Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Dangerous World

Given the number and scale of the disasters underway in this nightmare country, I assumed that no further outrage could coax this mopey z-list blogger out of drunken semi-retirement.

But I had not reckoned with Joe Fucking Lieberman:

LIEBERMAN: I want to indicate today to my colleagues that Senator Coburn and I are working again on a bipartisan proposal to secure Social Security over the long term, we hope to have that done in time. To also forward to the special committee for their consideration. So, bottom line, we can’t protect these entitlements and also have the national defense we need to protect us in a dangerous world while we’re at war with Islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11 and will be for a long time to come.
So to avoid "a day of horror like no other," we must commit ourselves to days of horror like every other...days on which hundreds of Americans find out that they can't protect "entitlements" like food, shelter and medicine while they're fighting disease or disability. In doing so, we'll torture and kill more Americans than Osama bin Laden managed in his wettest dreams. But as long as the networks don't show these commonplace deaths in a slow-motion loop at dinner time, I suppose we can occupy our minds with happier the relative risk of getting beheaded by some Palestinian kid, versus a Mexican drug lord.

You know what my definition of a dangerous world is? It's a world where people routinely lose their homes because they get sick. It's a world where you wind up eating cat food so that the guy who shipped your job overseas can get a tax cut for supporting the politicians who slashed your benefits. It's a world where we starve children so that we can afford to blast foreign wedding guests into bloody shreds, while patting ourselves on the back for being "exceptional" (and therefore not subject to the pretty moral axioms we impose on other countries at gunpoint). It's a world in which a sociopathic cipher like Joe Lieberman can strut around in the borrowed plumes of theological gravitas, to polite applause from his slack-jawed media courtiers. It's a world, above all, in which a cowardly, brutal, willfully stupid, morally and spiritually bankrupt country like the United States can hold up its grotesque anti-values and its hopelessly atomized version of "freedom" as things worthy of envy, let alone emulation.

It'd be terrible if the Islamic extremists took over, wouldn't it? Granted, they might have some cultural or religious prohibition against letting the elderly die in the gutter, or some limits on what they'd be willing to do for money, but think of the downside: The state oppression of gays and women. Bans on abortion and birth control. A theocratic attack on education and science. Imperious demands for public prayer. Harebrained conspiracies presented to schoolchildren as fact. A zero-sum approach to difference that promotes endless strife between races and genders. A violent hypersensitivity to real and imagined insults. And the unedifying daily spectacle of smug, vicious, power-hungry thugs trying to pass themselves off as God's right-hand men. Let's all pray it can't happen here!

I know it won't mean much, ultimately, but it ought to be said that our political and economic betters, whose "success" is due largely to the fact that conscience rarely tells them anything they don't want to hear, are the actual dregs of society, and a burden this country doesn't need and can't afford. To call them "vultures" would imply a utility in the scheme of things -- a grace and a purpose -- that they don't actually have. They're parasitic encumbrances, fifth wheels and exorbitant sponges. They're welfare cheats in the only morally meaningful sense of the term: people who rob the poor and the helpless of comfort and dignity. They are to politics, culture, religion, science and ethics what thumbtacks are to nutrition.

Among the poor, you'll routinely find people who will resist the urge to steal small change out of a blind beggar's pencil cup, despite living under stresses that are as unimaginable as honor to people like Holy Joe Lieberman. For our Galtian Overlords, however, the primary objection to stealing a blind man's loose change is that it doesn't pay enough to justify the millisecond drudgery of emptying his cup into your pocket. Fortunately, economies of scale are available to our best and brightest; with one stroke of a solid-gold pen, it's possible to rob thousands of blind people (and sick people, and children with autism, and teachers, and firefighters) at once. Yes we can!

Having presided for years over this shell game, these chattering husks are insisting yet again that we take a "realistic" look at programs like Social Security. These programs are threatened, y'see. And who'd be in a better position to know this than the people who've been piling sticks of dynamite in the vault?

I hold this truth to be self-evident: Most of us will never find ourselves on the business end of an Islamic radical. Many of us, however, will struggle to stay housed and fed if we're too old to work, or we fall seriously ill. "National defense" that focuses on cartoon figures of ethnic menace, as opposed to the prosaic and preventable disasters that cause most of the actual suffering and death in this country, is a cruel joke, and I suspect its extremely dark humor is not entirely lost on heartless neo-feudalist chatterboxes like Lieberman and Coburn.

I suppose I should be grateful that as Anders Breivik recently noted, socialists are on the brink of world domination. Otherwise, things would be looking much worse.


Jazzbumpa said...

I have little to add, except that you are one gonzo writer, and I love your cynicism.

Wow, we sure are fucked!

Emily said...

*slow clap* That was beautiful. A truly beautiful expression of something that badly needs to be said.

Phila said...

I love your cynicism.

Thanks, but it's not really cynicism. It's just pent-up rage. Viewed from a couple of day's distance, it reminds me why silence has seemed preferable.

I do think things will change, eventually.

Phila said...

And thank you, Emily.

Makarios said...

Wow! Just wow! Spectacular!

Karin said...

Wow, that was quite the rant. I love it.

Windhorse said...

Your perspicacity is refreshing! Now, I'd love to hear something equally passionate about who and what IS working to move us towards full health as a species and full awareness of mind/enlightenment

Phila said...

I'd love to hear something equally passionate about who and what IS working to move us towards full health as a species and full awareness of mind/enlightenment

Well, I suppose you could try reading the past few years' worth of "Friday Hope Blogging" posts...though I have to confess that "full awareness of mind/enlightenment" has never been one of this blog's concerns.

VforVirginia said...

This is a work of art, Phila. I thank you for putting the effort into saying so eloquently what many of us feel but can't express.

JMS said...

To think J.L. coulda been president.


I'm not sure things would be any different.

And that is sad.

But the picture made me laugh. Although these days I believe we can safely replace the clergy with the telly, right?

Stay thirsty, my friend.