News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Don't worry about ticks; the Internet is much more likely to infect you

Of late, scientific researchers have found that ticks carry many more diseases than Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease.  In today's local trivia paper,  there is a rather lengthy article on ticks and how to avoid them.  Such articles usually appear in April, when it's wet and cool and ticks are hungry from the long winter.  Newspapers yearly print an article warning you about the dangers of ticks and giving the advice that if you venture outside into tickland,  tuck your pants into your socks.  A bunch of adults roaming the woods with their pants tucked into their socks makes the owls hoot in broad daylight.  But today's article appears in late July, when it's too damned hot for ticks.  They generally have returned to the soil where they will escape the heat until rain and cool brings them out in September to lurk and wait for some warm-blooded creature to brush up against them.  

People really hate ticks because they are creepy crawlers who hunt for places to stick their heads into you and suck blood.  Mosquitos do the same, but they don't crawl and creep on you, but come in and dance around like sugar-plum fairies to extract your blood.  We hate mosquitoes and they carry lots of pathogens, too, but they aren't as repulsive to us as creepy crawlers.  We are fond of sugar-plum fairies.  I've never met one I didn't like.  Well, actually  I've never met one.

There are things much more dangerous and deadly to humankind than ticks and mosquitoes.  The Internet is one.  A big one.  

Some folks have noticed that I do not blog much anymore.  That is not because I am not thinking about the state of human affairs and writing about it.  But just as ticks and mosquitoes are vectors of deadly diseases, so is the Internet and the social media it enables.  I still believe that the Internet is a tremendous boon to human communication, but it is also a great proliferator of the mental pestilence that infects so much of human society and consumes so much of our attention.  It is a major medium of recruitment for ISIS.  In their attempt to disrupt democracies,  the Russians have used it to invade America and spread the degenerative pathogens that have put U.S. democracy on the critically ill list.  The people who support and defend Donald Trump have the same mental infirmity as those who are lured to support and fight for ISIS.  And the Internet is the main vector of the pathogens.  To write on the Internet is to willingly expose ideas and words to the carriers of pestilence.  It is absurd to try to communicate with people who have been reduced to a malevolent idiocy,  or to include them in  dialogue which they quickly reduce to moronic howling.  That is what Trump's daily tweets amount to, and no one around him can get him to stop.  The solution is to isolate him in the loony ward, which is what the Oval Office has become.  Save your intelligence for people who have the capacity to respect it.  

Writing on the Internet is much like going naked into the woods on a cool, moist day and communing with the ticks, the mosquitoes, and perhaps a plague-carrying flea or two.  It is to feed the vectors of plagues for which there are no cures, only strategies for prevention.  Donald Trump is just a symptom of a plague that is rampant among the American people.  The political divide which has been characterized by people avoiding contact with each other is actually the healthy population trying to avoid infectious contact with those afflicted by lethal pathogens.  The healthy need to gather in mental enclaves and explore ways to save democracy and decency as a way of life.  We are reduced to the kind of desperate divisions of people fleeing for their lives from the medieval plagues.  

My contact with the Internet is limited to protected discussions which the unhealthy, we hope, cannot find to infect with their degenerative motives.  Dialogue is the lifeblood of democracy, but when the dialogue is infected with malice, it is death to democracy.  You don't  believe it?  Take a peek in the Oval Office.  

The Internet is a valuable resource.  We are working to find ways to use it in developing an immunity to the malice that rages through the land.  So far, ISIS, Donald Trump, and the Russians use it more effectively than do the forces of liberty and good will.  And so,  I tuck my pants in my socks,  douse myself in DEET, and trudge on,  being very selective about what  i come into contact with.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States