We are collapsing right now, and there is precious little anyone can do to stop it.
Nothing we do is remotely sustainable. Obviously not our economy- this level of inequality on this scale never lasts for long, at least not in any society after the Renaissance. Obviously not our militarism or imperialism, not our infrastructure, not the educational system we’ve been aggressively dismantling, not even the way we feed and clothe ourselves.
Our entire culture is rotten to the core, and that’s not just the bitterness of an old man talking. We hate wisdom and knowledge and we love ignorance and stupidity. We have no patience or foresight for anything other than instant gratification, let alone context, nuance and subtlety. We cannot tolerate truth, fact, or reality. We lash out at those things like a frightened cat, whether in “reality” TV, “virtual reality”, the social buffer zone of the internet, or our own personalized infotainment bubbles.
We have turned everything into a cheap disposable commodity, even art, education, and spirituality, even each other. Some of those commodities we gouge for, like health care, but they are disposable nonetheless.
We can’t even fix a bridge anymore, for reasons far more political than practical. Our entire government is choked full of criminals looting the store. On one side we have the parasites who don’t want to kill their host, and on the other we have the viruses who do. And yet we cannot “vote the bums out” because our elections are so thoroughly rigged and our electorate is no more functional than the idiots it chooses to represent it.
We lionize our demons and demonize our lions. We freely give all the power to the very worst among us, and tell ourselves that, in their ruthlessness, they have earned it. For their sake, we spread death and destruction, degradation, and exploitation to every corner of the globe. At their direction, we have had a hand in nearly every atrocity in the world since the Korean War. The strip mines and sweatshops, bullets and bombs we make for their profit kill man, woman, child, and nature alike, in our name.
But our most important commodity of manufacture is more enemies to fight, so that our wars may never end. Why do they hate us? Is it the freedom we don’t even have? Or could it be the life and liberty we’ve denied them for all of living memory?
And we tell ourselves that all of this is good, that it is righteous. That is, if we are ever bothered to notice or care in the first place. If we aren’t a hundred times more concerned about Kim Kardashian or Pokemon than how much poison we’ve consumed or how many children we’ve slaughtered this week.
We have no moral compass whatsoever, and that’s not just a religious lament. Christopher Hitchens was a militant atheist and he warned us of this. We don’t need him or any preacher to tell us that we are shallow, petty, self-centered, short-sighted, lazy, greedy, vapid, and stupid.
We’ve turned the fall of Rome into a bucket list, right down to the lead poisoning. We are doing everything we possibly can to destroy ourselves, and yet in our arrogance, very few of us even see it. There’s no bigger idiot than the one who thinks he can outsmart the devil. Now, the devil has come for his due, wearing a silk suit and an orange wig.