Something is terribly wrong in America. Like an ER doctor, all of us feel compelled to treat the life-threatening symptoms in front of us.
Useful stooges run the White House, boardrooms, and apparently at one time the DNC. Drug addiction is rampant. People simply go crazy and kill dozens for the sheer thrill of it. It is more than fashionable to readily assume the worst about every person, every debate, and every event. Guns honestly seem like a solution to many problems to many problems. Spirituality itself is weaponized almost casually.
As we will continue to learn, our political system was completely corrupted and compromised by a hostile foreign power. But what’s far more troubling is how easily we let it happen.
There is definitely something wrong at the core of America. By that, I mean the core values and shared history which are supposed to bind the many different peoples of this land together have been rendered meaningless. Revisionist history of events like the Civil War have actually become a staple of arguments, suggesting that there is no singular truth at the core of anything. The assault on our nation by a hostile foreign power, bent on demonstrating that democracy is weak, is often disregarded as either unimportant or “fake”.
It seems impossible to believe that this could happen overnight, or for that matter without a strong force acting. It must be extra-political in origin.
The system which we have is of the people, by the people, and for the people. People are the strength of it but also the weakness. The human frailty which seems to have failed all of us is fear. People are just plain scared and constantly on the defense against the smallest slight. How did it come to that?
While writing “People’s Economics” I have hit a dead end as I contemplate this problem. It seems that everything in the news today is yet another symptom of something gone horribly wrong. By presenting another framework for understanding how everything is or must be organized in order to be healthy, the principles of “People’s Economics” are supposed to cure an underlying disease. It is supposed to go beyond the symptoms and into the cancer at the core.
But it seems much more complicated than that.
In a world in which everyone is scared, nothing is going to work well. Authoritarianism seems like a viable option, at least to the extent that it appears to protect us. Many nations have systems like this and most people are easily able to ignore their rulers on a daily basis. As long as they feel safe the rule of force has some appeal to many.
Our system has freedom much more deeply embedded in it to function at all. A free market requires people to trust each other at some level, or at least trust things like money, shipping, and consumer fraud protection. A corporation cannot function if everyone is genuinely out for their own short term gain and the board of directors is there to simply fleece the operation.
We have to fix just about everything. And that means we have to address the root problem.
I believe now, after much thought, that what has made everyone run scared all the time is the end-game of individualism run to an extreme. The same impulse which made it possible for us to conquer a continent and then the world makes it impossible for us to function once we have no choice but to work things out with people we don’t necessarily even like. Other nations are more used to a politics of steady-state, such as China and Germany, so their ability to adapt to a more freely changing world of development and technology is actually liberating. Being close to the rest of the world is, to our culture, stifling.
It also means that individualism can’t possibly cure everything. We have to work instead on getting along.
I’m not entirely sure why we are so terribly afraid of everyone and everything, but that does seem to be the emotion which drives all of the symptoms that are destroying us. Exactly what created this crippling fear is worth debating, and I’ve offered my belief. It doesn’t seem to be a fully baked idea, but it’s what someone with Anabaptist beliefs would naturally come up with first.
I’d love to know what you think. Is the United States genuinely sick at the core? Why? What is the root problem which creates all these symptoms we are incapable of dealing with?