Monday, February 18, 2008

What I Want, is Mine; What I Don’t Want, is Yours

One wonders what the standard of value is for communities; is it that every transaction should be judged by the fairness of its exchanges, or is the greater value, getting an unfair exchange, which is the exploitation of one over the other? When one sees the news of the day, one would assume that the latter is the objective in Hawaii, rather than any concept of fairness and equity.

It seems that there is great delight in the community and its greatest celebration of achievement, when others can be manipulated and deceived into bringing as much money into the local economy as possible -- with no expectations or intent to provide any value in return. Those are our proverbial “pork barrel” projects that have become the staple of life in Hawaii -- on which the people gorge, thinking nobody will ever notice them putting on “a few extra pounds,” overconsuming in that manner.

Thus, everybody comes to live in this denial -- that buses, boats, convention centers, housing projects, roads run empty, if they run at all, once they have obtained their federal grants and subsidies.

Such “values” filter down to every aspect and level of life in the Islands. People will sell their cars when they are too dangerous for them to feel comfortable driving them themselves. But the buyer will never know that until too late -- when they find out about that fatal flaw in the accident. Clothes will be “donated” when they are no longer wearable -- in order to take the deduction for their full original cost.

It doesn’t matter that the IRS doesn’t allow such deductions -- because ignorance and misunderstanding of those rules, supersede intent to defraud. “Right,” is whatever one wants them to be -- as is "the truth," so the advantage goes to the most ruthless and unscrupulous for proving the worthiness of their dominance (leadership). “Do unto others before others have a chance to do unto you,” becomes the Golden Rule. Corruption is foremost the inability to make these distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, useful and useless, meaning and meaningless.

So instead of meaningful relationships and meaningful communications, meaninglessness becomes the benchmark -- to render all form and no substance, until finally, the predators realize they are now the prey, and when that happened, they have no idea of how or when.

When the powers that be became the has-beens, is never clear. At one moment, they are riding on top of the world, masters of all they survey, with a monopoly on all the buggy-whip manufacturing capacity, and the next day, nobody can recall why it was once considered so important -- and has now become the standard of jokes by which all things are measured.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Paradise Is A State of Mind

It's not "arrogant" to want to live in peace and security, but people are understandably "ashamed," when they stand by doing nothing while innocent people are being abused and killed, thinking that if they just hope for peace, nothing bad can ever happen to them.

The world is a whole lot safer and better place than it was ten years ago -- and that is particularly true of Hawaii, which many have already forgotten was the place people were leaving in droves, and the previous role of the governors of Hawaii (and their henchmen), was to convince us that "last" was really "first," and that all the rules in effect all over the world, did not apply because this was "paradise."

It wasn't until President Bush's strong response to terrorism that Hawaii emerged from its decades long plunge into depression -- which we've forgotten already under the Governorship of Linda Lingle.

But those who forget and try to rewrite history, are doomed to repeat it.

Where we see the “rewriting” of history most is in the popular media -- which no longer bother to consult the academic “experts” because they’d just interject inconvenient facts and lecture endlessly on their pet projects -- distracting from their own quest for the noble prizes. The media celebrities have learned that it is not accuracy that distinguishes but outrage -- and so the more outrageous their claims, the more they are likely to stand out and get their own media program.

There’s always a market for people who will say anything as an expert liar -- "because everybody else does it and why shouldn’t they?" Besides, they rationalize, the cost of living in Hawaii justifies doing whatever one has to do to get more than their fair share -- and those who don’t, are jealous because they didn’t think of it first.

The traditional professions that were formed to protect the underclass and underprivileged, now claim they are the "underprivileged" and therefore must receive those monies intended for those social programs -- as highly paid (entitled) administrators.

And so the infrastructure of viable, responsive society devolves into present day Hawaii -- in which government exists to serve itself, while the people have to fend for themselves because there is no money left over once the government administrators are paid off.

And the media looks the other way because they wished they had thought of that first.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Into the Light

Many people in contemporary Hawaii have expressed a desire to return to a more primitive time -- in which people can brutalize one another and throw the weak off of precipices. So it is not surprising when it actually happens and makes the headlines -- not as an anomaly, but what is now happening throughout society but only rarely coming to the public’s attention as a major social issue. In fact, the reporting is to suggest that the frequency of such events is a remarkable random fluke -- rather than admit of this underlying state of callous disregard for the rights and feelings of others -- of virtual and unrelenting warfare within society and disrespect for any other, instigated and incited by the local media and legacy institutions, to promote and sustain their own dominance.

Yes, it has come to that -- that people see nothing wrong in creating the great social ills of their time -- because they pay particularly well by the powers that be. In times past, people of integrity would not take such “jobs,” but now they rationalize, if they don’t, somebody else even more unscrupulous, will beat them to it.

Societies and communities rise and fall -- like everything else in the world; nothing stays the same permanently -- as a winner or a loser. In the world of mediated reality, today’s winner may be tomorrow’s loser -- or quickly forgotten person. It takes a lot of energy to maintain one’s position of visibility -- and once “successful” at achieving that fame, it is beyond one’s control, and one is at the mercy of other people’s opinions, ensuring that one loses their own.

That is the “dark ages” of tyranny beyond one’s control, which fortunately, most will never have to deal with. In the dark ages, the categorical imperative of society is not the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, but the control of everybody else, so they cannot attain it either. So any society, and interpersonal interactions, are done with those objectives in mind -- not of enabling everyone to win, but in ensuring that nobody can.

Thus, people cheer when bold, highly visible ventures fail -- and explain that that is what the gods want -- so that nobody dares to envision something better, or different, from the “harsh realities of life” they must be condemned to. And they are warned, things are the same or worse, elsewhere.

So fear and intimidation become the major products of this society -- to convince one that there is no choice, and those that appear to be, are only worse than the ones that have been chosen for and imposed upon them, that they must accept from the all-knowing leader.

Fundamentally, things haven’t changed much from 200 years ago, which many now look wistfully and longingly as a golden age of enlightenment, in the history of the Islands. That many should feel that way at any time in history, is an indication that things are getting worse and not better -- and that improvement, is simply realizing that they can exercise their freedom to accept another fate.