April 25, 2014

Armageddon, or something worse

In 2008 my wife and I made plans to return to the United States. As things turned out, I did relocate while she went to work for yet another big name Tokyo securities firm. Back in the U.S. after a quarter century in Asia, I threw myself into the local political scene. At first, I was shocked and appalled at the outrageous and hyperbolic allegations thrown back and forth between supporters of the Republican and Democratic Parties. I looked into smaller parties, the Constitutionalists, The Reform Party, the Libertarians, everywhere I looked I found suspicion and outright hatred of everyone by everyone. It was like some kind of ancient tribalism writ large. Demographics did not help. Sure, most Democratic Party supporters fall into a few demographic niches like: minority, female, lower economic status, LGBT, etc. There are many fringe groups in the Democratic Party and they make up a very solid base that refuses to vote for anything deemed "mainstream", or, as they like to label it, "fascist". Likewise, "rich, white, older male" does in fact describe a large segment of the Republican Party. Libertarians are often heavy marijuana users, white, disenfranchised youth from middle class families. Those same youth, when Christian and sober, tend to be Constitutionalists. On the surface, all of these generalizations are fairly accurate. However, despite that very well documented fact, in sum total they do not come even close to presenting an accurate picture of the various political tribes battling over control of the American political system.

After five years in Ohio, one of the most heavily contested battleground states in America, I've learned that American political supporters cannot be so cleanly divided as demographers and statisticians everywhere would like us to believe. The Democratic Party, for example, is mostly ruled by "rich, white, older male" career politicians. The net worth of Democrats in the Senate is almost twenty times the next worth of Senate Republicans, yet, it is only the Republicans who are accused of economic bias. In Wayne County, all of the wealthiest and most prominent families have been voting Democrat since the end of the Civil War and probably will continue to do so until the end of time. Looking over the Forbes 500 list shows far more global elites with a lifelong history of support for socialism, utopianism, redistribution of wealth, and expansive government than the few like the Koch brothers who support limited government, low taxes, and letting the people take care of themselves. Almost none of the world's 500 richest men and women are American Republican Party supporters. Yes, that's right, feel free to Google it and look for yourself. That "evil, elitist 1%" that everybody hates is predominately socialist or straight out communist.

Encountering this widespread ignorance throughout the grassroots of American politics was a huge shock for me. I will never again look at the world the same way. For a couple of years I thought perhaps the various conspiracy theorists were right. Perhaps there was a vast, evil conspiracy by the elites to take over the world and kill off anyone deemed too poor, too ugly, or too unpleasant, creating for themselves a utopia of the beautiful, rich and noble. Unfortunately, because my wife has worked in the financial industry her entire adult life, and because we lived in Tokyo one of the most important economic centers in the world, I happened to know quite a few elites and while I cannot call them "friends", we know each other on sight and exchange pleasantries whenever our paths cross. Some of them are in fact, geniuses within their field, others are not. Some of them are, in fact, just as ignorant about the daily life of working class people as the working are of theirs. If anything, reality television has seen to it that the most ignorant of the wealthy get far better press than they deserve while the most ignorant of the working class get far worse press than they deserve, thus reinforcing the prejudices of ignorant people across the economic spectrum while leaving the better informed shaking their heads in disbelief. In short, the world's elite spend far too much time bickering among themselves to form a conspiracy dedicated to wiping out the rest of us.

Therein lies the rub. For some reason I have yet to fathom, the global entertainment industry glorifies ignorance and prejudice. Hollywood, Bollywood, Tokyo, London, Milan and Paris all work diligently to fill the airwaves and the theaters with praise for fools, condemnation for true open-minded thinking, and countless hours of propaganda in support of the idea that 99% of the world's people are complete idiots dependent on the 1% who are educated and enlightened to lead them into utopia. Online games with their princes, kings, thieves and wizards reinforce this further. Somehow every entertainment media in the modern world carries the same theme, "you're an idiot and you need someone wiser to guide you." Naturally, most individuals do not want to think of themselves as idiots, so instead of assuming the worst about themselves, they immediately jump to the unfounded conclusion that they are, in fact, the genius who should be determining how the world reaches utopia while everyone around them (their friends, family, employers, teachers, and community leaders included) are complete idiots who need to be shown the error of their ways.

Realistically, this is impossible. We can't all be geniuses and we can't all be idiots. Assuming we can somehow magically identify the geniuses, there is no reason to assume their "wisdom" will be anything other than self-serving. History is pretty clear on this point. The smartest guys in the room always use their smarts to take advantage of the "fools" around them. Always. Every time. No exceptions. Not in history, not at Enron, not at Worldcom, not at Lehman Brothers, not at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, not anywhere. The smartest people very quickly realize the benefit of being smart and they will use their intelligence to advance their own well-being at any and every opportunity that presents itself because, let's be real here, that is the smart thing to do.

For better or for worse, idiots outnumber geniuses. So, once again, let's be real. Simple math dictates you are probably an idiot and so am I. There is no two ways about it. If genius is to be genius than the rest of us must, by definition, be idiots. However, there is nothing in all the five thousand years of recorded history that indicates the geniuses make the best leaders! Although an idiot in a leadership position can cause huge amounts of damage, history clearly shows that the track record for geniuses is just as bad. Let's assume, for example, that Barack Obama is the genius his most sycophantic and devoted followers believe he is. I'm willing to grant this. It is entirely possible that Barack Obama is a genius. He is the genius responsible for the first dead American Ambassador since World War II, the most divided American nation since the Civil War, the most fragile economy since the Interwar Great Depression, and the most aggressive Russia since the rise of Stalin. This great genius has for the first time in three decades brought the world to the very brink of nuclear war between the United States of America and the Russian Federation. John Kerry's speech some four hours ago disparaging Russia's militant actions in the Ukraine has added fuel to the fire, taking us one step closer to global annihilation.

If Barack Obama is an example of genius then clearly great geniuses do not make great leaders.

Unfortunately, it would seem the lunatics have captured control of the asylum. Between the corruption of Harry Reid, the genius of Barack Obama, the wisdom of John Kerry, and the intuition of Barbara Boxer, we are unlikely to survive as a nation until 2016, the year of the next presidential election. We are unlikely to survive as a nation because our world is unlikely to survive as a civilization. Intended or not, unless I am very much mistaken (and God grant that I am!), the eugenicists of the world will very soon have their global cleansing.

The only glimmer of hope I can see in the immediate future is the possibility that the Return of Christ is upon us, bringing the redemption of the world when it stands at the brink of destruction. If events of the past six months are not a precursor to the Second Coming, then we are truly doomed, because Putin will not back down from his invasion of Ukraine and Barack Obama has spent five years weakening the one military in the world that might be able to stop him. If this is not Armageddon, then it will surely turn into something far worse.

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”