Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Building More Fences

On the occasions that I have shopped for an apartment or home or have joined friends through the journey for a personal castle, similar requirements have been mentioned about the neighborhoods. At least middle class cars should be in the driveways, no furniture or cars on the lawn and the surrounding homes should be at least neatly maintained.

Conventional wisdom also goes that neighborhoods of homes with bars on the windows and steel gates on the doors are probably unsafe. Or at least that is the logic.

Perusing antiwar.com today, an article about China got me thinking about the global neighborhood. China has erected a fence along part of its border with North Korea, it seems, for much the same reason the United States intends to wall off Mexico - to keep out people who are escaping poverty and oppression.

Building fences is nothing new of course. The Chinese, at great expense, built a wall to keep out the marauding Mongols from the north. Germany was split in two for decades. The Palestinians are being cut off from the olive groves of their ancestors by the giant wall that grows with each new day. America wants to electrify the line between California and Tijuana and now China comes full circle in its own history, adding a southern fence as a compliment to the northern one that serves no purpose other than to attract curious foreigners.

If bars on the windows are signs of an unsafe neighborhood, then the global move to build giant fences between countries speaks volumes about the evolution of humanity. After thousands of years of so-called progress, we imprison ourselves in our nations in the name of being safe, losing all connection to the outside world.

Sometimes I wonder if humanity is either too lazy or has abandoned all hope of living in a safe neighborhood. It is easier, I suppose, to put bars on the windows than make peace with your neighbors, but the neighborhood never feels as welcoming and the home starts to feel like a prison.


At 5:39 PM, October 17, 2006 , Blogger skip sievert said...

Our society far from being modern is a copy of older society's.

In most cultures eventually class warfare becomes the thing that sinks them.

Our money system makes it so that wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, because of the exponential nature of money and numbers as to interest rates, etc.

Although we no longer need the economic model we have , we keep it anyway because of tradition, and perhaps some sinister reasons as well. Mans inhumanity to man.

Our, every thing for me and nothing for you, society is now on the skids.
Will we try to grasp the bubble of our present system and spin off into a nightmare of a society,? or will we be creative and go to a better thought out way to have a good society.?

During the 1930`s many good changes happened to help people and create a better society. Now many of those things are being deconstructed.

When our economic system fails as it must, then a real test will occur.
Be prepared for a tumultuous period.

At 7:38 PM, October 17, 2006 , Anonymous Jason B said...

In my limited observation, humanity proves to actually be both: too lazy to make peace with just about anyone and possessing no hope regarding its own progress.

Perhaps we can explain the latter by stating we've been conditioned by the (theoretically sound) idea of evolution to believe that we are animals, and thus will always tragically possess a propensity to act like them.


I enjoyed your metaphorical link between the idea of being physically "safe", i.e., free from physical attack in one's neighborhood, and the idea of being culturally "safe", i.e., free from the intrusion of other cultures. But perhaps it's true that people who put up metaphorical bars on their windows do not feel like their homes are prisons, because in order to avoid discomfort, they never even look out the window. Our active ability to turn a blind eye is perhaps another major factor contributing to cultural isolationism and its attendant misunderstandings and violence.

At 8:55 AM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

Some fences are for privacy and not for safety, as some have gates that welcome visitors.

Bars, Steel gates, electrified fences deal with the symptom of the problem and not the root cause issue.

It seems to be easier to throw money at the problem, and deal with the real underlying factors.

Fences are always only a temporary, and sometimes completely ineffective solution. In time the fence will crumble.

At 11:01 AM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

Some interesting thoughts jason…. Got me thinking. Some stream of consciousness:

There are many in our society who don’t bother to “look out the window”. They simply assume (or have been conditioned to believe) that our society is simply the best in the world. While it undoubtedly (still) encompasses some of the “best practices” these introverts simply refuse to believe we can learn from other nations. I think the point you make is central problem the nation is facing: that of “believing” we’re doing the right thing and that of actively questioning the path we are on.

Building fences is a great metaphor for this dichotomy. And, as history shows, looking inward solely at your own “greatness” is likely to end badly – for society.

As for immigration in particular – I find it truly disheartening that we address all of our problems similarly: by denying the root causes and treating the symptoms – vis a vi the war or drugs/terror/immigration. In the case of illegal immigration the place to start is with demand – but that will never happen with corporate America running the show in Washington.

At 3:00 PM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

While your post is quaint and poetic, it makes no sense and ignores reality. I have bars on my windows, not for my neighbors, but for the scores of people that stroll down my street daily from the bus stop. What am I supposed to do, wax poetic about crime and take off the bars?

As for the US border fence, it serves as a replacement for what other countries do with troops. What are we supposed to do, have a totally open border? I can't stand when people say we should solve Latin American poverty before we strengthen the border. That'll take centuries. C'mon, II.

At 3:27 PM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


If you read what I wrote, you would see that I am not advocating removing the bars from the windows. If they are necessary, they are.

The point of the post is that those bars are a sign that, in spite of all the so-called progress humanity has made, we are still back to imprisoning ourselves in the name of safety.

Enough of the snide comments. I have had enough of that shit for this week.

At 4:01 PM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

Come on II, don't sugar coat it, tell him what you really feel :)

Other walls or bars:

* Chastity belts
* Bushco's policy of abstinence

Another point is this is the 21st freaking century and we still apply stone age technology to solve our problems.

At 4:09 PM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

Ah well, all those walls will all be obsolete once we get those flying cars they promised us anyway. Won't they? Isn't technology supposed to get us to a point where we don't need to huddle behind our walls any more? Isn't it? Won't it? But Star Trek promised...!

In 1999 I was highly optimistic. I firmly believe that had Gore been elected we'd all be driving our Segways through fields of flowers and writing poems of peace on solar-powered Macs. But that didn't happen. Now we have walls and we cower. Something somewhere went terribly wrong.

At 5:11 PM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

II, you should learn to RELAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAXXXXXXXXX, don't be so upset......breath...and don't forget to exhale, very important.
There, feel better?? I do!!

Now, as to the posters:

BOB?? If you have bard on YOUR windows?? It's probably because society as a whole, is retreating from OWNING the streets to LEAVING the streets to the criminals.

Same crapola about gated communities. Society feels SAFE behind the bars. Pfffft...please. Just as many dopers/criminals INSIDE gated communities as OUTSIDE gates communites.

Make peace with thy neighbor??

What do you do if their drug addicts and/or criminals????
How about the local hoodlums we currently call, gangbangers??
How would you go about DOING that??

Personally? Send all their azzes off to Iraq/Afghan, and let them SOLJAH there.

Then again....I'm kinda militant, so, what do you expect.

0 = )

At 5:26 PM, October 18, 2006 , Blogger skip sievert said...

As our society gets more cutthroat in its reliance on money , class, concentration of wealth, it seems logical that problems get worse , because our society at base does not make sense now.

People carry around the prison bars of belief.
Change is needed. We have the potential right now to change into a really interesting , great, really free society.
We may also spiral out of control and destroy ourselves.
Both options are on the table.

At 10:20 AM, October 19, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

I've never been of the opinion that humanity is necessarily progressing. I can't say that my sophisticated butt, who sits in an office all day drinking coffee, is any more significant than an indian in the jungles of Brazil. I am of the mind that while technology enhances some things, it also alienates us from other aspects of life.

At 7:16 AM, October 28, 2006 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


This is good stuff. I agree completely with ROR when he says corporate America running the show in Washington.

The funny part about that statement is that both the Dems and the Republicans are being funded by Corporate America and the Dems fail to see it.

Boy it is funny how the fat cat Dems in Washington who are mostly rich fool their party members by telling them that "While we may be opulent, we hate the rich!"

They never heard of the term Oxymoron.

Now what is funny how easily they are fooled, just like good little sheep that can't see the hypocracy or the lies in that statement.

George Soros hates the rich? Ted Kennedy hates the rich? John Kerry hates the rich? Yep! It is obvious that they do...LOL!

Those super rich despise the peons they serve as they think that they are stupid and easily lead around by the nose, but the funny thing is the Democrat followers can't see it.

We should vote to repeal the "Corporate Sheild" and only have Partnerships and Family Trusts.

Corporations will deal with the Devil if there is a buck in it, but Family Businesses will consider their employees as part of their extended families and will usually do the right thing. I have worked for several family owned businesses and that was my experiance. Now I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, but that doesn't mean that my observations are wrong.


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