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A Political Contradictionary from A to Z

Loans (termed 'rescue packages') from the International Monetary Fund to countries such as Indonesia, are tied to the elimination of import taxes (tariffs) on food staples (i.e., rice, wheat).

Local farmers cannot compete in this so-called 'free trade' with Western agribusiness, such as Cargill Corporation. But 'agribusiness in the West, especially the United States and Europe, has produced their famous surpluses and export power only because of high tariff walls and massive domestic subsidies. The result has been a monopoly on humanity's staples.' [John Pilger, The New Rulers of the World, page 23.]

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander vs. One man's meat is another man's poison.

TRAFFICKING (human): How does this illegal flesh trade in sex and sweat shops manage to remain safely hidden from authorities yet be readily accessible for its customers?
Quantifying the problem, at least in the United States, (as suggested by a Washington Post article on the subject) deflects the question, implying Trafficking in the USA is either a minor problem (no pun intended) or that its resolution is difficult if not impossible, for murky cultural reasons.

THE TRUE BELIEVER (the title of Eric Hoffer's 1951 landmark book) spares herself complexity and denies contradiction. True belief facilitates activism, whether for noble or ignoble causes, because it smooths out the rough spots where complexities and contradictions might otherwise intrude and demand compromise or at a minimum, suggest a re-evaluation of basic assumptions. Isaiah Berlin's popular essay, The Hedgehog and the Fox, first published in 1953, suggests that the hedgehog knows one 'big' thing, while the fox knows many different (contradictory) things. In contrast to the certitude and upside for action of the true believing hedgehog, the fox's appreciation for complexity promotes her inertia and a feeling of impotence. Moral: to be an activist, it helps to be a hedgehog.

Hoffer said: The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into slaves and animals. Both the savior and the despot want to deal with men as with things that are malleable and predictable.

There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutions to cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

Eric Hoffer, The New York Times Magazine, April 25, 1971

TERROR (or The Downside of Ideology)
Faith moves mountains, so they say,
and blows up buildings, in the sway
of notions that belief decrees
should have all peoples on their knees.
Failing that, to prove some point
the gunman or bomber blows the joint
and deals out death in pressure cookers
to scare and startle all onlookers.
Whether gun or bomb or anthrax letter
postal package or toys far better
fit for murder or mass confusion,
the plot is premised on delusion.

Ideological obfuscation --
violence cloaked in justification.

We don't know why some run amok
and load ammonium in a truck
or grab their high capacity clips
to seal forever a child's lips.
We use forensics for this puzzle
to follow death back through the muzzle
to a time before the shots were fired,
yet no quorum of psychologists hired
can predict who will be the one to kill
for political points, or just the thrill.

Is there a real difference here?
Aren't guns and bombs alike to fear?
The gun to some is a best friend
but bombs are used for just one end.
No Constitutional right to pots for chowder
packed with nails and smokeless powder.
The recent gun control vote went flop;
too few Senators prepared to stop
or apply the brakes to firearm's profit
The NRA lobby deserves all the credit.
No one to regulate weapons of choice,
or lend an ear to the public voice.

Perhaps the context makes it clearer...
Some lives are cheap and some are dearer:
When armies drop bombs and shoot at others,
we aren't concerned with sons or mothers
-- not our relations, those foreign bones
(This may explain the use of drones).

More ideological obfuscation --
violence cloaked in justification.