Thursday, January 21, 2010

It was a good run....

One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we'll need a new definition.
Alvin Toffler
In two seemingly unrelated news items, we learn that kids spend about 7 1/2 hours plugged into media every day, and that corporations, blessed with the same rights of more corporeal citizens, will be allowed to run ads directly influencing federal races.

Alexis Tocqueville, the data is in, and the experiment has ended.

Draw your own conclusions.


Kate said...

Alexis de Toqueville was an interesting guy. He did say that we are at our best AS A NATION when we are fixing the stuff that we screwed up. He also had this to say about the people whom we choose to govern us and education:
On my arrival in the United States I was surprised to find so much distinguished talent among the citizens and so little among the heads of the government. It is a constant fact that at the present day the ablest men in the United States are rarely placed at the head of affairs; and it must be acknowledged that such has been the result in proportion as democracy has exceeded all its former limits. The race of American statesmen has evidently dwindled most remarkably in the course of the last fifty years.

Several causes may be assigned for this phenomenon. It is impossible, after the most strenuous exertions, to raise the intelligence of the people above a certain level. Whatever may be the facilities of acquiring information, whatever may be the profusion of easy methods and cheap science, the human mind can never be instructed and developed without devoting considerable time to these objects.
(chapter 13 - book 1)

As he might have said 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.'

Jenny said...

Brilliant. You have summed up the feelings of many with this brief post.

John Spencer said...

Some of my more left-leaning friends hailed it as a victory when Google laid the smack-down on China. To me it symbolized the potency of transnational corporations and the impotence of international diplomacy.

John Spencer said...

definition of FUBR - a nation that holds ELL kids accountable for reading at grade level while failing to hold banks accountable at all

Barry Bachenheimer said...

The fact that you can post this on your blog and not have feds coming to your door to cuff you and take you away shows me that democracy is still working.

Paul Cornies said...

As a Canadian peering in, I see an electoral process in the U.S. quite different from ours. Blessed is the democracy, as Barry said, which allows free speech.

The ads by large corporations, however, seems a troubling sign, akin to letting them into the schools?

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

Tocqueville was, indeed, an interesting guy, and in retrospect, maybe I should have brought up Jefferson instead. Mr. Jefferson would be apoplectic by now.

"Plus ca change...." (and how do you attach that cedilla on the "c" there?)

Dear Jenny,

Thanks. This has been an interesting day--few decisions seem so absurd to folks on the one side of the fence, obvious to the other.

Dear John,

Alas, the whole left/right thing leaves me dizzy. When transnationals effectively supersede our government (as they have), each and every citizen who cares about our land should be up in arms. (That's figuratively, just in case the Feds are monitoring. =) )

And your analogy with the banks/ELL kids is dead on.

Dear Barry,

So long as I only have a handful of readers and no real power, no one in power is going to give a rodent's ass what I think.

Plenty of less than true democracies (including our own republic) allow dissent--freedom of speech is not synonymous with democracy, and if you want to get philosophical, exists whether the gummint recognizes it or not.

I did not say we've been taken over by some narrow-minded despot. I will say, though, that when powerful non-public interests gain undue access to mass media, democracy, which requires an informed citizenry, is effectively done.

You might conclude, then, that that form of "democracy" has been dead for a couple of decades, then, and you might be right.

At any rate, when a government grants fictitious persons the same rights as me, fictitious persons with far, far more power than me, well, no sense in me participating anymore.

I'll still vote for the cheap visceral thrill, and I won't lose sleep so long as my belly is full and my hearth warm, but Thomas Jefferson just spun a bit in his grave--I have an image of a crew of Founding Father Zombies munching their way through D.C., but I've got an overly active imagination.

Dear Paul,

The ads are troubling enough--it's the huge wads of cash that will now freely pass through hands that will influence legislators.

Yes, it's an age-old tradition, but we just blessed it.

We've granted corporations a right because our Supreme Court has given them the same privileges as me.

I can go to jail, and I will die. Corporations are bound by neither.

And as far as letting them into schools, I've fought that battle as well.

Kate said...

Option c = ç
And yes, Mr. Jefferson would be apoplectic.