This too shall pass. So will this, this, this, this, and this too.
May 18, 2011 Santiago, Chile
Take a moment and conduct a mini thought experiment. Imagine that you’re from the future many hundreds of years from now, researching what life was like in the early 21st century. You pull up an archive of newspaper headlines from the year 2011 and read the following:
“US Congress To Vote On Declaration Of World War 3 — An Endless War With No Borders, No Clear Enemies”
“Blackwater hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together a secret force of foreign troops”
“10 killed in US drone attacks in northern Pakistan”
“Treasury taps federal pensions as Uncle Sam hits debt ceiling”
“Fed chief Ben Bernanke says he’s not worried about inflation”
“Global Food Prices Hit New All Time High After 8 Consecutive Months Of Gains”
“Over-50s suffer a lifestyle crash: Millions less comfortable than a year ago”
“UK And US Data Shows Stagflation Threat Deepening”
“Greek riot police, protesters clash over austerity ”
“IMF: Greece needs more austerity measures”
“IMF Chief no stranger to sexual assault allegations”
“Portugal on brink of bankruptcy”
“Contagion fears high as Italy drawn into crisis”
“Italian PM Berlusconi Faces Prostitution Trial in Italy”
To an observer who is not part of our time, it must all look like a really bad joke, like it just couldn’t possibly be true. In the same way, we look back upon history and wonder with skepticism and incredulity how our long-lost ancestors have possibly allowed the Inquisition, the Dark Ages, genocide and slavery to occur.
We fancy ourselves so advanced and enlightened… but my guess is that history will view us in the same way that we see those unfortunate brutes of medieval times: misguided, misled, and totally self-deluded.
We might not be burning each other at the stake anymore, or waging war for king and conquest, but the metaphoric comparisons run truly deep. Moreover, our story today is a similar one: there is a very small group of people in power whose decisions affect the lives of billions of people. Those of us not in the elite ruling class allow it to happen.
Their choices drive up food prices, increase war and destruction, bankrupt entire economies, reduce standards of living, degrade social stability, and force everyday people into conditions that look more and more like a police state.
Simultaneously, this elite group uses its position to shower itself with privileges and benefits at everyone else’s expense: hard-core sex parties, handing out free money to their friends, not paying their taxes, hiring private armies to protect them from their own people, etc.
It’s positively disgusting… and I have to imagine that historians of the future will scratch their heads and wonder how we allowed ourselves to be duped into such a system.
Our leaders tell us that these troubles will pass… to sit down, shut up, be patient, and put our faith and confidence in their abilities to right the ship once again. Sounds great… but there’s just one problem. Nobody’s buying it anymore.