1. Oblivion: I love my country — which is exactly the same as saying I love my government. Sure, it needs a few tweaks. Yeah, maybe it’s slipped a bit from its glory days. But once a few problems are fixed. Old Glory will deserve everybody’s most heartfelt salutes again. It’s still better than any other country in the world.
2. Anger: Wow, I’ve tried everything my Civics teacher told me and it hasn’t made any difference. In fact, things are getting worse all the time. I know: It’s these damn banksters. Or Democrats. Or Republicans. Or commies. Or non-believers. Or Muslims. Or illegal aliens. It’s all their fault. We need to organize, vote en masse and get rid of that problem. Once we get the right people in office everything will be okay.
3. Reform: Damn, that didn’t work, either. All right. It’s time to get serious. We need a new constitutional amendment. No, maybe a new constitutional convention. We need to force the government to do will of We the People. Let’s march on Washington. Let’s show ‘em who’s boss. If the ballot box doesn’t work, then …
4. Implosion: Nothing works. Nobody will join my Surefire, Guaranteed Plan for overthrowing bad government and restoring the nation Our Forefathers built for us. Screw the government. Screw all those loser bums who won’t get off their butts. I give up. From now on, I’m just taking care of Number One.
5. Acceptance: Government is the way it is. The media is the way it is. People are the way they are. I don’t have a lever long enough to move those objects. Now, given that fact, what do I do to build freedom in my own life and my own world? Oh, yeah … There are a thousand ways I never noticed before …
I woke up yesterday morning at 3:00 bathed in sweat, a headache playing in minor key at the back of my neck. But worse than the headache or the drenched nightshirt was the sense of obligation that crushed me from the moment I got conscious.
The sweat dried. The headache quickly faded. But the feeling of unmeetable obligations oppressed me for hours and left me tired all day.
I get this way once in a while, even though I realize that by the usual measures my life contains fewer obligations than most — no heavy-duty job, no kids, no doddering parents to care for, no monster schedule of appointments, no nasty commute. But I acutely feel obligations to you guys — to people who’ve given me much. I feel tremendous obligation to meet your expectations, to respond to what you need from me, or live up to what you give me. Add to that things like deadlines and the drive to get the house in order for fall … and yesterday morning it was all too much.
I knew something was coming on earlier this week when a friend invited me to a tiny birthday celebration and I felt as overwhelmed as if I’d been asked to plan the next inaugural ball. I knew it was coming on when my dogs, poking for attention with their noses or dropping tennis balls at my feet, made me want to cry from the weight of their needs.
Ah well. Life gets that way sometimes. I expect we’ve all been there, one way or another. Unlike many, I have the luxury of taking a step back now and then.
And I must, because creativity goes south when I get into this kind of a frazzle.
So taking a step back is what I’m going to do for the next week.
I may or may not be posting for the next seven days. Chances are that once I feel free of the obligation of thinking up something brilliant … I’ll think up something and post it. But if I don’t, I don’t.
I need to disengage briefly.
I need to re-balance.
To remind myself of my priorities.
To re-set some of those priorities.
To slip out of traps I’ve set for myself.
To stop trying to multi-task.
To restore inner silence.
To generate more productive time.
To consider that I’ve got only a finite number of sunsets and moonrises — and dog days — left to cherish.
The podcast is an hour long, which I admit taxes my patience for ‘Net based media. But the 15 minutes I listened to were fun — even if they do speak of me as though I were some ancient and crumbling monument of freedomista culture.
What I like best about Michael and Neema is that they have absolutely no reverence for anybody or anything.
Their logo for the podcast is pretty good (and irreverent), too:
You may have heard of this. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has apparently been tallying it for nine years, right along with CPI-U, CPI-W and all the other variations of the Consumer Price Index, including that perennial favorite, “core CPI,” which considers food, fuel, and shelter to be outside of the core costs of our lives.
Anyhow, “chained CPI” isn’t a new concept. But it’s new to me. I’ve just heard of it because there’s talk of shifting to it to determine cost of living increases for social security, federal pensions, veterans programs and such. Now, much as we all might wish to see those expenses go down, is this really an honest way to do it? Especially when you’re talking about little old ladies and disabled vets?
The regular CPI measures the costs each month of a market basket of items that average Americans may purchase each month and so it tells us how much prices are rising, what the inflation rate is. The chained CPI is identical, really, to the regular CPI in all respects except one. It includes an adjustment so that if, for example, beef prices rise much faster than chicken prices, and consumers, as a result, buy less beef and more chicken, it picks up the switching from the beef to the chicken, which makes their total costs for the month rise a little less quickly than if you assumed they continued to buy the same amount of beef and the same amount of chicken as before.
Uh huh. And when chicken gets too expensive, the index adjusts your cost of living for lima beans. And when lima beans get too expensive, the index adjusts your cost of living for cat food. Presumably. When you can’t afford cat food, maybe the index goes up again to pay for the cost of a coffin. Who knows?
But from beef you can’t afford to kitty kibble — no inflation! Hey, ain’t it grand?
(I can’t believe I have friends who write for the Wall Street Journal. So respectable! And speaking of respectable, I just learned today that an old acquaintance has a minor planet named after him. He calls it an asteroid, but that’s not what it says online. I don’t actually know the difference. Anyhow, you’ve got to admit that having your name on even an asteroid or a “minor” planet is a bigger deal than most of us will ever earn.)
I wasn’t surprised to see him go. He had interesting things to say and I’m sorry he left. But he was quick to anger, especially over any implication that the U.S. government might be anything but well-meaning and fundamentally decent — bumbling, perhaps, but always benevolent.
Whether I’m vile, you’ll have to judge. It’s possible. In any case, the photo was vile and I’m surprised somebody else didn’t object to it right away. I’d rather it had never been published anywhere. It seems indecent to capture the last seconds of a man’s life that way. Falling Man’s clothes are distinctive. Some wife, some mother, some child probably knows who he is and will live with that image forever. I’ll probably remove it as soon as it rolls off to page two; it feels wrong having it on the blog.
But the caption? It was only the truth. One of many.
Fourteen thousand rounds missing? I wonder why they even bother to report this? From what I’ve heard over the years from National Guardsmen, Army reservists, and other part-time military folk, this is just par for the course. Back in the Clinton gun-banning days, this much regularly disappeared out of armories and into the hands of militiamen without so much as a whisper.
When I first heard Mel Gibson was going to star in a movie about Judah Maccabee, I reacted like most everybody else. WTF? Isn’t that sort of like Alec Baldwin playing Ron Paul? Only after C^2 emailed me about it, did I realize that the very idea of a movie about Judah Maccabee could be an excellent freedomista notion, and Braveheart might be a pretty effective guy to play him.
I wasn’t going to mark today. The tragedy for the 3,000 and their families and friends is beyond unspeakable. But we have to speak of it — ceaselessly — because the horror was delivered with such drama. And with such convenience for those who crave to rule.
We don’t hold week-long “all mourning all the time” media events for the 100,000 who die in the U.S. each year from the effects of prescription drugs. Or the tens of thousands killed in pointless political wars.
Why are we supposed to believe that those are lesser tragedies? Did those victims somehow suffer less? Are their families any less bereaved?
You and I know why our eyes and ears have been assaulted all week with repetitions of scenes and sorrows sane people want to put behind them. Oh no, we can’t mourn the day, pursue the murderers, then wake up and build freedom. No, we must remain in the thrall of fear so we’ll cling to those who pretend to protect us.
You and I know that the biggest tragedy of September 11, 2001 was the theft of our freedom by American politicians. And we knew that was going to happen from the first second we realized that it wasn’t some bozo in a Cessna that hit the first WTC tower.
Anyway, I didn’t even plan to say that much. But as I kept my eye on what others were saying this week, I came across a lot that is worth saying about those horrors that Our Rulers love so well.
I’m leaving out opinion pieces that just list freedoms we’ve lost in the last 10 years. You already have those memorized. Here are just a few of the best words. Please feel free to add your own links in the comments.