Archive for April, 2017

The New Puritans

April 28, 2017

I suspect that at no point in my life have I had more difference with people whom I nominally share goals than with the people who today are trying to shut down the speech of those they disagree with. I support all kinds of people that the anti-speechers also support: LGBTQ, immigrants, and many others. But their methods, stifling speech and drumming out the unworthy, are 180 degrees opposed to my values. Barring Ann Coulter from Berkely or shouting her down if she arrives, actually rioting to keep someone from talking? This just makes me realize I have little in common with these people.

The wheel of history keeps turning and I suspect this new generation is the one that will become the Puritans of this century. They “know” what is acceptable and will use the full powers they have to punish those they disagree with.   And as they grow older their generational power will increase and they will be able to marshal harsher punishments, and black list more and more people they disagree with.

I imagine that if they think about it at all, they see themselves as the brave counterculture of the 60’s, marching for what is right.  But in my view they are much more representative of the previous generation, the 50’s, with the House un-American Activities Committee and the Movie Morality Codes and the Senate investigations into the sinful Comic Books. I guess the only solace is the knowledge that, since the wheel of history will continue to turn, it is likely that their own children will be their counterculture. They will be the ones who successfully call them out.



April 25, 2017

On April 7, 2017 Radiolab put up a podcast on the US Nuclear Arsenal. They pretty clearly demonstrated that the President, one Donald J. Trump, can authorize a launch alone and immediately.  There are no other checks and balances in place. William Perry, former Secretary of Defense, confirms this at length.

A few hours after listening to this I saw a headline that said all 100 Senators will be briefed about North Korea in the White House and I have to admit to a sick feeling in my stomach. Even the mainstream press, which should demonstrate more understanding, makes this out to be a Trump vs. Baby Kim issue.  But what Trump is talking about is starting a war in other countries territory, a war that would instantly put at risk the citizens of China, Japan and Russia, not to mention South Korea. Depending on the wind, nuclear or chemical fallout will drift towards one or more of those countries. According to recent polls conducted in the area, the US, via Trump, is viewed by the residents of those countries to be acting totally on their own, incompetently and belligerently.  We will be seen as instigating or providing the attack, and we will be held to blame. And what country in the world will speak in our defense?