Monday, July 30, 2007

Love in the Middle of a Firefight

If I had to label myself politically, "libertarian socialist" would be more accurate than "liberal." I support libraries and freedom of speech, civil liberties and so on. I particularly enjoy Gloria Steinem type characters and all sorts of troublemakers. I am usually attracted to the idea of subverting the status quo when change is needed, but also like preserving some of the better aspects of the past.

It's Thorstein Veblen's birthday: do you know where your credit cards are today? He wrote compellingly but in an odd style, coming up with things like "conspicuous consumption" and "the leisure class." George Carlin put consumerism this way: "They try to make you buy shit you don't need with money you don't have." Something like that.

It's also Marine Major General Smedley Butler's birthday. From his experiences during and after the Great War, he began to analyze war profiteering and published a small but insightful work, War is a Racket (1935). The full text is accessible via the internet. It's a scathing precursor to the idea of the military-industrial complex.

Today's Rune: Harvest.

Birthdays: Emily Jane Brontë (aka Ellis Bell), Thorstein Veblen, Henry Ford (Detroit), Smedley Butler (“The Fighting Quaker”), Berniece Baker Miracle, Yee Keung Victor Wong, Peter Bogdanovich, Eleanor Smeal (Duke University), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anita Hill, Kate Bush, Laurence Fishburne, Cherie Priest.

Ingmar Bergman, RIP.


JR's Thumbprints said...

Marine Major General Smedley Butler was ahead of his time.

the walking man said...

While not truly knowing enough about socialism to consider it a better or worse way of government than democracy, I will admit that our way doesn't seem to be working anymore and every time greed and ideology gets into leadership positions it is off to war we send the youth of the country.

Gen. Buck Turgidson said...

Either we bomb the Arab world to hell or they do it to us, Mr. President. The choice is obvious, isn't it, sir?

Johnny Yen said...

I used to have a poster with a Smedley Butler quote on it-- something about his realization that as a Marine, he was merely hired muscle for American capitalists. He participated in interventions in China (the boxer rebellion), Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and others.

BTW, he also directed the construction of Quantico, where FBI agents now recieve their training.

Bubs said...

Thank you for the reminder about Smedley Butler's birthday! That has always been one of my favorite speeches, "War is a Racket".

Charles Gramlich said...

War is a racket is such a great point. of course, I think we've got quite a few rackets going in our modern world. the medicine racket is one.