San Diego –– Well, the parties are over, hangovers mostlly gone, resolutions mostly forgotten and now, January 2, the new year can seriously get underway. An old Chinese curse is reputed to say, “May you live in interesting times.” In that vein I think this will be an intesting year on a wide range of fronts.
Politically this will be the year of the next presidential election. I think it will see a level of vitriol and issue-avoiding slandering of a like we have not witnessed since the yellow journalism days of the 19th century or the political hardball days when opponents called each other such foul names as to send them both to the ‘field of honor’ and a duel. Dueling is, of course, no longer fashionable; we do not have the nerve for it any more. We are so terrified that someone might call us out for our malfesance or defamations and back it up with hot lead or cold steel that we made sure it was outlawed. I am not here to get into a debate over whether or not that is a good thing or not since I do not believe in the divine intervention behind the “trial by combat” thinking (I do believe in God but do not believe he so cares about such things as to bother intervening) and think the better trained usually wins even if they were in the wrong But I do feel that we have gone too far in the interests of political correctness and, as my dean is anxious to say, “collegiality” (even if the word does not mean what it would mean if she were using it correctly) so that ineptness is excused if it is performed by a protected group.
Oh well, that is not likely to change. But I see the outcome of the political game this year likely to take the country in one of three directions.
Option 1. We will continue, perhaps accelerate, down the road to a Marxian concept of utopia. I know that is a hard and easily dismissed thing to say. But it will be less easy to dismiss if you will take the very important time to read three books: “Das Kapital” by Karl Marx, “Communist Manifesto” by Marx and Engles, and then “Dreams of my Father” by Barrack Obama. This road will be greased by the army of whiners who feel the world owes them a living and/or that they are being mistreated because they cannot finish high school and get a job as a major CEO at a CEO’s pay scale and shudder at the idea that such things are earned over time and by hard work. They support and will vote to see that end come closer to reality. And there are enough of them, combined with those who see America as the generator for all of the ills in the world, that they might pull it off, albeit with zero concept of the unintended and unexamined consequences for us as a country that would result from such a choice. This group believes the Constitution is sheer historical windowdressing to be publically trotted out and followed when it suits the purpose, but quietly ignored when it does not.
Option 2. We will not go that far to a Marxist ideal but will take the leads set by the previous three Presidents and this one, and push us the very short step into a New World Order and a Eurpoean-style National Socialist or Pseudo-democratic socialist state. This might become the winning direction because it is about an even compromise between those who want option number one (and see this as simply a necessary slowdown and not a derailment of their plans) and those who talk the talk about going back to America’s roots but in fact would be most uncomfortable under a system that demanded individual responsibility and personal accountibility. They too really want to be taken care of, they want it done just as much as those favoring Option 1, but they want it done in such a way as to disguise the reality of the system that is doing it. They like the pretense of this being the “land of the free” so long as someone else has to be the “brave” also sung about. These people see the Constitution as a living document to be reinterpreted when the goals of the day change which means, that in the end, it has no meaning at all and is of no more real worth that it is for those above who simply ignore it. They will parse clauses and Amendments to mean what they want and redefine those that cannot otherwise be so spun as to allow their actions.
Option 3. We will take a step in the opposite direction toward reclaiming the country our founders defined, created, and left for us; one where the Consitution and its words have definable meanings that should be the true guiding principles of all of our actions, laws, and national behaviors. We are too far down the socialist road to retreat altogether back to those principles and have been since the turn of the last century. But this option would blunt some of the later moves in that direction and allows us to start altering that course. These folks believe the Consitutiuon means what it says and if you want to change it then within its provisions are the rules by which we can and have amended it. Amendments to the governing document of our nation are not easy nor should they be. But it cannot be ignored nor can it be interpreted to suit every new whim.
I personally want Optionr 3 but I expect either number 1 or 2 to take place, and most likely Option 1.
This will also be an interesting year at school as we build a world class program that cannot be implemented due to budget constraints in an environment where program bookeeping is, as my Department Chair said to me, “…more important than teaching.”
Oh well, that is nothing compared to the overt approach at one of our local 4-year schools by the admissions director who thinks cheating is how one gets ahead and rewards those who do it while citing such laudable examples as Kennedy not requiring that voters actually be alive and Captain Kirk rigging the graduation exercise at Starfleet Academy. So what are we to expect, ethically, from the results of this uber-liberal train of thought?
Do you have any thoughts on it? Do you have any thoughts… period?
And of course it will be an interesting year because, according to some, the end of the year will see the end of… well… everything. On December 21, 2012, to be exact, the great Maya calendar comes to an end. Never mind that if you had made a calendar to last for several thousand years you would not be in a huge hurry to do the next one, or those who do not see a small logical problem in the fact that if you had such a grasp on future events as to forsee the exact date of the end of the world over a thousand years away, you were somehow not also able to see the end of your own civilization coming much faster. As a calendar maker in possesion of the facts of the future, which would be more important to you?
But it must be true, they made a movie about it…
Anyway, combining the growing demographic of people wanting to be taken care of and willing to pay for that care with freedom, plus the students who are our real future being told ethics are old fashioned and encouraged to do anything including cheat to attain their goals, plus those who think a culture of long ago could set a specific countdown for the end of all things, we are a world in trouble.
If we were truly all as stupid as we act it would not matter if this were 1400 and we did not have the power and weaponry to apply that stupidiy outside of our own little boxes… or have someone else’s stupidity applied to us. But that world is long dead. We are no longer separated by castle walls or great oceans.
We are buying into the electric car myth in such numbers as to ignore the disastrous Chevy Volt. Taking politics out of it for a moment, lets get real in the world of physics. Here is the bottom line. it requires a certain amount of calculable energy to move a give mass at a given velocity. Period. It does not matter where that energy comes from or how it is generated, it takes the same whether it is from an internal combustion energy motor or an electric motor. That electric motor does not produce its own energy, it uses energy stored for it but produced elsewhere. Where? In plants mostly fueled by… gasp… fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
So we have a huge number of people who want electric cars but want to shut down the energy producing electrical generation plants. They want alternative power but ignore the fact that per unit (usually measured in kilowatts) alternative sourced energy is three or more times the cost of that produced by fossil fuel. They also ignore that although fossil fuel is used to provide energy for cars, that is hardly the only use for it. One word (to borrow from the line of Mr. Robinson): PLASTIC. Remove oil and you remove almost all things we refer to as plastic. So what, as one small example, will you make cases for things out of? Wood? Oh no, you can’t cut the trees. Steel? Oh no, you have no fuel to run the furnaces and you sure as heck will not be making those big holes in the ground anymore.
So we continue on this ultimately, nationally, and culturally suicidal approach of dependence on foreign oil and the issue of the free flow of that oil does indeed have a national interest component. But there are some problems there.
We have now, for example, a growing power in Iran who not only wants to return to the glory days of Persia under Cyrus and Darius, but who want to be the force to bring about the final Califate and believes that the 12th Imam not only now walks among THEM (and not their rival sect which they despise and want to kill with the same fervor they want to kill the infidels and apostates, chief if which is the Jews and the Christians). and by competent accounts are on the verge of attaining nuclear weapons which, unlike us, they will likely have no inhibitions about using directly or supplying to others to use while they claim ignorance and innocence. So what? Well…
They are threatening, because of our sanctions, to close the world’s “pipeline” to oil, the Straights of Hormuz, and we have so prohibited developing our own internal resources to reduce or eliminate our dependency on foreign oil, if the Iranians do that and oil prices skyrocket, a president seeking depserately for an event to take our mind off of other failures, will have no problem this time getting congress to act and declare war… not that, based on previous actions, he would feel it necessary (again, who needs that musty old Constitution anyway?). We are at such a danger point that only skillful foregin policy will avoid a war that could truly engulf the entire middle east if it happens and then is not handled properly. Meaning: here are two more opportunities in the short term for disaster: getting into a real war in the Middle East, and then waging it poorly.
if a president ever was likely to use anything, even a war, to cover other failures and provide blame and an excuse for not being sucdcessful, now is his time; and if there was ever a president less trained or skilled to prosecute a war or less likely to turn the reins over to someone who is, this is the one. So I would not be surprised to see us at war before this year is out and if that happens, less surprised to see us wage it so poorly as to drag it out and help tell the world we are no longer a real superpower and, at the same time, anger even more of the regionals into joining the fight against us. And, worse, I believe, and this is a terrible position to come to but it has finally happened, that failure and that result are NOT the sole results of incompetence, but of well-crafted purpose. And the good news for his team is that this time, a single event might be the economic tipping point he seeks to utterly ruin the economy and with it the culture he and his pastor deem as evil incarnate.
The real problem is that once again, no one seems looming on the practical horizon who can — or wishes to — do much better. Once again, unless something totally unexpected happens, i will find myself voting AGAINST a candidate not for one I really believe in. So I believe that NEXT year at this time, one way or another, we will be looking at a much different country and likely a much different world.
Perhaps the Maya calendar is right in that the world that existed before its ending date will no longer exist and a new one will be taking its place. I think that the complexion and character of that new world is completely in the hands of the American voter. Yes, it is true that we are not the only player on this global stage and other world events are contributing mightily, but what the nation-state of The United States of America does with them will, in the end, be the final domino to either win the game or lose it for all of us. For good or ill we still have that much power and that much influence.
Sadly, I have, as I write this, every faith that Option 1 above will happen and flowing from that will be the worst case scenario for us as a country (at least from the perspective of someone, like me, who thinks the founders got it right and we have been screwing it up every since then). I hope that is wrong. I hope that the person I see as likely to be re-elected will have some sort of epiphany and correct course. But I do not expect it.
For those, and there are many, who completely disagree with me and still see Obama as the savior, I have to say that I believe this next 12 months will show who is right. This may surprise you but I hope YOU are; I hope that none of the horrid geopolitical or economic disasters I see as flowing naturally from the consequences of this administration’s policies comes to pass and in fact, I hope, rather, as you will predict, we will see the end of his terms as a country strong enough to avoid any further attacks but not overbearing in the world, a strong and stable economy in a culture rededicated to freedom and responsibility. But, as close attention as I pay to this, I do not see the evidentiary dots to connect that would allow me to reach that same conclusion.
Like I said, I hope I am wrong but I do not believe I am wrong in this: one way or the other, this time next year we will know. If I am wrong then this time next year the Iranian situation will be over and completely defused,and our country will be unassailably and undebatably on its way to economic recovery with an employement rate exceeding the employment loses. And if that happens I will be the first to write about it and acknowledge my error. if I am not, however, will you do the same or will you continue to blame others for the failures of the present?
if, at the end of next year, we find ourselves in an even deeper hole, will you vote to stop digging or will you vote to get a bigger shovel?