Ozark Fences

   Back in the day, when “Democracy vs Fascism”  was shaping our Identities, some California Liberals came up with a Personality Test posited to measure “fascist tendencies”.  Today, the Cal-F Test, if revived, would likely yield high marks for about 35% of Americans.  In my daily experience living as an anonymous liberal in Alt-Right Taney County, I’m never far from these “tendencies”.  
     Here in the Ozarks we are mindful that no matter how small or impoverished our town, there is still the right side and  the wrong side... of the tracks, so to speak.  Taking our cues from a long history of Alt-Right performances on the world stage, first comes arrogant privilege, then comes a wall, and then comes the law.   So it plays out, even in lowly Hollister, Branson’s poor cousin down on the other side of the tracks.  Hollister’s shining light on the hill, CofO recently bought a few more hundred acres for “manifest destiny” reasons.  Then, without delay, they erected full perimeter high barbed wire fencing securing land that could not possibly be worth as much as the cost of the fencing.
          Ask pretty much anyone in Hollister about the CofO military base like security apparatus and they will say that it is pure one out here wants in there.  One of the Cal-F “tendencies” is that while for totalitarians, walls are for keeping the “non-authorized” out, in some cases, it is perhaps to keep the ambivalent children of the Alit-Right IN.    


Ozarks...We Been Languished!

     America has had 50 States for a long time now, and at least 48 States for 5+ generations.  Some States ongoingly prosper and some, to use an old word, "languish".  Missouri, and The Ozarks in particular, just never seem to find and/or sustain a prosperity streak.  We  are coming up on 200 years of Statehood and excepting a minor "Heritage Entertainment" surge from 1975 to 1995, the Ozarks looks sadly similar to 1821.  Why?  Did powerful forces beyond our control do it unto us?  Did we do it to ourselves?  Or are we, like the Ozark Deer Population in 1950,, totally unaware that we have experienced a wholesale "failure to thrive"?

     Many of us, convinced that statistics are lies naively say  "it just aint true".  Believing and acting on "alternate facts" may be part of the problem.  It is however, a fact that Missouri has forever been in the bottom half of the US GDP (gross domestic product) rankings.  A recent (stat) summarizes that between 1990 and 2010, Missouri contributed 723B to the US Treasury and the US Treasury contributed 794B bacl to the Missouri Treasury. Iif we had not been getting charity from "Our Uncle" we would be...well, whatever is worse off than languishing. 

     Here are some possible explanations as to why the Ozarks always languishes:

  • We are too far from an ocean
  • Our mountains are too high
  • Our mountains are not high enough
  • We lack sufficient natural resources
  • We have to many minorities
  • We have too few minorities
  • We have too few churches
  • We have too many churches
  • We hold to strong conservative values and therefore choose status quo leaders
  • We have too many liberal/progressive leaders following unproven policies

    For what it is worth, my guess is that almost all people who have grown up in a "rural culture" reach adulthood have been saturated by media delivered imagery portraying urban lifestyles as more advanced than the "country kids" can imagine challenging. Sure there will always be the Bill Clintons and, the Oprah Winfreys,  but these exceptions say little about the 98% of "rural young adults" who have internalized that their competing with urban contemporaries would surely be disappointing or disastrous.  With rare exceptions, these 98% choose economic lives as small town retail/construction/health workers at near minimum wage. The more conscientious of these few pursue trade school experience to reach managerial positions in these same service sectors.

     What all of these small town wage earners share in common is an almost absolute lack of access to "capital".  Excepting a  lottery win, a personal injury windfall, or a Shark Tank Catch, they all face 40 years of survival economics with their minimal discretionary income being forfeited to aging parent care and maybe a boat.  They do not differentiate between passive and active investments; they have no investments except for the extremely frugal who somehow have mustered some home equity. Sadly, for many, by 60 they will have given up their modest nest egg  to solve the problems of their children growing up at the margin. 

     Most thriving businesses in rural America are modern day "carpetbaggers".  The pharmacies, the restaurants, the retailers are all urban investors taking capital out of the local economy.  Yes Walmart and Chilies provide jobs with wages just adequate to sustain another generation to work, and consume, but little more.  What capital does stay local is commonly controlled by the "local elite".  These "big fish in small ponds" hoard capital like their children won't survive but for their thoughtful rationing of Capitalism's DNA.  They prosecute life in a feudal mode, seemingly satisfied that "the poor will be with them, always:  Yes, they count the poor, they give them sweaters and free sack lunches, but not capital, the magic  elixir that helps a people thrive. "These local elites, not surprisingly,  are afraid of everything;  afraid of usurping urban investors as well as afraid of undiscouraged wage earners trying to break out of subsistence living.  By denial and deceit, they constrain as many as possible.

It is these local elites that bring the "languish".  Toward their objective to not get eaten by "Corporate Capital" from above, or up-starts from below,  they keep serving up the lives of those that inhabit their serf kingdoms. They do so by keeping wages low, property values low, taxes low, schools marginal, and most of all capital inaccessible.  Who knows, this neo-slavery paradigm may prevail for another 200 years.  The "local elites" are doing their best to prove Darwin wrong, so let's give them a hand.  Oh, I guess we already do!















Ayn Rand's Take......Objectivism or just Fear?

      We are all "the hero of our own story", and as such we think that most of the people that we know "just don't get it".  All of us hold somewhere in our memory a kind of "friend assesment" notebook in which each of our recallable acquaintances have an "all-around quality ranking" determined by the dude called self".  Fortunately no individual or group of individuals is at the top, or bottom, of everyones list. Why not? 

My reading suggests that Ayn Rand, the 20th century anti-socialist/Xtreme rationalist/ fierce individualist/ worshiper of John Galt, really believed that, for any set of humans, all of their "friend quality rankings" should be identical.  For Ayn, it would be simple.  They would all use their perfectable capacity for reasoning to yield a single "most objective" concensus which would prevail at every possible decision.  Disputable conjectures like, Is it going to rain tomorrow, whose wife  is the prettiest, will Donald J. Trump serve out his term, etc., all would, if we are "rational animals", be perfectly synced. 

At face, such coherence is absurd, and presumably Rand did not literally think that such a utopian/dystopian reality was possible, she just thought that it was a good road on which to "go to church".  Well, this idealized creative subjectivity within the constrains of a self imposed objectivism, sure as hell has not gone viral since Rand left the game.  Ultra-Subjectivism with " a side of fake news" is what shows up in our in-box......and

Yes. many of us are so weary and confused by our ever more complex life cycles that free college, a GS14 job, a mediocre hospital, and funded Hospice seems sufficient.  Every day, when I ask those that I meet: "what's on your mind", they say: " nothing, leave me alone, I'm going to Sonic, I need my:

Abilify (ariprazole)
Adapin (doxepin)
Anafranil (clomipramine)
Aplenzin (bupropion)
Asendin (amoxapine)
Aventyl HCI (nortriptyline)
Brintellix (vortioxetine)
Celexa (citalopram)
Cymbalta (duloxetine)
Desyrel (trazodone)
Effexor XR (venlafaxine)
Emsam (selegiline)
Etrafon (perphenazine and amitriptyline)
Elavil (amitriptyline)
Endep (amitriptyline)
Fetzima (levomilnacipran)
Khedezla (desvenlafaxine)
Latuda (lurasidone)
Lamictal (lamotrigine) Lexapro (escitalopram)
Limbitrol (amitriptyline and chlordiazepoxide)
Marplan (isocarboxazid)
Nardil (phenelzine)
Norpramin (desipramine)
Oleptro (trazodone)
Pamelor (nortriptyline)
Parnate (tranylcypromine)
Paxil (paroxetine)
Pexeva (paroxetine)
Prozac (fluoxetine)
Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
Remeron (mirtazapine)
Sarafem (fluoxetine)
Seroquel XR (quetiapine) Serzone (nefazodone)
Sinequan (doxepin)
Surmontil (trimipramine)
Symbyax (fluoxetine
Tofranil (imipramine)
Triavil (perphenazine and amitriptyline)
Viibryd (vilazodone)
Vivactil (protriptyline)
Wellbutrin (bupropion)
Zoloft (sertraline)
Zyprexa (olanzapine)

     Good Luck Donal J, the above current SSRI's are self-replicating "carnage generators" with guaranteed 16 year repeat cycles. Are the ostensible "hawks", really John Galt Objectivist or are they "low-energy/free riders" all feared up about loosing their cush lifestyles made possible by the people that actually passed calculus.   Are your scripts on the list?




AMAZON..."TURNS 20@400B"

     Twenty years is forever if your an NFL Running Back.  Not so long if your a retailer selling books and socks.  I certainly remember 1997.  I knew Best Buy, Macy's, Target, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Walmart, Kohl's, and Sears.  I did not know Amazon and I believe I would not have believed than 20 years later, Amazon would be bigger than all of those high profile companies "COMBINED".

With a current market cap of $390 billion, the Seattle-based retail giant is now worth more than the top eight traditional brick-and-mortar retailers combined, as Credit Suisse analysts led by Eugene Klerk mentioned in a recent note.



The Perennial Divide

Socrates forward we've been feuding about "essence" and "no-essence" or existentialism vs. belief.  The clash is becoming more ominous.