Soapbox: A Collapse in Judgement

Recently I have been hearing stories about the "Collapse of the U.S. Dollar". While there is certainly evidence to support this theory, what is disturbing me more is how people are preparing for the consequences. The U.S. Government has been beefing up the Department of Homeland Security for a few years now, according to some to prepare for the collapse of the dollar.

Along with local law enforcement requesting increased crowd control ability in certain places, this theory definitely seems rather scary. In turn, many believe they must beef up in response to this potential threat to their liberty. However, most of us would plan for the collapse in the dollar in a much more productive(and much less scary) way.

Instead of stockpiling ammunition and beefing up our defenses, we should seek to build relationships with others and strengthen our ability to act independently as a community. Is it really all that beneficial to us as a society to pretend like everyone around us is going to pillage and steal the things around us once the shit hits the fan? If we allow ourselves to buy into that mentality, then it is far likelier to become the reality.

We should instead choose to understand the connections we have, and the community around us in order to strengthen our ability to continually lead comfortable(and productive) lives. America has moved far past the stage of societal development where we worry much about survival. I say we take advantage of that and seek to keep that going, instead of fear-mongering this idea that everyone around us is trying to tear that down.

I'll admit this post is rather preachy, but I'm an Anarchist at heart. And the people I most identify with(Libertarians) are just as prone to fear-mongering problems as the rest of the world is, I start to take issue with and question that philosophy. It does no one any good to perpetuate a standard of mistrust in all around us, even if there is reason to mistrust the few whom hold the power.

If the government is really seeking to prepare for rioting in the streets, and abundant chaos, then we should give them reason to look like fools and take care of ourselves. In fact, we should be doing that anyway. The point is, I'm not a very trusting person. Despite that fact, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt in that they don't seek to destroy relationships. They seek to build them. Although I take steps to protect myself from someone trying to do me harm, I don't immediately assume that they are trying to.

Much as it is with science, I need evidence before I can believe something. If I have no evidence to believe that someone has malicious intent, I have no reason to believe they have malicious intent. Just remember these wise words:

E Pluribus Unum

The Republic of Celebrity


More and more lately it is becoming apparent to many that politics is a game of re-election and money. Those who are voted into office, spend an inordinate amount of time fundraising in order to gain re-election. While this is a necessity for them to keep their office, can we place the blame entirely on them? Even the best intentioned politician still has to play the game, and spends less time enacting the will of their political constituents and more time ensuring they have the power to do so.

Advisors are paid good money to ensure their public image is spotless, with the intention of the politician in question becoming a celebrity among their community. Constituents who encounter their candidate of choice out in every day life treat them as such, asking for pictures and autographs. We even set up public events specifically for this purpose.

But while we treat our politicians like celebrities, does this effect their policy making? There doesn't seem to be any real concrete way to prove(or disprove) this idea but it does seem to effect how much time they put into policy making. Most people have no idea what's going on with policy, and most of us believe we shouldn't have to. We elect officials to take care of the details for us, in the hopes that they will represent our interests.

This is most likely the reason that most politicians also studied law. It increasingly apparent that with a government so steeped policy and laws, that the average person will not understand how language in a bill can be exploited in different ways. One wrong sentence, or one clause missed and your bill could have an entirely different legal interpretation than you originally intended. 

Regardless of their intentions, these celebrities are impacting our every day lives. Most of them use that celebrity to gain favor with specific companies, and even some companies use their own notorious celebrities in order to gain favor with those politicians. Are we sabotaging our own interests by allowing this culture to continue? Are we causing stress and potentially undue harm on those we elect by coveting them in such a manner?

We want policy to be transparent and available to the people to decide if their elected officials are truly keeping their interests at heart. But at the same time, this system raises them to a level of power that can potentially harm the process we are trying to obtain. This is not an easy concept to explore beyond the realm of philosophy, but it is definitely one we should think about. Even if you don't trust the government, the people within it are still people.

No matter what level of corruption there may be, sometimes it is best to make your enemy your friend. We're all in this together, and we stand to gain nothing by placing one above the other. That is unless, you're the one being lifted.

E Pluribus Unum

The Hierarchy of Intelligent Life


Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs is something that we all have to deal with. In terms of maturity, it's actually quite accurate. However, is there more to this concept than just the individual human? Is it possible that as a species we grow in a similar manner? Physiological problems are the first round of issues we solved in order to survive.

We need shelter from the elements, and from others that would wish to harm us. Food is required to keep the body going in order to reproduce and protect ourselves from harm. Relationships with others help us to build strong connections on an emotional level, which gives us purpose to keep finding better solutions.

Being a productive member of our community is important to us because we want to feel accepted and respected. Once we achieve a level of respect and self-worth, we should seek to continue improving ourselves by considering how our actions affect others. We seek to create a sense of enjoyment of our company for those around us, and to try and see the good in all of those around us.

These concepts are deeply rooted in every self-help book, every "better yourself" talk, and every person trying to give an impression of wisdom. But do we really hold these ideas to be true as a species? Well, I would argue at this stage we do not. We are at best at a level of Safety as far as how we treat the world as a whole.

I have covered before that we are still potentially a species in it's infancy. Without getting too political, I urge everyone to take a look at the way we treat our problems and issues. Most do not think of the morality or true impact of how government solves problems like poverty, natural rights, entitlement, crime, and even how the government itself runs. There is far more concern with solving the problems, than whether these things can truly be solved in a moral or practical manner.

In terms of the hierarchy, if we truly with to solve these problems we cannot be thinking on one level. We must consider the moral and practical implications of what we want. As a whole we must accept that ideology cannot solve the problems we must face. So the real question is, which level are you on in our Hierarchy of Intelligent Life? Do you think purely in terms of ideology, or the way it SHOULD be? Or can you remove your ideal situation and look at it for what it really is?

A wise man once said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." So consider for a moment, trying a different level of thinking. You may be surprised at what you find.

E Pluribus Unum

The Bare Minimum

With the recent State of the Union and the current debate in Minimum Wage law, I would like to run down some ideas behind this debate that make it so important.

It's not a very easy situation to understand, especially when you get into the economics behind the idea of raising minimum wage. There are those who believe that raising the minimum wage will stimulate the economy by putting more money in the hands of those who need it. By doing so, they will spend it on consumable goods like food and living expenses, which will stimulate and boost the businesses that sell those good.

Then there are those who believe that it will ruin the economy, by forcing companies to pay more than they can afford for work they need done. All of that money has to come from somewhere, and raising the minimum wage could potentially remove jobs by surpassing the budget set aside for payroll in companies.

It's easy to see both sides of this debate on an economic level, but let's break it down into a philosophical level too. There are those who believe that everyone should have a fair chance at a good standard of living. Not all jobs can support your own house, car, food, and living life expenses. Not all jobs are worth that kind of pay either, since they do not require any special skills in order to perform.

There is another side to this coin that most don't bother to look at. If you have a single person who has no one to take care of but himself, a higher minimum wage is great for him. If you have a single person who has to also take care of others(siblings, children, family), a minimum wage increase is great but only marginally beneficial to him as a standard of living increase. 

Is it fair that the person who only needs to take care of himself gets paid the same? If we truly want everyone to have the same standard of living, shouldn't the person with other responsibilities get paid based on the responsibilities he/she also has to fund? This seems like a fairly easy answer. The person with extra responsibility is not doing more work at that job, they simply have to deal with more based on their decisions.

So where is this Minimum Wage debate going to take us? Let's take a look at the idea of a standard of living. Everyone needs a place to live, and we all want it to be somewhere decent that we can call home. We all need transportation to get to and from the jobs that we hold, and also to go out and experience life. We need to eat, and we would like to eat healthy and eating healthy can be more expensive.

it's also not unfair for us to want to have time to go and have fun. Life shouldn't be all about work should it? So let's take a look at this again: Is raising the Minimum Wage the answer? Well, it's one solution to the problem. Perhaps we can look at it a different way by finding different ways to obtain that standard of living we seek.

Money becomes the ultimate question in every debate we hold politically as a society. What is going to fund these programs and ideas? Monetary policy and the idea of currency is a much bigger issue than I can post here, but let's just keep in mind that it does play a big role. But does that mean that money should be the only way that we obtain the things we need?

Personally, a minimum wage increase would more than likely hurt my current situation. I don't get paid minimum wage, and am actually fairly well above it. However, like it or not, the Minimum Wage is the acknowledgement of the government that standard of living has increased due to inflation. If the minimum wage increased to how much I am getting paid now, there's no guarantee that my wages will increase accordingly.

If my wages do not increase based on the minimum wage, then the government has put me at the bottom of the barrel, the lowest end of the livable wage, and expenses will increase based on that. So in effect, the government may be looking out for those at the bottom end, but by increasing the minimum wage they are effectively increasing the amount of people at the bottom.

Like it or not, that is an issue we need to take into account. And as far as I'm concerned, I don't like the idea that all I've worked for to get above the minimum wage will mean nothing because there are still those who are stuck there. This is the reason I seek to spark debate on other solutions. What these solutions could be, I don't particularly know.

However, we won't know until we put our minds together and figure it out.

E Pluribus Unum

Words Do Not Equal Intent

Reuters / Toru Hanai

http://rt.com/usa/scaremail-nsa-tool-nonsense-957/

An Illinois man has developed a Gmail browser extension designed to randomly insert fake, nonsensical stories into the signature of every email one sends to confuse the NSA’s surveillance operations.

Benjamin Grosser says “ScareMail” takes keywords from an extensive US Department of Homeland Security list used to troll social media websites and utilizes them “to disrupt the NSA’s surveillance efforts by making NSA search results useless.” 

The buzzwords include the likes of “Al-Qaeda” and “Al-Shabab,” yet also more mundane terms like“breach,” “threat,” “death” and “hostage,” among many others. 

While the political implications of this article are pretty obvious, the sociological implication of the 'ScareMail' effort is a whole different story.

"ScareMail reveals one of the primary flaws of the NSA’s surveillance efforts: words do not equal intent.” 

So how can this affect the NSA program? Well, over-using and flooding their servers with the same key words will essentially either slow or stall their search efforts.

But what are the implications of "Words do not Equal intent"? It's rather daunting to think of the issues this kind of societal mindset could bring. First of all, we couldn't trust anyone. What we say and what we do could be two completely different things. 

If law reflects the will of the people, and the law eventually dictates that words and documents of stated threats or red flags that indicate threats, then the world would become a much more complicated place.

Think about it. If words did not equal intent on all levels, would any contractual obligations mean anything? If you signed something that explicitly stated that you would comply with the given conditions you are signing for, would that even mean much of anything?

Society runs based on our words to each other. We can sign papers and give promises all we want. In the end, we choose to follow through and honor those promises. So if we chose to make our words and promises to mean nothing, how would that impact our society?

Massive Impact

 

Society has changed a lot in the last 100 years, and it's effects are barely noticeable to most of us. They are massive, hardly subtle changes that any outsider would see as impossible advancements. So why is it that our culture is so steeped in under appreciation for the wonderful technology we have?

One of the reasons is unfortunately politics. But not necessarily a congressional policy in a direct or indirect sense. It's more so the mindset that something so amazing has to be regulated and people need to be protected from it. From Cell Phones, Cars, and even the INTERNET, every aspect of human technological advancement is subject to the now visible hand of the government.

I would like to use the Internet as a main example for this problem, since it is a major player in recent events with the NSA. When did we come to believe that regulating everything will be the answer? If there's one thing I've found being a gamer, companies who limit their community's ability to interact with and create within that game or community do more poorly than those who do.

Take Valve and the Half-Life franchise for example. A multitude of games have spawned and even entire communities around this one game. Counter-Strike and Team Fortress are two of the major ones, while Half-Life has had numerous mods and even independently made game add-ons(Gearbox, creator of Borderlands actually got their start with Half-Life: Blue Shift, and Opposing Force). Counter-Strike has COUNTLESS mods to make your gameplay change, different maps to enjoy(and some incredibly creative ones I might add), as well as the Team Fortress franchise.

Team Fortress 2 is a franchise that EVERY game company could learn from. You can play for free, all you want online. And based on how you play, you can get items, weapons, and upgrades for your different classes. You can also BUY the ones you really want, along with special edition hats. That's it. Just hats.

Where does all of this play in? Well, if gaming communities can be passionate enough to create original content that the entire WORLD can enjoy for free, I think ANY kind of community can do the same! Except when it comes to products that a company sells, or a service that is offered, things become a different story.

But should they? Should we treat these products any differently than an entertainment medium? If a gaming community can band together to create a better product, why not allow all other mediums to do the same? I may be wrong on this happening, since I'm sure there are some people out there who enjoy modifying/improving products. I just don't see it nearly as much.

How does regulation affect the spread of information? Greatly. With the proposed legislation in CISPA, and SOPA/PIPA, I wouldn't have a website right now. I wouldn't be able to post a link to Discovery's video about the impact of the internet. Hell, I wouldn't be able to do really ANYTHING if I didn't have some serious legal help on my side.

I have a creative commons license that allows you to post/link this article, change and modify any information you wish on it, and share it so long as you give credit to me for the work I did on it. That's all I ask. Why do I do this? Because I know it's good for me, and it's good for you. We both win in that situation. You are able to convey your point while also providing a source for the information you presented. I am able to get my work out there and provide you with information that you find pertinent to your search.

It really is just about sharing the world around you, and understanding the benefit of allowing others to use/manipulate the information as well. Would I be angry if you plagiarized the entire article? Yes, I would. Would I sue you in court? No. I would refute your information and provide solid evidence that the information was plagiarized, thereby destroying any credibility you would have with your reader. All of that readership would then potentially come to me, knowing who really did the work.

I could go on and on about the benefits of a free, and open internet system, but I'd like to get back on point: The manipulation and regulation of technology is shooting our entire society in the foot. If we suppress innovation to make a better product, or provide a better service, we are stifling the very innovation that got us to this point.

Just because you are successful at one point, does not mean the government should guarantee continued success. It's up to you to keep innovating, and being one step ahead of your competition. That is what will set you apart. So how about we stop stagnating our ability to move forward, and start removing all the regulation making it happen.

Let's make an even greater impact for the future generations to come.

E Pluribus Unum 

Chasing Your Passion

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2013/20131002-i-cannot-volunteer-my-time.html

Today I received my furlough notice from NASA. Since my job isn’t considered “excepted,” in other words, since no one will be injured or die if I don’t report for work, then I am to remain at home until recalled to work after the Congress passes and the President signs some sort of budget or continuing resolution to keep the government running. The fact that the government has shut down all non-essential operations should come as no surprise to anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock these last several days.

What may come as a surprise to many is the following statement from the letter I received informing me of what I can and cannot do during the furlough: “During the furlough, you will be in a nonpay, nonduty status. During this time, you will not be permitted to serve NASA as an unpaid volunteer.”

How many federal agencies, for that matter, how many employers have to tell their employees “I’m sending you home without pay for an indefinite period of time and you are strictly prohibited from doing any work for the company/organization on your own time and without compensation?” I dare say there are not very many people out there who would take forced, unpaid days off and continue to work for the company that sent them home. Except at NASA. And, yes, if it weren’t so explicitly stated, I would be one who would continue to work on my NASA projects at home, on my own time, and without compensation. I am sure I wouldn’t be alone.

The government shut down has taught us a few things about our government. Despite their shut down, society still functions. Because of their shut down, hundreds of thousands are without pay, while hundreds of millions save on their tax dollars. NASA is not exempt from these furloughs, and while the general public is saving on their overall taxes, our space program is all but stalled.

Why should any of these people furlough their passions because of politics? If there's one thing this whole ordeal has taught me, it's that there are many people out there who are seeking passion in all the wrong places. All of these scientists and engineers are forced to take time away from what they love thanks to politicians. I don't know about you, but if I ever had someone tell me I couldn't do a job I'm passionate about because a politician failed to do their job, I would find a new place to work.

If there is one message we should take from this, it's that perhaps our trust to run these programs should not be placed in an inefficient government such as ours. Not to mention, while all of these people are essentially out of work with no pay, the politicians are all still getting paid. Getting paid to shut down everyone else's work and dreams. Perhaps it's time to take a serious look at where we're placing our trust. 

We're all in this together. Let's stop letting someone else tell us what we can and cannot do.

E Pluribus Unum. 

Politically Underhanded

http://benswann.com/truth-in-media-event-smeared-by-minneapolis-star-tribune/

Ben Swann had the distinct privilege of speaking before a group of liberty activists in Minnesota a little over a week ago. Liberty Minnesota graciously extended the opportunity for him to bring the “Liberty is Rising, Truth in Media” tour to the campus of the University of Minnesota on Friday, September 13.  Liberty Minnesota billed the event as:

“A kick-off of Liberty Minnesota’s Free Communities Project and featured local mayors, city council members, movie directors, and award winning journalist Ben Swann who talked about his new Truth in Media project.”

Within days after the event, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article that was a thinly veiled attempt to smear Republican candidates who were in attendance. The reporter Rachel E. Stassen-Berger begins the article by insinuating that Swann is a conspiracy theorist and “9/11 truther” and then goes on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson as well as Republican candidates, Phil Krinkie, and David Gerson for having a presence at the event to engage potential voters.

 

Here's a little bit of interesting Politics for you. I actually attended the Liberty Event in Minneapolis on Friday Sept 13th. The people there were all outstanding people to talk to! Very kind and level-headed, thought clearly about the issues we face.

During that event a couple local Mayors spoke about their Liberty based mindsets and how they have effected their policy decisions. They even spoke of their colleagues being frustrated with them over not funding pork projects like a "Cat Extermination/Relocation service". 

At the end of the day, these are all people who care about what happens in government and think clearly about where that money to fund government comes from. Not to mention, the article "smearing" them isn't really all that substantial. (http://www.startribune.com/politics/blogs/224120931.html)

It contains a few key "hot button" words to inspire emotions in the reader. The unfortunate part is it inspires anger, hatred, and distrust. I can guarantee you there was no "conspiratorial" talk. Only questioning what we are being told. As we should be.

With people like the author of this Star Tribune article giving us information, I feel like questioning what we're told is that much more important. Saddest part is, she's not the only one dishing out information this way. Fortunately for us all, people like me aren't about smearing back.

We're about fact-checking, discrediting, and removing their information from the argument altogether. Ben Swann does a fantastic job of doing just that.

A Species in Infancy

 

The human race has been around for quite some time now. Within the last few hundred years we have made great strides in the way of technology and sciences. So where are we now? Despite our longevity, can we truly say that we are matured as a species?

I would say there is still a long way to go. The unfortunate part about this prediction is there is no way to tell how true it is, until we develop more. I may never live to see whether the human species has fully developed or not.

While this kind of thought process is a matter of opinion, let me lay down some guidelines we should follow in order to ascertain whether or not we have matured fully. I believe that the human species will have matured fully when we embrace the idea that it is easier and more beneficial to make allies, than enemies.

When we treat our fellow humans with respect, regardless of whether we agree with their life choices or not. We will be fully matured when accept unanimously that we are a product of the universe, created so that the universe might observe itself. As such, we should strive to explore the universe(and possibly multi-verse) for the sake of ourselves AND the universe. To learn as much as we possibly can about our existence so that we might take better care of it and appreciate it.

When we have placed a greater importance on exploration, scientific experimentation, and understanding the universe than we do on our politics, religion, or every day drama we will be a mature species.  It is through knowledge that we will know peace. And I truly believe that we can continue to learn all the way up to the final death throes of the last black hole remaining in the empty void that is our universe. Should we make it that long.

Every day we learn things that blow us way. Things we never thought possible. Things that reinforce the idea that truth is always stranger than fiction. So perhaps someday soon we can put aside our petty fighting and begin to seek new answers. To create an environment where we can all live and learn the ways of the universe together. It will be much easier, and much more enjoyable if we all work together.

E Pluribus Unum.

Corporate Mindset is Stifling Innovation

A lot of us work for some kind of corporation or another. Most of us learn very quickly that the company doesn't particularly care about our opinions for bettering the business. Few of us have the courage to enact innovation in the work place anyway. Only a handful actually receive any kind of reward for doing so.

The problem we are running into now is that companies hire people specifically to innovate and change the image of the company or product. It is not up to the every day employee to decide or even chime in on the future of the company. 

For Example: I work at a Coffee Shop Chain that really does not provide any incentive to create new drinks and play around with recipes. Except for the happiness of the customer. I've created multiple types of drinks that my customers have enjoyed, and yet there is no guarantee that if I suggested these recipes to the company that anything would come of it.

This isn't the first time this has happened at any of my jobs. Most of us know work now in places that have us feeling like a drone. We do nothing but what we're told, and that's how they want it. And yet of all of the millions of people living and working like this, a business fails to recognize the resource at their fingertips.

If an incentive is presented to better the company or product, you have hundreds to thousands of people who know and understand the product well enough to improve it. This corporate mindset is what is creating a stale air of innovation within the companies we all deal with every day. While it may not appear to be creating a bad environment, think of how much better it could be if we all had a reason to innovate at our workplace.

Money for Nothing

 

I don't think anything we as an american people DON'T know has been stated here. We know our politicans do more for the people who pay them, than they do for us. The system itself is broken.

So here's where it becomes tricky. EVEN if we break this system, what kind of system do we put in it's place? Can we have any guarantee that the system we create to replace this one will be any better? Who's to say that the new system won't be just as corruptable?

Power, on any level, corrupts. It will always be used for selfish gain and malevolent intent. We are at a turning point in the history of our species to define how we move forward with governing ourselves and others. The ideas we put into play now will affect us for centuries to come.

I'm not saying that things will ever be perfect. But perhaps we should really take a step back and rethink on how we see society. All we can say now, is that something isn't working. Let's fix it, and fix it for good this time. 

Blurring the Lines - Dystopia

Science Fiction has always been about extremes. Extreme technologies, extreme force, and extreme society. Many science fiction stories display a government out of control, casting an iron grip on their people and only allowing them rights that the government deems necessary. Others tell a tale about discord and anarchy, a society of people who fend for themselves and nothing more.

This all is accompanied by vastly more powerful technology that allows these characters and situations to develop with strange results. However, we are now starting to see the truth behind a world of technology. And it's not as clear of a picture how society will deal with it in the coming future.

Many of us have heard about the NSA surveillance scandal that Edward Snowden has brought to light. If you had asked anyone even ten years ago if they thought the government could intercept and store all of the e-mails, phone calls, texts, and internet conversations you've ever made, people would call you a loony. 

This is, unfortunately, a reality we now live with knowing. The secretive nature of this program shows that the world we live in is much darker than we would like to think. While these programs were designed to intercept potentially harmful communications, and the intentions behind them may have been good, we cannot ignore the sheer power that lies behind such a system.

Well then, what about anarchy? Would Anarchy really be that much better for us? The answer is not a simple yes or no. What we deal with is a difference in world view. Many people are ok with the idea of a government in control of it's people. Many people would rather see themselves in control of their own lives, living and understanding the choices they make.

Anarchy is an entity that actually is a constant throughout our lives. It's not as simple as being forced or not being forced. You ALWAYS have a decision, even if the consequences of that decision may be highly unfavorable. Even still, every action is a choice. This is what makes the idea of a Dystopia very hard to pin point.

Are we headed for dystopia in the United States? Well, that depends on who you ask. Personally, I think we are a philosophical dystopia. However, we cannot deny the fact that we still have it much better than many around the world. All in all, we cannot be sure.

The Science of Liberty: Regulation

Ok, I'm a Libertarian as most of you know. But there are some key concepts of Libertarianism that go hand in hand with scientific thinking. As a people we understand the benefit of working together. We wouldn't have the things we have now if we didn't.

Most of us who advocate for more government regulation have a fundamental mistrust in those around us. Those of us who advocate for less government regulation believe it's our responsibility to be wary of services we may not know.

The main issue with regulating food is it is creating a multi-billion dollar industry that is so convoluted in regulation that the U.S. food supply is flooded with products that have to be manipulated in so many different ways we may not necessarily know even what's in it!

Genetically Modified food has provided the world with a way to keep up with the growing demand. It has also caused a lot of concern due to poor business practices and uncertainties in it's science. But is regulation really what we need? Or do we need to seek to understand the problem as a whole.

When you regulate anything you are placing faith in an agency to protect you from what may be harmful. More often than not, you may not understand why a regulation is put in place but they wouldn't regulate it if it weren't harmful right?

I don't know about you, but I would rather learn about it, and make the decision for myself. Isn't that what having a scientific mind is all about?

American Society: Intellectual or Primal?

Image Credit: http://goldendome.org/evolutionofman/

Are we a society of Intellectuals? Or do we still live on a Primal level? Well, let's stop and think about what Primal and Intellectual means. Primal can be referred to in societal terms as a collective that has placed an importance on solving the problem of basic survival needs; i.e. Food, Water, Shelter, Safety, and Reproduction. 

Intellectual can be referred to a society that has placed an importance on the expansion of their knowledge and ability to go above and beyond their basic survival needs towards new unknown frontiers. Now, we can definitely not define American society as a purely Primal culture. It would be a slap in the face of many around the world to say it was.

However, it also cannot be defined as a purely Intellectual society seeing as how a large chunk of our legislation and problem solving skills goes to social programs and the military. In fact, an abysmally small number of that government budget goes to education and scientific research.

This data is not to spark a political fight between sides! It is to remind us that if we were an intellectual society the issues of social safety nets, infrastructure, food, and agriculture would not vastly eclipse our educational and science efforts! Everything has it's place, and we can't ignore our other problems.

There is something to be said for gaining a balance, and creating opportunity for all to educate themselves and provide value to society. Is it not safe to question even this kind of policy? Is it not our civic duty to question whether we have the right balance of priority? 

Regardless of your political affiliation, it's important to question whether we are doing the right thing for our society. You want my opinion? Well, let's just say I don't think there is enough evidence of success to support our current policies.

We're all in this together. Remember: E Pluribus Unum.