Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Cuckoo's Nest

Insanity, Einstein remarked, is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. United States foreign policy of endless war, by this measure, is incurably insane.

Ah, but it's profitable for the powerful few corporations and indivuals who form the American ruling class. If by magic all military spending ceased tomorrow and forever, most of the country's economy would vanish just as magically.  Poof!

This is the corner into which unfettered capitalism has painted us.  Even if we could agree (althought not even the most powerful magic could accomplish this)  that fossil fuel energy must be replaced by renewable energy, the Exxons and BPs and their ilk are so powerful and so profitable that we could not do so, even though we know we are literally killing our planet by degrees.

Vietnam should have taught us that hegemonic war is disastrous, too, and if not Vietnam then Iraq, but here we are, in an Afghan quagmire, trying our damnedest to follow Israel into war against Iran, being prodded into making the Syrian civil war our war while a legion of "national security" experts plot the scenarios for their successors in our chain of endless war. Never mind the fact that each new war in fact diminishes our national security. Each new president, regardless of party, boards the war-making roller coaster the moment he steps into the Oval Office. When he leaves office he steps into one or another of highly compensated places within the hierarchy of the miIlitary-industrial complex. The policies   of endless war, of unfettered profiteering, of planetary  destruction are self-perpetuating.

We subsidize the companies that fuel the machines of war and spew the carbon that is killing the planet.  Their margins of profit make Midas look like a pauper.

Once in a discussion about climate change I remarked to a friend that technology is at hand today to transport goods and people in vast areas of the country with just the energy of the sun.  He replied that when it can be done profitably it will become reality.

Aye, there's the rub.  In this land of unregulated capitalism, it is unthinkable that we should make things happen for the immediate health and welfare of the populace, and the long term improvement of the health of the  planet. We act only on that which will further enrich the oligarchs of the ruling class. As long as they toss a few orts to the rest of us every now and then -- say, a few thousand minimum wage jobs -- the people remain anesthetized and sedate.

Poor fools think they're living in a state of democracy.  Actually it's a state of insanity. The kind Einstein warned about.

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