"How America Lost Its Mind" or We're All Going to Die

From the Atlantic. An interesting, if opinionated, rundown of our great American choose-your-own-con fantasia and why we're cruisin' toward dystopia. For those of us moored to objective reality and who practice empiricism (is anybody out there, hello?) it's a nice opportunity to feel self-pity and superiority. Where's Ayn Rand when you need her? Oh, she's a hero of the Bible-thumpers now? Whaaaat?
 People see our shocking Trump moment—this post-truth, “alternative facts” moment—as some inexplicable and crazy new American phenomenon. But what’s happening is just the ultimate extrapolation and expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional for its entire history. (Emphasis mine)
[Acknowledges America is not exceptional; proceeds to treat America as exceptional]

I hate, hate, hate the constant trumpeting of American exceptionalism. That shit's really gonna get us killed one of these days (like, tomorrow at this rate). America is not innately gooder or dumber than any other country—we're just big, and rich, and freakishly powerful because Europe tried two murder-suicide pacts. We're a young country, so we think everything we do is special—aw, our first, steps, our first genocide—but we ain't special and the hard physical and biological limits we are flirting with don't give a fuck how neato we think Space Jesus be.

Not surprising, really; it's hard to care about other cultures and countries and familiarize yourself with their hucksters and fantasies and religious delusions to the same extent as you do your alma mater. Why not just call yourself special and be done with it? Incidentally, here's a fun list of mass hysterias.

Yikes, I'm not even sure how free we are compared to republics (I'm thinking of France and Germany and Uruguay, OECD etc), but I can't take every sentence as a hill to die on.

Love this:

Donald Trump is a grifter driven by resentment of the establishment. He doesn’t like experts, because they interfere with his right as an American to believe or pretend that fictions are facts, to feel the truth. He sees conspiracies everywhere. He exploited the myths of white racial victimhood. His case of what I call Kids R Us syndrome—spoiled, impulsive, moody, a 71-year-old brat—is acute.
And a nice way of saying check your sources:

We need to adopt new protocols for information-media hygiene. Would you feed your kids a half-eaten casserole a stranger handed you on the bus, or give them medicine you got from some lady at the gym?










Something dearly missing from this piece is mention of the machinations of large business entities—beginning with the tobacco companies and later copied by the oil and gas and fast food industries—who deliberately sowed doubt about the dangers caused by their products to avoid regulation and taxes. Yes, Exxon-Mobil knew about climate change since the '70s and their decision was to muddy the waters on the science.

This climate (ha!) of doubt and constant counter-point to objective fact has no doubt (get it?) contributed to the world in which we live today, where if you don't like an answer you just go fishing for an answer that suits the belief you already have. Fuck, I don't want to die but nothing can make me believe it ain't gonna happen. And think this was all to preserve profit. All this effort, all this skulduggery, and the vile, violent consequences of social unrest and devastating climate change just so some suit-fancy nub-dick at Exxon can drive a Bentley. Cool, dude.

At least we Milennials can blame the devouring maw of the internet for our brainwashing. Ya'll boomers drank the Kool-Aid just cuz you didn't want your kids to have healthcare.

Let's take a page from the French. They've had a thousand different nations overlayed upon their geography and culture so they've learned to be skeptical. Also, let's guillotine our aristocracy.







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