This is another post copied from WISWRP.
Yup, we're in trouble. As a nation, and as individuals.
But, as much as he might LIKE to think he's the boss of everything, Georgie isn't totally responsible. He's just the latest and greatest idiot (and I mean that literally) in a long line of deluded, short-sighted leaders. Now don't get me wrong, I liked Bill, I STILL like him, and I'd vote for him again. Heck, in retrospect I even like GWB senior compared to his moronic son.
But as powerful as the Prez is, he's still not the only player in this world, and the game's getting, as the saying goes, "interesting."
Like anything else BIG, the nation doesn't change course quickly. The entire government system, in fact, was DESIGNED to prevent rapid change. There is no way that all the negative things we're currently experiencing could possibly be accomplished in the reign of one El Presidente, no matter how megalomaniacal he might be. Things have gotten this way very slowly, and, if time allowed, would also change again equally slowly. But, as technology and long-distance communications have evolved rapidly, so has the pace of change hastened to levels unimaginable only a generation ago. It's still slow, but up a notch maybe from tectonically slow to glacially slow. -:)
There are many "bad" things happening now, but there have always been bad things happening. What has changed is WHAT those things are, and how we hear about them. The media, unfortunately, is very biased toward the negative story (I used to work for a major paper, I speak from experience), so you hear loudly and often about what's bad in the world. What I find more interesting is what is NOT said, and what is not discussed, and, sadly, how little the loudest voices often really know about the world that is, and the world that was.
One of the greatest ills plaguing our society today is simply stated, but complex in its rammifications. "Lack of consequences."
Imagine the world of a century ago, or two even. Travel was difficult, epensive, and very time-consuming for most folks. Long-distance communication was also rather slow and not always available. People, for the most part, lived, worked, and interacted in relatively small and close-knit communities. Manners were vital, as was civilized behavior, because any violation of these codes of behavior would bring significant, inescapable, and long-term consequences. Yes, it's kinda creepy if all your neighbors know how your family has voted for 6 generations, but it's also good if they know when you're hurt and your family needs help. And heaven help you if you offend someone who can talk...word gets around fast, and you'll never hear the end of it - and the consequences can be far more than whispers. Lack of service and outright shunning come quickly to mind.
Fast-forward to the present. People live, are encouraged, or even FORCED to live incredibly isolated lives. Wake up in sterile box, eat sterile factory food, get in wheeled isolation box, travel from A to B without actually interacting with anything (or anyone) along the way, perform meaningless job for equally meaningless currency, return to sterile box, sleep, repeat.
Our current way of life severs all the connections to the REAL world, and because nothing we do is real, neither are there any real consequences for our actions. Imagine, for example, that you go to a restaurant and make a huge scene, insult the owner, etc. As long as you don't do any actual damage or break any laws, the ONLY consequence you will suffer is that you probably can't go back there ever again. But there are 50, 100, more other restaurants in the same range from your box, so what's the problem? You could do the same thing at a different place a night for a year, and hardly break a sweat. How you act, effectively, has ceased to matter.
And because you CAN, some small portion of the "you" out there, do. School-age children, not far from me, ran a car stereo theft ring. Not becuse they needed the money, but just because they could. And as juveniles, they probably suffered little more than a slap on the wrist and a fine paid by their well-heeled parents. Other people threw rocks at the windows of new cars on delivery trains, just to be destructive, until the car companies were forced to screen the rail cars. Why? Because they could. I can understand, to a certain degree, bad behavior with GAIN involved. But pointless, GAIN-less destruction boggles my mind.
Anonymity is a powerful tool in the hands of someone with nothing to lose. Hence, the dark side of the internet *COUGH*P.O.E.*COUGH*.
Think about most common crimes, like theft. So, you get caught? Big deal, you get thrown into a prison (for a short while) where, it's very likely, you live better than you ever did on the street, and when you get out, you can do the same thing again. Consequences? Hardly.
You're a CEO, and you embezzle your heart away until your company is ruined, and thousands of employee's lives are shattered. But what happens to you? Oh, you pay your fine (usually a fraction of what you stole), and, by the way, you still get to keep your contracted salary and severance package. That was fun, let's do it again!
The list goes on. The most powerful force for the maintenance of civilized behavior, community, has effectively ceased to exist. So we're all left to our own devices, and unless we happen to have particularly strong moral compasses, as a few still do, more often than not we become just another part of the problem, and not part of the solution.
Now some will say that it's all because of a lack of religion in the country. Personally, I think it's exactly the opposite. IMO, the fundamentalist movement is at least as destructive to this country as any other negative force. Now, I personally speak from a pagan perspective, but I find one key element of the christian creed (all 64k flavors) to contribute to bad behavior.
Pagans, generally, believe in the law of Karma. What you put out into the world, is what you get back. If you're a bastard (or a bitch), then that's exactly how life will treat you. And it happens NOW. On the christian side of the coin, however, the consequences usually happen AFTER you die. Now, take a basic tenet of human nature into account, and you can see the problem here. Most people, if they give it much thought at all, don't ever think of death as something that will happen to THEM. So, these divine consequences based on the lives they live, also, are something so distant, so ephemeral, that they can, while living, be safely ignored. And, in the worst case (in some sects), all you have to do is recant everything on your deathbead and you'll go to heaven anyways. What a great system to, yet again, remove any immediaate consequences from bad behavior.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that all pagans are good people, or that all christians are bad. I've known slimy, underhanded pagans and incredibly honest, decent, godly christians. It's the system that concerns me, not the individual people.
Now, there are some hopeful people that believe that, with ongoing advances in technology and communication, we as a people are on the verge of an entirely new kind of society. I applaud their optimism. But, as a professional pessimist, I just can't see that as anything more than a pretty fantasy.
I think two key factors, too, are going to derail that train before it even leaves the station.
1) Petroleum reserves are finite, and may well be reduced sufficiently in the next handful of years to cause sudden and widespread chaos and starvation throughout the "civilized" world. Wars are ALREADY being fought over oilfields, and that's just the start.
2) Global warming is an accelerating, but very hard to SEE, process, and will significantly contribute to 1 above. And that's a damned big top to stop spinning.
So, in large part, the game as it stands my well cease to matter much in the next few years, when the Gods sweep the board clear and appoint some new players.
Me? I'm leaving my place at the table of false abundance and heading for the hills. Literally. Whether I make it or not, I intend to go down swinging, not staring vacantly at a TV as the food riots hammer at the door of my soulless box. I encourage you all to think for a moment, what would YOU do for your family if the grocery store suddenly had no more food? It's a sobering thought, and one far too few in this world consider.
As always, plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
Rochndil, who is a pagan, anarchistic, gun-owning VOTER, for all the good it does...-:)