Friday, April 08, 2005

State of Turbulence

Butler Shaffer has another insightful essay over on
Our current American society has been in this state of turbulence for some time, without much focused intelligence guiding alternative courses of action. Because governments thrive on conflict – which they promise to "manage" – America is characterized by cross-currents of demands people make upon one another, a destructive force arising from endless divisions, confrontations, politically-enforced expectations, and discord. Such conflicts find expression in efforts to micromanage the personal and social lives of others; a disrespect for the inviolability of one another’s lives and property interests; quarrels over the role that "spiritual" versus "secular" values are to play in legal and political policies; disputes regarding the sanctity of life, and the social value of "wars" and "peace;" and the relative importance of the "individual" versus the "collective."

[...]I have long thought that the oppressive and destructive American political system will eventually reach a breaking point where the addition of one more intrusion upon the lives of people will produce a nonlinear reaction (i.e., a consequence out of all proportion to that singular factor). Like the Boston "tea party" or the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, some will mistake this single event for what may prove to be the "cause" of the collapse of the American nation-state. Something which, standing by itself, would seem to have little significance – like a woman refusing to move to the back of a bus – may become the focal point for the release of long-suppressed emotions and resentments.

[...] The current corporate-state system is beyond repair and should be abandoned. Trying to salvage its antiquated and life-destructive forms is as senseless as trying to rehabilitate a Jeffrey Dahmer. The time will come, and soon, when we shall be called upon to discover new social systems and new ways of thinking about what it means to be a human being living in society with others. Whether such fundamental changes are brought about through conscious effort on our part, or are thrust upon us by events that trigger a collapse of institutional viability, remains to be seen.

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