Sunday, June 30, 2013

the status quo

Next stop, legal polygamy - if marriage is only about love, why not the love of 3 or more? What makes 2 a special number? 
What my social media acquaintance is saying, in response to recent gay marriage developments, is that if "we" make polygamy legal, "all hell" will "break loose," or some such. But along with there not being anything wrong with multiplicitous gamousness, per se, and the overrated ability of state force to bring about groin-related outcomes, what stands out for me is my acquaintance's not at all unusual acceptance of current law as a self-justifying status quo. As if making something legal involved doing something (crazy), as opposed to stopping doing something. To be clear, to make something legal is to stop doing something. While the burden of proof is widely thought to be on the one who would change the law, perhaps partly because change has always been dangerous to humans generally, perhaps partly due to the apparent mechanistic intransigence of large systems, perhaps due to some kind of stupidity I'm too stupid too identify, the law is, in fact, something that is actively carried out with force, and with terrible effects for most people, by real humans every day. Judges, cops, jailers, and lawmakers wake up every morning, put on their ass-kicking boots, then make the world, on average, a worse place. In an imagined better world, the status quo is leaving people alone and the burden of proof is on the one who wants to use force to prevent someone from acting a particular way.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Children will gladly accept narratives in which they're heroes. Every ethical rule, every principle, makes a hero of its enactor. What's right is what's good and if you do it, you're good, a hero.

I was told often as a child -- no, I breathed it -- that I should follow my conscience, do what's right, protect the weak from the strong, act on principle; that I was free and everyone should be. And since the adult world is intent on destroying children, the temptation of heroism is that much greater. I would be that hero. That pathetic child self would be redeemed.

The mistake -- Bradley Manning's mistake, it seems, one tied up with his heroism -- is believing that they meant it. The mistake is not recognizing that principle persists only because it's useful, because it redeems someone, because it helps someone manipulate. She who acts on principle will suffer at the hands of the principle pushers. She who acts to please will be rewarded.

Check out Big Bird, starting around 2:07:

Big Bird, sadly, doesn't mean it.