Monday, October 7, 2013
People are starting to notice. Around the world, as the US is becoming a political laughingstock, the chuckles are starting to fade into groans. As the people in Congress most likely to tout America's "exceptionalism" -- whatever the hell that is -- are inverting and subverting the very legislative processes that have made us however great and exceptional we once were, it's becoming evident that, to the extent that the world has counted on us as moral and economic and industrial leaders, it's no longer true. We're self-destructing.
And it'll only get worse. We've passed that critical mass of difficulty; there aren't enough people anymore able to think their way, without getting lost, through two or more consecutive and related thoughts to get to a sensible conclusion. To see, for example, why the shutdown is not a "both sides are to blame" situation, one has to understand a little bit about how things have always worked. The way you change legislation is through a specific Constitutional process. Or you win enough elections, including the presidency, to repeal. Ted Cruz just called his position a compromise: he agreed to defund as opposed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Believing it himself or not, he said that with the certainty his followers will buy it. (Hint: there was no legal way to repeal it, given their legislative status. What he opted for was extortion and hostage-taking.) Were this president -- any president -- to allow the function of the government to be rent apart by a small minority of petulant nihilists, there'd no longer be such a thing as democracy. Or majority rule. Or America, as it's been since its founding. By those fathers for the love of whom teabaggers claim soul possession.
Human beings, it turns out -- gods' greatest creation, in his own image, so it's said -- are innately incapable of dealing with problems of the enormity we now face. We now face, it must be said, because enough humans are brain-power limited from seeing far enough ahead to have prevented them. It's double damnation: too mentally bereft to have prevented them, way too mentally bereft to deal with what's been wrought. We are the enemy of ourselves. And by "we" I mean those inherently unable (or, at minimum, unwilling) to think in layers, when the going gets tough. If god had a plan, then surely it must have been to build in an endpoint to our abilities, and get a laugh as the consequences unfold. Because unfolding it is. And unwinding, like an unattended clock.
The proof is everywhere: the idiots in Congress, the ones like Gohmert and Braun and Bachmann, who prefer to see conspiracies instead of solutions, and who revel in the pain they've caused, were elected by human beings, using the best attempt at thought their brains can muster, presumably. Why, or how, would they elect any but people who think like they do.
Recently revised estimates say the planet will support life for about 1.7 billion more years. Humans, it's clear, will be gone long before that, by their own hands. Probably within a century or two. Whether through war or simple neglect, they'll have wiped themselves out; and it'll have been because of their very humanity. Namely, their pathetic inability to cope. Their need for easy answers, to deny reality when it's too complicated, and to find scapegoats to hate instead. When the going gets tough, the untough hang teabags on their hats.
Humans have reached, or are in the process of reaching, the limits of their ability to cope. We evolved (or, sure, let's say were given) a limited amount of ability, it turns out. Enough to deal with saber-tooth tigers; enough to invent agriculture and cellphones and to land on the moon (unless, of course, it was faked.) But the effects of our own pollution? Too hard. Willingness to address the needs of the less fortunate? Too Jesus-y, I guess, for our Christian legislators. To look at incredibly complex economic problems, made more complicated by an interconnected world? That's for the educated: and the educated are the enemy, right, Sarah?
If it's true that it only takes a few genii to invent the next big thing, it's also true that such brainpower is easily negated by a corrupt and, as it's now become under the tantrum-throwing teabaggers, ineffective government. The physical limits of the human brain have been reached, collectively anyway, in at least half the population. As a species, we simply don't have the mental or moral power to deal with what we've created. Optimism, after having a look around, is unwarranted.
It's happening everywhere, but the US is leading the way. Exceptionally.
My latest newspaper column : Win or lose, Donald Trump has done incalculable damage to America. It can’t be overstated. A disordered eg...
My upcoming newspaper column: Wow. Is there any chance on God’s green earth or in the hot brimstone of Hell that a single Republica...
My latest newspaper column : In college, I played Conrad Birdie in a production of Bye Bye Birdie at a neighboring women’s school. Wash...
Here's my next newspaper column, to be published Saturday: I n the age of Trump, having only a weekly column makes it challenging t...
My next newspaper column: After failing to stop even the most conspicuously unsuitable of Trump’s nominees, Democrats clearly have ze...