The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - This Is, Perhaps, The Difference Between The Right And Myself
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This Is, Perhaps, The Difference Between The Right And Myself|
So I saw this cartoon the other day:
.... I actually was confused before realizing that this may be the root of many conservative frictions.
Because I saw the light bulb in place of Lady Liberty's torch and went, "Well, that's fine. I assume they wouldn't put a bulb in there that wasn't nearly as bright as an open flame, so it'll still do the job of illuminating the world with enlightenment." I actually didn't see a problem with it at all, because the point is not OMG WE'VE ALWAYS HAD A FLAME THERE WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE A FLAME but rather the root question of efficiency.
Then I read the caption (and noted her disbelieving expression) and went, "Oh. This is supposed to be a bad thing."
The whole point of this cartoon is the dissonance it's supposed to create between the oh-too-precious eco-friendly suggestions and the Grand Tradition of Our Lady Liberty Being Compromised! But I really don't give that much of a crap about tradition. I care about whether it's efficient now. And certainly there are some semi-valid debates about whether fluorescent bulbs are actually a better solution, but realistically I don't care what the fuck Lady Liberty's carrying around as long as it produces light and can function as a valid beacon. She can carry an LED for all I'm concerned.
But that's a lot of what the right brings up in terms of its iconography: THEY'RE CHANGING THINGS! CHANGE IS BAD! And yeah, perhaps there's a semi-valid point lurking underneath the reason for not wanting change, but the initial emotional thrust of the argument stems from "IT'S BEEN THIS WAY AND THEY WANT TO MAKE IT NOT THAT WAY NOW, THAT'S BAD." (Also used heavily in Bush's re-election campaign in the "HE DOESN'T CHANGE HIS MIND LIKE KERRY, BECAUSE CHANGING YOUR MIND IS WEAKNESS" overtones.) The intellectual justification is the aftershock of the cluster-bomb of "THINGS WON'T BE THE SAME."
Fuck that. I'm a leftie, and that means that I think tradition is overrated. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all 1960s let's-tear-down-everything-because-new-is-always-better hippie mode - I'm a card-carrying member of the Village Green Preservation Society - but efficiency trumps tradition, and I think a wise establishment is continually looking at everything "they've always done" to see if there's still a valid reason and if there aren't ways to do it better. A good system is continually reinventing itself.
Change does not frighten me. Change is a sign that you're livin' life right. Change means that yes, maybe we have some emotional attachment to the light bulb, and I'm still a little pissy that Pluto's not a planet, but we move on and reclassify and it's all okay. Nobody's really going to change Lady Liberty's torch because, I mean, it'd be a lot of effort to change a symbol that's not really harmful at this point... But if you gave me a good, practical argument why we should, then I'd be on it like white on rice. (As evidenced by the fact that I'll never be able to go up to the torch platform, but for safety reasons it does make sense.)
Traditions are nice and comfortable. I think comfort's overrated. And if every once in a while, we do crazy things like considering swapping torches for electric lights, I'm okay with that.
This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/121186.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
|Date:||June 24th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)|| |
Nothing at all wrong with change, but plenty of reasonable people don't like the idea of government mandating trendy eco-devices (many with questionable overall benefits, and substantially higher cost) in place of the existing devices they prefer to use.
If people choose to be green, that's great, but many believe the government goes too far with the restrictions. You may not think so, but it's not an unreasonable position to take.
Not my point at all, but thanks for trying.
Yep. We are a species that both changes rapidly and changes the world: this has bad effects sometimes (especially on the "changes the world" front) but it's sort of a vital part of what we are, both on a natural level and in my metaphysic.
I want to see Lady Liberty holding a Green Lantern, er, lantern, but that's just me.
O.o; When did it become bad to change things in the US where we're always being scolded for abandoning/forgetting our past traditions and would put aside the trolleys for cars, highways for freeways, TV for radio, fast food for home cooked and internet for TV?
I think the cartoon was more about being forced to accept questionable eco-friendly practices. ;D
The caption sure is. So, the cartoon says that's what it's about. That interpretation doesn't really fit the image on display here, though. Renovating a monument might be a good way to express an ideal--or, in this case, a heavy-handed tasteless way--but it sure doesn't force anyone to accept anything.
I guess it's standard political strategy, these days, to throw out a whole bunch of objections at once without giving any thought to how good they are (lower power consumption is "questionably eco-friendly"?) and then, when one or another doesn't work, just forget about it, and claim that wasn't really what you were talking about anyway.
All I have to say is this:
"Han shot first."
I would argue that the "use" of the Statue of Liberty is as a symbol, and not as a beacon. As such, the illustrated example would be inefficient, as it is not an improvement over the previous version. I realize that's taking the illustration entirely literally, but it still works to illustrate the actual point of the cartoon, which is that forced unnecessary change with questionable benefit isn't freedom at all.
Simply put, there's nothing wrong with change so long as it's an improvement. There's also nothing wrong with protesting against change when you believe the change in question isn't improvement at all but regression.
Change frightens me a great deal. I still lean left, though, because I prioritize solving problems over my own personal comfort, or even the comfort of an entire demographic. I don't think comfort's overrated, I think that getting shit done is underrated.
This is about gay marriage, right?
It's always about teh ghey.
|Date:||June 24th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)|| |
I mean, political differences aside, I couldn't get behind any cause that misuses hyphens to that degree.
I looked at the cartoon and thought "What a great idea!" and then realized that it was meant to be a negative.
Which is amusing, because CFLs work so poorly outdoors when it's cold.
(Yes, I did get your overall point, though).
As to the topic, I think CFLs are a stopgap, we should be mandating LEDs instead. Takes care of the mercury issue quite nicely, and they work in a wider range of temperature and voltage conditions.
|Date:||June 24th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)|| |
If you aren't changing, you aren't growing.
When did you flip the switch to leftie? You've previously described yourself as a moderate even though your social views are left of "center. Was there a coming out post I missed?
He can stay exactly where he was ten years ago and be left in the current US political climate. Things moved rightward.
...Why would one opinion that aligns with "the left" automatically turn him into a "leftie"? Given that most issues in this country get diametrically polarized pretty quickly, I'd expect a "moderate" to hold "leftie" opinions on some issues and "rightie" opinions on others.
People are missing the whole point about the rape/ slavery analogy. No, the lightbulb thing isnt the same as rape. But i think the analogy makes a larger, general point, which is:
Libertarians often push "personal liberty" as a value which (the way some of them present it) sometimes trumps all other values, feelings/rights of others, or common sense. I think barts analogy, though ridiculous, shows this perfectly.
|Date:||June 24th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)|| |
Tradition is nice when it's comfy and uplifting and furthers community: e.g., getting together with family and/or friends on Hallmark Holidays like Thanksgiving and Yule; religious ritual (pagan included) that makes people feel connected to the universe and eachother and not so alone or insignificant.
Tradition an awful and unacceptable excuse when it's detrimental: jihads' clitorectomies; slavery; the alcoholism and abuse handed down from generation to generation in a family. . . the list is endless.
Whenever someone says "tradition" I have to respectfully request a full definition/translation to be sure what we're talking about before I smile and agree that it's a good thing if it floats your boat.
|Date:||June 24th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)|| |
Tra-di'-tion n. a set of solutions to problems that have been solved for so long that the problems themselves have been forgotten.
Tradition is useful only insofar as it solves real problems that actually exist. With this in mind, we should examine our traditions for validity at every opportunity. Sometimes, a "tradition" achieves its own validity by virtue of solving a problem different from the one that it originally made go away, ie the Thanksgiving feast is no longer a celebration of our survival of a terrible winter, but it does offer families and friends a reason and an excuse to gather together in fellowship.
That said, I'd just like to say that I do not appreciate any political use of American iconography, when the use aims to promote the interests of any subset of Americans over those of ALL Americans.
Personally, as soon as I can afford it, I intend to remove every CFL bulb from my house and replace 'em with LEDs and hang the cost. It has feck-all to do with the gubmint/this whole argument and everything to do with the fact that CFLs have roughly 100% more mercury than incandescents and LEDs (taking into consideration that Edison's bulbs have none, and I am not sure but think that neither do LEDs).
Also, the cheap ones tend to have bad ballasts which have been known to burst into flames rather spectacularly. So if you get CFLs, make sure it's a good brand name.