Wednesday, December 21, 2011
If you ever have to walk some place, like say 5 miles to town, you will discover that the road you drive every day in a few minutes is actually crammed full of minutia that you have never ever noticed before. You will see that the mailboxes you pass have small differences--dings, dents, scratches, a slight askew-ness. You will see trees in various stages of life and decay, and perhaps wonder when that big oak was struck by lightening, or why the power company hasn't yet removed it--since it is clearly going to take out a feeder line at some point, and possibly under much worse weather conditions for the men who have to deal with the problem when it happens. You'll notice the various loose dogs, some of which will come out to threaten you for walking past "their" driveway, and you'll wish you'd brought along a good sized stick. Eventually, after quite some time, you'll get to town. Then you'll have to carry that full gas can all the way back, or that one sack of groceries. Perhaps you'll understood more deeply why George Jones drove a riding lawnmower to Nashville when he ran out of whiskey, and not just see the event as yet another funny story about the Ole Possum.
So it is with the American tragedy that is the so-called "Reagan Revolution." Because it really happened, in thousands of bits and pieces, just like the little events which in the end led to that rich tapestry of entrophy-tending which you finally discovered on your walk to town.
And while there may at some point be enough political will in the country to start pushing back against this pervasive rot, the question now is almost one of where to start. And at one level of understanding, the facts described in the Rorty link which starts this post imply policy suppositions which will take a generation to rebut assuming there's anyone out there to actually do the rebutting where it counts--in the classrooms of the future policy makers. And at another more obvious level, one entire political party fields a body of presidential contenders none of whom have the credibility to hold the office, while the other party pretty much governs on the very economic suppositions which support, e.g., the idea that a student loan structure such as Rorty describes makes more sense than a system that can be truly called "public" education.
That is, Obama's economics are pretty much Reagan's, whereas Romney, who was born rich, prattles on about "economic freedom," and Ron Paul would like to return to a world where metal is money, and paper is just paper.
On the road to town this December, the bows on the mailboxes all came from Walmart. And while old-timers send out "analog" Xmas cards to old friends, finding their addresses in tattered address books that tend to drift down through the little used clutter like leaves from last years fall, in the digital future, where everything is mathematics to be mined, this stirring prospect slouches towards Bethlehem to be born: