Yearning for Apocalypse
There are times, more and more frequent as time goes on, where I find myself dreaming, even yearning for society to go through a massive reset. How far back we get reset, and what tech level is available to us is open to debate (and is usually a pretty entertaining intellectual exercise), but wiping it all clean seems more and more like the best solution to what’s become of our great society.
Everyone (and I say this slightly tongue-in-cheek) knows the story of America. I say story, because if it were written down it would make a great political epic (like Eric Flint’s 1632 Series, or David Weber’s Safehold). America was, literally, founded on the principles of Freedom. Plymouth colony was founded because the pilgrims wanted to escape religious persecution and have a place where they could practice their own religion openly and freely. We seceded from the British Empire because we were not being treated with equality (there’s way more to it than that, of course, but it all boils down to freedom). We had a Civil War because of economic-and later, social-freedoms, and Suffrage and Civil Rights movements because of political freedoms. We, as a great nation, have systematically knocked down nearly every social, political, and economic barrier there is, all so our citizens could enjoy that precious freedom.
So much could be said about freedom and equality, and indeed, so much HAS been said, that I couldn’t dare intrude my humble writings into that rarefied arena. But I would like to say that somewhere along the line we stopped fighting for freedom of OPPORTUNITY and started fighting for freedom of OUTCOME. Where we wanted everyone to have the same rights, the right to vote, the right to carry arms, the right to not have British soldiers sleep uninvited in your house, and most especially the right to screw up like an adult, we now seem to be fighting for the right to have everything our neighbor has, because if they have it, we should as well.
Because of this battle, we seem to be entering an era of group-think and of right-think. An age of conformity through violence, verbal and physical. A time where not only is it wrong to hold contrary beliefs on any number of hot-button topics, but it’s even wrong to talk about the topics themselves (1984 article here).
And alongside this cyber-battle, our government is doing as it wills, with no input from the average citizen. The extremely, disgustingly wealthy do as they please, and the rest of us suffer. Our president, however you feel about him personally, is a liar. Has been proven to be a liar on dozens of occasions. As a side-note, Bill Clinton lied ONE TIME about having sex with someone not his wife, and we nearly kicked him out of office for that; President Obama lies dozens of times about dozens of things, and we don’t even call him to account? The Koch brothers are purchasing laws to increase their power and wealth (as though you could spend $100 billion), while internet service providers are now able to charge more for better service. The federal minimum wage is no longer able to support even basic subsistence, and the federal government wants to take away our guns. We get spied on by our own government, our own citizens killed, and the rich-poor divide grows larger every day.
What recourse is there for the average citizen? Where is the American dream? When our government is prepared to grant citizenship, health care, and scholarships to non-citizens, but citizens are denied the same. Student debt is crippling our young workers, health care is beggaring our healthy, education is brainwashing our children, employers are letting go their employees in favor of automation or outsourcing, our government is reducing us to serfdom, and we do nothing.
Perhaps there is nothing to be done. Perhaps it is too late.
Sometimes I lie awake at night, wondering how, in this corrupt society, I can provide for my family. Sometimes I wonder if it gets any better, of maybe this is just a phase of my life. Sometimes, I despair of ever being able to see the world, because I can barely pay the bills. And I know I’m not alone in this. Many, many of us who make up the heart of America, the average worker, mother, father and mid-level manager, are crushed under ever-increasing credit debt, lower money value and lower wages, and a vanishing job market. I think we all, at some level, find ourselves yearning for apocalypse.