Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice thoughts (warning: grim)

It's chilly, snowing wetly, gray -- suitable meteorological accompaniment to my mood.  This has been a year we won't be sorry to see the end of.

Liberals have had a presumption, or a faith, that secular, inclusive, representative government; with protection for civil liberties, rule of law, and regard for the general welfare is the destination of history. Allowing, of course, for some backsliding and some holdouts. But I fear this is not so.

As the crafters of our now fully obsolete constitution rightly feared, majority rule does not ensure any of those values. Majorities are perfectly capable of voting for theocrats, racists and thieves. They are much more concerned, most of the time, about their personal safety and material well being than they are about freedom or what happens to people they don't consider their own. That seems to be the currently prevalent attitude of the American electorate.

Libertarians completely misconstrue the problem, in a trivially obvious way. Freedom requires functioning, non-corrupt government with a commitment to defending it. Otherwise the guy next to you, who happens to be a little bit bigger, or have a more powerful weapon, or better organized allies, will take your freedom away.

While I think I construe the problem correctly, I don't have a good solution. Americans this year have shown themselves to be tribal, cowardly, vindictive, and willfully ignorant. Rule by this majority is a terrifying prospect. Truth and reason have no power.

1 comment:

Don Quixote said...

Yeah. I cringe when I see bumper stickers with the red & the blue and the meaningless words, "These Colors Don't Run!" Oy vey. We are the most scared, paranoid people on earth because we know, on various levels (depending on the people) that we're fucking with people all over the world and they're PISSED OFF! Like the demonization, over the next few days/weeks, that we'll see in the press over Obama, De Blasio, and those other "cop-haters"--as if wanting justice for African-Americans equates to wanting cops to be killed. Many Americans are not only ignorant, but they're afraid of truth.