Well, sure, if all the little fish would band together, they could form a big fish that could destroy the sharks that plague our society. You bet! (I’ll suspend the nitty gritty details for now, such as that this composite bigger fish has no teeth! But don’t be surprised if this fact somes up again later)
But here’s the thing. We can push and bemoan and call for reform all day long, while losing sight of just what a rare and radical thing we’re calling for. Yes, the Americans fought off the British juggernaut, turning the tables and winning the day—underdogs that they were and all. Yes, yes, and amen to that!
But did that mean that we had leveled up as a society, never to fall prey to the sharks again?
Uh, no! Before the ink was dry on our Constitution, the very First Congress of the United States was violating the rulebook with the Judiciary Act of 1789—which illegally gave the Supreme Court of the United States a “negative” over state laws. That is, if SCOTUS doesn’t like a duly-enacted state law from one of the member states, it can strike it down as “unconstitutional”—and ironically, under an act of Congress that is itself unconstitutional! That Act is still unrepealed to this day, and most Americans have no clue that it’s unconstitutional. In other words, the little fish don’t even recognize it for the shark that it is. So when should we expect them to band together to do something about it?
And what about Fractional Reserve Banking—that fraud of all frauds—that mother of all artifices and schemes that has run for the duration of this “Great Experiment” of a Union, under the noses of a public who don’t even understand what it is?
What bugs me about this meme is how attractive it is. It’s selling the dream of a day when we would finally stand up and set something aright for a change. But those days are exceedingly rare. And I don’t think we see our American history for the fluke that it is. We see it as normal and to be expected that people will revolt against tyranny, but history argues against that quite adamantly. And to disappoint us even further, even when some matter is set right, it’s often done for the wrong reasons—to benefit some other bad-faith shark whose stake in government is not for the good of the little fish.
The American revolution did not put an end to tyranny just like the death of Cain did not put an end to all murderers. And while it may indeed have set a few things straight in a good way, it also provided the opportunity for a great many would-be sharks to have a go at working the new system to their advantage on their watch. And what maximizes the opportunity of such do-it-yourself tyrants is the existence of a strong central government—stronger than ours is supposed to be (on paper). Hence, the great many cheats that us little fish are mostly ignorant about.
So, really, when are we ever going to band together to do anything about anything? How likely is that, really?
Can we band together? Sure. But it’s easier to stir us up in some misguided emotion than it is to get us to take an honest, rational, and responsible look at some issue, and then to devise and enforce a good solution for it. Sure, we could just lose our heads one day like France did, and decide to send all the aristocrats to the guillotine. And look how poorly that turned our for France! They decided it would be easier to kill them all than to curb their tyranny, and in killing them, they killed many of their smartest and brightest who knew how to make things run.
We could do that, to, if we wanted. We’re certainly capable of being dumb enough for that—even if cooler heads are prevailing at the moment. But I’m not sure that we’re very willing to become much smarter than that. You can manipulate us to support this or that cause—even against the facts and logic sometimes, but you can’t manipulate us into choosing to become honest, rational, and responsible. You can’t trick us into that, or force us into that, either. No, that’s the kind of life that people have to choose for themselves, and to learn for themselves while being supplied by their own inner motivations.
And I don’t think there have ever been a whole lot of that kind of people living in any one culture at any particular time. But at the same time, we must understand that never before in the history of this world have we had the kind of technology we have today, which is so utterly useful for manipulating the baser humans among us to do or believe this or that. And who’s behind the controls of that technologically-delivered message? It’s the sharks.
It’s much easier for the sharks to get the little fish to band together and go after something, because most of the little fish are not fish of high character, and they are not skilled at delivering messages and organizing movements and such. Unless you’re the rare individual, you’re more likely to learn those skills at shark school than at little fish school.
And if you go down to your local little fish school, aren’t you going to discover that it’s run, more or less, by the sharks in Washington and Silicon Valley? They’re already busy at work conditioning your local little fish into a collective to do their bidding here and there. And what are you going to do about that?
Hope for them to stop? Start a blog? Write your congressman?
Almost nobody wants to hear this, but the fundamental problem here is that there’s no viable movement aimed at training little fish to hate wickedness and to love righteousness. And much too little is being done to give them the skills necessary for forming and publishing a message, and for retraining the way some substantial number of the other little fish think.
It’s the sharks that have all the infrastructure and culture and tradition and money on their side. If you’re trying to do something different from what the sharks are already doing, you’ll be swimming against quite a tide.
So, am I saying you should give up? NO! What I’m saying is that you should do yourself a favor and stop to size up just what a HUGE undertaking it would be to remove the sharks. Chance are that you, little fish, are still supporting the shark agenda in ways you don’t even understand yet.
This is messy business, and tricky business, and the sharks are playing for keeps. They’ll not be overrun by a federation of little fish unless it’s an exceptional one. You’ll not run them out of the School Board or City Hall or the Governor’s Office or anywhere else without a fundamental reformation of the way Americans think. And last I checked, American thinking is the last thing Americans think is in need of a fundamental reformation.
Do I think we could do much better? Oh, absolutely! Do I think it’s likely? No. And that’s because so far, our idea of making changes is still aimed at voting in a multiply-rigged “two-party system”—which most Americans have no idea is yet another unconstitutional construct of tyrants who want control of the whole show.
I don’t think the Constitution is a magical or inspired document, though it’s pretty smart. But one thing it lacks is the teeth with which the little fish can bite the sharks—other than voting. But voting has already been commandeered in this “two-party system”, and besides that, the little fish are seen to be voting for the same kinds of sharks over and over. There are too few wise little fish to make good voting effective. And the Constitution, of course, lacks any mechanism for doling out wisdom.
Wise people generally are the ones who go get wisdom for themselves, whether the school or the TV or the church or the government or their parents are offering much of it or not. They normally succeed in spite of the system, and not because of it. And if not enough of that success is happening naturally, it’s very unlikely to be sufficiently bolstered by methods that are similar to the ones that are already failing to inspire their peers to rethink their thinking. I think it would take some very special thinkers teaching a lot of people to start over in their thinking, and to reject a lot of the standard axioms. And that’s no casual affair. Let us not underestimate the venture.
There are many movements who pretend at this, but who are not really all that radical in their reformation. That is, they’ll go after some tyranny, but not all of it. Some error, but not all of it. Some dishonesty and hypocrisy, but not all of it. So, the name of their game ends up being compromise, even if that wasn’t the goal under which it was conceived. And it’s that functional habit of compromise that is what protects the shark establishment to this very day.
That’s right, the “conservatives” end up, by their compromising habits, preserving the very compromised government they inherited from their parents—which means preserving the adulteration of the past, and never overturning it. For them, it’s quite enough, actually, to aspired to be a big aggregate fish that has no teeth, and that can scatter to oblivion in a heartbeat whenever a shark turns on it.
That’s what time I think it is. That’s the long-running trend that I think I observe. And while I’m completely in favor of seeing it change—and while I am certainly capable of the imagination needed to envision such a change—I see no evidence that America is interested in doing anything more than wishing about it. And I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but memes like this often seem to provide a substitute for the real thing—where what’s really needed is replaced with the mere dream of it.
If Americans really wanted a righteous reform, it would require individual Americans to drop the intellectual and moral compromise in which almost all of us live. Our cognitive scientists now fully recognize that we tend to be “cognitive misers” and “moral misers”‘ alike, lacking the initiative to “spend” much effort at all on the betterment of our thinking and our behavior. But this is news to the world! The founders of this Union were still operating under the flawed standard economic model, which states that “people normally act rationally in their own best interests.” So they expected American voters to vote the bums out and the good guys in. They didn’t think the Constitution would need more teeth than that—except for the impeachment process, which is generally neglected by an already-neglectful government that’s in need of removal from office.
But how many Americans even know the terms cognitive miser and moral miser yet—much less, have any conviction or knowledge about how to overcome such deeply established personal behaviors as these?
Very few. And it’s a message that’s slow to catch on—because the sharks don’t like it. Jesus understood it, but since him, most of the churches, even, have backpedaled from it, and tend to glorify the cognitive/moral miser’s status while doing very little to inspire people to make substantial improvements in themselves.
So, sure, let’s go after reform, my fellow Americans! But if you want to go after this, you can go after it the normal way, or you can learn what’s really going on, and figure out some effective way to go after it. The American Revolution and the subsequent Constitution were noteworthy innovations, to be sure, but they were insufficient to produce a self-maintaining society of intellectual/moral producers. No, the society we have is indeed run by the sharks (who are severely lacking on the morality side), and the grunt work is done mostly by the little fish, whose morality may be somewhat better (though still compromised, generally), and whose intellect is poorly trained.
So for this meme to come true, you’re either going to need some magic, or you’re going to need to do some of the hardest intellectual/moral work any society has ever done—such as what happened in the great spiritual awakening in the Mediterranean region of the world in the First Century AD, back when Christianity was focused not on building institutions, but on building character.
If a school of small fish has ever beaten a shark in nature, I don’t know about it. But I do know that a dolphin can make quick work of a shark. Perhaps one of our errors is in being content to be little fish, when we could become dolphins instead. But that involves a huge existential issue that deals with the very will and substance of the human soul—with what kind of a person he or she wants to be. And that’s quite a different consideration from that of who we should vote for next time around, isn’t it?