The Obama administration is bulldozing forward with a new package of cybersecurity laws, which (if passed) could make or break countless digital age corporations. The GOP is spinning in circles over it, their collective psyche split in half: the “smaller-government/anti-regulatory/don’t-trust-the-government” elements of that party’s base keep ideologically clashing with the “war-on-terrorism/secure-our-borders” and “anti-crime/better-security/pro-law-enforcement” elements. The second half is historically locked into supporting further extensions of Bush-era Patriot Act-styled security measures… though the other half doesn’t want those SAME powerful controls emplaced atop innocent Americans, lest they be potentially abused by “someone” (that “someone” being their political opposition). Meanwhile the most ardently-liberal Dems are freaking out about potential civil rights violations while their own party leadership tries to jackboot the whole messy package into law without scaring the general populace. It’s a pretty pickle.
We also have the recent gun control fracas, with both sides desperate to conjure some magical cure to “the existence of crazy people” by selling dream scenarios of personal security to legions of frightened constituents. Nonsensical laws to restrict the ownership of overwrought arbitrarily-invented gun classifications are just a smoke screen intended to convey the illusion of promised safety…. but no more illusory than a Pyrrhic protection against gun violence achieved by flooding the landscape with more guns for everyone. Arms manufacturers (and their powerful lobby) prefer the second option: there’s easy money to be made mining the fear of the confused. But objective statistical evidence indicates neither approach works when real crazies are involved. Mass murderers can’t be reliably predicted or legislated away, no matter what flavor of weapon they choose.
Meanwhile, the unimaginably idiotic Sequestration Budget Cuts— invented last year as the ultimate “couldn’t ever happen” boogey-man incentive scenario— are ACTUALLY ABOUT TO HAPPEN. Congressional obstructionists on both sides whose resistence to legislative compromise has caused this (I believe “sowing the wind to reap the whirlwind” is the proper Biblical term) now assure us that this arbitrary, hamfisted, mandatory financial gouging really won’t be all THAT bad for our struggling economy, so we should just shut up and enjoy the ride. But in the halls of finance, economists stare bleakly at predictions of economic doom on the horizon, shaking their heads in disbelief.
“The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution ‘fail’ while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to ‘succeed’ if that requires them to lose power within the institution.”
—The Iron Law of Institutions, Jonathan Schwartz
While our elected representatives fight over who gets the keys to the country, America is actually ruled by someone else: owners of large income-producing properties (corporations, banks, and agri-businesses). They rule through the machinations of managers and experts they hire or get elected. They do it legally, through direct involvement in policy planning, support of political campaigns, via appointments to key decision-making positions in government… and by creating and funding lobbyists who LITERALLY WRITE FUTURE LAWS for their corporate backers, handing them directly to their political pals to get them voted through. It’s frightening that the care of our nation is entrusted so completely to individuals obsessed with squeezing wealth from the consumer public.
But… since most Americans are trained from birth to confuse comfort for happiness, excess for success, expense for beauty, quantity for quality, and sex for love, how could we be expected to understand all that?