By Ed Raymond
Modern Rastafarianism, Ancient Ultra-Orthodox Jewry, and Today’s Protopia
According to Donald Trump’s current “Big Lie,” we once lived in Utopia. He is the man with policies that will return our current life in Dystopia back to Utopia--where we were great. The Donald pledges to “Make America Great Again,” better known on bumper stickers as MAGA.
He stole the phrase from Ronald Reagan. Futurist and co-founder of “Wired” magazine Kevin Kelly felt we needed a new word to describe our present condition in the huge middle somewhere between Utopia and Dystopia, so he has come up with “Protopia.”
Kelly says: “Either we’re headed for a dystopia (“an imaginary place where everything is as bad as it possibly can be”) or we’re headed for a utopia (“where everything is an ideal and perfect place or state where everyone lives in harmony and everything is for the best”).
Kelly has come up with a third option for the world. He has coined the word “protopia” to describe where a society which fails to solve all of its problems, as in utopia, or falls into chaotic dysfunction, as in dystopia, but makes very slow incremental progress over a very long period of time because of technological advancement and a natural evolutionary process, as in protopia. Got that?
He adds: You can’t see a difference of one percent unless you turn around and look behind you. One percent a year for a hundred years—that’s a big difference.” The trouble is one percent a year for advancing ain’t much.
Monika Bielskyte, a 36-year-old neurodivergent queer, is a creative movie director who believes in Kelly’s creation and has founded Protopia Futures. Members of her family have lived only in dystopian times. She grew up in Lithuania when it was under Stalin’s Soviet Union, which she has called a “living dystopia.” Her grandfather was a “descendant of multiple genocides” and survived the Holocaust. She and her family have never experienced Utopia. That’s why she is interested in improving Protopia as a slow start to Utopia.
Why Have Our Wars on Poverty Always Ended Up Being Losers Stuck in Dystopia?
In 2020, before COVID-19 hit the world as the “the great equalizer,” as some predicted, after all our wars on poverty spread over 240 years, we still had 140 million out of about 330 million too poor to afford a $400 emergency, nearly ten million homeless or on the brink, 40 million living in absolute poverty, and 87 million underinsured or uninsured.
We lost over a million people, mostly poor, in the first year of the pandemic and still are losing thousands a month. Our life expectancy has dropped by two years because we have the worst rate of death by COVID-19 in the developed world.
When our Great Leader refused to wear a mask to cover his handsome narcissistic face, zombies in his cult emulated him, thus ending up with more dead than most.
Scientific studies have indicated people wearing just cloth masks were 56% less likely to test positive for the deadly virus. If you wore surgical masks, your chances improved to 66%. If you decided to follow the instructions of Dr. Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control by wearing well-fitting N95s and KN95s, you had an 83% chance of avoiding COVID-19.
Life is the difference between acting like a woodland zombie or an intelligent Homo sapiens. If a pregnant mask denier caught the virus, she had a seven-times-higher risk of dying than a person who was not infected.
By the way, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are short 80,000 health workers after fighting the latest pandemic. We will not be prepared to attack and defeat the next one.
And then there are the four million Americans who caught “long Covid” as long as three years ago and are still suffering and unable to work.
Still want to go out of the house without a mask?
Why Was the Jewish Fiddler Stranded on the Roof? A Christian Stole His Ladder!
Written records declare Jews have been around for at least 3,500 years, so why are they being attacked and killed in the 21st Century by antisemites in the dystopian Divided States of America (DSA)?
Let’s face it. It’s because of theology. Christians have been attacking Jews since Jews were widely accepted in society in the religious, cultural and economic life of Spain since the 7th Century. Finally, in 1492 (another important date in history) the Jews were driven out of Spain and settled in the Ottoman Empire in Europe and in Italy.
Between the 12th and 15th Centuries. Ashkenazi (“conservative”) Jews were forced to migrate to Poland and Russia. This is when in Jewish history the fiddler on the roof was stranded on the roof because some White guys stole his ladder. Well, I had to be brief!
Let’s remember what happened to the Jews in the 20th Century. Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany’s loss in World War 1. In 1926 he organized the Hitler Youth, composed of Aryans only. When he was appointed chancellor in 1933, he eliminated the regular curriculum in schools and replaced it with the Nazi political platform, attacking Jews, homosexuals, and the physically handicapped Germans.
Then he banned and burned 30,000 books, burned 100 Jewish synagogues, damaged thousands of Jewish stores during Kristallnacht, and formed a committee to determine the “Final Solution” for 12 million Jews in Europe. He then approved contracts to German manufacturers to make ovens and tall chimneys, burning 6 million before putting a gun barrel in his mouth.
Hitler had fulfilled the prediction of a Jewish poet of 100 years before: (1) you ban books, (2) you burn books and (3) you burn people. If you are interested in a rather brief synopsis of the beginning and the end of the Holocaust, read Ruth Franklin’s “The Millions We Refused To Save” in the June 22, 2023 New York Review of Books.
No doubt what happened in Germany can happen here with Blacks, Browns, Yellows, and Reds, whether documented or undocumented. Listen to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and the Proud Boys. They are preaching the sermons first expressed by Adolf Hitler.
Ever Hear of the Rastafarian Religion? It’s Only Been Around for 93 Years!
Whenever I watch pro or college sports, particularly football, basketball, and track, I compare the number of Blacks with the number of Whites on the field, floor, or track—and then I check to see who is wearing dreadlocks.
In top college basketball it’s easy to count the number of Whites. It’s usually none, one, or two. Among the Blacks, many will be wearing dreadlocks. I wonder how many people know dreadlocks are a symbol of superiority and come from a Jamaican religion born in 1930 known as Rastafarianism.
It was formed when Haile Selassie, also known as Ras Tafari, was crowned king of Ethiopia, and has six major tenets:
(1) The rejection of the corrupting principles of the White race,
(2) The belief in the moral and religious superiority of the Black race,
(3) Commitment to exacting revenge from Whites for their wickedness and mistreatment of Blacks throughout history,
(4) The rejection of the Jamaican government and legal authorities as accomplices of White oppression,
(5) Preparations for a return to Africa, and
(6) Acknowledgement of Haile Selassie’s position as supreme being and only true ruler of Blacks in Africa and across the Diaspora.
Dreadlocks are symbolic of difference and of Haile Selassie, also known as the Lion of Judah. The new religion also has connections to the Old Testament, dietary codes, and nature and the land. The diet bans the use of alcohol and tobacco.
It would be interesting to find out how many Blacks with dreadlocks are followers of Rastafarianism. By 1830, Jamaica was an island with 60,000 slaves ready to revolt against harsh treatment by British owners. On the night of December 27, 1831, slaves started burning plantation homes and buildings and it took five weeks for the British military to put down the revolt.
This revolt and others on Caribbean islands brought about the abolishment of slavery by Great Britain 18 months later. These islands are now somewhere in Protopia, stuck between Dystopia and Utopia.
If Congress Would Decide to Go to Work, We Could Be Inching Toward Utopia
That Congress will most likely remain doing nothing about traffic laws is best described by how they neglected to enforce the present traffic laws in their 700,000 citizen domain. The D.C. “government” must have the approval of an oversight committee of Congress before they can pass any laws.
When Corky and I lived in D.C. for a year almost 70 years ago, the worst slums in the district were right across from the capitol. A few of the old homes did not have front doors but were lived in by some bodies. It took many years for the slums to move somewhere else.
Currently 6.2 million traffic tickets totaling $1.3 billion have not been paid since 2000 because the D.C. government and Congress have done nothing about collecting them. More than 2,100 vehicles have at least 40 unpaid tickets. More than 1,200 cars have owed over $20,000 in fees for over five years.
The top offender is a car from Maryland that has 339 tickets in the glove compartment totaling $186,000 in fines and penalties.
Driving in D.C. is getting to be quite dangerous, but Congress has evidently assumed the wisdom of my favorite character W.C. Fields: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”
I have a solution for the D.C. but I don’t think Congress would ever approve of a law requiring fines to be based on the driver’s income. A Swiss billionaire paid the highest traffic fine in the world so far, paying well over $1.1 million for speeding more than 170 mph on a major highway. Finland and Sweden have similar laws. A wealthy Finnish businessman recently paid $129,000 for driving 50 mph in a 30mph zone. It was not his first speeding ticket. He has had two others: one for $102,000 and the other $68,000.
A Few Other Things Congress Could Do to Inch Us out of Protopia
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis keeps flying undocumented persons from Texas and Louisiana to Democratic cities in the DSA, but he never talks about flying out the millions of undocumented workers he allows to work in Florida. If he kicked them back to their home countries, he would lose 10% of Florida’s workforce, costing his Gross Domestic Product $12.6 billion.
Congress has done nothing about our severe income inequality although 90% of DSA wealth is owned by one/tenth of 1% of the population and our 725 billionaires increased their wealth by 70% during the pandemic by more than $5 trillion. The top 25 hedge-fund managers in the DSA earned $21.5 billion in 2022 for an average of $860 million each.
My favorite Senator, Bernie Sanders, has argued we don’t need billionaires, that they could live well on just $999 million a year.
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