Just read the Unwinding by George Packer. It’s about how America has lost it’s vision of the Disneyesque American Dream. Hard to argue with that although a careful reading of America’s history might suggest that it is simply fulfilling it’s just-as-early darker vision of creating Empire.
The elite of the good ol’ USofA thrives off of war and that business (in a world economy gone flat) seems like it is still a pretty good one. The military-industrial stocks go up no matter what. And the elite in power still seem to have a very firm grasp on the reins – i.e the money, the missiles and the media. Put more succinctly, the American Dream may no longer be working but the American Nightmare certainly is.
Peter Thiel of PayPal and Facebook fame had a good line, “It was 1973 (that the age of innocence in America ended), the last year of the fifties.” That resident rich guy, deviant, savant, Libertarian and contrarian is so profoundly disillusioned with Mom and her GMO apple pie that he is investing billions in ending aging. He figures that if he can live forever, he can maybe fix some of the problems eventually (but, as a Libertarian, it is not clear if he intends to live forever alone or share the technology with others…..? I think it depends on the market. And how weird is that?)
My own take is also somewhere in Lalaland. I am kinda hoping for the Messiah. A really big one.
Thiel may be right about the age of innocence ending in 1973 but it’s end days began much further in the past. The American Revolution was about who controls the printing of money and the US wrested that ability away from the Brits way back in 1776. Since then they have managed to control the printing of money for the entire world – for the most part, anyway, long before even the Federal Reserve and Bretton Woods. And he who controls the money controls everything. Unless someone or something magical comes along pretty soon, that is the way it is going to be for the foreseeable future.
And how do you change that? The very concept of money is a huge, behemoth of a construct. It is one that is truly too big to fail. But it needs some changing. It needs changing drastically. We could use a little magic right about now. Good magic. The rare kind. We need a Messiah.
But Thiel points out that the only magic we have seen for a long time is silly techie-magic and 99% of that has been for infotainment. Technological progress is mostly manifested in phones! He claims we have not progressed as a species but instead have regressed, in fact, because we are focused in the wrong area – fun.
Well, the mlitary-industrial guys are still focused on their business and they are more than just 1% but his point is well taken.
My problem is that I don’t see how even the Second Coming might work. How would the Messiah get his/her mojo on without proper media coverage? And the media is now a corrupt, hollowed out institution owned by the bad guys anyway. Our Saviour would have a hard time getting noticed. Or worse, he/she’d be Oprah’ed and Jerry Springer’ed into our living rooms. Hard to get the rapture on from even a big flat screen Blu-Ray. And, anyway, I am sure he/she’d be sued or ‘interrogated’ or otherwise occupied so that only his or her cell-mates would see the light-and-magic show.
The point of this ramble is an odd one…..
…..I am getting there…..
Despite the omnipresent gloom, I feel change in the air. Maybe it is just autumn. Maybe I am just aging and I am getting those disorders where old people ‘feel’ things in their bones. I dunno. But I kinda feel a change is comin’ on. Bigger than the didn’t-quite-happen but promised Obama-change. Bigger than a Homeland-held Messiah-in-jail kinda change. Something big. I have no idea what. Not a clue. But I feel it (more like the beginnings of it) and one cannot ignore one’s feelings.
The closest I can come to describing this feeling is that it feels as if more voices are dissenting at the status quo of more issues. More feelings of anti-establishment are being voiced. Politicians are bumping into more walls of resistance to their greedy proposals. Anarchy, chaos and dissent are more the norm around the world and the 1% are escalating their ‘forces’ to squelch it with increasingly heavier means. Divides are widening on political levels but the ‘little guys’ are merging and compromising their differences. Civil discourse is no longer the standard – even civil disobedience is not being tolerated as much – but personal tolerance for personal differences is increasing. I guess what I am saying is that there are indications of social stress caused by government and industry but there are indications of greater unity amongst the people.
If the people are slowly putting aside their petty differences (racism, sexism, gay rights, aboriginal rights, etc.) and the powers that be (police, Homeland Security, economic pressures) are increasing the stress on them anyway, something is going to break.
And that makes for change.