Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Crack in the Tea-Cup

And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead

Rod Dreher quotes this from W. H. Auden in an excellent article, here, on our on-going financial meltdown. Of course, its really much more than that, with the Wall Street disaster being merely a symptom of a societal, if not civilizational, illness.

Some good observations from Dreher, below:

We are not a people distinguished by a sense of history and the claims the past has on us. We are the original progressive nation, an Enlightenment people destined to create a new order of the ages. Philosophically and dispositionally, Americans are pragmatic, optimistic and unrooted, hence our dynamism, expansionism and dedication to individualism.

...a country corrupted by materialism and hedonism and the illusion that, in America, one has the freedom to escape the human condition.

...a false ideal of the good life. It's a life that measures happiness by material wealth and personal liberty – which is to say by the absence of the constraints imposed by poverty and duty, which has forever been the lot of the vast majority of humankind.

Perhaps the cracking of our collective confidence in the wealth-generating system will be a salutary reckoning. Our riches and the liberties they purchased were not based on reality, but on putting full faith and credit in the false hope of the Everlasting Now.

Where has that put us? Broke, with a socialist Republican administration borrowing unimaginably vast sums to prevent the debt-based implosion of our national Potemkin suburb, where the stoplights are always green.

Mad men? Deranged, the lot of us, for we thought it would last forever. So now, pass the gin, and brace for interesting times. Brother, can you spare a lime?

(I particularly enjoy this turn of phrase: "our national Potemkin suburb, where the stoplights are always green.")


Ranger said...

sounds like a great article. I will read the rest soon. A great radio broadcast on this financial mess that was aired on "This American Life" several months prior to the bailout was very enlightening as well. see and go to the May podcast called "The Giant Pool of money".

Mimi said...

I really like that turn of phrase too.

Off to read, thanks!

The Scylding said...

I loved the phraes he constructed here.

BTW, thank you for your support on my blog the last 2 days....

s-p said...

glad to see you came up for air. LOL!

John said...

Scylding, you are most welcome. I thought that guy seemed determined to argue his point--even if it did not pertain to your post!

s-p, if I can just hang on for 7 more days, maybe I will return to my senses-ha!