Monday, October 27, 2008

When the World Went Bankrupt (Butler Shaffer)

Butler Shaffer on the many ways western civilization is bankrupt, which we can overcome by rediscovering our individuality:

To understand the machinations of a complex world, one must become sensitive to how apparently separate phenomena interconnect to produce unexpected consequences. Otherwise intelligent men and women struggle to make sense of the destructive turbulence that is fast becoming the norm in modern society. Wars that fail to satisfy even the most meager of excuses for their prosecution; rapidly-expanding police states rationalized as necessary for the ferreting out of "terrorist" bogeymen; state-sponsored torture conducted for no more apparent purpose than an end in itself; the wholesale looting engaged in – with bipartisan support – for the purpose of creating trillions of dollars of booty to subsidize the corporate owners of American society for losses sustained through incompetent management; these are the major examples of the failure to see interrelated causes of social disorder.

Throughout all of this, we see exhibited by those who presume the powers of omniscience and rational planning, a thorough ignorance not only of the causal factors that continue to produce our horribly disrupted world, but of the propriety of statist actions that respond to such dislocations with the same mindset that produced the turmoil. One sees symptoms of this disconnectedness in such absurdities as Al Gore’s receipt of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, or the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics to Paul Krugman. It is as though the Nobel Prize judges wanted to go out of their collective way to refute Einstein’s proposition that one cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that produced it!

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