmed a soul. Every
Republican ought to be ashamed of himself. I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how democrats have prosecuted the drug war too. They have indeed, but they do that to politically out-tough the republicans, just as the rebublicans try to politically out-steal the democrats. But on a philosophical level, the republicans own the drug war and G.I. Joe wannabe, jackboot-thug SAWT Teams in Mayberry, America, and the democrats own envy-politics and the war on individual prosperity and business.
So I grapple with what’s worse, and in particular, worse for me, in my life. Though I don’t vote, I have
in the past generally "rooted for" republicans over democrats on a
strictly pragmatic level. They tended to exert at least some pressure towards reducing the size, scope, and cost of government — though even that
distinction is tenuous, at best, anymore. I tend to like republicans at a personal level. Democrats are commies. Every
one of them; through and through. And I loath most of them personally. Bunch of whiney, envious, pathalogically lying organisms when it comes to any and all political issues. I understand where that can
lead. In western Europe, it seems to have so far led to significant economic
oppression (their governments steal even more than ours does), combined
with a relative high degree of personal autonomy and liberty in nearly every area except economic freedom.
I lived there (France) for a couple of years and recently drove over 5,000
kilometers through France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. If I note any real changes, they largely seem positive to me. Big business is far more prevalent and positively affecting Joe Average standard of living now than in 1992 (huge box stores like IKEA everywhere, now). Individual prosperity has clearly notched up, which is really obvious just by looking at the cars on the road now as compared to then. Most are no more than 2-3 years old, just like here.
Guess how many cops I saw on the auto routes in those 5,000 kilometers. ZERO.
Not one. I saw a cop car guarding Chirac’s place in Paris. There were a few cops at the border between Andora and Spain. Then I saw one or two in downtown Florence. That was about it. There may have been more, but at a point it becomes completely divorced from your field of attention. At some point, in Italy I think, I mentioned this observation to someone with whom I’d struck up a conversaiton and he said that most cops are embarassed by their jobs. They don’t ever wear their unifoms outside the job, and they don’t advertise the job. There’s apparently little or no glory or prestige in it. I recall thinking how badly we need a serious dose of that here. I long for the 60’s, when it was all the rage to refer to cops as "pigs." Indeed, they were, and are. We need to restore a sense of disgust for the uniform.
Anyway, last weekend we made a 500 mile round trip to San Diego
and back, and I stopped counting cops on the roads after I passed 50 (within a couple of hours after leaving San Diego for the return). Add to this the propaganda machine going non-stop on the radio.
"Cops will be out in force this weekend, and if you drink and drive, you will be arrested, hauled off to jail, and your car impounded. If you speed, you’ll be ticketed. There’s going to be zero tolerance this weekend."
…And on and on and on. On every news program on every station. I heard the same variation at least a hundred times.
Somewhere along that drive, I realized that my focus about making money is changing. Now my goal is singular. I intend to leave America. For good, and the sooner the better. I come from a different perspective, you see. I’ve already lived a total of seven years outside the U.S., and for the most part, I’ve been to some degree unsatisfied with life ever since I returned. And my loathing for what this country is becoming grows by the day. In the midst of the best food and drink I’ve enjoyed on a daily basis since leaving France 15 years ago, I lost three pounds — that quite dearly needed loosing — in the three weeks I was there. That tells me something.
Love it or leave it? Sure. Why not? But listen. I love America, which is why I’m ready to leave the United States, which governmental entity has completely — most probably beyond repair — ruined America at a cultural level. Do you understand what that means? It means that we no longer have the sort of cultural underpinnings that created a nation of rugged individualists. Now we’re just a submissive lot of law-abiding citizens, like western Europe, and so long as we can vote and shop, everything is just fine and dandy. So why not just go back to Europe and at least enjoy the far richer history, and at least the maturity of a people who seem to understand at some levels what it means to mind one’s own business?
I don’t know if I could explain that last sentence to you if you don’t immediately grasp it. Let me try it this way: There are no tabloid publications in France. They don’t sell. People don’t care. The cultural implications of such a fact run very deep and permeate a whole lot of things I can’t begin to explain. I don’t know if that applies to anyplace but France, and I know it certainly doesn’t apply to Great Britain. Perhaps that’s where we got our childish nosiness from. But I hate it, and I think there’s a lot more to it and it runs a lot deeper than I even suspect.
Here’s kinda how it shakes out. No matter where I go, I’m probably going to end up having upwards of 50% of what I produce stolen from me, though there are tax havens known to negotiate tax rates if you’re bringing in significant assets. (Needless to say, these will all be assets shielded by corporate law and thus not subject to U.S. worldwide taxation, as I am personally, for life, as a "citizen."). So, in essence, I’m going to have to play ball just about no matter where, so long as I’m unwilling to sacrifice what I’ll have left over to the principle of not dealing, and consequently having nothing in the first place. That’s not a slam at those who do make that "sacrifice." To them, the sacrifice is the other way around and I respect that.
Aside: I think it’s important to preemptively kill anyone who threatens to kill you and really means it. That’s the moral basis of my support for the "war on terror," so-called. But this is a general principle that applies at all times, in all places, to everyone. So do I worry about being forced to pray to Mecca five times per day, or forced go around in public wearing a dirty nightshirt, or that I’ll be killed by one of those crazies on purpose or at random?
No. They need to be killed until they decide to attend to their delusions in peace and leave us alone, but whether they are or aren’t is really unlikely to affect my life in meaningful ways. What does affect my life is our ridiculous and insane reactions to the threat of more terrorism, which, of course, could happen tomorrow — or not until the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Or never again. Who knows when, or if, but if you ask me, I’d say the terrorists have already gotten far more than they could have ever hoped for. We’ve whipped 300 million Americans into a frenzy of irrational fear. The terrorists can be impressed with themselves. There’s no way they would have thought they’d be this effective at instilling personal, organizational, and institutional terror.
So why the diversion to the war on terror? Because my grudging "support" for republicans over democrats in the past has had a lot to do with that. But let’s face it. Both are going to do something, and both are going to fuck it up. And all the while, we’ll be paying the price.
What’s left is prohibition, and that, more than anything else, is destroying America. The republicans are chiefly culpable. Do I mean that people can’t smoke dope and pop pills and that’s important? Of course not. Addiction is usually an awful thing. It is, however, a personal and medical problem, not a police problem. The police have no business in it, yet one of the latest developments in the war on drugs is that doctors are being prosecuted and sent to prison for "over-prescribing" pain medication to people. Average Joes are going to jail because they become addicted to pain medication after serious accidents cause chronic pain and they have to find creative ways to get relief because of the fear the DEA has instilled in doctors.
You mindlessly spout the mantra that "America is the Greatest Country on Earth," as if that’s something that, once achieved, can never be lost and requires no upkeep. Listen: when you say that, keep in mind that you’re talking about a dusty trophy sitting on the mantle and not anything reflective of the current state of the world.
Over 9 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or having been convicted and sentenced. About half of these are in the United States (2.03m), Russia (0.86m) or China (1.51m plus pre-trial detainees and prisoners in ‘administrative detention’).
- The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 701 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (606), Belarus (554), Kazakhstan and the U.S. Virgin Islands (both 522), the Cayman Islands (501), Turkmenistan (489), Belize (459), Bermuda (447), Suriname (437), Dominica (420) and Ukraine (415).
- However, more than three fifths of countries (60.5%) have rates below 150 per 100,000. (The United Kingdom’s rate of 141 per 100,000 of the national population places it above the midpoint in the World List; it is the highest among countries of the European Union.)
Did you get that? The U.S. has 4% of the entire world’s population, yet 22% of its prisoners. It has more people locked up than any other country, including communist China, and it locks up more as a percentage of the population than any other country. 701 out of every 100,000, which means you have a far greater chance of being a victim of American enthusiasm for creating and prosecuting "crimes" than you’ll ever, ever have for getting whacked by a terrorist. 701 out of 100k in America. Western Europe? Less than 100, on average. If you’re a Swiss citizen and you immigrate to the U.S., you’ve just made it 10 times more likely that you’ll spend time in prison during your lifetime.
The awful French, right? Well, if you move there from here, especially if you’re an inner-city black man, you’ll cut your chances of ever going to prison by a factor of eight.
Now if that all isn’t quite sobering, you’re just lost, so please don’t comment because I’m just not interested.
It was a couple of months ago when my wife and I walked downtown with some family to have some dinner and see a comedy club performance. Afterward, she wanted to go with sister and bro-in-law somewhere for additional fun & games, but I wasn’t much into it. She went on with them and I headed north for the 1/2 mile walk home. I came upon a street, there were no cars, and so I proceeded across. ‘Bout halfway, I hear this loud and abrupt voice over a P.A. system: "get out of the street," and I notice it’s a cop car and he’s talking to me. Apparently, though there were no cars in either direction, I’m breaking some law or other because some light is red rather than green.
I acted as though I didn’t even hear, proceeded on, and that was the end of it. I’d have done the same thing had it been a gang of thugs, rather than, say, flip them off and utter some colorful language.
The reason I’d act that way in the face of a gang of thugs is identical to the reason I acted as I did in the face of the cop. Good thing I hadn’t had a few more drinks, like San Diego Charger Steve Foley. If you don’t think there’s a circumstance where a chain of events could lead to you being dead on the street, all with a cop protesting "I thought he was reaching for a gun," then you’re just not dealing with plain facts of reality in evidence.