A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
It’s now blatantly obvious that the majority of contemporary North American were raised by wolves. I have nothing against wolves per se or their interspecies parenting skills (they did a decent job with Romulus and Remus) but their grasp of the complex social, economic and political structures of the 21st century is limited. As cultural teachers, Canus lupus is not your ideal choice — unless you’re another wolf. I’m not saying that everybody is walking around Darwin Award stupid, but there is now a noticeable understanding gap in our society, and like the financial equity gap, it’s widening. Here are a couple of examples.
As the protest season comes to a halt, right on schedule, due to inclement weather, and the Occupy Whatever! Movement goes into hibernation until the sunny summer returns, there are still people around who believe those donuts were a positive force for change. They’ve been favourably compared to Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Gandhi. As the risk of sugar coating it, that’s crap. The Occupy Whatever! Movement hasn’t done a thing but prove that our society is so wealthy we can afford to have some people make a career out of being a pain in the ass. Their only achievement was to inconvenience the very people they claimed to represent. Their only accomplishment was to force our cities to spend a lot of extra dollars that should have been used someplace else. And their only legacy is that money is gone. However, there’s a ton of rhetoric out there that says the exact opposite. The apologists maintain the Occupiers were noble crusaders, keeping the beacons of freedom burning in a time of darkness. Go figure! The only thing I see changed is a lot of trampled grass and an extra couple of tons of garbage headed to the landfill.
Meanwhile, in another part of the crisis, our collective debt is climbing. We owe so much money even King Midas is worried. Yet, as our ability to pay for our wastrel ways steadily declines, a whole segment of our society wants to borrow even more money. I’m not an economist, but it strikes me that when you’ve just gotten the foreclosure notice from Standard and Poor, the last thing you want to do is buy recreational property on the No Money Down plan. It’s a good thing the American government doesn’t know there’s a number after trillion, or they’d be funding billion dollar programs to find out what it is.
Apparently, a whole pile of people have never had a household budget. They seem to think that money, although it doesn’t grow on trees, comes from a magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or something. They simply don’t understand that debt works the same for everybody: you have to pay it back! Nobody — not you, nor I, nor the US government, nor even Sauron’s evil land of Mordor can borrow itself out of debt. It’s fiscally impossible but there are still people around recommending it.
These are just two examples of how people simply don’t understand how the world works. There are hundreds more. And the real problem is this isn’t a distortion of the facts; it’s a dismissal of them. We have now traveled beyond the realm of spin doctors shaping the facts to suit their argument. These days, facts don’t even matter. People are jumping on the bandwagon of outrageous nonsense and acting as though it deserves serious consideration. Then, when confronted with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they simply disagree.
It’s absurd, but it’s true.