How Much Life?

Yesterday, I was reviewing the FaceScroll and discovered that one of my colleagues, Magnetic-Electric Fields, had posted an article (not this one, but it was handy: [Link]) about the Smif Collech President having to apologize for saying that "All Lives Matter." The problem was – apparently – that the "correct" catch phrase/slogan was "Black Lives Matter." and not being accurate was viewed as derogatory and derisive and divisive. As I understand it however, the conservative reaction to this bit of policy pogrom was that all lives do matter.

I have to admit that my first reaction to all of the demonstrations about statistics denial and constabulary realities reminded me of the Leon Uris novel about post WW2 Berlin. (I forget the title and am too lazy to seek it out.) In a meeting of the four party governing committee of Berlin the Russian member is complaining about student demonstrations and how he wants committee agreement to send in some storm troopers. The French member makes a lackadaisical comment that the purpose of students is to protest/demonstrate and the Russian’s plan to shoot more Germans evaporates.

Demonstrations are useful in helping governments – as opposed to politicians – gauge how important some issue is while giving the demonstrators a sense of accomplishment. Demonstrations do not occur except when people feel excluded from government. But the relevant bit, at least for this, is that demonstrations are themselves an illustration of the subject of the demonstrations. This was revealed to me when I saw demonstrators (on the television,) in Nawth Alibam;s Shining City on the Hill in repose on a major street. The revelation – reminder – was that the constabulary have a responsibility to protect the public from the demonstrators, and also (!) to protect the demonstrators from the public and the constabulary. This is not easy and not infrequently fails.

I am unsure whether this failure is human or organizational, but it is common. I immediately reflected on the Vietnam era "We had to destroy the village to protect it" and Lt. William Calley. IT is so hard for organized humans to execute a multi-faceted protection mission that they often fail by extending the protection to damage. This is especially the situation when the protection involves the rule of law and the details of the words become more important than their intent or spirit. We humans are matter entities and we are not comfortable with thinking, especially in times of stress.

The other side of this is not only that locality matters, but how do we decide what locality is. Take the idea that all life matters. Does that mean that we humans should starve ourselves into extinction because the lives of other animals and plants deserve respect? The boggish answer is a resounding NO since then no thought is necessary. But clearly we accept a good deal of cruelty in the treatment of food animals and potentially food plants as well. Just how sentient are plants? And how much is sufficient to accord them survival status?

Humans naturally do an us-them division. It’s a survival – i.e., biological and genetic – thing. We can only get away from it by being rational and we humans aren’t good at being rational. Again, bogs don’t like to think and they are the majority. The Lanchestrian majority. But doing us-them means that we shall always value us positively and them negatively. And so long as we don’t value rationality we are going to be that way. So no surprises in any of this. Even among the folks who are appealing to rationality we have irrationality. As the president of Smif can attest.

I once had a professor in undergraduate schule tell me that maturity was transcending the gonads. I didn’t understand that very well until years later when the hormone surges ebbed. So there is no reason we should be surprised that we are having these demonstrations or dysfunctional discussions about abortion and population and ignoring climate change. Yes, Virginia, Life matters but we don’t want to talk about it or do anything constructive about it.

We just want to ride the hormones.