Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What can I say?

On this dangerous day. Only this. History shows that human societies are likely to develop cults of personality, that we seem to have a need to build our loyalties around individuals, more so, perhaps, than institutions and ideas. The essential genius of the U.S. constitution was supposed to be the rejection of personality as the focus of state power, and for a long time we largely lived by that post-Enlightenment ideal.

Why, here at the turn of the century, a time which is indeed a hinge of history, a large portion of the American people should have built a cult around the ridiculous, repulsive figure of George W. Bush has always been incomprehensible to me. That this wilfully ignorant, inarticulate, immature fool somehow embodied a force of history that was going to remake the planet in a Pax Christiana was the most delusional notion since the cargo cults. Yet it swept away not only the religious true believers who are by definition susceptible to such magical thinking, but most of the secular elites in the United States.

As the hallucinatory edifice started to collapse, they began by blaming those of us who had called it what it was in the first place. Now that they are standing in the midst of the wreckage, they seem simply stunned, unable to process the past or comprehend where they are. As the wreckage starts to burn, what will they tell us we are supposed to think?

I'm still too busy to do anything but blow smoke, probably until Sunday. It's been an interesting couple of days, for me personally. (The world has largely been shut out, actually, but I try to keep up as best I can.) I expect to have a lot to say later.

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