Sunday, May 31, 2009

Trends and stupidity.

I've noticed a trend in our society, looking to the government for protection. We talk about the government as though it is the panacea, the holy grail that will cure all of our ills, the ark of the covenant to destroy all evil.

It is, however, something subtly different, something disturbingly so at the visceral level when you think about it. It's a tool, much like any other, capable of being abused as a weapon, or used as a constructive tool. With any tool you can build or you can destroy.

With any tool there are safeguards in place, from the safeties of a firearm, or the lockouts on some construction and mining vehicles designed to keep them operating safely.

Just so, there are safeguards on our government, locked in at the beginning.
However, enterprising individuals have chosen to cut out the safeguards, to bypass them in the name of reducing time loss, and making things easier. There are a lot of safeties on industrial machines. From removing their power supplies and fuel, to removing the ability to move the drive or hydraulic units, safeties are there for a purpose, to keep you safe. Your safety was far more important than your convenience in most cases.

But what happens when all that is inconvenient is removed? You don't bother engaging that brake on the track of your rig, you forget to lockout the ignition, you forget to disconnect the power to the motor, and while you're doing maintenance, the unit slips, applying power to you, and mangling you beyond recognition. Any single one of the safeties would have potentially saved you, but you locked them out.

I'm an idiot, and even I see that's a bad idea. It's like working on an augur for moving coal, and trying to free the movement of the shaft with a heavy crowbar. You know the augur has more than enough power to pull you in, and wrap the crowbar around it. You also know that you're behind schedule.

Is it really worth it to stick that bar in there and hit that piece of stone jamming the system up? Is the risk worth the reward when you're crushed and bleeding, and someone else has to clean you out of the machine and tell your family that you're dead?

Our government is both a machine, and an operator. We are supposed to operate the machine carefully, and our representatives and senators are our operators by proxy. With effective supervision, and warnings, and safeguards, even an idiot can operate the machine of government. Any operator of a machine will try to take out safeties for convenience when the owner isn't watching. A flip of a switch here, a wiring around there, and a change in the hydraulic piping there, insufficient maintenance at another point... and you have all the makings of a disaster. A single replaced part can have profound effects on the rest of the machine, causing catastrophic failure... a misrated bolt replacing a rated, hardened, and nitrided surface, for instance, or an improperly set up blasting rig.

In our government we forgot that our senators and representatives are our employees, not those of the government. That government is our property, and we use them to oversee and maintain it. It's our job to maintain the supervision over those employees, including and up to the firing of them (by firing squad if necessary). It's our job to make sure they don't put their heads, hands, or other parts into the machine, or try to force others to do the same. It's also our job to make sure that they're not making deals behind our backs to sell our government, our inventory and stock, or allowing thieves in the back door to loot the place when we're not looking.

How did we get prepped for the greatest disaster in history? It's either sabotage, gross negligence, or both of the above. We've got a top heavy debt, a monetary system based on that debt, and no assets for the payment of the debt. We've managed to build industrial grade bureaucracies that burn huge amounts of fuel and do nothing but manage to get their operators a paycheck, and we can't even fire them. We have the government and the operators working to take the few controls we have left, and the ability of hiring and firing from our hands and give them to someone else, in treaties that remove our sovereignty and make us further subject to others who were our competitors until we stopped paying attention and they started a takeover with our own employees collusion.

What does this mean to us? I may be a total idiot, too stupid to shut up... but even I can see at that point you need to fire the operators, reassess the plant, and figure out where the hell things got screwed up and make sure the safeguards against it are strong enough to work. You also need to make sure that good habits are enforced, and bad habits leave the habitual offender working cleaning the port-a-potty until they shape up.

Even a total idiot can see that.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

An idiot's musings.

There are days in life when you look around and realize that... you are a total idiot. When you reach out into the darkness for the handhold you know is there, and then realize... you're not in the ladder shaft you thought you were, or when you step out onto the catwalk and realize that you removed the flooring for maintenance, and your foot just found empty air.

Like when you get in your car, back up, and realize you didn't open the garage door.

I am such an idiot. My idiocy goes beyond the norm. This blog, however, isn't about the stupid mistakes people made, it's about recognizing mistakes people are making.

Our world is a crazy place, beset by economic turmoil, debt, greed, and so many things out of our control. Any idiot can see that.

How many people, though, are stupid enough to say what they actually think? How many are dumb enough to question, to challenge, and to recognize their own idiocy?

How do we as people learn if we don't?

They tell us not to question, but only to accept that which is ladled to us, to accept the meagre scraps which are allotted to us... and that this is not slavery, that this is not control, it's all for our betterment, for we are too stupid to know what is good for us.

They tell us that we must be controlled against our baser natures by force, that we cannot control ourselves, but out of our own body of the people they will raise up those who can control us.

They say it is a pandemic, cascading through human society, but if so, are they not as guilty as any of us of being contaminated by it?

Who are they to judge us inferior? Who are they to say that we, as a people, deserve no power, no dignity, no respect, and are not worthy of or capable of protecting ourselves or others save by their magnamity and largesse in choosing our protectors for us?

If we cannot be trusted with our own protection, and knowing what is best for us, would it not be best to allow it?

Or would it be a descent into certain slavery? We throw around the term of tyranny lightly, like a kite buffeted by the wind, but when its hurricane comes full force upon us, we close our eyes tighter, ignoring the effects it has upon us.

Is it 'better' thus?

If we can remove the rights of others, can it not be said that others can engage to remove our own rights?

What is a right anyway?

Rights are by necessity individual. Our choices are the definers of our rights, our belief and faith in their necessity the arbiters of the actions required to maintain them. Our founding fathers believed that any man attempting to remove the rights of another, to create a 'civil death' via attainder or targeted legislation was a tyrant.

But, I am an idiot. Perhaps I know nothing at all, but I do know that I'm too stupid not to speak, and too ignorant to be cowed by the forces arrayed to prevent so speaking.

I am perhaps an idiot to believe that offense is a choice of the listener, and perhaps too an idiot for believing in the sanctity of communication and thought that I disagree with.

I am an idiot as well, perhaps, for believing that the best guardian of our own interests is we the people ourselves, limited by the knowledge that the rights of all are equally sacrosanct, and equally their personal property.

If we move the control of the exercise of any right to another, that person controls how we use those rights, how we live, how we work, how we breathe, and ultimately, how we die. No court in the united states can permanently alienate the property of our rights outside the sentence, nor can any court, legislator, or executive choose to limit those rights for any class of persons at all, from the whole class to the least person in the society.

So too are we the people limited... if the government cannot create, enforce, or interpret law to limit the rights of any of our people, we cannot vote those rights away. This is a constitutional limited republic, and ultimately the best safeguard of our lives, our liberty, our property, and our happiness.

Even a complete idiot can see that.

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