An Empire of Clowns

An Empire of Clowns July 21, 2011

We are becoming a nation of barbarian clowns.

I’m speaking the obvious.

Look with clear eyes at television, or any form of mass media. Hell, look critically at lots of your fellow citizens.

We’re crude, crass, money-grubbing, uncouth, violent, predatory, childish clowns.

Do me a favor: go to one of the mainstream online dating sites (e.g., match.com), and pull up, say, 20 random profiles of American female members who are in their 20s. Read the text. I’d bet you a fair amount of money that one recurring sub-text will come up very, very often: a lot of their “what I’m looking for” text can be boiled down to, “Look, guys – I’m lonely and would just like to meet someone and spend a day having fun. Please don’t rape me or beat me up.”

See what I mean?

Good.

Now go to that same dating website, but the version aimed toward…it doesn’t really matter…let’s say Denmark. Use Google translate and read those women’s “what I’m looking for” text. See? Nothing on there pleading with predatory men not to make them a victim – or at least, it is way, way rarer.

It is becoming more and more clear that our society is deeply, deeply sick, and has been for quite some time. It can barely be said to merit the description of “society” at all. More and more, it is just a collection of people who happen to all have the same country on their official documents, who are convinced that the only way to survive is to be even more ruthless than their fellow citizens “competitors.”

The oligarchs who pull the strings in the fading remnants of our “civilization” are some utterly craven and ruthless people – and they set the tone for everyone else.

I believe that economic and social collapse is becoming inevitable. The only thing that will stave it off – breaking the power of the oligarchs – is opposed too intractably by those same oligarchs. They own all the mass media of consequence. They set the agenda, and control the topic of discussion, the Story We Tell Ourselves, so thoroughly that counter-narratives have no real chance of gaining widespread traction.

If I’m right, the price for all of us will be dire – except the uber-rich, of course, who will either employ armies of security people to keep the rabble at a comfortable distance, or else just decamp for greener pastures in the developing world – and will require that we put aside the fetuses-and-gay-people fights that have distracted us, and get serious about helping one another, in very practical ways, to get through the coming collapse. This is the only option that makes sense from a Catholic perspective. Other options are more likely, I believe – there is a significant risk of an authoritarian dictatorship taking over the United States in the next few years, as increasingly desperate and alienated people look for Someone Strong Enough To Fix Everything.

But, just possibly, you and I can build a country that will be serve the interests, and be worthy of the dreams, of the people who’ve been getting shafted the last 30 years. I’d love to help build that country.


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