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September Miscellany

Wars Are Bad

Wars are really bad. I’m very happy our 30-year old very independent European Union province of Slovenia is independent and sovereign.

Still, if Yugoslavia had avoided a war, a few hundred thousand people wouldn’t be dead and a few million lives wouldn’t have been blighted by the decline and fall and the tinpotniks that came to power after.

Wars are really always the worst outcome.

Apply this wisdom to every country.


Mass Media Consumption

Earlier this year, I revised my news media policy. The mass media depends on eyeballs they convert into advertising or subscription revenue. To maximize engagement, they focus on negative emotions: anger, fear. At the same time, they prioritize novelty and excitement over useful analysis.

The utter debacle of the Usanian army’s defeat in Afghanistan was a perfect case in point. Years of articles about how all is well, how all will be well, and then volte-face. All of it useless.

I realized I was consuming mass media as entertainment—that is, as intended.

I restricted myself to a weekly roundup. In the months since, I have noticed only positive consequences of the reduced 24/7 intravenous news cycle.


Everything Is Political

Yes, but so what? Pointing out that some bit of pop culture is political is like saying, “And this room in the house also has air!” Very sweet. Good job. See: Social Politics below.

Folks have different priorities and folks need to prioritize.


Fooled Once and Evermore

A man said B man had a bomb in his house and would blow up the town.

A man said all the folks in town should get together and kill B man.

A lot of folks joined A man and killed B man.

They did not find a bomb.

Some years later, A man says C man has a plan to blow up the town.

Question: do you believe A man again?


Social Media Terror

Earlier this year, I revised my personal social media policy. The platforms are designed to maximize engagement, which is easier to do with negative emotions: anger, fear.

Too many regular users are hooked to the adrenaline of the social media blood sport. Even if I agree with people, I block and mute over behaviour. Anyone that seems to enjoy social media fights is out. I don’t need the mediated emotional assault.


Slovenian Saduccess

Last year I endorsed the Janez Janša’s right-wing government because they looked like they could deal better with the covid-19 pandemic than the government of Marjan Šarec. 

They—and we the citizenry—dealt with the first wave well, if ham-fistedly. There was a shortage of every kind of medical supply, so a hardcore lockdown ensued. Over two months stuck in the same county of ~10 kilopeople.

But it worked! We crushed the first wave and by May 2020, Slovenia had no local transmission of covid.

I congratulated the people and the government and hypothesized what should be the next steps. Things like setting up local production of vital medical supplies, copying lessons from places like South Korea, which had done much better—avoiding the need for such lockdowns altogether.

By December 2020, 1 in 500 Slovenians were dead of covid. By May 2021, the school closures had been some of the longest anywhere. By September 2021, only 47% of the population is fully vaccinated, though they have enough vaccines for 80%.

The right-wing government switched focus to tightening their grip on power and ultimately failed on every measure of competence.

I mean, they named a literal neo-nazi to head their new “nationalist news agency.” Great way to counter the “left-communist corrupted” (fantasy theirs) Slovenian news agency.

I am now quite disenchanted with the possibility of any kind of national-level strategy or progress in Slovenia. It won’t go to hell, probably—it’s simply too comfortably a province of Europe—but it won’t get any better either.


Social Politics

Too many people mistake posting online about something that made them angry or sad for political action. It’s less than a fart in the wind. And usually less nuanced.

This miscellany is also a tiny sphincter trumpet in the breeze.


Common Interests

I posted a tweet saying that people shouldn’t support war-mongering media calling for a conflict between Kitajska and Usania.

These are nuclear-armed superpowers and a war between them would end our world. That is a very, very bad thing.

Immediately an idiot responded, “Are you denying genocide?”


The Accusation

A man says D man has stolen their book.

How much proof do you need before you believe A man?

A man says E man has committed murder.

Do you need more proof than if the accusation was theft?

A man says F man has blown up the town.

Do you need more proof than if the accusation was murder?

Or is A man’s word evidence enough?


The Great Democratator

Imagine calling your party the Psildavian Democratic Party.

Imagine that for 30 years since you co-founded the PDP, you have been the only head of the PDP. Even while you were in prison for corruption.

Is the Psildavian Democratic Party actually democratic?

Should it be called the Psildavian Dictator’s Party?


Legitimacy

A legitimate country doesn’t need guns to make its citizens comply with its laws.


The Fully Legitimate State

Why, an omnipotent divine state would be able to rule entirely without coercion. The faithful would gather to sing hosannas and holy holy holy all day of their own accord round the Almighty Throne. Only an utterly immoral reprobate would even stoop to Accuse such an authority of any misstep. The only possible response to such an Accuser would be to cast them down to the most bottomless pits, where they could gaze upon neither the morning nor the evening star.


The Best of All Positive Worlds

Yet, I remain an optimist.

Science advances.

A billionaire ascends to the heavens in a fiery chariot shaped like a humorously shaped vegetable.

We will save our world with technology.


The Weather

Has been truly lovely this month. Everyone should be jealous of the weather I have had the pleasure to experience.

Nothing beats breathing fresh air through a mask.

I’m sure we’ll have the pandemic beat in South Korea by yellow dust season.

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