Slouching toward Gomorrah
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed; and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The Second Coming
William Butler Yeats
Before you begin reading the body of this essay, I want you to reread the above stanza and think about its meaning. Yeats wrote this in the early 1900s before World War I. He was living in England and thus was well aware of the beat of the drums of war, whether that was the Pierian Spring for this canto or he saw something more. I believe it was the latter.
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” is an apt portrayal of our once-proud United States of America. If we just look at the “fast and furious gun-running,” “Philadelphia voter intimidation”,” “Benghazi consulate massacre,” “AP spying,” “James Rosen phone tapping,” “IRS Brownshirt intimidation,” and the Internet and cell -phone tapping of American citizens innocent of any crimes, there can be no doubt of our unraveling. And these are just the violations we know about. Then there are the parties and wasteful spending of our government — you know: line dancing, clowns and swag bags that amount to hundreds of millions of our tax dollars. That, of course does not come close to the $100 million dollar vacation of our emperor to his homeland of Africa or the empress’ $3,300 per night suite in Ireland. Our government is out of control — the centre cannot hold. Sequester be damned.
“Anarchy is loosed upon our world.” To be fair, this out of control government — I prefer the appellation “mobocracy” — is not the exclusive spawn of this administration. This avaricious accumulation of power and money has been going on for at least 80 years. Both parties are guilty of expanding the size and scope of government power. With the almost unbelievable size of the government, none of us, let alone those who are tasked with oversight, can understand the machinations of our padrones.
Now I recognize that some people want that nanny bumbledom to wipe their noses and bandage booboos. The inevitable result of relinquishing your choices of cars to drive, food to eat, power to use in your daily life, schools for your children, where it is permissible to smoke, where you can drive on public lands, whether it is permissible to pray in public, or what you should or are able to think. This is a totalitarian mobocracy!
We now come to the last sentences in Yeats’ requiem.
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
Our country faces a crisis of Brobdingnagian proportion. We borrow 50 cents of each dollar we spend, most of it from unfriendly countries. Only 45 percent of the workforce has a job of 30 hours a week or more. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps and another 11 million on disability payments. Our deficit totals $17 trillion and unfunded mandates add another $82 trillion. The stock market’s recent drop and then rebound was motivated by Bernanke’s hint that the Fed would soon quit buying bonds and raise interest rates. So does that mean the stock market rebound is fueled by bogus dollars? Of course. The Federal Reserve buys government bonds, pays for it in fiat lucre and thus feeds the banks an electronic increase in funds due to the magic of “fractional reserve banking.”
So what are our options?
Our once-proud and capable nation has been reduced to a mendicant, begging the shylock that holds our debts to please release Edward Snowden. Russia and Iran smirk at our lord and savior when he bloviates. The UN (which we bankroll) votes against us at every vote.
Most economists not on the government payroll forecast a major economic collapse. The consequences of this event may vary from a food and toilet paper shortage to major civil upheavals with a breakdown in social order. How this will affect our corner of the world is impossible to predict, but it will touch our lives. One thing is abundantly clear: The citizens no longer control the government. As in “Brave New World,” we are becoming the Epsilons of tomorrow, while our masters cavort in luxury.
Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.