Return of the Dark Ages
Recently, the Memphis, Tennessee City Council voted unanimously to exhume the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife and move them to another location. This raises several troubling questions. The most obvious would be; since when does a City Council have the authority to dig up the bodies of those they find offensive? There are laws against the desecration of graves, and Forrest’s family is passionately opposed to this unprecedented move.
Now, as the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Forrest is obviously a difficult historical figure to defend. But permitting politicians to exhume the dead, for partisan political reasons, sets us on a perilous course. On such a slippery slope, it is easy to envision future calls to exhume other Confederate leaders, and eventually every prominent slaveholder from Thomas Jefferson to George Mason. Where does this end? Would we allow Rush Limbaugh’s grandfather to be exhumed and exiled? Anyone branded a “racist” might have good reason to fear that his own ancestors could have their eternal rest disturbed due to authoritarian political correctness. This is an incredibly ghoulish business, and speaks volumes for the lack of civility in our present day society.
The establishment Left is not alone in their Dark Ages-style proposals. Debtors’ prisons, once remembered only as fodder for the works of Victorian reformers like Charles Dickens, are making a serious comeback. So is child labor. Much of the establishment Right wants to eliminate the minimum wage, and roll back what remains of the crucial benefits the working class enjoyed thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
In every aspect of our lives, we are trapped between an authoritarian Left devoted solely to the precepts of political correctness, and an insensitive Right devoted to the “greed is good” credo of Ayn Rand. The Left seemingly wants to punish and even imprison anyone who violates their concept of political correctness, and the Right seemingly wants to resurrect the rugged individualism of the Wild West, and prefers to let nature sort things out under the survival-of-the-fittest. The Left has an astonishing lack of tolerance for those they label as intolerant, and clearly hate those they deem to be hateful. The Right has no empathy for the poor or the working class, and appears to believe that selfishness is some kind of virtue.
This backwards shift is happening all over the world. Iceland seems merely to have been a wonderful anomaly. They threw their bankers in jail, and took control of their own destiny. Greek had a chance to do that as well, but their leaders backed down, as ours would no doubt inevitably do, and asked for more debt and more austerity. Austerity measures are all the rage now. If our leaders get their wish, Americans will soon embrace the demented values of the modern Chinese, with strict controls on behavior, slave wages, and living conditions that include cramped spaces that any enlightened civilization should instinctively recognize as being unfit for human habitation.
As noted on the excellent “End of the American Dream” web site, in 2012 alone, some 40,000 new American laws went into effect. These various state and local laws were often nonsensical; criminalizing the collection of water on one’s property, selling cow’s milk to one’s neighbor, defacing a milk carton, selling girl scout cookies on one’s property, or holding a bible study in one’s home. A federal law against being “annoying” on the internet was passed, which also made registering a fake name on social media to be subject to up to five years in federal prison. So many things we once took for granted, from smoking cigarettes in public places to not wearing a seat belt, have long been banned. There is no question that we enjoy far less personal freedom than we did even thirty years ago.
The Left, in particular, has only minimal tolerance for views they find repugnant. There have been serious calls to arrest those who “deny” climate change. The quintessential authoritarian Leftist, Al Gore recently declared that we need to punish those who reject “accepted science.” Meanwhile, the Right offers consistent demands of more “sacrifice” from the common riff-raff. Jeb Bush, in a statement guaranteed to win him zero votes outside the One Percent, proposed that Americans just need to work longer hours. Mitch McConnell states that we can no longer afford to maintain our highways unless benefits from the elderly and disabled are slashed.
If we don’t break free from this diabolical, phony Left-Right paradigm, we are doomed to continue sliding towards a new Dark Ages. Our culture appears fully intent on collapsing even before our impossible economy does. Either way, collapse is unavoidable without a sea change in the awareness of a majority of our people. The systemic corruption we see at all levels of government and business now would simply not be possible with a well-informed, intelligent population. Instead, we are becoming an Idiocracy.
California is running out of water? That would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. Our police forces, all over the country, are mirroring the corrupt state they serve. In the most recent outrageous example, a SWAT team broke into the wrong home (they frequently get the address wrong) and after breaking windows in a fruitless effort to find anything illegal, contacted a building inspector, who promptly served the hapless homeowner victims with a citation for broken windows. Even the most imaginative writer of fiction would have hesitated to invent some of the egregious abuses of law and common decency, which we now see on the part of law enforcement officers, documented daily online.
To someone who died in the 1970s, our present world be incomprehensible. Not for its fantastic advances in technology or lifestyle, but for its stark descent into a draconian plutocracy. Every move our leaders make, in terms of addressing crucial issues like immigration, jobs, foreign policy and medicine, is devoid of common sense and reason. In fact, their “solutions” are the exact opposite of what any rational person would propose. Instead of defending our own borders, our leaders babble on about Isis. Or Isil. Or Al Qaeda. Instead of confronting the insurmountable cost of health care and housing, they devise an insurance-friendly Obamacare and whistle past the graveyard of real estate.
To those of us who are awake, this is becoming an unfunny nightmare. What will they do next? There is zero expectation that any mainstream leader will propose anything to make any aspect of our gargantuan problems better. They seem hellbent, as Alex Jones and others have suggested, on triggering the collapse that is bound to happen. While they may be busy constructing a new Dark Ages, is that what most Americans really want? Have we become that collectively stupid? How long will we have to wait for the next Enlightenment?