Monday, May 21, 2012

Pre-Post: Settling In, Settling Down

So I'm in the middle of drafting a little post explaining why the Mouth o' the Mule is effectively in limbo, although technically alive.

But one reason will get its own little blog post.

Over the weekend [unfortunately, while at a ballgame], I had a lengthy text conversation with two pals about -- you guessed it, the exercise of government power, the role of the executive, checks and balances, terrorism, security, blah blah blah.  The chief antagonists/debaters were the Mule and Fred C. Dobbs.

It was a good one.  And it helps explain why I'm a quieter, less mouthy Mule.

And it came down to values.

Now, values is often used to imply (or mistakenly used FOR) morals. I'm NOT using it that way; I'm using it in its natural meaning -- the things the parties value.

And this lengthy, contentious debate ultimately demonstrated again something that I've tried to comment on before. The participants all do see the same thing, and (if I may presume) see a spectrum. In this case, a line (again if I may presume; the participants might use other words or disagree) with Total Government Control - Dictatorial Omnipotence, if you will- and Absence of Government Control-- Anarchy, if you will.

A domestic drone.  In silver. Courtesy ICE.

We were debating the place of drones and DAA detention, and targeted killings, and surveillance
Chicago policeman. In black and blue.
in our society, but I really think that we were picking our spots on the Line that I described. Fred came down closer to government control than I did, and I conversely came down closer to anarchy than he.

He did so because he placed a higher value on security than I did, and I placed a higher value on freedom from government observation or interference.

There's not really a lot of rich ground to mine there, blog-wise: we see the same thing, we likely have the same concerns, but we each view the bargain differently, and want something different from it. I know that I realized approximately where I came down on that line back in 1993, and few things have moved it substantially. But we may view these things only a little differently; I'm not sure. We're not really tested by circumstance on the full spectrum between Omnipotence and Anarchy.  We may be four inches apart oin a mile-long spectrum.  We're probably pretty side-by-side; I doubt either of us could countenance the extremes, and would fight either tooth and nail.

What does this have to do with blogging, you ask? Well, I love the abstract argument as much as the next dude, but I'm really not eager to substitute my values for the other guy's. We obviously think the thing that we value more highly is "better," but I think a Honda Fit is better than a Honda Accord,
The Honda Fit.  In red.
and I think a Les Paul is better than a Casino [these are the respective spots o' me and Fred]. But I LOVE Honda Accords, and I own a Casino.
The Epiphone Casino. As Gahd intended it.
Fred loves and records with the Les Paul, and would love to have a Fit. We can each favour a different Beatles song, but we're both gonna wax ecstatic about almost everything in the catalogue. And I know that he loves freedom, and I know that I love safety.

What does this have to do with blogging, you ask? And why won't I get to the boring fucking point already?
I didn't choose to look at politics or governance this way in the past, at least on this blog. If you'd asked me, I could have laid out the line and values, but it was more fun to try to sell my values to others.

It seems less important than ever. And, more importantly, with each passing day, the experiences and teachings of our lives that give substance to those values is longer, older, and firmer.
To be sure, we're not hopelessly set in our ways; we can change values. But even more likely, our growth and change occurs when we better see how something we value is gained or achieved through something than we once saw differently. We adjust our behaviours and preferences accordingly.  It's less about growing old and fossilized, and more about knowing ourselves and what we think is best. But I think the values are pretty solid by this time.

Oh, and the blog's quiet because I try to put any interesting image on the Gunslinger, and because I'm so busy banging cocktail waitresses and stewardesses that I just don't have time for photography or music appreciation.

Sp I'm not going to try to explain why you should detest Mick Jagger.

There: after a pointless and maudlin post, I was able to get back to my roots and my strengths at the wire. . . .

I'll offer Settling In, Settling Down when complete.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I was interviewing a job applicant and he said, "I love a good debate, and that's what lawyers are all about." And I had to say, through my spluttering splutters, words to the effect of, "Let me correct that mis-impression. Lawyers like a good debate in the abstract. They like a good debate about client matters and any matter that has nothing whatsoever to do with their own personal values and beliefs. They HATE a good debate about their personal beliefs."

And, with very few exceptions, and I'm one of them, that is true. I still have and always will have a fondness for high school and later, college dorm all-night rap sessions that changed my views on several items and allowed me to change others' views on some things. Most people outgrow that love, just like they outgrow rock 'n roll. On both counts I never did and never will, i think at this point it's safe to say ... :-)

I don't know; why isn't the extent of government power over individual liberty just as important an issue now as it was in 1776 or in the Chech Republic of the Plastic People era? I give up, I don't know the answer to that.

Deep said...

Hey what finish is your epiphone casino? Is it natural or metallic gold?

mister muleboy said...

Mine is natural. But the one In The photo is god-only-knows

mister muleboy said...

Who - it's more relevant than it has been since 1776-1792