Failings And An Ungovernable Nation

Failings And An Ungovernable Nation

I often talk about America's multi-faceted culture war as a threat to democracy, but over the past several years, it's morphed into something more than that. When everything is identified with ideology and politics, it becomes impossible to solve problems. The generalized distrust that goes along with hyper-polarization means that if those with the best solutions happen to be of a different ideological persuasion than yourself, you dismiss them out of hand. Climate change is the most obvious e
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12 thoughts on “Failings And An Ungovernable Nation

  1. Our current two party system may prevent us from dissipating into a multi party mess as has been on display in Israel and Brazil for quite a while.

    But might that be better than what we have now?

  2. H-Man, good post for making you think about culture wars like the one we had in the 1860’s. It didn’t end well for the South. The problem now is figuring out who will win between the present competing North and South camps since compromise seems to be off the table. It won’t be pretty for whoever is on the short end of that stick.

    1. In this instance, the camps of the culture war are geographically dispersed; there might be no single short end of the stick. A house divided into 1,000 pieces isn’t even a ruin — it’s a non-entity.

  3. I am generally a pessimist, but there’s a way out: demographics. Millennials and GenZ don’t have the same values as aging, decadent baby boomers, and they are much less white, with much less to lose if real change comes to the US. If we don’t fall apart in the next 10-20 years, there’s a chance that what will emerge will be very different from what you see today. Of course, lots can go wrong–voter suppression and entrenched gerrymandering, a stacked Supreme Court, armed insurrection, or sustained misinformation campaigns could all serve to dampen or even halt the turnover. And even if the demographic turnover does happen, it will be too late to halt a lot of avoidable (especially environmental) damage. But it’s a reason to hope. Remember California prop 209 in 1996? Remember the anti-gay marriage laws? That changed fast, didn’t it? First we have to get past 2022 and 2024. Let’s see what there is to salvage at that point.

  4. I’m not a big fan of the struggle between under-educated white men and black people and women.

    It’s like mice fighting over crumbs when the cat is sitting right outside the door.

    The biggest problem we face is society and as a world is climate change. Because that can literally kill us all.

    The second problem is wealth inequality, where a handful of individuals have the same wealth as tens of millions.

    Wealth inequality, higher than at any point since the 1920s, has the effect of reducing incentive for the majority of people, and thus lowering productivity. The capitalists and corporate monopolies have taken too much of the pie, leaving too little for everyone else.

    Instead of addressing the real problems, we’re fighting these pointless “culture wars”.

    1. The strategy has always been to divide the poorer masses against each other so that they do not unite and take the power their numbers could ensure. Black vs white, both poor! red vs blue…”pro-life” vs “pro-death”, etc.

      1. Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

  5. The biggest challenge for humanity is how to govern ourselves and manage huge bureaucracies and complex systems. Do you go single leader autocratic or try ‘of by and for’ the people. Thus far, since Sapiens became civilized, nothing has had much staying power. Any system of government is going to fail if the people managing it are incapable of rational thinking and in possession of broad swatches of knowledge about ‘how things actually work’. American politicians as they are now chosen are not getting the job done to put it mildly. Until we can figure out how to get the best qualified (and not best liked) managing things, no system of government is going to succeed for very long before it lurches one way or another and gets replaced (usually with violence). I believe the ‘state of the union’ reflects the quality of management a country has and ours is not good. That should be enough for the citizens of a country to demand something better, unfortunately no one really knows what better is.

  6. The US Census bureau published some very depressing statistics today. 37.2M Americans were in poverty in 2020, up 3.3M from 2019. There are more terrible statistics in the published article.
    We spent $2T on Afghanistan- for what? We could have divided that up among those in poverty and actually gotten something for our money. And saved some lives in the process.

  7. H – Regret that I left the beaten path and ventured into the realm of bias. Your post described some heady subject matter, which tickled very clear and strong feelings on my part. Obviously, it’s a new day and my perspective is refreshed. And on we go…

    But I respect the filter. It’s smart, and it maintains the health of the conversation, wherein lies the value.

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