Alternative History

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
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Riggerjack
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Re: Alternative History

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:20 pm

I hope you're right, though what you describe is bad enough. The summary of that film describes a pretty awful narrative and one that doesn't look as though it will end any time soon.
Being poor sucks. There is no two ways about it.

I remember my mom doing 30 days for fees tacked onto a parking ticket when I was a kid. Single mom on welfare isn't going to be able to pay hardly anything, let alone the fees on fees schedule our civic justice system uses for enforcement.

So, she did her 30 days, lost her job at the call center she hated. The local tax base paid to house her for the 30 days. Things were a bit more awkward and scattered for a few months. Evicted, again.

How did society benefit? My mom served as an example to scare those who could pay. And the mill wheel of civic justice grinds along.

Now, I'm not complaining. I'm explaining. The system isn't set up to be cruel. The system is set up to enforce the will of the people as represented by elected officials and their flunkies. The more flunkies (bureaucrats) the more rules, the more difficult compliance gets, the more we need examples.

The goal is to herd people thru an increasingly difficult maze. marking the dead ends with visible marks of failure is just the easiest way to direct the herd.

It sucks to be poor, as you are less able to recover from a mistake. But that isn't factored in when you are just another human who took a wrong turn in the maze. The bureaucrat in charge of that intersection knows that the more spectacular your failure us, the less he has to work to push the masses the other way.

It sucks to be poor in modern America. But these are not American problems. Every society in all of history has had to deal with this problem. When you look at historical solutions. Things here and now are F'ing great.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Alternative History

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:31 am

OK, re-reading the last post, maybe I wasn't so clear.

So the town is Bellingham, a small working port town. In the fifties, they added parking meters in the downtown. Starting around the courthouses. This is mainly a hassle for lawyers and clerks, the regular folks with interactions with local government.

If you have meters, you need enforcement. Otherwise, they are donation boxes.

Now you have parking tickets, and you need an incentive to get people to pay. There will be additional fees for those who don't pay on time. Perhaps separately, there will be policies for jailing people for being X days late, or Y dollars owed X days. The details are unimportant. Sometimes it is just a judge's personal guidelines.

Entirely separate from this is welfare programs. They started small, so they were located in spare space in the local government buildings. Eventually, they grew big enough to warrant a building of their own. But their primary mission is shuffling paperwork, so it is easiest to keep the new building close to the rest.

All of this is just BAU. No racism or evil intent involved.

And this is just metered parking. Expand this to every form of civic justice.

However, it is easy to tell the same story from the other side. The welfare office is located in an area where all parking is metered. The lines in the office are longer than the meters will run. So the number of parking tickets/welfare recipient is higher than any other group. The number of welfare recipients with late fees and other punishments is higher than any other group. Looking at the jail population and those on community service is mostly small civic infractions, etc, etc.

Now, the demographics of Bellingham won't support the black oppression storyline, as most poor are white or American Indian there. But transpose these same circumstances to Alabama, and it is clearly just instituted bigotry, right?

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fiby41
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Re: Alternative History

Post by fiby41 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:35 am

Aryan Invasion Hypothesis

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Riggerjack
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Re: Alternative History

Post by Riggerjack » Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:04 pm


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fiby41
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Re: Alternative History

Post by fiby41 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:58 am

Yes

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Riggerjack
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Re: Alternative History

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:07 pm

And to hear more about instances of how ordinary and average people have indeed been able to influence history, I recommend "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn. (A book that many arch-conservative types
are happy to ban from libraries and keep people from knowing about.)
I imagine, if I were still a progressive, I may have enjoyed this book. I'm not. This was a prime example of the kind of "history" I object to. The need to make history into a storyline. The natural progression of the evolution of mankind to its natural peak, the present. This isn't a study of the past, so much as a justification of the present.

If I were looking for a documentary on early 20thcentury Russian Jews, this would be "fiddler on the roof". Same subject, in theory.

Not to short change Zinn. It's a good book, with a well defined axe to grind. He was well suited to do the grinding. It was odd that he focused on SNCC, of all the black rights groups. But at least he didn't give the Kennedy's a complete pass. He even pointed out RK jr's deal to stop the freedom riders.

And I did like his take on native fishing rights, and Frank's landing. Again, no attempt at accurately portaying the situation, instead unashamedly advocating for one side. But native Americans could use more advocates, so no complaints.

I thought it was more of a history of selected progressive demonstrations, than anything. I was hoping for more.

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