Category Archives: folklore and ethnography

Political Shenanigans – – –

Jack’s Wednesday post hits the ground running and appears on Wednesday

I try hard to avoid political posts, so this one won’t take positions (much) but I get a bit frustrated by the lack of understanding about political movements by many folk here in the United States. Here are definitions offered by a Scottish Quaker who doesn’t have a lot to do with politics, but taught these definitions for about three decades:

Communism is a perfectly normal philosophy which you may or may not agree with. It was very popular in the US between 1930 and 1946. It believes in ‘from everyone according to their means and to everyone according to their needs’. Marxism is not the only branch. Communism has been used to scare Americans since 1917—often very successfully. Beware people who yell beware the communists.

Anarchism (not to be confused with anarchy) is also a perfectly legitimate philosophy. It believes in local democracy but is against nations and national governments. It does believe in co-operation between local institutions to help further the common good.

Socialism is another perfectly normal philosophy which is usually the political face of organized labor. The word ‘socialist’ has often been hijacked by non-socialist organizations such as the German Nazi party of the 1930s and 40s which was completely opposed to organized labor (preferring slave labor) and Socialism.

Fascism is yet another normal belief and still quite widespread. Fascists believe that society should be ruled by a deserving class. Either through race, religion, bloodline (royalty) or military power. No elections and no democracy.

Oligarchy is like fascism, except it holds elections. But only the people who can afford it vote, and only those who can afford to run for office, do so. So it is kind of a rich-favoring democracy. America is an oligarchy.

Capitalism is the (again, perfectly normal) belief that market forces (supply and demand) results in a balanced economy and community. However it doesn’t allow for any safety net for the disadvantaged in society.

Social Democracy is the form of government practiced by most Northern European nations and many others around the world. It aims for a balance between capitalism and socialism and with a safety net for disadvantaged citizens paid for through taxation. This is also a completely normal philosophy.

Proportional representation is a voting system which usually results in a multi-party coalition government, unlike the two party systems which have long predominated in the UK and the USA. It forces compromises and gives all voters a sense of ‘ownership’.

I’m not a member of any political party and haven’t been for a very long time, but I’d describe myself as a social democrat. Despite the fact that many people would deny it the USA is a Social Democracy with many services and safety nets paid for through taxes or contributions including infrastructure, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security etc.

I posted this because of the amount of misinformation I see every day on Twitter and FaceBook. I’d love to see some comments.


Filed under between books, blue funks, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, small town USA, Wendy Welch

Timing is Everything – – –

Jack just gets over the line this time with the Wednesday blog post –

Wendy has always wanted a grandfather clock and we were gifted one by a local friend a few days ago. It now stands proudly in our library room.

But it got me thinking about time, both in general and in more specific ways.

I’ve always been interested in the way we experience time. When I was ten, then ten years was my whole life, but when I was twenty it was half my life. Now that I’m approaching eighty it’s an eighth of my life and the last ten years have gone in a blink.

All of this also brings to mind particular moments in time too – we have paintings and photos displayed around the house that are like time machines and instantly transport me back.

Up until recently our lives have been ordered by the days of the week but now, during lock-down I have real trouble deciding which day of the week it is. Mostly each day has the same shape to it and we go to some lengths to introduce some variety, but still – – –

We have a Zoom meeting every Sunday with friends here in the US and others in Scotland – here it’s at 9 am but in Scotland it’s 2 pm. Our good friend Liz Weir in Ireland hosts a massive on-line session every Saturday night with folk all over the world, but for many participants it isn’t Saturday night – for some not even Saturday at all!

Finally – we picked our first garden peas yesterday and I was instantly transformed to the ten year old walking home with my grandad from his allotment (victory garden) and eating peas from a freshly picked pod.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch