Do we have a sense of democracy?
part 1 can be read here
Politics: The practise of fraud by any means or manner out with that of illegality by politicians; usually designed to disadvantage the people they represent.
My reason, within the context of this essay for including the democratic/politic equation is, while I’ve no sense of being part of a democratic system, I’m only too aware of my status as an unwilling, often rebellious, but generally impotent sacrificial pawn to the political system – a pawn of statistical nuance. Now given that I’ve listed my opposite to love as indifference not hate, and my opinion of politics are far removed from that of love, why do I feel the cynical loathing that I do for any product of the political arena and of the politicians who practice in them.
Could it be the product they manufacture as governance has degenerated to the point, where it no longer adds to our natural desire for improvement but is now actively deconstructing social progress to suit the aegis of control?
Is that the gazillion dollar question. Where something as totally abstract as the economics of values based on digits and political convenience has overcome the evolutionary goals of improving our understanding, abilities and imaginings to survive and prosper as an individual, community, tribe or nation; and by definition, upwards to the level of the specie, can all be lost in the frantic haste of the controllers to reach the gazillion dollar honey pot? Because if it is, and given these controllers have no right to claim ignorance as to the costs associated with their game, then more fool them for trying to skew the odds to their advantage and more fool us for allowing the gamble any credibility.
Why have they no right to claim ignorance in mitigation?
Here I’m going to borrow the words and genius of Professor Robert Sapolsky. He is Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Stanford University. And since my purpose is neither for gain or vanity I am extracting quotes from his lectures on Biology and Human Behaviour: The Neurological Origins of Individuality; and in particular his lecture on Learning and Synaptic Plasticity.
Now don’t go to sleep because this is about you – the thing in your head that makes you, the you you are.
“Scope: This lecture examines how communication within and between neurons changes as a result of experience. Particular emphasis is placed on long term potentiation (LTP), including and explanation of how the process occurs in two different parts of the brain: first the hippocampus, with implication for learning and memory, and second in the amygdala, with implications for fear and anxiety. Ways that the LTP process is enhanced and disrupted both naturally and artificially are also investigated.”
Still with me – just a few more extracts.
“Outline: Changing the strength of synaptic communication is the basis for learning.
The dominant paradigm is that learning is the process of making certain pathways work more readily than they did before.”
11. Long term potentiation LPT, a synaptic model for learning; is the process of stimulating a dendritic spine in a dense cluster of rapid action potentials, resulting in that synapse becoming hyper responsive or potentiated.”
“B. The working of the two receptors” (neurons with two receptors part of the LPT process) [my brackets] – explain the ‘Ah ha’ of learning.”
He then goes on to describe an experiment which may explain my purpose behind this flagrant plagiarism.
“VIII. Scientists at Princeton developed Doogie mice, genetically engineered rodents that had better than average LTP and demonstrated better than average learning.
Then, the scientists developed their less heralded cousins, mice with an impaired capacity for LTP and learning.
They then raised the impaired mice in an extremely stimulating environment, which overcame their deficit.
This experiment shows that even something as seemingly deterministic as a major genetic defect can still be subject to important environmental modulation.”
What price now, the shame of the disenfranchised, disillusioned and the great unwashed – the 30 - 40% of the bewildered herd; is it their nature or the nurture of their environment that impairs their capacity for cleanliness and the godliness of their LTP and learning. Science now tells us their natural abilities are merely dormant so who controls the nurture? And the controllers who, having access to this knowledge, which they surely do by generally funding the research, why do they adopt a selective approach to its infusion in the bewildered herd? Could it possibly be down to the economics of control. The statistical faction deemed necessary to keep the rest of the herd quiescent. Strangely on par with America; 30% bums, 68% buffers, remaining 2% loaded beyond the dreams of avarice – except avarice accepts no limits, which makes it very dangerous to the general wellbeing of any specie.
We do have consent manoeuvred and manufactured upon us, and the financial idiocy that imploded in 2007 – 8, the tab for which we have to pay for generation to come, is only the latest example of a very long list of the people paying the price; not only from the pocket – they’ve already got most of that – but from life and limb and, perhaps most importantly, our natural values of worth and conscience.
Some historical examples – since the past is all we have to go on and, while we may not be too sure of the integrity of the reporting – they will show a trend that has no sign of changing but is in truth accelerating.
Elizabeth I, and Drakes victory over the Spanish Armada. History portrays it as a rousing victory celebrated by Queen and commoners, Admirals and Jack Tars.
Fact: Elizabeth refused to de-commission the fleet because to do so would mean she would have to pay all the sailors who had made it possible. At the time sailors were only paid once their services were deemed to be no longer required. The fleet had to anchor in, I think, Lymington Bay within sight and smell of land and left, for both ships and crews to rot. Those who had the strength and sense to swim to shore were branded as mutineers and if caught were swung from the nearest gibbet. Not that many were caught; that wasn’t the aim of the exercise, she merely didn’t want the expense of paying them.
How do you think we the children of the fifties and onwards would have reacted if that small fact had been included in the history lessons?
Slightly more current:
1912: The inception by the use of the media to manufacture consent.
War in Europe was on the horizon but the citizens of America were by a huge majority pacifist. Why would they not be. It was a European imperialist war to preserve the traditions they or their fathers had struggled to get out of. However the industrial moguls took another view. War is grist to any corporate mill and a mill rich in grist was one in profit. At first they went for the mother lode and tried by arguments of production and promises of employment to be able to supply to all the warring nations. But that didn’t sway public opinion and didn’t get through the Senate.
But once the war was underway and the German Army marched through Belgium they sponsored another tack by the media. That was to scream in banner headlines the crucifixion on farm gates of Belgium babies and other atrocities which, excepting the normal venal atrocities and idiocy of war, were pure fiction. However by 1916 they had turned the tide of opinion in their favour and they now had the grist as a participating nation to fuel their profits. Unfortunately this grist and the American participation would prove costly to the existing protagonists for the following reason.
By 1916, with the exception of blood, misery, tears, fears, and casualties, the execution of the war was in stasis; as was the hubris of the generals conducting it and the governments prosecuting it. Victories were few and often ephemeral as to objectives won or lost – in every sense it had degenerated into a stand-off in an atrocious quagmire, and nobody knew that better than the troops, of both sides, sent in their tens of thousands to die in it.
It should be no surprise that it didn’t take these men long to realise the strategies of their commanders were limited to the level of stock they could draw from their stores of cannon fodder. But that cannon fodder consisted of sentient beings that very quickly recognised and evaluated the game they were in and the cards they’d been dealt – the stakes of death were rising but the game was going nowhere. What could they do? If they deserted they were shot, if they mutinied, they were machine gunned; if they refused to go, they were spat on and handed white feathers by women. It seemed their country and civilisation demanded their sacrifice for yet another thrust, another push, another charge over 500 meters of quagmire composted by the cadavers of thousands. What could these lions (not all) lead by donkeys (not all), do to ease the odds of survival slightly towards their favour in their rat runs of trenches.
Why the tactic was adopted is easier to comprehend but the comprehension of how it spread and its effects is more difficult – perhaps the well reported Christmas truce was the springboard. The tactic adopted was one of reciprocal altruism – call it reciprocity, and the method adopted by both sides was to fire as ordered, but unless the danger was immediate, to aim high or wide; and for the artillery to aim their barrage short or long. Obviously it couldn’t and wouldn’t work all of the time, but for the fodder in their trenches it increased the days when their torment was eased by the luxury of routine created by an unofficial truce.
And it was ‘unofficial’, because while some commanders may have had their suspicions and others turned a blind eye to it, the official response of the High Command was to increase the rotation of troops from the front line to reserve in order to try and disrupt and break it. But the not so dumb insolence, of an aside here and quiet chat there beat the High Commands arrogance in favour of sense and survival.
The inclusion of the Americans and their initial, naïve but natural, gung-ho attitude, which was hoped by the High Commands to tip the balance in their favour, did for a time threaten the reciprocal tactic; till such time as the reality of drudgery, atrocity and casualties swung sense back in its favour.
The importance of this, is not that authority knew of this tactics existence - they had to know of it by trying to break it – but the ability of the commonalty of the fodder to devise and implement a tactic that protected their specie by at least frustrating the hide bound arrogant ignorance of their ‘masters’.
Try to find any of the above in the history books.
Couple of other points regarding this war.
The armistice: The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
Walk round the cemeteries of French dead. Nobody died on that day according to the inscriptions on the stones – but hundreds if not thousands did, and all down mainly to the paranoid equivalence of their single brain cell Colonel Blimps to achieve objectives that within hours – in some cases minutes – would have no significance.
This madness was buried in ‘official’ archives until its exposure in 2005.
Another fact associated with this war, is the statistics of casualties are remarkably low for civilians compared to those of the military. This in fact is the last war or conflict where the true measures of civilian casualties have been significantly less than those of the military. I say true, because, World War11 excepted, when the massacre of civilians was regarded as a legitimate strategy, the modern methodology is to class all casualties as terrorists unless they are still in nappies, heavily pregnant or in their dotage when, if they can’t be classed as collaborators by their presence in the killing zone, are awarded the ambiguous honour of being collateral.
So! Shit happens.
Perhaps it does and perhaps it always will. But is that any excuse let alone reason not to use the benefits science and technology have afforded us and allow ourselves to be controlled by systemic abuse that degrades freedom of mind, will or speech and the principles of democratic government into euphemisms for tyranny?
I specifically used these dated examples to show the manipulation, duplicity and obfuscation of governments, politics and its parties; and the accelerating avarice of the conglomerates – perhaps to a point where they’re controlling governments - is not a new objective; but one that has by careful nurture, and patient aptitude to the insidious corruption of the political process may be approaching its zenith.
But then as now, the situation of democracy is not without hope. I’m reminded of Roosevelt’s response when he was pressed by Governors, Mayors and the moguls of industry to send units of the National Guard to protect the automobile factories that had been occupied by the workers. He did as requested but instead of removing the workers he ordered the Guard to protect them from the police and the goon squads commissioned by the owners.
Today we have the World Wide Web, its internet and the proponents who maximise its use for the disclosure of facts and truths as opposed to edited propaganda. Wiki leaks is but one example, which, by the quantity and quality of the latest exposures indicates clearly and precisely the dire incompetence of the MSM to produce any news beyond the drivel of propaganda. I haven’t a clue as to how they acquired such a wealth of damning evidence from what must be one of the most complicated, dynamic and secure security systems of all time. But I would hope it was leaked by whistleblowers – a small army of them; all sickened by the duplicity of morons committed to the dance of power and the sparkle of avarice.
Irrespective of their number, whoever they are they’re due our respect and gratitude.
In the last hundred years while the strategies and executions of wars have changed from the quagmires of trenches, to the guy sitting at his terminal in the suburbs of Los Angeles deciding where and when the drones under his control will unleash their ‘smart’ weaponry in, for the moment, Afghanistan; we, through the same advances in technology are beginning to get a truer picture of the lies, deceits and purposes that fund and profit from them. It’s they, the control freaks, the governments who aide and abet them and the media who through lies and distortion support them, in short, the Establishments, who are the real enemies of peace, progress and democracy. They have instigated the first truly global conflict of might against right. One where the statistics of collaterals, if they are measured at all, will extend beyond the loss of life and limb, to the misery, attrition and the despondency of survival effecting not millions but billions. It is a war they cannot be allowed to win, because if they do, it will be the war where the winner really does take all.
I would like to close the essay with a couple of points in relation to Scotland and its aspirations towards independence.
It is fact that Britain is a declining force with regard to its position and influence in the modern world. In conjunction with that fact, it’s patently obvious the establishments of Westminster and Whitehall have no intention of taking a critical analysis of the position Britain should adopt in order to cut its cloth to suit its means. Instead it will hang on by tooth, nail and strained gut to every rung it’s forced to drop. The process will be matched with vast amounts of wasted costs across the carpet of values we hold as our birth and civil rights and, if allowed to continue will in fact finish Britain; and by the acts of the Union, Scotland with it.
But the true costs may be greater than that, though we the impoverished Brits, may be by then, too poor to care. The fact it can be done, and seen to be done could decide every tin-pot dictator, or devious democrat who manages to have control of any of the nations on the way up, to adopt a similar system and quality of governance.
My position regarding independence is, while the SNP have earned the right to lead Scotland towards independence it, as yet, has not earned the right to govern an independent Scotland for the following reasons.
Within the context of this essay and its arguments for democracy, while Scotland as an independent nation will have little power to influence the present alliances of power brokerage utilised by governments, conglomerates and their institutions of Establishments. It is an imperative that Scotland’s model of democracy, should be the best, the most democratic and egalitarian that can be devised by the wit of mankind. To this end, the phrase – the sovereignty of the people – cannot be degraded to meaningless rhetoric.
At present the SNP miss the mark in that respect. Their language of “we will do what’s best for the Scottish people” still has suggestions of control and of an administration having sovereignty. When I hear commitments to the effect - They will advise and administer the will of the Scottish people – then I would consider them candidates for the role of governors of an independent Scottish nation and protectors of its democratic covenants.
Scotland gaining its independence will be a massive step in the affairs of the Nation, but to paraphrase Armstrong, it could also be a small step for the wellbeing, if not the survival of mankind.
John Souter: 11/01/11.