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.")

Thursday, October 02, 2008

An Obsession

I have a strong distaste for clowns, circuses, rodeos, traveling-shows and hucksters. And yet, every 4 years I succumb to the biggest and most transparent sideshow around--the U.S. Presidential election. I know better, I really do. And yet, I am drawn to it, as one would be to a forest fire, tornado, flood or other unfolding disaster. In light of this affliction, I remain resolute in my determination NOT to blog on 2008 politics until after the election. But I find myself distracted by all the political noise and have difficulty writing of anything else. Time is the only cure. In another month and 2 days, I should start the recovery process, and regular blogging should resume. In the meantime, I had better start getting ready for tonight's Vice-Presidential debate.