Post #496    GROUNDHOG DAY FOR HOBGOBLINS

Plato, quoted the prosecuted Socrates, who famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates’ spurious offense viz., empirical thought, and analysis, we trust, is no longer prosecutable. Indeed, modern thought holds, inarguably, to be fully human, is to apply man’s precious facility of thought, to the responsible aspiration of the elevation of his life and improvement of his understanding. Yet, of late, it appears that so much of value has been threatened or destroyed, not the least of which, has been our respect for truth; leading to the forfeiture of our previously, established role, as global leader.

Accordingly, it seems appropriate, perhaps existentially urgent, to employ available wisdom, and exercise the flexibility, necessary to objectively, examine ourselves as an organic National society. With the apparent collapse of social amity, and resulting divisiveness and clash of intra- national tribalism, an apparent decline in respect, for learning and for human advancement, aesthetic and scientific, the intransigent, racial and gender injustice, the casual and irresponsible, denial of global damage, it seems that a truly candid comparison between our avowed, democratic-republican aspirations, and the world of empirical, reality would, on the advice of the wrongly prosecuted, Socrates, be worth examining.

A re-visit to the times and the prevailing thoughts of the Founders of our Republican Democracy, fosters an appreciation and understanding, that the conceptual, political enterprise, was unique and experimental. No longer, as in the case in England and Europe, was there to be privileged birth, and resultant class differences; the radical Founders loudly, and historically, proclaimed, that “all men were created equal.” Basic freedoms, like speech, religion, the press, ownership of property, and the pursuit of happiness, were now, to be protected, by Constitutional mandate, from interference by the government. The three separate branches of government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, were given the power, respectively, to check abuses of authority, by the other.

Relevant to the (soon to be stated) principal theme of this writing, it is of relevant interest, to cite Benjamin Franklin’s, prescient admonition: “It is a Republic if you can keep it.” Another such guarded reservation was made by Thomas Jefferson, who declared that an educated and informed citizenry, is necessary if a democracy is to succeed. It is not as well known, that Jefferson also, pessimistically, stated, “It would just be a matter of time, before the American system of government, degenerates into an elective despotism.” The future, unhappily, proved to confirm the latter statement.

The undesirable outcomes of the Founder’s optimistic and creative, venture have, in large part, been delineated in the second paragraph of this mini-essay. The undeniably fundamental reason, for such undesirable outcomes, and others listed hereinafter, is that the new Nation, in fact, did not mature into a society, largely composed of educated and informed citizens. This anticipated failing, we believe was, the etiology of Jefferson’s, less known, prescient foreboding, “I will be just a matter of time before the American system of government, degenerates into an elective despotism.” Clearly, the fact that serious reservations, about the nature of the average American voter, were undeniably evidenced, in the Founders’ creation of the (undemocratic) Electoral College.

We trust that it is not overly presumptuous, to observe, in this modest blogspace,  the deeply distressing observation, that the idealistic dream of America’s founders has, instead, morphed into a nightmare. The outcomes, tragically, reveal the realization of the pessimistic predictions of Jefferson, and the sage admonition of Benjamin Franklin. We do not, in fact, have a generally literate and informed society, and, so, have not been able to sufficiently, realize and keep the envisioned, republican democracy.

The short-lived hope and optimism, created by the election and re-election of the wise, intellectually gifted, and capable, President Barack Obama, gave this essayist, hope that the American Society, in general, had the nascent, capability of manifesting good judgment, and was on the mend. We, however, experienced but a brief hiatus from the usual, groundhog day repetitive Presidential rule, in sync with the populist, flat-earth, and semi-literate, citizen mentality.

The President that succeeded this, unusual avatar of character and capability, was a former glitzy host of a sub-standard television game show, and a despised real estate gonif, lacking any useful education or capability, whose international acts, quickly rendered the United States, formerly, the respected and undisputed moral leader of the free world, into an embarrassment, and an incoherent enigma. This President, previously assessed by experts, to lack any capability, whatsoever, for executive rule, has broken every societal standard of professional morality and decency, with impunity. It is not possible in the space of a mini-essay, to recount all of the acts of gross professional negligence, as well as the intentionally wrongful acts, of this detestable, egotistical miscreant; inarguably, preeminent, among which, is his regular mendacity. Pursuant to the Constitution, America is blessed with such a leader, for a full term of four years, such frustrating endurance, constituting the basic impetus of this writing.

There is far too much Trump horror to relate, (in addition to those set forth, above, in the second paragraph), including the illegal profiteering from his position, his admitted, immoral assignations, with, and pay-offs to prostitutes, his “winking” encouragement of the White Nationalists, his unconstitutional attacks on the free press, his attempted assertion of despotic power…we just cannot, as a practical matter, include all of his acts of miscreant, ignorant and arrogant behavior. In any event, they would be merely redundant, and unnecessary, to the demonstration that the elevation of such an individual to the Oval office, for a period of four years was a sheer, unmitigated disaster.

We do feel the necessity to include Trump’s egotistic and ignorant behavior relative to the current pandemic. Early in Office, he had irrationally, dismissed Obama’s, responsibly created, government group of expert health officials, whose assigned task was to act as an early warning system as to any worldwide disease break-out, led by a physician, who is a Navy Admiral. This prudently foresighted and responsible, Obama, entity, was egotistically and irresponsibly dismissed by Trump, ironically, not very long before the unforeseen, advent of COVID-19. It was completely unforeseen and we were caught unprepared, because the medical watchdog group had been irresponsibly, and egotistically, dismissed.

Moreover, vital action regarding the epidemic was delayed by Trump, first by his groundless denials, thereafter by a course of his ignorant down-playing of the problem, as an “ordinary seasonal flu”, and still further, by unqualified and egotistically confident, attempts at the serial contradiction of the advice of the Nation’s leading medical experts. Trump, in our opinion, is indisputably guilty of mass negligent homicide, for the many thousands of deaths caused by his irrational delay and egotistical ignorance. The epidemic has ballooned, with his inaction, to pandemic proportions, due to his ignorant denials and unpreparedness. Now, in the midst of the millions of infected, dead, and dying, this buffoon-president is, advising people to drink bathroom disinfectant and stand in the sun, as medically curative therapy.

It is our view that the Founder’s, optimistically envisioned National State, has, demonstrably, been less successful than envisioned;  America needs to reach this painful and regrettable consensus, and start afresh. Realistically, given the unpredictable nature of our citizenry, we need to establish an (alternate mode) of government, still maintaining citizen rights, but granting assurance, in the event that the enigmatic population elects a President, who reveals himself to be incapable, and morally, unprincipled, the Nation will not have to endure his unsatisfactory rule for years, in frustration, while the Nation suffers a dangerous decline in power and prestige.

The American system of governance does not work, as stated, because it requires for its success, a Jeffersonian described citizen, (sufficiently literate and informed). Such absence, exposes the Nation to the election of a head of State, as at present, who is profoundly undesirable and injurious to the Nation and its citizens. As long as we perpetuate the failed system, we will continue, groundhog day style, to experience undesirable and perilous outcomes. The famous philosopher and author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wisely and famously, said: “Foolish repetition is the hobgoblin of small minds.” It would appear to be hobgoblin foolishness, to continue to reprise the same governmental system, which is capable, (due to the uncertain nature of the citizenry), of producing other, Trump-like despotic, incompetents as President, who remain in Office for an insufferable term of years.

Our long-standing preference for improvement of the electoral system, is the two-party, Parliamentary system of governance, one, while, similarly protective of the freedoms of its citizens, provides for a change of Executive, by a “Vote of Confidence” at any time appropriate, by the duly elected House of Commons.

Instead of inflexible hobgoblin-like repetition of the vulnerable features of our governmental structure, America needs to establish a new and improved mechanics of governance, particularly regarding its mode of selection of a Chief Executive.

We have, respectfully, suggested the two-party Parliamentary System.

-p.

Post # 495 (fiction# 6)         MINUTES OF THE SOLAR GUARDIAN COUNCIL

BACKGROUND: An emergency meeting of the “Solar Guardian Council” (SGC), was convened last week, notably, a full, seven months before its regularly scheduled, (biennial) meeting. The unusual and unprecedented schedule change, was occasioned by certain harsh, unforeseen and unintended, effects of its recent action, to address the persistently, ineffective response by Planet Earth, to the dangers of climate change. These measures, intended as positive, “persuasive measures,” energetically proposed, at the previous meeting, by the Council Member from Uranus; which, after much hotly contested debate, was, (barely) passed, by the Council, and was now, much regretted.

The creation of the Solar Guardian Council was motivated by the tragic occurrence of the final collapse, of the Planet, “Luna,” which had slowly and steadily declined, from a lush, verdant, and successfully inhabited, member of the Solar System, to its present status, as a lifeless, rock, whose sole utility is, its inert propensity to reflect sunlight.

Council membership consists of one to three sentient life forms, each, from one of the Solar System’s eight recognized planets, plus, by resolution, the questionably qualified, “Planet,” Pluto. The venue of each meeting is decided by majority vote, one for each Planet. Pluto, for reasons of distance and its essentially, frozen character, is never a designated meeting location; but, has an equal vote in determinations of venue.

In the interest of the promotion of the context of unity and equality, all members are required to wear wide, green, hooded, tent-like outer garments, to cover its outer skin or shell. The requirement of “width,” is intended to cover, where applicable, the presence of long or nuanced, tentacles, of certain planetary representatives. The Council’s jurisdictional authority is specifically, limited, and relegated, to the care and preservation, of the Planets occupying the Solar System [designated, in the legal language of the relevant Galaxy System Statutes, as the “Orion Arm,” situate, 26, 000 light-years from the center of the Galaxy, identified, by Earthlings, as the “Milky Way”]

-Minutes of Meeting, 4/24/20 Terra Firma (Earth Time)-

The Special Meeting of the Solar System Guardian Council (“SSGC”), was called to Order by the Meeting’s Presiding Officer (“Aqua Vit ”) of the glorious Planet, Neptune, the attendance, was then taken, and a determination made of a legal presence of a quorum.

The Council Secretary, (Eiye Liner), of the beautiful Planet, Venus, read the Official Minutes of the previous meeting; such vocal reading, in accordance with Council procedures, omits all general, and forensic details of the Meeting, and requires only the recorded substance, of any and all completed, as well as outstanding and unfinished, business. The Secretary, solely for the record, refreshed the Council’s recollection to the effect, that there was, but one, highly irregular, but vitally important, item of unfinished, outstanding business, namely, the Council’s previous action, intended to induce the stubborn earthlings, for their own Planet’s safety, (the fundamental charge of the Council) at long last, to accept scientific facts, specifically, concerning climate change.

-ADDENDUM-

It should be noted, that the planet, Uranus, has eternally evinced, a consistent antipathy for Planet, Earth, more specifically, for its Earthlings, who, in the articulation of its Planetary name,” Uranus,” willfully and disrespectfully, place the stress on the second, in lieu of the first, syllable; thus resulting in an undesirable, and defamatory noun reference, in certain Earthling languages.

–  Minutes Continued-

The Speaker stated that the Council’s earlier action, which had been a well-intentioned, educative inducement, reluctantly passed, by reason of its harsh nature, has resulted in unfavorable and unforeseen outcomes. Reports, of committees, appointed to monitor this unprecedented act, reported (1) that it affected enlightened Earthlings, to the same extent, as its intended targets, viz., the intransigent deniers of the scientific findings of man-made, climate change, a potential threat to the existence of the Planet (its main concern, and reason for existence) and (2) That the data, tactically submitted by Uranus, indicating that the impact of the virus would encourage climate deniers to accept natural data, was false and deceitful and (3) That the information, supplied by the representatives of Uranus, amounted to, personally motivated, anti-Earth propaganda.

The Speaker then accepted an official Motion to withdraw, to the extent possible, the previous sanctions and requested a Galaxy-wide apology, notably, from planet Uranus.

Following the unanimously passed Motion, (inclusive, of the positive vote of the admonished, Uranus), the meeting was adjourned, with a remorseful expression of the Galaxy Council’s hope and sincere expectation, that the virus, will, very soon, be eliminated.

-p.

Post #494      THE BODY ELECTRIC

In our view, Walt Whitman’s, lyrically sensitive, “I Sing the Body Electric,” constitutes, his most personally revealing work. In its exciting, enlightened and secular verses, Whitman sees man’s body as likened, in function and significance, to the religious conception of the “soul.” Stated in somewhat, more prosaic language, the body is a magnificent symphony, performing, chemically and electrically, under the direction of the skilled baton of a brilliant conductor, the human brain.

In addition to the recognized influence, imposed by environment, our “free will,” is, exercised or inhibited, in addition, by virtue of our chemistry (ex. depressive, or energetic) in combination with, our nervous system (ex. calm or anxious). Since, as John Locke, famously declared, man’s knowledge is obtained, exclusively, from his personal experience, it appears natural and useful, that some recordation of his events and experiences, be retained, for future accessibility and reference.

Additionally, it is fascinating to learn that human cells are specialized, to conduct electrical currents throughout the body and the brain. It is the instructive messages, sent along this anatomical, super-highway, that are responsible for present action, or inaction, as well as past recollection, pleasant or otherwise. Access to the memory of self-affirming events i.e., those that are supportive of our subjective, self-image, would understandably, seem to be more accessible, than those, which (defensively) are not.

One of the remarkable, but, candidly speaking, equivocal, features of the dynamics of recollection, is the mind’s inclination to spontaneously, summon up memories of former experiences, by the random presentation of a personally nuanced, suggestive stimulus, a highly specific, recollective “trigger.” We would portray, for purposes of clarity, this phenomenon, as analogous to “dedicated lines.” In the telecommunication industry, such term, we understand, refers to a two-way telephone pathway, for discreet, private use (only) by designated parties; in contrast with a shared resource, with multiple users.

Our considered choice, of an electrical, or telephonic simile, has its contextual basis, in our theme, viz., the required awareness, and vigilance of the dynamics of suggestion, in the “calling up” of past thought or recollected experience, by dint of an individually nuanced, suggestively referential, stimulus: resemblances, past thoughts, objects.

Many such (subjective) stimuli, summon recollections that communicate a pleasant reference: salt air, (sunny beach), the smells of baking bread, (good taste, home), smells of barbeque charcoal, (food, friends), a specific perfume, or aromatic soap, (a loved one), chicken soup, (childhood, home). Some ambient clues are productive of bad memories, burning wood (an experienced, house fire), alcohol and floor disinfectant, (hospital and illness), priest and church, (funerals). A further, illustrative, and perhaps, not uncommon, example, is the matter of the restaurant patron, who orders her favorite dish, trout almandine, but on its arrival, judges it as badly cooked, or not smelling right. That diner will, likely, not re-order a properly prepared, trout almandine, nor, for some time, select that, erstwhile, favorite dish, from a menu, elsewhere.

It would seem to be reasonable, for us to proclaim, that there surely must be, at least as many such uncountable impulses, or latent suggestive reactions, as there are people of diverse tastes and experiences. There seem to be areas of life, unfortunately, in which people deny themselves desirable opportunities, or life enhancing experiences, based upon such irrational, suggestive memories. The understanding and awareness of this pre-emptive dynamic, would seem vital, to any rational aspiration for mature perception, basic fairness and essential morality.

The mature and consciously, audited awareness, of this virtually, reflexive phenomenon, is, especially mandatory, on the occasion of meeting new people, whether socially, or in the context of business. The observed inclination or dynamic, may be unfairly and inappropriately, present, at times when individuals, seem find themselves, initially inclined to appraise and react to the newly met person, with a prejudgment, based upon remembered, past experience with another similarly looking, or sounding, person. The initial inclination, to prejudge the new person, based upon perceived, past experience,

The associative inclination is neither rational nor voluntary; it is founded in connectivity, the electrical, “dedicated line,” associating the arbitrarily perceived similarity, between the present stimulus (signal)and the transmitted recollection. When the exercise of judgment or evaluation is needed, sufficient care should be taken to appraise any subject, most especially, any person, on the presented and discernable reality, without the time -worn baggage, of one’s irrelevant past associations or experience.

The evolutionary- gifted, exalted, life of man, whose godly existence and potential for creativity, and goodness, was praiseworthily, sung by the great, 19th Century American poet, Walt Whitman, should be confidently entrusted to seek rational and morally inspired ends, and to restrain every inclination, for reflexively, irrational or reductive, judgments.

-p.

Post # 493   WORDSWORTH AND CONNECTICUT STRIPED CROCKERY

In past writings, responsive to readers’ request for material on the subject of our childhood, we have written of our childhood, in the ambience of 1940’s Brooklyn, then, generally populated, with recently arrived immigrants, from Eastern Europe, of our growing up in the nuanced context of their imported folkways and  their insecure feelings of displacement, their poverty and lack of sophistication, their earnest, but  barely successful, attempts at communication in the new language,  and their aspirations  for themselves, and markedly, for their American children.

We have attempted to convey a visual glimpse of the times, the trolley cars, ice delivery men, the remaining horse drawn wagons, the immigrants’ nuanced use of language, the Brooklyn Dodgers, movies and, even the little boys’ game of marbles. We have significantly touched on the public apprehensions during the Great War, and on universal citizen efforts to be of support in the war effort.

The irresistible combination, of our present, (quarantine)reading of Marcel Proust, and a recent further request for personal nostalgia, we find, irresistible. In compliance with said recent request, we would relate a childhood experience, involving some striped crockery and also refer to a great poet, William Wordsworth. But first some additional background.

In our childhood life which, we have attempted to portray in past writings, there were several features, which are significant to the particular subject of “Striped Crockery, Connecticut and William Wordsworth. One of these subjects, William Wordsworth, is the easiest of the three to relate. While, the conclusion of this note will complete the Wordsworth connection, for now, we would reveal, that we  have always been great admirers of his; the rest to follow.

It is important, in the apprehension of the theme of this mini-essay, to sharply focus, again, briefly, on our storied childhood.

The vista, from the front window of our childhood residence, if you peered, carefully, through the bars of the partly rusted, fire escape, was simply, a portion of the street, below, with a partial view of the prevalent extent of activity. Looking straight ahead, one could see the, less than luxurious buildings, opposite. From the rear window of our bedroom, in which three brothers slept, you could see the back alley of our building and that of the two adjoining buildings, three cellar doors, some metal, partly rusted, garbage cans, and on special occasions, a hungry alley cat.

Our territorial range, or limits, were confined to the four blocks to school, the vacant lots, nearby, and on occasion to the neighborhood barber and the movies.  There was no television in those times, and we were totally unsophisticated and ignorant of matters beyond our, nine-year old circumscribed, experience. Our parents had no means to send us to camp; effectively, travel agent, was our local library, sending us, by its literature, outside the pale of our, scruffy neighborhood domain.

Imagine our joy and disbelief, to be advised by our Mother, that we were going to visit her sister in Middletown Connecticut. We are unable to tell if John Glenn, prior to being blasted off on man’s first flight to the Moon, or we, were more pumped up and anticipatory. Middletown, Connecticut, seemed so far away that we took two buses to get there; one to Meriden Connecticut, and the second to Middletown. My Uncle, Morris, picked us up by car and drove us to his, and “Tante” (Yiddish for “Aunt”) Anna’s, house on Main Street. We had never seen anything like it. We stayed for a glorious, countrified and, obviously, memorable week.

Our Uncle and Aunt, (the latter, our Mother’s eldest sister) of course, were immigrants. Uncle Morris had come from a long line of prominent Rabbis, and was eternally bitter at the necessity to work as a postal letter carrier. Incidentally, the letter carrier of the day, delivered the mail, on foot, for an assigned  daily area of several miles. It is our understanding that he, as an unknown entity, in those days, a “Jew,” made many favorable impressions along his route. Morris was an avid reader of the New York Times, and had an excellent (if mispronounced) vocabulary. He was also a successful gardener and grew everything from peas to rhubarb, for family consumption. We will never forget his fun-filled assignment, to keep us busy, of removal of bugs from his vegetables, and putting them, for their final rest, in a small can of kerosene.

We also experienced our first, screened in porch. Just imagine, you could be indoors   and, simultaneously outdoors; even lie there on a “chaise.” This was a marvelous and comfortable discovery, but the most memorable event, and the singular event of our entire week and the one, determinative of our nuanced title is yet to come.

On one day, during that “magical” week, Tante Anna suggested that we have our lunch, outdoors. Apparently my Aunt and Uncle, had a wooden table with attached benches .This item of outdoor furniture is, of course, quite common, but, then, to us, it was remarkable. My Uncle picked and brought to the table, all sorts of beautiful vegetables and produce, “grown in his own garden”, nearby for our lunch, with whatever dish, Aunt Anna had prepared.

It is necessary, as an aid to understanding, our complete delight and amazement at the entire experience. A beautiful day, lunch outdoors, on a wooden table in the country, the vegetables picked from his nearby garden by my Uncle Morris; our totally, inexperienced reaction, to the happy country meal, will never be forgotten.

A significant, and apparently, enduring element, of this happiest and most exciting experience of our then, truly unworldly and unsophisticated, experience, was the phenomenon, that all of the glasses, dishes and crockery, had colored stripes on their edges. This feature has always been tucked away, somewhere deep in our consciousness, as being associated, one supposes, with our normal human aspiration for happiness. For example, our coffee cup, and cereal bowl, throughout our life have, eternally, had colored stripes on their  edges.

The explanation, for the above, is best furnished by our most revered poet, William Wordsworth, who, wisely and poetically said, “The child is father to the man.”

-p.

Post # 492    DAYS OF WINE AND MOSES

 

This Spring, the Vernal Equinox will not, as usual, preside over the two perennial public celebrations, of Passover, celebrating the freedom of the Hebrews, from ancient Egyptian slavery, nor, shortly thereafter, Easter, the Christian celebration of the resurrection and the re-birth of spring. All rejoicing, indeed, all business and social life, has been arrested by this season’s uninvited and unwanted holiday guest, the Coronavirus disease (“Covid-19”). Regarding this, now, pandemic virus, the World Health Organization, as of the date of this writing, reports the following, worldwide, grim statistics: infected: 1,812,734, and deaths: 113,675. American society is, in large part, shut down, in its observance of a government recommended, general quarantine.

Thus, at the present, and for the unpredictable duration of the presenting pandemic, normal life is extensively, circumscribed. The prophylactic proscription of social interaction, and the compliant quarantine, in combination with the disquiet and fear of an effectively invisible and potentially, lethal organism, has resulted in a surreal atmosphere; in some ways comparable, [for readers, old enough to remember] to the prevalent unease, in America, during the stressful period of World War ll.

The war years, not unlike the present time, were witness to an ever-present and palpable wariness, a seemingly endless period, of existential uncertainty about an unknown future. The Axis forces, under the command of Adolph Hitler, an insane and power hungry psychopath, seemed to be making fast progress in their proclaimed intention to conquer the entire world. Families, huddled together in living rooms, listened, anxiously, to the radio, to hear the newscasters of the day, recount the latest events on the various battlefields. Parents were sick with worry about their young sons in active service. Certain foods, like butter and coffee, and materials like silk (for parachutes), gasoline and rubber (tires) were rationed or, simply, unavailable. Installed on many selected rooftops were huge, bright searchlights, crossing and re -crossing each other in the night sky, in search for enemy bombers. White helmeted volunteers, carrying bright flashlights and wearing white reflective chest straps, served nightly, as wartime watchman (“night wardens”).

After school, together with many other small children, we dutifully, searched out scraps of metal, empty food cans and pieces of rubber, and brought our small wagon loads to previously assigned, collection points. If memory accurately serves, we can remember being shown official flashcards, designed for citizen identification of depicted silhouette shapes of enemy airplanes. Despite the passage of many decades, we can still remember, the black, outline shapes of the German Stuka, fighter-bomber and the Messerschmitt bomber, as well as the Zero, Japanese fighter plane. We can also recall, some instances of the public’s general anxiety over widespread, ominous, rumors of Japanese submarines being sighted, at night, off the coast of Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

This time, the feared enemy is sub- microscopic, yet, with an empirical potential for illness and mortality. The brave “soldiers” who, contemporaneously, confront the enemy, are health providers, doctors, nurses and medical technicians, masked and protectively cloaked, who valorously, risk life and health, to help those afflicted with this novel and unprecedented virulent organism.

We are hopeful, that the experience of the existential threat, will encourage where applicably needed, a rejuvenated appreciation for the precious franchise of life, and the valuable use of one’s remaining years, in the two -fold pursuit, of  just and universal brotherhood, and the sincere (life-enhancing) aspiration, for personal growth.

-p.

Blogpost # 491 TRIBAL PERPLEXITY

In modern parlance the term, “Tribal,” [originally, an adjective signifying kinship in an extended, residential familial group], has taken on a new sociological, and psychological context. Today, it is commonly employed to signify the insecure and dysfunctional inclination, to subjugate one’s personal views, to that of the group of which he is, a member; whether the uniform view be, a consensus opinion, or conceivably, the opinion of a dominant member. The status is publicly manifested by him, as a dynamic (or demonstration) of obeisance to the “group- think,” in lieu, of his independent (and conceivably, more sound), thought.

In earlier writings, we observed that that our Nation’s founders had entertained certain expectations, regarding their newly created, radical experiment in political science. Several of these foresights, however, were commendable in theoretical prospect, but, proved unattainable, by virtue of man’s natural persona.  For example, the saintly, Founding Fathers, believed that freedom of speech, would encourage amicable and useful debates, between citizens of disparate opinion, on the contested issues of the day; the outcome of which, would serve as a useful reference, for the responsive new government, thus resulting in the idealized, “government, by and for, the people.”

We have quite often referred to the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, who, clairvoyantly, instructed, that for a democracy to be successful, it is necessary to have an informed and literate society. Unfortunately, this salubrious prescription was never sufficiently, filled. To the contrary, we have experienced great numbers of citizens, who are insufficiently educated, reductively ignorant, and too selfish and unwilling, to play their constructive part in the Nation, as anticipated for them, by the optimistic Founders.  Rather than useful, constructive, and good natured debates between informed citizens, what, unfortunately evolved, was a sharply divided, polarized society, with the resultant demise of civic amity. Insular “tribes” of disparate, opinion, respectively, composed of loyal adherents and subscribers, to its respective, “groupthink,” engaged in a virtual, cold war, with similar groups (tribes) of disparate opinion.

In past writings on this tribal nature of our society, we have ventured the opinion, that such groups are generally, composed of people for whom, the (neurotic) need for acceptance, and identification with a group, outweighs their valuation of their own independent thought and individual self -esteem. Such people find needed comfort and support, in feeling part of, and identification with, a group and, importantly, recognized by other members as part of the uniformly-minded group.

We have observed that loyalty to the tribe, in addition to adherence to its accepted platform of collective thought, is inclusive of opposition to points of view, entirely irrespective of its intrinsic merits, by virtue of the group’s uniform disparagement of its source. If the group is of the conservative persuasion, they may well avoid Jane Fonda or Robert Redford movies, said celebrities being known to, personally, support liberal causes. In view of the fact that the (mendacious) President, savagely, disparages the New York Times and The Washington post, (two, of the finest examples of modern journalism), as “fake news,” [because they often refer to him in critical terms] conservative tribal members will, as well, reflexively, disparage such excellent newspapers without their examination. Liberals watch MSNBC, and CNN for television news reports. Conservatives, only Fox News. Liberals favor abortion rights and complete separation of Church and State, thus, right- wing conservatives and their followers, are, for such reason, vehemently in opposition,  (the U.S. Constitution, notwithstanding),  liberals support health and  labor safety regulations, tribal members from the right, call it un-American and despicable socialism, the accredited scientists, uniformly warn of the existential danger of man-made global warning, right wing, loyal, adherents, who, in sync with president Trump, denigrate education and scientific research, claim it is a left-wing hoax, liberal Americans (in a Nation, totally populated with immigrants, and their progeny) favor liberal immigration laws, thus, right wing tribal members, oppose it, irrespective of their own family’s immigration history, liberals are for economic equity and fairer wages, so, against their own interests, tribal conservatives will therefore, oppose it, most liberal minded voters favor universal, health insurance, and so, conservatives, thoughtlessly, oppose it, liberals believe in birth control and abortion rights, accordingly, the right is, vehemently, opposed  to both. And so it goes, ad infinitum, ad nauseum; if the “coastal liberals” are in favor, the right wing, is ipso facto in opposition, usually, without the bother of looking into the issue’s relative merits. As a practical matter, for those folks who eschew reading and the tiresome labor of formulating an opinion, it must be a great convenience to vote, reflexively, based on the advised, acceptability of the source, rather than the substance, of an issue; especially, knowing that you have lots of concurrent company. It is a thought-free, doubt- free, action,easy and convenient dynamic, viz., the source of the information, determines its acceptability; that is, until  the happening of recent events.

The advent of the Corona virus outbreak, was a confounding complication for every tribal member. The existence and danger, of the outbreak of the pathogen, was first announced by the scientific community (the perceived, false and rejected, source of warnings about climate change), the well -educated, medical community and the liberal media. At first, there were publically expressed, denials and paranoiac accusations, of a “liberal hoax” and active, downplaying of this epidemic threat, by our “erudite” President, and his lemming-like sycophants. Yet, Americans started to fall ill in great numbers and experience many, virus associated deaths. Trump and his base,  had uniformly, and in true tribal fashion, initially disparaged their historically denigrated sources of information, and therefore, the validity of its messages.  Thereafter, at first, grudgingly conceding, that there was “some kind of flu,” Trump was later obliged, by the stark, publically apparent facts, to confess that that there was, indeed, the reported, unprecedented, deadly and horrific outbreak of CVID-19 Any further disbelief of the existence of the dangerous outbreak, by reason of its eternally disparaged sources, would certainly be, extinguished, by the horrific events of the undeniably, presenting, and exponentially, spreading health catastrophe.

The frighteningly, enormous toll of the virus- infected deaths and the full extent of the illness has yet to be determined, regarding this presently ongoing health holocaust. The Nation’s business and activities have been shut down, its citizenry have been quarantined, face masks are recommended for those who must (prudently) venture outside, daily repeated handwashing is publically mandated, health care providers are endangered, hospitals overcrowded, physical contact with others is prohibited, people are completely grounded, in quarantine, and society is at a complete halt, worldwide. Meanwhile, the experts and scientists (people usually disparaged by the right wing tribal sycophants) are working, around the clock, seeking life -saving information, regarding this novel virus, and,hopefully, a vaccine.

A somewhat less existential aspect of this terrible event, is its unknown impact upon the flat-earth, insufficiently educated, supporters of Trump, (his “base”) who, like him, is given to the deprecation of science and learning; the deniers of evolution, despite the geological evidence in the rocks, serological tests, fossils (sea and land) anatomical proofs; the are the staunch deniers of the phenomenon of global warming, despite the testimony of virtually every creditable scientist, in the world, every meteorologist, and oceanographic scientist, and despite the visible changes in shorelines and the melting of the polar ice caps, the unusual weather patterns, the unnatural, flooding rainfalls.

Their uniformly responsive denials, have never been based on contrary evidence, nor on nuanced empirical experience; they have been loyally and uniformly, irrational. Their subjective ignorance, coupled with their shameful disrespect for expertise and knowledge, may be of assistance in their denial of evolution and global warming, the effects of which, are not, they imagine, presently felt by them. Evolution, they feel, even, “assuming it happened, was so long ago”. And it is known that, there are no events of displacement of polar bears in Appalachia. It is all, they believe, some kind of false conspiracy by the “tree-hugging, “coastal liberals.”

What is left, now, for them to say, concerning the (previously, denigrated) experts and scientists, now, accurately, reporting on, and dealing with, COVID-19, the grim manifestations of which are contemporary, and are taking their toll of tribal members, as well as others? Worse, is the bizarre thought, that if the “liberal experts” are indisputably correct, regarding the facts of the present disease, could they possibly also be legitimate sources of information, on climate change and evolution? Life, it would appear, as perceived by the tribal ignorant, is now, significantly more complicated, less tenable and even, possibly, philosophically threatened.

-p.

Post # 490 (poesie)  IN SEARCH OF COMPETENCE (re: # 488)

When you’re sifting, thru debris
While searching for utility
Somewhere hidden in the muck
Please be sure to take good care
To watch out for the broken glass
Abstain from sharp edged, pottery shards
Those useless things that can cause pain

When poring thru the motley waste
Do avoid the mangled iron,
Like old springs and screws and nails
the rusty wire and old debris
they too, can hurt; and please take note
That wariness, is now the virtue,
And keen patience, now the guide

Diligence, it soon will sort
utility from the lack of use
perchance, will yet reveal a gem
all besmirched with soil and dust
as steady Patience’s just reward
Do you resolve to keep that gem
And quickly eschew all gross debris!

-p.

Leonard N. Shapiro, N.Y. 4/20/20