I'm going to get a few things off my chest today. I'll use a recent example from Paul Krugman. If you're talking about Planet Stupid, he's always a good place to start. He wrote a blog post called Extremists and Enablers. It's short.
These two stories are related:
1. Republicans are getting ready to hold American hostage again, refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless spending is cut drastically; basically, never mind the old-fashioned idea of actually passing legislation, they’ll just blow up the country unless their demands are met.
2. Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, two highly respected Congressional analysts with a reputation for being nonpartisan, have a book documenting the fact that our political dysfunction is very one-sided — it’s Republican extremism, not “both sides do it”, that’s at fault. Sales of their book have been very good, and there’s a lot of public interest. But guess what? They can’t get on TV to promote their book.
When future historians write about the fall of the American Republic, they will of course lay primary blame on the extremists of the right, who set out deliberately to destroy it. But they will also lay heavy blame on all the “centrists” and Serious People who not only refused to admit what was happening, but ostracized and silenced anyone who tried to point it out.
First, let me dispense with Republicans. I don't talk about Republicans much on this blog. Why not? Because I can't take them seriously enough to talk about them. They are not serious human beings in any sense. They are ignorant, pandering, parochial, power-seeking opportunists who are constantly trying to enlist terminally stupid Americans to help them pursue an agenda set by the Evil Ones who have bought and paid for them (e.g. the Koch Brothers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce). Republicans are not sincere. They don't even care about the things (e.g. the public debt, "free" enterprise) they appear to care about. That's a ruse. Contemporary Republicans embody the very worst elements of humanity. They are beneath my contempt.
That said, let's get back to Paul Krugman, whose cluelessness is only exceeded by his good opinion of himself. The fall of the American Republic? You're a little late, Paul. The American security state and Empire was established by Harry Truman and his little helpers in the late 1940s. By 1950, that transformation was almost complete. It's not an accident that "McCarthyism" followed a few year later. The "industrial-military complex" Eisenhower warned us about one decade later was already running the show in 1960, and Ike knew that. Do you remember a little episode called the Vietnam War? Few people remember it today. America's power-crazed evil behavior has only gotten worse since then. This country has been completely out of control for as long as I can remember. I was born in 1953. It took a while to get going, but matters got markedly worse after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.
But it's very convenient, and very popular and thus self-serving, for Krugman blame all our woes on those wretched Republican extremists. That's what "educated" Americans want to hear. There are those bad guys over there, and us good guys over here. That simplistic, partisan, primitive view of America's decline, and the Human Condition in general, is an important reason (among many) why humanity has now entered Act IV of an inexorable, self-defeating, five-act tragedy.
Krugman says future historians will blame Republican extremists for our downfall, and all those who allowed this to happen. These latter are the enablers. Read this again.
But they will also lay heavy blame on all the “centrists” and Serious People who not only refused to admit what was happening, but ostracized and silenced anyone who tried to point it out.
Krugman is surely one of those trying to point out that Republican extremists are responsible for all of America's ills. Is anybody ostracizing and silencing him? Hell, no! Krugman's Concience of a Liberal blog is just about the most popular blog in the Greatest Country On Earth precisely because Paul has perfected the fine art of pandering to all the humans who want to divide the world up into Us and Them, which is virtually everybody. He teaches at Princeton. He was hired by Ben Bernanke. They employ similar macro-economic models. He writes for the New York Times. That's not my defintion of ostracism or silencing.
Let's go out to the year 2050. America's greatness will be a thing of the distant past. Empires rise, and Empires fall. Edward Gibbon knew that. God only knows how most of its citizens will be living. The flow of crude oil will be a mere trickle compared to today. The unruly weather (floods, droughts, wind storms, heat waves) will knock the hell out of attempts to jump-start human economic activity over and over again. The warmer, over-exploited, acidic (carbonized) oceans will be all but devoid of higher animal life. Terrestrial ecosystems will lie in tatters, subject to constant disruption as humans struggle to stay alive. In short, they will cut down trees or kill whatever animals remain or do whatever is necessary to keep themselves alive. This will happen all over the Earth. In fact, it is already happening and has been happening in many places for many years.
All sorts of raw materials (now called commodities) will be all but unobtainable in many localities, depending on where you are and what you have to offer in exhange. Potable water and good, solid food will be precious beyond all measuring. Lawlessness and violence will be the rule, not the exception. All this and many other disasters we can not predict are the likely outcomes. There's nothing exceptional in these predictions. They are merely extrapolations of trends which are well established in 2012. We are talking about a mere 40 years from now, but timing doesn't matter much. If the disaster I'm describing actually occurs 50 or 70 years from now, who cares?
So what will future historians talk about? Will they blame all this on evil Republicans? Well, these crazy extremists have certainly played a large role in America's downfall over the last 30 years, I don't doubt that. But what about the Chinese? Or the Brazilians? Or the French? Or the Ethiopians? Or the Turks? Or the Malaysians? Do they have evil American Republicans to blame? I don't think so. So the panderer Paul Krugman's view of things is parochial as well, not to mention shortsighted.
Future historians, if there are any in 2050, will ponder the question of how this great tragedy came about. One thing they will focus on will be the complete insanity of striving for limitless economic growth on a finite planet to support a greater and greater number of human beings. And if they focus on that larger belief, and the economic theories which rationalized it, and the many specific mistakes humanity made along the way, they will find that Paul Krugman was precisely the kind of extremist and enabler who helped dig the deep, inescapable hole humanity will find itself in.
And now let's talk about the people who are really the ones who have been ostracized and silenced in 2012. Actually, those are not the words I would use. I would use the word marginalized to describe them. Well, who are they? They are people like me, often scientists I quote here, who are trying to warn humans about the increasing likelihood of disastrous future outcomes. I can accept that, but don't go telling me about extremists and enablers.
So go fuck yourself, Paul.