Why Butter is not civilized

So, I am sitting here eating a late supper, eggs and buttered toast. Damn that butter makes the toast taste good.

Toast is civilized food, that is food that comes from an urban environment, again that is food from a settled population who have time to invest not only in grain farms, but ovens to bake bread. 

Butter, as some of you might know, comes from milk, usually cattle milk, and people who domesticated great beasts like cattle, camels, horses, goats, pigs, sheep, were nomadic, ie not civilized, again that is to say, did not live in cities.  It is hard to raise cattle in a city, very little for them to graze upon and the manure piles up quickly.

Dairy products were first developed by the semi nomadic pastoral peoples of the world. True many eventually settled down and adopted urban ways. Arabs are a great example, but so are Turks, Mongols (some), Huns, and others.

One story i have heard is that dairy products happened when nomadic horsemen stored milk in a leather bladder attached to the horse and as they galloped around in the heat, the milk churned into some kind of butter or yogurt. It was good, so they played around with it.  They now had an extra thing to trade with city people. Leather, meat, and now butter.

Butter is barbarian food because good “Civilized” people don’t have time to futz around touching non human boobs to extract milk….  and then churn it into butter. Well, they eventually learned. Once states expanded beyond the small hinterlands of a single city there became room for ranches. the Pastoral and Agrarian side of life was united in a new civilization type….

Retrospection on the 1963 march on washington

You know, thinking about Dr King today. When he got arrested for his activities and was stuck in Birmingham Jail he responded to a bunch of white preachers who recommended slowing down and letting time pass before pushing too hard for this equal rights stuff. Dr King wrote his letter explaining why he wasn’t going to wait any more.

Both sides were correct and both actions needed to be taken. How can you wait and at the same time push for reform? Because social reform takes decades. It has to. Society is written into our collective minds and that doesn’t change over night. One man may change, one thousand men and women may change over night, but all of society, the millions of us, that takes generations.

Fifty years ago the state sponsored depression segregation, that is, policies designed to depress one group below another. Some might say Affirmative action is depression segregation, but it was designed to be uplifting segregation, that is policies designed to uplift one group above another. The enforcement of this policy has some depressive components, however.  The state can be made to change much more quickly than society.

Racism is still around in our world. It wont go away easily because its a nice scapegoat. It gets people elected and makes people feel better when they fail due to their own short-comings.

Racism is but one form of bigotry (and i have endless debates trying to explain how racism is a new form of bigotry and not an old one)  and blaming others, turning disagreements into personal attacks, fearing change, difference, or otherness, all of this is part of the human condition. All of it won’t be overcome with education because education isn’t the answer. Education can’t change who you are, just what you know about.  

If you put a racist into a library with hopes that they read King, Gandhi and others and they end up reading Byrd, Duke, Hitler, Stalin, and Wilson. History is full of justifications of racism and hate. Send him to read letter from the Burmingham jail and he might pick up another tract written from jail… Mein Kampf.

Telling some one “hey people of this type are not that way” and they turn around and say “but this person has evidence that such-and-such people are out to get us, degenerate, sub human, and need nothing but our final solution.”

Remember that education isn’t the answer, it can’t be. you can’t fix stupid. Remember the real solution is being an example and outlasting them. This is were the preachers who told Dr King to wait and where Dr King who wouldn’t wait come together. King was the example, the man how stood up and said “this is how it should be!” and the preachers were the men who knew it wouldn’t happen in 1963, or 1973, but maybe in 1983 or 1993.

Lets review the progress. in 1993 a pair of black men, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson were enthralling all of America with their skills. A black man stood on the supreme court, the second black man at that! A black man was governor of Virginia (a southern state).

In the last few years there has been strain. Politically speaking President Obama who grew up in the aftermath of civil rights was weened on the idea that the country was inherently unfair. He combined post war European socialism and the post civil rights black racism into something that has exposed a toxic chancre in the USA. But it is only a chancre where before it had been a cancer. Chancres are annoying and you keep poking them for some sadistic reason. But they can go away with the right ointment.  It will not be too many more decades before all of this is returned to the history books.  In only a handful of decades when a deranged white man kills a black man no one will cry “racism!” they will only mourn the loss of a man and ponder the insanity of another. A trial will be had, and Jessie Jackson’s heirs will be no where around.

Perhaps by 2063 people will look back and interview old men and women of all races and ask “what was it like living in a time when people truly cared about the color of one’s skin?”

Am I a hypocrite?

ImageSo, a bit of background and personal Information here. I suffer from depression and a few other things and as such my pre-existing conditions make me expensive to impossible to insure.  I apply from time to time to get a lower rate because my current plan is very very expensive.

I got a letter from my insurance company telling me they will be participating in my states health care exchange system.  I don’t like single payer systems. I don’t like government (State or federal) involvement in health care because it is the prime reason my costs are so high. Government is costing me a fortune each month.  But now obamacare seems to be offering me a reduction in price. But at what cost?

A business sets a price for their good or service with 2 things in mind. Cost of production and the ability of customers to pay. There is no purpose in selling something at a price customers wont pay, nor is there any purpose in selling something at a price below cost. Business that does that goes out of business. So using that knowledge, the insurance company thinks I might cost them X amount in the future so they charge me Y per month so they can meet that X.  If Y is forced down by government rules, then X can’t be met, the insurance company goes under and I lose my insurance.

I guess we can think about it like this. Government ordered a pizza that costs twenty dollars but demands that it be priced at ten. The result is every pizza sold will cost the company ten dollars. They go away, unless the government offers them a pizza subsidy to make up the difference.  But with that subsidy comes an obligation to do as the government demands. Henry Ford noted that the government, which didn’t produce cars, was telling car makers what to do. What gives them the knowledge to set these rules for any of us.

And yet, the price reduction will save my ass in the short run, only to hurt me in the long run.  Here is how I think I justify this. The savings I achieve here can be applied to my future development making me better off in the end. But what of my insurance company? I don’t know.

All I know is obamacare and other government interference has driven up the cost of healthcare and then arbitrarily drives down the price (not the cost) making life hell for the already struggling insurance companies.

I don’t know how to figure this one out…

Tool use, random connection

So I read today that tool using monkeys some where in Asia stopped making and using tools but instead survived off the largess of tourists and locals. This quickly brought to mind the plight of native Americans who were trading with the Dutch, English, and French. The Indians were stone age people, that is they lacked the metal working ability. For some Indians this worked out well enough due to Obsidian which is sharper than Iron and easily worked. They had no desire to work metal, their needs were met.

On the east coast the Obsidian was harder to get so European steel, not to mention guns and household tools, were much preferred. After about a century of trade many native peoples stopped making their own stuff and instead traded pelts and military service for European goods. They became a hunter/warrior people and discarded their productive skills because they were inferior. Like the Monkeys, they had adapted to a superior and more easily acquired supply of support.  Unfortunately many native tribes were caught in European power struggles and were subordinated and many were dispersed.

The way this connects to the future is what if aliens show up, and they don’t wish to conquer, but they wish to trade. Mineral resources should be pretty consistent through out the universe, but Biological and Cultural resources would be unique planet to planet. So let’s say that aliens show up and want to buy our books. (I am over simplifying this, see my previous entry on aliens in Hollywood not being alien enough).  They would trade their super duper, handy dandy tools for our books. Eventually, if we follow the Huron and Algonquin, we would only go around making artistic things and stop making tools, weapons, clothing, etc. John Deere would be destroyed by Blargarxt Hover Tractors. Then when more aliens show up to get our books they will play us against each other and we will be left without the ability to make our own tools.

Lesson to learn is this: Adapt to alien methods, don’t rely on alien sources.

Egypt and France

I have been enjoying the last weeks of my summer vacation (probably my last one off for some time) and thus playing fallout: New Vegas.  But I feel compelled to post something here everyday so today I’m thinking about Egypt.

They just had a protest turn into a blood bath. the supporters of the Ousted Muslim Brotherhood dictator were mowed down by the new regime. This thing in Egypt keeps going back and forth between quasi stable government and protest to the point of overthrow.

I am not a major student of the french revolution. I studied it briefly in world history and in greater extent in Western History. I also know bits in pieces because Jefferson and Thomas Paine were in France for various bits of the revolution and both are part of US history.  What I kinda know about it was a long series of protests followed by upstart fringe groups managed to change the government then outright replace it. This was followed by more protests by the old guys and it goes back and forth until Napoleon crowns himself emperor some time in the first decade of the 1800s. (before 1803 because that is when he sells Jefferson Louisiana because the Haitians kicked the shit out of french soldiers and mercenaries sent to quell them)

So Looking to French history we could suppose that an Egyptian Napoleon might rise and bring peace to Egypt, and then the whole of the middle east. Well, the problem with this idea is that When Napoleon conquered Europe there was no outside force to stop him. The Americans, the Chinese, and the Russians would have reasons to stop an Egyptian Al-Napoleon.

On the other hand, The Chinese and Americans did jack shit to stop Putin from conquering South Osetia.

Maybe the Al-Napoleon type egyptian guy wouldn’t do military conquest but diplomatic-social conquest. Quelling all of this arab spring stuff and bring about a new ideology through the middle east.

But I am being optimistic now.