Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The Shape of Things to Come — some expressions just have overwhelming force (for me, anyway), and this one from H.G. Wells has moved me since I was a kid. Some writers have a gift for this, not always matched in the body of the work that follows. You see the same thing in music. Compare how Beethoven follows up the Da Da Da Duhhhh at the start of his Fifth Symphony with the music most widely known for its use in Kubrick's movie 2001 — Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra. Beethoven sustains it, Strauss doesn't.

Same thing in politics. Reagan, regardless of our opinions of him (I despise him — the conspiring with the Iranians to undermine Carter was treason) . . . Reagan sustained it. Obama has failed utterly, and not because of the appalling situation he inherited (and he inherited the worst situation of any president since FDR — worse for Obama, with two wars). Obama hasn't even shown an inclination to try to sustain what he generated during the campaign.

And that, in no obvious way at all, brings me (and probably only me) back to what is to come — The Shape of Things to Come. . . . Beats me. I have no idea. But I'm a pessimist, a radical pessimist. Some observations on our current state that leave me feeling bleak about our future:
  1. Republicans are willing to torpedo the economy for mere political gain.

  2. The only thing setting the Democrats apart is that they are incapable of action

  3. Obama failed utterly at Copenhagen to advance any environmental agenda, even the half-hearted one he tentatively advocated.

  4. American politicians are unwilling or unable to do what politicians might be able to do to improve the economy but

  5. These same politicians are both willing and able to advance the cause of the wealthiest Americans (among whose number these politicians increasingly count themselves).

  6. The vast majority of the very wealthy show, not only indifference to the well-being of the far less fortunate majority, but outright hostility to it.

  7. The US has 'progressed' from (a) an ethos that embraced some (a very little some) redistribution of wealth from the richest to the poorer to (b) the Reagan era dogma of criminalizing poverty and allowing the rich to benefit without limit must benefit the poorer to (c) Bush era faith that the poorer just don't matter at all to (d) the current credo of criminalizing lack of wealth and redistributing wealth from the lower classes to the rich.
  8. In other words, the US is rapidly embracing a neo-Aristocratic model — plutarchy.
  9. After years of the US pressing Europe to stop providing a model of social and civic awareness that undermines American dogma, right-wing European governments are capitalizing on fiscal woes to destroy decades-old social programs.
  10. The world as a whole is making little if any progress on environmental issues.
  11. News on environmental issues continues to get worse. To put it another way, projections on many environmental issues, like global warming, have repeatedly proved to be too optimistic.
More soon.