Define OK. We’re not — and it’s unlikely we will be.
At least two people are aware that what I am going to say is true, that years ago I proposed total civil and political collapse was not only possible in the United States and throughout the world, it was highly probable. I had been struggling to find some way to put the prediction in novel form, but at last concluded such was beyond my feeble reach.
The title, No Law, was a play on words with multiple meanings. There existed no law that could make it rain, that could end drought. Both the US’ Southeast and West had been suffering one for the greater part of a decade. Forest fires and crop failures had become common. Entire lakes had dried to the point that ground that once had been well below the water surface had turned to cracked cakes.
I premised that prolonged drought would before long lead to catastrophic worldwide food shortages. Prices would escalate beyond the means of all but a few. Grocery shelves would become barren. And facing such total disaster, cataclysm — “no law” — would be the end product.
In other words, there just is no superceding natural law guaranteeing democracy; American or otherwise. Through human history brutal despotism has been the predominant form of governance. The American experiment, or fling, if you will, has ever been no more than just that. No more.
This is precisely why I have looked with unfettered alarm and genuine outrage at what we have quite willingly allowed to brew in our midst, the kind of swirling down the drain of every democratic principle that Chris Hedges articulates in the February 4 Alternet piece, “It’s Not Going to be OK.” (http://www.alternet.org/workplace/125192/?page=entire) The only difference, one without a consequent distinction, between what he suggests and what I did inheres in the provocation to totalitarianism. Mr. Hedges points to today’s near, and likely soon to be, complete economic collapse. The products we predicted were the same.
Here is where I bow to Hedges’ superior insight, however. It will not be a drought that proves the death knell of American democracy; no ominous foreboding or calamity from the skies or heavens or stars. Rather, to borrow from Shakespeare, two quotes. “The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.” And, “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
For decades we have eschewed serious civic responsibility. Quite apart from our Founding Fathers, rather than commit ourselves to the sort of earnest quest for knowledge that was liberal Enlightenment, and the willingness to suffer privation, even death for liberty, if that was what was required, we have been content to believe what those who would lead us told us: “We are great,” “We are intelligent,” and “We are brave.” Kind of like, “just add water and heat” could make of us great cooks. We believed all those television commercials because we wanted to. And now, to be a great cook, by the commercials that bombard us, an eager populace, it’s not even necessary to add water, just plop the meal in the microwave!