Why am I watching and reading the “news”?

As a starter, I want to know what is going on around me and around the world. Why? Now that question has several answers. The first is that it satisfies my curiosity. The second is that it is entertaining. The third is that I am drawn to the spectacle of disasters — both natural and man-made, like hurricanes, floods, crimes, riots and wars.

So far I have restated a view like that of George Carlin, the comedian of the “passing show.”

However, unlike George Carlin who cynically said “fuck hope,” I harbor, what perhaps is, a delusion of hope. I hope to somehow influence events for the better. That is why I am on Facebook, and that is why I have a site called “Escaping from Bullshit.”

But even if I have very little influence, there is at least the satisfaction of having — hopefully — a good understanding of what is going on, and of having expressed that understanding to others. As to influence on others, my efforts are probably like that of Sisyphus, Tantalus, and Prometheus, or the characters in “Waiting for Godot.” In other words, I am pessimistic, if not quite as cynical as George Carlin.

As to what is called “news,” it is a misnomer. It should be called something like “criticism of the passing show,” as contrasted with Carlin’s “laughing at the passing show.” Why do I say this? Because both the people presenting the news and the audience are deeply involved with value judgments. For example, they like what the President or Prime Minister is doing or they do not, and they may or may not have recommendations. And, I suppose, people want to have a target — a person to blame or praise. And they do. Everywhere there is a leader — a prominent and powerful President or a Prime Minister to criticize: a Trump, a Putin, a Merkel, a Macron, a Boris Johnson, etc., etc. — except in Switzerland. Those “unfortunate” Swiss do not have any specific person to blame for their “misfortunes” — whatever they are.

This focus on what a leader, or a government is doing, is ok as entertainment, but as far as criticism and protesting is concerned, it seems — for the most part — ineffectual, futile — at least for policy issues. If they are successful, at best, such serious protests (which are mis-called “revolutions”), they result in substituting a bad leader with possibly even a worse one. This is my sociological observation. The most world-wide protest, which I am aware of, was the protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Yet, it happened. There are presently world-wide protests against ecological damage. I suspect they will be ultimately ineffective, and we will suffer the consequences.

What is needed is not “news” in the sense of “criticism of the passing show,” but a criticism and change (revolution) of the political, economical, and social INSTITUTIONS. In every country — except Switzerland — their Constitutions are assumed to be good — even praised. The criticism is that the Constitutions are not adhered to — that there is corruption.

In the United States right now, there is talk of a “Constitutional crisis” — meaning that President Trump is violating the principles of the Constitution, and they are calling this activity “imperial Presidency.”

From my perspective, the problem is that there is this institution of a President, to begin with. It seems crystal clear that if you give too much power to a single individual, he or she will tend to use it to his or her benefit at the sacrifice of everyone else. All countries should get rid of the office of a President or a Prime Minister, and adopt the Swiss example of placing the executive power in a council. Switzerland has a Federal Council consisting of seven individuals.

How to avoid Dictators and Totalitarians

Take a look at Wikipedia’s
List of current heads of state and government

There are three columns: State, Head of State, Head of Government. The head of state is usually a President (or a royalty, such as Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom), and the head of government is normally a Prime Minister. Some countries combine these two heads, calling such a person a President (as in the United States).

The only country that is an exception is Switzerland. The executive office is shared by seven individuals. The chairperson is called “president,” but with no extra powers.

What’s my point? I am reading Hannah Arendt’s book The Origins of Totalitarianism(1951, 1958), which is about the regimes of Hitler after 1938, and that of Stalin after 1930. Both regimes were ruled by dictators. What made them “totalitarian,” according to Arendt, was their mass killings and total domination of populations through terror.

The lesson should be clear. Placing power in the hands of one person is already a form of dictatorship. And if you elect the wrong dictator, you may find yourself in the claws of a barbarian.

To prevent barbarism, all governments should be more like the Swiss. What does Arendt’s say about this proposal? On page 273, in footnote 11, she writes:

“It is true that some Czech statesmen, the most liberal and democratic of the leaders of national movements, once dreamed of making the Czechoslovak republic a kind of Switzerland. The reason why even Benes never serious attempted to effectuate such a solution to his harassing nationality problems was that Switzerland was not a model that could be imitated, but rather a particularly fortunate exception that proved an otherwise established rule. The newly established states did not feel secure enough to abandon a centralized state apparatus and could not create overnight those small self-administrative bodies of communes and cantons upon whose very extensive powers the Swiss system of federation is based.”

In response, I ask: Is it true that Switzerland was not (and is not) a model that could be imitated?

Carlton J. H. Hayes, in A Generation Of Materialism (1871-1900), 1941, at the end of Chapter 7, “Seed-time of totalitarian nationalism,” concluded:

“Only tiny Switzerland, perched high above the rest of Europe, offered practical demonstration of how, through sane federalism and real liberty, diverse nationalities could live together in amity and evince a common patriotism. Although no great power paid serious attention to the Swiss demonstration, Switzerland remained at peace when later the world was at war, and Switzerland outlasted the empires of Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, and Tsar.”

The political wisdom of Carey Wedler

“After suffering the painful realization that Barack Obama was not a savior but a snide corporate prostitute (and a cog in the machine) & after slaving away at a major Hollywood film studio, my subservience to the system snapped.

I now break down the techniques of manipulation and coercion that permeate society & culture, using my past naive adherence to the system to understand why it is so effective. In place of obedience to authority and a desire for superficial validation, I promote individuality, freedom, and love.” Carey Wedler

I just came across the video postings of Carey Wedler, who expresses her political wisdom in a very entertaining sarcastic manner. Her home page on YouTube is Carey Wedler

Below are some of her postings:

Why I’m finally speaking out against the world’s most dangerous religion — Mar 28, 2019

You can love your country without loving your government! — Jul 4, 2018

5 Decades of Lies and War — when will Americans wake up? — Apr 12, 2018

Why I’m burning my bridge with the mainstream media — Oct 26, 2017

Why I’m burning my last bridge with Obama — Mar 13, 2014

How I became a “self-hating Jew” — Aug 11, 2014