Monday, July 7, 2008

Jesse Helms

Obligatory homages are being displayed by the major news outlets in the USA regarding the death of Jesse Helms. They gloss over the nuances of his life's work by simply calling him "conservative". The word "conservative" has a lot of ambiguity. We could confuse a Seattle restaurant owner of Asian descent, known for a only supporting politics that enriches her business and also for strong law and order, as "conservative". This hypothetical Asian I made up is conservative, and Jesse Helms made a career of not representing such an Asian business woman, rather his was a career throwing up barriers to any form of progress.

Jesse Helms was a type, and made a career expressing the political will of that type -dumb and useless whites who look fondly back to the Victorian era as a sanctuary within which they believe they would have had more (slaves). These are usually whites with little professional acumen nor born into a wealthy family, mediocre specimens (at best) of humanity loosing ground every day due to encroaching technological advancement that requires adaptable, functional, smart people to use it.

So Jesse Helms is just one of these dumb dogs in a people suit, and now dead. In the post-apocalypse, his skull will be dug up, kicked around, pissed in, sterilized, and sold to a Chinese warrior king.


The Serpent Lord said...

This is why we don't drive electric cars. Thomas Edison produced a bunch of practical electric vehicles for urban chores (local delivery to complement trains for long-term transport..)

But his vision for the electric car of the suburbs was thoroughly grounded in the Victorian middle class culture. Car ownership was liking owning horses and carriages. You would hire people to maintain the car and have it serviced routinely.

Of course they didn't call those people slaves, they were servants. Americans today call people in those roles "illegal aliens", and Europeans call them "undocumented guest workers".

Contrast Henry Ford's internal combustion engine vehicle: The guy who makes the car can afford to own it and maintain it himself (this may be less true today with increasing amounts of proprietary lock-in crap.) Henry Ford arguably demonstrated in a microcosmic way the viability of a classless society.

Do not mourn the electric car, and be wary of those who promote it's resurrection. Ford's vehicle burned gasoline and biofuels which are less destructive to the environment than Edison's Victorian coal and hydroelectric power sources.

Abandon the fortified suburban plantations where the Jesse Helms of the world go to collect their final reward.

BFGalbraith said...

Even on NPR they were talking about what a great politician and patriot this guy was. Where was his political skill? It doesn't take much to rile a political base that is already voting for you because you don't like the same people they don't like, using hate speeches about "disgusting homosexuals" (literally.)

He was the worst kind of culture warrior. He has me thinking about a new kind of pacifism: culture war pacifist. I don't think the national level conversation going on about marriage for everyone, abortion, etc. is constructive for either side of either issue, and is excluding 3rd & 4th sides from the conversation. What if people held up protest signs and complained about violence-against-culture every time some politician started treating cultural issues like political issues? Letting politicians rail about cultural politics lets them off the hook for the difficult issues (see health care, housing crisis, job hemorrhaging, etc. compared to constitutional amendments) for marriage-for-everyone or required 3 day trainings for abortion patients.