Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Live and Learn

Experience is a great substitute for brains—Hamburger Helper for the cognitively penurious. By now, I’ve accumulated enough of it to get through a few senior moments. Unfortunately, I’ve also had a lot more practice at being wrong than younger folks so maybe I’ve gotten better at that, too. For example, the current administration demonstrates a host of tendencies that were formerly thought to presage disaster; but the Conservatives and their de facto supporters in the media assure me that they’ve changed all that. Don’t get paranoid just because your lover is a bisexual Haitian hooker with a drug problem. The government is in good hands. The rules have changes under the new dispensation and it is no longer unwise for governments to:

Conduct public affairs in profound secrecy

Bribe and intimidate the press

Institutionalize groupthink by surrounding the leader with Yes-men

Destroy the careers and reputations of anyone who dissents

Denounce domestic opposition as unpatriotic

Replace professional civil servants and government scientists with political appointees

Vilify opponents by well-orchestrated campaigns of innuendo and slander

Suppress or distort unfavorable economic statistics

Disseminate inaccurate scientific and medical information

Freely break existing international agreements

Conduct aggressive wars without international sanction

Undertake military actions with insufficient forces

Permit or encourage the use of torture

Systematically weaken civil rights

Run up huge deficits

I could have sworn that a country ruled in this fashion was heading for disaster, but what do I know? Perhaps some one in the non-fascist right can explain to me again why I shouldn’t fret.

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