Thursday, February 11, 2016

The World Has Abandoned Reason

What’s wrong with cooperation? Remember compromise? Were you, or are you still, a fan of consideration? How about reasonableness in general? These things are out of fashion now, and I, for one, think that the world is poorer for it. These are the tools of order in the world, generally to be preferred over the tools of chaos.

Everyday people have discovered numerous excuses to abandon reason. They include guns; religion; immigration; sexual orientation; politics; and race, among others. All of these subjects are in a state of chaos these days, and it is a mischief.

World governments have become just as unreasonable as the people that they control. Our leaders, the world over, have also comprehensively abandoned the tools of order. Given the history of life on earth, it often appears that chaos has always been favored by our rulers. That is simply a shame. The resulting waste has kept us all in a less than perfect state throughout recorded history, and unfortunately seems likely to continue to do so.

The South China Sea

China is currently engaged in competition with several of its South East Asian neighbors for military and economic domination of the South China Sea. (I’m being polite to describe it so.) China has set itself in conflict with the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam over maritime trade routes and resources. So far, China is acting unilaterally and aggressively. The position of the South East Asian countries is hopeless. Why not co-operate and share the resources and enhance mutual security? Why, indeed.

Isn’t it all about money, security, honor, tradition and the rule of law? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to respect the rights of all of the countries involved in each of those categories? Wouldn’t it be to everyone’s advantage to manage the area together? It’s amazing to me that no one seems even to be considering a reasonable approach to security and economic advantage in the area.


These are the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the Trade in Services Agreement. I am not an expert in these treaties; I am more of a semi-casual observer. I’m suspicious, though, like many similarly situated observers, that they share the intention to strengthen the positions of large corporations, and the investor classes, in both the United States and the European Union, with the goal of preserving and enhancing economic hegemony over the entire world. That would specifically be to the disadvantage of similar entities in China, Russia, India and Brazil (and any other up-and-comers). 

As time goes on, these treaties may begin to seem more and more like some kind of economic World War III. Developments are hard to follow, because of the secrecy of the “negotiations.” Even the junior partners to the negotiations are kept in the dark. Secrecy, directed aggression, and unshared advantage are tools of chaos.

The Presidential Primary Election System (!!!)

This is the process by which American political parties choose their candidates for the presidency. It sometimes comes one state at a time, and sometimes several states on the same day. Most importantly, it takes a long time, something like six months. It is unreasonable because it gives greater weight to the choices of early primary states. Iowa and New Hampshire are lovely places, but neither is particularly important in the scheme of things, except at primary time. It is a totally unreasonable system.

This system knocks out candidates that may be more popular with the general population than the early winners. Early losers are gone, and early winners may not go far. Remember President Santorum? Neither do I. He won Iowa.

It often leads to the nomination of candidates of dubious electability. I will spare them the embarrassment of mentioning their names.

The importance of the choices of large, important states is seriously discounted if their primaries come late in the process. This is the chaos component.

A more orderly process is easy to imagine. Wouldn’t it make much more sense if the primaries came much closer to together at least, or even, if possible, on the same day? Maybe in the same week? I can hear the complaining from some candidates now. It’s too expensive to campaign in fifty states simultaneously! We need to meet and talk to these voters! It takes time! Where there is reason, there are solutions.

We could arrange for a more useful schedule of national events to allow the candidates to get out their message and show the flag so voters could get to know them. This would result in every voter’s choice taking on equal importance.

I would go on to suggest that the way actual elections are accomplished now is equally unfair to some states, particularly to states on the west coast. Their polls are still open, but winners have been declared. This is a disincentive to vote at all. It hurts the pride of west coast voters, and it keeps down voter turnout that might affect local elections.

I would suggest that 1) election day be made a national holiday; 2) people should be further incentivized to vote; and 3) all polls nationwide be open for the same five hour period (in other words, all polls open and close at the same moment, with clock readings staggered across the time zones).  Add a prohibition on exit polling and the reporting of trends before all polls are closed. That would make everyone’s vote count equally.


Seeking reason in the world marks one as a huge Pollyanna, and I suppose that I am one. Expecting our leaders to favor reasonable policies seems equally foolish. But is it too much to ask that the world be moved, slowly perhaps, in that direction? We have arrived at a time in history where there is a sufficiency of money, food and production capacity to provide jobs and prosperity for every single person on the earth. Must we accept that greed, war and blind chauvinism must always control our path? I hope not. I sincerely hope not. 

No comments: