Gatekeeping, Goal Posts, and Human Rights

If you do not find the human rights argument enough to argue against calling people animals, even if they are gang members, here’s another way: ICE has been claiming the people it brings in are MS-13 members because that’s the easiest way to get someone held without bail. It is clear that in many cases they are making up the association, and some judges have begun to call them out on it. 

It doesn’t matter if the president was talking about MS-13 when he called immigrants “animals” (it’s not entirely clear to me, after reading the transcript, why people arguing that he wasn’t painting with a broad brush) or that the White House is releasing statements calling MS-13 animals. Federal agencies, under the direction of the administration, are treating MS-13 and undocumented immigrants as synonymous in order to increase the sense of threat while giving themselves the excuse to treat human beings with impunity. 

So there you go. Human rights should have been enough, but if that’s not enough, the rest really should be.

Capital's Turn

The push to dismantle the federal government by billionaires and privatize its services is an indirect admittance that they have no real hope in new inventions to “diversify” their “portfolios.” There is no terra incognita left, no major technological developments that will make them more money, or the developments that *could* come won’t make the returns on investment that these companies have become used to and they are therefore uninterested (see: the Goldman Sachs exec who said curing disease wasn’t a viable longterm investment opportunity because the cured don’t pay anymore money for treatment).

Essentially: capital has gobbled up the whole world, and the only way to feed its insatiable growth is to sacrifice governing systems on the altar of prosperity so the bones can be picked clean.

What the plan is after that final devouring? It will almost certainly turn to people, as humans are about the only thing on the planet that are continuing to grow and feed the giant machine, as we are killing or depleting everything else. Time will tell how dystopian the shift to “human capital” will become, but if the governments are defanged, if not completely coopted, there isn’t going to be anyone to protect people from the worst impulses of an unbridled system.

February 25, 2018 @ 01:13

There is a type of mental illness, occurring on its own or compounding the illnesses that already exist, that is solely generated by the daily, constant attempts at reconciling contradictions in the world and the breaking down of that internal machinery over time.

I think that is partly why so many people resist acknowledging injustices and spend so much time either ignoring them or giving self-certain and reductive answers as to why they exist. When you embrace the world’s contradictions, they don’t heal you. You become some sort of better, but you never feel well.

February 18, 2018 @ 06:59

It is uncomfortable to listen when I think I know the answer, but I choose discomfort over spiritual death. 

Listening means truly hearing and truly understanding, and it means watching for the truths that challenge the ones I thought I knew and not resting until I have wrestled and reconciled completely with the new truth - whether it be a truth that replaces, a truth that displaces, a truth that modifies, or a truth that mixes and fuses and transforms - and its implications for life and living. Listening means being ready to change and grow when the chance presents itself. Listening means never dismissing without testing for a spark of new meaning, and it means tending to sparks that show themselves until they are fires that burn, give off heat, and give me a chance to see in a new light.

On the days that I am having trouble making the choice to listen, being oriented towards listening means I will be able to catch myself in that indecision, and it means I will understand my resistance to listening is a projection of my own disquiet and insecurity and is not a reflection of the rightness or the correctness of my own positions. On those days, resistance to listening is being off-balance, being off my footing and unable to catch the weight of something new, afraid it will break something in my sense of self. On those days, I will do what it takes to get my balance back, to be secure in my core, to be able to make the choice again. 

My Lenten endeavor is to build myself up as a better listener, to remember everyday when I open my eyes that the choice is truly as stark as a kind of life and a kind of death, and to carry that through the rest of my life.