Through Thick and Thin
It’s been a rough week, what can I say. First, the Veterans Day hangover. Being a veteran myself, I am appalled about how what should be a day of somber reflection about the horrors of war has turned into a celebration of permanent war. And I am so sick of hearing people say and write “Our troops are protecting our freedoms.” The last time American troops fought to protect our freedom was during the Revolutionary War in the late eighteenth century. Americans have fought in hundreds of wars and military actions since then, some justified, some less so … but in no case was an enemy fighting to take away our freedoms. And in some cases the opposite was true, it was the other side fighting to protect their freedoms.
And this is most certainly true in our current wars, where we are fighting to deny our chosen enemies the most important freedom of all, the freedom to form their own government. Invading a foreign land and installing a government of our choosing is called conquest, and has nothing to do with protecting America. It has everything to do with enriching our oil industry and military/industrial complex, generals and armaments manufacturers love war. And war is what we now have, war forever. Terrorism forever too, since our wars seem designed to breed terrorists.
Then there’s the whole naked body scanners thing, a just plain out-of-control TSA that devoid of any real purpose, is doing what all pointless bureaucracies do, expand like a cancer. This will get worse before it gets better. Soon we will have body scanners on buses and trains, and then on to body scanners to enter public buildings, there’s almost no limit to where this can go. I mean, eventually will we need body scans to drive our own cars, because of course suicide bombers often drive cars? Wherever OBL is, he must spend a lot of time laughing till he pees, he never in his wildest dreams thought 9/11 would be such a success.
Then there’s the sight of American politicians pandering to Israel, in fact even appearing to put Israel’s interests ahead of ours. In the old days a politician putting another nation’s interests ahead of ours would have been called treason. Israel’s interests and the USA’s are not the same. One would think this would be obvious, Israel is another country on the opposite side of the planet, but in today’s upside down world apparently lobbyists get to tell the USA what to do, and Israel has some of the world’s finest lobbyists.
And to top off my week, I read this depressing article about the Dunning-Krueger Effect. In short:
Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
- tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
- fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
- fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
- recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.
This is why tens of millions of Americans think that their sophomoric view of things like global warming, evolution, or foreign policy trumps experts in the field. As I tried to point out to one such person recently, to have an expert opinion, one actually has to be an expert. And why do I say Americans? Because the Dunning Kruger Effect is only found in America. In Europe it’s barely measurable, and in Asia if anything the opposite occurs. It’s very depressing, but I guess it’s good to know that it’s not my imagination, Idiocracy really is coming true in America before my horrified eyes.
On the plus side, it can’t go on forever. No empire has ever survived by printing money to pay its bills, sooner or later people will wise up and the dollar will convert to toilet paper overnight. I don’t know when and how it will happen, but I’m pretty sure the USA of 2020 is going to be radically different than the USA of today. And if when the collapse comes it’s anything like the collapse of the Soviet Union, we’re in le doo-doo deep. This is because Americans, naked zombie sheep that we are, are far less prepared that the Russians were.
As a final note of madness, the governor of Texas has suggested invading Mexico. Yeah, we’ve turned Afghanistan and Iraq into modern peaceful states, how could an invasion of Mexico go wrong? Is there any problem where the only solutions suggested by our “leaders” aren’t war and/or stripping Americans of their rights?
Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it’s use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image, and it is inarguably an historically important image. It’s American dead on a beach in New Guinea in 1943. Credit: George Strock/LIFE magazine. Real Americans are dying in our current foreign wars, do we want to see pictures like this forever? Apparently. Next week, back to history and space exploration.)