Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Is the Tea Party Leading America into the Dark Ages? Rare essay by Will Poor and Lame

I think that there are many parallels between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the current situation here in America. And looking at these parallels is not for the faint of heart. It is often accepted by historians that one of the major causes of the Dark Ages was the invasions by the barbarian hordes; and that the barbarians set in motion a reversal of centuries of learning and scientific investigation.

Like America today, forgive me Mr. Cruz and Ms. Palin, the situation was a little more complex. Over time as the Roman Empire grew and became more complex, those in power found it expedient to "dumb down" Roman citizenship so that the people didn't ask too many questions. And those who wanted to seize power in the outlying regions took it further as they realized that fear of a central government would give them power, and the more ignorance they encouraged, the more fear they could engender in the local populace before "rescuing" them from the barbarians by delivering them into a feudal system of organized exploitation and violence.

The stark difference between the fall of the Ancient Roman Empire and the America of today is a lack of understanding and a denial that this is happening. As long as people, on some level, believe the notion that they have the chance to join the ranks of the "book cookers and outsourcers", epitomized by leaders like Mitt Romney and Rick Scott, and that this is what the Founding Fathers envisioned, a myth perpetuated by the Tea Party, nothing will change. Enlightened people do not wish to be part of those ranks, but most of them are in Zen monasteries, hippie communes, or they live a quasi-bohemian life full of economic compromise as I do. Many people still believe the distortion that all people are responsible, in some way, for the injustices and misfortunes in their lives. And that is just plain bunk. In fact increasingly people are becoming expendable ciphers whose purpose is to serve the financial aristocracy. Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full explored this idea better that anything I can recall reading.

Whereas the burgeoning middle class played a role in the rise of the counterculture movement of the 60's, the Information Age, has facilitated the rise of the Tea Party and the entrenchment of America's economic aristocracy. This New Media Age, characterized by Facebook, Twitter, "Smart" Phones, and the Internet has a desensitizing and "dumbing down" effect on the population. People have shorter attention spans, read less, fail to comprehend cause and effect, and absolutely fail to comprehend the Big Picture.

Now this is ironic. A political philosopher stated over a century ago that "the production of too many useful things results in too many useless people." Technology though invaluable to what I do to pay the rent, does enable me, as well as many people and small businesses to do without the services of some people. This was not so decades ago. And the overall economy adjusts, and the money "saved" trickles upward.

Finally, the emergence of the global economy has all but ended patriotism- don't be fooled by flag waving and lapel pins- and international relations has become a red herring, for the most part. There is a New World Order but not the one the Tea Party rants about.

I remember a conversation with a friend some years ago where he expressed his frustration over the fact that, if he couldn't get his point across in a paragraph most people would not read what he had written. And this is a real problem for a civilized society. It is a problem that home schooling for profit education won't fix, nor will praying for self along with a big donation to the Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart. It's going to require a change in values and seeing education as necessary for an enlightened society, as it was when I was a boy; not merely as a tool to try to become a millionaire.

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