The Death-Trap of False Competence –Robert M. Shelby, 10-31-10. [526 txt wds]

Whichever way this election goes, my first effort afterward will be to forgive everybody for everything they have thought or done incorrectly. It won’t be hard to do. No one on either side can help how they came up from their roots to whatever they became or failed to become.

Think of our greatest humans — Chief Joseph of the Nez-perce; Mohandas K. Ghandi; Jawaharlal Nehru; Nelson Mandela; George Washington and a dozen of our founders; Abe Lincoln; Charles Darwin, who through more than twenty years patiently delayed publication to refine and substantiate his theses; a dozen physicists who dreamed mathematical formulae to connect complex observations into an inkling of fundamental reality blowing aside idea after idea and false, old theories like chaff; Charles Dickens who for much of his life wrote novels that brought people of all walks to empathize with poor working people, sick children and the old; Samuel Clemens whose Mark Twain stories taught us generous laughter at human folly. The list is immense. None of the persons made prominent by the Tea Party or its handlers are on that list. They can’t help it. Theirs is no enterprise for helping anyone who isn’t nervously rich. They excuse their behavior by claiming to open doors, freeing anyone to climb ladders to success, power and wealth. They don’t tell how narrow rungs at the top are packed with those who only want high place and who bar all not of their sort who won’t bow and serve.

We whose understanding and imagination were widely and deeply humanized during upbringing and growth, and who became directed toward wholeness of community, relations between man, nature and the oneness of life, must forgive those who are given to lower values. They cannot help themselves. They are alienated from us and unwilling to be helped by us. Falsely secure in believing they already know everything of worth, they are not ready to learn anything from the hated, misunderstood “liberals,” the educated, widely-reading and cultured people they sneeringly dismiss as “elite.” In fact, the resentful jealousy of those who have lived only to make a living and be amused by entertainers are so deeply and unconsciously self-destructive as to take down the entire nation and, during the collapse, wonder why such evil is happening to them.

The next two years will be as hard as the last two, instead of much better. Republicans will obfuscate, stall, mislead and block progress by Democrats. Tea Partiers play Patrick Henry and the imitation Indians who threw English tea into Boston Harbor. The GOP pretends every solution is with yesterday’s unrestrained enterprise and the reduction of all value to markets for private property and government supports for getting rich, no matter the cost to society or nature. Live now for short-term gains, dine on the corpse of a dying world because nothing is made to last. The lord will save us who are just and righteous, in the end. He will lift us away in great spaceships on clouds of morning. Alas, for the hangover of waking in pain, our children crying for food among the ruins.

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