Thoughts Following the Inauguration of Septimius Severus
January 22, 2013
I’ve been thinking about fault lines, and fractures, and diversity, and when it’s all going to implode. I hope I’m still around because it is going to be one gorgeous show. Few things are as entertaining as a truly good disaster.
What is going to kill us is diversity. It isn’t working well. By diversity I mean here the intermixing of large groups of people holding utterly differing and opposed values. There is too damned much diversity in America. It isn’t getting better.
The current donnybrook over guns is not a political question, like whether to raise or lower taxes. It is a clash of civilizations, a confrontation between two groups who seriously don’t like each other and hold irreconcilably different views of life. The two would be happier in separate countries, an idea that has occurred to them. It is that bad.
The Constitution no longer being in effect, the gun-controllers may be able to outlaw guns, chiefly because the federal government also wants to do this, though for different reasons. The gun-controllers think that they are going to stop murder, whereas the feds just want a supine and helpless population. Should they succeed in banning firearms, the result will be a very large element of the population actually hating the rest, and hating the government. Diversity.
Guns are a curious fracture line: As a nation, America is way and gone the most militarily aggressive country on the planet, as note Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Mexico, Columbia, Somalia, and so on. The economy is militarized beyond redemption. Yet if a little boy draws a picture of a soldier with a rifle, or a little girl points a gun blowing soap bubbles at a friend, they are likely to be led from school in handcuffs and subjected to psychiatry. Diversity.
The most conspicuous fault lines are of course racial. The United States thinks of itself as a melting pot, but four hundred years after the first blacks arrived they are not at all melted, the Indians are on their reservations, and the Hispanics show few signs of assimilating any time soon. Some melting pot. True, after much hostility, various white Europeans did melt with each other, the Irish and Italians now being regarded as human beings. But that was an easy one.
Cultures are stubborn things. Citizens of Uganda, Haiti, and Detroit are far more similar to each other than to European whites in their attitudes to schooling, crime, work, entrepreneurship, and the role of government. Venezuelans, Mexicans, and Uruguayans differ in various ways, but are more like each other than like Europeans. White Americans resemble Europeans much more than they resemble Africans, Moslems, or Mexicans. We really are African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and European-Americans.
The racial groups in the US do not have much in common, do not like each other. Diiversity.
Then there is the odd divide between the government and the governed. Never in my life have I encountered such pervasive hostility toward our rulers—which is what they are. Even the unsophisticated seem to realize that the real government consists of the President, the executive bureaucracies, the corporations, the media, the racial lobbies, and Wall Street. There is real anger in much of the country against this government and its constant dictatorial imposition of policies that either would never survive a popular vote, or that offend very large segments of the population. Forced integration, the police state, TSA, affirmative action, the teaching or not of evolution, and now gun control. Diversity.
Then there is the divide between the military, that huge plutonium albatross locked around the economy’s neck, and those who want to focus on solving our own problems. The Pentagon and its industrial udders are so embedded in the economy that short of a complete collapse there is nothing to be done about them. They are another example of diversity, an enormous and enormously powerful group whose interests run counter to those of the rest of the country.
And then we have the “culture wars,” the divide between the pridefully vulgar and those who favor cultivation of the mind—a phrase whose very utterance is thought unpardonable. There has always been a divide, though usually an invisible one, between on one hand those of high intelligence and intellectual curiosity, who read a book or two a week of history, politics, the arts and sciences and, on the other hand, those who can’t, don’t, and haven’t read anything. In the days before television, and before there arose the current dictatorship of the proletariat, hoi polloi and people of culture and discrimination seldom met. Neither imposed anything on the other.
Then television appeared, playing to the tasteless and to the semiliterate and worse—while also going into the homes of the schooled. The necessary separation of castes broke down. The crass and witless, outnumbering everyone else, imposed compulsory downward egalitarianism, enstupidating everyone and making it practically a federal crime to correct a student’s English. The government fiercely enforces this to prevent excessively evident racial inequality, and federal control over everything makes it impossible for communities to run their own schools. This divides the country into those angry that their kids don’t learn much, and those who want to make sure that theirs don’t have to. Diversity.
In short, the United States consists of a great many substantial and hostile groups in a way that, say, Japan and Finland do not. It’s every lobby for itself with no one thinking about the country. Wall Street happily rapes the middle class and below with its subprime swindle, enjoying federal acquiescence and perhaps participation. Washington reduces the schools to custodial centers to keep blacks happy, businessmen move jobs to China, and the arms industry impoverishes the nation for its private benefit. Other businessmen encourage illegal immigration to make a buck without the slightest thought for the public interest. Congress doesn’t do anything at all that I can see other than pander to any lobby that pays it, and the Supreme Court could go to sleep forever, assuming that it hasn’t, and no one would notice.
How long can a nation of pickpockets, beggars, and con-men steal from each other before the whole shebang falls down? We are about to find out. Diversity is our strength. Yes indeed.