Monday, January 30, 2012

Dragon Babies

The Year of the Dragon has just started.  I understand that children born this year are considered by many Asian cultures to be the luckiest of children, and couples try very hard to have "Dragon Babies" during this year.  There is a miniature population boom every twelve years in order to accommodate this fantasy.

And it IS a fantasy.  It doesn't work that way, folks.

First of all, as an atheist I have to believe that any arbitrary arrangement of stars in the firmament is just that -- an arbitrary arrangement.  The universe doesn't care a tinker's damn what lights are shining in the sky when we reproduce.  Astrology is hokum.

Population booms are not.  How is overloading schools lucky?  A Dragon Baby Boom will overload educational systems that are already struggling.  Larger class sizes and fewer resources don't sound very lucky to me.  So if too many people manage to have their Dragon Babies, they may in fact be making things harder and LESS lucky for their children.  And that's just one example.

So, in the spirit of Bill Maher's "New Rules," here are some "New Resolutions" I would like to offer for this Year of the Dragon.  I hope you don't think that I am aiming these at one nation or culture or race.  I am aiming them at all of humanity.  There are people all over the world whose customs, traditions and beliefs are killing our world, our environment, and our children.  I am not partial or predisposed to especially liking or disliking any of them.

Here we go:

• Rhinoceros horns, dried tiger penises, bear gall bladders, and all other rare animal or vegetable product that appears to be roughly phallic in shape will not make you "more of a man," or restore your youth, or give you an erection that lasts longer, or better, or at all.  It's sympathetic magic at best and a sad crisis for the endangered species of our planet at worst.  It's like trying to rub money on your wallet to get rich.  It's a failure.  Resolve to leave the animals alone.  Get counseling.  Get Viagra.  But get over it, you ignoramuses.  If you have to eat something shaped like a willie, eat a carrot.  At least it'll give you some antioxidants.

• Corporations are not people.  They are not nations.  And they need to stop being treated as such in law.  They need to stop trying to act as such in practice.  They should not be allowed to nakedly pour billions of dollars into controlling governments and laws (as well as lawmakers) with their lobbies and their bribes and their mercenaries.  If the corporate world had its way, there would be no nations, only differing corporations controlled by the very rich and serviced by the very poor.  The 99 percent would be serfs in the new corporate feudalism.  Resolve to keep a middle class in this world.

• It's OK to have girls for children.  It's not OK to kill them or mistreat them or abort them or ship them out to slave labor camps or as sex workers so that you can keep trying to have a boy.  Both sexes make wonderful children.  It's not up to your son to care for you in your old age.  It's not up to your son to carry on your business or your career choice.  Frankly, your daughter will do just as good of a job of all that anyway.  So resolve to love your children no matter what gender they are, and they will love you back and the rest will take care of itself.  I promise.

• Coal power is killing our planet.  We need to get solar power on the fast track.  We need to look at every green or renewable source of energy that we can.  That means developing wind, tidal, geothermic, solar, hydrogen, whatever we can think of that does not put any more carbon into the planet's atmosphere.  THERE IS NO CLEAN COAL POWER.  It does not exist.  All of the advertising and lobbying in the world cannot change the fact that we are nowhere near having anything remotely resembling clean coal technology.  It's a fantasy at best and a bald-faced lie at worst.  If we devote the resources of our species to it, though, we can come up with clean renewable energy sources that will forever break the hold of fossil fuels on our civilization.  That is, if the fossil fuel corporations will let us.  Let's resolve to break the financial stranglehold of these corporations, because they are not altruists.  They will suck the planet dry and try to make money off of its lifeblood as long as there is a drop or nugget of it in the ground.

• "Class Warfare" DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE POOR ARE ATTACKING THE RICH!  It actually refers to the opposite phenomenon.  Right now the only class warfare I see is that of the rich growing ever richer and the poor growing ever more desperate...and the middle class dwindling into nothing.  And they are not dwindling because they are growing wealthy; they are dwindling because they are swelling the ranks of the poor.  It needs to stop, and unless we can somehow address the gross inequalities of the distribution of wealth, it is only going to get worse.  And worse.  And for the record, "Trickle-Down Economics" is as much of a myth as is Clean Coal Technology.  It's a fraud, and an excuse for the wealthy to hang onto even more of their stuff.

• And finally, get religion OUT OF POLITICS.  In my country, in your country, in every country.  No more legislation based purely on religious doctrine.  I will use abortion as an example here, but it can hold true for many, many issues:  If your religious beliefs prohibit abortions, don't get one.  Don't go to a doctor who provides them.  Vote with your wallets and your feet.  But don't shove your beliefs of when life begins or what constitutes murder down the throats of everybody else.  If we want a free society and not a theocracy, there can be no compromise on this.  Live your beliefs, but do not ask me to do so.  Otherwise you are no better than any other raving mullah or thundering evangelist preacher or proselytizing dictator.  We can be free only if we are free to choose.  If you want a particular "morality," live it; don't legislate it.  You want your daughters and wives to wear burkas?  Go for it!  But don't tell me and mine what we have to wear.  We reserve the right to wear what we damned well please.  You don't like it?  DON'T LOOK.

I have plenty more, and I'm sure I'll be back to revisit these, but in the meantime...Happy New Year.

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