Uncomfortable Reflections on the Demise of Clan Cuomo

I loved Mario Cuomo, one of my professors during the Watergate Era, as ethical as he was objective and honest and at the time, apparently apolitical although an emerging leader in the New York City Democratic Party.  He pointed out to us that what Richard Nixon was being tarred and feathered for was no different to the conduct of his predecessors throughout the twentieth century, but that notwithstanding that reality, it was past time for meaningful reform.  Every one of his classes was a lesson in ethics, although the topic was much more mundane, “legal research and writing”.

His sons were as different as possible from their father.  The odious and formerly mighty second generation Cuomo Clan appears to have fallen.  That is my translation of an article that appeared on Sunday, December 5, 2021 in Aljazeera entitled “CNN fires Chris Cuomo over role in brother’s harassment scandal: Veteran news anchor fired for helping defend brother”.  I prefer foreign sources with respect to news about the United States since the United States corporate media is, and perhaps always has been, completely unreliable.  But the news has even spread to the corporate media which, for so long did what it could to obfuscate it.

I am obviously not a fan of the Cuomo brothers, in fact, I’ve despised them since many of us believed that their early misconduct and lack of ethics caused their father, one of my heroes, to decide not to run for the presidency in 1992, giving us Bill Clinton instead, a man much more similar to them in every way than was their father Mario.  I am also certainly not in favor of sexual abuse of any kind.  Still, there are aspects to the reactions to the Cuomo scandals that I find troubling.  My own included.

Unlike Bill Clinton and (according to Tara Reade) Joe Biden and others, Andrew Cuomo was not married when he engaged in the pseudo-sexual activities that laid him low and, as a human being, was seemingly free to seek mutually agreeable intimate interactions.  The problem is that when one attains substantial success, potential intimate interactions too often involve imbalances of power that make mutuality difficult to discern, and that is now frowned upon although evolutionary theory, as enforced by nature, suggests that sexual interactions that favor the more powerful are not only healthy but essential for biological progress.  But we have, as a society (or as groups of societies) diverged from the path of survival of the fittest enforced by nature, we have diverged in many, perhaps most ways, believing that we are morally superior to nature and thus know better. 

I cannot deny that I frequently feel the same way.  Nature’s dictates are now anathema in many ways.  For example, when it comes to dealing with those who suffer physical or mental impairments, it is unthinkable to cast them aside hoping for their demise as do other biological entities and even our recent ancestors.  Indeed, the age restrictions we place on sexual activity contradict not only our own history but evolutionary mechanisms: i.e., nature sets the onset of menses in women and ejaculatory capacity in men but we disagree with the logical conclusions such physical changes imply.  That was not always the case.  The allegedly virgin Mary was purportedly impregnated by an agent of the divine before she attained her first dozen years, an event we still incongruously celebrate at this time of year.  We also refuse to recognize nature’s indicia of adulthood by depriving our young of equal rights as to most things before they attain an age that recent society has arbitrarily set, but set in a clearly incoherent manner.  Young men and now young women are old enough to die for their countries but not to either consume alcohol or to vote.  How logical are our social deviations from nature’s suggestions? 

We are an incoherent species! 

Consider the reality that nouveaux-puritanical-sexual-mores are now most espoused among those who believe themselves most environmentally conscious and most attuned to nature.  Odd dichotomies we seem unwilling to study lest the contradictions involved make us uncomfortable.  They certainly make me uncomfortable.  I am completed committed to concepts of equity, equality and justice that we as humans have created and made priorities but which are utterly irrelevant to nature.  But I am also very drawn to nature’s inherent wisdom.  Thus, I have no answers, and I know I have no answers.  But I do not ignore the questions raised.  I have plenty of questions.  Unfortunately, modern society has devolved into competing camps of know-it-alls unwilling to consider competing perspectives, all opponents being vile and evil.

Given that, at least indirectly, Andrew Cuomo´s dilemma is a topic of this article, it is appropriate to consider our current confusion about all matters sexual, a legacy of all three major Abrahamic Religions.  The obvious consequences of our incoherent, contradictory and polarized sexual mores (so confusing that they do not actually qualify any more as social mores) are that, today, interactions between genders have become morally divorced from nature’s dictates but not from nature’s instincts, leaving us confused and polarized.  As the purportedly “woke” tear down social institutions leaving us without replacements (perhaps a necessary evolutionary phase in the social subsystem with which we replace nature’s tendencies), some of us need to carefully and objectively analyze the situation and suggest functioning alternatives in place of platitudes.  But today, anyone making such suggestions is likely to be deemed an abomination.  Science fiction author Robert Heinlein did so in his latter novels but I admit that while I found his libertarian leaning social premises and suggested postulates logical, I concurrently found them emotionally troubling.  They made me feel as though I’d become a biological oxymoron; kind of like the character Vinnie Barbarino in the old “Welcome Back Kotter” sitcom when he would lament: “I’m so confused!!!!”  I feel that way too.

But enough about Andrew and the unnatural evolution of current sexual “mores”, more frequently acknowledged in their violation than in their acquiescence.  Turning to Chris, his unpardonable socio-civic sin was daring to seek to defend his brother.  I despise Chris Cuomo finding him to be a dishonest hypocrite and worthless human being (except perhaps, for his willingness to put himself at some sort of risk to defend his brother).  Defense of a family member, until recently a sacred attribute of brotherhood (and sisterhood, and parenthood, etc.), has now been declared anathema if it clashes with newly imposed elitist mores which at least so far, seem as dysfunctional as those initially discussed above.  Interfamily dysfunctionality is not new, it is always present in civil wars and family strife, but it has not previously been generally accepted as a requirement, at least outside of totalitarian societies where the state trumped everything (no allusion to the former president intended) and tattle-on-your-family was the rule (think, perhaps, of Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany).  Is that really what we want today for ourselves and for our children?  For our relationships with our friends?

There is a great deal of pleasure in seeing the fall of those who have attained the heights unfairly, in unmerited fashion, who have attained social and civic heights by abusing family ties and then pontificating to us, something that seems a rule of nature among descendants of men and woman who have scaled the heights and attained success on their own, fighting and scratching to climb every wrung of the socio-civic-economic ladder.  That is most glaringly the story of the Kennedy Clan in recent history, but also of the Cuomos.  Still, while their fall may be appropriate, sometimes the reasons for their fall are not justified.  Society rarely cares.  There is satisfaction in finally getting them, of having them suffer their due, of tripping them up on their high wire acts, of ending their manipulating of “the system” to attain de facto impunity, who cares how.  The beloved “Al Capone gambit”,

But perhaps we should care. 

Perhaps we have to care if we really want to replace the transformational “law of the jungle” system that nature has bequeathed us with a just world, one where equity is probable and equality attainable.

Something we ought to at least contemplate.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Superiority Isms

How different are American Exceptionalism (think both Barack Obama and Donald Trump), Black Power, Gray Power, Feminism, Transgenderism, Nationalism, Chosen People-ism or Only True Religion-ism from White Supremacism?  They all involve group elitism without regard to individual effort.  It seems obvious, as an empirical fact, that members of different groups either enjoy disproportionate benefits or suffer disproportionate detriments because, whether voluntarily or through accidents of birth, they find themselves members of such groups, and that as a memeplex, the group as a whole usually strives to improve its posture, whether through fair means or foul.  Sometimes groups, especially in societies characterized by ethnic transitions (such as flow-of-diverse-immigrant-group societies), pass through stages were, originating at society’s nadir they eventually attain its summit, but even within such societies, some groups, usually because of racial or caste differences, remain immobile.  When the latter occurs, the reality is that everyone suffers to some extent.

It instinctively strikes me that we are either all inherently equal, albeit individually capable of improving, or we’re not, and that if any group has a “right” to consider itself “inherently” superior to any other, all “inherent” groups (equality being at least somewhat relevant) are entitled to the same right?  That they may all be wrong seems irrelevant from a progressive perspective where liberty and freedom of opinion, belief and expression are sacred and censorship is anathema.  But as in the case of the term “liberal”, the term “progressive” is losing any real meaning, having been usurped by political movements with no interest at all in the premises involved.  Of course, that is also true of the terms “conservative” and “democratic”.  The age of “relative truth” is destroying language as well as integrity.

As I indicated above, I personally believe that we are all “inherently” equal and that “inherency-supremacists” of any ilk seeking to preserve their advantage by depriving competing groups of the capacity for upward mobility are wrong, and further, that such beliefs make collectivist goals such as those purportedly espoused by universalist religions such as Christianity much more difficult.  But I also acknowledge that as individuals, and even groups, we can make decisions that improve us and permit us to excel over others. 

That is certainly how I feel about my education and my experiences as an educator, as an entrepreneur, as a constitutional scholar and as a civic activist.  Many, perhaps most people have accomplishments that justify a belief that they have improved over the attributes with which they were endowed at birth.  Sometimes those improvements are earned while at other times they were merely the luck of the draw, and sometimes the equality we should have enjoyed at birth was diluted by ethnic, racial, gender, socioeconomic and religious factors which make it unfairly difficult for us to succeed in comparison with those more fortunate.  And sometimes those entropic attributes are unfairly spread among a group.  When that occurs, society as a whole is worse off, especially if those handicaps and negative prejudices are not eliminated.  We all suffer when some of us fail, for whatever reason, to attain our highest potential (the ancient Greek’s concept of justice).

It strikes me that despite superficial similarities, there is a huge difference between the conception that a group is inherently inferior and the reality that because of education, socioeconomic factors or inherited cultural self-discipline, some groups really do enjoy justifiable superior benefits at birth, making success among their members more likely.  But does the answer to the resulting inequality and inequity require a handicapper general such as the one Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., posited in his dystopic novel Harrison Bergeron?  Given that every single member of society benefits when each individual attains his or her full potential, isn’t the answer in the direction of improving everyone’s lot rather than tearing everyone down to the lowest possible denominator (as the purportedly “woke” seem Hell bent on doing[1])?  And if we do what the “woke” demand, will elitism disappear, increase, or become individualized (we refer to the latter, when not used in a pejorative sense as “meritocracy”, or at least we used to when truth and language had meaning).

The difference between the “isms” initially referenced and a meritocracy is in the statically inherent nature of the benefits or detriments we attribute to groups.  Where the potential for upward mobility is not the rule, society stagnates, fragments more and more, and tends to degenerate into a polarized cast system.  That may be where we find ourselves today.  But how can this situation be remedied.  Is the solution a dictate under force of law from those who consider themselves morally superior, or is it a wave of enlightened self-interest based on examples percolating from below, an evolutionary, social rather than legal, norm, one that changes souls as well as minds rather than mandating conduct and thus becomes self-actuating rather than imposed?  One purports to work immediately but usually fails and the other requires patience and understanding rather than ridicule and punishment and takes a while.

The truth is that none of us can guarantee an answer although most of us recognize the problem, at least in some aspects.  Those less experienced and less patient believe that we can tear down the society we’ve inherited over many millennia and start anew with a clean slate on which we can draw our version of perfection.  That solution is of course, totalitarian and tends to the dystopic rather than the utopic but it is proposed in the name of democracy and liberty.  Many just prefer to do nothing and see what happens, a solution Albert Einstein, by analogy, once referred to as the definition of insanity.  Perhaps nature’s evolution through trial and error provides the best option, after all, notwithstanding the opinion of the purportedly woke, humans are also nature’s children.

If evolution through experimentation and trial and error is the most promising path to attaining equity and justice and the greater good, then the tension between liberty and inherent fundamental rights and collectivist goals needs to be respected.  Intolerance with respect to contrary opinions may be the worst supremacism of all and it’s a slippery slope down which we’ve been sliding for centuries. 

Something to ponder on as we stray further and further from common goals while seeking universal solutions, if not universal truths.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.


[1] The fascination of the purportedly woke with cinema dealing with zombie and vampire revolutions may provide interesting insights.  I prefer the latter and disdain the former which may something about me as well.

Not as much for which to be Thankful as One Might Hope

A Real Progressives Dilemma

It is amazing how, in just eleven months, the Democratic Party has managed to utterly demolish the prospect for attainment of progressive causes such as racial, religious, ethnic and gender tolerance and acceptance, for minimizing discrimination, for more humane and effective criminal justice policies geared towards redemption, for international peace and collaboration, for a more equitable sharing of our economic bounty.  Of course, that Deep State tool could not have accomplished such disasters for real progressives without the idiotic “woke”, without Identity Politics and of course, without the decrepit but hypocritical corporate media. 

No conservatives could have done as much harm to the popular attitudes and perceptions towards progressive causes than what’s been done by ludicrous pseudo-liberals-in-name only demanding ludicrously incongruous and unworkable policies; policies such as supporting looting and arson and mayhem and murder for its own sake, just for the fun of it; trying to make heroes of the worst our minorities have to offer while seeking to erase historical memorials from which we might have learned; and, attacking and prosecuting real political protest from people who honestly believe, whether they’re right or wrong, that the last federal elections were “stolen” (and this after their Russiagate fraud).

During the American Revolution, there was a show tune popular among the British troops fighting in the “colonies” which was played by military bands at their surrender at Yorktown.  It was appropriately entitled “The World Turned Upside Down”.  That is the Bizarro World in which we live and if current trends are any sign, the next elections at all levels will set progressive causes such as publicly financed health care and education for all, a real welfare system (you know, as in “Provide for the Common Welfare” as promised by those rabidly socialist Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention), a non-politicized judiciary, reasonable regulation of firearms, etc., back at least a decade. 

It is no wonder Tulsi Gabbard, the only decent major Democratic Party figure, is so often beside herself bemoaning the insanity of her political party.  It is a price we will all pay, but most especially the most vulnerable among us, those most in need of our wisdom and understanding and of a world were equity, justice and equality reign and where corruption and impunity are anathema …. rather than the rule.

Our Deep State masters are obviously beside themselves with joy. 

That’s all they really wanted.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Superciliously Serendipity or Serendipitously Supercilious

“What a world, what a world” cried the twin witches of East and West as, soaked in a transparent liquid that may have been water (but smelled a bit like a cheap American vodka knock-off), they melted.  Melted in a land other than Oz.  And of course, wicked though they might have been (and that’s debatable), they were certainly right.  That their viewpoints were otherwise quite different didn’t matter, didn’t matter at all.

Glenda?  She was oblivious, enamored of her reflection in a borrowed magic mirror and Dorothy, well, she was not really what she seemed.  The stories Toto could have told if only we’d understood what he was trying to say.  And of course, the Wizard was not a wizard at all.  Just a tool, a tool like most of us, singing of scarecrows, tin men and cowardly lions, ….

Oh my!

A question or a query or perhaps, an inquisition of sorts?  From the Bizzaro world on the other side of the looking glass, the one from which Alice, now safe with her Cheshire cat and “haberdashered” rabbit, had fled for a second time (after a much regretted but highly publicized return). Evidently a very powerful country was split into at least seventeen furious factions and all they could agree on was that the others were viciously vile, deliberately so, not merely mistaken, but evil, and deceptively so.

To wit, a casual neutral observer, could one be found, might ponder, and verily so.  Images in a purloined crystal ball come into focus, perhaps in a Palantir.  Very hazy images, very difficult to comprehend, not because of their different dictions or registers or accents, but because the cacophony in which they were emerged was so lacking in coherence and logic, so internally contradictory.  The scene becomes wavy the way dream sequences appeared in old black and white television programs, someone from another dimension, perhaps a comic book dimension, apparently a journalist, but a real journalist, not one of the professional entertainers charged with weaving narratives, although ….; anyway, he (or she, or it, gender seems hard to define) seems to be trying to make sense of what is happening, but not all that successfully.  The journalist is observing an apparently sane person separating rival mobs.  And we listen in.

Soooo ….

….  Just how different is believing that judicial investigations into allegations of electoral fraud were conducted improperly from believing that a criminal trial was conducted inappropriately? The truth is that the electoral and judicial systems, like almost all of our governmental institutions, are dysfunctional at best.  The truth is that they have become politicized, as have our means of mass communication.  Perhaps they always were.  Actually, no perhaps about it and such developments are neither accidental not natural but rather carefully and artfully orchestrated by those whom we’ve permitted to attain almost complete control over our lives.  A feat possible only because they’ve become so expert at dividing us and keeping us divided.  Perhaps that’s the real meaning of the allegorical Tower of Babel myth.

We, as a species, tend to be reactive rather than proactive and that makes it easy for those among us willing to plan and to strategize, to develop and implement tactics and then to wait patiently as they take root enabling “them” (the elusive but ubiquitous “they”) to successfully manipulate us.  When their fields have been prepared and carefully planted and nurtured, like good strategists, they cultivate the harvests that most benefit them, usually to our detriment.  Actually, we are those harvests, we are the fruit and grains that they reap, the cattle that they milk and then slaughter.  And like the “good” (a relative concept) domesticated comestibles that we are, we permit ourselves to be herded to our doom while we bicker among ourselves and chew our metaphorical cud

As in the case of any great lie, grains of truth as seasoning are essentials.  Those whose goal is our manipulation first find real social issues that require attention, issues such as racism, xenophobia, misogyny, the environment, inequality, inequity, injustice, corruption and impunity and then, rather than offer us solutions, they rub salt into every fissure to set us against each other while assuring that none of such issues are resolved.  The United States Civil War is a great example.  Elimination of slavery was never the issue, only its transformation and expansion into a caste system of serfs who believed themselves free, set against working stiffs who believed themselves free but somehow superior, all opposed to the huddled masses yearning to be free who invaded our shining shores, to then be en-serfed in their turn, all endowed with illusory rights, especially the right to believe that they controlled their own destinies.  And it all worked just fine, and will keep working as long as most of us never realize that we have other options, as long as we can be kept bickering and polarized and furious.

Racism and xenophobia and misogyny will never be eliminated by seeking to humiliate and ridicule others or by destroying the markers and mementos of our sorry history.  Mirages are not real and neither are sirens (except on police cars and firetrucks and ambulances).  Delusion, whether self-imposed, self-maintained or artificially orchestrated will not solve problems any more than we can successfully groom ourselves by looking at pictures of attractive people and wishing we were they, but then, solutions are not the goal, control is, and emotional manipulation works just fine for that.  Neither inequity nor inequality nor injustice can be minimized by self-delusion.  Nor can corruption nor impunity.  They’ll keep doing just fine in an information sharing system where misdirection is the key.  While Kant’s nightmare, perpetual war, is also key, it is war on every level that counts, not just war against other countries: gender wars and racial wars and religious wars and class wars and cultural wars; each works just fine, even wars against recreational drugs and poverty.  Poor Kant.

Poorer us.

Anyone who seriously believes that elections in the United States have ever been free of fraud is delusional and those who most vehemently insist that is the case are in all probability the ones who most carefully, studiously and assiduously orchestrate electoral fraud (while screaming that what they do is designed to assure that electoral participation is facilitated, common sense be damned, it’s always been overrated).  The same is true of anyone who believes that the criminal justice system actually functions in our best interests, or that the civil justice system will protect the righteous poor from the villainously powerful. 

Only relative power matters. 

But the delusional are many and very thoroughly convinced of their cognitive and moral superiority, whichever side they’re on.  Which is just fine for those who are really “woke”.  No, not the silly, self-centered, self-lauding, something-or-other-wannabes, but rather, their shepherds (and not in a positive sense).  We are imprisoned in cells of our own design, tightly clutching the keys than can set us free, but utterly convinced that to use them is not in our best interest.  That opening our cell doors to other perspectives will taint us and destroy that which we value.  We have been accustomed and acculturated to believe that the illusory security of the static is essential and that change in our perspectives is anathematic treason.  Treason to our masters who protect us from the others, the “others” who are a bit more evil than are they. 

An open mind is a terrible thing, an abomination.

We are a stupid species, let’s admit it!  And the universe might be well rid of us.  Our planet certainly would be.

*                             *                             *

Hmmm, the old fashioned television program again becomes wavy, the color returns, the journalist shakes his head and smiles ruefully at his audience, a perplexed, almost extinct species of fictitious flying simian warriors, now gainfully unemployed.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Oh We of Little Faith

This morning, RT News published an article concerning Protests throughout Europe against Covid 19 Vaccine Mandates and Caitlin Johnstone wrote an article addressing them that reflected my perspectives as well.  I am not personally against taking one of the related injections but realize most are not vaccines but RNA memory modifiers, a variant on the alteration of DNA which the medical profession has criticized as unethical when it comes to genetic modification.  Caitlin noted that if the vaccines were truly effective in preventing either the spread of the vaccine or the disease without a serious threat of side effects, mandates might be justified, but that not being the case, mandates were not defensible in this instance.  She has a point.  She did not touch on the related corruption, i.e., that the vaccines were developed using public financing but have been privatized and that the recipients of such largess, pharmaceuticals, are sharing it massively with the elected political leaders who are curtailing our liberty as a means of generating the illicit profits. 

In a radio interview yesterday on a local Colombian radio station I made those same points and when the interviewer, long time Colombian journalist Dario Sanín, observed that seemingly the public had no choice other than to obey or be sanctioned, and perhaps, pray, I responded that if voters took their political responsibilities (which I asserted were not mere rights) seriously, we would not be in this mess.  That if we voted in favor of who and what we believed rather than against manufactured bogeys, most of our problems would me much less serious and we would not be so polarized.  And I reminded him that as in the United States, Colombian elections were around the corner.

The world is in a sorry state I admitted, but the fault is not that of the putrid villains who lead us but of We the voters who elect them, permitting ourselves to be consistently manipulated, deceived and divided.  We the voters who refuse to accept that educated political participation is a duty rather than a right and that refusing to comply with such duty has serious consequences for us all; perhaps fatal consequences.  Certainly fatal consequences for our liberties and for the Common Welfare which the United States Constitution was purportedly promulgated to provide.

Oh We of little faith, …

In Ourselves. 

Unfortunately, as a collective, We deserve what We get.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

On the Massive Difference between Leftist Sounding Rhetoric and Real Leftist Ideals

This morning, I posted a comment on an op-ed article in RT News entitled “America’s most anxious city revealed by data. It should have been painfully obvious” to the effect that “Conflating … Democrats with the left is a mistake. Showboating, virtue signaling, hypocritical and inept idiots do not represent the real left, which is about solving problems rather than exacerbating them”. Two negative responses to that observation led to the following expression of my perspectives on point.  The responses, and I quote, were: “Dream on. Nice attempt to strip the Left of all of its natural stink and decay in order to leave nothing but a fictitious sweet smelling rose. It’s like an abused wife telling someone about only the good aspects of her abusive husband”; and, “Should I believe my eyes or you?”

Sooo, this is my answer which I believe to be important:

People who claim to share leftist values include many who consider themselves liberal or progressives and articulate goals shared by “real leftists” but way too many, including almost all of the ones who call the Democratic Party their home, differ drastically in their conduct and methodology from those of us on the “real left”, most of whom owe allegiance to no political party at present.  Too many of the former seem to be involved in political and civic activities for show, to demonstrate their virtue rather than to get anything done.  To them demonstrations and ridicule and comradery seem the real goals.  They are extremely counterproductive.  Indeed, it seems their only use is to polarize and divide us for the benefit of the elites who run the Deep State and who are the primary obstacles to attaining the world real leftists strive to achieve. 

The real left is not about using rhetorical devices to win arguments, or to win arguments at all.  We are about laying the groundwork to lead by example, to educate by example, to keep our minds open to the views of others and to thereby both continue to grow and learn and to thereby understand the views of those who oppose our goals even when such opposition is against their best interests. The real left, including real democratic socialists, understand that the manner in which the tensions between our individual and collective natures are perceived is what separates us from other honestly held philosophies, most specifically libertarians with whom we probably share many values.  We believe that conflicts between the individual and the collectives of which the individual is a part should, whenever possible and to the extent possible, be reconciled, but that when reconciliation is not possible, as Star Trek’s Spock lectured us, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.  Libertarians hold the opposite perspective.  But we true leftist are not out to destroy individuality and individual rights any more than libertarians are anarchists, and we can usually work things out because we both resort to reason and persuasion rather than ridicule and government imposed compulsions which almost always pave the way to authoritarianism at best and totalitarianism at worst.  Neither of us believes that the two major parties have our interests at heart thus we both tend to be populist, i.e., we reject governmental institutions and traditions that provide only the illusion of democracy, or of liberty, or of equality, or of equity or of justice, and would prefer to do away with political parties altogether and instead concentrate on the qualities and nature of candidates, to vote in favor of that in which we believe rather than against “greater evils”.  We share with libertarians much more than that which divides us.

Real leftists despise the United States Democratic Party because of its dishonesty and hypocrisy in espousing our views while doing everything possible to obstruct their realization.  Republican policies all too frequently oppose the policies we espouse, but do so honestly, so that we both know where we stand.  However, lately, traditionalist Republicans like the Bush Family and their followers, have, like the Democratic Party, become tools of the Deep State’s anti-Kantian philosophy espousing the economic benefits of perpetual war.  Real leftists and libertarians are non-interventionist-pacifists but if legitimate defense is required, we expect to engage on the front lines ourselves rather than sending other people’s fathers and sons and mothers and daughters off to do the dirty work.

Unfortunately, the faux-woke, self-aggrandizing, attention seeking, unproductive but very loud and very active people who claim to be leftist and liberal and progressive, apparently having a great deal of free time in which to riot and loot and burn and ridicule and put others down, are likely to succeed in preventing implementation adoption and popular acceptance of the goals they claim are theirs, and only theirs.  Goals which real leftists really treasure such as a real end to racism and xenophobia and misogyny because we have convinced people, in their hearts and in their souls, that we are all brothers and sisters and that, as Martin Luther King, Jr., frequently and passionately expressed “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.  Goals such as real equity, equality of opportunity and justice, where impunity and corruption are anathema.  The real left seeks to persuade through example and illustration and realizes that a great deal of patience is required, we know that actions, for good or ill, speak louder than words or pictures or slogans.  We understand that real change is not attained without popular support and certainly that it is not attained through abuse of the government monopoly on the use of force through imposition of coercive sanctions that only alienate and divide.

Thus, the worst enemies of real leftist are not those who do not share our goals and values but those who claim that they do but who by their conduct make them impossible to attain.

Something to consider.

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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com

Wither Go We: A diatribe

Identity politics, the purportedly “woke”, the destruction of historical monuments, the illusory #MeToo movement, all addressing real problems but apparently making them worse, continue unabated and uncontrolled.  Reality seems illusory and illusions reality as slogans by those most responsible for the ills of which they complain flood our senses.  Authoritarianism in the name of liberty and censorship in the name of freedom of expression are as omnipresent as are demands to eliminate safeguards against electoral fraud in the name of free elections.  It’s as though all that is required of great poetry is rhythmic sounds without meaning or context and all that is required of transcendental philosophy is that it be confusing.  That seems to be world in which we find ourselves, one where cognitively dissonant entertainment (some labeled news) seeks to mold us into something, but perhaps no one is sure just what.

Perhaps we need some articulate parables and metaphors to clear our minds.  Perhaps a contrast of opposites can bring us together, at least briefly, at least for an instant.  Perhaps something as negatively perceived as cancer can help.  Cancer is not necessarily a negative concept, rather, it involves an anomaly growing in an uncontrollable manner within an incompatible host.  As with so many processes that we as humans denominate “diseases”, cancer is merely an independent biochemical process seeking its own destiny, although when it attains victory over its hosts, its own self-destruction is assured.  In that sense, a metaphorical cancer seems to have evolved in our species.

Or perhaps it’s not really metaphorical.  Perhaps it’s been growing for a long time.  Perhaps it’s always been among us but is now making itself much more manifest, secure in the conviction that its time has come.  Perhaps a societal cancer, one composed of memes rather than genes, has reached the point in its growth where it is impelled to destroy that which we’ve been without concern for what we’ll become.  Its goals would seem subject to differing interpretations depending on whether one viewed as malign or benign.  In one sense, one might perceive it as a lemming-like compulsion to species suicide but in another, as a necessary evolutive climax; back towards nature’s testing, questing formulae of trial and error and perhaps, back towards survival of the fittest; or else towards extinction, which is what happens to evolution’s failures. 

The cancer within our society manifests as a complex of chaotically contrarian groups, each furiously seeking change but unable to agree as to who or what we should become.  It feels like an instinctive compulsion away from something but not necessarily towards anything.  Perhaps, many within its vocal subgroups (where clamor and uproar seem to amplify their numbers and their impact) don’t really care about consequences, the urge towards species suicide being much too strong among them; their self-hate as strong as their disdain for tradition.  And perhaps such self-hate is justified. 

Some such subgroups have a clear perspective of the aberrations we desperately need to discard in our societal and social makeup in order to attain the ideals we’ve created, aberrations such as elitism, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, inequity, inequality, injustice.  Some even have cogent ideas about how to attain such goal but too few have the talent necessary to attain the better world for which they aspire through voluntary means and instead, seek to use the purported monopoly the legal use of force enjoyed (but all too often abused) by government to force compliance with their perspectives, rendering them as destructive to popular welfare as are the concepts they believe that they oppose.  Thus, much of the evolutionary cancer that infects us, for good or ill, seems delusional and generates popular resistance. A sort of counterrevolution led by our societal white cells under multicolored populist banners.

The metaphor of cancer is relevant because cancer, as a medical malady, may be misunderstood.  Perhaps it is nature’s way of forcing us to return to an evolutionary process that we’ve insisted on stalling (if not abandoning), misdirecting it through artificial means which our cognitive breakthroughs have made possible; an aberration accomplished through invention of counterintuitive (at least to nature) ethics and morals that reject the fundamental premises involved in survival of the fittest and which place our human wisdom above that of nature.  It would seem an abomination for those who insist on protecting the environment to eventually come to the conclusion that those deemed most evil among us, villains such as Hitler and his Nazis, agreed with them, but we’re protected against such heresy by a beneficent logical incoherence.  One to which we turn as we struggle with concepts such as good and evil, concepts as alien to nature and perhaps even to nature’s god (if one exists) as they were to those members of our species whose values and conclusions we’ve purportedly rejected, at least superficially, albeit perhaps hypocritically.  A beneficent logical incoherence whose postulates have become so powerful a part of who we claim to be that failing to abide by them is anathema.  Postulates such as the sanctity of life, the importance of honesty, the inhumanity of brutality, and of course, concepts such as equity and equality and justice.

As a species, we are an amalgam of incoherently complex contradictions and perceptions, inconsistency, inconstancy and hypocrisy being the rule rather than the exception.  It’s a wonder we’ve survived, at least until now.  In the future, the forces of evolutionary and social entropy may impose a convergence of our most treasured spiritual values with those of nature and render us once again no more but no less than animals, mere cogs in nature’s unplanned plans, reacting rather than planning, thinking and aspiring.  Herded rather than herding.  Perhaps that’s why so many within the metaphorical societal cancer with which I began this diatribe only sense the need to destroy who and what we’ve been without a firm and coherent idea of who or what we should or will become.  And perhaps its nature’s will that they prevail. 

Perhaps trying to make sense of and alleviate our current polarization is a counterproductive exercise and we should just sit back and let the experience flow over us, slumbering into the future while forgetting the past until neither is relevant and only a brief now exists.  Perhaps that’s the most logical way to face our own extinction, letting bygones be bygones, releasing our inhibitions as we fade away in shades of gray.  The favorite color of the stones we’re destined to join in our planet’s journey towards eternity and humanity’s demise.  It’s been an interesting ride but perhaps all things really must end and who are we to think otherwise. 

On the other hand, perhaps as a species we really are special, and unique, and perhaps there’s a purpose to our lives, and perhaps values are real and truth exists, and perhaps there’s a reason for what we experience, and perhaps its’s even a benevolent reason.  After all, at the crossroads of infinity and eternity, anything and everything is possible.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Ilk

America’s proclivity for constant belligerency is sold to those who, from our perspective, have to pay the price; all too frequently the ultimate price, through the maxim “freedom is not free”.  It is a potent slogan, charged with emotion, especially to those willing to sacrifice everything for a cause.  Unfortunately, it is a slogan used by the worst among us to justify profiteering at any price, whether paid for by us or by our victims, others who also believe that “freedom is not free” and that the defense of their countries from invaders is the highest duty, the “Red Dawn” warriors of other cultures.

We also have another maxim, a moral maxim, one that also requires great discipline, forethought and foresight, one essential for long term solutions rather than emotional reactions, and that is “the ends do not justify the means”.  Something to which we give lip service domestically, but not in our relationships with “others”.  We pay lip service to it within our military services with rules of engagement and penal codes for violations, but they apply only to those doing the fighting, those in harm’s way with life and death decisions a split second away.  But they do not apply with respect to the villains who so cavalierly waste their lives and those of their grieving families, nor, of course, to the lives of the enemies they create and dehumanize and their grieving families.  Think of Bush and Clinton and Bush and Obama and Trump and Biden and their “intelligence” services and senior military advisors.  Think of the leaders of our military industrial complex, think of the leaders of our corporate media, and finally, think of the depraved purported leaders of our cultural offerings, Hollywood’s hypocrites and their ilk.

Ilk certainly seems like the operative word, its onomatopoeic resonance sticky with slime and dishonesty, the perfectly descriptive term.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution. Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Ignominy

Once again the final call is played and American troops withdraw in ignominy from a conflict they should never have been sent to fight.  Wasted lives and wasted treasure, hundreds of thousands of civilians converted into collateral damage and the same villains, the cowardly politicians back home, still in play.  The ones who deceived the stalwart American public into conflicts not their own, and then, symbolized by one man, first a Senator and now a president, assured that an orderly withdrawal would turn into a rout.  As perhaps it should, were there a possibility it would teach us to mistrust them.

Never having been a proper time to enter Afghanistan it was far too late for the predestined departure, and seemingly, as always, no one to be held to account.  The Nuremberg trials will once again be shown to be nothing more meaningful than the revenge of victors in too many ways as evil as the vanquished, indeed, in many ways they have become the residue and reincarnation of those they once sent the bravest and best among us to die in vain.  Vietnam, where I lost so many friends seems to echo, sending regards from the shadows to the tune of Pete Seeger’s 1955 ballad “Where have all the flowers gone”.  Has it already been sixty-six years and a few million lives ago?

There is despair in Washington, D.C. tonight, and angst and anger, and premature jubilation in Kabul as those initially vanquished and exiled have returned as victors.  One wonders what will happen now to those long imprisoned without trials in Guantanamo.  But there are, as of yet, no winners.  Nor will there be.  The putrid purveyors of misused power sit comfortable in their mansions while their tools in the media and academia are busy spinning deceptive narratives which they are sure will be the history our descendants learn.  Seemingly always the case, which is why we rarely if ever learn from our mistakes and thus keep repeating them.  But for some they were not mistakes, not mistakes at all; not for the vultures perpetually circling like Valkyries and enjoying the spoils derived from no-lose situations, more loans to make and armaments to sell now that so many have been used or wasted.  Taxes and printing presses provide apparently never ending resources, at least for now, and as Luis XV purportedly said, “Après moi, le déluge“.  Future generations can pay.  They’ll just have to find a way, in the meantime, “let’s all eat cake”.

“Saving face” is important to most cultures but some, like the Japanese, have the decency to face their errors with honor in a manner that assures that they, at least, will never personally repeat them.  Here, in the United States, tonight, the political and military leadership riding on the shoulders of their stooges just smile and look away, sure that soon everything will be forgotten by feckless voters in a dysfunctional parody of democracy, and that soon, it will once again be their day.  They’ve planned for this contingency circulating fantasies involving recycled villains like Russia and China and new foes like Iran and Venezuela that have to be addressed, regardless of the price to be paid, albeit by others.  The price to be paid by new generations of cannon fodder and by new “unavoidable” instances of collateral damage; new collaborators to be used and then discarded, as perhaps those willing to betray their own deserve to be.  And when needed, there are plenty of scapegoats available in the middle ranks, those bothersome creatures who demand that those responsible be held accountable.

Of course, ultimately, the fault lies in the voters whose lack of courage or dignity, makes it impossible for them to ever vote their consciences in favor of something in which they believe instead of against a purported lesser evil.  With a voting populace such as we have almost everywhere, democracy will work only for those who most efficiently use and delude them; use and delude us.  Us; whose taxes fund the slaughter of friend and foe alike for the profit of the sophic vampires who, from behind the veils of their Deep State, rule us all as though possessed of the One Ring and we, of obedient trinkets.

Such is our world on this late August eve in 2021, as it has been as far back as we can remember, as it will seemingly continue to be, as Cassandra, the princess and seeress of Troy warned so very long ago.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at www.guillermocalvo.com.

Fathers’ Day Blues

Holidays.  Strange things. 

Generalizing, many are supposed to be festive occasions although all too many deal with profound tragedies.  Like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Or celebrate mass murders, like so many Hebrew feast days.  Or, bastardize religious events, like the Easter Bunny and candy and egg hunts.

Fathers’ Day is a strange holiday, like an onion in a sense, with layers of meaning.  For functional families it is a happy occasion with a touch of gratitude for sacrifices joyfully made, but functional families are becoming more and more rare.  Dysfunction, i.e., functioning in pain, and non-function, are becoming more and more the norm, or perhaps it just seems that way.  Perhaps that’s always been the case.  And for many, many, too many fathers and their progeny, Fathers’ Day is not joyous.  The same is of course true of Mothers’ Day under similar circumstances, but I write this on Fathers’ Day’s Eve, so I’ll be a bit more focused on “dads”.

Like the holidays at the end of the year, Fathers’ Day can be a deeply depressing day.  Not a day filled with gratitude but with recriminations and regrets, one where the worst in relationships is highlighted and criticism rather than praise prevails.  That is especially true in those all too frequent cases where families have been torn asunder by parental separation, separation where one parent wins custody and the other is cast aside (except with respect to noncustodial responsibilities like alimony and child support).  In many such cases, the custodial parent creates a false narrative, implanting false memories in order to justify their own serious shortcomings and, in many such cases, the parent scorned disappears and is castigated as uncaring and irresponsible.  And sometimes that’s true.  But at other times, the loss of a family, especially of one’s children, especially when distortion and calumny become prevalent, are just too much to bear, and the only apparent survival mechanism is destructive withdrawal.

That, of course, is a gender neutral tragedy impacting mothers as well as fathers. Still, our purportedly paternalistic society idolizes motherhood and to a large extent disdains the paternal role.  Fatherhood is characterized by responsibility, its sacrifices largely ignored.  In general (albeit certainly not always), mothers deserve the credit society showers on them but perhaps fathers deserve understanding rather than disdain, even when they’ve not fully succeeded in their assigned role.  There is of course a huge difference between fathers who refuse to acknowledge their role, who enjoy their sexual partners and then discard them and absconded.  But what about the millions of fathers who accept their role, try, to varying degrees, to meet their responsibilities, but who, for one reason or another, failed?  Or even sadder perhaps, those who succeeded in their role but were cast out and disenfranchised through our blatantly one sided judicial system?

What does Fathers’ Day mean to them?  What does it mean to their children?

Perhaps the saddest day of the year.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.