October 17th, 2012
Our conversation gets rolling with a clip of Senator Rand Paul appearing on CNN. The Senator is discussing his desire to cut military spending.
Kevin: Hello again and welcome back to another episode of our show. While we still remain nameless, we do have a website up and running at JKPod.com, where we house all of our episodes, recordings, and show notes. For the sake of promotion, we’d certainly appreciate you passing that link around as you see fit to do. We also have yet to settle on any specific subject matter for the show and I’m not entirely sure that we’re trying to at this point. That said, we continue to focus on the grand ideas of liberty, humanity, and equality for all.
We’ve got some pretty tough topics to tackle this week with a spotlight still on the 2012 Presidential Election and in addition to many other incidental points discovered along the way, Jad and I discussed the emptiness of political positions. From there, we segway into a much more pressing issue and one that Jad is particularly passionate about, the unfortunate state of American education. Tying the two together, if we’re not raised to think critically then it’s really no wonder politicians can claim whatever they want.
Our conversation gets rolling with a clip of Senator Rand Paul appearing on CNN. The Senator is discussing his desire to cut military spending, and while I found the clip to be enjoyable and appreciate his position being contrary to both Governor Romney and President Obama, Jad was quick to warn that a deeper analysis might be warranted.
A friend of mine this evening sent me a clip to Rand Paul being interviewed and I don’t usually like a lot of Rand Paul’s positions – they’re definitely not that of his father. And they asked him about Mitt Romney’s foreign policy – the speech that he gave the other day – and Rand Paul was saying, “Well, I definitely do not agree with the Governor’s analysis of this.”
Audio Clip of Rand Paul: One, I think whenever we get involved with war, or providing weapons, or bombing countries, it needs to go before Congress. You know, the Constitution says that that is the prerogative of the Legislature, so that’s my first objection.
Audio Clip of Interviewer:-Mmm hmm.
Audio Clip of Rand Paul:My second objection is it’s difficult to know who friend and foe are. We’ve been over a decade or almost – over a decade now – in Afghanistan, and we have trouble telling friend from foe. The people we’re training – the Afghan soldiers – are turning their weapons on us, so how are we supposed to know who in Syria is our friend, who is our foe, what do they stand for –
Kevin: He went on to say that – he said what we really need is a more sensible and lightweight foreign policy.
Audio Clip of Rand Paul: What I would say is the same thing I say to liberals, you can’t always make education better by throwing more money at it. You can’t always make your country stronger or more safe by throwing more money at the military. Let’s figure out what we need as a country to defend our country, to defend our vital interests, but let’s not be everywhere all the time. Let’s not decide that every war is something that U.S. dollars as well as soldiers have to participate in, and so I do object to.
Kevin: And he said nobody on the conservative side wants to ever talk about that, and here Mitt Romney is trying to say we need to expand it – we can’t have this reckless spending on both sides. I was kind of impressed actually that he took that stance publicly, and –
Jad: Yeah, sure, sure. Yeah I mean I don’t know, it’s a harmless stance to take, right? He can totally say that, it isn’t – nothing is implied – and that’s kind of like Ron Paul’s gig the entire time. “This is the way it should be”, and as long as it’s just him and Dennis Kucinich believe it’s true then nothing will ever happen, so there’s no need to you know, to really worry about what Ron Paul was saying.
Kevin: The voice you just heard was the co-creator, Jad Davis. I’m Kevin Ludlow, and welcome back to our show.
It kind of goes a little bit to what I was saying last week about the “Everyone is Evil” thing because I said it’s easy for him to say that because he’s not actually in a realistic position to have to execute on it.
Jad: Sure. And even more to that point, when Rand Paul was half bucking for the VP –
Jad: He was very, very in line with the main line Republican points.
Kevin: Totally agree.
Jad: And when Ron Paul is running he’s always emphasizing his immigration policy and his pro-life position, which are like his only two non-libertarian positions.
Jad: One more than the other, I guess probably. But –
Kevin: The pro-life one I assume.
Jad: Well I don’t know, I think it all depends [?] are both hit or miss, but I think there’s probably a fair number of pro-life libertarians who would claim the you know, non-aggression principal against a fetus or something.
Jad: But there’s not a whole lot of real libertarians who believe in strong borders
Kevin: Yeah, I guess that’s a good point. It’s so much easier argument to take the side of anti-abortion. In fact, I like making that point to a liberal audience. I’m definitely a pro-choice individual myself, but I’m actually very sympathetic to the pro-life movement I guess. I think they go about it in a just wretched and awful way, but I get what their position is. It’s just such a religious argument because you know, as I always tell people on the left, I’m like, “Well you can always make the pro-life argument.” Everybody’s pro-life, it’s just when are you pro-life? You know, if the baby’s delivered, it’s 3 hours old, you can’t kill it, right? You’re a murderer.
Well what if it’s crowning? Are you able to kill it then? What if you’re already in labor, so you know the baby’s working its way down. Could you kill it then? So I mean at some point in time where this is where the argument always goes to is that it doesn’t really have anything to do with life or death. We all agree you shouldn’t kill something that’s alive, it’s just when is it technically alive? It’s a perfect political argument – you’re never going to win it.
Jad: Right, right. Well, that’s why it exists as a political argument because you can argue both sides forever and make entire campaigns and campaign seasons can focus on that one issue and nothing else.
Kevin: It’s impossible to answer because it’s a subjective comment to begin with. You can’t prove when a baby is a baby.
Kevin: It’s just an opinion.
Jad: Yep, exactly. But that’s what the government is for is enforcing opinions with guns.
Kevin: That’s absolutely right. And they’re growing efficient at it too.
Jad: Right. But yeah, so that seems to me to be the pattern – well like you said, if there’s some chance that Rand Paul could be voted out of office for his you know, moderation in foreign policy, then that moderation in foreign policy would instantly vanish.
Kevin: I think you’re right, and that’s really the unfortunate state of our country and so yeah, you’re right. To see him say what he was saying, I think the newscaster – I forget who was interviewing him – was a woman on CNN or something, and you know, she was saying – she’s like –
Audio Clip: Are you concerned that coming out with these criticisms – because they are significant. I mean, he has made a big deal about Army, the rebels – you heard him say it today, he said it yesterday. Also about the defense budget and how he wants to increase it. Are you worried that by coming out, you say you support him, but you could be hurting his chances to win.
Kevin: And essentially he says no, but more importantly, I think we need to talk about these topics to begin with –
Audio Clip: No because I think really what we need to be talking about are pretty important issues that transcend partisanship, and we need to talk about what’s important for the country. The only way we’re ever going to figure out our debt problem is we’re going to have to compromise. Conservatives like myself who believe National defense is very important will have to say that not every dollar spent on the military is sacred, and liberals will have to acknowledge that not every dollar spent on welfare and entitlements is sacred.
Kevin: And I don’t actually agree with that latter point. I don’t think he believes that, I just think he knows that it doesn’t matter. Everybody’s minds – I think – is already pretty much made up. It’s an unfortunate reality of the country also – everybody just voting for their group, I think.
Jad: Well there’s only two options, so you don’t really have a lot choice.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah that’s what I mean, you’re going one or the other.
Jad: Right. Actually, I wonder – I was reading that the Romney campaign is making a concerted effort to you know, kind of go back to the Ron Paul political structure that’s still out there and try to gather them together to vote for him.
Jad: Yeah. I wonder if the Rand Paul is trying to build some kind of bridge there, you know? I support Romney and I still you know – anti-empire.
Kevin: Even though I don’t agree with a lot of the positions of Rand Paul, I previously liked to think that that was just because he happens to be a little bit more socially conservative then I might actually be. When he started coming about as a politician, I liked to think that he was raised well because obviously I like many of the positions of his father, so I thought he would at least kind of embrace that political enthusiasm, or I thought maybe he was a little bit more genuine than most politicians.
But as you accurately pointed out, as he started becoming a little bit more and more towards the, “Oh, I could be the Vice President”, he was pretty quick to step in line. So now when he says these things, I think you’re absolutely right. I mean, who the hell knows why he’s doing it? Maybe he really is saying these sorts of things because it gets people like – not necessarily me – but people like me to listen to him and say, “Oh, well, that is a good position. I support that and if this guy’s going for Mitt Romney, I guess he’s going to support that position too”, you know? I don’t know, but –
Jad: And even you know – and I’m going to spend the next 20 years of my life in a continuous campaign to get Rand Pau and you know, Rand Paul like people elected –
Jad: – in the hopes that something will finally stop this train from careening off the edge of this cliff.
Kevin: Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. It’s such a helpless position I think, for people like us – and I don’t just mean with slightly more fringed political dissenting views, but just the 99,99% who sit on the outside of this political machine and you know, in our case, actually trying to at least be open to it, to talk about it, to be knowledgeable of what’s occurring and it’s just every time you get to the top of the mountain you know, you’re like, “oh, we finally climbed it”, but
no, you haven’t. There’s a whole other mountain range that you haven’t even seen yet, you just haven’t gotten that high.
Jad: Right, that’s true.
Kevin: So it’s a hard thing to continue in.
Jad: For sure. Although I have to say, I guess it’s just luck and good upbringing or whatever, but seeing things so clearly, seeing like, that doesn’t make any sense that the President would campaign on a peace platform and then keep the war machine going. How does this good man do these things? I guess it goes back to “Everyone is Evil”. If you understand that this person is in a position of absolute power and they’ve gotten to that after a lifetime of promising people that given this position of absolute power, they will pay everyone back for all of the money, and effort, and all it takes for him to be put in that position.
Jad: You know, once you understand that that is the position that he and everyone who’s in that the Presidency and politics is in, then it all totally makes sense why they’re taking all this money and funneling all to banks that should be going out of business and making way for new banks run by people who were the previously middle class. It’s so obvious and clear and it really kind of – I think it takes away a lot of frustration that it seems like everyone has about like, why are these people doing this, all these awful things when they’re supposed to be the good people that are helping us – to state it in the most naïve way possible but –
Jad: – you know, when it comes down to it that’s what the belief is.
Kevin: Oh, absolutely. So it’s good that you know that. You feel at least a little bit more enlightened being able to put two and two together like that. Unfortunately – at least for me – the problem that happens is that [?] start – never mind looking at the government – they started looking at everybody else and well, I reference The Matrix pretty frequently because sometimes I really think that we’re just inside of the Matrix and a couple of us are just kind of waking up to the fact that this is just a bunch of bullshit.
Kevin: At this point in the conversation, we turn our attention from political promises to the realities of the American education system – though it’s a little difficult to say which one has actually become worse.
Jad: But I think that brings peace to some degree when you read the radical educators like John Holt, or Paulo Freire, and basically they’ve just diagnosed the school system as being a place to train children to be obedient citizens.
Jad: Basically just to be pliant, and actually there’s other groups or other thinkers that kind of go along with sort of the motivation that you put your finger on a lot of times, which is to make you susceptible to corporate messages about what you need to do to have a happy life and that sort of thing. You know, but once you read enough of those guys and when you see it, an example of obsequious obedience to unjust authority, then you’re like, “oh yeah – public school.” And so it no longer boggles the mind, you’re just like, “oh, this makes total sense.”
Kevin: Did you go to a private school in Tennessee, or public school, or what was your –
Jad: No, I had a long slog out of the Matrix. I grew up in a very statist, religious, political, military household, so public the whole time, yeah.
Kevin: Yeah I mean, I had public school the whole time as well. But I mean, if definitely has changed pretty substantially, even since we went to grade school.
Jad: Oh yeah, for sure – huge. Huge.
Kevin: But looking at it now I mean, it’s just sickening to the mind, and you know, I try to take into consideration that of course when I was a kid in school – even in high school – that was not my focus, you know? I didn’t give a shit about how the institution worked. Obviously, I just wanted to drink and do whatever else I could – like everybody else. So I try to think about you know, how my parents would’ve viewed the school system then you know – being my age now – how they would’ve been looking back and saying like, “Jesus, this is awful compared to what it was in the 50s or 60s when we were in school”, you know? But I don’t think that’s really true. I don’t think that the gap between say 1955 and 1985 in nearly the gap between say 1985 and 2015.
Jad: No, I totally agree. I think the other huge gap you’ll see is if you said between 1950 and say, 1910 – I guess we’ll say 20 years, so 1920. I mean, you’re talking about a generation before I guess our grandparents were in school, it was not even required [?]. It was not that uncommon I guess at that point to not have had public education past 5th or 6th grade or something like that.
Jad: So yeah, I think you’re right. I think sort of the post Second World War is a big line for a lot of social structures that are sort of bearing fruit now and in the control Matrix.
Kevin: Oh yeah. We’ve brought it up a number of times. We’ve referenced World War II on several different occasions of our conversations, and not specifically the war, but just the culture that manifested post war.
Kevin: You know, with respect to how people would’ve viewed the state, I think you made the point several episodes ago talking about if somebody had just broken down the door into your house in say, 1955, and said, “A, B, and C” to you, you need to be complicit, your neighbors would’ve all at least said, “well this is not right, that can’t happen.”
Kevin: You know, who knows what the outcome would’ve been, but that would’ve at least been the general mentality. Whereas now I think you see something like that happen, there’s plenty of people who would be like, “oh, they probably did something” –
Jad: Yeah, they deserved it.
Kevin: Yeah, and that’s fucked up.
Jad: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Kevin: It scares the shit out of me, frankly.
Jad: Yeah, absolutely. This is – when I think about democracy and all that, I think I have accepted the position that essentially it’s an education campaign that people have to at least be willing to understand that they should mind their own business. Like you know, I may have an opinion about something, but I just gotta mind my own business sort of thing. Before you can really have a free society, really, the idea of a democracy or the idea of a collective government with those people in it just should make any sane person be like, “no, I don’t want any part of that at all”, you know? The people are just like, “oh yeah” – guy got shot because he was jaywalking – and they’re like, “well, you shouldn’t be jaywalking”, you know?
Jad: You don’t want that person making political decisions for you –
Jad: – and in the very least case as a voter, that guy could be a police officer, or a State Senator.
Kevin: But again – going back to your point – I think that’s largely how we’re taught to see things. It’s I guess in some metaphorical sense exactly like the, “he must have done something wrong.” It’s engrained in us now that well, yeah, kicking down somebody’s door, that’s not a good thing, but whatever that guy did – I don't know what it is – whatever he did, that wasn’t a good thing either – so it counter-balances.
Jad: Right. Right.
Kevin: And – anyways, I think we’re on this escalation of people making arguments like that, and it’s frightening.
Jad: Sure. Well, it’s like the one thing you learn not to do is to think critically. That is another thing that is guaranteed after 12 years of public education is that you’re probably going to have that faculty almost entirely destroyed.
Kevin: Well it took me years to regain it. I mean, I look back at my education in high school, and in junior high even, and then going into college, and then post college, and then where I sit now – and I think that when I was younger – certainly when I was in grade school – but even when I was in junior high still, I think I was lucky to have some pretty good teachers along the way, and you know, obviously a lot of support from home and things like that, and just the neighborhood I grew up in you know, friends, family supporting me. I think that I had a lot of critical thinking skills at a younger age, and I really think that – looking back at it – when I went into say even high school, they were just destroyed and maybe because you know, I was young.
Maybe because I’m trying to fit in, maybe because I’m playing sports and now girls are interesting and all that sort of you know, stuff like that – who knows? But even when I got into college, I still – they were with me because I guess I had the brain for it, or I had an upbringing that gave me critical thinking skills, so I was able to kind of recompose them all. But there’s definitely this window in my life where I’m positive I did not use critical thinking skills, and probably the only thing that saved me at all was just being a computer programmer since I was a little kid because at very least, I had to remain analytical to some degree.
Jad: Right. Yeah.
Kevin: Even if it wasn’t for you know, critically analyzing the world at the time.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s devastating though, I guess is what I’m getting at. I could only imagine if you hadn’t – if you didn’t have any of those factors and you were put through that same system, who the hell knows what you’d turn out as.
Jad: Yeah, and then I think it’s interesting because the same system will spit out someone who is just convinced, if I gave you absolute control and authority over everyone’s life, would the world just be like this really perfect place? And the answer would be yes, and I think that’s also you know, where you have your critical skills removed and then you either have people who are able to memorize right answers and deliver them at the right time to be like, “oh, you’re very smart. You know so much stuff.” And then everyone else is just like ground down under it, you know, and just they’re [?] to survive and escape –
Kevin: Oh yeah.
Jad: – you know? But it brings out both those types of people and both of them are equally useful for the continuance of the system.
Kevin: The country metaphorically is growing people to act like that – it’s to their benefit. And it’s a huge conspiracy theory to talk like that obviously. Very hard to have that conversation with so many people, but I think that if it’s not absolutely true, if there’s not really people doing that, then it’s absolutely going that way inadvertently.
Jad: Sure. Well I mean at the very least – like you always say – it’s not a conspiracy, it’s just a fact.
Jad: The people that are being raised or whatever are collateral on loans –
Jad: – that the Chinese are making to the United States, and the United States to make [?]. I mean, every time they say, “we’re going to run a trillion dollar deficit”, the reason that people will pay a trillion dollars is because there are
children that are not born yet that are going to be expected to – in 30 years – be contributing back to the person who issues the loan.
Jad: So I guess in an essence, we are batteries – at least to that degree – in the system.
Kevin: Well, and the irony to stuff like that is when you start looking at some of our subsidies and actually putting real numbers and dollars and cents with things again for example, the only reason that the Volts and similar cars are affordable of course, is because of the tremendous subsidy that goes with them. Now I don’t have any problem with electric cars. Actually I’m in favor of them, and et cetera, et cetera, but when you speak about economics in terms of the system and us being cultivated as fields of whatever, there’s this argument to be made as far as who’s actually benefitting from all these things, and I think they see that they’re doing a noble service for the world, and what I see is somebody who makes a very hefty paycheck by any comparative level in this country.
I fail to see how you should be entitled to tax subsidies for your vehicle because somebody’s paying for that, and of course in his mind again, like, “this is for the greater good.” But my argument to it would be to say, “Well if that’s for the greater good, you’ve got $20,000 in subsidies for that thing.” With $20,000 in tax subsidies, you could go to probably – I’m going to guess 30 or 40 houses in a lower income area, completely seal them in – weather seal them, put in brand new insulation – do everything, which [?] effect is going to be probably far greater than anything your car is ever going to do, and it actually helps people who don’t have the money to pay for those excessive utility bills, right?
It just becomes this very contradictory sort of world very quickly because people have that mindset are convinced of course that they do know what’s best for everybody else – they’re part of the good side of the system, and everybody else is in some metaphor or another on the evil side of it. You can’t control the whole system, and I think the people think that you can –
Kevin: – as well.
Jad: That’s actually the interesting thing you always talk about – which I think is true – that engineers and – well engineer types, software people – tend to be libertarian because of their analytical skills.
Kevin: I think so, yeah.
Jad: On the flipside – and I think that is the majority – but when you engineer simple systems, the desire to expand that out and be like, “well, we can engineer everything.” It’s kind of the you know, the early progressive movement like after the industrial revolution where it’s like there’s all these people building these amazing systems for manufacturing processes or whatever, and it’s just like if we can scientifically predict how much coal it’s going to take to generate how much boiling water to create, how much energy to create, how many sweaters you know or whatever, we should be able to scientifically manage everything.
I think that’s the foundation of like the Soviet State. I think it was just based on this belief that if we just have enough smart people sit down and write enough equations, we’ll figure out how many shoelace everyone needs, and how many – and everything will be perfect, and there will be no waste, everything will be efficient, and be fair. And I really – I think that’s where that progressive movement comes from, and I think it’s where it has its roots.
Kevin: That’s about all we had time for this week. As always, thank you so very much for listening, and we hope you enjoyed the content. As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, we do have a website up at JKPod.com. If you have any topics you’d be interested hearing us cover, please do let us know. And if you’d like to reach either of us directly, please visit one of our websites – either Jad-Davis.com – that’s J-A-D dash D-A-V-I-S dot com, or KevinLudlow.com – K-E-V-I-N-L-U-D-L-O-W dot com. Thank you so much again, and we’ll be back next week.