Thursday, January 23, 2014

Already Too Late?

I'm convinced that, in the US at least, we've moved irreversibly past the time when enough people were willing to think beyond their immediate self-interest to make a difference. Not sure when it started; if not with Ronald Reagan, it certainly gained irresistible traction with him. And continues today with teabaggerism and the short-sighted, denialist, theocratic, science-averse stance of those they've elected to Congress and to their state governments.

The Mark Twain quote in my blog title says it all, although I doubt even he imagined the extent to which it's become pervasively true mere decades later. What a deadly combination: problems so big they're hard to imagine and harder to fix; voters cultivated for credulity, using their religiosity (i.e. a need to believe the easy stuff) against them; a non-stop propaganda machine designed by very rich and powerful people to get those who are neither to think they're helping themselves while in fact doing the bidding of those who couldn't care less about them.

It didn't take much, it turns out, to get millions of people to rationalize selfishness, to ignore reality, to believe that truth is lie, and vise versa. Appeal to the basest of human instincts and the tendencies to look for easy answers, for forces to blame beyond oneself. Appeal to fear, to tribalism. And, maybe most importantly, to the need for certainty when there is none.

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