Upstate South Carolina to be annexed back to Catawba Indians

A re-patriation effort has begun on behalf of the Catawba Indians by the United Nations. The Catawba Indians ceded their land in 1840 to South Carolina in a contested treaty that has never been validated by the United States.

The UN proposes the new territory to become the newest internationally recognized independent state and to be called Catawbistan. The tentative plan currently has the support of the UN Security Council. The re-claimed territory will return nearly all of the Catawba’s original national land back to the Catawba tribe.

most of the original Catawba territory will be recognized by the UN as Catawbistan

The UN has suggested a 10-year plan for removing the current residents of Upstate South Carolina, many of whom have been residing and farming their upstate lands for many generations. The lower-state cities of Aiken and Columbia, SC are expected to be the primary beneficiaries of the population move, estimated at roughly 2,000,000 persons.

This ‘news post’ is of course a fiction, a metaphor. For me, personally, I have struggled for a long time to understand the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and maybe, more importantly, how that issue affects muslims in the middle east – why they act so crazy.

This metaphor helps me to understand.

In this metaphor the Catawbas represent the Jews, who were relocated into their traditional homeland by the international community.

And the Upstate South Carolinians represent the Palestinians, who were forced to leave their homes.

And Americans, in general, who sympathize with the removed South Carolinians, represent the muslims throughout the middle east.


If Political Parties Were Computer Systems…

If political parties were computer systems… who would be what?

The conservatives would be a database: ask them a question and they repeat to you what is stored in their database.

The liberals would be a processor: ask them a question and they throw all the variables into their algorithm and say what ever comes out, indifferent to either the variables themselves or the result that is produced.

That’s not to say that liberals are necessarily smarter. After all, imagine this: 5 apple seeds + 1 desert = green future. That is clearly not correct (you’ll need some water, right?). But if you have enough liberals working together then you will probably get a solution that is meaningful.

And understanding conservatives as a database, just repeating their mantra tirelessly over and over, helps to explain one of the great riddles of the modern conservative movement: why do business conservatives and religious conservatives ally themselves in the republican party? Shouldn’t they have opposite motivations and agendas? The answer is in the fact that they all, as individual people, process the world around them in the same way, like a database query system and this like-mindedness is the lubricant in their unnatural relationship. And because they do not have processing power, they are unable to figure out that they are supposed to be enemies.

the Liquid Water Perspective Metaphor … understanding silver-spoon conservatives

There are many different subgroups within the conservative population. Primary among them are the capitalists, and within the capitalists subgroup there are further sub-sub-groups, chief among them are the silver-spoon capitalists.

Understanding their viewpoint of the big picture is important. Here is a metaphor that attempts to describe how they view their life experience in relation to the life experience of an impoverished culture.

Understanding the silver-spoon capitalists' viewpoint of the impoverished community is important.

Imagine a drop of H2O, Water, living its whole life in a temperate room. It and other drops of H2O mingle with each other and live a pleasant life. He can easily adapt to new places since he has shape-shifting capabilities, and can easily recover from adversity (such as being splatted by a light hammer) because of its capability to regroup with other liquid droplets.

Water has heard rumors of a drop of H2O that lives differently from himself, Ice, who lives in the freezer of course.

Ice experiences the world differently: he is unable to mingle seamlessly with others, he is unable to adapt to most situations because of his inability to change shape, and when struck by a light hammer his shards are never able to regroup.

This is all good and well, but it does not really matter! … until a compassionate person begins to realize the very different lives that Water and Ice live, and most importantly realizes the very different quality of their lives: Ice is highly stressed; Water is happy.

The compassionate person brings the issue to everyone’s attention. Water says, ‘if they are so unhappy, why don’t they just behave the way we do: learn to recover better from adversities when they occur, adapt to changing situations better?’

Because Water has only experienced reality from his temperate perspective, he was unable to genuinely comprehend the limitations of Ice’s reality, though these limitations have been recited to him several times. Water could just not realize that Ice does not have these capabilities due to the laws of nature, though Ice does wish dearly that he did have these capabilities. The only way for Ice to get these capabilities is if Ice’s environment changes to a more temperate one.

the Tree Cutting Metaphor … how to approach the poverty problem

Suppose that you are a business adviser and you have a client who has come to you with a problem: he needs firewood to keep his office warm. Now take a look at the image and answer the 4 questions below.

1 – What is the probability of success for method A?
2 – What is the probability of success for method B?
3 – Which of these methods is the best?
4 – If your client does not have a chainsaw, will you tell them that karate chopping is there only option?

The Pursuit of Happyness, an awesome feel-good, positive-message, Will Smith movie, is a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ themed story which basically pushes the idea that anybody can karate chop a tree, indeed making people feel hopeful – but hopeful about something that is very unlikely to occur. Thus it is effectively creating false hope and therefore it is a reckless message.

Notice that both method A and B require hard work. But method B offers a realistic probability of success in return for the client’s hard work.

In America a great amount of emotion and political policy is invested into method A solutions for the poor. It would be better to invest all of the ‘you can karate it, you just gotta work hard’ emotion into something with a more realistic probability of success, into grand-scale problem solving: to search for a method B.

the One-Lane Highway metaphor … how wide is the path out of poverty?

Ever since Will Smith did the movie about the guy who beat all odds, The Pursuit of Happyness, Conservatives have had a token success story to justify their ‘hard work leads out of the gutter’ theory.

path out of poverty

is the path out of poverty wide enough

Now they are trumpeting Herman Cain’s success story as proof that anyone who is still impoverished is so because of their own inadequacies and laziness, and doesn’t deserved to be helped by the larger society.

Statistics could be helpful here: what percentage of poor people manage to rise above their poverty to become ‘successful’?
– if the answer is 1/10,000 I will say that the ‘path out of poverty is not wide enough’;
– if the answer is 20%, then I will re-think my position.

I believe (based on my life experiences) that the answer is something small like 1 in a million. And if it is so low, what is the appropriate explanation for that one rare success story? Does it prove that, in theory, there does exist a path out of poverty that is available to everyone? Then why don’t more impoverished people use that path? Or could the explanation merely be that of the statistical outlier?
statistical outlier