Category Archives: Liberal ideas

The Doofus Divide


I am trying to cut down on political notions and noodling in this blog.  It is like sugar to a humor writer.  The easy laughs are sweet, but if you are diabetic, they will eventually build up and kill you.

But between Twitter-tweeting twit-wits and Facebook false-fact fools, I keep getting drawn back in.  The gang of kids I grew up with in Iowa are seriously infected with Tea Party propaganda now that they are old coots like me, and continue to vote for Teabagger trolls (And I mean literal trolls.  Steve King, Congressman from Iowa, has green skin and lives under a bridge… and maybe eats foolish children when they try to cross) for public office.  And of course, I live now in Texas where gun-toting cowboys look at you intently to find any possible reason to shoot you and then thank Jesus if you are fool enough to give them one (like admitting to be mostly a Democrat in your political persuasion).  They want to argue anything and everything I post on Facebook.  Apparently even my bird pictures and cat videos politically offend them.


Oooh!  This one really offends Teabaggers… especially the ones who make $25/hr or less.


Can you pick out the Trump voters in this line?  All of them maybe?

And I am not suggesting that people who voted Republican in the last election aren’t as smart as my side.  I waited until now in this essay to say that, because the childhood friends and family members in that group who read my blog will have all stopped reading by this point.  I really don’t need to give them any more ammunition for Facebook and dinner table arguments.

But my side of the table are not wholly guilt free.


I regularly tweet or post things like these, innocently believing these heroes of the heart and mind have universal appeal because they champion truth and science and facts.  But I become alarmed when I learn how much Bill Nye offends them.  They tell me, “That guy is not a scientist!  He has no right to argue for climate change issues or the non-existence of God.  He’s just a TV guy.”  And, I suppose they have a point.  I mean, his extensive education and background in engineering, or his years in television promoting science to kids in research-based creative ways, doesn’t necessarily make him an expert on all science.  And Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist.  He doesn’t have a degree in EVERYTHING.  And when I point out that their so-called experts on climate-change denial from Fox News cannot even claim to be TV weathermen, they are further put out by my brain-bashing bullying way of using my superior knowledge of science to put them down.  Okay, I get it.  I am not being careful enough of your feelings.  (Oh, I forgot, you stopped reading this a while back.)

But the point of this is, we have to stop listening to and electing stupid people, while at the same time being a bit nicer to each other.  We have to approach the discussion with the notion that you yourself may not be totally right about everything, and you may actually learn something by talking about it.  (Which is, of course, no problem for me since I really don’t know anything for certain and need to learn practically everything as if I were still four years old.)


Okay, Bill, I get it.  I am probably wrong about that too.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, forgiveness, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, humor, Liberal ideas, memes, politics, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Cranky Old Coots Complain and Don’t Care


Yes, I am a coot.  I became a coot in 2014 when I retired. I have the hair in the ears to prove it.  I sometimes forget to wear pants.  The dog is learning to hide from me on days when my arthritis makes me cranky.

So I am a practicer of the ancient art of being a cranky old coot.  I have opinions.  I share them with others foolishly. And I am summarily told to, “Shut up, you danged old coot!”  And, of course, I don’t shut up because that would be a violation of number five in the by-laws of cootism.  Obnoxiousness is our only reason for still being alive.

Lately, my group of coots on Facebook (who call themselves a “pack” like wolves, but, in truth, a group of coots is called an “idiocy”) are talking about politics… very loudly salted with firmly held opinions, beliefs, and bad words in several languages.  I mean, it’s texting each other on memes we disagree about, but we do it LOUDLY, like that, in all caps.  We also do it in such an infuriating manner because, if no one ever bothers to tell us to “Shut the hell up!”  we will begin to suspect we have actually died and gone to purgatory where we are still being obnoxious, but nobody knows we are doing it.  That is rubbing coot fur in the wrong direction.

The radical right (otherwise known as coot paradise) have been cooting up a storm about school shootings and gun control of late.  They have more or less turned their ire on me because, knowing I was a school teacher, they have seized on the Coot in Chief’s notion of arming teachers to protect schools.  Obviously a majority of old coots agree that requiring a few “volunteer” teachers to conceal carry and learn how to handle a school shooter crisis situation with a gun instead of the way teachers are actually trained and practiced on handling such a situation, is the only economical way to defend schools from crazed lunatics with assault weapons.  Of course, it is definitely more economical than hiring full time police officers to handle security because “volunteer” teachers does not mean that they are necessarily willing to do it, but rather that they are doing it without pay.  And of course they shout at me things like, “Why don’t you just admit that you are too scared and unpatriotic to carry a gun as a teacher, and cowardly allow some female teacher with a big pistol to step in and do the job for you?”  That is a very coot thing to say, and is hard to adequately counter, because if you try to argue using logic other than coot-logic, like the notion that since a majority of teachers in this country are female, you are asking women who are fierce enough to do the job (and I have known more than a few who would take it on no matter how hopeless their prospects) to take a handgun that the principal bought at Walmart with money from the Coke machine in the hall and face down a suicidal maniac with an assault rifle, you will not even be heard over the cacophony of coot braying and chest-thumping, let alone be understood.

And, for some reason, coots love Trump.  Maybe because they feel he is truly one of them.  He is older than dirt.  He has an epicly bad comb-over to hide his bald spot.  He says bad words very loudly in front of women, children, and everybody.  He says, “Believe me,” a lot, especially when telling lies.  And he’s not afraid to fart in public and blame it on the dog.  I admit to insulting Trump in front of them only because I like to see coot faces fold up in extra wrinkles, and coot heads turn various shades of angry red and apoplectic purple.

So, yes.  I am a coot.  Not proud to be one… that I can remember, but a coot never-the-less.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, gun control, humor, Liberal ideas, oldies, Paffooney, teaching

The Childhood Brain Thinking Naked

Children, especially young children, are natural nudists. So it seems to me, who was once a child and remembers being one, once dealt with sisters and cousins, once worked at a daycare center with children below the age of five, spent 24 years teaching middle school students, mostly 7th graders, raised two boys and one girl of my own, and for a few years had a backyard pool fenced in for skinny-dipping. Every child I ever knew went through a period of liking to go naked. (Though I have to admit that I never saw a middle-school student naked, nor would I ever want to, but only know about their nudist ways from talking to them and reading their journals where they often talked about things so personal it shocked me a bit and made me wish to un-know it.)

During my own preschool days, I loved taking a bath, especially with Mr. Bubble or other bubble-bath soap in the tub with me. I liked the feel of it all over my naked self. It was a sensual experience that I reveled in. But one time at Grandma Beyer’s house my nudist’s enthusiasm got curbed after bath time was over. I went out into the living room naked without my pajamas. My Grandma Beyer knew how to say, “No,” to children. But she had never threatened corporal punishment until that time.

“Put your clothes on, or Grandma will spank you,” she said. And that is all she said. She used that old farm-wife voice that promised painful hyde removal if I offered any defiance. She had never threatened me with discipline before, that I could remember, And she never did again that I know of. Nor did she have to. The message was conveyed. And from that moment on, I was led to understand that enjoying a state of personal nakedness was only the most private of things. If that had not happened when it did, then I think I would have been a lot less shy about nakedness as I grew.

And then there was the time when I was routinely being babysat after school at my Uncle Larry’s farm along with my two sisters and my baby brother while Mom worked as a nurse on the 3 to 11 shift. Dad didn’t get home until 6. I was probably 8.

Uncle Larry had a barn. And I was allowed to play alone in there as long as I stayed away from the hogs who could be dangerous and didn’t get cow poop on myself. The hay loft was a wonderful place to get naked and play around, jumping from the top of a high stack of bales into the pile of scattered hay below. The straw was always rather scratchy and unpleasant if you plunged into it butt first, but the thrill of flying and spinning through the air naked was glorious.

But, the clan on my mother’s side of the family was made up of mostly girl cousins, there being seven of them between me, the eldest cousin, and the other two boys, one of whom was my baby brother. And girls, especially evil cousin-type girls, glory in embarrassing boy cousins. My sister and the oldest of Uncle Larry’s girls caught me with no clothes on in the hay loft one day. I scrambled and dressed myself faster than I ever had dressed myself before. My face changed colors in ways I had never done before either. And both of the girls tried to further embarrass me by pulling down pants and underpants to show off their girl parts. I hid my face and pretended not to look. But I also learned that I liked naked girls that day. I did sneak a few peeks. It was, of course, a couple of years before my friend Wilford told me the facts of life (though that probably didn’t matter since most of what Wilford revealed to me was totally false information.)

It occurs to me now, 58 years later, that it probably would’ve been better to get the real facts from my Mom, the registered nurse, or from my Dad before this all happened. We could’ve maybe innocently played naked in the hay together knowing full well what not to do and what was really bad in that situation. But as an innocent child, curious but clueless, all I could do was fumble about and worry that I would burn in Hell for doing what I was told was wrong, but I really enjoyed doing. (My Mom could’ve told me the facts of life, but she assumed it was my father’s place to do that. And Dad thought Mom would take care of it since she had the medical training. That’s my excuse for being ignorant, and I’m sticking to it.)

Looking back on it now, with the full knowledge of a well-read adult, I think it is a fact that children have a natural affinity for nudism. And like the many other things like creativity and wonder that we train out of them before they reach puberty, maybe we should be encouraging it instead.

Now that I have offended you and made you swear off my blog forever, let me remind you. This is a humor blog. But that doesn’t mean I don’t really believe some pretty crazy stuff.

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Filed under humor, Liberal ideas, nudes, Paffooney

Naked is Funny

I have lived a life of irony. As a child, I was traumatized by a sexual assault, and it left me afraid to be naked in the presence of others. It was a nightmare in junior high and high school. But even though the physical education showers at the end of every P.E. class were a nightmare dance of towels and hands strategically being flung about because of the other sweaty boys present with mocking eyes and cruel comments, I slowly conducted a personal war within myself to avoid becoming a nudist over the entire course of my teaching career. And then, when I retired, I lost that war. And I became a nudist. I am now a member of the AANR Southwest. And I have been to nudist parks more than once.

You know how practically everyone has that nightmare where they are suddenly at school, in front of the class, and completely naked? Yeah, I had that dream about being both a teacher and a student. I have to say, I eventually learned that all students and all teachers are basically mentally and emotionally naked in the classroom all the time. Students can’t control themselves enough to wear mental clothing. And teachers can’t effectively teach with such barriers in place. Of course, education could not go fully nude without a total restructuring of society and a re-training of all teachers and kids from a very early age.

I can use myself as an example of why “naked is funny.” There is a lot of humor in life that stems from our need to keep certain things secret and the inevitable moment when we fail to keep others from seeing and learning the naked truth.

The picture here is me as I imagine I would have looked naked at ten, showing you everything I was terrified of having girls see, especially the dangly bits that would wiggle and waggle as you walked about naked. I actually wrote a poem about walking about naked as a seventh grader with a wiggling wiener. I, of course, tore that poem up into pieces that I distributed to three different trash cans so nobody could tape it back together. I was aware even back then that I was destined to be one of the world’s worst poets.

I did enjoy being a naked child before I was assaulted. I liked to ride my bike naked at the Bingham Park Woods south of town. There was never anybody else there to bother me. Whether or not anyone ever saw me there, I do not know. Nobody ever said anything about knowing my secret. And after I was attacked, I was always too afraid to try it again.

But being seen naked in nature was not what worried me the most. That naked-in-school nightmare was the one that actually embarrassed me and exposed my dangly bits to girls who knew me.

In P.E. Class once when I was a sophomore in high school, we were standing in a circle on the wrestling mat while the two wrestlers were grappling each other. The girls’ P.E. Class was sitting in the bleachers supposedly listening to whatever the girls’ coach was rattling on about. Of course, we could see they were really all watching the boys wrestle. I was worried that if it got to be my turn, the boy I had to wrestle, being better than me and on the wrestling team, might wrestle my pants off as sometimes happens with certain takedowns. There were cheerleaders in the bleachers that day. Oh, Lord preserve me!

But Jerry Kornbluth and Tom Klotny had an intense match going on… and on and on and on… and the coach was watching them intently as they each countered the other so well that no points were being scored. It lasted long enough that I was in no danger of having to wrestle Nelson, the former State champ in the 110 weight class. So, I stupidly let my guard down.

Boob Eekleboy was a bully and weird-sense-of-humor aficionado. He also was lurking behind me without me being aware of it at all. He was older than me. He was bigger than me. He was weaker than me. (I beat him in a wrestling match the week before, giving him a need for revenge.) And he had an evil mind.

When he took hold of my gym shorts, he apparently got his fingers under the straps of the athletic supporter.

The time between my pants going down and my face turning red as I pulled them back up was probably only about seven seconds. But my dangly bits had been totally exposed. And somebody who might’ve been a cheerleader giggled and squealed about something. Of course, I had that secret trauma that I was suppressing that nearly destroyed me at the time.

My mental problems didn’t let me enjoy this big reveal in any way at the time. But looking back on it, I can see the humor in it. I can actually laugh at it now, gobs of time having healed most of what ailed me then. And I would learn from a third-hand source that one of the cheerleaders that saw it happen liked what she saw and told others about the liking.

So, naked can be funny. I have come to accept that long ago. And it would fuss up some of my novels because they were supposed to be humorous, and I may have planned on using the naked thing a lot.

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Lazy Sunday Thinking

The tradition I grew up in was that you spent the early morning reading the Sunday paper, the Des Moines Register and Tribune, pouring over the Funnies while Dad read the news, society, and sports pages… along with Parade magazine. And we would eventually trade, me releasing the Funnies to Dad in return for the sports page. Then he would give in to the nagging of my sisters and let them read the Funnies before him while he reread Parade magazine.

Of course, our moral training would follow (the parts that didn’t come from the Funnies, I mean.) Then we would go to the Methodist Church for an hour of Sunday School followed by a service and sermon from the Methodist minister.

That’s what Sunday thinking was all about. Somebody else would tell us what to think about morality, religion, and events in the world. And as I got older, and sometimes skipped going to church, there would also be Meet the Press and NFL Today. Always somebody who was not me telling me what to think.

It is always easier to let someone else do the thinking for you.

This Sunday I let Anand Giridharadas do the thinking for me. For those of you who don’t know the man with too many syllables in his name, Anand is an Indian-American born in Shaker Heights, Ohio who rose to fame as a columnist for the New York Times and is currently a political pundit who writes incisive criticisms of the current Capitalism-obsessed world.

He was a guest on Jon Favreau’s Sunday program Offline.

They were talking about how Republican extremists are not waving the American flag as much after the January 6th Insurrection. And he made the point that the more peaceful side, those of us who are more progressive and want to heal the country without resorting to violence, need to take ownership of being flag-flying patriots more.

After all, he said, we are doing something in this country that no other democracy in the world is trying to do. Germany, France, England, even Sweden are primarily white-race-dominated democracies trying to provide peaceful, prosperous life for all citizens, while we in America will soon be a minority-dominated democracy. If we succeed in ruling the ultimate melting-pot society peacefully, we will be exceptional because no one else is doing that.

That is an incredible thought. I am glad he did that thinking for me.

We all need to be saying, “Black Lives Matter,” not because white lives don’t matter anymore, but because, “All Lives Matter, Including Black Lives, Because We Are All Brothers and Sisters Together.

Sometimes the most important thoughts come about because, on a lazy Sunday, I let somebody else think for me.

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Children of the Land

Children are a resource that we, as a people, cannot live on without.

If we stop having children, nurturing children, raising children, providing children discipline and education, entertaining children, guiding children, and, most of all, loving children, in eighty or so years, human beings will be extinct in this universe.

How many universes are there with humanity being extinct in them? It is impossible to answer. But if there is more than one universe, there is more than one.

When I was a child myself, family farms were still the rule in Iowa. Couples would try for lots of kids to help with the farm work. Chores! I fed animals. I went with my grandfather to the feed store, the hardware store, and the hatchery. I drove a tractor. I walked bean fields and pulled weeds. I mucked out a hog house once (and believe me, once is enough for a lifetime.) I have slopped hogs. I shingled a house and a garage. I painted the family house (in town, not Grandpa’s farmhouse.) As a child, I helped my uncles who were farmers, and worked for other farmers in the area. I was just as important as fertilizer to the maintenance of the world I lived in. (I did not say I was important to USE AS fertilizer. They would’ve had to kill me to use me that way. But my work was a part of what made the land yield plenty.)

I was left, as a child, with the distinct impression that we were meant to live in the land as a part of the land. Nature was our friend. We didn’t cut down all the trees and pave over everything like the city folks did. The kid who never went skinny dipping was rare indeed.

There once were people who knew they lived with the land, and they were good stewards of the land. They knew if the land was not living well and healthy, then neither would they live well and healthy.

But I am not arguing that we should go back to the world of the 1960s. The work I did in the land back then is now mostly mechanized and done by machines, computers, automation, and factorization. But we can teach our precious children the values of old to use in new ways. If we don’t, well… I hope the AI Terminator Robots of the future will have a happy life without us.

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Don’t Give Up!

Yes, I am philosophically a pessimist. I expect always that the worst outcome is the one I will have to live with. Hence, I was not as devastated by Donald Trump’s election as some who were too confident that Hilkary would win. And the climate crisis seems to be good reason to prepare for the worst that can happen. Some of it is already happening, already here.

But you really should listen to what this career futurist has to say about it.

The near future is, as documented with evidence in the video, far worse than we think it is. “Just doom, nothing else,” as Robin Williams declares. But too much pessimism at this point is the death of us. We have to keep trying. We can’t just give up.

A cheerleader who is not me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not the right person to be elected head cheerleader on this issue. I have given in to despair and weeping on more than one occasion already. Since the election of Trump, the conservative pillaging of the Supreme Court, the roll-back of EPA guidelines and restrictions, the erosion of fundamental voting rights (soon to be followed by other rights,) the mismanagement of the economy, the Covid crisis, wildfires in the West, the insurrection after the election of Joe Biden, and more and more things that signal doom and possible Armaggedon, we have to battle the urge to lie down and die.

Here is where the optimism of the Reverand Peale is critical.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, also definitely not me.

If we stop trying, our loss and subsequent death is insured. It is only by continuing to fight that we will have a chance to save ourselves. And this is beginning to happen everywhere.

In 2020 we turned out against the Evil-Clown President in record numbers. We wrested the control of the government out of the hands of the corrupt elephants and put it back in the hands of the hard-working but mostly stupid jackasses. Biden’s donkey-like devotion to following through on the work that needs to be done got us through the rest of the pandemic, getting ourselves vaccinated and acclimated to life with the reality of the new deadly virus.

We need, like the faun, to be one with our environment.

We have tried hard and kept at it to achieve much-needed climate-control legislation. The fossil-fuel industry has made it difficult, and we nearly gave up on the Build Back Better program, but it seems through perseverance that we may have finally gotten a critical piece of that over the hurdles after all.

One thing definitely indicated is that we will need to turn out to vote in the midterm elections again this year. If we don’t, the elitist elefantiasis party will take away all our gains and punish us again, playing their golden fiddles while the world burns.

We will never have the magic we need if we don’t try to conjure it.

But despair is still not warranted here. We know what we can do to solve the problems that face us. We have done similar things before, with the Cold War, World War II, and the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s. What’s more we have the tools we need already, and what we don’t have is quickly being developed. There are plans in the works for mountain-sized storage batteries, massive solar-power arrays, and wind farms (many of which are already built and operating.) We can rebuild and upgrade the entire power grid, not just in the USA, but for the whole world. It needs, of course, to all be weather-proofed, meteor-proofed, solar-storm-proofed, and, hopefully, greedy-Republican-idiot-proofed.

We are not beaten if we don’t give up.

And as the futurist tells us in the video you didn’t watch, pessimists prepare us for disaster, but only the optimist can make us successful in living through it to a brighter future beyond.

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A Collection of Rather Evil Men

You wonder how they do it, these corrupt and evil men.

They fight for their own interests and act like clowns every now and then.

And still, retain their power while holding the bloody knife

They used to stab constituents in the back and take their pain-filled life.

No deed done for a dollar has consequences when they’re judged,

And every good in bills they kill is evilly begrudged.

They seek to lead this nation through insurrection and conflagration,

And they raise their fists of power, yet run and hide within the hour.

And when you finally defeat them and undo their evil schemes,

They break whatever things they can and pee on all your dreams.


Filed under angry rant, clowns, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, humor, insight, Liberal ideas, poem, poetry, politics

What We Are About to Lose

The world is on fire. The heat is getting worse than it has ever been (in the time we limited sentient creatures have knowledge of.) There is a very real chance that the end of life on Earth is actually a short time away in the near future (a thing some religions have been predicting unsuccessfully for thousands of years.) What will it actually mean for us to be at the end of time (realizing that we are only talking about our pale blue dot in the near-endless universe?)

Here’s what we face. The greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide, are keeping the heat from the sun from radiating back out into space. Temperatures have already passed what a few years ago was described as the point of no return. The permafrost in the northern hemisphere is melting, releasing increasing amounts of methane, an even worse greenhouse gas, and creating a feedback loop that makes the problem overwhelming. The glaciers in the north and the ice shelf in Antarctica are melting, and sea levels are rising. Major coastal cities are not preparing fast enough for being underwater. Huge populations will be displaced and become refugees. Food-production systems will break down due to drought and unrest amongst workers in both farming and the distribution of food. The mounting expenses of battling these unbearable problems will destroy economies. More wars will break out to add to the misery Putin has already caused by war crimes in Ukraine. Eventually, nuclear weapons may cool the Earth with nuclear winter and stop the production of carbon dioxide by obliterating all manufacturing and depopulating the northern hemisphere. The cockroaches will inherit the Earth. Hopefully, as the dominant species, they will do a better job of managing the environment. But one never knows how they will handle it once they reach their own industrial revolution.

The probable next dictator of the American Fascist Union of Republican States.

Politically, the party with the power denies the existence of the climate crisis. They are concerned with expunging any record of white-people guilt for any crimes against racial groups caused by slavery, Jim Crow laws, genocide against Native Americans, lynching, and any of the other fruits of racism from the history books. They are, after all, quite comfortable in all-white conservative bubbles of thought, and are easily offended by any defense of the Black Lives Matter group. They also focus on removing any suggestion of sexual ideas or knowledge from school books and libraries, because anything but Bible-touted notions of love and sex is pornographic, perverted, or somehow related to lifestyles they certainly don’t want to have anything to do with and prefer to legislate away. So, every effort they are willing to make to avoid the things in that previous killer paragraph involves loudly saying “No!” to any possible solutions to the problems that are going to kill us. Hopefully, the cockroaches won’t become Trumpist Republicans when they take over, giving their rise to intelligence and civilization a better chance of thriving.

It is probably still within our power to stop this relentless life-extinguishing future from happening. There are definitely people who understand both the scientific challenges and the value of all the things we will lose if we sacrifice the entirety of our future for short-term corporate profits (the things all the Republicans we will continue to elect will vote for because of where their priorities really lie.) The human population has shown repeatedly throughout history that they are resilient and inventive, and can overcome all sorts of evil if the will to do so is truly there.

I am a pessimist, which means I always prepare for the worst possible outcome. Fortunately, that way of thinking means I am usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and if it does turn out bad, at least I am prepared for that outcome.

So, if we are going to destroy our world and ourselves, I have to ask myself, was it worth it for us to have ever existed?

Can you look at the smiling face of a child and say the existence of the human race on planet Earth was not worth the effort?

And there are reasons to be glad we are here and we have a history that came before us. The Civil War and World War Two were both terrible things. But one eliminated legal slavery. The other eliminated fascist genocidal regimes from Europe and Japan.

We are able, as a species, to laugh at our own foibles, to create humor and music and literature and poetry. We were able to produce Shakespeare, Mozart, Rober Frost, Red Skelton, Robin Williams, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Beethoven, Kurt Vonnegut, the Beatles, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Elvis, Goethe, Socrates, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, T. S. Eliot, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julie Andrews, Johnny Carson, and the list could go on for days…

We were able to rise up from the ground, fly through the air, and eventually land on the Moon.

We were able to survive the Black Death, Small Pox, Ebola Virus, AIDS, and Covid 19.

We unleashed the power of the atom. We observed and learned about the far reaches of the galaxy and the many other galaxies in the greater universe beyond the Milky Way using only telescopes, mathematics, and the scientific method.

Is it enough to justify the existence of our race? You tell me. I foolishly think we are worthy to live on into the future, even if I myself will soon no longer be able to keep living. I hope to die of non-climate-crisis causes with peace in my heart. But I realize, too, that it depends on a lot of other people besides me. And I do not have confidence in all of them.

If there is a God who can help us, He is certainly welcome to make an announcement in the comments. But barring Divine intervention, what are you willing to do to move the question forward? I am doing what is within my power.

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Thinkology – Who Thinks for You?

I know you will responId right away, “I think for myself!” After all, everyone believes this even when it is not true.

Ideally, we first learn to think from parents, grandparents, and other significant family members (actually related or not.) Not everyone is lucky like I was in that regard. Especially among poorer families that tend to fracture, be violently unhappy, and often malnourished. And also among obscenely rich families who tend to isolate themselves in self-indulgence and ignore and even disdain others. Their children tend to be raised by servants, friends, and television (or YouTube and streaming services for today’s children choking on silver spoons.) I was lucky in the family I was born into, but I have to confess to being significantly impacted by television, though I lucked out there too in that I watched the simpler, more positive TV world pre-Kennedy Assassination and pre-Vietnam War and pre-9/11. It was a time that was far less cynical and less filled with anxiety and anger.

As we grow, we are influenced too by the educational experience forced upon us by society. We are supposed to learn how to think for ourselves in school, though the opposite is actually true. In your third-grade classroom, you are supposed to learn how to add and subtract, multiply, spell correctly, read at least at a third-grade level, and understand the fundamentals of science and social studies. In truth, however, the school experience spends most of its time teaching you to be obedient. You are expected to sit at your desk in orderly rows, open your various textbooks when you are commanded to do so, study and do worksheets quietly, and generally accept that what the teacher tells you is true and should be remembered.

That, of course, is not how children learn. Children learn by doing, playing, and interacting with others, things teachers spend a lot of time punishing. I found as a teacher that you made more progress in educating kids if you do things, talk about things, and turn lessons into playing around with ideas. Basically, allowing children to be themselves, choose which direction the lesson takes, and answering the questions they ask as truthfully as I could without using bad words. These, of course, are things that most principals hate to see going on when they walk by the classroom. Schools tend to be conformity factories, getting kids to think alike, be obedient, and accept what is considered normal, making them perfect future MacDonald’s and Walmart employees.

Happy Walmart employees (a rare species in my experience) only do what their managers tell them to do. And the managers do only what the policy handbook tells them to do. And problems are solved by corporate. Nobody has to think very much.

And there are people who very much want to control what little thinking is done. If you watch news shows, especially on CNN, MSNBC, and infamously, FOX News, they give you a host talking to panels of experts, talking heads that are happy to tell you what to think.

a malevolent, manipulative monkey

CNN and MSNBC attempt to give you a panel of experts with representatives of three or four different positions. A range of people who will gladly give you opposite opinions of what to think.

FOX News gives you a panel skewed towards the radical-conservative viewpoint with “liberal” commentators present in order to mock them, or, if they are real liberals, gang up on them.

All of these are trying to do the thinking for you. A good word for that is “propaganda.” But if they are honestly providing you with a range of competing ideas for you to evaluate and choose between, they are not as toxic and dangerous as the unabashed propagandists behind the radical-conservative movement.

Conservative media is now highly organized into funneling machines which collect non-thinkers and direct them to the ideas that will make them more supportive of top-down control (in other words, fascism.) This is what allows a political group (ultra-conservative Republicans) to dominate the government and create laws and tax breaks that go against the best interests of the general public and impose an order on the country that a majority of citizens don’t want.

The following video explains how the malevolent, manipulative monkeys do what they do.

So, the next question to be dealt with is, obviously, “How do you think for yourself?” Ah, another post on another day.

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Filed under angry rant, education, humor, insight, Liberal ideas, Paffooney, pessimism, philosophy