Thursday, September 30, 2004

A warm and fuzzy post on this day of debate:

So I'm on this listserve for people interested in the social implications of physics education research. Basically it is a place where a few people who began their careers in physics and/or astronomy, now complain loudly (largely to themselves) about how the dominant socioeconomic paradigm is a secret conspiracy laid upon us by the crypto-fascist buisiness roundtable and that the only way we can ever hope to teach physics or anything else is by having a bloody revoloution that subverts this paradigm. I tend to wonder what these people do during their day jobs. They seem to all be professors of some sort, so someone is paying them to pass on all of this wisdom. (Must be nice, says the unemployed guy.)

Given the debates that start tonight, I get two emails today from the luminaries of this field. Let's call them S1 and S2. S1 has this to say:

"I don't have time to put my position forth in full (oh - but I will), but
I strongly come down on the side of not supporting any of the candidates
this time around. This is not a rejection of participating in elections
for all times in the future, but right now - any of the major candidates
will divert the struggle from authentic working class movements and
independence- which I see as the only way forward."

S1 is a professor at a major university in NYC. He gets paid a living wage. He has health insurance. He most likely has a pension. He will take the subway home this evening and probably go to sleep in a modest apartment. S1 is not a member of the working class. Although I believe that those of us who do not wear blue collars have every right to think of what might be best for those people and act on it, at some point you have to show a bit of deference. As S1 is travelling home, 1000's of poeple will be sleeping on the streets above him. 1000's more parents and children will not be able to stop at the chinese take-out on the way home for dinner. In fact, they won't be having dinner at all. No, John Kerry isn't going to cook all these people a nice dinner on January 21st if he's elected, and nor will he make their bed. But, goddamn it if W will. Because I care in a real way about people who are less fortunate than me, I am required to think about what will be best for them in the short term, even if I might like a "Nader of the 1980's" as president. Because they can't wait for the revolution, neither can I. I vote for John Kerry.

S2 who teaches at a major Brittish University had this to say:

"Long ago barons and other pirates fomented civil war to get their way.
The baron with the biggest army survived the bloodbath. Such a
decision-making system is wasteful. Eventually the barons invented a
cleaner system, called democracy, whereby the fight became
counterfactual: "If we organized a civil war, with of us hiring a mob to
fight the other, whose mob would survive? To find the likely winner,
let's count heads by asking the mob to count themselves. Then we don't
kill most of our slaves in fighting a bloody civil war." The unspoken
thought is that each powerful entity wishes to abide by the result of
the election: Going against it would mean a bloodbath that ends with the
same result. So the government, a creature of the powerful, is happy to
organize elections. As a side benefit, the method of rule clothes power
with a mask of popular participation, the better to pacify the slaves.

Although the violence is indirect and latent, voting is therefore still
a violent method of social change. And violent methods, even for
allegedly progressive ends, return us to where we are: a society built
upon jails, prisoners, prison wardens, police, armies, and weapons labs.

So I shall not vote, neither in Britain nor in America."

Now, far be it from me to laugh at anyone else's intellectual accomplishments, but I'm all chuckles right now. Thanks for playing son. I wasn't planning on commenting on S2's offering, but I suddenly noticed the testosterone in his language. Contrast this with his pacifist stance on elections and voting. A contradiction? Perhaps an hypocracy that S2 hasn't noticed yet.

Revolutions take time and hard work. Niether of these two fools feel like doing the real work that causes change. Thus they are destined to be posting on a stupid listserves for the rest of their natural lives without ever seeing anything happen. Have a nice life guys.



At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did they do all this? Last I checked was a week ago. Payday Loans Cash Advance


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