05 August 2011

A Conspiracy of Dunces

I don’t typically believe in conspiracies. At least not on the mere human level. The great majority of us suffer from far too limited foresight – and these days, increasingly, attention spans – to sustain a really good conspiracy over more than a few decades. And in particular the more swaggeringly ambitious young bucks among us, who also happen to be, as often as not, the most history-impatient, and history-disregarding. I mean, how can you hope truly to master – much less manipulate – something you consider beneath your dignity even to know and understand? (Although, to be fair, I’m told we make pretty decent stooges, pawns and playthings of certain other beings, entities, etc, who occupy a rather mysterious level at once higher and lower than the human. And that, if anything, the greater and more arrogant our contempt for history the more pawnable we become.)   

But there is one thing – and only one – that I’m sure of, concerning this country’s recent game of chicken over the debt-ceiling issue, and the daily-more-receding mirage of resolution that followed. If the “aim” all along has been, slowly but irrevocably, to make this country an utterly negligible factor in world affairs, then suddenly the mist clears. All at once, everything that’s been happening (and failing to happen) starts to make – not just absolute – but perfectly defensible sense.

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