“It is a very difficult decision for all parents because we live in a society that values profit over public health.”

“It’s more like listening to what other mothers were saying…
There was a … huge amount of evidence that it was harmful. Even if there weren’t ways that we could scientifically prove it, it was just talking from one mother to another.”

“Doctors do not do their own research, they are heavily brain-washed when they end school  with this idea that it is all good and then they do not question it much themselves”.

“A beautiful child went to have a vaccine and came back and a week later he had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick and now is autistic”

vaccine sceptic island

Well, the scope of this post goes way beyond the dispute between the vaxxers and the skeptics.

As a matter of fact, at face value all the four quotes I started with are spot on.

Most autistic children living in the so called civilized world have been immunized before having been diagnosed, both the doctors and the anti-vaxxers have been ‘brain-washed’ by their peers into holding to their current beliefs while very few of them have conducted any independent scientific research into the matter and yes, we do seem to live in a society which values profit over public health.

What next?

Ayn RAnd

Ayn Rand in 1957: her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged earned her a cult-like following, dubbed the Collective. Photograph: New York Times Co./Getty Images


“But Rand’s philosophy of rugged, uncompromising individualism – of contempt for both the state and the lazy, conformist world of the corporate boardroom — now has a follower in the White House”

So.
The author tells us that Rand despises both (big) government and the ‘corporate boardroom’. He also tells us that the current American President shares the same convictions. I might agree about Trump despising ‘corporate boardrooms’ but I have a definite feeling about Trump having nothing against the notion of ‘big and powerful corporations’ (specially those he controls personally).
“Born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum in 1905 in St Petersburg, Russia, she saw her father impoverished and her family driven to the brink of starvation by the Soviet revolution, an experience that forged her contempt for all notions of the collective good and, especially, for the state as a mechanism for ensuring equality.”
It looks like Ayn Rand hated (big) government simply because the Soviet one had failed to deliver what it had promised… And that she had lost confidence in the notion of ‘common good’ for the very same reason…
The problem is that trusting the Soviets, or any other authoritarian regime, is childish to start with…. well then, maybe we shouldn’t wonder about her reaction…
Further more, expecting the government, any of them, to ‘ensure equality’ is even worse! Governments are meant to ‘maintain order’, not to decide the outcome of the game…Regardless of what some of those who climb to power seem to believe!

As for rejecting the very notion of common good, that means rejecting capitalism itself.
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages”
If each of those ‘professionals’ didn’t see their personal interest as being conjoint with the ‘common good’ each of them would have tried to double-cross the others. The baker would have tried to use the worst possible flour, the brewer to sell whatever stinking concoction while the butcher would have tried to pass rotten dogs as dry cured beef.

Oh, that’s what’s currently going on in our no longer free market?

Then maybe Rand was a prophet, after all….

“Put more baldly, the reason why Republicans and British Conservatives started giving each other copies of Atlas Shrugged in the 80s was that Rand seemed to grant intellectual heft to the prevailing ethos of the time. Her insistence on the “morality of rational self-interest” and “the virtue of selfishness” sounded like an upmarket version of the slogan, derived from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, that defined the era: greed is good. Rand was Gordon Gekko with A-levels.”

 

“Talking about morality in a class about nationalism is sort of like talking about modesty in a swingers club or moderation in a crack house.”

John Faithful Hammer

Absolutely brilliant observation!

I haven’t tried swinging but I imagine that each of the participants does exert a certain form of ‘modestly’, otherwise they would be rapidly kicked out by the rest.
Similarly, no crack addict would survive even his first ‘session’ without being actually ‘moderate’.

As for ‘nationalism’… well, there is nothing wrong when people stick together in an attempt to lead a decent life, in close cooperation with the other nations.
Nationalism becomes dangerous, a.k.a. immoral, only when the people promoting it attempt to lead a (more) than decent life at the expense of all those who happen to live around them. The ‘funny’ part being, of course, the fact that this kind of nationalism invariably leads to tragedy. Mostly for those foolish enough to ‘swallow’ it, but not exclusively.

“The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it.” (Rob Norton, Unintended Consequences, econlib.org)

“All your private online data—the websites you visit, the content of your chats and emails, your health info, and your location—just became suddenly less secure. Not because of hackers, but because Congress just blocked crucial privacy regulations. This will allow your internet service provider to collect all your data and sell that info to the highest bidder without asking you first. Welcome to a brave new world.” (Eric Limer, How to Protect your Online Privacy now that Congress Sold You Out, zerohedge.com)

The rest of Limer’s article, which you can read by clicking on the quote above, is about what each of us might do if he cares enough about the privacy of his browsing data. Instruct your ISP that you do not authorize it to sell your data, change to a more privacy-friendly one – if possible, encrypt your communication, use a VPN, use Tor to browse the Internet or any combination of the above.

Since I already had at least a vague idea about most of those but I had never before even heard of Tor I checked it out first.

“The Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor’s users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Along the same line, Tor is an effective censorship circumvention tool, allowing its users to reach otherwise blocked destinations or content. Tor can also be used as a building block for software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features.

Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.

Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization.

Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members’ online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs, which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication. Which locations have employees working late? Which locations have employees consulting job-hunting websites? Which research divisions are communicating with the company’s patent lawyers?

A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.

The variety of people who use Tor is actually part of what makes it so secure. Tor hides you among the other users on the network, so the more populous and diverse the user base for Tor is, the more your anonymity will be protected.” (Overview, Torproject.org)

Living the first 30 years of my life under communist rule taught me a lot of interesting things. Which seemed specific to that kind of society but which, paradoxically – only in an ostensible manner, are increasingly helpful when I struggle to understand what’s currently going on in the ‘free world’.
Among those things was the fact that ‘blanket surveillance’ doesn’t work. The communists were reputed for shamelessly listening in to our phones but we had learned very fast to talk in a coded manner, to refrain from speaking about certain subjects over a wire AND that they could never hire enough people to listen to everything that was said over the phone.
And this is why most dissidents were ‘smoked’ out almost exclusively by snitches – paid ‘traitors’ employed by Securitate to spy on us and presented by the communists as being ‘concerned citizens’.

Less than thirty years after the fall of most communist regimes we have an almost similar situation. ‘In the mirror’ kind of similar.

The Internet is the medium through which a lot of information is being circulated, some of it of very sensitive nature. Sensitive as in ‘personal’ but also as in potentially very disruptive. For corporations, for political organizations, for states but also for terrorist organizations.

Up to a few weeks ago the Internet was divided in two, very unequal, sections.
A mostly open one, where most of us – who do not have much to hide – used to dwell and one which was a lot more ‘walled in’. (A.K.A. heavily encrypted and tortuously rerouted)
The mostly open section was the hunting ground for the ‘advertisers’ while the ‘encrypted’ one was the playing ground where the ‘dissidents’ (of all ‘persuasions’) played cat and mouse with the ‘law enforcers’ (again, of all ‘persuasions’).

For the ‘free world’ this was a workable arrangement. The advertisers could do their job – as long as they stayed inside the rules, the individuals had their most sensitive data protected, the bona-fide dissidents had a reasonably safe opportunity to express themselves and the bona-fide law enforcers had a reasonably small traffic to sift through when searching for terrorists and all other sorts of law breakers.
For the authoritarian regimes it was not – the very advent of Internet was an abomination for them, but I couldn’t care less. Especially since most of the really proficient people sooner or later realize that authoritarianism simply doesn’t work and eventually ‘change colors’.

I’m afraid the recent changes enforced by the US Congress will unsettle this fragile equilibrium.

As more and more technologically savvy people will start using more and more the ‘walled in’ section of the Interned – not because they have anything really important to hide but to spite the more and more intrusive ‘data thieves’, the bona-fide law enforcers will have more and more difficulties in smoking out the really bad law-breakers. Including the terrorists.

The authoritarian regimes tend to solve these kind of problems by shutting down, or by ‘maiming’, entire systems.
If we, in the free world, will have to resort, even temporarily, to the same solution it will be – including for the advertisers – yet another instance of the golden goose being massacred by the excessively greedy.

“The only one you can really trust to protect you is you.

The short and uncomfortable truth is this: Until more robust privacy protections are put in place, the burden of protecting your online data falls on you. Keep it in mind, do your research, and remember that your monopolized ISP has every reason in the world to sell you out and wring your data for every dime that it is worth. The only one you can really trust to protect you is you.”

trump-epa-er-170328_31x13_1600

“”The president’s been very clear, he’s not going to pursue climate or environmental policies that put the American economy at risk,” said a senior Trump administration official Monday evening. Asked whether climate change poses its own long-term threat to the economy, the official said he was not familiar with research drawing such a conclusion.” (President Trump signs executive order rescinding Obama’s clean energy plans. abcNEWS, March 28, 2017)

“Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas parted ways with his Republican colleagues on the issue. He said the privacy protections were “commonsense measures” that would have ensured internet users continue to have control over their personal information.

“We don’t want the government having access to our information without our consent, and the same goes for private business,” Yoder said”.

“The American Civil Liberties Union urged Trump to veto the resolution, appealing to his populist side.

“President Trump now has the opportunity to veto this resolution and show he is not just a president for CEOs but for all Americans,” said the ACLU’s Neema Singh Guliani.”

“”Lawmakers who voted in favor of this bill just sold out the American people to special interests,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.” (House votes to block Obama-era online privacy rule, abcNEWS, March 28, 2017.)

“Supporters of the proposed constitutional changes say handing Erdogan sweeping new authority is the only way to achieve the stability that society craves and businesses need to thrive. But opponents say approving the referendum is an invitation to dictatorship, particularly since Erdogan, already the most dominant leader in eight decades, jailed or fired more than 100,000 perceived enemies after rogue army officers attempted a coup in July.

“Everybody on the street tracks the exchange rate on a daily basis and Erdogan wins support as long as Turkey can keep the lira stable,” said Wolfango Piccoli, the London-based co-president of Teneo Intelligence, a political risk advisory firm. “But the challenge here is the external backdrop. They can’t really predict what’s coming.” “ (Erdogan Races against the Dollar in Campaign for Unrivaled Power, Bloomberg.com, March 28, 2017.)

“So we now know that Khalid Masood, the 52-year-old Briton who carried out the Westminster attack in London, had a string of criminal convictions. His first was in 1983 for criminal damage and his last was in 2003 for a stabbing. He was also a convert to Islam. Neither fact should come as a surprise.

Attackers apparently inspired by Islamic extremist ideologies are, for all their righteous rage at others, rarely particularly puritanical in their personal lives. A man who earlier this month seized an automatic weapon from a police officer at Orly airport in Paris had traces of cocaine in his blood and a long criminal record, while the attacker who killed 86 in Nice last July had a history of heavy drinking, cannabis use and casual sex. Several key members of the network which killed 140 in Paris in November 2015 had been involved in drug and arms sales. Almost every high profile attack in Europe – and many in the UK – in recent years has involved someone convicted for petty or serious crime.

There has long been a link between criminality and Islamic radicalism. One of the men who killed the off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in 2013 in south-east London had served time as a young offender for his role in a crack ring. Richard Reid, who tried to detonate a bomb in his shoe on a transatlantic flight in 2001, was a juvenile delinquent.

The proportion of Islamic militants with criminal backgrounds has been rising over recent years. One reason is that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), which established its new caliphate in 2014, offers adventure, camaraderie, violence, excitement, relative comfort, cash rewards and even sexual opportunity in a way which contrasts dramatically with the asceticism of previous militant groups like al-Qaeda.

A young man from Dortmund or Lyon or Sheffield could thus expect much that a gang back home offered but repackaged. Violence was no longer wrongdoing but resistance, and even redemption. The extremist’s selective teaching of religious texts encouraged former criminals to see themselves as washed of former sins by their commitment to jihad.

The one surprising fact about the London attacker is that most recruits were between 23 and 28 years old. Some were teenagers. There is no evidence that Masood, so much older, has been involved in criminal activity in recent years. Indeed, reports of his unstable, punchy, pub-going persona a decade or so ago are in stark contrast with neighbours’ description of his “devout” and “quiet” lifestyle recently.”  (Khalid Masood was a convert with a criminal past. So far, so familiar. The Guardian, March 25, 2017.)

“According to general data, the suicide wave began in 2015 in Russia, where local media reported about secret communities for teens that invited them to participate in a dangerous game. In each case, the players must complete 50 tasks, beginning with cutting a vein and using a blade to draw an image of a blue whale on their hand. Suicide is the last mandatory task and if not completed, the game creators threaten to “deal” with the player’s family.

One social media user shared the results after he courageously took part in a game.

“I became curious about how this works and why people commit suicide after 50 days. My friend and me created two fake accounts on VKontakte and were both reached by a person for each one of us. Different people were giving tasks every day. The first one was to ‘scribble’ a blue whale on our hand,” which the user said they did with the help of Photoshop, reported Tengrinews.kz.

“We had to choose either ‘to hang ourselves’ or ‘to jump’ on the 50th day. Death is the end of the game. I then replied that I was scared and received a link. The ‘404 not found’ message appeared after I followed the link. After 10 minutes he wrote ‘If you don’t end your life, I will kill your loved ones’ to me, wrote my address and apartment number and I realised how they do it,” he continued in his message.

He called upon others to spread the post in the hope of preventing possible tragedies. He is confident while many might have refused the final offer, the gamers know where the child lives once the link has been followed.” (Suicide games raising concerns in Kazahstan, The Astana Times, February 15. 2017.)

“Police today warned Devon parents to be on their guard against a sick social media challenge which encourages youngsters to cut themselves. At its most extreme, the so-called ‘Blue Whale’ challenge encourages teenage suicide.” (Devon police issue warning over new ‘suicide challenge’ being spread on social media. Devon live.com, March 13, 2017)

What we have here is piled up evidence that we, as a species, have been focusing too much, for already too long,  on short term goals. While setting aside, or simply ignoring, any possible consequences of our ‘binging’ habits.

We elect our leaders based on their promises that they will ‘fix’ everything. As if any of them ever did. Go back to the history book and show me a single authoritarian leader who didn’t disappoint his followers. And yet we still ‘invite’ them to lead us.

Furthermore, we allow them to convince us that our present actions cannot possibly harm us, or our children, in the future.
Madagascar, one of the poorest nations on Earth, is taking steps to ‘clean up their act’ (“eliminate defecation in the open air; a practice still rooted in the culture and in the Malagasy society“) while the President of the US believes that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” And acts according to his convictions.
Why?
Simple. People living in Madagascar have finally figured out, like many other people before them, that careful management of ‘human waste’ drastically reduces the incidence of diarrhea – which mainly affects the children.
What must happen for the American public to understand that we cannot burn, in two short centuries, the carbon accumulated in hundreds of millions of years without having to face any consequences?

During most of our history, most people have been mainly preoccupied with the welfare of their children. For a very reasonable motive. Having children at your bedside is the most efficient manner to ‘enjoy’ a decent death.

No more. Nowadays we buy life insurance to supplement our pensions and plan to hire ‘outside help’ to wipe our arses,  if and when the ‘time will come’.
And in order to get ‘enough’ money we, or at least some of us. are willing to transform even personal data into ‘merchandise’.

This very obsession with money is the reason for which we care more about the promised stability of the exchange rate than about the character, and past actions, of the person who makes the promise.

This is why we no longer keep in touch with our children. Not even with the under-aged ones who continue to live with us.
This is why some of them become ensnared in ‘challenges’ which ‘inspire’ them to commit suicide.
This is why some of them fall prey to fundamentalist preachers. Islamic, White Supremacist, you name it. Yet another ‘reason’ to commit suicide…

Now, after too many wretched souls have become ‘radicalized’ – some of them even without any outside intervention, and after so much innocent pain has been inflicted, time has come to ask ourselves ‘why is this “blue whale” lurking around in the room?’.
And ‘why haven’t we noticed it before?’.

blue whale

Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York was coined by Shakespeare and put into print in Richard III, 1594. The ‘sun of York’ wasn’t of course a comment on Yorkshire weather but on King Richard. In this play Shakespeare presents an account of Richard’s character that, until the late 20th century, largely formed the popular opinion of him as a malevolent, deformed schemer. Historians now view that representation as a dramatic plot device – necessary for the villainous role that Shakespeare had allocated him. It isn’t consistent with what is now known of Richard III, who in many ways showed himself to be an enlightened and forward-looking monarch. The discovery of Richard’s skeleton under a car park in Leicester has provided precise evidence of the extent of his deformity. While being somewhat curved Richard’s spinal deformity has now been shown to have been exaggerated and deliberately faked in some portraits.

Living matter is a ‘particular case’ of  ‘ordinary matter’. It’s composed of the very same kind of atoms and its ‘living character’ is provided by the particular manner in which those atoms relate to each other. Otherwise said, the living matter is ordinary matter organized in a particular manner.
Furthermore, this ‘particular’ manner of organization’ has been honed through eons of ‘evolution‘.

Living matter depends on being able to perform two things.
It has to ‘Differentiate’ and to ‘Communicate’.

Each organism, no matter how simple or how complex, has to be able to keep its ‘inside’ separate from its ‘outside’ and to be able to ‘decide’, according to its own rules/needs, what goes in and what goes out.
A previously living individual organism dies the very moment when it can no longer fulfill any of these two conditions.

All organisms which live by exactly the same ‘rules’ belong to the same species and need to be able to communicate those rules across successive generations. As soon as the organisms belonging to one species  fail to do so that species becomes extinct.
A special observation must be made about the fact that the species whose organisms have found ways to communicate directly among the members of the same generation tend to be ‘sturdier’ that those whose members communicate exclusively with their successors.
For instance bacteria which have ‘learned’ to transmit to their ‘kin’ information about how to survive when ‘intoxicated’ with antibiotics have it easier that those who cannot do such a thing.

Human being are a ‘special case’ in the animal kingdom, just as ‘living matter’ is a special case of ‘ordinary matter’.
We are both animals and something else than that.

We’ve taken differentiation and communication to the next level. We perform them ‘on purpose’.
We have become ‘aware’ of what we are capable of.
We knowingly use our power to differentiate and choose (some of) the criteria we use when differentiating.
We knowingly use our power to differentiate and choose what to communicate of what we know.

And we consider this behaviour as being ‘rational’.

Some of us are so aware of what is going on that are constantly warning us about the limited nature of our rationality.
They say that our rationality is in fact ‘bounded‘ and that we should give up pretending that we are maximizing/optimizing anything since, in reality, all that we do is adopt/defend the first solution that seems good enough for our self-imposed goals/criteria.

Yet so few of us yield to this kind of warnings and continue to purposefully use ‘communication tricks’ in order to establish their version of the reality. Just as the Bard had done in his days.

Let me go back to what humans are in relation to the rest of the animal kingdom and extend the analogy with the difference between living matter and ordinary matter.
I’ve already mentioned that species whose members are ‘more generous’ communicators are better survivors than those whose members communicate less.
Now please imagine what would happen if a few bacteria, otherwise able to ‘share’ their ‘knowledge’ with their brethren, learn how to ‘crack’ a certain antibiotic but choose to keep that to themselves.

The ‘optimists’ among us would say that those bacteria will eventually give birth to a new species of ‘super-bugs’
The pessimists would observe that their small number dramatically increases their chances of being ‘cooked’ to death in an autoclave or ‘dissolved’ by the next swab with bactericide before having any chance at multiplying themselves into eternity.
Meanwhile the cynics/realists among us would start studying how to convince more bacteria to stop contributing to the shared pool of information about how to beat their common enemy, the antibiotic. And, probably, the best way to do it would be to inform the other bacteria that some of them are holding up information. If the bacteria would behave like so many of us currently do all of them would stop all information sharing. To our delight, of course.

Let’s take a step closer to the end of this post and try to evaluate what would happen if those few bacteria would choose to share false information about how to deal with antibiotics. Purposefully, in their attempt at becoming ‘dominant’.

A very ‘rational’ attempt, according to some of us…

‘Alternate reality’, anyone?

I keep hearing about capitalism having failed us.

I’m afraid this is not possible.

Capitalism cannot fail, simply because it is nothing but a human concept.

It is us who are failing.
It was us who had identified the concept, used it properly for a while and then replaced it, tacitly, with another.

‘Capitalism’ worked wonders, as long as we applied it ‘as advertised’, while ‘monetarism’ – the surrogate we allowed to creep in where capitalism used to stand proudly, has started to unveil its ugly face.

You see, capitalism used to be about ‘faith’. We trusted that ‘the other’ would honestly attempt to meet his end of the bargain. That’s why we used to enter into business deals which were designed (a.k.a. negotiated) to meet our respective needs. We were doing this simply because we had understood that a good deal today – good for both of us, that was, would mean at least another good deal tomorrow.

For some reason – bad money drives out good, capitalism is being replaced, slowly but too fast, by monetarism.

Too many of us start ‘businesses’ with the sole goal of ripping their ‘partners’ of as much money as they possibly can. Legally or otherwise.

Without understanding – or caring, even, that they are actually slaughtering the goose with the golden eggs. Capitalism itself.

No matter what opinion each of us entertains about ‘alternate reality’, fact is that none of us is able to grasp all relevant aspects of even the most basic concepts.

Growing under a communist regime I had learned, very quickly, to keep my mouth shut.

Like all authoritarian regimes, communism eventually crumbled.
Mostly under the pressure that had been built from within and which could not be accurately measured, simply because people were conditioned to keep their mouths shut.

Nowadays technology makes it possible for some of us to ‘look’ ‘beyond’ what most understand by ‘freedom of expression’.

… anxiety and action shouldn’t be based only on what could happen in theory as much as what’s likely to happen in practice — and how much it will affect you.

Some people are afraid of sharks. While the prospect of being eaten by a giant fish is vivid and terrifying, it’s also unlikely, old chum. In fact, the drive to the beach is far more dangerous than the swim once you get there.

Likewise, avoid getting hacked. But more important, start taking action on the bigger risk: The stuff publicly posted on social sites.

Alternate meaning of ‘freedom of expression’?

‘You are free to express yourself and I am free to use whatever information you have chosen to share’!

Actually it makes a lot of sense.

Let’s imagine, for instance, that my son comes home and tells us he is going to marry someone.
Twenty short years ago my wife would have phoned her best friend and told her about it. In two days the news would had traveled around and feed back would had poured in, specially if we were living in a small community. We would had been informed about all past indiscretions attributed to our son’s intended spouse, as long as any had ever surfaced.
Nowadays, being technological savvy, my wife would google the name first, even before phoning her best friend – if she wasn’t already privy of ‘enough’ indiscretions, of course.

Would it make any sense to blame the public authorities who do the same thing? Or the private agents who, in their attempt to fulfill their jobs, use whatever information is publicly available about each of us?
My question should have a special meaning for those of you who live in democratic countries – where the public authorities execute whatever mandate you have entrusted them with, and under an economic regime governed by the (more or less) free market – meaning that all ‘private’ agents need at least some support from their stakeholders (yes, that’s you!) in order to remain economically viable.

I’ll come back to this subject.

Meanwhile you can learn more about it by reading the article that spurred my rantings:

“Anything you post can and will be used against you”

Just click on the title.

hot sau prost

Corupție există în toată lumea asta și la nivele de o mie de ori mai mari, nu la nivele de cârnat. Eu, între un hoț și un prost, prefer hoțul. După hoț mai rămâne ceva. După prost, nu mai rămâne nimic”, a mai spus Țiriac.

Încercând să înțeleg ceva din cuvintele lui, am ajuns la concluzia că singura ‘traducere’ plauzibilă ar fi că un hoț are mai multe șanse de a lăsa ceva moștenire urmașilor decât are un prost.

Analizând la rece, este evident ca are dreptate.

Să facem un pas mai departe.

Să presupunem ca avem o societate constituită doar din proști și din hoți.
Foarte repede întreaga avuție ar ajunge în posesia hoților iar proștii ar începe să moară efectiv de foame – prin definiție, hoților nu le pasă ce se întâmplă cu cei din jurul lor.
După care hoții vor fi nevoiți să se fure între ei – pentru că proștii se vor fi terminat iar hoții, tot prin definiție, nu se pricep să muncească.

Se pare că o societate constituită doar din proști și din hoți nu poate supraviețui prea multă vreme, nu-i așa?

De fapt, hoții și proștii suntem chiar noi.

Sau, mai exact, cei mai mulți dintre noi suntem atât hoți cât și proști în timp ce foarte puțini dintre noi sunt la cele doua extreme. Unii atât de proști încât stau prin azile iar alții au furat atât de mult încât stau prin pușcării. Iar faptul că mulți dintre cei din pușcării au reușit să ‘salveze’ o parte din pradă este cea mai bună dovadă că noi, aștia care producem mai mult decât furăm, suntem într-adevăr proști.

De ce spun că suntem și hoți?

Să nu-mi spuneți că nu ați adus niciodată acasă, de la ‘scârbici’, măcar un top de hârtie. Sau o cutie cu agrafe de birou. „Nu avea ăla mic pe ce să scrie și era închis la librărie”. Sau, cei care aveți firme, că nu ați trecut ‘la cheltuieli’ măcar un rezervor de benzină sau o masă cu prietenii.

Explicații există cu duiumul. Explicații și nu ‘scuze’.

Pentru ca membrii unei populații să dezvolte atât de mult respect reciproc încât să nu mai fure unul de la altul (adică să nu mai încerce să se fraierească unul pe celălalt) este nevoie ca acea populație să petreacă o suficient de lungă perioadă de timp în condiții de relativă stabilitate socială. Adică este nevoie ca lucrurile să se ‘așeze’.

Ceea ce nu s-a prea întâmplat în spațiul Carpato-Dunăreano-Pontic. Adică mai ales în exteriorul arcului Carpatic.
Nu este deloc întâmplător că la câmpie ‘moravurile’ sunt mult mai ‘laxe’ decât dincolo de Carpați sau decât în depresiunile dintre munți – acolo unde cooperativizarea agriculturii nu a ‘desăvârșit’ procesul început de Mihai prin legarea țăranilor de glie iar apoi ‘continuat’ de fanarioți și de arendași.
Idea este că Ardealul, în întregimea lui, a avut parte de o evoluție mai mult sau mai puțin echivalentă ce cea a Europei Centrale iar populația din depresiunile montane a fost ‘constrânsă’ de geografie să coopereze pe când cei de la câmpie au fost, efectiv, în bataia vântului.
Ardelenii au avut la dispoziție, la fel ca restul Europei, întreg Evul Mediu pentru a se maturiza din punct de vedere social astfel încât au putut intra în capitalism ‘cu lecțiile făcute’. Nu atât de bine făcute precum vecinii noștri din vestul Europei – cu cât înaintăm spre Atlantic cu atât populațiile au avut parte de mai multă stabilitate, istorică și socială, dar în orice caz mult mai pregătiți decât țăranii din Muntenia și din Moldova.

Iar capitalismul, pentru a funcționa, are nevoie, în primul rând, de respect. Fiind despre ducerea la bună îndeplinire a unor contracte, capitalismul pleacă de la premiza că părțile contractante chiar intenționeză, cu bună credință, să facă ce au promis.
Adică ceea ce se întâmplă, firesc, între membrii unei populații mature din punct de vedere social. Care a stat suficient de mult ‘împreună’ încât să aibe timp să îi scoată pe ‘hoți’ la periferia vieții sociale.

Exact contrariul a ceea ce s-a întâmplat ‘la câmpie’ în Moldova și în Muntenia. Acolo unde mai întăi s-au perindat nenumarate valuri de popoare migratoare iar apoi istoria s-a comprimat brusc. Dacă în vestul Europei evoluția sociala a trecut prin faza cavalerismului – atunci când regele era doar primul dintre egali, iar abia apoi a ajuns – și asta doar în anumite locuri, la absolutismul monarhic, în Câmpia Romană am avut de-a face, de la inceput, cu un ‘absolutism avant la lettre’. Ștefan însuși era descris ca ‘aprig la mânie și degrabă vărsătoriu de sânge nevinovat’. Iar Vlad a ajuns să fie numit ‘Dracul’. Ce vreți mai absolut de-atât?
În situația asta ‘supușii’, care nu aveau alt exemplu la îndemână, s-au comportat ‘în oglindă’. Boierii îi oprimau pe țărani și complotau împotriva domnitorilor iar țăranii îi furau pe boieri și se fraiereau între ei. Lucrurile s-au agravat și mai tare, evident, după ce Mihai a introdus iobagia și după ce Înalta Poartă – devenită putere suzerana, a început să plece urechea la pârile boierilor. De unde să se mai nască vre-un respect reciproc între cei care trebuiau să supraviețuiască în condițiile astea?
Lucrurile nu s-au schimbat prea tare nici măcar în a doua jumatate a secolului XIX, după abolirea iobagiei și după dezrobirea țiganilor. Apariția arendașilor – care îi furau atât pe boieri cât și pe țărani, a anulat progresul făcut prin dezlegarea țăranilor de glie. Aceștia au continuat să fure pentru a supraviețui, clasa avută nu a reușit să dezvolte un cult al contractului iar amandouă categoriile sociale au continuat să considere statul ca pe ceva impus din ‘exteriorul’ firescului. Cu atat mai mult cu cât până la Războiul de Independență chiar așa era iar după ce a fost adus Carol I a durat o vreme până când dinastia a fost ‘asimilată’. Să adăugăm la acest tablou întârzierea dezvoltării îndustriale – muncitorii calificați tind să se respecte între ei, și imaginea începe să capete contur.
Lucrurile au fost ‘desăvârșite’ de impunerea comunismului de către sovietici.
A fost adus din afară iar asta a contribuit la sentimentul că statul este ceva exterior societății. Adică atunci când ai o problemă cu ‘vecinul’ o rezolvi cum poți, de unul singur, fără să-ți treacă prin cap să apelezi la lege sau să te raportezi la oarecari drepturi. De unde și obiceiul de a da ‘șpagă’. Precum și vestilele zicale „hoțul neprins, negustor cinstit” și „legea e o barieră pe sub care trec câinii, pe care o sar caii și în dreptul căreia se opresc boii”.
Numai că lucrurile nu s-au oprit aici.
Prin introducerea ‘cooperativizării’ – nu doar a agriculturii,  comunismul a mai distrus o cale prin care oamenii ar fi putut să genereze respect mutual. Când proprietatea devine ‘a nimănui’ – să nu uităm că nimeni nu avea nici un fel de respect pentru stat – atunci lucrurile se duc rău la vale. Țăranii furau de la câmp pentru a supraviețui iar muncitorii luau din fabrici ce nu găseau prin magazinele golite de ineficiența sistemului centralizat de luare a deciziilor.

Pe vremea aia nu se putea vorbi despre proști și despre hoți ca fiind doua categorii distincte. Doar cei foarte proști, sau naivi, nu furau. Sau exagerau cu furatul și erau prinși…
Ceilalți, hoții de rând, eram doar atât de proști încât să ne resemnăm la gândul că lucrurile vor merge așa la nesfărșit. Și încă nu ne-am revenit după surpriza din ’89.

Pentru a înțelege ce se întâmplă acum trebuie să ne aducem aminte că nu s-au împlinit încă 30 de ani de la schimbarea de regim. Prea puțin timp pentru o schimbare atat de drastică de mentalitate.

Mai ales în condițiile în care o parte semnificativă din ‘pătura suprapusă’ ‘achiesează’ la ‘să nu mă întrebi cum am făcut primul milion’, îi preferă pe hoți și îi disprețuieste pe proști.
Sau vorbeste despre corupție doar atunci când le aduce aminte străinilor că o parte dintre ei s-au comportat aici altfel decât ni se spune de către guvernele lor că ar trebui să ne comportăm noi.

Numai că e o șmecherie cu bariera aia. Boii nu se opresc chiar de proști. Fiind mai încetuci – munca obosește, ce să-i faci, au avut timp să observe că mare parte dintre căinii care se strecoară pe dedesupt și dintre caii care sar pe deasupra sunt spulberați de trenul istoriei.

boii la bariera

În Decembrie 1989 manifestam în fața CC-ului pentru susținerea politicii partidului iar Ceaușescu ne promitea încă 100 de lei la salariu.

Ni s-a părut insuficient așa că ne-am mutat în Piața Universității.
Ceaușescu a înțeles mesajul, până la urmă, și s-a cărat.

În Ianuarie 1990, Iliescu și-a transformat Frontul în partid. Unii s-au ofticat și s-au întors în Piață.
Iliescu a aplicat metoda ‘câinii latră, ursul trece’.
Majoritatea a votat – în ‘Duminica Orbului’, minerii au venit să ‘facă ordine’ iar Iliescu s-a simțit dator să le mulțumească pentru spiritul lor civic.

Și uite-așa, ‘pe repede-nainte’, ajungem în Octombrie 2015.
Atunci când un incendiu catastrofal ne-a făcut să înțelegem cât de ‘ucigătoare’ este corupția.
Bine, incendiul acela a fost, de fapt, doar scânteia care a aprins mormanul de nemulțumire care mocnea deja… dar asta e altă mâncare de pește.

Partea proastă este că mulți se fac că nu pricep.
Sau poate că nu se prefac…

Cert este că la o lună după ce OUG 13 a scos din nou lumea în stradă, cineva a propus, în Parlament, să fie grațiate faptele de corupție (inclusiv cele care urmează să fie) săvârșite până la publicarea viitoarei/eventualei legi în Monitorul Oficial.

Se mai miră cineva că nu au trecut încă treizeci de ani de când strigam „Jos Securitatea” iar acum ‘oftăm’, din toți bojocii, „DNA, nu uita, noi suntem de partea ta!”?

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‘Doar un singur click’ va desparte de un ‘fotoreportaj de la fata locului’.

Între timp se discută și despre legea salarizării unitare pentru bugetari. ” “Până la pragul de 4.000 lei salariile se dublează, după 4.000 lei este o creștere cu 45% a salariilor, iar după pragul de 7.000 lei sunt creșteri, dar nu foarte mari”, a afirmat ministrul Muncii. “.

 

 

 

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