“Don’t be an ultracrepidarian, say NO when you don’t no.” ~Nïtesh Âmbuj
Ultracrepidarian (adj): One who gives opinions on something beyond his or her knowledge. Synonyms: amateur, sciolist.
I’m admitting, here at the outset, that I’m an amateur in the following seven controversial issues that continually trip us up as human beings. But that’s not going to stop me from vivisecting the animal of these issues and then performing a legerdemain-esc bypass surgery in the form of seven controversial solutions that may or may not resuscitate the animal.
As Andy Merrifield said in The Amateur, “An intellectual ought to be an amateur, a thinking and concerned member of society who raises questions at the very heart of professionalized activity. It’s a sense of self-worth, an affirmation of engaged activity that hinges on an audience and a constituency. Indeed, is that audience there to be satisfied, or is it there to be challenged, provoked, stirred into opposition, and mobilized into collective democratic action?” Let the challenging, provoking, stirring, and mobilizing begin.
Pro-life quote: “The right to life is the first among human rights.” ~Pope Francis
Pro-choice quote: “No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.” ~Margaret Sanger
Bam! Here’s a humdinger, right out of the gate. It doesn’t get much more controversial than this. Down the rabbit hole we go. Buckle up. This particular rabbit hole happens to be littered with broken razors, jagged thorns, dirty needles, and bloody hangers just waiting to catch you right in the side of your existential angst. Ouch!
Okay. So, we all know about the war between pro-life and pro-choice. It’s a war that has been raging since time immemorial, and it probably won’t be ending any time soon. But we won’t be going into that war. There’s simply too much heated emotion and fiery sentiment there. No. We will be cutting straight to my ultra-liberal solution (so far left it falls off the map, circles back around through the right then through the left again and then falls off the map completely lost in the abyss of my lone-wolf peripherals).
Here it is, down and dirty: Generally, conservatives want to ban abortion altogether, while liberals want to keep it legal. My controversial solution is simply this: men do not get to have a say. Period. Men should follow the lead of women on this absolute female decision. Men should sideline themselves.
It comes down to a matter of power and usefulness. When it comes to the issue of abortion, women have 100% power. And a man’s opinion is pretty much useless since he cannot add any valuable advice regarding something (pregnancy) that he can never experience. Choke on that jagged little pink pill!
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.” ~Adolf Hitler
Yep! That. Just. Happened. I went Godwin’s Law on that ass. What good would a controversial piece be without a Hitler name-drop. Boom! Or even onomatopoeias, for that matter.
Hyperbole aside (or inside, or besides, or despite, or fore-sought), guns are another hot-button issue for trigger-happy Americans with hair-trigger emotions. The liberals want to ban guns from psychopaths, while the conservatives want to sell them to anyone and everyone, psychopaths apparently not excluded.
The controversial solution is this: freedom, with a twist. The right to bear arms, but only up to a certain extent. Both liberals and conservatives would probably agree that we don’t need a bunch of people running around with nuclear warheads. Taken to the extreme, the right to freely bear arms would mean the right to bear nuclear warheads. Which is a huge problem. Obviously, no single person should have that much power. So, at a certain point we must gauge what is excessive power and then ask: how do we curtail it. Tough question. Thorny even. Razor-sharp-thorny even, with blood-soaked sugar on top.
Maybe begin strict banning and/or regulations at semi-automatics and worse? Or maybe with bump stocks? Or maybe with bazookas and rocket launchers? Or maybe begin with the 72 tons of TNT yielding W54 which fits snugly into the Special Atomic Demolition Munition (“Backpack Nuke”). Yikes!
Reasonably it seems the power dynamic flips considerably, and becomes a serious threat to public health, at around semi-automatic and above. But still, there is the fact that if people really want to get their hands on a weapon bad enough, there’s no law or regulation that can stop them. It might deter them, but it won’t stop them. And maybe that’s enough? *secretly buries his W54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition “Backpack Nuke” in the back yard*
“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” ~George Bernard Shaw
I call balderdash on your bipartisan fuckery. Yes, yours! I see your pound of fuckery and raise you two pounds of unfuckery in the form of sortition.
Let’s face it, the time of electoral bipartisanship was, and is, a complete and utter failure. It simply does not work well for healthy reasonable human beings attempting to live healthy reasonable lifestyles. Being led around by wannabe leaders who are nothing more than power-hungry charlatans and snake oil salesmen calling themselves politicians does not good leadership make.
Without going toward either extreme –tyrannical government or anarchic governance– there is a third option that I think strikes a flexible yet robust balance: Sortition.
Sortition smooths out the equation. Implementing a system that lotteries-in leaders from an assembly of authentic leaders and prestigious elders, while also voting-out bad leaders, will go a long way toward achieving horizontally democratic goals. It remedies the issue of corrupt bipartisanship while also limiting the rise of power hungry psychopaths and nitwit scapegoats.
Education & health care:
“At the end of the cold war we could have diverted tax dollars to the quality of our lives, things like health care, education, infrastructure, eliminating poverty, and protecting against climate change. Alas, the peace dividend never happened. Why not? Because the military, and persons profiting from the military, like weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists in Congress didn’t want to. That’s why. Only 8 percent of Americans polled in 2014 wanted the United States to lead the world military. But that 8 percent won out. That’s plutocracy.” ~Ted Stanford, WWII Navy Veteran
This one is so simple even a fifth grader could understand it. Cut military spending in half (without cutting service member’s pay) and feed it to education first and health care second. Easy! Let’s drown ourselves in healthy educated individuals. Let’s choke the fucked-up system with healthy unfucked citizens. Let’s have so many academically educated and self-educated individuals with free health care that the Powers That Be no longer have the power to capitalize on our ignorance or our bad health.
Indeed. Let’s move away from outdated teaching and parochial indoctrination. Let’s teach our children how to think rather than what to think, with a standard of living that is healthy for everyone and not just for a select few.
“Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Legalize all drugs. Period. As Tyler Durden said, “Let’s evolve. Let the chips fall where they may.” It is the parent’s responsibility to educate their kids about drugs. Beyond that, adults should be free to ingest whatever they feel like ingesting. If they overdose, then they were either not educated enough or they were suicidal.
All drugs should be legalized with focus on education rather than on prohibition. Prevention simply doesn’t work. Attention works, especially in the form of education, treatment, and rehabilitation. Education should be the focus for everyone. Rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, should be the focus for those who are addicted.
No need to continue the failed war on drugs. No need to fill our prisons with non-violent offenders. No need to continue wasting tax payer’s money on chasing a phantom. No need to mollycoddle grown adults. Let’s focus on the real problem: addiction. 40-60% of addiction sufferers genetically inherit a primary illness which predisposes them to addictive behavior. These people will need treatment for the rest of their lives. Let’s also focus on our culture (the cage) and what it is about our culture that causes people (the rats) outside that 40-60% to become addicts. Paraphrasing Johann Hari here, with added parenthesis, “The opposite of addiction is not (just) sobriety. It is (also) human connection.”
“The law is just an opinion with a gun.”
I’ve hammered this one into the ground. I’ve beaten this dead horse again and again. And I’ll keep beating it until I see policing shift from offense-minded policing to defense-minded policing. I’ll beat it until I see police overreach switch to police being policed. I’ll beat this dead horse into a bloody pulp if I must; until all the guts and bones and undigested shit of outdated offense-minded policing are nothing more than crushed compost beneath my boot.
The bottom line is that no single person should have as much power as a cop has. Nobody should be allowed to be judge jury and executioner in the street with just a slap on the wrist. To the extent that a defense-minded cop has power, it should be checked and balanced by the people who pay for the policing, first, and by other defense-minded cops, second. And all cops should be held to a higher standard precisely because of the immense power that they wield.
To the extent that “the law is just an opinion with a gun,” it should be recognized that there will always be other opinions with guns trying to enforce their laws. All opinions with guns violate the non-aggression principle. Until we can achieve a level of civilization where we have all evolved to a point where voluntarism and the non-aggression principle are second nature, the best alternative appears to be defense-minded policing that doesn’t offense-mindedly overreach its power by shoving its gun down everyone’s throat.
“As the ancients believed that the kingdom would perish if the king’s mana ebbed, so do we feel uncomfortable and anxious if the figure “at the top” doesn’t show real excellence, some kind of “magic.”” ~Ernest Becker
Imagine shrinking our entire society down to a single tribe of ten tents with a single family in each tent. Each tent has a hunter. One tent has a hunter of great prowess, skilled with all weapons. The ten hunters go on a Great Hunt to provide food for the people. The skilled hunter kills 10 buffalo!
The next best hunter kills 3 buffalo. And only two other hunters get a single kill each, while the other six hunters get exactly zero. Maybe these other six hunters were lazy. Maybe they were simply unskilled. Maybe their weapons weren’t adequate. Maybe it was a combination of these. It matters little the reason. What really matters is that they will most certainly starve. Unless?
…Unless the skilled hunter(s) willingly and heroically share their meat (wealth) with the other hunters so as to maintain a healthy tribe. The skilled hunters would still get more of the meat and the choicest cuts, of course, because of their great skill, but at least the other people in the tribe wouldn’t starve. Easy, right? Yeah, not really. This is a ridiculously simple concept to understand rationally and morally, and yet it is an excruciatingly complex concept to apply to reality. The main reason for this is that most people are egotistical about what they’ve “earned.” They are focused more on prideful competition rather than compassionate cooperation.
We believe that our sense of worth is wrapped up in how skilled we are at something, because we were raised and conditioned in a culture that values competition over cooperation. This creates ego-centric specialists concerned only with narrow-minded one-upmanship over open-minded compassion. But we are social creatures, first and foremost.
We need each other to survive. Competition has always been secondary to cooperation; otherwise we wouldn’t have survived as a species (Darwin). So, our worth is actually wrapped up in how much we care for others. The problem is that we’ve had the cart (competition) in front of the horse (compassion) for too long. It’s time we got the horse back in front of the cart. This will be an arduously Herculean task, considering our cultural conditioning. But it is very important, for the survival of our species, that we get it right.
The interesting thing is that when the skilled hunters distribute their wealth they become New-heroes, cosmic heroes, next-level heroes with honor, power, AND prestige, as opposed to just typical heroes with only ability and power.
How’s that for unleashing your mind from the cultural bind? Ultracrepidarian out!
Gary Z. McGee