competition, creativity, innovation, learning, life, military, politics, science
Love All. Hmm.
I don’t feel very loving toward people who are SHRUGS and pretending to be SHILLS, especially when they are using the trust we gave them as being public officials not to betray their country’s interest. Is there really a way to love all?
I think it is quite possible to love the totality of something without loving each and every part. A person might, for example, love their body but hate that big mole. They might really like their car but hate its squeaky rattle. They might love all of humanity yet hate so much of what one person does it is impossible to feel love for that part of it. At least I feel that way. I love the forest but hate deer flies, though it is a qualified hate. Once I’m back indoors, I don’t dwell on the fact that they’re still out there sucking blood from deer or hikers. There is a bit of humor and even admiration for the damned things. You would think it would be pretty easy for humans to outsmart them and yet…they are very hard to catch. The one trick I did develop was to wait till they landed on the back of my neck and then smack them quickly with my hand, stunning them. When they awoke, I would explain to them that if they didn’t immediately cease and desist, I would crush them. But they never responded so I crushed them anyway.
There are several aspects of love and one is understanding. They are not equivalent of course, but understanding seems good in any case. I can reach the point of trying to understand deer flies or SHRUGS. Beyond that, I cannot go.
Teddy Roosevelt is famously purported to have said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Let’s examine this a little further in the context of contemporary international relations. The United States is, or at least was until recently, the “world’s only remaining superpower.” That’s what we told ourselves. We certainly spend the most of any country on the military. Our military strength is also built on having a well-educated populace, superior technology, excellent training, and, considering that the military has a “military culture,” it is fact-based. After operations, initiatives, mistakes, successes, the military conducts “after action reviews.” In other words, there are mechanisms in place, to realize that human beings make errors and the important things are to try to avoid them and then to learn from them. The military, like much of American culture, strives to be a meritocracy.
How on earth does it make sense to “shout loudly and carry a teeny stick.”? But at least some of the SHRUGS seem hell-bent on just such a course. There is certainly a lot of “shout loudly” but isn’t there a promise to spend more on the military? Yes, but — superior military depends on many things besides money. It depends on having superior technology. Having superior technology depends on, among other things, attracting the best minds from around the world to a country they find attractive and accepting. Executive orders already made many people feel less welcome. This was followed by a Congressional-sponsored Theft Bill which made it virtually impossible for anyone but the richest to attend graduate school.
Strike One. Notice, I did not say the most able, or creative, or hardest working. No, the richest. Well, apart from the mind-numbing unfairness and transparent self-interest, it is a death sentence to the USA having a long term lead in biotechnology, computer science including cryptography and cybersecurity, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Breakthroughs in any one of these fields could render our nuclear arms useless or worse (e.g., our systems “think” they are launching to other targets when in fact they are all aimed at other cities in the US). That’s Strike One.
Strike Two. And in every other branchlet of the executive, the message has gone out loud and clear that promotions and possibly even firings will depend more on loyalty and less on merit. These government agencies will necessarily be less effective and as the general quality of the career public servants plummets, the few remaining effective people will become more and more frustrated and also leave making the race to the bottom of quality all the faster. These other branches of the executive include many that have a direct impact on the quality of the military.
Strike Three Believe it or not, it matters what people feel they are fighting for. If all of what America “stands for” is unbridled greed so that more and more of the world’s resources can be funneled without objection into the pockets of the world’s richest, the soldiers don’t really care to go the extra mile. Why should they?
So the combination of these three factors: damaging science, making government inefficient, and destroying morale will weaken the military in its effectiveness but increase the chances of a world-destroying mistake.
So, yeah, I can’t quite get there yet with the “Love All.”
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