Branching Out

I have long refused to dip my toes in the polluted waters of politics.  In 2012, when my friend at work became despondent over the election results I wrote a long, elaborate post about my opinions and politics.  I didn't publish it.  When this era-definition election took place, I again wrote a long polemic.  And again it was deleted.  This blog is and always will be focused on gear.  But as I write more I feel the need to write about different things (hence the kitchen knife review).  And so, the time has come--I will start posting a bit on my political views.  It won't be all of the time and it won't be a focus of the blog, but its something I feel the need to do. 

My hope is that I will be able to do this respectfully and to generate a conversation about politics that is as cordial and thoughtful as the discussions we have about gear.  I have always contended that I learned more from the feedback you provide than you could possibly learn from my articles and I hope the same will be true of the political discussion here.

By way of introduction, I think you should know that I am something of non-categorical thinker (to borrow a phrase from logic and linguistics).  I don't really like labels and if I were a nominee for political office I would fail the litmus test of both parties, and probably any party that could be conceived of in the American political climate at the beginning of the 21st century.  There is no unifying political principle behind my beliefs other than a commitment to logic, reasonableness, and the value of people. 

Additionally, I am distinctly not happy with the two-party system we have right now and I feel like both the left and the right, the Democrats and the Republicans are letting us down.  I also believe that government is part of the problem.  Another large part of the problem (perhaps even larger part of the problem) are big corporations.  But this is a three-headed hydra and the third enemy of We the People is the one that dominates our politics, yet never makes anything, never keeps anyone safe, and has no role outlined in the Constitution--the political parties.  We the People have three enemies: Big Government (which monopolizes the law), Big Business (which monopolizes the money), and Big Politics (which monopolizes access).  These three things have been and always will be the fulcrums of society.  They will either serve or enslave We the People, depending on the disposition of society as a whole.  And right now the disposition of society as a whole is focused on in-fighting among We the People for the benefit of the Three-Headed Hydra.

The solution is not a revolution, but an evolution.  Diplomatic theory, most specifically the work of Anne Marie Slaughter, over the past few years has come to focus on two theories of power--the chessboard theory and the network theory.  In the chessboard theory, we have two adversaries and one wins by gaining power over the other.  In the network theory we have multiple agents and power is attained by linking with other agents.  And so too does the solution to our current three-part conundrum arise.  We the People cannot beat these three social structures.  We can only overcome them through networking with each other and with parts of those structures.  We must co-opt, not kill them.  They are excellent at preserving themselves, but, if like a virus, we work our way into their DNA and rewrite it at the source, We the People can reassert ourselves and become agents of the country around us instead of subjects of a political system that is a simulacrum of democracy. 

And so, from now on your gear commentary will come mixed with a bit of political commentary.  I know I promised never to do this, but this is the time and this is my avenue.

Up next: the Gorsuch nomination.