More Common Sense.
"Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."
- John Adams
“George Washington probably sucked at swordfighting, and I could take him in a fair duel.”
- Q.P. Quaddle D.D.S.
“Ultimately, the freedom to question a government is meaningless without the ability to change it.”
- Jeremiah Liend
These are the times that remove people’s souls. My professor was explaining, through the lens of Thomas Paine, all of the reasons why it was ridiculous to be ruled by Britain, and she gave a number of reasons, all of them good, and then I realized so many things, all at once. The first we had to share as an FB status, and I did, and people dig it. It is one of those quotes that we might be able to ride through history, if we pull this essay off. We’re going to be brief, though. Paine had 50 or so pages of stuff. We’re going to cover the bases, and bring it all home with a call to revolution, and we will call it an essay in the form of Jeremiad. Below are the reticent points of Common Sense, were P represents Paine, and Q represents Quetzoquaddle.
P: It was absurd for an island to rule a continent.
Q: It is absurd for a continent to rule a planet.
P: America was not a "British nation"; but was composed of influences and peoples from all of Europe.
Q: America is not an “American nation”; but composed of a global conglomerate of immigrants, including indigenous Americans who migrated via Alaska, non-citizens, and potential immigrants.
P: Even if Britain were the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally.
Q: Agreed… although an uncle will molest a generation, if they have money in their pockets.
P: Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars, and keep her from the international commerce at which America excelled.
Q: Being a part of America forces you into unnecessary global conflict, in order to perpetuate and supply a military industrial complex that has all but supplanted government. Commerce fails because the ratio of finance being distributed is inequitable and unsustainable, yet also seemingly unstoppable.
P: The distance between the two nations made governing the colonies from England unwieldy. If some wrong were to be petitioned to Parliament, it would take a year before the colonies received a response.
Q: Everything is instant now, but the argument translates that government does not actually help anyone, at this point. That the intermediary layers of redundant systems rob the common person of life, liberty, and property. We are so far apart, economically, from the people that make real and empowered decisions, that why would we allow them to continue governing us?
P: Britain ruled the colonies for her own benefit, and did not consider the best interests of the colonists in governing Britain.
Q: Same shit, different tyranny.
The government prevents exchange with other bodies. In the context of the revolution, Britain would restrict trade with other interests. In the case of modern government, the choice is non-existent for nearly everyone involved. If you are born here, you are American. This has been true for the previous 15,000 or so years people have been living here. Your choice in citizenship goes downhill, from this point. If you are an indigenous American, you may have access and rights to tribal lands respected as sovereign nations by the illegal government that has expanded on all sides of it. If you are non-indigenous, then you have no implicit right to anything. Your family may own land, but in reality this land is ultimately owned by the government, in a number of ways. Your property could be a part of a city, county, and state before the federal government acts as a master over all sub-governments. Taxes occur on all of these levels, and against ownership of property in these levels. If you are a citizen, you can attempt to defect, but no one does. Because no other country really wants us. Because of the terrible things we continue to do all over the globe.
The government claims to protect us, but in reality it does not. This is the most painful of realizations. That ultimately the government is beholden to the banks and corporations before their citizens. In our time there is that, and then there is the health care industry, which is entirely broken, and we all acknowledge it is broken, but have no real agency. The government does not protect us abroad. If I were killed in another nation, probably no one would care. You have to be the son or daughter of the rich, or no one will care. Our beheading by hacksaw will be poorly produced, and no one will sustain a link where people can watch it, and silently support global jihad through views. In fact, counter to our government protecting us, it actually goes out of its way to create enemies. Through failed operations that level weddings with helicopter machine gun fire. By entire villages being gunned down, and subsequently buried by the 24 hour news cycle. Rather, our government picks fights with the most dangerous forces on the globe with almost casual abandon. Whirling around the shiny six gun of world super power as if we alone are the ones at the trigger.
Probably we cannot rise up, again. The hegemony won. Someone call in a doctor of social theory to confirm this.
Monarchy is a failure as a government. The republic isn’t great either. The constitution was framed by rich white slave owners, as a means of governing 13 colonies consisting of around 4 million people. We still debate the ultimate meaning to it. It is the center to our law and government. Now there are 317 million of us, still looking at this document, with reverence and fear. And we believe that these rich white guys knew what government was. What real, functional government entailed. It didn’t involve women voting. Slaves got a vote, at a certain fraction, we wonder where those votes typically went, and yet we still believe that the constitution of the United States is worth revering. Because initially the bill of rights should have been called the list of privileges and certain classes had no real access. Some still do not.
Thomas Paine didn’t know about the civil war. But he didn’t know about penicillin, you know? The ideas we return to are only great because they served a purpose and stood at a place in history balanced on the shoulders of our ancestors. And here we are, unable to even print this stuff out? You know. And what would be the point of that? When we can just share an internet link, clearly explaining our points, and trying to support a thesis.
We think we have to accept revolt as the logical result. Maybe not open revolt, but certainly uncompromising. There are a few very wealthy, very angry people who are very worried about the peasants revolting. Probably it is soda alone, and subsequent diabetes, that leaves us simply too tired and cold to raise our shovels against the tyranny of our gluttonous overlords. And as a useless plug, if you have, or know someone with a quality shovel, we could really use it. There are these weeds that cropped up, and we thought; F it! It’s all just ABSORBING CARBON, MAN!!! But things have gotten way out of control, and we’ll break the swords if we use them on the vegetation. Meanwhile, back at the thesis;
Revolt! We have to find a new way to revolt. We always believed that if we all just committed to staying home and not buying anything. Turn off the lights. Plant some crops. Dig in deep, and wait for the entire works to either collapse, or fix itself. Sit in your house. Like other sit ins. Because in the end, it is our consumerism that will be our damnation. Unbelievably we have little agency as consumers. There is the illusion of choice in options, but the gas is all priced the same. The bread all costs around the same. The cars are many, and complex, but they are all so very much money. Varying amounts of much money, but even the option of efficient, reliable, sustainable transportation is out of reach for most everyone in the nation. We are driving the $500 cars to work, praying nothing breaks down. We are consuming the fast food you would not dream of touching, because we have places to be that aren’t on a boat, or golfing. But if we all just stopped buying? Stopped feeding the system, until the system produces what we need?
Revolt, damn it! Non-violently! Ghandi, you know? MLK! You know? These people, they raise this lamp above the darkness of tyranny, and we go;
“Look at that change!? Boy, I wish I could be a part of something like that!”
And that is where it ends. Where it has been intentionally ended by the hegemony that educates us into boxes of varying sizes and colors. Could we effect change? No, probably not. Twitter is change. Facebook is change. Figure out how to vote on facebook, and let’s get some pornbots into office. They are 18, they really want to know us, and apparently we won’t regret putting them into office. I would prefer a reliable computer program be in office compared to most of the republicans I know. Democrats are little better. As with the previous example of endless choices in gasoline, but no real options, so too is our political system dirty and broken.
Demand all levels of government receive minimum wage.
If you could do this one thing, the entire system would shift towards parity. Every level of government. The congress person would wake up one morning and be making as much as his secretary. The economic reset button will have been pushed, and the rich will flee the halls of government like the pack of diseased rats they are. They will retreat into their comfortable tax shelters and wait on the wings to lobby successive generations of congress for their own interests. But that wouldn’t work, you see? Because if you are working as a senator for minimum wage, you don’t care about Exxon Mobile getting subsidized. Mostly you are just hoping not to get sick, because you can’t afford to be away from work for more than a few days, before you get censured. Maybe recalled? Political campaigns would be waged from busses that run on peanut oil, everyone gets the same bus, and every person elected gets equal finance and time. The way it has always meant to be, but never has been.
Unilateral Pacification. The immediate humanization of domestic law enforcement, and the recall and consolidation of all armed forces abroad. Police don’t get guns, anymore. If there is a problem they cannot handle with stun guns and clubs, they call the national guard. Police have great armor. They can withstand the weapons criminals can bring to bear. But they don’t get to shoot random people in the street and we don’t know how or why it happens. Every officer has a camera, just like their cars, to provide evidence, first and foremost, and to hold all parties accountable, as an added benefit. We need a smarter, more efficient, less terrible police force. So I don’t have to read about police rape being on the rise.
We need to restructure our government to disassemble the war machine. 1961 Eisenhower identifies the Military Industrial Complex in his farewell speech, and the complex sort of blushes.
“Oooooh. He said my name! On the radio! Everyone will know!”
But people didn’t care. Social theorists cared, a little. But, in general, we did nothing to disassemble it. We allow private industry and government collude between themselves to develop and test death machines to the tune of trillions of dollars. An example would be the Comanche helicopter. The Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche cost the taxpayer $6.9 billion before the government pulled the teet from Boeing’s mouth. It was never actually adopted, or manufactured. It w as simply $7,000,000,000 we said goodbye to with nothing but a handful of superawesome helicopters no one can use to show for it. So. That has to be done. We can’t do that anymore.
The way we figure it, we give every armed force a border to defend. Marines and Navy get the eastern seaboard, Coast Guard gets the gulf, Army gets the west coast, and the Air Force gets our northern border. Consolidate a huge number of smaller, more useless bases and training facilities into super-complexes. Freedom Pentagram, or something. We don’t care how you sell it to the brass, but something’s got to give. The amount of money we spend on killing people or training to kill people is why we try our level best not to pay taxes. We are morally opposed to the budget of our nation.
We need a revolution. We’ve needed one for some time, but the entire government is stacked up against that option like the greatest political wall ever constructed. Storming the Bastille is just child’s play;
“What, you mean that all of our prisoners are in there? And if we take it, we win? Well, let’s go storm that castle!”
If only it were that easy. We are just hoping that most of our secret prisons are closed, but we don’t know? You know? There are a few people who have tried to expose the truth of our war crimes, but they are in Leavenworth and on the run, respectively. They can never come back. Hunted for the truths that they exposed. The system must destroy them, because they are the weakest link; the human element. Here we were, killing people in the desert for fun and profit, and you had to go and tell people about it? Exile.
End capital punishment, bring back exile. There are a lot of forward nations that would take our political refugees. Australia, maybe? Or Uganda. They love Americans, in Uganda. If we keep throwing our mass murderers and lunatics at Kony, either he’s going to recruit them and get cocky enough to expose himself [drone strike] OR, maybe one of the mass murderers gets lucky, bags Kony, and maybe then they get offered a pardon, and they can come back to America, and drink our sodas, and watch our T.V.s. Play on our interwebs.
It is all diminishing returns. These ideas, like most, are useless. It is all just the frantic white noise of a culture ignorant of itself, and unwilling to share with friends. We are too comfortable to revolt. Ours are the slowest of cooking frogs, and in these warming waters we boil on.