Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Great Katamarchism (Jaywalking) Crisis

Looking back, it seems incredible that our whole society was taken in by The Great Jaywalking Crisis of the early 21st century.  Although jaywalking had always been illegal, psychologists realized that the behavior was a symptom of a deeper pathology since almost all sexual predators, sociopaths, and terrorists had a history of jaywalking.  The aberrant behavior of  jaywalking was labeled katamarching.   So now not only was jaywalking wrong, it was the sick behavior of katamarchism.
Those who claimed katamarchism was nothing but ordinary jaywalking were labeled deniers.  Since 97% of psychologists believed in the insidious dangers of katamarching, the science was settled.
As katamarchism became more evident, the media leapt into the fray.  The internet  displayed graphs showing the growth of katamarchism.  Math experts pointed out exponential growth increases forever and ever faster.  Our cities were about to be inundated with katamarchers.  When scientists applied the random walk theory to katamarchism, they showed that the streets would be so filled with katamarchers that straight walkers would no longer be able to cross the streets.  Pedestrian traffic would be a Brownian motion tangle. As Paul Ehrlich said in The Population Bomb, “The streets seemed alive with people . . . People, people, people, people.”
Activists jumped on the katamarchism bandwagon, yet the matter soon divided along liberal versus conservative lines.  Conservatives who favored social order supported the campaign against katamarchism; while liberals who supported fairness and equality for all called the campaign a vendetta against individual liberty.  There were marches, demonstrations, and protests for and against katamarchism.  When jaywalking mothers were seen leading their children across streets, the anti-katamarchists cried, “They recruit, save our children!” Slogans multiplied.  “This is the last year we have to stop katamarchism.”  “Katamarchism threatens the American family,”  “Katamarchism is a human right.”
Those with katamarching tendencies learned to exercise their proclivities in the dark.  However, when a katamarcher was caught, he was held by the police until he named others of his ilk.  It turned out there were more katamarchers than anyone expected.  These deviants were infiltrating American institutions.  They had to be ferreted out and removed.
An obscure Congressman from an obscure state used the campaign against katamarchism to further his political career.  His committee forced people to answer questions such as, “Are you now or have you ever been a jaywalker?”  If they lied, they were liable for prosecution for perjury;  if they told the truth, they were liable for prosecution for katamarchism.
Lives were ruined.  Katamarchers lost their jobs, became poverty stricken.  They congregated in homeless camps where they didn’t use electricity, own much, drive cars, or heat their dwellings.  They used little water because they didn’t flush toilets or wash their clothes or bodies often.
Radical environmentalists understood that the homeless live lightly on the earth.  These elites joined the conservatives in the campaign to rid the world of katamarchers, thus forcing more people into poverty, thereby saving the planet for their own grandchildren.
Eventually, people crossed streets as the situation required, which led to a workable balance of freedom and order.  Fears of katamarchism faded away as did the fears of Y2K, nuclear winter, eugenic degradation, and New York’s and London’s streets being buried  in horse manure.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Recovering Unitarian Universalist

At my congregation, I used to hear, “I’m a recovering Catholic,” spoken with an air of smug condescension, now that the speaker had seen the light of Unitarian Universalism.  Since UUs are called to honor the wisdom in all religions, why would any religion be something to recover from? Nonetheless, I’m recovering from the current local version of Unitarian Universalism.
My mind stands with David Kipp who writes to the UU World Winter 2015, “. . . a person who dares challenge any central tenets of political liberalism, which masquerades as social justice, is openly scorned, mocked, and made unwelcome by UU congregations.”
Some social justice issues prioritize the planet over the people living on it.  Elite UUs driving Priuses to the Co-op can rail against fossil fuels, GMOs, and non-local, non-organic food.  My values lie with people who need low-cost fuel and food.
My journey away from UU green liberalism began when I did the food miles math and discovered long distance semis use less gasoline per pound of food transported than a family Prius going to a local farm because the semis carry so much more freight per trip.  Details in 12/5/15 blog entry: “A Fine Line.”  If they lied about food miles, what else are they lying about?
With the focus outside the congregation, rather than within it, individuals don’t matter much. Turnover is high.  “[People] find comfort and stimulation while here, then move onto something else,” according to the congregation’s newsletter.  Although the writer was describing, not prescribing, there’s a structural reason why congregations are quick to drop people from the rolls; they are taxed for each voting member.  Congregants are only as good as their last pledge.
My heart stands with Teresa Soto who blogs,  “I’m going to be angry when people are indifferent to barriers keeping me and people like me out of buildings where they are indifferent to our participation.” UU World Winter 2015.
The air is so polluted inside my home congregation’s building that I cannot enter it without suffering a debilitating cough caused by chemical sensitivity that I acquired due to inadequate safety measures while ameliorating a Superfund site.  No other buildings in town give me trouble. A gas mask will protect me from the bad air, but not the gauntlet of stares and rude remarks.
When I offered to help purchase a ventilation system, I was told Board Policy prohibited special contributions.  I appealed to the appropriate committees. The Building Committee was bonding with each other; the Environmental Committee was saving Earth from carbon dioxide; the Accessibility Committee met once.

The irony of a Green Sanctuary in a sick building! The double irony of an organization that professes to be accessible to all but isn’t! The triple irony of an organization that focuses on saving the environment being inaccessible to a person who was injured while improving said environment!