Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Navigating in the Land of Make Believe

Despite the serious backsliding of the past few decades, we should remind ourselves that we are still a long way from the 14th Century when our European cultural forebears were ruled by a despotism based in claims of supernatural authority and fundamentally nonsensical mysticism. The institutional church of that era is still around, still just as irrational and oppressive, but far less powerful. Various forms of competing nonsense have arisen to enchain people's minds, but the realm of freedom has enlarged.

Depressing it is, however, for me to realize that I was raised in a bubble of enlightenment and truly, until mid-life, had no idea how deeply our culture is still steeped in anti-rationalism, and how much indoctrination and ideological tribalism still rule political discourse. The ridiculous spectacle of a self-styled revolutionary movement rising up against nothing in particular (as usual, Hunter says it well) has truly impressed me. They claim their elected representatives aren't "listening" to them. Well, what exactly aren't the politicians hearing?

  • These people want tax cuts. Well, Obama cut their taxes.

  • They want cuts in federal spending, but polls consistently show that they don't want any cuts in programs that constitute any substantial part of federal spending . . .

  • E.g., they want the government to keep its hands off of Medicare. Okaaaaayyyy.

  • They don't want death panels. Okay, there aren't any.

  • They didn't like the bank bailout. That was signed by George W. Bush, who is no longer president.

  • They don't want socialism. Not to worry.

  • They don't want anybody to take their guns away. The only gun-related legislation under the present administration allows them to carry weapons in national parks.

And so on. Now, some of them want Christian dominion over the earth, which the present government is not delivering, to be sure. Maybe they think the End Times are at hand and Obama, or Javier Salana, or Richard Dawkins, is the Antichrist. I dunno, but that would not suggest to me a situation amenable to political action. Supposedly the Democrats are doomed to lose massive numbers of seats in the fall election because the people are angry damnit, they're mad as hell and they aren't going to take it any more. But why? What exactly is the problem here?

I will be happy to hear a coherent explanation.


C. Corax said...

What exactly is the problem here?

A black person is president. It almost was a female person (just as bad!), but he's black and that's the problem.

Next question?

Cervantes said...

Yep, that seems a likely guess.