Don't shoot me I'm only the piano player...greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Is America Governable?
By Robert L. Kocher
When the founders of this country and the subsequent generations who built it created the most successful nation on earth, little did they realize that in their success they were sowing the seeds for ultimate destruction of the country. The time would come when the progressively soft environment created by social and economic progress would produce progressively soft and corrupt generations that eventually could not maintain what had been passed on to them and the nation would simply crumble and collapse from within. Paradoxically, the greatest enemy of this country has turned out to be the success of the greatest vision in history.
As part of this decay process there is universal dissatisfaction with a government in this country that is both powerless to handle the degeneration taking place and at the same time has become a tool of that degeneration. Concurrently, there are demands that government "do more for the people" while spending less money.
We now have an extensive electorate that is so mindless as to be impossible. They seek candidates who speak their language, then become highly incensed when office-holders turn out to be as hopeless as the people who elected them. It's a grim fact that the Phil Donahue cultural axis mentality isn't likely to either recognize or support candidates of the quality of a James Madison.
The greatest contemporary factor determining governability of the nation is pathology and psychological decay. One aspect of this is a pathological incapacity to separate and limit personal boundaries combined with pathological precision-avoiding, self-protective levels of abstraction.
Since the mid-sixties there has been continuing evolution of an extensive population that is exasperatingly psychopathological in a peculiar way. They demand to have the authority and freedom of adults. They neither act like intelligent responsible adults nor have any apparent intention of doing so. They can synthesize endless highly engineered sociological arguments and they believe they know everything. Yet, when there are unpleasant consequences to their behavior, they demand to assume the role of innocent little children who are somehow the victims of that unknowing innocence. They demand the level of accountability and responsibility of pampered children. They demand unconditionally loving parent surrogates who will pick up after them. They are simultaneously characterized by an infantile rebelliousness so irrational that they are prepared to defy the law of gravity.
The Democratic Party has clearly become the force for channeling and implementing borderline-psychotic demands into the political-governmental structure of this country. A number of Democratic office-holders are little more than caricatures and expressions of the contempt for the world held by the angry children they represent. Bitterness and contempt is the only thing they are fit to represent. Caricatures and expressions of contempt cannot run this country.
There is a pathological conceptual pat tern of that seen in a small child running deep in the Democratic Party. There is an absence of the concept of instrumentality or prudent foresight either in producing negative consequences or its necessity to produce positive circumstances. There is, rather, a series of unreasonable demands as to how things should be regardless of personal behavior, of antecedent conditions, or of resources. Within this concept, simple demands are expected to be sufficient to produce desirable consequences. The focus of responsibility in society is for others to meet those demands, not the personal responsibility of individuals to conduct lives so that demands are not necessary. There is an unconscious belief in Unconditional Entitlement without specific direction and disciplined effort.
The "Right" to a Job
New York Governor Mario Cuomo gave what was reported as the best speech at the 1992 Democratic convention. His delivery was flawless. But the speech content was pathological and dangerous. It was also representative of thought at the convention.
Cuomo made assertions that were, or should be, frightening. One of these assertions was that everyone has a right to a job. This assertion irrationally separates the existence of jobs from the preconditions or instrumentality necessary to create them. Jobs are conditional. Jobs exist if, and only if, businesses and industries successfully develop or expand to create them. If no one creates and maintains business and industries, then there will be no jobs. If business and industries are destroyed, then the jobs those businesses and industries support are destroyed. It takes ten or twenty years of effort on someone's part to build a business that creates jobs. If the people who attempt to build business or industries are hampered or destroyed, then jobs will not be created. If the economy functions, jobs are maintained. If the economy is destroyed, jobs are destroyed. If the economy is destroyed so that fewer taxes can be collected, there won't even be any government jobs or programs. Empty assertions that jobs are a political right do not change that.
Jobs are no different than food. If the fields are not tilled, there will be no food. Food is not a political right. It is a consequence of intelligent effort. Employment is like food. If people do not build businesses and industries, there will not be employment.
Any man of character and intelligence would be embarrassed to make the statements Mario Cuomo makes. However, the child-like mentality of modern liberalism does not recognize the reality of necessary prerequisite conditions to be fulfilled for the existence of employment or anything else, but only recogniz
else what it wants unconditionally.
I don't know whether Cuomo believes what he says. He's reputed to be one of the best minds in the Democratic Party and has been recommended as a contender for the Supreme Court. That he even has a mind would be rejected by anyone of authentic intellectual maturity. The belief that Cuomo is one of the best in the Democratic Party tells the world there are great numbers of p eople who believe what he is saying. If they believed that what he said was ludicrously in error, he would not be hailed as brilliant, nor would he have been a major speaker at the convention.
If Cuomo believes what he says, he's seriously mentally defective. If he doesn't believe it, but voices it, he's little more than a psychopath seeking to feed social pathology for personal or ideological gain. In either case he's pathological and dangerous. To the extent that he reflects the view of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party is pathological and dangerous. To the extent the Democratic Party represents
the thinking of p eople in this country, those people have become dangerous to each other and to themselves.
A second point Cuomo made in his speech that brought standing applause was that people, presumably meaning Republicans or others advocating family values or rational morality, should not push their personal morality upon others. Presumably, private life and private morality should be a personal decision and be personal issues.
The problem with the so-called private morality and personal decisions that Cuomo and th ose like him refer to is that they have not been, and are not being, kept private and personal. These private and personal decisions are part of a sequence of events. While the first action in this sequence of events is demanded to be made on the basis of private and personal decision, meaning a person does what he or she wants to at any moment, there is no intention to keep the subsequent events in the sequence a private and personal matter. There are demands to make the consequences and subsequent events a public financial responsibility through the intermediary of government. There are demands for unconditional social acceptance and an underwriting of the support and costs. This is not a private morality. This is a spoiled child's demand for economic and psychological support for cradle to grave excesses which in the name of social sensitivity are not even permitted to be recognized as aggressive imposition upon others and as pathology. That attitude is killing this nation. Someone Else Is to Blame Consider Magic Johnson. Beneath his superficial charm, basketball player Magic Johnson is a big spoiled kid with no personal character who feels personal unconditional entitlement. He went through an endless stream of women with indifference to anything but his own amusement and finally brought home a case of AIDS. Somehow he believed that his problem, are you ready for this, was a lack of presidential leadership and he was angry at President Bush, who happened to be president at the time Magic contracted the disease and issued his angry protests. Magic is unfortunately living under a death sentence from AIDS, but it doesn't exempt him from personal responsibility. His problem is not that he failed to use a condom, but that he failed to use a brain. That is not said out of meanness or vindictiveness. It is said out of simple complete exasperation. Magic, with the support of many others, voiced the ridiculous and conveniently vague complaint that President Bush failed to exercise leadership or failed to speak out on AIDS, or something. Put this in the perspective of hundreds of magazine articles, hundreds of news pieces and hundreds of TV spot announcements per week on AIDS. The concept that Mr. Johnson and millions of others like him have a personal responsibility to examine the seriousness of what they are doing has become an unacceptable concept. Someone else is to blame. The President didn't exercise leadership. Why is the President of the United States responsible for explaining to an adult married man (or what should be a man) who is indiscriminately hopping in beds with unknown people? There is suspicion that advice of "Just say no" wouldn't have been viewed as acceptable leadership. That advice might have been the best advice, and it's the advice that desperately needs to be taken; but it's not the leadership Johnson or others are looking for. It elicits a new set of tantrums from people such as Mario Cuomo over interference into personal decisions and private morality. So we have the ridiculous situation of an adult man attempting to blame the president for his sex life, or for something, and being widely supported in that position. So, by left wing logic, everyone is to have the president running behind them cautioning them to use some sort of prudence in their personal lives, while Mario Cuomo simultaneously screams about intrusion into personal decisions and lives before hysterical crowds. The same primitive compartmented mentality is in a state of indignant protest over opposing sides of its own demands. There is basically no way of pleasing immature people who refuse to make intelligent choices in their adult lives. When they destroy themselves, they become angry at you for the consequences. If you propose a choice, they become angry at you for the inconvenience of having to give up an amusement for their own survival, the survival of the nation, or the survival of the rights of others. This is the mind-boggling attitude. We have an extensive population in this country, including some famous, entertaining, and powerful people, that you can beg and plead with not to do something. You can put TV spots and write magazine articles giving them good reason not to do it. They'll do it anyway in spite of all reason. Then they'll blame you and the world when they destroy themselves and they insist on being viewed as being victims. As supposed victims they believe they are owed compensation for their condition. Pleas for the absolute necessity to curb personal excesses invariably elicit several reflexive replies. "That's not realistic." "That's not going to happen." Or, "That's not possible." Or, "This is the nineties." These assertions are employed in such an authoritative tone as to suggest they reference an unquestionably proven major principle that must be at least as valid as the fundamental theorem of calculus. This tactic effects closure of the issue while attributing a ludicrous irrationality to desperate pleas for restoration of sensibility. For those who need help on this, "That's not realistic" does not in this case reference a prime pillar of philosophical wisdom. It is merely encryption of an angry spoiled brat's declaration that he or she has every intention of doing whatever it is, no matter what. The "no matter what" is occurring and is serious. Yes, this IS the nineties. The nineties are in some respects the same as any other decade. Living successfully in the nineties requires self-discipline, foresight, appropriate respect for others, and basic realistic intelligence. These are life prerequisites. It doesn't make any difference whether it was life in the twenties or life in the nineties. It hasn't and won't ever change. The difference between this and other periods is that since the sixties we have had large proportions of generations who refuse to acknowledge and live by that reality. Forty-five years ago the principle issues and purpose of government were defense, public works, roads, bridges, education, economics, the care of widows and orphans. If those were still the problems facing government, governing this nation would be easy. If the contemporary population of this country were conducting their lives in such a manner that those were still the primary issues facing the government, then governing this nation would be easy. Today, major issues are: how to deal with the problem of people having out-of-wedlock children with the same seriousness as they pursue the newest dance fad; how to prevent fops in this country from importing hundreds of billions of dollars in recreational drugs while financing the pathways that make the stuff available in schoolyards; how to approach discussing the realities of abortion while people have pathologically-induced, floridly promiscuous sex lives; how to provide day-care for uncared-for children so irresponsible parents can continue single life styles; what to do about babies being born addicted to heroin or cocaine; how to keep people from killing each other with AIDS with sex partners not known well enough to know what they have or don't have; what to do about children of divorced couples in a nation of adults who are incapable of, or disinterested in, maintaining genuine relationships of depth for any period; what to do about thirteen-year-old girls having babies in large numbers; how to induce strangers to use at least marginal protection if they can't be talked out of indiscriminately sticking their sex organs up each other,s behinds--sometimes at the rate of several partners a night; and what to do about the media and people from the entertainment fields pimping for the entire surrealistic pathological spectrum--with help from the ex-governor of New York. Financing Personal Self-Absorption How in the world did we ever get into this? This is not supposed to be the major purpose of government. It is not the function of government. At best, it's the function of camp counselors for impossible juvenile delinquents and mental defectives. Somewhere hidden in the back wards of state mental hospitals there is supposed to be a minuscule number of people wallowing around with these characteristics. Instead, the country is now flooded with a substantial number of people militantly functioning at this level of personal incompetence under the banner of liberation. Much of the nightly news, the protests, the social movements, the talk shows, the political issues and so forth read like chapters from psychiatric texts. The numbers of people with assorted varieties of these characteristics now represent a large angry politically powerful group who are determined to control the direction of the country through exercise of the democratic process and put us in the business of supporting and financing their personal self-absorption. The Constitution means nothing in such circumstances because a political majority can confer upon itself the right to devise a new constitution to be written for its on purposes while declaring the old Constitution invalid. This is no longer a nation of adults seeking adult government, but a huge out-of-control mental hospital filled with borderline psychotics who demand to play at being their own therapists, or worse yet demanding to be my therapist, while they rotate through seven mental states:1. Ever-increasing irresponsible self-indulgent behavior. 2.) An absolutely defiant determination to do more of the same when questioned. 3.) Periodic tearful wailing and expectation of unconditional sympathy over consequences of their irrational self-centered behavior and the dilapidated condition of their lives. 4.) Temper tantrums when confronted with reality or when reality confronts them. 5.) Periods of rage when somebody treats them with the same callused immorality that they alone feel they should be licensed to apply to others or when somebody treats them according to their own rules established to supposedly allow only them to do what they want. 6.) Diffuse bitterness and rage at everything and everybody because of a vague emptiness in their lives. 7.) Exponentially escalating demands on government to solve "conditions" or so-called "social conditions" while behavior which produces those conditions is continued.Meanwhile, there is progressively less interest in anything else, including progressively less participation in basic economic productivity. Proliferating on a large scale under the labels liberation, life styles, progressivism, pluralism or something similar, the social institutions and the country cannot survive the mentality arising in the last several generations. This society is being burdened with a population disproportionately constituted by self-absorbed weaklings who are exclusively preoccupied with their own amusements at the expense of anyone or anything else--including the quality of their own lives. No society can survive a widespread belief that entitlement to occurrence of pleasant conditions or non-occurrence of unpleasant conditions, whether they be personal conditions or economic conditions, is disconnected from the behavior or other factors determining those conditions. No government or politician can indulge that belief for any period without destruction of the society. For those interested in change, that belief is what must be changed. It is no wonder some of the best people are reluctant to become presidential candidates. Who would want to become a camp counselor to a nation of runamok spoiled brats who can't even agree with each other, or themselves, on what they want. What they don't want is adult functioning and adult responsibility. Maybe ex-governor Maria Cuomo can exhort that platform before thousands of people. To ask someone with intelligence and integrity to do so and still make the country work is a clear impossibility. Today, there is a wide expectation of politicians to lie for people, but not lie to people. The implicit reality, of course, is that the resultant requirement for election is that the politician is to lie about everything to everybody, for everybody, to accommodate public lack of integrity. The politician is then looked upon as disgustingly dishonest by individual constituents who resent his lying for other people as well as just themselves. If politicians look upon the people of this country with cynical disgust under these conditions, who could blame them? When you see public opinion polls that show public opinions on issues or politicians vary by ten or twenty percent from week to week or month to month, it means we have an extensive population in this country that is too mentally unstable to vote intelligently for anybody or anything. What candidate of any quality wants to become subjected to such mindlessness? Even in a direct democracy, polls show an instability such that the people would disassemble this country at 15 day intervals if left to their own devices making political or economic stability beyond six months a rarity. Survival of America will depend upon:1.) Whether the pathologizing of America has progressed to a point of irreversible dominance. 2.) Whether a clarification and confrontation of the situation from national leaders is possible. 3.) Whether a counter-pathologizing constituency can be extracted and aligned, then unified into a political-social force.To a great extent it depends on you. Robert L. Kocher is the author of "The American Mind in Denial." He is an engineer working in the area of solid-state physics, and has done graduate study in clinical psychology. His email address is
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), April 07, 1999
Andy, Leska's cybergnomes gotcha!
"His e-mail address is "
-- Chuck, a night driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 07, 1999.
A lot of thruth in that article. Most of us here have bemoaned the fact that here is obviously something wrong with the viewpoint of the great majority (will only listen to good news, no anlysis of the bad permitted).
I have no doubt this guy is at least partly right.
-- Jon Johnson (email@example.com), April 07, 1999.
Good Article Andy.... It seems to me that this same mentality is being applied to the Y2K situation. The "No need to prepare, the government will take care of me" attitude. The total lack of self-responsibility can be very frustrating. I've been hearing statements like "Oh, if it happens it happens"..."I can't do anything about it" ... The hair stands up on the back of my neck !! Personal responsibility has been proxied to the gov't.---No thanks
-- WebRNot (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 07, 1999.
But it is such a sad tune.....
"When they destroy themselves, they become angry at you for the consequences. If you propose a choice, they become angry at you for the inconvenience of having to give up an amusement for their own survival, the survival of the nation, or the survival of the rights of others. This is the mind-boggling attitude."
This is such a deeply negative essay. I really hate it that I can find truth within those bleak words.
Someone please tell me it's always been this way, that I'm just too young to remember the old days when....
Thanks for posting this (I think),
-- Deborah ;-) (email@example.com), April 07, 1999.
"Someone please tell me it's always been this way, that I'm just too young to remember the old days when.... "
Deborah, it hasn't always been like this. I can remember back when people took responsibility for their actions. I can even remember back when LYING was a serious act. I can remeber when we were punished for talking in class. I can remember when we had chores to do and we had better do them. I can remember when healthcare costs took up a small portion of our monthly income. I can remember when there was no TV and we did family things in the evening. I can remember.
-- Ray (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 07, 1999.