Monday, January 31, 2011

Ungovernable? You Bet!

During the last ten years, I’ve become increasingly convinced that the human race (whatever the culture) has pretty much become ungovernable, and this week’s revolt in Egypt helps prove my point. Blame it on the Internet. Even back at the inception of the Internet more than two decades ago, the really smart people realized that this new way of sharing knowledge was inherently seditious, and there’s no doubt that— if the governments of the world had known then what they know today— the Internet never would have been allowed to flourish. Even the best futurists back then, however, could never have predicted the impact of social mediums like FaceBook and Twitter, and WikiLeaks.

For ten thousand years or more, governance has always been a delicate dance between government and the governed. The United States, over the last 235 years, has arguably done the best job of consistently getting this balance right, but even this nation has experienced some monumental hiccups. Coming out of WWII, I believe that the American people were far too compliant and trusting of their government. The delicate dance was unbalanced, and McCarthyism and Vietnam were two pathetic results, both fueled by a government that exploited paranoia about communism and citizen trust to prey on the governed. The HUAC congressional outrages of the early 1950s could have been stopped before they gained any traction by just a few well-placed riots and a press that was willing to explain what was happening. Facebook and Twitter would have had a monumental influence as well.

The last two years have shown us street riots in France and Greece and England and Tunisia and, now, Egypt— but most Americans still think that it could never happen here. I say, “Wanna bet?” The U.S.A. is dead broke. The ultimate solution to the deadbeat status of the country is new taxation, most likely in the form of a national sales tax on everything but groceries and medicine. Problem is, now you’ve got the Tea Party (Taxed Enough Already), and these are some of the same self-proclaimed patriots who rushed out after Obama’s election and stocked up on guns and munitions in quantities never before seen by the American arms industry outside of a wartime setting. They weren’t doing this just to boost the economy. Wait and see what happens if the U.S. government, led by Obama working with the Republican congress, decides to try and implement a national sales tax. Wait until the Tea Party gun owners all simultaneously get cheesed off about a second presidential term for Obama, and they network with each other on the Internet. Wait until there’s a convergence between a new tax policy and a mindset that believes Obama is a Muslim and foreign-born (and did I mention that he has dark skin and kinky hair?)— and all of this is played out within a poorly educated, white trash population of people who can’t find a job or pay their mortgage. You think it can’t happen here? Guess again.

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