Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 90: Priorities

A Yahoo! News piece (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/silicon-valley-billionaire-funding-creation-artificial-libertarian-islands-140840896.html) talks about PayPal founder Peter Thiel's financial support of man-made islands beyond international boundaries that intend to somewhat re-start civilization.

The idea is to create a place with a clean slate: write the laws from square one, re-think our priorities.

I can understand this idea. To a lot of people, society seems broken right now. Consider:

* Asia is overpopulated, and has nuclear capabilities in China, India, Pakistan and Israel. North Korea and Iran have expressed intentions to have nuclear weaponry. Japan likely has the capability. Russia is Eurasian; they've got the bomb, too. Similarly, there is ongoing warring/tension/hostility throughout the continent (China-Tibet; Russia with several former USSR allies; India-Pakistan; Burma/Myanmar; Afghanistan-Iran-Iraq; Israel vs. everybody). Asian development has also placed a greater strain on natural resources and also has a developing pollution problem.
* Africa remains a continent in political turmoil (Libya, Egypt, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan/Darfur, Somalia... maybe it'd be easier to list those without crises).
* Europe has its share of problems. Balkan conflicts, hate groups across the continent, the Norway mass killings, terror attacks in Madrid, London and elsewhere...
* South America has a long history of violence between and among its citizens and governments. Now throw in the fact that it remains a prime source of drug production and traffic. Oh, and for good measure let's not forget the ongoing rape and pillaging of the Amazon.

Speaking of planetary destruction, consider the Pacific Ocean garbage patch, a huge floating congregation of trash and plastic. Or the fact that the Northwest Passage is now available to shipping, thanks to the ongoing thaw of polar ice that has resulted in frequent stories of glacial melting and ice shelf dispersement.

How much trash do you put out on the curb each week? Multiply that by every house in the world. And multiply it by every business, only several times over. Where does this waste magically go? A piece of food degrades and eventually rejoins the biosystem. What about the packaging and the plastic, though?

People don't think about this enough. A smoke tosses a butt-end out the window of a car. It's small, right? Not so much harm, right? Well, of course, discounting the smoke. Most of you have probably seen a full ashtray. A pack of smokes is 20 cigarettes. Do the math. Then tell me you're cool with it.

So think of all the world's problems, then realize: we haven't even talked about those of North America.

That island is sounding better, right?

So what would you have on your island? Would you have a government? Taxes? Rules? What rules? Who decides?

Would you have a currency? Would you have a job, businesses?

And for those of you who believe in a deity... WW(fill in blank)D? Would there be religion on your island?

I'm somewhat amused by those who want to say the U.S. is a "Christian" nation. Especially when you consider that what brought a lot of the first guests here was a desire to be free of religious nationhood.

It's interesting that people on all sides of the political spectrum are so unhappy with government right now. The conservatives think things are too liberal; the liberals think things are too conservative. They can both be right in their minds, but not in reality.

What appeals to me about an island do-over is the idea that religion and politics both either get real or get out. Religious believers need to walk the walk... lead by example. Live a life that makes people take notice and admire your good works and find your message appealing. Don't tell others what to do and say "God made me hate you/your values." Own it.

For politics and government... serve the people. Not the corporations. Sorry, Mitt... corporations are not people. Go back to your biology class and figure this out.

Governments are supposed to make things easier. People choose representatives to... well... REPRESENT them. ALL of them, not just the richies and the cronies.

OK, silent lurkers... get off the fence and discuss.

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