Fulcrum Ruminations

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Motivations and Cogitations

Hiya blogosphere. Been a long time, innit?

Almost two years since the last entry. This effort has pretty much gone off the rails. After the death of my wife and the Persephone affair, it's just not seemed important. Other projects were consuming my writing time. Short stories. Journaling. Working on my novels.

I have written eight short stories in the last two years and have half-completed versions of three more in the queue. One of the completed ones turned out to be not so short, clocking in at nearly 28,000 words . . . novella length. I've also filled up my ongoing journal, Ancient Noise, after six years of irregular effort. And the one major novel I've concentrated on is up over 10,000 words, which is barely a tenth of the way finished.

All this has drained the well of inspiration. There's been nothing left over for Fulcrum Ruminations despite the tumultuous events of the last two years. So many things have happened . . .

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, finally launched with major problems and less than promised results. The thing remains a grotesque government overreach, basically telling us that the federal government has the authority to compell us to purchase commercial products whether we want them or not. I've been over the Constitution several times and I find no such power within it. But the reality impaired continue to insist that it's good for us. We'll see how they feel under the new Republican congress when that body decides to use the same rationale to do something the "progressives" don't approve of.

Racial tensions erupting in the aftermath of the Ferguson incident. This has probably been a long time in coming and represents a confluence of several trends: the ongoing militarization of police forces, the black community's refusal to address its own issues and blaming all their problems on others, and the explosive growth of the internet making what would in previous times have been local stories into national and even global ones. Back in the era of the civil rights marches and Martin Luther King Jr, racism had to be pretty blatant and egregious to penetrate the national news headlines. Now with the internet we can all get a god's-eye view of all the little stuff that goes on and see that there's a larger pattern of evil at work. And it's not just the racial tensions that are being revealed by this trend.

Gun control. Multiple incidents of madmen running amok and killing innocents. Ambushing cops. Chaos. All framed against the backdrop of the Second Amendment, which has been recognized by the Supreme Court as an individual right to self-defense. These forces are heading for collision and I fear the outcome. If there's one issue that could really split the American experiment apart, it's this one. At its base it's personal liberty and responsibility versus the nanny-state impulse to control people for their own good. We're seeing a shift from "innocent until proven guilty" to "we know you're up to no good, so we're going to watch you all the time." This at the same time that we're raising a generation of kids who are online all the time, post their every random thought and what they had for dinner to social media, and are losing the sense of privacy. Everything is transparent to the kids now and that's what they expect. Anyone not living in the goldfish bowl is now a suspicious character.

If the Second Amendment goes, the rest will follow in short order. The Civil War pretty much killed the Tenth Amendment, the Fourth and Fifth are under daily assault as part of the "war on terror" we've been immersed in since 9/11, and the forces of censorship have never been very far beneath the surface in this country. There's lots of people mouthing hollow words of support for freedom of expression, but it's usually quietly understood to mean only expressions that they agree with.

The so-called "Common Core" standards for education are causing what may be irrepairable harm to public education. While the idea of core standards for what kids should know at each level of their education is a good one, the implementation of "Common Core" has been so ill-conceived that it comes close to rendering the concept of education itself irrelevant. Layered on top of all the other issues afflicting public education it may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. We're already at the point that employers want college degrees for jobs that formerly required only a high school diploma. And colleges are having to send students to remedial math and reading courses just to get them competent enough to continue with higher education. I've said before and I'll say again, the best thing that could happen to education in this country is the abolition of the federal Department of Education and the elimination of the Teacher's Unions. The only way this is going to get fixed is to go back to local control of primary schools, the heavy involvement of parents, and the ruthless elimination of social feelgood gobbledegook.

I could go on and on with brief snippets of current issues. Maybe doing this post will motivate me to resume semi-regular entries. The fulcrum continues to tilt, gentle reader, but as I get older I see it tilting in harmful, even dangerous directions. America has serious, ongoing structural problems that simply are not being addressed. No one wants to feel a little pain now to save future pain that will almost certainly be much greater. We want instant gratification and by God that's what we're going to have, even if it wrecks the world.

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