National Commentary

Debt Limit, Norway, Heat & Winehouse

Imagine if there were some kind of connection between the four big headlines of the past weekend – the “debt ceiling crisis,” the massacre of innocents in Norway, the record heat pummeling the nation, and the death of Amy Winehouse.

 

Imagine if there were some kind of connection between the four big headlines of the past weekend – the “debt ceiling crisis,” the massacre of innocents in Norway, the record heat pummeling the nation, and the death of Amy Winehouse.

The major media cover them each as discrete and unrelated, naturally. The debt crisis talks are portrayed as the result of a shared blame between Democrats and Republicans for their stubbornness. The massacre is the work, as the Washington Post editorializes, of yet another lone assassin, and shame on you if you try to surmise otherwise. The heat is reported in terms of temperatures, and not of causes. The Winehouse reporting ignores the uncomfortable fact that she was egged on by everyone who went wild for her hit about rejecting rehab.

We as a people used to be citizens, even world citizens, but we’ve become consumers of bits – bits of candy, bits of scandal and bits of “news.” It’s all we want and think we can handle. Our masters are happy to lead us to our bowls with bits.

Reality, on the other hand, lies in the interconnection between events – like how the substance of music lies between the notes. In last weekend’s headlines, for the observant among us, there are many lines of connectivity that can be drawn, and the overall picture is heinous.

Most shocking is the fact that a possessed man wandered across an idyllic island retreat gunning down teenagers left and right, unchallenged for an hour and a half. This sociopath Breivik was sealed away from any human sensibility to undertake his unspeakable horror, feeling not a scintilla of empathy or any remotely human emotion that could deter his mass murder.

This man, who wrote an obsessive “manifesto,” was bedeviled with the notion of  society’s retreat from real notions of “manhood” under the pressures of feminism. Yes, this was someone who claimed his “manhood” by gunning down scores of defenseless youths.

But it was not only his attitude about male supremacy that defines him as a “type” who is no loner, but who acts on behalf of a well-reinforced and encouraged social ideology. He’s also a devotee of radical individualist Ayn Rand and the radical free market economist Von Hayek.

All put together, his cold, calculated indifference to the human condition, especially among the vulnerable, his hatred of Muslims and uppity women, his devotion to the philosophies and economic theories of “might makes right” fill out the profile of the kind of human being that Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and the radical right wing are dedicated to shaping every day through their tools of influence. On cue, Glen Beck offered Breivik sympathy by comparing his victims to “Hitler youth” on radio.

Don’t go telling me he “acted alone.”

The same problem exists for the “debt ceiling crisis,” where the media pundits like CNN’s David Gergen insist a “shared blame” is responsible for the impasse. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times, in his “The Cult That is Destroying America,” reality is this: “We have a crisis where the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating – offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.”

It is, he writes, “the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war,” adding, “The ‘both sides are at fault’ people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray. It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price.”

The same unwillingness to tell the truth applies to the climate change consequences of the anti-regulatory pressures from the same forces who systematically engage in forging clones of the Norwegian murderer, who blame Democrats for intransigence on the budget, and profit from the pathetic Winehouse case.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*