Hello, The Map ThinkerTM here.
Haven’t posted From Under The Tree in a long while. Other projects going on.
The reason for this post is because I replied to a question about politics the following way, “The answer to everything is in the event that happens. If it hasn’t happened yet, or if it never happens, there is no answer.”
I was told RL (real life) not on Facebook, that my reply was stupid and made no sense.
Well, I won’t defend the intelligence of my reply but I will show it makes sense. That is if you have the time. If you don’t I understand. Making sense is tedious and not nearly as stimulating as, say, watching porn.
The post I replied to postulated what would happen if a certain candidate won the election. They would be in a position to appoint several Supreme Court Justices over the following 8 years. Those Justices could easily effect the legal system for the next 50 years. A scary thought when you think it through. The post attempted to persuade people who stated they would vote a certain way for certain reasons that they should consider the potential effect on the long-term future.
So we draw a map and see what happens.
In one corner we place voters. Any group that all agree they should cast their vote for a certain person for a certain reason. What they are agreeing on doesn’t matter. Let us say they all agree they should vote for Alfred E. Newman because he is the only candidate that makes sense. At least compared to all the other candidates.
The sad fact is that the more important the issue the less apt people are to voice their true thoughts and the more apt they are to say whatever the group they belong to will agree with. In a group of ten people one or two of the strongest will voice an opinion: One or two of the weakest willed, most easily influenced, will agree with them, and the remaining six to eight will quickly go with what they see as the majority.
To make it worse those who want to be the leaders of their little group of ten will be good at spotting the opinion their group will most easily flow to and voicing it. Thus, as you can see, it is easy to have this little group of ten people, or even an entire congregation, loudly spouting beliefs and reasons that not a single one of them believe in.
Having any discussion with these people about who they are going to vote for or why is a waste of your time and theirs because they do not intend to vote the way they say they are and they intend to do so for an entirely different set of reasons than you are addressing.
Then there is that wild card, the last-minute change of heart. Happens to everybody. All day long you have intended to go straight home. But at the last second you pull into Wally World, or A Local Bar, or an old friend’s house. There are people who will blink at the ballot they just filled out and wonder, “What the hell did I just do? And why?” And they may never receive an answer.
The upshot is we have no clue what voters are going to do based on what they say they are going to do.
The best indicator I ever heard of as to how people are going to vote was developed by (I think) Gallop Poll. They ask a bunch of school kids to vote and their votes tally pretty close to what the adults will do in a month or so. Which indicates we might be able to lower the voting age to 10 years old and it might not make a whit of difference in the elections.
Ice cream and candy, anyone?
In the next corner we put politicians.
Their objective is to say something that will both separate themselves from the other candidates and get them elected. The only promises we can be pretty sure they will keep are the ones that they believe will get them re-elected. Those will be saved, and fought for, somewhere near the end of their term. But wait, four years have passed. The issues they can fight for, and will get them re-elected probably will not be the same issues that got them elected the first time.
They are also subject to changing their viewpoints. Not just because of sudden changes of heart, but because when you are in a different position your perspective is different. Things that seemed simple and obvious when you were a candidate might not make much sense when you are elected. They might even cause more problems than they would solve. To make it worse trying to explain to the voters that you are not betraying them – You are seeing the light of day – Might be a lot worse than simply not keeping that particular promise.
Because the discussion included the Supreme Court and appointments to it, we will stick potential Supreme Court nominees in the third corner.
There are people who want to become Supreme Court Justices. Others do not. Usually those who do not can simply decline. But those who do will be watching the elections, and the candidates, very carefully. Now if they really want to become Supreme Court Justices, they will whatever it takes to become one. That means making the legal decisions that would be approved of by the elected candidate. Not necessarily the ones they believe are right.
After all once they are appointed they can make whatever decisions they want.
It has all ready happened that at least one Supreme Court Justice did the exact opposite of what everyone expected him to do.
So far we do not know what the people are going to do based on what they say, we do not know what the candidates are going to do based on what they promise, and we do not know what the future Justices are going to do based on their past performance.
So in the fourth corner we are going to stick “Change of Venue” for lack of a better term.
A liberal from the 1950’s would not recognize a liberal from today. Back then the liberals were closer to the laissez-faire and the libertarians than the liberals of today. Conservatives were more liberal than many of today’s liberals.
Political Parties not only change – They completely reverse.
Abraham Lincoln who signed the Emancipation Proclamation was a Republican. The Democrats of his time were pro-slavery, dedicated to the proposition it was the “Will of God” and the “justification of slavery of black people” with the, “Sons of Ham” argument. If you are not familiar with the “Sons of Ham” argument here is a New York Time’s article to help clear it up.
Somewhere along the line Lincoln’s Republicans became Roosevelt’s Democrats.
All we really know about the future of Democrats / Republicans and Conservatives / Liberals is that definitions and positions will probably change.
Once appointed Supreme Court Justices tend to remain there for a long time. But one question that comes to mind is this: Will they remain the same in their ideology as they are now? Or will they change as the ideology changes? Or as their chosen party changes? Or something else.
In the middle of this map let’s put a big circle for what I call the WTF section. Samples of things from the past of events that have thrown everything people thought was important out the window – Even before windows wore a pane of glass.
At one time every little village had issues it thought were important. Of ultimate importance. The world at large had no clue that one little obscure village had discovered that horses were not a food but a vehicle. Until then people ate horses. Once used as vehicles that could be ridden into battle the world was never the same. The people who first witnessed them thought they saw horses with the upper bodies of men. The mythical creatures we call Centaurs. Every aspect of human life was changed forever.
People in Europe thought many many things were of great and lasting importance. Oooops, here comes Genghis Khan. Ooops, here comes Hannibal. Double ooops, here comes the black plague.
But not everything that changes the world is so dramatic. Socrates and Aristotle. Magellan quietly sailing around the world. Jesus. Mohammed. Copernicus. This is only a tiny list.
People thought Hitler was important and of lasting importance, but history tends to show those who attempt to dominate the world become mere footnotes in history, with Alexander the Great being the notable exception. Oddly violent episodes in history do not seem to carry much weight into the future, except possibly in the countries where they had the greatest effect. Cortez venture into Mexico, the Inquisition. The French revolution. To name a few. You almost have to be a history buff in order to even be aware some of these events and people existed.
The two people who were in Germany while Hitler was becoming what everyone thought was The Big Important Thing who HAVE actually changed life as it was known at the time were – and have irrevocably altered Human Future – Werner Von Braun and Einstein. Two people who pretty obscure at the time. Certainly not common talk at the dinner table.
Werner Von Braun gave us rocketry (Yes, I am aware of Goddard) which led directly to the Star Trek series.
Einstein gave us Relativity which led directly to Quantum science – Which, by the way, Einstein did NOT like, calling it “spooky” – and gave us the GPS system and an understanding of how plants change sunlight into chlorophyll.
So we look at this map with its five little circles, each filled with uncertainty, and with amazing potential, enough for a thousand Science Fiction Writers to play with, and we are asked to find a single accurate prediction about the future. And the only accurate prediction that can be made is that each minute into the future, each hour, each day, week, month, year, makes what is going to happen less and less predictable. Because we can’t really know what, or who, is really important until after the fact. Sometimes long after the fact.
So I submit my answer as being eminently reasonable. You can speculate about the potential future and the possible past all you want to — But:
“The answer to everything is in the event that happens. If it has not yet happened, or if it never happens, then there is no answer.”
© 2016 by Michael Berryman, all rights reserved.