by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ July 1, 2020
The layers of delusion, misinformation, and criminal negligence are so deep that entire nation-states may collapse before full awareness of our entangled disasters finally dawns. For those caught in the tragedy of failing governments on top of the pandemic and the climate crisis, it takes serious mental gymnastics to grasp this mess’s complexity.
Unfortunately, we see the limitations of a significant portion of the population unable to handle the required rigor to sort propaganda from scientific reality. These intellectual shortcomings are the essence of the problem that none of us want to address.
Our problem is not the absence of scientific knowledge or the existence of substantial empirical errors. All science is a continuing process of questioning, but the problem is the percentage of the population unable to process the information required to survive. This problem is hard because the majority who can understand enough of the scientific reality to be scared shitless also know that makes them condescending intellectuals in the eyes of those controlled by the billionaire elites.
While everyone is fully aware that the bell curve is the reality in any large sample and some people are intellectually more capable than others, we also know our children are all above average. The political and cultural world we are struggling to save assumes equality of rights as a founding principle. But the failure to find a way to implement and manage that effectively is an underlying cause of this disastrous era. The unstated corollary is that equality of rights is not equality of ability.
Any way you look at the mess we are in, understanding and solving our problems is much more complicated than at any time in our history. We are dealing with an entangled array of human-created, planetary issues. As in all involved and often non-linear problems, the standard human technique of divide and conquer does not work. We cannot selectively fix the component problems or the symptoms but need to address structural change.
This condition illuminates our social and political failures and inadequacies. The collapse of the US political system through its descent into reactionary fascism is shockingly evident in the pandemic disaster. The same shortcomings are on full display in all other neo-fascist failing states, e.g., Russia, Brazil, Great Britain, and others.
While much of this is the inherent incompetence of the opportunistic corruption characteristic of nationalistic fascism, the shockingly crude efforts to hide that reality shows an appalling level of ignorance. For the lowest forms of this, we see government denial and orders to hide infection and hospital statistics. These people are operating at a three-year-old’s level; if I don’t see it, it is not there.
This failure is not just ignorance or misunderstanding but the absence of the ability to function as a human adult in the 21st century. It suggests that the people in positions of power in those states are mentally disabled or mentally ill. That is the case with Trump and many others around him, but this is spreading. How are these people in positions of authority?
That is the question that haunts everyone as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic sweeps the planet. Authoritarian governments are entirely unable to manage this one disaster, that cannot be denied, amid a far more massive climate disaster that they have refused to see. And most of these governments are supposed to be some form of representative republics. Could there be a connection linking these failures?
Simultaneously, we have been through a common reaction to police murders with planetwide demonstrations against police brutality despite the pandemic. The US Black population leads this under the unifying Black Lives Matter mantra. It has become very quickly evident that the vast majority of the human population now refuse to accept default minority oppression and militarized police murders.
Black Lives Matter embodies the essence of the Enlightenment ideal of inalienable human rights. This ideal is the basis for modern government in all of its forms, excluding only the most regressive remnants of feudal antiquity. Again, we are appalled at the police murder of Black citizens in the US, the public suppression of voting rights in Black communities, the oppression, and murder of Uighyar populations in China and the repression of millions of arbitrarily labeled minority populations around the planet.
Because of all this, we stumble from event to event, tragedy to tragedy, government failure to government failure, and must deal with a significant population pumped with hate to maintain these conditions and grow these disasters. Whatever the nature of inalienable rights, this does not justify giving the same authority to confused, ignorant, and incompetent people who will manipulate, exploit, and destroy others.
The broad support for ending police brutality and specific oppression of Black people in the US and of minorities elsewhere says that this must stop, whatever it takes. I think this means that the majority of humanity realizes that we need to more accurately redefine rights and limit governments’ power to deny those rights while clarifying the prerequisites for societies based on ability. Our definition of human rights and our allowance for governments to oppress must end, or we will end as a species.
How to do this is an old question for long a philosophical conundrum, but now it is a matter of human survival. We have struggled to implement ideas from the 17th and 18th centuries as Western civilization has dominated the planet. We have done this by simplifying them for the general population to understand easily, but this has not worked.
We have failed to understand how to define and manage ourselves with our bell curve of abilities on a planet that we have made so complex a significant portion of us cannot understand the problems we have created. Yet we allow the least capable of managing the growing disaster to take control in service to a tiny elite and are helpless in the face of the accelerating collapse.
Criminal incompetence and corruption are not political options, nor are they rights for some self-declared group. On a threatened planet in a growing pandemic facing centuries of climate disaster without extreme, scientific action, these are crimes against life. People exhibiting dysfunctional ignorance and incompetence must be removed from any positions of authority by popular demand. We no longer have time to wait for failing systems to remove them.