When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged.
We have long since forsaken the good guy in the white hat character so prevalent in 1950s movies and television dramas. Sixty years later it’s the anti-hero who mesmerizes us. Yet he mirrors the parts of ourselves that we reject in an image-intoxicated culture. Walter the “not-white” stands in for us in our refusal to confront the darkness in ourselves and in our culture, and all the while we fail to deal with the Walter in our own psyches, hence opening ourselves to utter economic, political, and social domination by the “chemists” of civilization who constantly sell us “crystal blue persuasion.” No wonder we can’t stop watching Breaking Bad.
So listen carefully as the highly paid military and political analysts parade across your television screens, proclaiming the need for this latest “kinetic action.” Observe how these shrewd distorters evade the three paramount characteristics of war that I have just discussed. None of them will address what war really is. Nor will they mention that those who benefit from war do not suffer its horrors. And finally, they will not admit that war never brings good into the world and is actually a plague that sickens the human project.
How bad is it? According to Ron Tice, who worked as an offensive NSA agent from 2002 to 2005, before becoming a source for this Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article exposing NSA domestic spying, in the summer of 2004 he saw orders to spy on Hillary Clinton, Senators John McCain and Diane Feinstein, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, Gen. David Petraeus, and a current Supreme Court Justice. In 2007, the NSA wiretapped a bunch of numbers associated with a forty-some-year-old senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives now would you? It’s a big White House in Washington D.C. That’s who the NSA went after. That’s the President of the United States now.” Tice went on to say: “The abuse is rampant and everyone is pretending that it’s never happened, and it couldn’t happen. … I know [there was abuse] because I had my hands on the papers for these sorts of things : They went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of congress — Senate and the House — especially on the intelligence committees and the armed services committees, lawyers, law firms, judges, State Department officials, part of the White House, multinational companies, financial firms, NGOs, civil rights groups …”
Conflict And Change In The Era Of Economic Decline, Part 2: War And Peace In A Shrinking Economy, By Richard Heinberg
Disaster per se need not lead to violence, as Rebecca Solnit argues in her book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster. She documents five disasters—the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; earthquakes in San Francisco and Mexico City; a giant ship explosion in Halifax, Canada; and 9/11—and shows that rioting, looting, rape, and murder were not automatic results. Instead, for the most part, people pulled together, shared what resources they had, cared for the victims, and in many instances found new sources of joy in everyday life. However, the kinds of social stresses we are discussing now may differ from the disasters Solnit surveys, in that they comprise a “long emergency,” to borrow James Kunstler’s durable phrase. For every heartwarming anecdote about the convergence of rescuers and caregivers on a disaster site, there is a grim historic tale of resource competition turning normal people into monsters.
Our leaders behaved despicably, and continue to, and we allow it to happen e.g., Democrats boast of Obama “getting Bin Laden” in a reprehensible attempt to gain political leverage from the tragedy… actions that Democratic partisans would have, rightly, shamed a Republican president for attempting to exploit.
The Empire is crashing! Hooray!!!! The exploding population has met the dwindling resources. For many centuries we of the “civilized” world have been the physical and mental captives of elite groups within our societies that control us physically and feed us mentally. Those who have always assembled themselves around the emperors for six thousand years; the preachers, the money changers and the generals, provide for us the values of our societies, the power relationships and provide their created image in our minds of the picture of reality they wish us to view. Now the breakout.
As powerful as Wall Street appears to be, its abuse of power has so eroded the economic, social, and environmental foundations of its own existence that its fate is sealed.