NewYear’s Day

We didn’t do anything to celebrate the New Year. We didn’t watch the ball drop last night because we needed our sleep. I had to work. So, it was just another day today.

I have often felt that our calendar begins the New Year at a very bad time. New Year’s Day is only a week after Christmas so there is something of an anti-climax. The year begins in the dead of winter when days are still short and it is often cloudy, so the year begins at the most depressing time of the year. I think it would be better if the new year began at the end of one season and the beginning of another, preferably at the first day of spring, March 21. Beginning the year in the middle of a month might be awkward, so I would settle for either March 1 or April 1.

We start the new year on January 1, because our calendar, the Gregorian Calendar is ultimately based on the calendar used by the ancient Romans. Under the old Roman calendar, the new year began when the two consuls began their terms. This was on May 1 before 222 BC, March 15 from 222 BC until 153 BC, and then January 1. When Julius Caesar reformed the calendar, he kept January 1 as the first day of the year and we have been stuck with it ever since. Actually, during the Middle Ages, some countries in Europe did begin the year in spring.For example, England began the year on March 25. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced and adopted throughout Europe, this regional diversity came to an end and everyone acknowledged January 1 as New Year’s Day, unfortunately.

Maybe I could start some sort of campaign to change the date of New Year’s. I could put up petitions on the Internet, lobby Congress, request the change from President Obama, even appeal to Pope Francis. Nah. It’s cold outside and dark and we’re expecting snow and it all seems like an awful amount of work. Maybe I’ll wait until spring.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2014.

Awkward Holiday Debates

Once again, the Democrats are ready to help out with those awkward holiday political debates. This time the Truth Team has sent some talking points to use against that conservative relative.

David —

We all have that one relative — we won’t name names — who just loves to argue about politics.

It’s like clockwork — every year, the same conversations. And you just know that health care is going to come up this year — this time, make sure you’re ready. There’s a lot of good news on our side.

So here’s an extra large serving of truth, in the form of must-read Obamacare success stories from news outlets across the country.

Check them out and pass them along:

— Got a relative railing about health care costs? Well, according to The New York Times piece, thanks in part to Obamacare and its cost-control measures, “the slowdown in health care costs has been dramatic.” Not only that — according to the Times, the biggest savings might be yet to come. (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

— Here’s a great round-up of a few success stories from the Los Angeles Times your relative probably missed, including this great quote from a new enrollee, “If not for the Affordable Care Act, our ability to get insurance would be very limited, if we could get it at all.” (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

— A personal enrollment story featured in The Huffington Post from a self-employed blogger, including how much he loves his new coverage, and what he thinks about the push-back from his conservative friends. (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

— A great story from a recent health care enrollee in North Carolina featured in the Raleigh News & Observer — and how easy it was for her to sign up. (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

If you have a good talk about health care this holiday season, be sure to share your story with us — funny, inspiring, or even challenging, we’d love to hear how your conversations are going.

Last, but certainly not least — I want to say thank you for being such a champion for health care this year. You’ve been critical in helping get the good word out about Obamacare — and supporters like you will be all I’m talking about with my family this holiday season. You are inspiring. And you’re why I know that no matter what special interests throw at us, they won’t beat what we’ve got.

Have a healthy, relaxing holiday — don’t worry, there’s more truth coming soon.

Erin

Erin Hannigan
Health Care Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

I certainly hope they won’t start naming names. It might be slightly creepy, in a Orwellian sense if Organizing for Action knew which of my relatives liked to argue about politics. Actually, they probably do have access to NSA files. Anyway, it seems to me that the best way to have a healthy, relaxing holiday might be to avoid getting into debates about politics with your relatives. Besides, who wants to turn into this guy?

Douchey-Obamacare-Guy

Not me!

 

Christmas Carols

English: The last verse of The Twelve Days of ...
English: The last verse of The Twelve Days of Christmas. The Song was published in 1780, so it is public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I spend most of my time working as a merchandiser for a soft drink
company in grocery stores and WalMart, around this time of year, I am
exposed to a lot of Christmas music. Most of the time, it is just in the
background as I work, but for the last couple of days I have been
listening more closely and this has cause me to wonder a little about
some of these Christmas Carols. Don’t get me wrong. I like the songs. I
am just wondering.

Consider Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

Santa Claus works for the NSA? I always did have my suspicions about that jolly old elf. How did he afford all those toys, not to mention upkeep for the reindeer, etc. He must have been selling information to the government for years.
What does Silver Bells have to do with Christmas? Is it a custom somewhere to ring bells on Christmas? Maybe it is a reference to the bells on Santa’s sleigh, or the bell ringers for the Salvation Army. According to Wikipedia, the composer originally intended the song to be Tinkle Bells, until his wife reminded him that tinkle could mean urination.
Deck the Halls has been ruined by changes in slang. I imagine that “Don we now our gay apparel” must have once meant the festive clothing one might wear to a Christmas party. Now it evokes an image of attending the party in drag.
The Twelve Days of Christmas refer to the twelve days between Christmas and the Feast of Epiphany on January 6. I have to wonder who in the world would give their true love 12 partridges in pear trees, 22 turtle doves, 30 french hens, 36 colly birds, 40 gold rings, 42 geese a laying, 42 swans a swimming, 40 maids a milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming, and where the true love could keep them all.
Why would you want to Let It Snow? There are more people traveling around Christmas time than at any other time of the year. You would have to be some sort of sociopath who wants to ruin Christmas to want the delays and accidents that snow brings. The same could be said of White Christmas.
I happen to know the Latin lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful.
Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes
Venite, venite in Bethelhem
Natum videte
Regnum angelorum
Venite adoremus
Venite adoremus
Venite adoremus
Dominum
I find Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer to be slightly disturbing. All of the other reindeer laugh, call him names, and refuse to let him play any reindeer games, until his deformity is found to be useful. Then, they all love him. It seems the lesson here is that it is acceptable to bully those who happen to be different, unless they are useful.
My favorite carol is Silent Night. I love the melody and the lyrics. For some reason, that particular song evokes Christmas in me more than any other. I used to know the German lyrics but I have forgotten them. I also like We Three Kings Orient Are, O Little Town of Bethlehem, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Joy to the World and Angels We Have Heard On High. I don’t like some of the newer songs as much. I mean songs like Jingle Bell Rock, Feliz Navidad, and a few others. I like Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas and Frosty the Snowman, but they seem to play songs like that too much and they tend to get on my nerves.
Christmas is my favorite time of the year in good part because of the cheerful music. It is always something of a letdown after Christmas. The gloom of the winter seems all the greater compared the the cheer before and I would have to say that January is my least favorite month.
Well, I hope everyone has a holly, jolly Christmas.

Your Republican Uncle

Matt Compton at the Democratic National Committee has a terrific idea on how to spend your Thanksgiving holiday after you finish the turkey; argue with your relatives about how wonderful a job President Obama is doing.

Friend —

This time of year, the only thing more annoying than holiday traffic is an awkward conversation with family about politics.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the Republicans in my life. But nothing ruins a slice of pecan pie faster than talking through immigration reform with a cousin who spends too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh.

That’s why we’re launching YourRepublicanUncle.com. And if you want to make sure that the political debates around your dinner table this Thanksgiving stay tethered to reality, you should check it out.

We can’t do anything about highway congestion, but we can make sure you have the information you need to answer a bonkers question about President Obama’s record on jobs or the perfect fact to respond to a ridiculous argument about the Affordable Care Act.

And to make sure you get that information whenever you need it, we designed YourRepublicanUncle.com so that it looks great and loads quickly on your phone — no getting ambushed when you go back for seconds on stuffing.

This holiday season, don’t stress about the political debates. We’ve got your back:

www.YourRepublicanUncle.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

Matt

Matt Compton
Digital Director
Democratic National Committee

If you handle it right, you won’t have to worry about spending time at get togethers with your non-progressive relatives ever again. Once you have that reputation as the obnoxious cousin who starts fights over politics, they’ll start to “forget” to invite you. Of course you could avoid talking about politics or any other controversial subject, but no holiday is really complete without a shouting match and permanent family breakups. And, on the way home after being kicked out of your uncle’s house, you can revel in that righteous feeling of indignation on the way those racist Neanderthals treated you after you tried to bring some enlightenment into their lives.

The link leads to a website full of liberal talking points. There is not much of interest there. Most of the points are  of the “No he isn’t” variety, as in, “No Obama doesn’t have the worst jobs record of all time.” or, “No Obamacare won’t put many small businesses out of business.” There don’t seem to be any actual untruths there, but they don’t go out of the way to provide the whole truth in context either. The “Republican” positions they are intended to rebut seem to comprise more than a few strawmen. I  doubt if anyone’s Republican uncle is going to be very impressed, at least not if they have some awareness of the issues. They certainly won’t be convinced.

 

Who’s to Blame

James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, ...
It’s all his fault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael Barone has placed the blame for the current government shutdown and gridlock generally squarely where it belongs, on James Madison. He explains his reasoning in his column at Townhall.com.

The problem was caused by James Madison. And by the 39 other men who signed the Constitution in 1787.

The problem, of course, is the government shutdown. It was caused because the Framers of the Constitution wisely provided for separation of powers among the three branches of government.

The president would faithfully execute the laws and be commander in chief of the military, but both houses of Congress would have to approve of every penny the government could spend.

In the early republic, it was widely assumed that presidents could veto legislation only it was deemed unconstitutional. Disagreeing with policy was not enough.

That changed after Andrew Jackson vetoed the recharter of the Second Bank of the United States in 1832 and was promptly reelected. Jackson claimed to act on constitutional grounds, but it came to be understood that presidents could veto laws they disagreed with.

That understanding, together with the constitutional structure, imposes something like a duty of consultation between the president and members of Congress. Otherwise — and you may have heard about this — the government will have to shut down.

Government shutdowns have occurred more frequently than the media is telling us.

Astonishingly, Obama said in a prepared statement that no president had negotiated ancillary issues with Congress when a shutdown was threatened. Four Pinocchios, said Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler.

The Post’s Wonkblog helpfully listed 17 government shutdowns since the late 1970s. Almost all involved legislative-executive disagreement over ancillary issues

Divided government is more the norm than the exception, and is likely to be a continuing feature of American politics.

Democratic voters — blacks, Hispanics, gentry liberals — are heavily clustered in certain central cities. They give Democrats an advantage in the Electoral College.

Republican voters are more evenly spread around beyond these Democratic bastions. That gives Republicans an advantage in the House of Representatives.

So both sides have a legitimate mandate — but not an unlimited one.

Republicans are furious that their members can’t defund or delay Obamacare. They want to see politicians stand up yelling, “No!” Theater has a function in politics.

But in fact, they’ve had a partial victory this year, a win that didn’t seem likely last December. By accepting the sequester despite its defense cuts, Republicans have actually dialed down domestic discretionary spending.

Democrats’ position now is essentially the sequester. They’re swallowing something they hate. No wonder Obama seems sullen.

So both sides will have frustratingly partial victories and not get everything they want. That’s how James Madison’s system is supposed to work in a closely divided country.

Darn those founding fathers. It almost seems that they were afraid that a government that was too centralized and powerful would devolve into tyranny so they placed all sorts of limits on the government. That’s just silly. Everybody knows that could never happen. The government is here to help us all and the best way to allow it to so it would be to get rid of all those pesky constitutional restrictions and allow the Light Worker to do his job. Right?

 

 

3-D Printer

I have been wondering what all the fuss is about 3-D printers and where I might be able to purchase one. Just today a got an e-mail from Hammacher Schlemmer showcasing their latest best and unexpected items for sale, including a 3-D printer.

The Desktop 3D Printer.

Winner of the Popular Mechanic’s Breakthrough Award, this is the printer that creates exact, three-dimensional reproductions of objects. Over a thousand free designs, such as an iPhone case, a bracelet, and the Sphinx of Hatshepsut can be downloaded from a website and the printer extrudes 1/125″-thin layers of warm, viscous thermoplastic that hardens within seconds, forming a solid, three-dimensional meticulous reproduction. Three-dimensional prints can measure up to 5 1/2″ cu. and for intricate designs that require reinforcement during printing, the device automatically incorporates plastic supports that can be removed when the print is finished. Design files are exported to the printer via Wi Fi or the included USB flash drive and the printer’s touchscreen control panel allows you to optimize print settings. Additional designs can be purchased and downloaded from the website or generated using three-dimensional modeling software (not included). Includes one cartridge of neon green plastic (additional colors available below) that yields up to 14 three-dimensional prints. Compatible with Windows 8, 7, Vista or XP and Mac OSX

82332_1000x1000

It looks great. This item can be mine for only $1300. I am going to have to order one quick before they run out.

I wonder if the design for the 3D printed gun is included.

 

 

 

Bronies

I was feeling a little tired today and wasn’t going to write anything at all, but I feel that it is my solemn duty to note the decline and death of Western Civilization. The existence of the strange and seemingly growing phenomenon of the Brony is surely a sign that the end is near. Read this article in The Weekly Standard and shudder.

In the near future, historians will struggle to locate the precise moment when civilization’s wheels finally, irretrievably came off. By then, there will have been too many such moments to pinpoint one with any certainty. But I’ll mark the day as having occurred on a recent August weekend when, standing in the concourse of the Baltimore Convention Center, I watch grown men with problem skin and five o’clock shadows prance around in pony ears, rainbow manes, and braided tails lashed to their belt-loops, doling out “free hugs,” starting “fun! fun! fun!” chants, and spontaneously breaking into song. “Give me a bro hoof,” says one, trying to knuckle-bump me. It’s what you might imagine heaven to be like, if your idea of heaven is hell.

I’ve come to BronyCon, where the herd gallops 8,500 strong, up from a “mare” 100 conferees (apologies, but Bronies insist on speaking in horrible horse puns) at the first BronyCon in 2011. If you’ve been lucky enough to stay off the Internet for the last three years​—​Internet-culture and culture-proper having long since become one and the same​—​you might not know that “Brony” is a portmanteau of “bro” and “pony,” used to indicate the (mostly) late teenage and adult male fans of the children’s cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. (Average age: 21, though I encounter scores of middle-aged Bronies, and even a 60-year-old.)

Much has been written about the infantilization of the American male, which for a change is not media hype. The average age of video-gamers is now 37, and 2011 census data show roughly a quarter of 25-to-34-year-olds still living with their parents. By some counts, more adult-leaning superhero/comic-book movies have been made in the last couple of years than in the entire decades of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s combined.

But Bronies represent a novel variation on the theme: Like so many American men, they wish to be forever suspended in childhood. Except this time, they want to be 6-year-old girls. Bronies have, in fact, come to embody what pop sociologists call the New Sincerity Movement. The thinking goes that the smirky ironic detachment of recent decades—​pretending to embrace low-culture totems for laughs​—​has grown stale. Now that the Internet has fragmented the culture into a million pieces, helping every maladjusted shut-in to realize his natural level of eccentricity, the only way for a self-respecting hipster or a Zuckerbergian alpha-nerd (the tribe that now runs the world) to distinguish himself is to enthuse over his enthusiasms without detachment or apology. Even if that means grown men writing Twilight Sparkle fan fiction or cutting bad electronica songs with titles like, “I Might Be a Brony.” You might find it funny, but they’re not joking.

Maybe we need another major terrorist attack or a prolonged economic depression to shock people into growing up. I will say though, that I really hate that cynical, ironic, smirking attitude that some people affect, believing themselves to be more sophisticated than they really are. I am not sure whether embracing bronyhood is preferable.

To defuse a few common Brony stereotypes straightaway, despite their fascination with pastel talking ponies, there’s no evidence that Bronies are mostly gay or pedophiles. Indeed, there are hardly any children at BronyCon. When I encounter one dad who’s brought his 6- and 12-year-old daughters (the more traditional MLP demographic), the latter says she finds all the older male fans “creepy.” And Dad is heading them toward the exit, not having understood how few young kids would be making this scene.

As for accusations that the Bronyhood is some sort of equine gay cult, this is supported neither by studies nor by my three days among the string. With the musky smell of humid T-shirts and social awkwardness cultivated by spending too much time eating transfats in front of computer screens, most Bronies I speak with seem to emit a sort of nerd–drogynous sexuality. They don’t seem to have special someones of either the gay or straight variety.

One Brony study​—​yes, there’s some academic to study everything, and most of them seem to be conducting panels at BronyCon​—​says 84 percent of Bronies report being exclusively heterosexual (only 1.7 percent report being gay, while the rest are bisexual or asexual). More tellingly, 22.4 percent have no interest in dating, and 60.9 percent are interested but not dating. (There are some female Bronies, but these are often called “Pegasisters,” giving third-wave feminists a fresh inequality to whinny about.)

Not dating, go figure. I can’t imagine why women wouldn’t be impressed with a grown man who admires a cartoon for little girls. The horror is growing though, even without natural breeding.

But even if Bronies don’t seem to have an overwhelming interest in breeding, what’s clear is that, like malware, Bronydom is spreading. One terrifying “State of the Herd” survey estimates that there are as many as 12.4 million, which if true would mean that if Bronies had their own state, it would be the seventh most populous in the nation.

During three days of BronyCon, I have occasion to meet all manner of Bronies and their stable-mates. There’s Sam Miller, who teaches communications at the University of North Dakota, and who studies them. He tells a roomful of Bronies, from the dispassionate vantage of academe, that “you guys are doing something powerful. .  .  . You’re pushing the envelope of what gender is supposed to do. That’s awesome.” Then there’s Dr. Katia Perea, who teaches sociology/queer media studies at CUNY Kingsborough. A roomful of pony-ears and manes bob in agreement, as she lectures on the historic sweep of “girl cartoons” which she has extensively studied. She drops academese like “transgressing gender normative coding” and “the master/slave dialectic.” When she finally speaks English, it is to tell the Bronies, “You are a revolutionary movement in popular culture.”

Well it certainly is revolutionary.

They are even infiltrating the military

Then there’s 28-year-old Jacob Hughes, an Army drill sergeant at Fort Benning. I go to lunch with him after hearing him speak at a Military Bronies panel, where our soldiers, sailors, and Marines​—​in testimony that should probably end up in al Qaeda recruiting videos​—​come out about their love for all things My Little Pony. Hughes insists on wearing a stuffed Pinkie Pie plushy (his favorite pony) on his shoulder on our walk to the restaurant. When a waitress takes our order, she says, “Ooh, glad my granddaughter isn’t here. .  .  . She [has to have] soft pink things.”

At ease about his Bronydom, Hughes is an enthusiastic booster. A gregarious performer-type, Hughes says ponies helped him shed once-crippling introversion. “A good part of the appeal is that wholesomeness and innocence,” Hughes says. “And so we’re shining a light on the fact that, yes, I am a man. But at the same time, I enjoy what I enjoy.” He seems sincere and well-meaning, so I don’t want to harsh his Pinkie Pie mellow. But the Care Bears are wholesome and innocent, too. Yet you don’t see Army drill sergeants traipsing around in Funshine Bear costumes​—​at least not as of this writing.

We are doomed. At least the Roman Empire fell to invading barbarians. Thousands of years from now historians will be discussing the fall of the American Empire… to Bronies.

 

Through North Korean Eyes

If you live in North Korea, chance are that you will never get a chance to travel abroad and learn what life is like in other countries. Fortunately the North Korean government is aware of this problem and is doing its best to educate its citizens on how ordinary people live in places like America. Since I do not speak Korean, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation, but I think you will find it entertaining.

 

I would write more about this but it is time for me to go out and get my cup of snow to drink.

Anyone Can Vote

You don’t even have to prove you are an American citizen. At least so the Supreme Court has decreed.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that required people registering to vote in federal elections to show proof of citizenship, a victory for activists who said it had discouraged Native Americans and Latinos from voting.

In a 7-2 vote, the court, in an opinion written by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled the voter registration provision of the 2004 state law was trumped by a federal law, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

The state law was opposed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Indian tribes. They said it deterred legal voters who did not have the required paperwork from registering to vote.

It was another setback for the Republican leadership of a state, bordering Mexico, that has tried to crack down on illegal immigrants at a time when Hispanics represent the largest U.S. minority at nearly 17 percent of the population.

Both major political parties in Congress, aware of the increasingly influential Latino vote nationally, are trying to overhaul immigration laws with a bill that could provide a 13-year path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.

At the same time, the high court made clear that Arizona could still have other ways to assert its argument that it should be allowed to ask for proof of citizenship. That would be the subject of separate litigation, the court said.

“It is a bit of a mixed bag, but at the end of the day it does reaffirm the absolute right to vote,” said Arizona state Senator Steve Gallardo, a Democrat.

Gallardo said the law unfairly made it seem as if there was massive fraud among Latino voters, which has never been proven. For a year, the Arizona Republican Party … (has) been using different methods to disenfranchise Latino voters,” he said.

Arizona Republican Attorney General Tom Horne, who argued the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The state’s Republican leadership had said the law was meant to fight voter fraud, but Democrats countered that Republicans who championed the measures aimed to make it harder for minority voters who tend to vote Democratic to cast ballots.

So naturally you do not have to actually prove that you are eligible to vote in order to register to vote. This is unfortunate since it opens the way for a certain unscrupulous political party to register large numbers of illegal aliens who can then reliably vote for that party, just as they have made ample use of zombie voters.

There is a silver lining here in that the Supreme Court did uphold the principle that Arizona could seek to require proof of citizenship in a way that is less burdensome. J Christian Adams at PJMedia believes that this decision is, in fact, a victory for conservatives and perhaps he knows best.

Personally, I believe that there should be voter suppression, of the ignorant and ill-informed. In other words, rather than making it easier and more convenient for idiots to vote, we ought to make it more difficult and troublesome. For that reason, I take a dim view of such innovations as having people register at welfare offices, BMV branches, voting by internet and mail, and the like. I think a lot of the problems in this country, especially our venial, stupid and corrupt political class are directly attributable to our current practice of trying to get as many people as possible to vote. But, that’s just my, not entirely serious, opinion.

Conspiracy Theories

By some chance the other day I happened to read two separate pieces on conspiracy theories, which caused me to think a little about conspiracy theories. Or, perhaps it wasn’t by chance. Maybe they wanted me to read them.

Anyway, the first was this article in Cracked.com which listed five conspiracy theories that are easily debunked. Cracked.com is a comedy website, the successor to the magazine Cracked, which was, for a time, the biggest competitor to Mad Magazine. Although their articles are written to be humorous, I have found many of them to be surprisingly informative. The whole point of this particular article was that some of the most popular conspiracy theories, the JFK assassination, faked moon landings, 9/11 truthers, are easily debunked with a little true knowledge to events and with the use of common sense or reasoning.

The second article I read was by Walter Hudson at PJMedia. He describes himself as a former conspiracy dabbler and writes about the attractions and problems of conspiracy theories.

Enter Alex Jones, with his seemingly plausible claim that the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin, fronts for a globalist conspiracy to erect a New World Order. Look! We have video of Bush 41 telling Congress about it. Look! We sneaked into the Bohemian Grove and took creepy footage of a strange ceremony. Look! That hole in the Pentagon wasn’t shaped like an airplane… as if aluminum leaves a cartoon silhouette in reinforced concrete.

After many months veraciously taking in everything Prison Planet had to offer, watching Jones entire catalog of documentary-style films and following his organization’s “alternative news” and even having a couple of my personal blog entries cross-posted on his site, I eventually began to tire of the shtick. There were a number of things which contributed to my rejection of the conspiracist mindset.

First, as I began to get more involved in political activism and came to know people in positions of real power, their bumbling humanity undercut any sense that they might be part of a massive globalist conspiracy. That observation added credence to the idea that vast, complex conspiracies like those posited by 9/11 truthers, who more often than not don’t even agree with each other, would require far more covert cooperation among innumerable co-conspirators than is remotely feasible.

I also found it suspect that Jones and his ilk never presented practical solutions, even within the context of their unique worldview. If anything, they seemed to employ the very fear-mongering tactics they accused others of using. To listen to Jones on a regular basis is to live on the edge of a knife, in constant anticipation of tomorrow’s martial law, complete with door-to-door gun confiscation and cattle cars delivering patriots to concentration camps.

It must be a heady feeling to know that you are one of the few who know what is really going on. You can have that welcome sense of superiority over the sheeple around you. Then too, there is the excitement of being in a world in which a vast struggle is going on behind the scenes. There is the delicious fear that tomorrow may be the day when they round dissenters like yourself up and ship them off to the FEMA concentration camps. Along with the human instinct for imposing order on chaotic or random events,these must be a powerful psychological impulse to believe in conspiracies.

For my part, I do not give much credence to conspiracy theories. There have been many conspiracies throughout history, in the sense that people have plotted and connived ways to control events, but the fact that many of these conspiracies have either been less than successful, or have not remained secret  for very long suggests that a vast conspiracy of a powerful secret society is not very probable. Most conspiracy theories assume that the conspirators possess superhuman intelligence and foresight and have influence everywhere. The truth is that people are idiots. I mean no one is capable of planning for every conceivable contingency and even if one were able to, something unexpected is likely to occur. How many military campaigns have gone exactly as the generals have planned them?

Then too, the conspiracy theory requires everyone in the conspiracy to be of one mind in the planning and execution of the plot. How likely is that? Think about the times in school when your teacher had the students form groups for a group project. How did that go? Think about your coworkers. Are there never disputes over what to do and how to do it? In a conspiracy which includes the most powerful people in the world, wouldn’t they also have some of the biggest egos in the world? How likely are people used to giving commands going to submit to other people’s plans?

It is also human nature to form factions. Every major religion and many political movements splits into sects and schisms given time. If there were some vast conspiracy out there, how long would it take before the movement would split? Why wouldn’t some disgruntled former conspirator go public?

Hudson concludes with the real danger that such theories pose.

Therein lays the reason why conspiracists are genuinely dangerous. Just as it would be ill-advised to drive while blindfolded or fly an airplane in whiteout conditions without instruments, proceeding through life in denial of the facts at hand leads inexorably to harm. Genuine threats to life, liberty, and property exist in the real world and deserve an informed response. Conflating those with imagined or unproven threats diverts attention from where it ought to be focused. More fundamentally, the goal of a properly whittled down government limited to its single rightful purpose of protecting individual rights, if achieved, would inherently defang any malevolent conspiracy. So why not focus on achieving that rather than converting people to believe “the truth” regarding a particular incident?

In my experience, the conspiratorial mindset presents the believer with an excuse for inactivity. Sure, the Alex Joneses of the world happily trot around the globe chasing Bilderbergers, shoving cameras in people’s faces, and ranting in bullhorns. But that’s not activism. It doesn’t accomplish anything. It doesn’t affect public policy or otherwise secure individual rights. On the contrary, it drives an addictive sense of perpetual revolution where believers stand ever ready to shoot back, yet won’t bother to participate in the political process and effect real change. It’s so much easier to sit holed up in your bomb shelter, cleaning your arsenal for the day the Man comes to take it, than to roll up your sleeves and commit to the humble and often tedious work of politics. One of those options has the virtue of seeding real change. The other proves self-indulgent.

In fact, you have to wonder whether the Bilderbergers are spreading outlandish conspiracy theories in order to hide what they are really out there. If I don’t post on this blog again, you’ll know they got to me.