by Alton C. Thompson
I take it as a given that our species is “on the way out.” If for no other reason than global warming—or, as some prefer, “climate change.” After all:
- As Bruce Melton noted last year, “In the last 28 years we [humans] have emitted as many greenhouse gas pollutants as we emitted in the previous 236 years.”
- It’s the gases that we were pouring into the atmosphere roughly 40 years ago that are affecting weather conditions now.
- There’s good reason to believe that we’ve entered the “runaway” phase of global warming, so that our species will be extinct by 2040, if not by even 2030.
Given our imminent demise, a question that arises is: Why should we welcome—rather than bemoan—or imminent demise as a species? By “we” I am referring specifically to those of us who are inmates imprisoned in the United States—i.e., all of us living in this country! Believing in the virtue of brevity, I will try to be extremely brief in this essay.
The answer to this question has two parts, the first of which is that the United States has become a cesspool. Not so much because of the average inhabitant of this country, however, but as a result of the “qualities” of our “leaders”—who have become “enemies of the people.”
Our political “leaders,” for example, have become Big Brother. On the one hand, since the events of 9/11 (an inside job?), the United States has become a surveillance state. As Glenn Greenwald—Edward Snowden’s primary contact—has stated (p. 94): “Taken in its entirety, the Snowden archive led to an ultimately simple conclusion: the US government had built a system that has as its goal the complete elimination of electronic privacy worldwide”—with the actions taken by Pres. O’Bomber being far worse than all previous presidents combined. Greenwald devotes his Chapter 4—“The Harm of Surveillance”—to a consideration of why this loss of privacy is such an evil, such an unfortunate development in this society.
Externally, as the world’s primary “superpower,” the United States has become the world’s bully—fixing elections elsewhere, assassinating foreign leaders, initiating wars, etc.—in short, the most evil country in the world, and a supporter of other evil countries (such as Israel). (The Dissident Voice web site has carried numerous essays in support of the latter claim.)
Second, it would not be a “stretch” to claim that the principal occupation in the United States at present is intellectual prostitute (which is not to say, however, that the prostitutes in question are intellectuals!) This would include those who work in advertising, of course, but also those who work for the National Security Agency (NSA), and many of those who claim to be “journalists”—such as Meet the Press’s former moderator, David Gregory. (Glenn Greenwald devotes Chapter 5, “The Fourth Estate,” of his book—link provided above—to the dismal state of the press in the United States—how so many major players in the journalism profession simply act as mouthpieces for the Executive branch of government, and utterly lack in independence.)
Third, too many members of Congress are “bought and paid for” by rich individuals and large corporations—so that to call them “representatives” is an utter farce. Many members of Congress have the same obscene enthusiasm for military adventurism as the occupant of the White House.
Fourth, the economy has become dominated by a few large firms—making the label “free enterprise economy” ludicrous for our economy. Given that size gives power, it is the leaders of large firms who have become our society’s actual rulers, with government—at the national level in particular—becoming a mere lapdog of Big Business.
Fifth, “The USA ranks 38th in life expectancy which is shocking considering that it has the best medical science in the world. And this generation is the first one that will live less than the previous generation. The average American is expected to live two years less than, say, the average Spaniard. This is partly because the USA has a medical system that leaves 50 million people uninsured and many others under-insured or worried about losing their insurance . . . .”
Sixth, the fact that the U. S. has the highest divorce rate in the world indicates how weak the family is as an institution in this country—something that does not bode well for the proper raising of children.
Seventh, our country is currently highly inegalitarian, and is becoming ever more so.
Eighth, higher education in this country has become a “Ponzi cheme.”
Ninth, for too many in this society, personal appearance has become the obsession, at the expense of such qualities as character and integrity—especially in our political leaders.
Other discussions of problems in and with this country are given in, e.g., this, this, this, and this. But as I am writing an essay rather than a treatise, I will say no more about problems in this society.
To return to the question that prompted this essay: “Why should we welcome—rather than bemoan—or imminent demise as a species? As I stated earlier, one answer to this question is that this country has become a cesspool. The second part of my answer, however, is a response to something that Pres. William J. (“Bill”) Clinton said in his first (1993) Inaugural Address:
There is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed with what is right in America.
To Clinton I would say, rather:
- Even if we humans were not now faced with the threat of global warming, the dynamics of our society are such that there is no reason whatsoever to anticipate that “things would ever get better.”
- We humans are, however, currently faced with the threat of global warming, and given the ignorance and incompetence of our “leaders,” the fact that they did not take action against this problem several decades ago means that it’s virtually certain now that we humans will be a part of the Sixth Extinction.
Optimism is a good trait; but our current situation today, as humans, gives one no reason whatsoever for even an ounce of optimism!
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Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power, Anne Pyterek at Blue Bus Books, and by more than three dozen readers at Amazon.