Just got back from Church where my daughter and I do music ministry together for Mass. Don’t need Pilates here, just really putting everything you have into singing “How Great Thou Art” or “How Can I Keep From Singing” is one heck of a workout.
On the way home I was thinking about just how good we have it here. A long time ago, well maybe not THAT long ago, (2003), I read a piece by Bill Whittle called “Web of Trust“. Just checked it again, Ha! I’m waaaayyyy older than him and he thinks he’s old. Unfortunately that site no longer exists because Bill has moved on since then and can now be found here.
(Note to readers who might find this old post from May 2015: That was then, this is now, I am adding this on April 14, 2019, almost 4 years on from where I was back in May 2015. I have to emphatically declare that much of what I believe and write about in this and the next three post about “The Web Of Trust” is based on the work of Bill Whittle and his writings at the beginning of the 21st century, about that Web of Trust as he sees it and also to no small degree on his “Tribes” polemic.
Bill put it all together in a good book called “SILENT AMERICA: ESSAYS FROM A DEMOCRACY AT WAR” which is well worth reading. Bill articulated very well the headspace of an entire generation of retired vets, workers in the trenches of our modern society, and even many who served in other ways, his Grey Tribe workers … you know who you are.
And he affected the way we resolved the coginitive dissonance we experienced once we left the Armed Services. I had a rather gentle transition spending, as I did, 10 years in the Corrections Service, getting used to “civvie street” again before making a clean break into the world of modern College, University and eventually Government Health Care. Others were not so lucky.)
Anyway, “Web of Trust”, is about how we take everything for granted and in fact all the stuff we take for granted is what makes our really good life here possible. Without it all we are dead, dead, dead.
The Web of Trust is also about the uncomfortable fact that many in our culture, even those who are very well off in that culture, CHOOSE to hate what keeps us alive and to be ashamed of it. Choose to hate and be ashamed of “the other”, choose to belittle, and denigrate, and persecute those who do not agree with them.
I get rather down on our current “civilization” from time to time, some times more than others depending on what the current atrocity is that just got my attention, and then I go down to my office and write accordingly, on whatever it is that has attracted my attention.
This makes for a much more peaceful family life and I get to think about what I am venting about rather than inflict a lot of extemporaneous pontificating on my long suffering wife. What strikes me today is the complexity of that activity – simply going down to my office, in peace, to write whatever I want to and then freely cast it to the electronic winds.
When examined in its particulars it is nothing short of astounding, “magic” in another time. Just to go down here and do this … astounding … not me and my writing, but rather the web of human interaction and trust and freedom that makes it all possible is astounding.
Whittle writes, after he is pilloried by commentators, : “Why all the hatred? Why are so many people so ashamed of the most amazing Civilization that has ever existed on the face of this planet? What the hell have these people been taught to make them think such transparent nonsense?”
He goes on to explain how he believes that human beings are interchangeable, and he means that in a positive way, without realizing that that is the point where he (and the culture) goes off the rails. That belief in interchangeability of humans is at the root of the meme that humans are not unique individuals but are simply a resource to be consumed, an interchangeable cog in a machine that doesn’t value the uniqueness of the human person.
In reality, what makes the web of trust special and what makes it capable of providing for all our needs is the cooperation of a multitude of unique individuals with talents and specialties each focusing on what they are good at and exchanging those goods and services through a medium of shared values and trusted mechanisms of exchange.
Here is the punch line … those shared values and trusted mechanisms all have their roots and origins in a Christian, nay, a specifically Catholic framework of a once vibrant, now dead,civilization.
Now, like Bill, I too have been called a “Racist Nazi” by some folks who don’t like what I say or believe, or disagree with it all because it calls into question things that they take as “given”.
Some of those folks I am even related to … Ha! “My brother the Nazi” – sounds like a late night B movie “Nazi Zombies on the Dark Side of the Moon” BWAAAHAHAHAHA!. Why folks use terms like “NAZI” to describe just about anyone and anything they disagree with is beyond me.
Most of them wouldn’t know a real Nazi if they got bit on the ass by one. It must be something in the Hate thing that Bill Whittle was talking about. They choose to hate the “other”. Actually, they probably wouldn’t hate a real Nazi because they would recognize a kindred spirit.
Reality is rather different from the chatter. None of this reality thing is about race or color. It is all about culture, and brains, and civilization. Color doesn’t enter into it except if you hook up the wrong colored wires to the wrong colored terminals.
Then, if you are depending on the right color to keep you alive, you are no longer alive but have been transmuted into the subject of a TSBC report. Bad choices have bad consequences.
To be continued …
Disclaimer for the nit pickers: we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately