My imagination ran away with this awesome pic hosted on Facebook:
It is not an idea substantially different from something I’ve been pitching for years. We have people who think their way through problems, and people who feel their way around problems; gather me a thousand souls from each of those two camps, and you’re going to find pretty reliably that the people in the second camp believe in wealth redistribution, and the people in the first camp do not. Actually, that has the vibe of something having to do not quite so much with human sampling, as logical pondering: If you make it a point to think your way through life’s challenges, you’re going to insist on the rewards to be gained from that, are you not? There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and it takes some effort and experience to figure out which is which. Who needs some jackass to come along at the very end of it, and say “Okay, now that you’ve got it all figured out, you need to share the rewards you’ve earned with other people who are lacking your experience, but want to pretend they’re smarter than you are even though they haven’t done squat”?
I’ve since taken to calling these two types of people Architects and Medicators. Because let’s just get down to brass tacks here: Deep down, we all know it’s really about facing responsibility. When a real architect builds a house, something is done to make sure the house doesn’t cave in, and the architect has some kind of a real obligation there. The nature of medicating, of course, is that no responsibility is taken for anything. To the contrary, the responsibility is off-loaded to some external party, who then is supposed to accept the responsibility to make sure the medicator is completely happy. Both kinds of people are struggling with something. But the Medicator’s struggle is much simpler. He struggles to regulate his own emotional state; all objects that exist outside of himself, are to be considered only because they might have a bearing on that state. To the Architect, “happiness” is an unclear concept, and if it exists at all it is simply the satisfaction that comes from realizing some effort has been carried forward to its defined goal.
The paradox of the Medicator’s existence is that the level of authority he demands is very great, but he isn’t willing to accept any level of responsibility that would go along with it. I made the point in the above link, “An Architect doesn’t particularly care how many other Architects there are. A Medicator wants everyone else to be a Medicator.” And so everyone who disagrees with the Medicator, about any point, great or small, is an unfinished task. This ties in well with the whole thing about “wealth inequity” and 99% and 1%. The Architect, who might very well be part of the 99%, nevertheless says “What the fuck do I care?” about someone else having a lot more money than he has. Everything either has something to do with the widget he’s putting together, or it doesn’t…and wealth distribution doesn’t have much to do with that.
Contrasted with that, the Medicator is obsessed with how much money other people have.
But here’s the funny part: They only care about that, when they’re forced to think about individuals. If they aren’t forced to think about individuals, suddenly they don’t give a damn about what this person thinks or that person thinks. As representatives of the Medicator mindset, our modern political left works tirelessly to align a bare majority of the electorate to their side of an issue, and once that objective is realized, they abruptly stop. As they count percentages, they can’t count to fifty-two. So that’s strange; they care about changing minds, only as long as they confront the minds, or the minds confront them. Short of that, all they care about is winning elections. If ever they hear from the individual voices, suddenly they’re back in “every single disagreeable opinion is an unfinished task” mode again. Just like that woman I saw in the parking lot yesterday who didn’t appreciate my anti-Obama tee shirt. They know, consciously as well as unconsciously, there are millions of people who disagree with them — but as long as they don’t actually meet these people, it doesn’t bother them a bit.
Like it’s got much less to do with bringing “truth” to people, or enacting a public policy that is beneficial to all, than about just winning every single argument. It’s just weird. They have enemies, or at least, there are people among these poor whelps whom they regard as enemies, and the enemies are sufficiently inimical in nature that it is necessary and urgent that the enemies be opposed, throughout all waking hours. But! Only when the enemy is in sight. Out of sight, out of mind. Like I said, weird.
And I can’t help but think, there is a promising remedy to the societal rancor wrapped up in this cognitive dissonance. This is why I think separation is a solution.
But there is an obvious problem. The people who feel their way around problems rather than thinking their way through them, can’t actually make anything work. And so if they were to be banished to a commune together, everyone would be happy for awhile but it wouldn’t be a self-sustaining situation, since the commune itself could not be self-sustaining. It would end up being a collectivist-economy shithole, just like any other, very few productive people ending up in it, and the few ensconced therein, given every incentive to leave and none whatsoever to stay. And so the commune would starve.
Outside the commune, in Architect-land, we’d need some kind of a “don’t look back” rule, a no-compassion rule. Long-term, I just can’t see it working. Like a six-year-old running away from home, the Medicators would wrap themselves up in some little cloister that oughta work great — but won’t — and one way or another, the experiment would be ended prematurely and we’d all re-integrate and labor under this soft-coercion to pretend the whole thing never happened. The spoiled-rotten would be spoiled-rotten some more, because that’s their nature and that’s our nature as well.
I’ve got a one-word solution to this problem: Hollywood. Just as Medicators don’t really want all the authority they’re demanding, so too do Hollywood stars not really want all the money that our “Architect” rules — read those as capitalist rules — say is really theirs. They claim to feel guilty about it, and call me a sucker, but I think they’re honest about this.
So here’s how we make it work a little longer. Baldwin goes in. Redford goes in. Ono, Cameron, Douglas, Roberts, Milano, they all go in. And just like the sign says, half of the commune lives off the “work” of the other half. Well, more like lives off their assets. That might not entirely avoid that final bleak winter, but it should delay it by quite awhile. Warren Buffett will be in there, and for goodness sake, after this year if we know anything for sure we know he must believe in redistribution!
If this plan has a weak spot, it must have something to do with its presumption of what what the residents of the commune really want. It relies on something looking like a duck, really being a duck; I’m not entirely sure it is correct, here, and I am almost certain that it’s wrong. Can these Occupy Wall Street activists and Hollywood movie actors be walled off from the rest of us, where they can’t see any parts of humanity save for those who are sharing the same circumstances as they are…and, once assured that all the foodstuffs and staples are being distributed equitably within, along with the gadgets and toys, come away completely satisfied day after day? No more bitching about 99% versus 1%, since they wouldn’t have ’em.
It would be like a swimming pool — the water would reach entropy, with the level uniform from one end to the other.
I think the key is, don’t bring these poor wretches any news. They don’t want it anyway. Let the commune exist as a sort of “pocket universe,” with opaque walls, its own government, but with nary a hint that anything is taking place outside. Just like The Truman Show. Or that goofy midsummer dream I had three years ago about the smaller city existing within the larger one; residents of the smaller city took delight in banishing everyone who didn’t quite adhere properly to notions of the “right” ways of doing things, and without realizing it they ended up banishing themselves. If we make a discovery or invent something out here, they hear nothing of it. If, by some slender chance, they manage to come up with something new, they can keep it. Let’s face it, they don’t want our stuff and we don’t want theirs.
And now for the good part: Imagine how things would work out here! You make a new widget the world needs, and your company gets billions-of-dollars huge because of the help it gives people and the software license fees people willingly fork over to it…you keep it. Sure, something somewhere is going to be taxed, but only to raise revenue for the vital functions of government — not to even things out. Everyone who “just think(s) when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” will be in the citadel. And, you know how when you’re at at Starbucks, you could limp around with a sprained ankle and end up at another Starbucks before it even starts to get uncomfortable? Well here, outside the cloister, we’d have exactly that same thing going on, but with Tilted Kilt and Hooters. Freakin’ awesome! Some females look better than others, and that’s quite alright…the crazy-cat-ladies who run around all raspy-voiced and pear shaped, constantly objecting to this, won’t be part of the equation. So we’d have pin-ups. In office cubicles. In offices that employ both men and women…and it will be perfectly okay. Lots of things that aren’t okay now, would be okay. You could walk down the sidewalk with a gun on your hip. What’s your crime rate do then? You tell me; you wanna mess with a guy with a .44 on his hip? In this world, a car exists, not so much to transport your pampered ass from Point A to Point B, but as a project that is an assembly of parts, which can be tuned up, stripped down, replaced in a modular way, or supercharged in your spare time. Oh, of course it requires gas. So we drill. On land.
Something might go wrong with that. In which case, someone needs to fix something on land, not under a mile of seawater.
Life would be just one big year-’round horrific-gasping scare-fest — to a bunch of hysterical, matronly busy-bodies who wouldn’t be involved in it anymore. Lookin’ more like win-win all the time.
We’d stop putting dads in movies. At least, they wouldn’t be in there all the time…no more subplots about daddy issues. If dad is ever in a movie, it’s as a capital-D Dad, like the Dad who showed up at the end of Old Yeller to opine away with his fatherly wisdom about the meaning of it all.
The hippies are all in the giant bell housing, with the crazy cat ladies and the gun control freaks and the wealth redistribution types, where they belong. There probably isn’t any oceanfront property in there — hippies don’t want that anyway. Hippies like backyard gardens. What are they doing crowding up our seashores? So this plan translates to about a thousand miles of primary-residence and rental property along the Pacific, and some fifteen hundred more on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, opened up to decent, non-hippie people who actually like and appreciate the rugged life out on the ocean. Ever see a hippie out on a boat, callousing his hands tying two dozen different knots just to make the damn thing go? I’m not talking about a sailboat, I’m talking about things like tugboats and fishing trawlers. Someone Mike Rowe might interview. Sure, one in ten of those guys might look like a hippie, but that’s not what I’m talking about. If it involves real danger but has to get done in order to feed people…if it involves scraping barnacles or mopping up goo…the hippies, who make such a big deal out of growing their own tofu in a garden to serve up as replacement-Turkey and fool the hated meat eaters, are constantly and most assuredly MIA. They like cosmetic work, just the bare wispy idea of living off the land. They’re not too big on actually doing it. Why are they all over the place around Highway 1? Why do we let them take our lovely oceans? Why are they interested in having them? Hippie goes on vacation, first thing he does is scramble inland to some “Tuscan” resort so he can pretend he’s in Europe. Makes no sense.
Red-staters on the ocean! Imagine it! People who know how to work with muck, and get things done, and grow food and bring it to market…enjoying widespread access to the ocean. So in this world, if you’re a tough-as-nails female and you’ve got something to prove, you don’t prove it by yelling some guff out your car window to a decent American like me who you catch wearing an anti-Obama tee shirt. No, you prove it the Sarah Palin way, breaking bones in your hand helping your hubby haul in ambrosia from the sea. Imagine lobster tails, costing pennies a pound more than chuck steak. Put a sunset on the Age of Aquarius, and it’s a done deal.
So my plan would solve the “goddamn hippies cluttering up the surfside zip codes” problem. But there’s more!
My state of primary residence, California, would lead the nation — in creating a flat tax. No more of this nonsense where a couple hundred tax returns in a state of 35 million people, fall short of the high hopes of our wizened bureaucrats to generate the crucial revenues and in so doing doom us to an entire fiscal year of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. No can do; Architects summon the problem-solving from within, since their stuff has to work. Everyone in California wants to bitch about no money in the coffers? Then everyone in Cali can contribute. I think California would have the biggest change, with tax revenues, as well as with public policies in general. We’ve got this obscenely thick rulebook full of rules that aren’t actually enforced. It would be like — go or stop time. Knock it off with this “going through the motions” stuff…everything that’s illegal, start busting people for doing it, and if you’re not going to do that then repeal the damn law because it doesn’t matter. So I guess our annual summer fiasco with the missed-the-budget-deadline thing would be a thing of the past, probably because we would no longer have the deadline, and we probably wouldn’t need it.
Drive a car in California, just sort of making up all the rules as you go along, potentially killing someone? Big change in the Golden State: You won’t make it where you’re going.
Start a business in California, on a shoestring, without legal advice or the better part of a year available to wrangle with spineless bureaucrats and nebulous rules? Big change there too: It’ll probably work out just great.
I hear the Occupy Wall Street kids are upset that they’ve graduated from college and find they can find work in their fields. The problem appears to be that their fields are nonsense. There’s another problem solved: All the campus profs who teach “oppressed women” studies and “America sucks” studies, would be walled off. I imagine the institutions of higher education, out here, would change a lot. Much more emphasis on hard sciences. In the early years, they’d continue to teach basic things, stuff that in my day was put in the textbooks as early as seventh grade. How come if a right triangle is 1 unit long on one leg, and 2 units long on the other, the hypotenuse is 1.732? We’d begin a long, slow recovery making sure our Masters Degree candidates were all clear on stuff like that…then we’d press the degree-inflation bell curve, back again, where it was before all the trouble started…and beyond. Me, personally, I’ve never understood why we couldn’t have the geometry & trig all cleared up by fifth grade. Seriously, why not? I’d have been completely fascinated. It’s so easy to see how the knowledge can be practically applied. Welcome to third grade, Jimmy, here’s your CAD station. Seriously, why not?
So universities would teach hard sciences, things that can be used to build exciting new things. The message that comes from higher education would be one of “With what we teach you, you can create new knowledge, and have a meaningful impact on what we will end up teaching your kids” — rather than what it is now, which is “Keep the money coming in, so you can have a job in a cubicle, and when you get that job be sure & set lots of money aside so your kids can come here and end up with jobs in cubicles.” The emphasis would be on doing rather than on being. I imagine, this would actually change the architecture of college buildings. They would look efficient, rather than sprawling, ivy-covered, hoity-toity holier-than-thou. They would impart the message of “if you come inside these walls, you will learn something you can use,” rather than one of “the people inside these walls are better than you.” In short, it would function importantly toward that egalitarian society the Medicators have been telling us they’re trying to build…during all these long years and decades in which they haven’t been doing any such thing.
Race? We’d get past our ugly history by — get a load of this — getting past it. Quit making a big deal out of it. No reparations. No Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. You know where they’d be. If the President is black, he’s black, and if he isn’t he isn’t. No big deal. You can put a swimsuit calendar on your wall at work. We’ll treat you as if you’re harassing your female co-workers if you…get ready for another big change…are caught harassing your female co-workers. In which case, you can forget about “training” or other such silliness. Let’s get real, if you’re guilty, it’s a serious issue. We’d go through all of life that way, solving problems to actually solve problems instead of to make money for lawyers. Classes would disappear, left right & sideways. The drivers who think the rules of the road are for everybody else, go to traffic school? Bullshit. You don’t care about the rules of the road, you lose your license, drive without the license and you lose the car. Ask yourself how we want rules enforced on pilots. Ask yourself why we do it any differently with cars. Answer: There are more cars, therefore enough money flowing around to start a phony-baloney industry. Stop the insanity.
No more projected guilt. The United States builds up a huge stockpile of weapons, but has much greater appreciation for the men and women trained in using it, who have dedicated their lives to making sure this “stockpile” does what it is supposed to do. If they can take out a nest of terrorists at night, using night goggles that the terrorists don’t have…that’s just fine. People wear flag pins, on television, reporting the news, and there’s nobody around to ridicule them for it. Wonder Woman is back in shorts, looking wise, dignified, strong, courageous, desirable and sexy; how did we ever get the idea one character cannot have all these things? Womens’ Lib told us that? Explain that to me if you can. Superman stands for truth, justice and the American way — looking more like 40-ish than 25, and built more like a wrestler than an underwear model. The Man of Steel looks the way he did in the Golden Age. Six-pack? That’s something beer comes in. Superheroes smile. Even Batman smiles. They’re there to vanquish evil and set things right, aren’t they? When & where did this idiocy with glowering GQ-model superheroes start? Save the glowering for the computer software developers.
Music is different. Television is different. All the kids are different because their dreams are different. Kids’ dreams, remember those? Thinking is different.
Maybe, if you’ve read this far, you’ve started to see where I’m really taking this. The thought exercise is an illumination of what all the arguing has really been about the entire time: It’s about visions for the future, made real through decisive action. It’s about how individuals can behave to alter their circumstances for the better, and change the circumstances of those around them in a meaningful, beneficial way — not by babbling things, but by moving, refining, molding, shaping, building. What a powerful thing this is, when you don’t need to lobby or picket or “occupy” or bully or cajole some stranger into looking at things your way…or write letters to the editor…when you can simply act. Just do stuff.
We have what it takes for this to excite us. We are built for it. That’s why we started liking superheroes in the first place. You see a water tower about to fall over and squish a baby flat, if you’ve got what it takes to stop that from happening you stop it. You don’t look up some rule that says you can’t do it and tell people “yeah, here on this page, that’s the rule.” You save the baby. Sane, decent people work that way.
Yes, it’s a selfish dream of mine. But like Yoko’s husband said: I’m not the only one. I’m one of thousands and thousands of bloggers, perhaps millions, with the same story: I’m spending the leisure moments of my adulthood in exactly the opposite way from how I spent them in childhood. I was one of the “Lincoln Log and Lego” kids, putting things together with my hands rather than communicating with people, and now I communicate with people instead of building things with my hands. I’m doing it under protest. I’ve figured out some people would rather communicate than get ’round to doing stuff…and, if they’re given a complete monopoly on the communication, the rest of us end up unable to do stuff because they won’t permit it. In fact, if we can somehow do some stuff in this world where they’re making it harder and harder to do stuff, they’ll make sure we can’t profit from it.
But if I really had my druthers? I’d spend my leisure time the way I spent it as a kid. Tune things out and build stuff. The reality is, for the present time, that can’t be anything more than another dream. And a distant memory.
And so, like many, I’m a reluctant blogger. I communicate at the expense of getting things done…because I have no choice left to me…the other folks are communicating up a storm, because that’s all they’ve ever had any interest in doing. Now they’re “occupying,” that’s just wonderful. Every week that goes by, they get more attention than they got the week before, but it’s never enough. Ever. They’re supposedly dissatisfied and angry because they can’t get jobs, but how many things would they need to do if they really wanted jobs — that they aren’t even getting started on doing? They aren’t protesting joblessness, they’re protesting their proximity to the rest of us. Putting them in a special place where they can do their communicating and interfering, and leave the rest of us alone? Seems like a win-win, the more I think about it. And they’d welcome it. I mean, they would, wouldn’t they? They’d have to, unless their real desire is really nothing more than a lust for conflict.