When societies get badly stressed, delusional thinking increases. We are now in that situation. – James Howard Kunstler
The failure of Americans to think is why they are 13 years into war and live in a police state. – Paul Craig Roberts
I borrowed the title from the retitled version of an essay posted on the TomDispatch website, reposted to the Salon site. The original title, “Answering for America”, was descriptive enough for what the author was getting across, which was talking about how she encounters assorted Europeans who ask her what the hell has happened to the United States of America in general. People are truly, honestly, wondering if we’ve all gone completely insane.
I think it’s fairly interesting coincidence to have found a couple of different other short essays online recently, literally just within the past couple of days, that are pretty relevant here.
One is from Charles Hugh Smith, a guy I’ve been reading for some time now in his “of two minds” blog.
The other one was an essay posted to the Zero Hedge site, apparently reposted from the original, by the pseudonym of Cognitive Dissonance (an appropriate name for the subject matters they cover).
Both of these are tough going, for most people, I think, for different reasons.
The latter essay from “Cognitive Dissonance” is pretty hard to plow through for most people who are not all that interested in some deep and gnarly philosophical digging that gets into all kinds of knotty stuff that goes right down into basic matters of existence and identity and consciousness. That clears a lot of people right out of the room.
The CHS essay is a little more direct and to the point, but probably just as hard for a lot of people, not because it’s some convoluted intellectual exercise that eventually ties some people into mental knots wondering “am I really here?” or something. In this one, it’s a little more direct.
Along with these, John Michael Greer has been addressing more or less the same broad territory, including the most recent edition of his regular Thursday weekly blog, which is always good reading.
I’ll leave you to read the essay from Greer for the full explanation, but the title of his note refers to an old episode from his youth in high school debate. It refers to the way a ridiculous debate proposition turned into a shorthand slang term to describe anything that could be presented as almost plausible, as long as it was not really examined seriously, and nobody did the math. In this case, it was especially noteworthy because the silly proposition involved was presented as an “energy plan”, proposing using squirrels running in a rotary cage (AKA squirrel cage) to generate electrical power.
Not long ago, I came across something online that was something fitting Greer’s squirrel case description. This was a post from somebody relaying some PR release blurb about a new prototype high-end sports car, a two-seater that would fit more or less into the “supercar” domain. The catch was the thing being described as “a car that runs on salt water!”.
Now, if you went to check this thing out, you would find that it wasn’t quite what many people would (and did, as I found) immediately assume. Going to check this out, what I found was that even the manufacturer website was a bit vague and ambiguous. In simplest terms, it’s an electric car. Electric motors drive the wheels. The electric motors get energy from a device called a flow cell, a gizmo that you could think of as something conceptually somewhere between a battery and a fuel cell, that works by having a charged electrolyte fluid run through it, that comes from a storage tank on board the car. The discharged fluid then runs into a collector storage tank, where it’s held to be drained and processed at a suitable facility where the car is also refilled with fresh load of charged fluid. It could be an interesting idea, but it’s really hard to make any serious assessment of judgment about it, without understanding more about what, exactly, is involved in this.
That’s a whole subject of its own, with open questions, with one certain item being that it is not what many people immediately think it is as they jump to baseless conclusions. After that online post, it was interesting to see some of the comments that followed. Anything that pointed out the questions and unknowns about the basic concept were dismissed by others as “negative”, with one comment I recall addressing one of the people pointing out the problems and saying something like “you must have stock in the fossil-fuel business or something!”.
Really, it was just another case of what has obviously been bothering me for quite a long time now. Too many people are operating completely irrationally, thinking in terms like “positive” and “negative” based on what they would like to think is so, what they would like to believe, what they would just like. Even more bizarre and much worse than useless is the way people somehow view everything as a political problem. I suppose one way to put this is that it’s as if some people believe that if you just bunch the button to vote for the right politicians, or even just the right party, between R and D (another whole can of worms), then we can just, say, fix things by passing legislation repealing the laws of thermodynamics, because they’re rather inconvenient.
We have news that relates to a weird intersection of lunacy in energy and politics in news that the Russians apparently have made new plans regarding supplying natural gas to Europe.
It seems that there might be a little confusion about this, as it appears that Russia isn’t cutting off natural gas through Ukraine to Europe right now, immediately, but things as they have been are going to change.
Paul Craig Roberts has been watching the overall situation, and he sums it up fairly well.
Here in the US, this seems to be missing from the main news media, pushed aside and quietly ignored by other things, with the other things being a subject of their own. Generally speaking, if it did get any attention, people would be fed a continuation of the nonsensical and fictional narratives from the Washington neocon cult about being an example of “Russian aggression”, some sort of extortion and coercion and general bullying from the evil Putin and Russia to dominate Europe. Missing from the news here is the more honest and realistic story. It can be understood pretty simply as an indicator that the Russians are getting completely fed up with the misbehavior and lunacy directed at them, especially the stream of “economic sanctions” directed at them by Washington in conjunction with European governments going along with Washington’s demands, supposedly “to punish Russia’s behavior”.
What terrible Russian behavior is being “punished” is a good question, because this is into the realm of fiction, just outright bold lying.
There’s “Russian aggression and invasion”, with Washington pointing to the Russian military presence in Crimea, as a Washington backed coup d’etat in Kiev overthrew the elected Ukrainian government, where the Russian military had been all along, with the Russian naval base in Crimea on the Black Sea coast having been there as long as there has been a Russian navy. The “seizure of Crimea” was actually Russia absorbing Crimea back into Russia, as it had been until 1954, with the Russian annexation coming as a result of an overwhelming massive majority of the people in Crimea voting to separate from Ukraine, after the overthrow of the Ukrainian national government, wanting no part of that, and formally ask to be part of Russia again.
That vote was instantly rejected and condemned by Washington as “illegal” and “illegitimate”, despite the fact that these proclamations came along immediately following a stream of righteous statements about “the people’s right to democracy and self-determination”, and the almost instant official recognition by Washington of the new gang in Kiev as the new legitimate government of Ukraine, after taking control by overthrowing the elected president in a coup.
All this, by itself, is plenty of evidence that the nation has generally collectively gone insane. It isn’t just the simple matter of wondering what business it is of our government to be making proclamations and directives about what happens in other countries, it’s that in this case it’s a case of our government directly meddling in other countries, causing major trouble, and then causing even more trouble as they accuse the government of some other country of causing all the trouble. Then, here, the general public actually believes the nonsense and raw lying we’re fed, and an astonishing number of people somehow don’t even seem to question the presumption of thinking that the government of the United States is the government of the world.
This is just balls out insane, magnified by the way that there’s this great grand public pretense maintained, that pretends that it’s not just batshit crazy, not just normal and natural, but is even supposed to be some great noble principle.
So, then, what is in the US news now? Terror attack! Terror threat! Terror terror terror! Terror raid!
After the ugliness in Paris recently, suddenly, around the clock, it’s all about terrorism and imminent threat and anti-terrorist operations and on and on and on. Be afraid! Be very afraid! That’s the whole world, the terrorists are coming to get you!
And now, suddenly, guess what? European governments, particularly the French, who were appearing to grow tired of Washington dictating everything everyone is going to do, and the worldwide military empire and police state ruled by the Washington neocons, are suddenly all on board. Do whatever Washington tells you, join the club of “allies”, and Washington will protect you! Here, suddenly, we have politicians in our own government saying that maybe now all this silliness of reining in our own growing police state and mad military empire will stop, given the “terror threat”. What a coincidence.
Of course, even after the revelations of gross government misconduct, thanks to Edward Snowden, especially, it’s pretty horrifying to see how little reaction there was from the supposedly free and brave American citizenry, or, as we’re now known, “consumers”.
Has America gone insane?
At this point, it seems virtually impossible to answer “no”.