atari email archive

a collection of messages sent at Atari from 1983 to 1992.

On the polarization of American society

To me this is a good example of the thinking that could ultimately lead to the downfall of the U.S. as we know it.

An email written in 1984 on the harm that political polarization causes in America.


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jeff boscole lives!!!!
long may vacillating versimilitudes of veracity persist??!!

	SUNDAY night i watched a 60 minutes article on a minneapolis ordinance
to define pornography as "... any material,printed or viewed, which portrays
women as the subject of violence and domination by men, in a sexual context"
( not an exact quote) . Under this ordinance, purveyors of any material of this
nature could be sued in civil court, for violating the civil rights of the 
person suing. 
	During the ensuing "debate" between the A.C.L.U. representative and the 
proponents of the bill, I was impressed by how very sick and degraded our 
society has become. Keep in mind that the main thrust of this bill is against
so-called "snuff films", magazines that show women tied up (naked) with guns to 
their heads,etc. etc. ad nauseum. this was not an ordinance against portrayal 
of non violent sex between consenting adults. it was not the old "moral major-
ityitis" at work again. this ordinance was drafted by liberal,"rabid" feminist
types that are clearly not a threat as far as general cencorship goes.
	Still, with all that , they actually found some idiot to get up and 
defend the "right of expression" of these perverts. the old "where will it end"
argument was pulled out and waved in our faces once again. there was no reason-
able debate of the specific merits of this particular bill, but silly generic
debate on freedom of speech. 

	To me this is a good example of the thinking that could ultimately lead
to the downfall of the U.S. as we know it. I call it "fear of the grayzone",
and it has been responsible for innumerable follies throughout history.
let me point out a few other areas where this is a problem:
	1) it is currently legal to abort a fetus up to the end of the 2nd
trimester (~week 27) strictly as a matter of convenience, as opposed to medical
necessity. on the other hand, it is possible to save a premature infant as 
early as the 24th week. this has lead to "wrongful life" suits when an abortion
fails, the fetus lives, and is kept alive by new medical technology. a prime
example of a gray area in action. but instead of dealing with a real problem,
there will be an endless debate between those who see humanity in a lump of
tissue called a fertilized egg, and those who thoughtlessly consider the womans
right of selfdetermination as paramount, no matter the costs ethically.
	2) in the current political debate on El Salavador, the right and the 
left wing in this country have been polarized to almost the same extent as the 
actual participants. the left refuses to see (potential or real) manipulation
of a just cause by our enemies, and the right refuses to see death squads and 
massive political corruption in the current power elite of El Salvador. the 
invalid "black or white" political extrapolations from the politics of this 
country to the very different conditions of another country is a pattern that
blinds us to any valid considerations of how the gray areas in the politics of
the other country need to be addressed. we need to break this pattern lest the
intolerance each side associates with in the other countries politics feed 
back to our political arena and start a violence cycle in this country.
it will do us no good if the conservatives in this country are percieved as
nascient fascists by the left and the liberals are percieved as leninist symps
by the right. we need to appreciate the culture of "tolerance of the gray area"
that still persists in this country despite our stupid neglect. 

	3)etc there are examples in almost every aspect of life and
	4)etc i don't want to go on too long.

THE POINT is that our society is a finely tuned and balanced system, it is not
purely one way or the other. this is the thing we value about our country.
trying to impose rigid thought systems on a such fluidity just leads to 
distortions. THAT INCLUDES the rigid thought that there are no reasonable 
bounds on the types of thoughts and actions that can be portrayed publically.
for a society to exist there is a "least common denominator", an intersection
of ethics and morality that all people in that society need to agree on as 
the public morality. I contend that a society that hasn't the nerve to resist
incursions into this area of commonality by violent perverts and deviants that
can't resist an illgotten buck has too feeble a claim on existance and will
soon (within a century or so ) degenerate into fascistic moral repression, or
break into total anarchy. 

p.s. for those of you inclined to psuedo-mathematics I have formulated



that is,coefficients along each independent axis ( or variable ) describing a
particular ethical system when multiplied are less than or equal to a constant
coeffficient (S) which is itself much less than the percieved theoretical 
maximum of the multiplication.
	in other words, to apply this equation to our legal system for example,
the more we view the legal system as a solution for attaining perfection in
our society,and the more laws we pass, after a certain point mX=rootN of S ,
where mX is a coefficient of social good in a particular area of law (such as
medical ethics), the coefficients in other areas will decline. this result 
reflects the inevitable implact of all areas of law on all other areas.

THE REAL measure of wisdom is to know the value of S, and thus know when to 
quit........and I'm not telling!!!!!!!



p.p.s.	hint: S is not equal to 42. 
Message 1 of 1

Mar 27, 1984