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Shock and Awe in Mudville March 4, 2009

Posted by aetiusromulous in Commentary, Uncategorized.
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ar-logo1Naomi Kline, in her seminal book “Shock Doctrine”, proffered that in times of crisis, when the attention of its citizens is narrowly focused on a crushing event of national scope, a state will often use that event to push through a series of policies it may not otherwise be able to. While nobody really cares at the moment, momentous changes are made wilfully, and with no small kind of malice towards democracy.

The most infamous example would be Iraq of course, when a small set of evil American ideologues launched a shocked American public into endless awe under the guise of 9/11. By the time democracy awoke, the irreversible deed had been done – and done in a fashion a true democracy would never have otherwise accepted.

In as much as that (and other heinous crimes committed with a great deal more blunt trauma) has led directly to the economic maelstrom in which the world now finds itself engulfed, the current US administration of Barack Obama may again be borrowing a page from the well worn tome of “disaster capitalism”. To be sure, Obama finds himself between a thousand rocks and a thousand more hard places, and no choice he exercises will or ever be good or bad, right or wrong. No option is a good option anymore in America, however it behoves Obama to, at a minimum, respect the history of the beast that brought him to the burning.

America needs so much it is pitiful to watch its once golden body writhing and twitching, decaying from within. Americans need health care to the standards of the rest of the industrialized peoples of the world. It also needs to address its woeful dependence on foreign energy, its long bankrupt “entitlements”, its arcane and curious education, and a long list of other monuments it casually brushed aside in its race for bigger plasma TV’s. And while in another, simpler time just 90 days ago American democracy resoundingly voted for all these things, few would have expected they be done all at once, and all at the same time. Fewer still would have predicted they would be done in the teeth of a hurricane that will knock any firmly built ideology to pieces.

It seems inconceivable that anyone would attempt to build final value on the foundation of the American Dream, when the dream itself is disappearing inexorably into the shifting sands of time. To a lesser group of mortals might be attached the footnote “fools”, however the rock star brain trust of the Obama administration reads like a who’s who of common sense. What then, are we to make of their collective decision to slay the beast and go bowling all at the same time?

It is far too early to tell, and history will eventually tell all. But for now the thinking amongst us – not so much in shock and not so much in awe – would not be unkind or unpatriotic if we were to simply ask…why now? Why take on every problem America simply must solve all at once, when another decade or so of wilful ignorance would matter not a whit to history?

Obama is taking a mighty swing to clear the bases, and leave history in no doubt, that four big runs when you’re down by five, is the same as striking out.

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