Monday, November 06, 2006

Birds of a Feather . . .

I took the photograph above in Santa Barbara, California in 2005. I remember being fascinated by the symmetry in the way the seagulls had positioned themselves on the rooftop, and wondering why they did so. After all, why wouldn't at least some of them be facing the other direction?

The simple answer is probably that they were all facing to sea, into the wind, and that it was the most logical thing they could do. Positioned this way, they could see what was happening far out onto the surface of the ocean. And, I'm sure, it is easier to stay upright facing into the wind than turning away from it.

But was that truly the reason why all the birds were facing in the same direction? Or was it simply because the first one landed facing the Pacific, and the rest just followed the leader, so to speak?

I have no idea, of course. I've tried interacting with seagulls, but the most co-operation I was ever able to get from them was to have them take a cheesie or some other titbit from my fingers. Otherwise, they have never appeared to wish to have a dialogue with me. Maybe they think I'm too stupid to interact with, because I ask so many silly questions.

I wonder if seagulls are like humans, in that they simply do what everyone else is doing. Most humans, after all, are followers, not leaders. Someone with a bit of charisma or a bigger gun says "jump," and no-one thinks to ask why. Soon, the behaviour becomes: "But that's the way we have always done it," and that's it. It ain't gonna change after that, baby. We humans are creatures of habit, of conformity, and sometimes independent thinking is just too darn much trouble.

I think of this in light of the American elections tomorrow. The Republicans and the Democrats present basically two sides of the same coin. Their rhetoric is a bit different, some policies are different, but in neither party is there any real respect for the individual. And neither party understands, even in the vaguest terms, the notion of fiscal responsibility.

There are Libertarian candidates everywhere. Why does hardly anyone vote for them? How many people understand Libertarianism, and know the Libertarian platform? Very few. You can count on that. It is simply too much trouble to find out. Don't worry, my American friends, we Canadians are just as lazy and short-sighted. Here, we're stuck with Liberals and Conservatives. There isn't much difference between them either.

I'll be watching closely, but I will be very, very surprised to see anything more than a few legislative seats change hands from one incompetent party to another.


  1. LOL!

    I just got socialist, liberal and conservative down.. I have no idea what a democrat or a republican is.

    But, I enjoyed your post and the picture! And, I wonder why people don't try thinking, too. It's entertaining and invigorating, but I guess it's a bit like exercise for some.

  2. Democrats and Republicans correspond respectively but approximately to our Liberals and Conservatives.

    Just as there is no huge difference between our two major parties, there is little real difference between the two major parties in the U.S.

  3. except that Republicans want to keep the hard earned money they have instead of giving it to lazy Democrats who feel they deserve it. :) Them's fighting words...

  4. True, at the personal and individual level, Bellezza, but some of the largest deficits were run up under Republican administrations, including Ronald Reagan a man I admired for the most part. Both parties are intimately familiar with the pork barrel. And both parties lard (isn't that simply the most perfect word to use in this context?) seemingly single purpose bills with add-ons that have nothing to do with whatever supposed wrong they are attempting to right. Line-item vetos would solve at least part of that problem.

  5. In other words, no party is perfect. And worse, all politicians seem to be out for themselves rather than those they are meant to represent.

  6. I just returned from voting. It wasn't so much who to vote FOR as much as who to vote AGAINST. However, I did vote a straight Republican ticket. Did you know you were blogging with such a tight-ass, I mean, conservative? :)

  7. wow.


    I'm glad some people know what it's all about.

    I'm catching on slowly, though.


  8. The U.S. Libertarian Party was, if I remember correctly, started by a bunch of disenchanted Republican youth. They wanted fiscal responsibility, which the Republican Party at least paid lip-service to, as well as some slack on 'victimless crimes' such as pornography, prostitution, drug use, etc. Trying to force someones moral code on someone else is very, very expensive and ineffective as well. The drug problem is bigger now than it ever has been, notwithstanding the 'war on drugs.' Now, we have a situation where not only are there millions of drug addicts, but in order to get their expensive fix they have to steal and sometimes kill to get it. Is it worth it?

    The democrats are a little more relaxed on the victimless crime front, but as a general rule want to be everything to all people and have this obsession to 'sock it to the rich.' The problem is that the real harm is done to the middle class, the people who really pay the bills for all of the social programs, grants, subsidies, incentives and other nonsense that goes on.

  9. People don't vote for Libertarians for a lot of reasons. The only ones that seem to make any sense are 1. The preoccupation with letting the dopers and perverts run wild and free. 2. The concern that all those government handouts might go away.
    The only reason the Repubs got any votes at all during the Reagan years was the minority within the minority that were scared to absolute death they might have to get off the dole and work.

  10. I think it's the warm teat of government that many voters don't wish to be weaned from, Galt. Also, many people don't wish to be troubled with making decisions, any decisions. They appear to like to be told what to do.