Homage to species that barely existed

It has come to my attention in recent years that we are the stupid ones. Homo sapiens, as we so arrogantly call ourselves, might be the least intelligent of the surviving genii of hominids. Our species won out over Homo neanderthalensis because we were more competitive and selfish than they. Neandethals have larger brains than us, and of course it is a matter of debate as to whether that necessarily makes them smarter. And since we value smarts, we would look on suspicion when calling a species smarter than us, especially if they’re all dead.

But look around you, folks. We may value intelligence, but is it really a distinguishing survival skill? You might need it, but your survival arsenal must also include aggression, competitiveness, and selfishness if you are to claw and kick your way to the top. While I am not a Republican supporter (indeed, I am a socialist), I still must admit that Republican candidate Ron Paul has cornered the market on depth of thought, and committment to traditional conservative values (which includes staying out of foreign conflicts — a position, incidentally, which places him solidly to the left of Obama). When I listen to him, I can’t help but think that he has given his positions on the issues lots of thought. Even if you don’t agree with everything he says, such as eliminating the US Department of Education, eliminating the Federal Reserve, or abolishing income tax, or his other Libertarian views, you have to at least give his views a once-over to see what he is about.

But the press seemed to treat him as if he was invisible, ignoring that he came in second in a straw poll. The ones getting the attention are not quite as smart, but are more aggressive and attention-seeking. It mirrors the evolution of Homo sapiens quite nicely. But the Democrats have been equally burned by this media-generated survival of the fittest: anyone remember Larry Agran? In the Democratic convetion of 1992, he was frozen out by the media, though he had early leads in the polls. That convention got us Bill Clinton instead.

The tragic flaw may be that both Agran and Paul were anti-war; but of course to be anti-war, at least in the traditional sense of the U.S. staying out of foreign conflicts, that takes thought that is at least deep enough to see past the media-generated rhetoric. If you are a brainless and agressive opportunist, you don’t need to trouble yourself with thoughts of peace. Ron Paul dies that the Sarah Palins of the world may live.

My writing about politics here is more than just a digression. I am trying to point out here that on a grand scale, our culture, and maybe all cultures and our species generally, seems to shun altruism. Politicians, for example, who hold policies on the far right (such as Ron Paul), yet who have policies that are lock-step in line with the most leftists (Paul’s anti-war stance) are seen as altruistic and unelectable. People who stay within the party platform and adhere unthinkingly to a formula for “what is conservative” make themselves more electable and get themselves less media flak. This is a kind of selecting out of “less selfish” people in favour of the “more selfish” people of the kind we seem to be attracted to as a species. It is possible that Neanderthal Man is … us.

The Max Planck Institute sequenced the neanderthal genome in 2010 or so, and found differences on the order of only a few thousand base pairs per chromosome. and only 200 or so in mitochondrial DNA. One begins to think that perhaps Neanderthals are not even a separate species, but reflect a genetic diversity between humans, and that the genetic lineages that made Neanderthan Man different from the rest of us are simply lost. The stereotype that Neanderthals are lesser beings than us, somehow have now come under question.

A Tale of Two Joes (Joe Sixpack and Joe Plumber)

It was the best of Joes, it was the worst of Joes; it was the age of connectedness, it was the age of alienation; it was the moment of truth, it was the moment of lies; we were shown the light, we were all kept in the dark; it was the dawn of Change, it was the twilight of monotony; we had everything to gain, we had everything to lose; we were taking the highway to Heaven to listen to Elvis, we were taking the highway to hell to listen to AC-DC.

— Chuck Dickens (I had to get that out of my system)! This was meant as a joke and does not confer a preference for the greater works of Elvis Presley on my part. And to put the Elvis fans to rest, I am also not a fan of either the greater or lesser works of AC-DC.

I have heard on the net about people commenting that Joe Sixpack and Joe Plumber have no place in political discourse. Joe Sixpack would likely desire intelligent discourse with a sober Palin maybe after chugging a sixpack or two. Then, sufficiently inebriated, would then proceed to have what would seem to the inebriated mind an intelligent discourse with Palin. This is also how a Joe turns a dog into a fox.

Joe Plumber, unlike Joe Sixpack, is not fictitious. He is properly named “Joe The Plumber”, and was first reported talking policy with Obama. Joe Sixpack looked like a hard-working guy and the press has been all over him. It is as if they, after looking strenuously across America for an everyday person to talk to, they found Joe The Plumber, who is just a common hard-working guy grossing about a quarter million per year, as he told Obama. In whose universe is someone like this an “ordinary American?” Joe The Plumber does not exist in the sense that the media is fabricating the narrative, anymore than Joe Sixpack would exist anywhere, at any time.

We all await a successor to George Bush The Lesser.

The “real” Joe Sixpack weighs in, with the truth behind the hoopla:

And, yet another Joe, some running mate of Obama’s who goes by the name of Joe Biden in this video, is said to “rip apart” McCain and Palin. All sensationalism aside, Joe Biden is simply telling it like it is.

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